Lutheran Connections in KZN

Last week was one of the highlights of our time in South Africa. Through my internship site in Southwestern Minnesota we were able to get connected with a group of Lutheran churches here. This global partnership of congregations was a great chance for us to get into a rural area of South Africa and learn about ministry in this context. Our hosts in the Ondini Circuit were Dean Xaba and Lee, the chairperson of the partnership. They were gracious hosts, open to all of our questions, and showed us around.The first day of our visit Dean Xaba had us accompany him to the funeral of a young man. It was held at the family’s home and it was packed with people. We received a nice welcome as guests and it was a very powerful experience for us take part in. Here are a few pictures of the funeral which Dean Xaba insisted that we share.

Dean Xaba preaching

Dean Xaba with other pastors in the area at the graveside

The men set the casket in the grave and worked together to cover with earth. Stones were placed around as a family member thanked everyone for attending.

Women gathered on the other side of the grave singing throughout the burial

On Sunday we were went to worship with a congregation in Ladysmith. The service was full of music and dancing and the pastor was gracious to preach his sermon in Zulu and with English mixed in so we could understand. Another powerful experience for us.

Lots of children coming up for a blessing

With gracious hosts for lunch after church

During our time we stayed in the guesthouse at the Kwazamokuhle Diaconic Center which is part of the Lutheran church here. Taisha is one of the ELCA young adults in global mission volunteering here in SA and she is based at Kwazamokuhle. She showed us around the center as well as the pre-school she works at a couple days a week.

Taisha with her fellow teacher

There is a communion wafer bakery at Kwazamokuhle. It was special to see how these are made. The bakery was a nice reminder of how God comes to us in an earthy way–flour, water, and a little heat, facilitated by human hands.

Batter and special iron

Cutting out wafers

Dean Xaba also gave us a tour of some other projects that Lutherans having going on in this part of KZN.

There is a Kwazamokuhle school for disabled children nearby. Anna with two of the teachers

A young man showing of his craft skills

Dean Xaba talking with a worker at a local garden project

Anna with the women who work in the garden

It was an amazing few days for us to be at the Kwazamokuhle center learning about ministry and community development in South Africa. A big thanks to Dean Xaba and Lee for hosting us! Also a big thanks to Taisha for showing us around and sharing about her work in SA!

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One response to “Lutheran Connections in KZN”

  1. Rae Mathias says :

    So awesome you were able to make connections with the Ondini Circuit!

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