Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bishops Report: Thanksgiving for 2008 and Hope for 2009

Dear friends:

Greetings to you from the Diocese of the Rift Valley! I want to take this opportunity to inform you of our wonderful achievements last year (2008) and let you know what we are planning in 2009. We thank you very much for your financial and prayer support throughout the year.

For over half of 2008 I did not have a car to enable me to move around the Diocese for ministry. This made our work very difficult. But, in August God provided a car, for which we are very thankful.

Projects completed in 2008

1. We planted eight churches in the northern districts of our Diocese (Singida and Iramba). None of these churches has a pastor. Eight evangelists are faithfully serving these new churches. In 2009 we plan to provide funds for the building of one house for one pastor at a location in this area. Construction is expensive. The estimate for building one home in a village is TZS 10,000,000, which is approximately USD 7,800 or Euro 6,000.

2. We helped to support the building of places of worship and the feeding of the hungry.

3. Education was a priority in 2008. We thank you so much for your financial support, which enabled us to pay the school fees of our Pastors’ children. Very few Pastors' children have not benefited from this fund. The school fees have been going up each year here in Tanzania. Also, a good number of our priests (about 22) are attending theological training at Msalato, St. Philips, and St. John's Place at Kilimatinde. This is a huge achievement! Thank you so much for your kind support. (The photo shows the main entrance to St. John's Seminary, Kilimatinde.)

4. We found ourselves moved to help 450 orphans. We gave them clothing, food and school supplies. Most of them are orphans because their parents died of HIV/AIDS. The Mothers' Union has been great at taking care of 35 HIV/AIDS sufferers. They provide spiritual care and a balanced diet. We thank those who donated gifts in kind, which are expected to be received next week (the week of 8 February 2009).

5. The Diocese owns the Kilimatinde Hospital (photo to the left). We treat all diseases especially tropical diseases. The Kilimatinde Hospital is in bad condition and needs remodeling. Last year we received two containers, which consisted of hospital beds and mattresses. Also we received a generator to be used at hospital. This will transform the Kilimatinde hospital greatly.

6. We installed a water pump at Kilimatinde dam, but we need to purify the water before humans can use it. We thank the Grundfos Company Limited for their generosity. They provided the hospital beds, mattresses, generator and the water pump.

We expect that this year the Grundfos Company will implement the Londoni water project. And we thank the German Church, which will help on the Ntope water project. This project is expected to be completed in February 2009! The completion of these two projects will be a blessing to many of God's people.

7. We started building a computer centre at St. John's Place, Kilimatinde. We were blessed with the visit of a group of students from the UK. All of us, Tanzanians and the British students, made bricks. We hope in 2009 to complete this project. The St. John seminarians are among the beneficiaries. And we can now open our doors to anyone who wants to learn about computers.

8. At Kilimatinde we cerebrated the 80th anniversary of the building of the Kilimatinde church and the coming of the gospel to Kilimatinde. Lots of people attended - nearly hundreds of thousands. Nearly all local TV and radio stations aired the event. Thank you very much for your prayer supports. The photo shows Kilimatinde Church.

Challenges in 2008

We also faced several challenges in 2008.

1. Many of our parishes did not have pastors as most of them are studying in theological colleges.

2. The most painful challenge, which we faced at the Head Office, was that I was unable to pay staff salaries for two months. The same problem occurred at St. John's Seminary.

3. The Diocese does not have the money to run its ministries. The budget is there but the money is not there! Although we did not receive enough money from within the Diocese, a few overseas supporters helped us.

Now we are in 2009.

2009 Diocesan Synod

Our Diocesan Synod will take place from July 3rd - 5th. This event will require a lot of money, planning and activities. We need your prayers.

Priorities for 2009

We have two priorities in this Diocese: financial and spiritual.


We need to strengthen our diocesan finances in the following ways:

1. Complete the Manyoni Pharmacy (shown in the photo to the left). If the pharmacy can begin working this year, it will bring income into the Diocese.

2. Complete the first hostel and improve the existing second hostel.

We need TZS 100 million (approximately USD 78,000/Euro 60,500) to complete the construction of the first hostel. When completed, it will bring in about TZS 60,000,000 (approximately USD 50,000/Euro 36,000) per year in income to the Diocese.

