Thursday, October 31, 2019

Graduations and an Ordination

Drought Strikes Zambia

Greetings from Zambia to all our supporting churches and friends! We have had a busy fall. Even though it is springtime here in the southern hemisphere, it feels like summer, with October being the hottest month of the year. There has been no rain since April, so everything is dry. Drought has hit Zambia hard this year, with failure of the corn crop in some regions. Corn, or maize as it’s called here, makes up the staple diet of most Zambians, who eat nshima (similar to corn meal mush) at least once or twice a day. The government has distributed relief supplies, but life is hard for people who depend on farming for their daily bread, and the price of corn meal has doubled for those who must buy it in the store. Because there is less water in the reservoirs, the production of hydroelectric power has decreased. The consequent load shedding by the power company means that we have no electricity for twelve to fifteen hours a day. While we have a battery backup system for our refrigerator and computers, others are much less fortunate. So please keep Zambia and other countries experiencing drought this year in your prayers. The rainy season is still be another month away, and everyone is looking forward to it!

Graduations and an Ordination

Rev. Godfrey Nguvulu and Floyd Kambita at their graduation from Justo Mwale University College
On the brighter side, we recently celebrated two important events in the life of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia (ELCZa): the graduation of two ELCA scholarship students, Rev. Godfrey Nguvulu and Floyd Kambita in September, followed by Floyd’s ordination in October. Godfrey and Floyd both completed their Bachelor’s in Theology at the Justo Mwale University College thanks to ELCA’s International Leaders Scholarship Program, funded by generous people like you. Each year ELCA Global Mission gives out over 100 full scholarships to leaders and potential leaders in our companion churches. ELCZa is grateful that two of their pastors are now better prepared to serve here in Zambia because of this training made possible by ELCA. A new pastoral candidate, Vincent Matunka, and his wife Gloria will arrive in Lusaka to begin studies at Justo Mwale in January. Please pray for them as they make this big adjustment in their lives. 

Rev. Floyd Kambita being ordained by Retired Bishop Samson Kipaila
On October 20 all three Lusaka congregations of the ELCZa joined at Kamwala Church to celebrate the ordination of Floyd Kambita. Retired Bishop Samson Kipaila of the Lutheran Evangelical Church in Africa (LECA) presided over the ceremony. Eight other pastors took part, including Deborah, and several visitors from other denominations participated as well. Lots of joyous music was sung and the newly ordained Rev. Kambita preached the sermon on “Feed My Sheep.” A meal of rice, beans, chicken and beef was served to the entire assembly, courtesy of the Kamwala Congregation, where Floyd has been serving as vicar. Never mind that the service lasted five hours–everyone rejoiced on this wonderful day. Join with us as we pray for a long and successful ministry for Rev. Kambita, his wife Olivia and their children.  

Upcoming Events

Despite the hot, dry weather, our schedules continue to be packed with many other activities. In the past two months since returning to Zambia from our home assignment there have been two general church council meetings, the national women’s conference, visits to micro-savings programs and a pastors’ retreat. In the next month we are looking forward to a youth camp, a regional women’s conference, two workshops for HIV-AIDS support groups, and a planning workshop for setting up additional micro-savings groups. Look for news of these activities in our future newsletters.

Again, we want to say thank you to all of those who hosted us during our two-month tour of the United States visiting our sponsoring congregations this past summer. We traveled over 6000 miles in the U.S. by car, train, and plane. We truly enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new ones in Illinois, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. 

Thank you for your prayers and continued support.

Joe and Deborah Troester

ELCA Global Mission Support and Contact Information

In all of this, we thank God for you—for your prayers and for your financial support. We couldn’t do it without you! If you wish to support us, you can give through your local congregation or through our ELCA Missionary Sponsorship Page. You can contact us at Joe.Troester@elca.org and Deborah.Troester@elca.org

Joe and Deborah are ELCA missionaries living in Lusaka, Zambia, where they are serving with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia (ELCZa). Their daughter, Christa, is a senior at the University of Southern California, where she is studying French and Film & Television Production.

In Memoriam

Recently we lost two dear friends, both to tragic road accidents: Rev. Dr. Antoinette Yindjara and Mrs. Christine Mummert. Antoinette was our beloved former colleague in the Central African Republic. The first woman to obtain a Ph.D. in Theology in that country, she was a professor at the Theological School of Baboua, where Deborah used to teach. Christine Mummert was one of our staunchest supporters during our sojourn in Tanzania and continued her support of our work here in Zambia. She was a member of the “Campaign for the ELCA” steering committee, and the backbone of the mission committee at her congregation, St. Peter’s Lutheran in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Both of these dear friends will be sorely missed. Please remember their families in your prayers.


