Tell: Students in Africa

Did you know that a portion of your regular giving to St. James Lutheran helps to send children to school in Africa?

Here is a story from a St. James member, Kris Froyum, about his visit to Lutingelo school where he learned about this ministry:

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Head Master-"God is good"

Students-" All the time" 

Head Master-"All the Time"

Students-" God is Good, it is his nature. Whoo!"

This is the call and response between the Head Master Sebastian Chaula and the students at Lutingelo.

After driving out of the village of Idunda, we headed to Lutingelo to meet the students that we sponsor through the church. The Olson's were mum about the greeting we were to receive.  I was in the follow van, so did not see what was happening.  We suddenly slowed and I could hear some sort of ruckus outside. The van stopped and we were quickly surrounded by a large group of kids singing, dancing and waving boughs. Upon exiting the van, I had two girls eagerly grab my hands and encourage me to dance along with them to a designated gathering point underneath their flags. One of the girls happened to be carrying a toddler of one of the instructors. The toddler also insisted on holding my pinkie as we danced and bounced along. This amazing welcome was extended to all of my fellow travelers as well. One of the great advantages of attending a school like Lutingelo is the opportunity to learn English. The kids sang us their school song that Sebastian wrote shortly after our arrival, which just happens to be in English. We were treated to many more songs and dances, some of which the teachers participated in as well. A couple of these the students found very funny, especially when a small group of boys who had their faces painted were joined by Sebastian with a burlap bag on his head as a hat. My little toddler friend was set down at some point and managed to make her way up front, and insisted that I hold her while the kids danced. Rarely have I felt so welcomed by a group of strangers.

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After the introductions and the conclusion of the welcome, the kids were released back to class, except for the students that we sponsor.  They were asked to remain so that we could meet them individually, but only after we had tea, which was a requirement everywhere we went. It was great seeing the kids that we help support and hear of their efforts. It was also made clear to these kids that there is an expectation for them to not only do well to continue to receive support, but after they are done with their schooling to make a difference in their communities and their country. These kids have a unique opportunity. The school is one of the few places in that area with running water. They have externally vented cook pots. The girls dorms and bathrooms have recently been renovated. They have access to basic medical supplies. They are in the process of building a new science facility.  None of this would be possible without the supply of our community.

The school age children of Idunda have to walk great distances to get to and from school, up and down the mountain. I saw many kids 30-45 minutes after the morning bell walking down the hill past the Pastor's residence while we stayed in the village. The students of Lutingelo only have to go a couple hundred feet. Few of us will likely every know the difficulty of life like those of these kids, but few of us will ever see the joy, sense of community, and the faith of these students.