The congregation helps sponsor Pastor Andy Hinderlie, his wife Barbara and their two children Michael and Kristian now based in Madagascar, through the ELCA Division for Global Mission. For more information about the Hinderlies, you can view their website at
“As I write this I am sitting at the Arusha Cultural Center where for the price of a cup of coffee or tea you can get access to their free wifi internet unless, of course, it happens to be a day or several days when the network is down, or if it’s at our house when the mobile modem called “the Stick” doesn’t connect or the electricity is out for half a day. How dependent we have become upon the internet as well as so many other things of life and yet how much of the world doesn’t even know what Wireless Internet is because a basic human need is not always available: education. In August and September here in East Africa schools started up again and students donned their blue and whites or pink and whites or other school colors, gathered their notebooks and pencils and other school required paraphernalia and if lucky and with resources were picked up by a school bus or driven by their parents to school. The vast majority, however, will walk or hitch a ride to their school, which may be miles from their home. The costs of education are not always visible yet they are there from tuition fees to the books to “Special fees”. These costs are often above the ability of the average parent to cover. In some cases individual students costs may be covered by a local or international patron but in many the students and families may have to look to other means and one way is through their churches.
“In Ethiopia many are helped by the Mekana Yesus Church or EECMY through programs such as the Orphans Program in Nekempte that gives children who may have one parent or guardian but who are otherwise without support the opportunity for education and even housing. One family that received such aid had one child who was the recipient but even so the whole family benefited to some extent and without it the mother said they would not be able to even live an only hoped that her other children would also get the opportunity. And in talking with many of the children I learned that despite their difficult situations, they all had dreams of something more whether it was becoming a doctor, truck driver or teacher not one saw their future as empty.
“The Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church provides tuition assistance based on need to its members via small scholarships that enables children to attend junior high school and even high school in some cases where otherwise there would be no possibility. One Masai father told me that during the dry season he can only get about $5-10 for a cow which isn’t enough to pay school fees so that without the assistance his child could not have gone to school. The young man is studying to be a veterinarian and plans to come back to his home area to work, his studies have changed his father’s ideas on how to raise cattle and even about the benefits of boiling milk to stop the spread of TB. Another recipient said she would not have been able to consider going to be a doctor if the initial help had not been there. And this isn’t a free ride, if their a parent then they must contribute a percentage of the fees as well. Another said he would wish that he could hug the donors for the help that he received for this children’s assistance. All I met were grateful for as many said, “now my child has a future.”
“In Rwanda I visited a school being built that even now is being used to teach young people, supported by the Lutheran Church of Rwanda, it will have dormitories in order to provide a place for children to board and the hope will be that the school will be able to support itself. Innovative in its own right, they use solar power as part of their way to make a green and low cost school. The director of the school is Robin Strickler, an ELCA missionary.
“What do all these church programs have in common? One name: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Thank you for your continued support of us and our work and the ELCA. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers and looking forward to being able to see many of you in the summer of 2012, blessings and peace.”