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Troester Home Assignment Report—2019

Deborah giving a sermon at Trinity Lutheran Church in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.
We have returned to Zambia from an enjoyable but exhausting two-month tour of the United States. We traveled over 6000 miles in the U.S. by car, train, and plane and were able to visit our friends, relatives, and supporters in Illinois, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. We sincerely regret that time did not allow us to visit our friends and supporting churches in Florida, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Puerto Rico.


During July and August, we had 17 separate engagements, including visiting 14 different congregations plus attending the ELCA-GM Summer Mission. The response to our presentations was positive and enthusiastic.

We want to thank all the people that helped us with our travels, by providing delicious homemade specialties, giving us a comfortable place to sleep, and patiently listening to our stories and presentations. We made many new friends and renewed many old acquaintances. We look forward to seeing you all again the next time we return to the States. Below is a detailed list of all our engagements. A copy of our PowerPoint presentation is available upon request.

Now we are back in Lusaka, Zambia and have returned to our work with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia. Sadly, while we were gone, our home was broken into. We lost a laptop, some cash, and a few other items. In addition, the low rainfall earlier this year led to a diminished corn crop here in Zambia. The price of cornmeal (a daily staple in Zambia and surrounding countries) has doubled. Because there is less water in the reservoirs, the production of hydroelectric power has decreased. The consequent load shedding by the power company means that we have no electricity for six or more hours a day. While we have a battery backup system for our refrigerator and computers, others are less fortunate.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Joe and Deborah Troester 

List of presentations during our 2019 Home Assignment.

·       June 19, Wednesday evening: We attended a potluck at Christ Community Church in Columbia, Illinois and gave our PowerPoint presentation about our work with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia.
·       June 22 and 23, Saturday evening and Sunday morning: Deborah preached at three services at St. John Lutheran Church in Bloomington, Illinois and we met with the mission committee.
·       June 25, Tuesday evening: We gave our presentation for the Presbyterian Men of the First Presbyterian Church in Carbondale, Illinois.
·       June 30, Sunday morning: Deborah preached at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Carbondale, Illinois. Afterward we attended a potluck and gave our presentation.
·       July 7, Sunday morning: Deborah preached at our home congregation, the First Presbyterian Church in Carbondale, Illinois.
·       July 14, Sunday morning: Deborah preached at Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jonesboro, Illinois. Afterwards we attended a potluck and gave our presentation.
·       July 18, Thursday evening: We gave our presentation at Giant City State Park for the Supper Club of the First Presbyterian Church in Carbondale, Illinois.
·       July 22 to 26: We attended the ELCA-GM Summer Mission Conference at Loyola University Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock, Illinois.
·       July 27 and 28, Saturday evening and Sunday morning: Deborah preached twice at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oak Harbor, Ohio. Afterwards, we attended a potluck brunch and gave our presentation.
·       July 31, Wednesday afternoon: We attended a meeting of the Upstate New York Synod Mission Committee in East Syracuse, New York. We discussed their companion synod relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Zambia. The mission committee was attended by Bishop John Stanley Macholz and Rev. Kevin Jacobson (ELCA Global Mission Manager for Relationships in East and Southern Africa), among others.
·       July 31, Wednesday evening: Deborah preached at the Luther Memorial Church in North Syracuse, New York. We also attended a potluck and gave our presentation.
·       August 1, Thursday evening: Deborah preached at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Fairport, New York. We also attended a potluck and gave our presentation.
·       August 3 and 4, Saturday evening and Sunday morning: Deborah preached five times at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. Afterwards we attended a potluck and gave our presentation.
·       August 6, Tuesday evening: We attended a potluck at Zion Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and gave our presentation.
·       August 7, Wednesday evening: Deborah preached at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New York, New York. Afterwards we attended a potluck and gave our presentation.
·       August 11, Sunday morning: Deborah preached three times at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in York, Pennsylvania and we gave our presentation.
·       August 11, Sunday evening: We attended a potluck and ice cream social at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Afterwards we give our presentation.

ELCA Global Mission Support and Contact Information

In all of this, we thank God for you—for your prayers and for your financial support. We couldn’t do it without you! If you wish to support us, you can give through your local congregation or through our ELCA Missionary Sponsorship Page. You can contact us at Joe.Troester@elca.org and Deborah.Troester@elca.org

Joe and Deborah are ELCA missionaries living in Lusaka, Zambia, where they are serving with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia (ELCZa). Their daughter, Christa, is a senior at the University of Southern California, where she is studying French and Film & Television Production.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Troesters to Visit Supporting Congregations in Summer 2019


Map showing the states we will be visiting this summer: Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.


