Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Newton group finds challenging mission in Africa

From Newton Daily News, Newton, Iowa, United States

When 22 members of the First Lutheran Church in Newton made a commitment to travel to Tanzania for a building project, the work that was waiting for them was not what they were expecting.

The First Lutheran Church had been working with a missionary couple in Tanzania, Paula and Dr. Dennis Lofstrom. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania, East Lake Victoria Diocese, had asked the Lofstroms to help build a medical clinic there, and gave the building to the church for that purpose.

The vision was to construct an eye clinic on the medical clinic campus, because the area is much in need of critical eyecare. The local tribal people believe in witchcraft, and red eyes are a sign that someone is practicing witchcraft. Unfortunately, for many of the elderly women of the area, who tend to the fires, their use of dung for burning because of the scarcity of firewood, turns their eyes red, and they are at risk of being killed. In addition, many believe there is no cure for cataracts, so surgery has never been an option.
The Newton First Lutheran Church and one in Overland Park, Kan. began raising funds to build the eye clinic on the health center campus in Mwanza.

Read full story in Newton Daily News.

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