Check out these recently posted YouTube clips from our delagation's most recent trip to visit
our companion synod brothers and sisters in Ulanga Kilombero, Tanzania.
Our Companion Synod in Tanzania- the Ulanga Kilombero Diocese
Our Companion relationship between the Eastern Washington Idaho Synod and the Ulanga Kilombero Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania began in 1989. The purpose of the companionship program is to strengthen one another for life and mission within the body of Christ. It offers us the privilege of participating in the life of another church through prayer, study, communication and the exchange of persons and resources. Our relationship with Ulanga Kilombero serves to open our eyes to the global challenge that Christ offers us today and calls us to deepen our commitment and discipleship as individual persons and as a community of faith.
How is our Synod involved with Ulanga Kilombero?
Visitations, prayer and communication regarding project activities and problem solving tend to deepen and strengthen our feeling of companionship. We feel this is our role in the overall ELCA Global Mission picture.
Since 1989 our synod has been involved in many ways with our companions. A number of our companions from the Ulanga Kilombero Diocese including former Bishop and Mrs. Abel Mwambungu; Philorian Mpendaye, present General Secretary of UKD; William Ngullo, past Dir. of Tumaini L.S.; Ezekiel Mwambungu, Seminarian Student; Irene Matimbwe, TLS Student; Rev. Eliud Payowela, Dir. of TLS; and Angela Msita, Dir. of UKD’s Women’s and Children’s Dept., have visited our congregations. Philorian and William were here under the Mwangaza Teacher Exchange Program and taught in Bonners Ferry and Caldwell, Idaho, respectively.
Ongoing components of our relationship include:
Scholarships for Girls at Tumaini L.S. – The women of our Synod provide 10 scholarships per year to female students at Tumaini Secondary School.
Tumaini Dining/Assembly Hall Project – We are in the process of helping Tumaini Lutheran Seminary build a Dining/Assembly Hall which they named as their first priority for school improvement.
Mwangaza Project Support – We donate annually to the Mwangaza Teacher Exchange Program. It was via this program that we met individuals, Philorian Mpendaye and William Ngullo, who inspired us to turn our interest into action.
Past activities/visitations which have strengthened our companion relationship began soon after the ELCA was created when our Bishop Robert Keller and his wife, Betty, visited Ulanga Kilombero. Betty Keller brought home to our Synodical women’s group the idea of raising funds to supply scholarships for girls so they could attend Tumaini School.
1994 - Bishop Abel Mwambungu and Daniel Mwandekele visited our synod and in 1995 Bishop Mwambungu studied at Luther Bible Institute and his wife, Ndimyiaki, and son, Ezekiel, joined him. They spent time at Good Hope Parish in Gifford, ID.
1995 - Larry and Barb Nelson and Dean & Elaine Peterson from Bonners Ferry visited our companions. That same year Aida Mkwenya was invited to attend the Global Mission Event in Colorado and had the opportunity to visit our synod as well.
1997 - Roberta Schroeder and Patsy Gottschalk attended the women’s meeting of the ELCT and also visited Ulanga Kilombero.
1999 - Margie Fiedler, Jeannette Levig and Hermy Meyer were part of a Consultation Meeting in Arusha of all the Companion Synod Relationships in Tanzania. Jeannette and Hermy visited Ulanga Kilombero as a part of that trip. Tumaini Secondary School was just beginning at this time and had an enrollment of 50 students.
1999 – 2000 Ezekiel Mwambungu returned to serve as an intern at Grace Lutheran in Wenatchee.
2000 – Shannon Savage, a youth from Walla Walla, visited Ulanga Kilombero.
2001 – Philorian Mpendaye and Bob Saboe, Bonners Ferry, ID were selected as Mwangaza Exchange Teachers, each serving some months at each other’s location.
2002 - a group from our Synod including Bishop Martin Wells, Mary Emily Wells, Pr. Mike Sager, Vivian and Bob Parrish, Sylvia Moris, Darrel Bozett, Carolyn Meek, Jessica Holloday, Jeff Nelson, Pr. Jim Grunow and Hermina Meyer visited our Companions.
2003 – Margie Fiedler represented our synod at the Consultation Meeting of all companion relationships in Tanzania.
2004 – William Ngullo and Ruth Peterson from Caldwell, ID were named as Mwangaza Exchange Teachers. At that time William Ngullo was Headmaster of Tumaini L.S.
