Michael Fonner and Leslie Weed-Fonner are ELCA missionaries in Kenya. In their recent newsletter they wrote about an inspiring visit to three rural congregations. To support Michael and Leslie, or another of the ELCA's over 240 missionaries in the global church, click here.
"Back in the olden days," missionaries from America and Europe used to bring the gospel to people overseas. The foreign missionaries did all the leading, made all the decisions, and handled all the money.
Today, things are different! Mission in the ELCA is now done according to an approach called "accompaniment." We are missionaries as equal partners with those whom we serve. We listen to, we ask about, we pray with, we share hopes, we encourage, walk alongside, and follow.
We recently visited three wonderful rural congregations of the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church. All three are building their own new churches under their own leadership, using their own expertise and labor, and raising their own funds. How exciting this is!
In Photo 1, there is a woman who ran over a mile when she saw that we were soon arriving.
Photo 2 shows the old church and the corner of the new church; one member here said their dream is that someone someday will drive a car to their church to worship.
And Photo 3 shows what all Lutherans hold most dear: proud members in their church kitchen!
Members at all three locations brimmed with pride and excitement.
At each stop we listened to dreams, we offered words of strength and encouragement, and we prayed together holding hands. We offered no advice, we provided no funds, we walked next to and not ahead of.
It was a wonderful day of ELCA Global Mission accompaniment! We thank you for your support and for being a part of our work in Kenya.