At the Vision for Africa vision clinic in the rural community of Kongasis, a woman who was nine months pregnant came in from the bush in order to receive eyeglasses. People flock to these “eye camps” because there is such a shortage of eye care in Kenya – only one ophthalmologist for every one million people! As it turned out, while she was in line to be tested she went into labor. The Texas team members and local volunteers scrambled to receive this newborn in the most unlikely of locations, a public school in the Kenyan countryside!
At the same time in another section of the clinic, a teenage boy had just received Christ at the evangelism table and expressed a desire for baptism. At the exact moment that team members were filming the baptism on their cell phone, the newborn’s first cries can be heard coming from the other room. Imagine that – new life, physical and spiritual, occurring at the same time at the same vision clinic! Heaven and earth grew a little larger on that day.
Vision for Africa is a network of LCMS congregations linked together in order to bring significant relief to communities and congregations in Kenya and East Africa. This coalition has been active since 2007 and is responsible for sending hundreds of teams to Kenya, each one treating well over a thousand people and presenting the Gospel to each one of them. Thousands of new believers now populate churches there, and congregations and communities are growing healthier.
What makes this mission’s ministry unique? I believe it is three things:
- Congregation-based – your congregation leads, recruits, and sends its own mission teams.
- Short-term missions with long-term commitment – a sustained commitment to an African community can transform it.
- Evangelism/church growth is the top priority – our mission is “to use the Great Commandment to accomplish the Great Commission,” meaning that a personal mercy touch sets the table for Gospel proclamation.
Vision for Africa churches do primarily two kinds of missions:
- Vision – dispense distance and reading glasses; present the Gospel to each person
- Malaria – hang bed nets for people in their homes; present the Gospel to each household
Bridget, just back from a malaria mission, says that the experience inspired her and changed her mind about who is worthy to share the Gospel. She realized God can work through anyone, regardless of wealth or church status. “What I realized was in God’s perspective, the trip was about having me step out of fear and step into faith.”
Want to know more? Vision for Africa has five “mentor churches” capable of coaching new congregations to take appropriate next steps – they are Salem Tomball, Trinity Klein, Redeemer Austin, Memorial Katy, and Trinity Bloomington, IL.
Minister of Missions and Outreach
Salem Lutheran Church