Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Back Across the Equator, Through the Great Rift Valley and On My Way Home!

I am back in Nairobi for a few hours and then off to the airport. We left Missionary Gurath's home in the Moi's Bridge area this morning around 8:30 am, dropped off Pastor Mayhew, Pastor Gurath, Stephen Mayhew, and Russ Schmitt at Eldoret so they could catch taxis to Uganda and Kisii. They all stay one more week except Pastor Gurath who will be here for six months. The five hour ride took me back over the equator and through the Great Rift Valley...beautiful!
I apologize that the blog has not been updated as regularly as I planned but internet access has been pretty sparse since we left Nairobi on Saturday (9/4). We left around 9:00 am on Saturday as we made our way to the city of Kisii which is the nearest large town near the aids orphan school in Etago. We arrive in Kisii late Saturday afternoon and checked into our hotel. We rested and cleaned up and got ready for our meeting with the pastors who live in the Etago district of the CLC-Kenya. Two of these pastors serve as teachers in the temporary seminary that was started when the seminary in Himo, Tanzania was forced to be closed. These men are teaching four students who were previously attending the Himo seminary. They meet for one week each month in the church building in Chotororo for classes and then work one-on-one with one of the pastors. We sat with the seminary teachers for about two hours discussing the curriculum and classes schedules as we encouraged each other in the blessed privilege the Lord has given us as we serve Him. We also discussed some of the challenges they are facing. They understand that this is only a temporary solution to problems posed by the closure of the seminary in Himo and thus it would be not be good stewardship to build any permanent buildings for the seminary or provide much more than we are doing right now. While we can’t provide for any major improvements I am hopeful that we can provide a little more financial help for a few necessities. It is humbling experience to hear what some of the pastors and seminary students here endure for the sake of the Gospel. For example, these students attend classes, sleep, eat their meals, and study in a mud waddle church building with a mud floor and metal roof. They bring in mattress to lie on the floor and bring warm coals inside the building at night to stay warm. There is a vacant house nearby that could be rented for lodging and class room for $70/week but that is far beyond what they can afford. When we asked what other needs they had they asked if it would be possible for a little additional funding so they could purchase a few necessary items such as folders for each student, a stapler, a few notebooks, pens, and pencils. Pastor Mayhew will assess the needs of the temporary seminary in Nairobi next week and then send recommendations to the KINSHIP committee. Thank the Lord for the dedicated men and their families who sacrifice so much for the sake of the Gospel.

Seminary students of the Etago District of the CLC- Kenya

The next morning we got up early to make the 1.5 hour drive from Kisii to Etago where we were to attend worship service and see the new class rooms that have been added to the aids orphan school. When we arrived we found the church building full of children waiting to begin. Pastor Mike Gurath led the brief Bible study for the children about Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. Once the service began the Lord was praise with the voices of 172 children singing to the Lord. I had the privilege of preaching and was glad to have the opportunity to proclaim the Word one more time since I would be leaving in just a few days. I preached the 10th chapter of John where Jesus comforts and encourages us with the Good News that He is our Good Shepherd who knows us and willingly laid down His life for us.

Etago Aids Orphan School. Classrooms on the left, church on the right.

After the worship service we went to the school where 172 children attend grades K-7. The Lord has certainly blessed the efforts of the school staff and KINSHIP working together for the sake of our Savior’s kingdom. These children, who have been orphaned because of the aids epidemic in Africa, are receiving the truth of God’s saving word along with an excellent education. This school, in district testing, ranks 18th out of 150 schools and ranks 1st in the immediate Etago area. This is all accomplished with just $200/month subsidy from KINSHIP and classrooms that are built for $3500 each. What a blessing for the members of the CLC, through KINSHIP, to be involved in bringing up these children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. This school at Etago is just an example of what could be done in hundreds of other CLC affiliated congregations throughout Africa, India, Nepal, and Myanmar. As the Lord wills and provides we can spread the Gospel to the little children.

