Reflections of a missionary to Tanzania

Kirk and Leslie Steffensen just returned to the US after a two year mission in Tanzania. Kirk reflects on their return and the gifts to their family from being a missionary. From their homepage

While we were working in the Diocese of Central Tanganyika (DCT), we were lucky to work for the one Bishop in Tanzania that was willing to stand up against signing the Anglican Church of Tanzania (ACT) letter cutting off ties with the Episcopal Church USA. Bishop Mhogolo gathered all of the DCT missionaries together to explain his position and told us that with all of the help that Africa needs, it is foolish to single out one organization for one sin. He said that no one in Africa asks the Red Cross, UNESCO, or the many governments that donate money if they have any homosexuals working on their staff. He also said that singling out homosexuality over adultery, greed ( i.e., corruption), and dependence on alcohol (all issues in Tanzania) was missing the point that we are all sinners and we are all forgiven.

Bishop Mhogolo emphasized that the important thing is developing partnerships. Our family helped DCT in many ways, through both of us teaching many students and my setting up two computer networks for two schools. But our family received many blessings in return. Our children learned life lessons that we could not have paid for at home. They are much more aware of the world around them, how lucky they were to be born into the situation they’re in, and how much other cultures have to offer to their understanding of life. (The kids couldn’t articulate that if you asked them, but you can see it in the ways that they’ve changed over the past year.)

Kirk concludes this entry:

And now that we’re back in the States, we will always have a piece of Africa and Tanzania in our hearts. We’re still unpacking our possessions, but after we finish with them, we’ll need to unpack our experiences and share them with our parish, our Diocese, and the other people that helped enable our mission journey. This lifelong partnership is one of the key points that Bishop Mhogolo makes when he talks about the ways missionaries help DCT. He says that we help in the ways that we can while we’re there, but that we help even more when we come home by spreading the message of partnership with Africa and by helping to recruit more missionaries and assistance, whether it is through active recruitment or by passive recruitment through witness of life in Africa.

Read all their family reflections here

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