2006 Thirteen from our Synod Visit UKD – After raising funds to build a Teachers’ Duplex at Tumaini School, 13 of us visited our CS to help finish the building having a fun and interesting time working together with teachers and students – an excuse to be together. We shared all with people at home via pictures and reports.
2008 Three Attend Bishop’s Installation – Three from our Synod were privileged to attend the installation of our Companion’s new Bishop, Renard Mtenji, showing that we honored their new leadership.
Jan-March 2009 Volunteer Teaching by Heidi Cryer – While teaching for 3 months in our CS, Heidi gained deep insights into the daily lives of students and teachers and freely shared her thoughts, hopes, fears and sometimes sadness with us via her blog – a great learning experience for those who read it.
2009 Irene Matimbwi Visits Us – Irene was encouraged by Heidi to participate in the ELCA Youth Convention in ’09 and also was able to visit our Synod, meeting many – a wonderful 2-way exchange.
Aug. 2010 Twelve from Synod Visit Companions -
12 from our Synod, including 3 teens, visited Tumaini L.S. This experience underlined the importance of including teens in visitations. Participants returned home with a heightened desire to stay close to our companions spiritually and physically.
Oct. 2010 The “Tuimbe” Choir Visits Companions – The 10-member choir represented a larger choir which had done considerable fund raising for the Tumaini School Dining Hall Project. A choir exchange concert initiated the Dining Hall although it was still without a roof. The idea was to show how much we care.
April 2013 Rev. Eliud Payowela and Ms. Angela Msita Visit Our Synod - We welcomed two Companion Synod guests, Rev. Eliud Payowela, Director of Tumaini Lutheran Seminary; and Angela Msita, Director of the Women’s and Children’s Dept. of the Ulanga Kilombero Diocese. They were wonderful ambassadors and visited many and various parts of our synod and also brought greetings from our companions to our Synod Assembly.
Aug. 2013 Synod Representatives Attend UKD’s Jubilee - Five from our Synod responded to an invitation to help our companions celebrate their Jubilee, 100 years since mission work first began in Ulanga Kilombero. Mission work was initiated by a church in Germany but all present partners were invited to help celebrate. Projects at Tumaini Lutheran Seminary (including the not yet finished Dining Hall) and Lugala Hospital were officially dedicated during this time. UKD chose this time to hold a “Partnership Meeting” which included UKD officials, the EWa/Idaho Synod (the only official ELCA companion of UKD) and UKD’s partners from Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Our purpose was to determine how we could best work together to accomplish priorities determined by our Companions.
Feb. 2016 – Dining Hall Evaluation Team visits Tumaini - A visit was made to our Companions for the purpose of critically evaluating the condition of the half-built Dining/Assembly Hall at Tumaini School. Marj and Wayne Nishek of Trinity Lutheran, Bonners Ferry, ID and Earl Tilly and Marv Dunbar of Grace Lutheran, Wenatchee, WA were accompanied by Building Contractors, Matthew Matimbwi of Dar es Salaam, and Rainer Schact of Germany who were serving as our Volunteer Building Contractors.
After careful evaluation of the partially built Dining/Assembly Hall which had not been receiving any attention for the past several years because of various problems, contractor lawsuits etc., it was decided that the project be restarted once more. The project was divided into two phases. Phase 1 involved reinforcing the foundation of the entire building. It was then decided to roof and finish half of the building to accommodate the present enrollment of 208 students. This part of the building contains the kitchen, a storeroom area and the dining/assembly area plus two computer rooms that will be furnished by a German partner. This half of the building is now finished and roofed and tables and chairs are being ordered so the building can serve its original purpose by the end of 2017. The remainder of the walled area can be used as a more informal “picnic-style” area for informal gathering and studying until such time as it is needed to accommodate an enlarged enrollment for dining purposes. This step forward was made possible because of its inclusion in the “My Synod: Moving in Mission Together Capital Campaign”.
Ongoing Activities – Prayer, communication and financial support for 1) Education via support of Tumaini Lutheran Seminary; 2) Health via support for Lugala Hospital; 3) Visitations – visits from our Companions and to our Companions.
For more information contact Marj Nishek, Chairperson, Eastern Washington/Idaho Companion Synod Comm. email@example.com.