Bishop Jensen Seyenkulo of LCL
Rev. D. Jensen Seyenkulo, one of the founders of the Kuwaa Mission, and our past CEO, became Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia (LCL) in July. All praise and glory be to God!
Jensen was born in the Kuwaa village of Kenata. When a cousin visited, he noticed Jensen’s potential and brought him to Monrovia to get an education. Jensen worked as a houseboy to earn his keep, and eventually he earned a degree at Liberia’s Gbarnga School of Theology. The Lutheran World Federation chose him as Africa’s candidate to the seminary in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He returned to Liberia to serve his people at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Gbarnga. He then received a scholarship to go to Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN where he met his wife, Linda Johnson. Upon completion of his Masters of Theology, Jensen was excited to return to his home in Liberia with his new wife. Unfortunately, his service to his people was cut short, as his life was threatened. He was
falsely accused of supporting a faction of militants. As the rebels were marching him across the street to execute him, Dr. Gweningale intervened and saved his life. As Jensen has said about the atrocities of the war, “You just had to be fortunate to survive.” Jensen and his wife escaped to the U.S., where Jensen earned his PhD and they both became pastors in the Chicago area. Jensen’s first congregation was at (another) St. Mark Lutheran Church. He was the first African pastor to an all African American congergation. This was an enriching experience for all of them.
Celebrations and Consecration
There have been numerous celebrations and services of thanksgiving for Jensen. The
first was at Trinity Lutheran Church in Park Forest, IL, where his wife is the pastor. They had a celebration of his ministry in the Chicago area and a sending blessing. In Liberia, a traditional “gowning” was held at his first parish, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.
Jensen and Linda have 3 children, and the entire family dearly wanted to attend the consecration in Monrovia. With the cost of the trip upwards of $10,000, they didn’t think it would happen. Due to the generosity of many individuals, all were able to attend. Jensen’s oldest daughter, Apu, did a dance at the consecration, a symbol of the Holy Spirit’s presence at the ceremony. The family enjoyed reuniting with old friends and Linda said it was wonderful to witness the spirit and hope of the Liberian people after 20 years of war.
The children say that their dad has plans to do great things in Liberia. Yongor, age 16, says that he taught her to be a young lady and that she can do anything if she puts her mind to it. Kenata, a freshman college student on the football team, says that his dad taught him to focus. He says, “By setting goals and working towards them, you can accomplish great things.” And Apu, the oldest daughter, said that Jensen taught her to always care for others first. Linda believes that Jensen’s vision for sustainability and reconciliation of the church make Jensen the right person for this time in the church. Bishop Jensen will foster and grow the working relationships that the LCL has with the LCMS and ELCA in the US and other organizations throughout the world.
Work of the Kuwaa Mission
Bishop Jensen will continue to work with the Kuwaa Mission, as it is his passion. He will be instrumental in getting the clinic built in Kondesu and help us identify avenues for funding. Stan Olsen, from Anchorage, has stepped up as Acting CEO. Stan’s professional experience is in construction, and he has worked through Global Missions, doing projects overseas, including in Liberia.
Please pray for the Seyenkulo family. For Bishop Jensen and his vision for LCL. For Linda
and Yongor, at home in Chicago without their husband and father. For Apu and Kenata, away at college. Pray for the Mission’s work on the clinic in Kondesu and for all of the Kuwaa people.
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PHONE: (907) 333-2614
Volume 4, Issue 9