Jean Wahlstrom and Marvin Kananen, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) missionaries serving in Tanzania, East Africa, will be at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cherokee on the evening of April 7, as part of their 2008 Home Assignment.
Wahlstrom and Kananen have served as missionaries with the ELCA-Division for Global Mission since 1998. They both taught at Lutheran Bible Institute in Seattle, now Trinity Lutheran College, where Wahlstrom was on faculty for 27 years and later served as Academic Dean and where Kananen taught English.
In 1998 they received the call to serve as Christian Education Developers in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), Arusha Diocese. They were in their mid-fifties, married since 1990 and were sent to a place called Maasae Girl's Lutheran Secondary School (MGLSS) in Monduli, Tanzania a village some 45 miles outside of Arusha.
The school was built in 1995, after efforts to convince the elders of the Maasai Tribe that their daughters needed to be educated in order to save the tribe. It has been proven the children of educated mothers fare better, the infant mortality rate goes down and the family and the village all benefit from a mother's education. More than 275 young women have attended MGLSS. Form IV graduates are teaching in Northern Maasailand primary schools, Form VI graduates are enrolled in university settings both in East Africa and in the United States. MGLSS is making a difference in the lives of these young women.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cherokee and Faith Lutheran Church in Marcus are two of many sponsoring churches in the United States which support the ministry of Wahlstrom and Kananen. The two churches will host a potluck supper at 6 p.m. on April 7, in the Fellowship Hall at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 300 East Bow Drive in Cherokee.
Following the supper, Wahlstrom and Kananen will present some updated pictures of their schools and their ministry in Tanzania via PowerPoint to highlight global missions.
The public is invited to attend and extend a welcome to Wahlstrom and Kananen. A free will offering will be received.