Mkwawa & Kigamboni in Iringa, Tanzania

Incarnation is one of more than 65 ELCA congregations in the Saint Paul Area Synod that partners with a congregation in the Iringa Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. “Bega kwa bega” is Kiswahili for “shoulder to shoulder”–a powerful image to shape our mission partnership with the people of Mkwawa and Kigamboni Lutheran Churches. Working bega kwa bega, side by side, with our brothers and sisters in Iringa, Tanzania makes us equal partners in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We pray for one another, learn from one another and are blessed by one another in Jesus’ name.

Read the Mission Trip Blog from Tanzania!

Nine people from Incarnation are representing the congregation as they visit Incarnation’s ministry partners in Iringa in September 2016. You can read their blog here.

Secondary School Sponsorships

Secondary school can cost as much as a year’s average wage in Tanzania so help is needed to provide the opportunity for the youth at Mkwawa to attend secondary school. Providing a secondary school education opens doors for the student and for the sponsor as students receive an education and sponsors enlarge their families! People of Incarnation currently sponsor over 35 secondary students. Most are funded by gifts from private individuals or families. To help sponsor secondary students, contact Becky Benson at Incarnation.

Incarnation’s Companion Congregations

Mkwawa Lutheran Church: Main Station & Preaching Points

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Incarnation and Mkwawa have been companion congregations since 2000. Mkwawa’s main station is on the outskirts of Iringa town. Like Incarnation, it is a large “suburban” congregation. The congregation at the Main Station is in the midst of building a new sanctuary where 1,200 people can worship at one service.

Besides the main station, two preaching points are also part of Mkwawa Lutheran church. An Evangelist, who leads worship and teaches Christian education, staffs each preaching point.

Kigamboni Lutheran Church

Traci giving Ester the crossIn 2012, Kigamboni Lutheran Church, which had been Mkwawa’s largest preaching point became a separate congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. This church worships about 200 people each week. For those of you who have been to Iringa, Kigamboni is next door to the Huruma Center orphanage. Incarnation youth who participated in the 2002 mission trip to Tanzania helped to clear a corn field so the congregation could build this worship space. Kigamboni Lutheran Church has one preaching point called Mawhelewhele. The people of Kigamboni are currently buying property where a building for this preaching point will be located.

To kick off the expanded partnership with Kigamboni, Traci Tapani presented a copy of the Incarnation cross to Pastor Ester. The cross was made by Wyoming Machine.

Itamba (e tom’ ba)

Itamba is located five miles from the Main Station. Incarnation worked with St. Paul Partners to provide a well so the people of Itamba have safe drinking water.

Ikonongo (e con an’ go)

Ikonongo is located two miles from the Main Station. The villagers receive their safe water from the Iringa city water supply. This is the smallest of the preaching points.

Partnering with Mkwawa and Kigamboni

Mission Trips Tanzania travelers

Incarnation sponsors adult or a youth and family mission trips for the purpose of building personal relationships with the people of Mkwawa and Kigamboni Lutheran Churches. Everyone who has met the people of Iringa agrees that it’s a life-changing experience to be the recipient of such gracious hospitality. Contact Becky Benson for more details.

Secondary School Sponsorships

Secondary school can cost as much as a year’s average wage in Tanzania so help is needed to provide the opportunity for the youth at Mkwawa to attend secondary school. Providing a secondary school education opens doors for the student and for the sponsor as students receive an education and sponsors enlarge their families! People of Incarnation currently sponsor over 35 secondary students. Most are funded by gifts from private individuals or families. To help sponsor secondary students, contact Becky Benson at Incarnation.

Capital Projects

Incarnation currently partners with Mkwawa Lutheran Church to help them build a new worship space. Past projects include funding for the Mkwawa Kindergarten Center, as well as various projects at each of the preaching points. Incarnation is currently helping Kigamboni Lutheran Church purchase land for the Mawelewele Preaching Point.

Transportation

Incarnation has provided motorcycles for the pastor and district pastor and bicycles for the evangelists, enabling them to travel the many miles they need to travel each day, more efficiently.

Other Projects in the Iringa Area

Huruma Center Orphanage

“Huruma” means mercy in Kiswahili. Mama Chilewa is the mother to 40 street children ranging from age 3-18. There are so many orphans in Iringa, many from HIV/AIDS. In some families, orphaned kids are taken in by another family member such as a brother or sister, however often families that are already stretched financially cannot even support one more both to feed. Mama Chilewa provides the children not only a loving atmosphere in which to thrive and sends them to school, she also teaches them good life habits such as how to cook, maintain their living area, or care for farm animals.

When groups from Incarnation travel to Iringa, they always make visiting Huruma Center a priority. People from Incarnation have supported the ministry on the Huruma Center financially, especially purchasing food, chickens to stock the chicken coops, and even a cow! As always, relationships are the most important part of partnering and time set apart to play with the children is a highlight for all!

The Ilula Lutheran Health Center

The Ilula Lutheran Health Center has grown from its humble beginnings to its present status as a 70-bed facility situated along a busy highway in a growing town, serving a catchment area of over 100,000 people in a mostly poor and rural area of Tanzania. Along with other churches in the Saint Paul Area Synod, donations from Incarnation have been instrumental in developing this regional health care facility and the nursing school that is associated with it. Ilula Health Center.

The Iringa University Iringa

Incarnation’s first project in the Iringa Diocese was to provide the funds to build the library at what was then called Tumaini University. Since 2000, Incarnation has sponsored theology students who have become Lutheran pastors in the Iringa region. Learn more about The Iringa University Iringa.

Saint Paul Partners Water Project

The lack of clean water is associated with so many hygiene and health problems. People from the Saint Paul Area Synod who have traveled to Tanzania noticed that people walked miles each day to find water—most of it not clean. Saint Paul Partners is a non-profit organization that provides fresh water wells for communities in Tanzania. With donations from congregations like Incarnation, St. Paul Partners contracts with well drillers in Tanzania to provide fresh water. Incarnation has provided clean water for three of our preaching points through the St. Paul Partners.

Iringa Hope Microfinance Scheme

Iringa Hope provides small loans to members of the Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) that are organized in companion congregations in Iringa. People borrow small amounts ($50 – $200) to develop small businesses like sewing or planting crops from which they earn a profit. At this point 100% of the loans are paid back.  Learn more about Iringa Hope Microfinance Scheme.

 

Questions about Incarnation’s Tanzania Ministry Partners? Contact Becky Benson.

 

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