Companion Synod – Namibia

Guided by the Holy Spirit, the valued historical relationship of walking with the Lutheran Churches of Namibia is strengthened through prayer, study, communication and the exchange of pastors, leaders, visitors and resources.


Youth Gathering Guests

June 2018

The Northeastern Iowa Synod welcomed two guests from Namibia who joined host congregations from this synod to travel to the ELCA Youth Gathering in Houston. 

Marian Torodis,  from the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Republic of Namibia, traveled to the Gathering with the youth from St. Paul, Hampton.

Lidwine Ndeshipewa Mukulu, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia, attend the Gathering with the youth from Grace Lutheran, Tripoli.



Namibian Bishop and guest visited Iowa


Bishop Steven Ullestad and Pastor Nancy Larson of the Northeastern Iowa Synod welcome Bishop Ernst Gamxamub and Leonard de Vries to Waverly.

April 2016 

Two guests from Namibia were honored when they visited the Northeastern Iowa Synod April 26 – May 1, 2016, as part of the Companion Synod relationship with Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN).

Bishop Ernst Gamxamub of the ELCRN and his traveling companion, Leonard de Vries, who serves as finance director of the ELCRN, visited several sites in the synod during their visit and were honored at an Iowa potluck dinner at St. Paul’s, Waverly.

Read More

Gamxamub and de Vries visited Wartburg College, Wartburg Theological Seminary and Luther College. Their stahere they will visit Wartburg College in the morning, followed by lunch at the synod office and the evening potluck dinner. Their stay in Iowa also included a visit to a farmers market and a tour of a large agriculture operation. Gamxamub also preached at Good Shepherd Lutheran in Waterloo.

Their visit to Iowa was part of a larger trip that included visits to the four ELCA synods that have companion synod relationships with Namibia. Gamxamub and de Vries first met with companion synod representatives in Chicago, then flew to the Southwestern Washington Synod before coming to Iowa. The second leg of their trip included visits to the Metropolitan Washington D.C. Synod and the the New Jersey Synod.



Namibian youth 2015

Synod hosted two Namibia youth


In partnership with the ELCA Global Mission Unit and the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering, the Northeastern Iowa Synod hosted two youths from Namibia in July and sponsored their participation at the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering.

Vaino Junias Kambungu and Hileni Nagula Nuuyuni, both from the northern part of Namibia, were guests of honor at several congregations in this synod, before heading to Detroit for the Youth Gathering in July.

Read more about their visit to the Northeastern Iowa Synod and how you can support the Namibian travel fund.



About the Companion Synod-Namibia Network

The Northeastern Iowa Synod has had a companion relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia since 1990. Representatives from the Northeastern Iowa Synod have visited Namibia in May 2009 and May 2012. A number of Northeastern Iowa congregations have hosted visiting pastors from Namibia.

The purpose of the companion synod relationship is to strengthen one another for life and mission within the body of Christ. The Companion Synod – Namibia relationship offers us the privilege of mutually participating in the life of another church through prayer, study, communication, and exchange of pastors, leaders, visitors, and resources. It opens our eyes to the global challenge that Christ offers us today.


  • The historical relationships with the Lutheran churches of Namibia
  • The intersection of faith and culture
  • The efforts of the churches of Namibia toward greater cooperation
  • The opportunity to form relationships of Christian love and mutual support



  • Support others who share these values through prayer.
  • Connect with others who have relationships to Namibia (synods, colleges, seminaries, etc.)
  • Invite others who share common values to be a part of this network.
  • Educate others about our companion relationship.
  • Accompany our Namibian brothers and sisters in Christ with their mission as churches.



  • Expand visiting pastor program to include northeast Iowa Synod pastors to visit Namibia.
  • Increase communication within the Northeastern Iowa Synod and companion synods in Namibia.
  • Attend Churchwide consultation in Chicago with other Namibian Companion Synods.
  • Host two youth from Namibia
  • Work with other Namibian Companion Synods on visit exchanges in the future.



  • Discuss communications opportunities.
  • Work with Namibian Companion Synods in the ELCA to bring Namibian pastors to visit our synods.







Companionship Namibia


Synod Staff

Rev. Joelle Colville-Hanson


Synod Council Liaison

Diane Wills



ELCA Companion Synod Relationships



Namibia Churches

Bishop Ernst Gamxamub

Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN)

PO Box 5069

Church Street 6 Ausspanplatz

Windhoek 9000 Namibia


Bishop Shektaamba V.V. Nambala

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN)

Private Bag 2018, Onipa


Oshikoto Region



Acting Bishop Burgert Brand

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN-GELC)

P.O. Box 233



Request a Speaker

The Iowa travelers to Namibia would like to share their journeys with congregations, clubs and organizations of Northeast Iowa. To schedule a presentation, call the synod office at 319-352-1414 or send an email. 



Global Mission Links