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In this series, those involved with CLC foreign missions profile one aspect of our overseas endeavors.

In July of 2022 Pastor Mike Gurath and I were finally able to embark on a mission trip to Kenya and Uganda that had originally been scheduled for May of 2020, but was delayed for two years because of COVID. I was there on behalf of the Kinship Committee to visit and encourage the schools that Kinship supports, and to assist Pastor Gurath in some of the teaching and preaching. As you may know, Kinship also supports orphans and orphanages at several of our missions overseas. One potential new Kinship project I was able to visit during the trip was in the town of Iganga, Uganda, under the care of Pastor Daniel Mugeni.

Map of Africa showing Uganda

Pastor Daniel grew up in hardship. He was orphaned at a young age and abandoned on the streets of Nairobi, Kenya at age nine. Eventually Daniel made his way back to Uganda and worked many jobs during his young life. It was through one family he worked for that he met his wife, Aidah. The two have been married for eleven years. Having come from the deepest depths of despair multiple times in his life, and going through periods of his life when he had no one who loved or cared for him, he has a deep desire to show love to those who have nothing and no one. Most importantly, he wants to share with them the love of Christ. Pastor Daniel’s life is truly an inspiring reminder of the undeserved love of God in our Savior Jesus Christ!

Pastor Daniel has been preaching in Iganga since 2010, and after praying that God would lead him to a Lutheran missionary, he found Pastor Nathanael Mayhew on the internet. At that time (2011), he had only three people he was serving. In 2014, after several years of continued growth, his congregation, Grace Harvest Church, moved into their current building. Pastor Gurath and I estimated around two hundred people were in attendance for the service we attended, including a large group of students from a nearby school. (In fact, the church was so full there weren’t enough chairs for everyone). Pastor Daniel informed us that this is one of two schools in the area that often have large groups coming to their worship services. To see the large and vibrant church he now shepherds is a testament to the grace of God and the miraculous work of His saving Word. 

After the service we were invited to Pastor Daniel’s home for lunch with him, his family, and the many children who live with them in their home. His wife, Aidah, is an amazing lady and an amazing cook—and regularly cooks meals for more than twenty-six people (her meal was easily the best I had while in Africa)!

Pastor Daniel and Aidah care for twenty orphan children, in addition to their own four children. An older neighbor lady, Elizabeth, whom they have helped in her times of hardship, also helps them out by giving care to the infants. Daniel and Aidah clearly have a deep love for children and both are committed to sharing what they have with others—no matter who they are. A number of CLC members have been sending monthly support for their work with the orphans, and Kinship is in the process of assessing ways we can be of assistance to their orphan care efforts as well. Pastor Daniel also provides support, as he is able, for fourteen other children who are orphaned or living in hardship, as well as several elderly and disabled adults in his community and in the surrounding area.

After meeting the children and those who were caring for them on Sunday, I expressed our love, prayers, and support for them from their brothers and sisters in the U.S.A. They were very happy to hear this, and they wanted me to tell all of you how much they love you and pray for you!

The next morning we had the privilege of meeting with Pastor Daniel for the final stage of his colloquy (which is the process an already-established pastor undergoes to become a pastor in fellowship with our church body, the Church of the Lutheran Confession). This last stage entailed a face-to-face meeting with Pastor Gurath and me as representatives of the CLC, in which we went through an extensive question-and-answer review of the main Bible teachings (135 questions in all) to make sure we are in doctrinal agreement. Pastor Daniel answered the questions well and professed his agreement with the CLC, and his desire to join our fellowship. Praise the Lord! We made our report back to the CLC President after we returned home, and will  officially  be receiving Pastor Daniel and his congregation (which will be the first congregation in the newly formed CLC-Uganda), Lord willing, at our next CLC Convention in 2024.

For a more detailed account, pictures, and videos of our mission trip to Kenya and Uganda, please visit our trip blog:

Visiting missionaries Gurath and Bernthal with children cared is a testament to the grace abandoned on the streets of
for by Pastor and Mrs Mugeni.
Visiting missionaries Gurath and Bernthal with children cared is a testament to the grace abandoned on the streets of for by Pastor and Mrs Mugeni.

Lutheran church in Iganga, Uganda.
Lutheran church in Iganga, Uganda.

Visiting missionary Gurath with Pastor Mugeni.
Visiting missionary Gurath with Pastor Mugeni.

Luke Bernthal serves on the CLC Project Kinship Committee, and is the pastor of Saint Stephen Lutheran Church of the East Bay in Hayward, California, and Saint Stephen Lutheran Church of the San Francisco Peninsula in Mountain View, California.