A cornerstone of our life together at Amazing Grace is that we reach out to those outside of our walls. We have a deep passion of caring for all and sharing what God has first given to us so that all may be blessed. One dimension of our reaching out into the world is our Global Missions emphasis. We are connected to a parish in Magulilwa, Tanzania and an outreach in China through China Service Ventures. Each of these connections offer us 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.
Over the years the congregation in Magulilwa has grown from one “mother church” and four preaching points (satellite worship spaces in various villages in the Magulilwa region), to now 11 preaching points with growing worship spaces throughout the 30 mile square region.
Our relationship with the congregation has also led to development and implementation of a four-year secondary school with over 180 students. It has become a quality opportunity for many young people to receive further education and to improve their lives.
We have partnered with an agricultural group from Minnesota to bring in better farming practices as a way to help create a greater yield in their crops. Through the preaching points these new practices have been shared through the region.
We have built two wells that continue to serve the whole community with clean water.
We have begun a sewing school through the congregation in Magulilwa which has taught men and women a trade so they can better care for their families and village.
For 14 years we have provided educational materials, Bibles, hymnals, and medical supplies so that these new brothers and sisters can have what most of us take for granted.
Our relationship with Tanzania has made us different. We have been able to experience God at work in the world. We have realized that the Kingdom of God is more than us, and that we too are not alone.
We are looking to have another Mission Team travel to Magulilwa in 2016.
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), 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.
CSV focuses on opportunities for service in the areas of education, community health, and good news—CSV’s “service ventures.” For example:
- Through scholarships for students too poor to attend middle and high school, well over 100 young people have now entered or graduated from university.
- Hundreds of poor rural youth have attended the summer youth camps where counselors from the U.S., Hong Kong and China guide them in new experiences and a new vision of themselves and of life.
- Many American ESL teachers have provided English training in two universities where they have developed deep and meaningful relationships.
- “Stay Behind Children”, whose parents have had to leave them at home to seek work in large and often distant cities, have experienced love and hope—and a bit of fun.
- A well has been dug for two of the many rural schools with no access to water.
- Bibles have been provided for the poor, including audio Bibles for the illiterate.
It is exciting that Amazing Grace Lutheran Church has become part of this adventure, and has already helped by contributing generously to these service ventures. Several AGLC members have also taken part in the 2014 mission trip, where they saw firsthand some of the work. More trips ahead! In addition, there are also opportunities to actively serve.
Looking to God for guidance, members of CSV feel excitement and eagerness to continue and to expand the work as numerous other opportunities challenge. Today the door is open. Now is the time to act.
Local and Global Mission Trips For Youth and Adults
Life changing service experiences that deepen our relationship with Christ and others along the way in our own community, across the states, and around the world through service work, music, and devotions.
Bread for the World – Fighting Hunger… the next steps
We donate to our local food shelf, and we respond to disasters around the world. What else can be done to fight hunger? We can advocate for governmental changes to aid in the fight against hunger. Bread for the World is a Christian advocacy group in Washington that is working on this issue. Bread for the World has a long term plan to end hunger by 2030. Each year, Bread for the World chooses a specific hunger issue for its “Offering of Letters Campain”. By taking part in the Offering of Letters Campaign and writing a personal letter or email to our elected members of Congress, we can join with other people of faith and work to shape policy.