In June of 2000 Pastor Rick initiated a ministry to the Maasai tribe of East Africa with his first visit to Tanzania. It was there in the tiny bush village of Kimokouwa that he met Dr. Steve Friberg and his wife Bethany who had committed their lives to living and ministering to the Maasai of northern Tanzania. Steve’s father had been a Lutheran pastor serving as a missionary in the region and Steve was born and raised among the Maasai. He is highly respected, not only as a bush doctor, but as a Christian devoted to sharing the love of Christ through his work. He and his family live in the village of Ketumbeine on the edge of the massive Serengeti Plain.
Since that initial meeting, Dr. Steve and Pastor Rick have developed a strong bond, partnering together on many local projects. Over these fifteen years, 84 people from all over the US have become participants on one of Pastor Rick’s mission trips, most often linking up with Dr. Steve and his family.
No one could have imagined what God would accomplish through the teams of youth and adults that have been channeled through this simple ministry:
- Refurbishing and/or construction of six medical bush clinics
- Construction of three churches and renovation of two church-owned buildings
- Construction of a four-classroom school building
- Construction of a 50,000 liter water tank for a village without a constant water supply
- Funding construction of a dam to provide water for an entire village of 600
- Funding and participating in two inoculation efforts in the bush (mainly for polio)
- Purchase of 24 camels for evangelists (provide year-round milk and income)
- Purchase of 2 piki-pikis (essentially dirt bikes) for two pastors to get to remote villages
- Financial support for 21 evangelists whom Pastor Rick mentors while in Tanzania
- Financial support for 4 evangelists to become pastors ($3000 each)
- Financial support for children of evangelists to receive education beyond primary grade
In addition, with each three to four week mission, participants interact one-on-one and side-by-side the Maasai children, adults and leaders of the villages in which we work. This is the heart of our effort as we share our faith and witness Christ’s love working and living together. Each team lives as the Maasai do when in their villages … eating, sleeping, cooking, sitting on the ground in what for us are very primitive conditions (no electricity, running water, showers, bathrooms, beds, etc.). This work has taken place in the bush villages of Kimokouwa, Kitumbeine, Bangata, Shambarai, Gelai, Arash and Piaya, all in northern Tanzania.
You can support and encourage this mission effort in several ways:
1) First and foremost, your prayers are always foundational for any ministry. Pray for new opportunities to minister among the Maasai, for Pastor Rick and team members participating on these annual missions, for Dr. Steve and Bethany (our in-country hosts) and for the Evangelists and pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania.
2) Second, your financial support to the Maasai Mission Fund of Grace Lutheran Church provides ongoing funding for projects such as those listed above AND for support of Maasai men to become Evangelists and/or pastors. Pastor Rick is constantly meeting and mentoring new men being called by our gracious Lord to serve. Gifts may be made out to Grace Lutheran Maasai Mission and submitted to the church or to Pastor Rick.
3) Third, you can participate on a mission team or recommend someone you believe could.be part of a team. Pastor Rick is always interviewing potential team members for future team efforts. Teams are usually in Tanzania for at least three weeks during parts of June and July. Every participant experiences a genuine encounter with a starkly beautiful environment and an equally beautiful and simple people … the Maasai of East Africa whom God loves and for whom Jesus died.
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