Hope, and a Future

Pastor's newsletterarticle for August, 2015

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. [Jeremiah 29:11]

This past month we were blessed by a visit from Dr. Mark and Linda Jacobson, ELCA medical missionaries in Africa. The Jacobsons have been in Arusha, Tanzania since 1982, working with the ministries at Selian Lutheran Hospital and (since 2008) the Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre. We at Saint Peter considered it an honor to have been one of their supporting congregations for the past decade-and-a-half, and look forward to a relationship with them and their ministry team that continues to grow in years to come.

As they shared stories about bodies that have been healed, lives that have been changed, and families that have been restored, they reminded us of Jeremiah 29:11. Patients at Selian and ALMC receive the gift of healed bodies, to be sure. But even more importantly, through the faith and compassion of the medical workers at these two facilities, patients also receive the gift of hope; a hope which comes from God, and which invites them into a future that is entirely made new.

In 2009 nine Saint Peter travelers made their way to Arusha to visit these two extraordinary hospitals, and some of the other work that various missionaries and service organizations are doing in the area. It was an inspiring trip for all of us, and one that gave us a glimpse of the remarkable ministry that is taking place in that part of the world.

We would like to put plans in place for a second visit to Tanzania some time soon. Participants can expect to spend a day at the original Selian Hospital, in the village of Ngaramtoni, which was founded in the 1950s and has since grown into a 120 bed full-service hospital. A visit will also be made to the new ALMC site in Arusha, as well as to a number of other missionary and community development projects in and around Arusha. Included in the trip will likely be the chance to spend a few days on safari, or for the more adventuresome: climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Dates under consideration include early-summer 2016; late-summer, 2016 and early-summer 2017. If you are interested, please contact me through the Saint Peter office, and I’ll make sure you are invited to become part of the process.

Saint Peter is a member congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; an affiliation of nearly five million Lutherans in the United States. We are so grateful for the work that our ELCA missionaries are doing throughout the world, and are pleased to offer them our enthusiastic support. We encourage you to keep Dr. Mark and Linda Jacobson in your daily prayers. And if you would like to make a personal financial contribution to support their ministry, give us a call. We would be more than happy to help you do so.

God’s peace to you, Pastor Dave