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By Joanne Heathman

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to God’s purpose.  -Romans 8:28

When our church group did an accompaniment visit with our partners in Tanzania, we noticed many partially standing structures. As we rode, our driver explained that those were homes being built. The driver added, “In Tanzania, sometimes it takes a lifetime to build a house.” Sometimes it takes a community. The building blocks that form the foundation are often red bricks made by many hands, formed from the red soil, then fired to dry. Building takes time. Building takes money. Money is often dependent upon harvests. During years of poor harvest, money is diverted toward basic needs. Education for children is a priority. It can take many people, working together for years to complete one house. There is great pride in the finished home. Great pride, working together for the good.

Congregational and synod accompaniment partnerships are like people building together for the good. Empowerment, inclusivity, vulnerability, and sustainability are the building blocks for the foundation. Constructing an accompaniment partnership is about giving, as well as receiving, the gifts that everyone has to offer. It’s creating openness and giving up power so partners feel empowered. It’s about assembling a relationship that creates a sense of feeling valued. Building such partnerships can take time when building for the good; for God’s purpose. It takes commitment and attention to changing needs and priorities. There are setbacks, interruptions, loss of funding sources. It may take a lifetime of working together to finally be able to look in awe at what was created together. Then again, unlike that house in Tanzania, maybe that partnership is never finished. And there is good in that too.


Please pray with me:

Loving God, as we build with our partners in Christ, help us to build for the good, according to your purpose. Amen


Joanne Heathman is a member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Rochester. Joanne serves as a member of the Global Ministry Table and is the chairperson of the Medical Ministry Team. Joanne participated in a congregational visit to the Central Diocese of Tanzania.


View and download the complete 40 Together Daily Devotions book here.