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.