The photo to the right shows an unfinished room in the second Manyoni hostel.

If we can improve the quality of the existing second hostel, we will be able to make another TZS 60,000,000 per year.

Our financial problems will at least be reduced, if not solved, by the annual receipt of these funds. Your financial support can help us achieve the goal of being self supporting. Your help will be greatly appreciated, for which we give the glory to God!

3. Build the conference centre in our plot of land. It will generate more than TZS 60,000,000 per year. We need TZS 300,000,000 (approximately USD 235,000/Euro 181,000) to build this centre.

4. Renovate the St. John Seminary and Bible College. The photo to the left shows work that needs to be done at St. John's Seminary. This project is estimated to cost TZS 16,000,000 (approximately USD 12,500/Euro 10,000).


Humans are both physical and spiritual. We need to teach the SOMA (Sharing of Ministries Abroad) course (Emotionally Free) across the Diocese. Spiritual meetings will be conducted all over the Diocese. We want to achieve a disciplined and committed people.

To God be the glory!

In His service,


1 comment:

Matthias Gebhardt said...

dear brother bishop John Lupaa.
Many thanks for sending us your blogg-link to stay in contact.

It looks great!

We're looking forward to come to Tanzania, to visit your Diocese in April.

Many greetings.

Mungu akubariki

Matthias Gebhardt

Bishop John's sermon from 16 December, 2007

Text: John 3:22-36

May I speak in the name of the father, the Son and the
Holy Spirit. Amen.

In the reading from the Gospel of John today, we heard the story of John the Baptist and his disciples. The disciples, offended with the increasing popularity of Jesus' ministry, came to John the Baptist saying that they have heard about Jesus baptising people and that a lot of people are going to him.

Everyone will be interested to hear John the Baptist's response to this question. In his answers we learn four important points:

1. John the Baptist had no jealousy with the increasing popularity of Jesus' ministry. But his disciples were jealous because Jesus was becoming more popular than their master. It is a shame to see this same spirit of jealousy in our churches today. You may see some church members in Africa who want all what are the best to be theirs but not to be for others. They want the best to be in their particular churches but not to be in other churches or denominations. They want to be more successful than others. That spirit of selfishness and jealousy, which was in John the Baptist's disciples, is clearly present in the churches of Africa today! It might be present in other churches everywhere in the world-even here in the Diocese of the Rift Valley. Let us open wide our eyes to have that bigger heart and mind that John the Baptist had, to want the best for all.

2. John the Baptist is portrayed here as a very humble man with humble words. When they said that Christ's popularity was increasing, he answered that 'a man can receive only what is given him from heaven'. Then he reminded them of what he said in the past that 'he [John] is not the Christ'. He then emphatically said that Christ must and will become greater and greater and that he himself will become less and less important until he has completely disappeared. A frame of mind like this is the highest degree of grace we can possess. The greatest saints in history, such as Abraham, Moses, Job, David, Daniel, Paul and John the Baptist were all humble men. Let us walk in their footsteps and long for humility. The way to true honour is to be humble leaders of our families, communities or churches.

3. John the Baptist declares that Jesus deserves the honour and dignity. He teaches his disciple once more the true greatness of the person whose growing popularity offended them. Once more he proclaims him as one worthy of all honour and praise. He speaks of him as 'the bridegroom' of the Church, as 'the one who comes from above', as 'the one who God has sent', as 'the one to whom the spirit is given without limit', as 'the one who the Father loves' and 'the Father has placed everything in his hands'. Let us make an effort in life and death to hold the same view of the Lord Jesus, to which John the Baptist here gives expression. He is worthy of all the honour that we can give him. He will be all in heaven. Let us see to it, that he is all in our hearts on earth.

4. There will always be those around us who have the potential to become leaders. We might have a jealous view because they don't come from the same tribe as we do, or the same denomination or religion, they may be younger or a woman. There are many human prejudices that stop us doing the right thing. May we learn from John the Baptist this day and have the wisdom and grace to see the good in others and do all we can to be encouragers. Amen

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