We hope to be meeting many of you in person this summer. We arrive in the U.S. in June and will be returning to Zambia in late August. In between, we will visit many of our sponsoring congregations in Illinois, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. We have been in touch with our supporters and many of them have agreed to host us for a worship service or other gathering. Our itinerary is below; however, there are still a few events pending. We are greatly looking forward to meeting new people and greeting old friends.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Joe and Deborah Troester

Troester Itinerary 2019


  • June 16: Christ Community Church in Columbia, Illinois
  • June 22 and 23: St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington, Illinois
  • July 7: First Presbyterian Church in Carbondale, Illinois
  • July 18: Supper Club at First Presbyterian Church in Carbondale, Illinois
  • July 22 to 26: Summer Missionary Conference near Chicago, Illinois
  • July 27 and 28: St John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oak Harbor, Ohio
  • July 31: Luther Memorial Lutheran Church in North Syracuse, New York
  • August 1: Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Fairport, New York
  • August 3 and 4: Trinity Lutheran Church in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
  • August 11 (morning): St Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church in York, Pennsylvania
  • August 11 (evening): St Peter's Lutheran Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Other events pending.


ELCA Global Mission Support and Contact Information

In all of this, we thank God for you—for your prayers and for your financial support. We couldn’t do it without you! If you wish to support us, you can give through your local congregation or through our new ELCA Missionary Sponsorship Page.

For more information on the ELCA’s Campaign to construct a national church office, re-furbish church buildings, and build new churches in Zambia, go to elca.org/globalministries and click on Zambia at the bottom of the page. You can contact us at Joe.Troester@elca.org and Deborah.Troester@elca.org

Joe and Deborah are ELCA missionaries living in Lusaka, Zambia, where they are serving with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia (ELCZa). Their daughter, Christa, is a junior at the University of Southern California, where she is studying French and Film & Television Production.

Happy Mother’s Day!



Happy Mother’s Day from Zambia! Yes, Zambians also celebrate Mother’s Day, although it is a relatively new holiday here. People may give their mother a gift or take her out to eat, just as in the U.S. Traditionally mothers occupy an important place in the family and community here in Zambia. They are the ones responsible for taking care of children and the home, although little by little fathers are taking more of a role, as in other countries. Women also do much of the farming here, as in most African countries. It is estimated that women do 80% of African agricultural work, so women are very important to the economy here in Zambia, although they are not always given credit for it. Mothers often supplement the family income by having a small business on the side, such as selling vegetables, or even dried caterpillars—a favorite treat here in Zambia.
Woman selling dried caterpillars to augment her family income.

As in most of Africa, a brother’s or sister’s children are considered as one’s own children. In the unfortunate case that a parent dies, the rest of the family, especially the siblings or grandparents, are responsible for raising the surviving children. As we visit churches throughout Zambia, we see many children being raised by relatives.
Rev. Mathildah Banda, General Secretary for the ELCZa.



Also, in honor of Mother’s Day, we want to feature the two women pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia (ELCZa), Rev. Mathildah Banda and Rev. Doreen Mwanza. Rev. Banda serves as General Secretary for the ELCZa and Rev. Mwanza is the Lusaka District Pastor, as well as HIV-AIDS Resource Person for the ELCZa. She is parish pastor for Mulimba Congregation, about an hour west of Lusaka. Both are single and are raising their nieces and nephews, orphans of their siblings. Rev. Banda and Rev. Mwanza are both wonderful examples of the African tradition of making sure that all children have a loving upbringing. Please join us in wishing them a Happy Mother’s Day.
Rev. Doreen Mwanza teaching the youth about HIV and AIDS.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

March 2019 Newsletter and Blog

 
Greetings from warm and sunny Lusaka, Zambia, from your ELCZa missionaries, Rev. Deborah and Dr. Joe Troester!

We are happy to announce that we will be in the U.S. this coming summer and are almost ready to start scheduling church visits. Look for an e-mail from us soon with more details.
Typical offering in Zambezi of chickens and bananas.
Our work has kept us busy here, mainly supporting the leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia. Rev. Geoffrey Njapau was elected the new senior pastor (similar to a bishop) in May, 2018. He and Deborah, along with other church leaders, have been visiting congregations all over the country to get to know them and to meet local church leaders. This past fall we traveled up to the Copperbelt (Central) Region and to Northwestern Zambia (Zambezi Region), then back to Lusaka, visiting about a dozen congregations in less than two weeks. We were joyfully received, with enthusiastic church services and gifts of bananas, cassava, chickens, and even a goat! To reach one of the congregations, we had to cross a 275-yard pedestrian suspension bridge over the Zambezi River. Thankfully, we did not see any of the crocodiles rumored to live beneath it! Deborah spoke on the Reformation and Martin and Katy Luther at each congregation we visited. Many parishioners commented that they had learned for the first time why the church had the name “Lutheran.” They were proud to learn of their 500-year heritage, and one leader said that he felt the reforming spirit of Martin Luther in their church, encouraging them to greater achievements!
Suspension bridge across the Zambezi River (the fourth-longest river in Africa).
Deborah also spoke at a women’s conference in southern Zambia on the role of women in the church. Spending two nights in a rustic mud-brick sanctuary, with a thatched roof, sleeping on the floor and eating locally prepared nshima (corn meal mush) with chicken or fish was definitely a cultural immersion experience! The highlight of the conference was the baptism of an elderly lady, Martha, whose daughter had brought her to the conference. Rev. Matildah Banda, general secretary of the ELCZa, and Veronica Malakibungu, ELCZa women’s chairperson, were organizers of the conference, along with the local women’s group.

