A cornerstone of our life together at Amazing Grace Lutheran Church is that we reach out to those outside of our walls. Amazing Grace is connected to a parish in Magulilwa, Tanzania and an outreach in China through China Service Ventures. Each of these connections provides a larger understanding of God’s kingdom and leads us to broaden our understanding of those whose culture is different than ours. That growth enables us to find rich and meaningful connections to those in our own community who come from various cultures.
In 2000 Amazing Grace began a partnership with a congregation in the village of Magulilwa, Tanzania. The village looked like a National Geographic scene – mud homes with thatched roofs. The people though were filled with a joy that went way beyond our understanding. They worked hard each day for their daily food, had little to nothing in what we would call material things, and yet they still celebrated God’s love in their lives. There have been over 20 members who have traveled to Magulilwa since 2000 and each one has come home transformed by that joy and love. Contact Person: Helen Yotter
The roots of Christian service run deep in the center of China. In 1890 a farmer from Iowa, with a clear call to missionary service, sold his farm and all his possessions and left for China with $500 in his pocket. This was Daniel Nelson, who soon began a mission outpost in a remote town in southern Henan Province (about 500 miles west of Shanghai). Soon others joined Daniel in the work. By 1950, when the “Bamboo Curtain” of communism closed China to missionaries, they had already founded many churches, schools, orphanages, and hospitals.
Fifty years later several Lutherans with roots in China had a vision of returning to this area. Knowing that missionaries were still not welcome in China, and that Henan is one of China’s poorest provinces, they envisioned a Christian organization serving the rural poor, thereby witnessing to God’s love.
The fruit of their labor is China Service Ventures (CSV), http://www.chinaserviceventures.org/ which was formally incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2000. Their motto is, as Jesus stated: “Not to be served, but to serve.” CSV continues God’s work in the same place where mission work began over 100 years ago.