2021–2023 LWML Mission Grant #27
Expanding God’s Love in Uganda
LCMS Office of International Mission, Africa Region — $92,000
About This Mission Grant
The Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) is a steadily growing church body in eastern Africa, which has requested LCMS assistance to locally train deaconesses so they may assist the small number of Lutheran pastors throughout Uganda to teach the faith, provide spiritual care, and show mercy to the communities. Being able to provide local training will be a huge benefit to qualified women who would not be able to travel to Kenya for a two-year program, and to the church. This grant would allow for a land purchase attached to the established Lutheran Theological College Uganda, fencing, and a small dormitory for the women.
Children in Uganda: All 150 of the LCU congregations have many children. In a country where half of the population is under eighteen, it is very common for at least half of the congregation to be children. There is a strong need for teaching the faith to families throughout Uganda. Ugandans value education and want their children to know Jesus, and the parents want to be confident in correctly teaching their children about Jesus. Having Deaconesses dedicated to teaching Christian education would greatly assist the pastors, as well as preparing the next generation for service in the church. Their presence also helps the LCU become more well known in their communities as the mercy work is always connected to Christ through the LCU.
In May 2019, the Lutheran Church of Uganda commissioned two deaconesses, Jane Kootida (left) and Atugonza Prossy (right) upon completion of their studies from Neema Lutheran College in Kenya. After they were called by the Holy Spirit to serve and then sent by the LCU to school, they spent three years away from their families, including their small children, to complete their studies. Always gracious, humble and grateful to serve, they have been actively serving in their churches and communities since that time.
The Deaconesses serve alongside local pastors & deans to further the work of the Gospel through spiritual care, mercy work and teaching the faith. Because of their presence in the communities, their work has helped stabilize congregations as their pastors and leadership are often traveling to other congregations or fulfilling other duties with the church. By teaching others about Jesus, they also equip others to serve and are very versatile in their ministry duties.
Approved Resolution at the LWML Convention
WHEREAS, St. Paul writes I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well (Romans 16:1–2); and
WHEREAS, the LCMS Office of International Mission supports work with the Lutheran Church of Uganda (LCU) and the Lutheran Theological College of Uganda (LTCU) in Magamaga primarily in pastoral formation through their own seminary in the form of residential missionaries, grants, medical mission trips, and infrastructure development; and
WHEREAS, there are only 30 pastors and two deaconesses for 150 congregations, and as the church body continues growing among the seven regions throughout the country, there is a great need for assistance in ministry while having a strong desire to minister to their own people through language and culture; deaconesses would be a natural fit in Uganda; and
WHEREAS, in response to the steady growth of the church body and the establishment of the LTCU training men to serve as pastors, the addition of these newly trained pastors will add to the work of the LCU; the LCU has a greater understanding of higher education and prayerfully request to add a deaconess program; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the delegates of the 2021 Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Convention scheduled for Lexington Kentucky, vote the sum of $92,000 to help fund Expanding God’s Love in Uganda.
More Mission Grant Photos
LCU Women Gather for Spiritual Care: In January of 2017, the Lutheran Church of Uganda sent a women leader (Eugenia - center in pink) from southwestern Uganda to northeastern Uganda, to a region called Amudat. Since Amudat is an incredibly rural area with a highly transient population, women are often uneducated, married young and can experience unhealthy relationships. The LCU asked Eugenia to provide spiritual care, guidance and education about God's design for marriage and families. The local women from Amudat were very grateful to hear God's Word in a way that shared they were valued and loved... for some it was the first time hearing such a message. Eugenia later shared that training up more women to provide mercy and Christian education was vital for the Ugandan communities to grow in the faith.
LCU Pastors Praying Over LCU Deaconesses: The Lutheran Church of Uganda is a community. Within this community, they share the Gospel in all seven regions of the country, spanning 43 languages. They very much work together to take the Word of the Lord to rural and urban areas of Uganda so that all may hear and understand the Word of God. This community is modeled whenever they commission workers or ordain ministers into their church body.
Each pastor prays over the workers, each in their native tongue. They mentor, encourage and guide the workers in life and ministry. They serve together and are grateful to be brothers and sisters in Christ. The deaconesses, Atugonza Prossy and Jane Kootida were celebrated as they were commissioned into diaconal ministry in the Lutheran Church of Uganda.
The LTCU began with its first class of students in 2016. The seminary was an answer to training more men for service as the LCU had around 130 congregations and 18 pastors at the time. Since then, there is still a strong need & desire to train people for service in the church, so that more have the opportunity of hearing the Gospel. Currently, there are 52 men in the 4-year long training program. These students represent all seven regions of Uganda, including seven refugees from South Sudan and Ethiopia.
Before the seminary started, the LCU already had plans to start a deaconess program as part of the seminary curriculum. To better manage new responsibilities, they wanted to start programs in stages. After prayerful consideration, the church body is now able to devote resources, time, and people to training up deaconesses to assist in ministry. The deaconess program, along with trained & qualified faculty, would aid the LCU to be recognized for official accreditation program.