Meet Veronica Mwakasungura: ‘My church needs pastors and I’m happy to be one of them’
Veronica Mwakasungura, MA, exudes joy—with life, learning and an eagerness to return home. She was born and raised in Tanzania, and ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania. She is entering her second year of study at LSTC to be better equipped as a pastor in neighboring Rwanda, where she has lived and worked for four years. She was the first female pastor there.
“My church needs educated pastors and I am happy to be one of them,” she said, adding that she is intent on helping people in Rwanda, especially since the genocide, tell their stories. “The community needs the stories to be told. Change can happen. I can’t wait to take this knowledge home. I can’t wait to go home and share all the tools I have.”
It was her desire for more education and skills—and an ELCA Global Mission Scholarship—that brought her to LSTC. She still marvels at how smooth the process was to submit her paperwork and make travel arrangements. She had never been to LSTC, or to the United States, before arriving in Chicago a year ago at this time. She chose LSTC partly because of the Public Church description she read online, and knew only one person when she arrived—student Kristin Bartlett, who had been a Young Adult in Global Mission in Rwanda.
“I did not feel alone. I was never alone or lost or felt I didn’t know anyone,” she said.
Her goal is to develop communication and empower women and girls to lead. The close relationship between the ELCA and Lutherans in Rwanda is enabling that to happen. The country is developing and changing so fast she believes the church is walking behind in efforts at reconciliation.
She has spent the summer in the Sierra Pacific Synod, a partner synod to the church in Rwanda, which enabled her to tell her stories to a church that has supported her church back home.