our Partners in Faith

in Samé, Tanzania

Samé Tanzania Partnership

First Lutheran Church has had a long standing companion relationship with the Lutheran churches of Samé, Tanzania. This companion relationship is now being renewed and strengthened through the use of zoom meeting between members of our Global Outreach Team and the Samé Joint Companionship Committee.

In recent years we have started to meet with them via Zoom video meetings over the internet to deepen friendships between the two churches and to discuss ministry challenges.

The Lutheran Church in Samé, Tanzania, continues to grow. What was one large parish with many sub congregations, is now organized as three parishes; Samé, Kisima, and Ebenezer. Each parish has a pastor and one or two lay evangelists, and each parish is composed of three or more outlying sub congregations, as in a multi-site ministry. Together these congregations serve almost 4,000 worshipers in the region. Samé is located about 100 miles southeast of Mt. Kilimanjaro and just 24 miles from the border with Kenya along the highway to the nation's largest city, Dar Es Salam.

Be a PenPal

Many members of our partner congregations in Tanzania are eager for a pen pal  partnership to create more personal connections between our churches. 

If you are interested in getting to know members from our partner congregations, let us know here.

Bridging the Gaps

When we asked the partnership committee of Samé about their needs, they said they lacked transportation to visit members and sub-congregations for worship. This was hindering the evangelism and outreach of the churches, because it could take all day to walk to one of the outlying congregations.


Through a generous donation, the Global outreach Committee of First Lutheran was able to send money to purchase 3 motorcycles, one for each parish.

Pictured are the Pastors of the three parishes, Pastor Rafael Mbwambo, Pastor Zaburi Kisimba, and Pastor Elineema M. Mndeme with two of their evangelists and their new cycles.

Why a companion partnership with the Lutheran Church in Same? 

We are reminded that the church of Jesus Christ and the mission of God is bigger than just Cedar Rapids. In our companionship, we encourage one another in ministry, discover common challenges in carrying out ministry, and learn from one another. We may have financial and organizational resources for ministry, but we discover the resources of the Spirit that the church in Samé has can inspire and invigorate our own church life.

Pastor Steve Knudson and members of First Lutheran traveled to Samé in 2018 to visit the congregations, and Pastor Katie Lowe Lancaster traveled to Tanzania with a group in 2023. In October of 2023 we were honored to host three guests from Samé here in Cedar Rapids as awll.