When I landed in the Hosea Kutako International Airport in Namibia, I noticed a young woman in her early twenties in an orange T-shirt welcoming the delegates, stewards and Lutheran World Federation staff attending the LWF’s 12th assembly. The Assembly was slated to take place in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, May 10 to 16, 2017.
She showed me the right queue to get my visa endorsed. Unfortunately, due to a missing visa number on my provisional entry visa, the immigration officials in the airport needed to call their ministry to confirm and endorse my visa. Therefore, I had to wait in the airport. Josef Soren, president of the Nepal Evangelical Lutheran Church accompanied me.
After a while the young woman in the orange T-shirt came to us and asked what our problem was. Her question itself was a relief because we had not been informed about the outcome of the inquiry. We were desperately waiting for the visa endorsement while the young woman in the orange T-shirt was worrying: we were not released from the airport and so the shuttle had been delayed for more than an hour. She came to us again and sought our permission to let the shuttle go.
When I came out from the immigration office in the airport, I saw more volunteers standing with a placard saying “LWF 12th Assembly”. They greeted us, took me to the bank to change money and tried their best to make us feel comfortable. Also they provided basic information about security, geography and informed us that we would need to travel for 45 minutes on the LWF Assembly shuttle bus to our hotel.
Serving from dawn to midnight
The young woman in the orange T-shirt was none other than Julia Nekongo, 22, a recent science and technology graduate from the University of Science and Technology in Namibia. Volunteers supporting Julia were Ndapanda Sheetekela, 20, Quinton, 18, and Henelie Jaggev, 18. As a volunteer of the Evangelical Church in Namibia, Julia and her team devoted all their time from dawn to midnight to welcome the Twelfth Assembly participants.
The LWF Twelfth Assembly established the Assembly desk in the airport on May 3, 2017, and since then Julia’s team had been mobilized to serve the delegates. “Waking up at 3 a.m., rushing to the airport, welcoming guests, dealing with some immigration-related issues and making the guests comfortable were our main duties,” she said. She was often busy until 9:30 p.m. serving Assembly participants. The schedule was repeated every day until May 10, 2017.
Shining light on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia – Omalata
When I visited the Omalata (marketplace) on May 12, 2017, I saw the same lady in a green T-shirt in the stall introducing the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia’s visibility materials to Assembly participants. She continued to sell Namibian art and crafts products while talking to me. “I have learned how to manage things and not to mix one with another,” she says.
Desire to serve
The science technology graduate wants to serve the public and help Namibian citizens. According to her, she is heading in the right direction. “With God’s grace, I have been able to tackle many challenges in life and have eventually refined myself,” she says.