Partnerships 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. Watch the slide show that was shown during the offering portion of worship in January 2018, which highlights elements of Incarnation’s longstanding partnership with Mkwawa and Kigamboni Lutheran Churches.

Education 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 to attend secondary school. Providing a secondary school education to Mkwawa and Kigamboni Lutheran Church youth 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 from our partner congregations. Most are funded by gifts from private individuals or families. $400 is the approximate amount to support a secondary student through a year of education.

In addition, Incarnation helps to support teacher training and capital projects within secondary schools and post-secondary education of students within the Iringa Diocese through donations that are made by this faith community.

“Just a kid, born from a poor family and living my dreams….all I can say is THANK YOU GOD and my parents, my sponsors from Incarnation and all my friends for always being a part of my life!!” – Samuel Lungo, member of Mkwawa Lutheran Church

To help sponsor secondary students and other educational initiatives, make a secure online donation through Incarnation’s site here, drop off a check at the Incarnation Office, or learn more by contacting Becky Benson.

Incarnation’s Companion Congregations

Mkwawa Lutheran Church

Incarnation and Mkwawa have been companion congregations since 2000. Mkwawa’s primary building is on the outskirts of Iringa town. Like Incarnation, Mkwawa is a large “suburban” congregation, and the building has the space for 1,200 people to worship at one service.

In addition to the Mkwawa building, two sites on the outskirts of town are also part of Mkwawa Lutheran Church. An Evangelist, who leads worship and teaches Christian education, staffs each of these locations.

“The old and the new! The African drums played with every anthem and hymn, and a keyboard with (very large speakers) as well.” – Johanna Pokorny, 2016 Incarnation delegation to Tanzania

Kigamboni Lutheran Church

In 2012, Kigamboni Lutheran Church, which had previously been a part of Mkwawa, became a separate congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. This church worships about 200 people each week. 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. Like, Mkwawa, Kigamboni Lutheran Church has an additional site called Mawhelewhele. The people of Kigamboni are currently buying property where a building for Mawhelewhele will be located.

“No staid Scandinavians here! There’s clapping, swaying, and even dancing down the aisle to give the offering. Even we staid Scandinavians clapped, swayed, and danced.” – Sue Nelson, 2016 Incarnation delegation to Tanzania


Visiting our Partners – Mission Trips

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.

“Our trip to Tanzania included many opportunities to get acquainted with and to connect with church members and leaders. Pastor Frederika and I shared a bus ride ride to see Iringa University, a school founded by Incarnation members Arne and Mary Blomquist. On the trip, I learned about Frederika’s ministry, and she learned about my grand children.” – Candace Gruman, 2016 Incarnation delegation to Tanzania

Partnering with the Iringa Diocese

There are a number of ways in which individuals can support the Iringa Diocese through the St Paul Area Synod’s Bega Kwa Bega arm. Learn more about those additional opportunities here.



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