WIS Footsteps

News from the Western Iowa Synod Companion Synods Network

Step by Step · Paso y Paso · Hatua kwa Hatua


Issue # 1, December, 2015

Igumbilo Girls School
In September, Jan Rosdail Aegerter and Jane Kruse visited the Igumbilo Lutheran School for Girls where they were hosted by Headmistress Yelonumasi Gissamo. Click the tab in the Table of Contents to read about their visit.
Table of Contents
(Click on an item to learn more about it)
Well Drilling Project
Gadi Msule, Director of the Well Drilling Project in the Southern Diocese attracts the attention of children at a well site. Click Wells in the table of contents above to read more about the wells project.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile (IELCH) Update

There have been recent moves and votes toward reunification between the two Lutheran bodies in Chile! This endeavor we hope will result in a stronger church both in terms of resource and of mission, not to mention of voice and of unity! Let us continue to pray for the Spirit's guidance in this process.

Members from our ELCA Latin America desk of Global Mission will soon be visiting the IELCH. We will hope to learn more upon their return about the current status and ministry of our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ.

Companion congregation interest with congregations in Chile is growing, with two new relationships anticipated in the near future. Existing relationships continue to work on improved communica- tions. First Lutheran in West Okoboji included their companion congregation of San Pablo in their 2015 mission activities and will be jointly supporting children’s’ ministry and community outreach efforts in Concepción.

Likewise, The Church of the Damascus Road rou- tinely writes letters to La Trinidad and offers financial support for their congregation's needs as well as national needs such as support for the most recent earthquake victims' and for the devastating fires in Valparaiso last year. 
Pastor Blogs About Tanzanian Trip
Pastor Ben McIntire and his wife, Monica visited Tanzania last September. Since that time he has blogged about his experiences and posted videos

"The blog I write is titled: “PB&J: Pastor Ben & Jesus” and can be found at: www.benmcintire.wordpress.com, " says Pastor McIntire.

"I have already written a brief article on the blog about our trip entitled Kwa Jina la Baba, na la Mwana, na la Roho Mtakatufu and I’m currently posting chapters of a longer travelogue called The McIntires’ Safari. I’ll continue posting 1 or 2 chapters a week until it is complete.

Videos of our trip can be found on YouTube and here are the links for those:

Pastor Ben McIntire serves St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Storm Lake, Iowa.
by Pastor Mike Kroona
 The well drilling team in the Southern Diocese has had good success finding water and building wells for a number of villages and communities. They are scheduled to be drilling wells in Ikuna and Matembwe parish.

Wells have been drilled at the Samaria preaching point and Kibena parish. Work was done at Matigonjola parish but we are unsure of the outcome there.
The team discovered that carbide tipped drill bits can make it through rock. This equipment will help them be more successful in the future. Sadly the one bit they had burned up in one of their drills. We are looking to find more bits and ways to get them to Tanzania.

Keep praying for the team and the villages who await getting their own well! 
Project Funding Levels
(as of Oct 22, 2015) 

Wells $175,187
Girls School   $8,565
Medical Supply     $249
CAD/SACCOS $11,209

It is evident from the table above that most of the projects are in need of continued support. Without that support, our 2016 planned project goals will be jepordized

The need is greatest at the Igumbilo Girls School and CAD/SACCOS. The Tanzanians and the Southern Diocese give as they are able in time, talent, labor and fund-

We recall that we are in covenantal relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ and walk with them as we work to meet these most basic needs of our people, being the face of Christ in their midst.

Any individual or con- gregation wishing to support these projects with their time and talent may do so by serving on Synodical networks; any individual or congre-gation wishing to do- nate toward any/all of these projects may do so by sending funds to the Western Iowa Synod, with the project (s) in the memo, and send to 318 E. 5th St., Storm Lake, IA 50588.

The synod website wisynod.org also has a ‘donate now’ button at the bottom of any page. 
Our friends in Tanzania have expressed the situation following the recent Tanzanian election. Following a heated campaign, the ruling CCM party remained in power. Not all feel that the election was conducted fairly. 

