A newsletter for friends of the Global Mission Institute, Luther Seminary

Global Vision - Fall 2011

View more articles in the Fall 2011 issue.

International Student Profile

David Mwihia and Lucy Mungai ready to explore future ministries upon Ph.D. completion

by Kevin Busch, Communication Intern

Earning a Ph.D. is not common, less than one percent of Americans have one. Even less common is earning a Ph.D. at the same time as your spouse in a foreign country that is more than 8,000 miles away from home, all while raising two young children.

But this is exactly what Rev. Dr. David Mwihia and Dr. Lucy Mungai aimed to do when they left Kenya with their two daughters, EstherJoy and Tabitha, to study at Luther Seminary. Thanks to scholarship support, Mwihia, Mungai and their daughters were able to join the Luther community in 2003 when Mwihia started his doctorate in theology. Mungai, a high school math and chemistry teacher and holder of three master's degrees, also wanted to continue her education. Although she looked at other schools, she found herself drawn to Luther.

In May, Mwihia and Mungai completed their respective Ph.D. programs; Mwihia in Mission and World Religion and Mungai in Pastoral Care and Counseling. In their theses, they both chose to focus on themes directly pertaining to Africa.  Mwihia's thesis was "Toward a Missional Theology for the African Diaspora." Mungai's thesis is titled "Hadithi, Hadithi—Hadithi Njoo! (Story, Story—Story Welcome!): A Chai Theology for Intentional Engagement with African Immigrant Women."

Toward a Missional Theology for the African Diaspora

In giving an overview of his thesis, Mwihia writes, "I have sought to lay the groundwork for developing a missional theology that is relevant to African immigrant communities, brings to the forefront their critical and creative contributions to missional theologies in North America and (helps) our understanding of global Christianity.

"I have argued that (these) communities are emerging as an important (place) for missional reflection. Not only do they stand at the intersection of the multiple forces affecting global Christianity, they also embody distinct African elements that have the potential to redefine our understanding of the missional (study of the church) in a global context."

Hadithi, Hadithi—Hadithi Njoo! (Story, Story—Story Welcome!)

In setting the context for her thesis, Mungai wrote, "Many African immigrant women face difficult challenges in their transition to life in the United States, yet there is scant literature that documents (their) experiences. Many of them like to share personal stories, but seldom have people to tell or enough time to talk with each other. Some find their experiences very painful and remain silent, at times to their detriment. The phrase hadithi, hadithi—hadithi njoo is a prayerful wish that the immigrant women's yearning cries to be invited to and heard  will be heeded.

"My research involved visiting with African immigrant women, specifically from Kenya, to create an opportunity for them to share their stories. The women had a chance to focus and reflect intentionally on issues that have affected them. In the process, they discovered the inner resources that helped them navigate through their life in transition. They found the story-sharing process an important means of fostering hope among (them). This inspired my proposal of a chai theology for intentional engagement with African immigrant women."

Having now completed their studies, the couple looks forward to discovering how the church will use their gifts as they plan for their future ministries.