Worship service with the school children and congregation at Etago, Kenya

On Monday we traveled to the Moi’s Bridge area where Pastor Mike Gurath will be living and working for the next 6 to 12 months. Pastor Gurath has been called by Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Phoenix, AZ to serve as a missionary to the newly formed Emmaus Milimani Lutheran Church. This congregation was established after a woman from Moi’s Bridge, Kenya attended services and joined Holy Cross. She is an older woman who wants to start a confessional church and school in her home area. She has donated a large piece of land and quite a bit of her own money to build a church and school. They currently have 110 students enrolled in their school. Most of the children are from families that are too poor to pay the tuition at the other schools in the area.

We were privileged to participate in the installation of Pastor Mike Gurath as missionary to Emmaus Milimani Lutheran Church and School. Pastor Gurath will also spend one week a month teaching in the temporary seminaries in Kenya, alternating monthly visits to Etago and Nairobi.

Pastor Mike Gurath - Missionary to Emmaus Milimani Lutheran Church and School

You can find Pastor Gurath’s blog at:

Before and after the service I enjoyed my time with the children. There were two children in particular who will stay in my memory for a good long time. I would have loved to pack these two up and brought them home with me. The first was a little boy who for some reason wanted to be my friend. We were just standing around waiting for things to get started when this little guy (probably 3 years old) just walked up next to me and grabbed my hand. I looked down at him and he just grinned. A little while later I noticed a little girl (probably around 4 or 5) looking at me and when I made eye contact with her she smiled and looked away. I picked up a round dried up pit from some type of fruit that was lying on the ground and attempted to communicate to her that I wanted to play catch. She caught on rather quickly and the fun began. I got down on one knee and we started to toss the “ball” back and forth and she would squeal and giggle with delight with each toss. Within just a minute or so all the other kids had gathered around and my little friend from before wiggled his way through the crowd of children so he could be next to me. After I caught the “ball” I handed it to him and helped him toss it to the little girl. He just grinned with delight. I really miss my family and as these two little children warmed my heart today it made me thankful that I will be home with them in St. Louis.
Emmaus Milimani Lutheran Church and School

I leave in an hour for my flight from Nairobi to Brussels to Washington, DC to St. Louis. It will take around 23 hours. I can hardly wait to get home.

Thank you for your prayers...and keep them coming for the people of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and DR Congo.

Friday, September 3, 2010

To Tanga and Back

The past few days have taken us from the Arusha/Himo/Moshi districts of CLC Gospel work in Tanzania (near Mt. Kilimanjaro) to the Tanga district which is southeast. This district includes the city of Tanga which sits on the east coast of Tanzania on western side of the Indian Ocean. While you can tell that we are further south and near the sea by the change in temperature, we have not yet seen the Indian Ocean because we have spent the last two days traveling in the hills/mountains that rise up and separate most of Tanzania from the Indian Ocean. This is a very beautiful and fertile part of Africa. The hill sides are covered in lush vegetation where ever the land isn’t farmed. The majority of the land is covered by acres and acres of maize, tea bushes, and many other varieties of crops. I can’t even begin to image the effort that goes into scratching out a living in this area of the world. It reminds me a lot of the farming that I saw in the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal but on a much smaller scale as these hills certainly wouldn’t be considered mountains by Nepali standards. As we traveled over the bumpy, dusty, rutted, and washed out roads (that our little Suzuki 4X4 certainly wasn’t built for) I began to think of what the daily lives of most of the people we were seeing consisted of. Most of them simply get up each day and work the land so they can have enough food to harvest to pay for the very few things that they can’t make themselves from the land around them and still have enough food to eat throughout the year. Then I started thinking about the many similar people I have seen and preached to and taught in India and Nepal and how their lives really aren’t that much different. Then I began to think that in actual numbers…the vast majority of the world’s population lives their lives from day to day with very little hope for a better and more comfortable life. The thought of saving up extra money for a new I-phone or a bigger TV or a nicer car just isn’t even a possibility. It is so easy to lose touch with the fact that we Americans, even those who are middle class or below are rich beyond belief compared to the vast majority of the world.