There are even more difficult issues ahead with a movement to separate Zanzibar from the rest of Tanzania.

Please continue your prayers for this difficult situation. 

Tanzanians Desire Stronger Companion Congregation Ties

Tanzanian leaders speak of the importance of their Companion Congregation Relationships

“One of the things that was really clear to me as I met with pastors and lay leaders in Tanzania was their deep desire to strengthen the companion congregation relationships,” says Companion Synod Network chair, Arlyn Norris. “I heard them say this again and again.”

During his September trip to Tanzania, Pastor Norris had an opportunity to meet with pastors and lay leaders from many of Tanzanian companion congregations. Dr. Gabriel Nduye, Companion Synod Coordinator in the Southern Diocese, helped arrange for these meetings.

“The people I met with could identify many blessings that had emerged from these relationships,” said Pastor Norris. “They want to improve the ties they have with their partners in western Iowa.”

Communication was the greatest difficulty identified
by the leaders from the Tanzanian companion congrega- tions. “We send emails and don’t get any answer,” was the complaint that they repeated at each of the meetings.

“Ironically, I heard exactly the same complaints
from WIS congregations at the Companion Synods Fair that was held in September in Storm Lake,”  said Pastor Norris. “It seems that communication is the greatest single challenge on both sides of these relationships.”

Pastor Norris went on to suggests some ways to
improve communication. These include:

  • Make a commitment to communicate on a regular basis, at least once a month.
  • Don’t give up after sending just one email. There are lots of reasons that emails don’t get answered right away.
  • Consider other forms of communications such as phone calls and text messag- es. (nobelcom.com possibly for cell phone minutes.)
  • If you continue to have problems with communication, contact Cindy Wells, the WIS Director for Global Mission. She can check to see what might be impeding communications.
  • Try to have more than one contact for your congregation, including lay persons as well as pastors.

A revised list of contact information for companion
congregations both in WIS and in the SD is currently       being compiled and should be available shortly. It is hoped that this will be one more resource to help improve communication between companion


Medical News from Tanzania
Medical Graduate working at Ilembula Hospital
Dr. Jason Mtokoma is doing well and working as an OB/GYN specialist at Ilembula Hospital. He normally delivers between 50-60 babies each month. WIS helped provide fund for Dr. Mtokoma's medical training.

Power supply at the hospital continues to be an issue. Sometimes power shuts down during surgery or when other vital medical equipment is being used. Government subsidy of salaries has not been not consistent and, thus problematic. There is a great need for pharmaceutical and other supplies since the government system is also not working well. 
by Jan Rosdail Aegerter & Jane Kruse
The Igumbilo Lutheran Girls’ Secondary School opened in 2006 with 83 students. In 2015, there are nearly 400 students attending in Forms I-IV and living on the campus. This year, a former graduate of ILGSS is a first year teacher of Geography at the school, one of two female instructors are on the 14 person faculty. The administrator, Head Mistress Gissamo, is a passionate and energetic leader and role model.

This trip was slightly different from past WIS trips in that it was a smaller group of travelers, so we had a bit more flexibility in our schedules. As retired teachers we were dropped off at the Igumbilo Lutheran Girls’ Secondary School by ourselves for 8 days and were given the opportunity to teach approximately 3-4 hours each day, on such topics as Globalization and it’s effects on Tanzania and the U.S., HIV/AIDS, Cultural Gender Differences between the U.S. and Tanzania, and Human Services/The differences between the U.S. and Tanzania.

Being able to teach allowed us the opportunity to interact with all 400 girls at the school and really gave us insight into some of the struggles they continue to face as young girls at the school and that they continue to face as young women in their culture.

We were able to share supplies that we brought from the U.S. for delivery to the school. A telescope, something the girls and even many staff members had only heard about but had never seen, was presented. At 4:00 AM, lines of students got to see a close up of the lunar eclipse. Other items donated from Western Iowa were flash- lights and solar lights for all those times when the power was going out, reading glasses, and general school supplies such as chalk, paper, pencils and soccer balls.

