by Carter Hill, member of English Lutheran Church, Hazen and seminary student at Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, IA
This past month I traveled to Africa with six others from Wartburg Seminary to experience the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. During a hike through a ravine in the countryside we experienced walking through a downpour and the flooding of the riverbeds along our walking path. As we walked, we did all that we could to keep our shoes dry. The clay along the river beds was slippery and with every step there was a slip or fall. Finally one by one, we each made the decision to forgo our attempt of dry shoes and walk in the water flooding the riverbeds. To our surprise, the firmest and safest place to walk was within the water. How true is this within the waters of our own baptism? The firmest and safest place to walk is in the waters of life that baptize us into the one family of God.
The Lutheran Church in Tanzania is doing just this. They are confidently stepping forward and making changes and taking chances to move their one body of Christ forward to better serve all of God’s people. From developing schools and universities to expanding orphanages and outreach programs, their memberships at churches are expanding beyond belief. It makes me ponder how are we doing this in our church, in our synod, and how can we as God’s people do this better in our own country? No matter how we achieve this or at times fall short, we must remember that our feet and the feet of many others around the world are planted in the pure waters of our one global baptized family of Jesus Christ.