Philip Knutson is the ELCA regional program assistant for Southern Africa. To support Philip, click here. To support the ELCA Global Ministry “Zambia: Constructing New Churches,” click here. To support another of the ELCA’s more than 240 missionaries in the global church, click here.
During Lent we are reminded of the 40-year journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land and also of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, which lasted 40 days and 40 nights. In his book “Manna and Mercy” (1992), Daniel Erlander speaks of the journey through the desert as “The Wilderness School” where God taught the people how to live by God’s gifts of grace as a liberated, reconciled and inclusive partner people in harmony with God, with others and with nature.
As the ELCA, we are on a similar journey of reflection, conversation and discernment as we walk, converse and work as congregations and with companion churches around the world. We continue to learn what mission accompaniment means: “Walking together in a solidarity, that practices interdependence and mutuality where gifts, resources and experiences are shared with mutual advice and admonition to deepen and expand our work within God’s mission.”
In February I was privileged to once again visit our companions in Zambia, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia, this time with Dr. Mary Marete, ELCA Global Mission program director for sustainable development.
Senior Pastor Alfred Chana and several church members took us to visit a number of sustainable livelihood projects outside of the capital city of Lusaka. These projects have been started with the training and support of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia Malaria Program. We met with members of two congregations who showed us a pig-rearing project, a grocery store and a health post. Community health care workers reported that through early diagnosis and treatment of malaria symptoms and other health problems the health post, located next to a rural school, has helped reduce the number of days children are absent from class.
The members of both congregations have also made sun-baked bricks and constructed new church buildings up to roof level. Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA has made a commitment to raise funding to assist the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia in the erection of 15 permanent church buildings with corrugated iron roofing.
Visit www.elca.org/globalchurch for more information.
Thank you for your prayers and continuing support through the ELCA Global Church Sponsorship program, ELCA World Hunger, the Malaria Program and The Campaign for the ELCA.
Thank you for your participation in God’s mission locally and globally.
Philip Knutson Rev. Dr.
ELCA Global Mission
Regional Program Assistant – Southern Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa
Feb. 20, 2015