The past few days have been packed with lots of travel and stories to tell. I will try to keep my summary short. On Sunday (8/29) Pastor Mayhew, Pastor Gurath and I traveled six hours by car from Arusha to Korogwe where we met pastor Gondwe at a roadside restaurant. Pastor Gondwe was a teacher in the seminary before all the trouble broke out. He is well versed in English and a wonderful communicator of God’s saving word. He is was blessed with the opportunity to meet an Anglican pastor a year ago who was troubled by the fact that the Anglican church now accepts and endorses the ordination of gay pastors. One thing led to another and Pastor Gondwe began to teach seminars to Anglican pastors up in the hills/mountains that surround the city of Tanga. For some reason this area was predominately evangelized by the Anglicans many years ago and so most of the churches are of this denomination. Currently, Pastor Gondwe is working with 45 Anglican congregations and 42 Anglican trained pastors who wish to become Lutheran. He is taking them through a thorough study of Christian doctrine and he reports that the pastors and members alike are thrilled to be learning the truth of God’s word since most of the teaching and sermons they were hearing before were not based upon Scripture. Praise the Lord for this wonderful opportunity to proclaim His truth!

After we left Korogwe we traveled up into the hills for about three hours over some of the worse roads I have ever seen outside of Nepal. We arrived at the mountain village of Kwamkole where Pastor Cecil (who was formerly with the LCEA) is the pastor. He is assisting Pastor Gondwe in instructing the Anglican pastors and congregations. We attended the service where to two men were being ordained as pastors. We then traveled about an hour to a Massai village to visit another congregation that pastor Gondwe oversees. This congregation is made up of Massai people who are the herders of Africa. They live out in the bush and raise cattle and stick to the old customs of their tribe. Slowly, these people are being brought to Christ. They were very excited to have us visit their stick wall church and share the Word of God with them.

By the time we returned to Kwamkole it was very late in the evening and after some discussion (most of which we couldn’t understand) we were told that we would be spending the night in the Kwamkole. We fully expected to be sleeping on the floor of Pastor Cecil’s home and believe me, after the many hours spent in the car we were OK with sleeping anywhere. As it turns out, Pastor Cecil is also quite the business man. He has constructed a small hotel behind his house that he rents out to traders who pass through town. We didn’t know this as they began to lead us out of his home and down a narrow path between buildings and then down a slope to what seemed in the dark to be some sort of barn or shed for the animals. It was dark with no electricity so we were being led by flashlight and you could hear the chickens and goats be shooed away as we approached. Much to our delight we were led into an enclosed structure with eight small and basic rooms with nothing more than a bed, a mosquito net, and a small battery operated lantern by the bed. Definitely not the Hilton, but not bad at all. The communal bathroom consisted of two rooms…the first one had a hole in the floor with a foot block on each side (a squat pot) and the other room had a big barrel of water and small bucket to scoop the water over body for a bath. We all slept incredibly well! The next morning we arose to a beautiful scene as we looked out over the mountain side where we had just spent the night.

The next morning (8/30) after our 7:00 am breakfast we were on the road again driving over some the worse roads known to man on our way to visit four congregations. About 15 minutes into our journey we came around a corner and suddenly stopped when we saw a motorcycle lying in the road. There were a few people standing around a man in the ditch. When we all got out to see what was going on we found a man sitting in the ditch with the nastiest wound I have ever seen. It was a gash just above his calf muscle on his right leg. The gash was probably about 10 inches long. He also had a either a dislocated shoulder or a cracked collar bone. Needless to say he was in pretty bad shape. As the locals gathered and discussed the various ways of getting the man down the mountain and to a doctor I grabbed my first aid kit and a clean t-shirt from my suitcase and bandaged his leg and arm. It seemed that the general conclusion was that he couldn’t ride a motorcycle so he would just stay there and wait for a lorry (truck) to come by. We were pretty insistent that we take him in our vehicle even if it meant that we would have begin walking until they could come back and get us. It was decided that the pastor who was with us would hop a ride on a motorcycle and the injured man could ride in the vehicle. We gave the man some pain reliever, got him loaded in the car and began the three hour ride over extremely bumpy roads to the hospital. They kept telling us that is wasn’t far. After about an hour and a half in the car we could see that the bandage was completely soaked with blood and there was a large pool of blood on the floor so we had them pull over so we could take another look. It seemed that he was losing a lot of blood so I used my belt to apply a loose tourniquet above his knee, hopefully this slowed the bleeding. When we arrived at the clinic they took him in right away and we went on our way to visit a congregation near Mobosa. We passed right by the clinic on our way back to the main road and we stopped in to see how he was doing. We were told it was a good thing we got him there but nothing more than that. I don’t even know his name, but he has certainly been in my prayers.