The newest group of young girls were being evaluated for entrance to the Girl’s School to begin in January, pending their interview and test results, so it is a busy time for us to be at the school. A new library is in the process of being built, with hopes that someday it might house a computer lab for the girls. Reliable power and water continues to be a challenge at the school. Twenty-seven Masai girls are currently enrolled which is very exciting.​
Students at Ibumbilo Lutheran Girls School
CAD Board Seeks to Balance Ag Production
with Training and Support for SACCOS
While working to make the Center for Agricultural Develoment self-sustaining with it’s ag production operations, the CAD board has also begun to renew its focus on training. Increasing CAD's capacity to support SACCOS micro-financing groups has also become a high priority. 

Even though it is possible to teach and showcase enhanced ag practices “til the cows come home”, so to speak, without credit or savings to implement them, there is little opportunity to move beyond subsistence agriculture. 

A SACCOS event on Oct. 27 in Milford featured people who have been working with the Iringa Hope SACCOS in Tanzania. They shared stories about the dynamics and success of the SACCOS approach. 

The Iringa Hope SACCOS has helped its members increase annual incomes significantly. Loans from Iringa Hope have provided dignified opportunities for villagers and smallholder farmers to help themselves and to manage their profits to help their families and communities in ways they, themselves deem best. 

Typical uses of profits from SACCOS-financed projects have been to provide more and better food to combat malnutrition, to enable further education for their children, and to generate funds for home needs and 

improvements. In addition, many loan recipients tithe to their congregations! 

Iringa Hope SACCOS (www.iringahope.org) has been particularly successful because they are 100% village/member owned. Decisions are made locally and members are accountable to one another. Loans are only offered for profit-making ventures. This results in a 98.5% successful repayment rate compared to a 94% rate at USA banks! It’s a WIN-WIN for all involved. The

Western Iowa Synod hopes you will accompany CAD in this venture. Contact Cindy Wells, WIS Director for Global Mission (cindy.wells@wisynod.org: 712- 732-4968 ext. 441 or Dr. Perry Aalgaard (perry@3cross.org: 712- 338-4514 with any questions, requests for information, etc. Mungu Awabariki (God Bless You All)!! 
Woman Threshes Newly Harvested Grain
Those serving in Companion Synods Network and on specific project networks are as follows:

Companion Synods Network

Arlyn Norris, Chair; Jan Rosdail Aegerter, Howard and Marcia Taylor; Susan Julifs; Dr. Leslie Hemmingson; Pr. Ben McIntire; Pr. Luke Kuenzli; Katia Frock and Dr. Tracy Gayer (synod council liaisons), Cindy Wells, WIS liaison.

Well Project: Pr. Mike and Shelby Kroona, Jeff Bowen, Dar Evans and John Reinert.

Girls School: Jan Rosdail Aegerter and Jane Kruse.
Medical: Susan Julifs and Terry Towne.
CAD Board: Bishop Rodger Prois and Bishop Isaya Mengele, Carl Bergstrom and Martins Chodota, co-Chairs; Giesla Masika, treasurer; Michael Vaughn, secretary; Dr. Bruce Towne and Henry Vahaye, at large. Tanzanian members needed and being sought at this time.

CAD Operations Committee:
All board members, PLUS Dr. Les Hemmingson, David Post, Gary Hammitt, Craig Wells, Dr. Tracy Gayer, Howard Taylor, Dr. Perry Aalgaard, David Mgaya, Pr. Jo- hana Bimbiga

Companion Congregations: Pr. Arlyn Norris and Howard & Marcia Taylor.

Chile: Jan Rosdail Aegerter

Newsletter and Communications: Howard & Marcia Taylor, Cindy Wells and Arlyn Norris.

The Western Iowa Synod gives thankful appreciation for all who serve. Anyone feeling called to serve in some capacity is asked to contact Cindy Wells, WIS Director for Global Missions; (cindy.wells@wisynod.org;
712-732-4968 ext. 441 (CSN)

Western Iowa Synod,  318 E. 5th Street,  Storm Lake, IA 50588   Phone: 712-732-4968