Photo: The deaconess class of Lutheran Theological Seminary took a tour of the work of Tshwane Leadership Foundation in the inner city of Pretoria. LCMS missionary Deaconess Deborah Rockrohr is is pictured on the far right.
This update was shared by the Rev. Dr. Carl and Deaconess Deborah Rockrohr.
“After a full semester of learning in the classroom about mercy and the work of the deaconess, the Lutheran Theological Seminary (LTS) deaconess class visited the work of Tshwane Leadership Foundation (TLF) in the heart of the city of Pretoria. TLF is a pan-Christian organization that focuses its work in the areas of women and girls at risk; homelessness; community development; health and child care; inner city housing; and economic development, all from a decidedly Christian and Gospel-focused perspective. Our tour guide, Win, has been involved with TLF since its beginning in 1993. Traveling with us in a mini-bus that we had chartered for the excursion, Win took us all over central Pretoria for a first-hand look at the various mercy projects of TLF and also gave us an in-depth perspective on the needs and challenges of such a mercy ministry.
“Upon return to campus, we spent a few minutes debriefing in the classroom. It was apparent that the experience was very moving for the students. It also helped them to begin to think concretely about their future work as deaconesses. Here are some written comments from each of their field trip reports:
- “We need to teach the teachers and children the Word of God, to pray, worship and praise Him, because God is the one who cares and protects our lives.”
- “My impression is that the people [of TLF] did well to have so many people that they are taking care of. Also, there is more need to take care of these people.”
- “My understanding of theology for mercy is that these people need not only physical care but also spiritual care, to seek God and all His righteousness first before everything they need.”
- “I was impressed by the love people extend to those people in need.… I was very much motivated by the orphans and knowing that they should be loved by somebody somehow.”
- “It helps me to think that as a deaconess I should be merciful to others as our Father is merciful to us.”
- “God wants all to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved; and if the neighbor or anyone is still in need there is still work to be done.”
- On seeing the ministry to street people, one student saw their primary need as “food because they are staying in the roads, no place for them to cook. I reacted very ashamed, my heart was touched.”
- “What I have learned is that as Christ is merciful we should be merciful to others and what I have seen today is that not just providing the needs to the people also the teachings on that nature, meaning and purpose of Gospel to the women. They are also teaching the Word of God, connecting/building a relationship with God so that the women can be counseled through the Word of God while God was their Potter from the beginning, now and forever.”
- “It hurts as I was watching on the way even the older people, some are using the streets to prepare where they can sleep, take shower etc.”
- One student was impressed with “how the organization is able to extend its hand to reach out to the lives of many people with many different life challenges and still have the [resources] to do more in terms of reaching out.”