Martha (pictured in the middle with friends and relatives) on her baptism day at the women’s conference in southern Zambia.
The youth are also active in the ELCZa. They requested Deborah to preach at their end of the year conference in Chongwe, about an hour east of Lusaka. The theme was “Using Your Gifts for God.” In Africa, “youth” includes what we in the ELCA would term “young adults.” The youth are eager to plan their own activities and do fund-raising themselves to support their conferences and camps. Deborah will be speaking on the theme of leadership during Youth Sunday celebrations this month.

ELCA Global Mission Support and Contact Information

In all of this, we thank God for you—for your prayers and for your financial support. We couldn’t do it without you! If you wish to support us, you can give through your local congregation or through our new ELCA Missionary Sponsorship Page.

For more information on the ELCA’s Campaign to construct new churches in Zambia, go to elca.org/globalministries and click on Zambia at the bottom of the page. You can contact us at Joe.Troester@elca.org and Deborah.Troester@elca.org

Joe and Deborah are ELCA missionaries living in Lusaka, Zambia, where they are serving with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia (ELCZa). Their daughter, Christa, is a junior at the University of Southern California, where she is studying French and Film & Television Production.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Visits to Mulimba and Mulendema (ELCZa)


We are settling in to our new home in Lusaka, Zambia, and getting to know the leadership and members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Zambia. The weather has warmed up, as winter in the Southern Hemisphere draws to a close, and the beautiful purple flowers of the jacaranda trees are everywhere.

In the past few weeks, we have been privileged to visit two rural congregations. Mulimba, a village about 50 miles west of Lusaka, is pastored by Rev. Doreen Mwanza. Deborah preached and Pastor Doreen translated into the local Tonga language. There was a lot of special music from the youth choir. Although the congregation is small, they were enthusiastic and friendly. As you can see in the photo, some time ago the wind destroyed the roof of the church building, and the parishioners are forced to worship out in the open, rain or shine. At least the walls provide a bit of shade!

Rev. Deborah preaching at the Mulimba Congregation. Her sermon is being translated into Tonga by Rev. Doreen Mwanza. 
Afterwards, Pastor Doreen invited us for lunch in her home next to the church. We had fried chicken, fresh greens from her garden, and the traditional nshima (made from corn meal—similar to grits or polenta). We were also treated to a traditional (non-alcoholic) beverage called munkoyo, made from the roots of the munkoyo tree (Rhynchosia venulosa, for those gardeners who are interested).

This past Sunday we made a trip to the village of Mulendema, also west of Lusaka. We were called to worship by the ringing of a gong, hanging from a tree outside the church. Evangelist Darius Munduwe led the service, and again, Deborah preached. Rev. Matildah Banda, General Secretary of the ELCZa, translated the sermon into Nyanja, another local language. All in all, there are five or six languages used by congregations of the ELCZa, depending on which language group makes up the majority of the congregation.

Rev. Deborah preaching at the Mulendema Congregation. Her sermon is being translated into Nyanja by Rev. Matilda Banda, the General Secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia (ELCZa).
Afterwards, we were again served a delicious lunch. As we were about to leave, a member of the congregation presented us with a live chicken! (We appreciated the gift but gave it to Rev. Banda to take home with her.) We arrived home late in the afternoon, tired, hot, and dusty, but happy that we had made some new friends.

ELCA Global Mission Support and Contact Information

In all of this, we thank God for you—for your prayers and for your financial support. We couldn’t do it without you! If you wish to support us, you can give through your local congregation or through our new ELCA Missionary Sponsorship Page.

For more information on the ELCA’s Campaign to construct new churches in Zambia, go to elca.org/globalministries and click on Zambia at the bottom of the page. You can contact us at Joe.Troester@elca.org and Deborah.Troester@elca.org
Joe and Deborah are ELCA missionaries living in Lusaka, Zambia, where they are serving with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia (ELCZa). Their daughter, Christa, is a junior at the University of Southern California, where she is studying French and Film & Television Production.