We were under the impression that the congregations we were to visit were fairly close together since we were supposed to visit four. As it turned out, our travel times were grossly misjudged because Pastor Gondwe uses a motorcycle to visit all of these 45 congregations in the mountains and he is able to travel much faster by avoiding the many big rocks that protrude in the middle of the road and the many washouts and other obstacles. He is also able to cut through the forests rather than stick to the main road. A long story short…we arrived the second congregation we were supposed to visit at 5:30 pm instead of 11:00 am as we were told. The congregation sat high in the mountains and is a former Anglican congregation that has joined the Tanga district of the CLC. They are very excited about what they are learning from God’s Word. They have begun constructing a new church building by making bricks themselves. They have the walls about three quarters of the way built. They would very much like some assistance from us for the roof once the walls have been completed. We felt really bad about being so late when we saw the joy in the hearts of God’s children as we approached their village. They met us about a couple of miles away from the village with singing and clapping and waving branches of leaves in the air as they formed a procession on the way to their village and their new church. It was quite a humbling experience so see their joy in the Lord and their commitment to serve Him when they have so little to begin with. The name of the village is Kissani…please remember them in your prayers.

After our brief visit at Kissani we drove 4 hours or so down through the mountains again, mostly all the way in the dark and then onto the city of Tanga. Pavement has never felt so good!

We checked into our low-budget hostel for the night, took much appreciated cold showers, and fell right asleep under our mosquito nets in spite of the clanging of pots and pans and other things right outside our window until late into the night.

The next morning (8/31) we gathered for an abbreviated Pastoral Training Seminar in Tanga with 20 pastors (mostly from the new hill congregations that have come over from the Anglican church through pastor Gondwe). The seminar was cut short due to travel constraints, the court hearing in Moshi, and the bus schedules. Our time in the Tanga district was cut short because of the unexpected death of Pastor Jeremiah’s niece. Unfortunately we only had time for one person to teach and pastor Gondwe thought it important to go over some of the differences in doctrine concerning the sacraments of the church so Pastor Mayhew (our part-time visiting missionary to East Africa) taught for two hours and then answered questions. A report on the work in the Tanga district was then read by Pastor Cecil. I addressed the group of 20 pastors (less than half in the district) on behalf of the CLC and our Board of Missions, applauding their zeal for the Gospel ministry and their love for the truth of God’s Word. Then I spent a bit of time explaining to them the expanse of work that the Lord has given us to do throughout the North America, India, Nepal, Burma, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and soon to add Zambia. They were a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to promise that we would be able to fund all their worthy goals, but I think they understood that the fellowship we share in the truth of God’s saving word is far more precious than the finances of this world and that the Lord will bless our joint efforts to defend and proclaim His truth.

Our trip back to Moshi that afternoon was pleasantly uneventful and on paved roads. The next morning (9/1) were up early to meet with the pastors of the Moshi and Himo districts to discuss the court hearing that was scheduled for 11:00 am. We discussed what might be asked and how their advocate/lawyer expected things to go. We walked out luggage down to the bus office and purchased tickets for the 11:30 bus with the assurance that they would wait for us. We arrived at the court house and met briefly with the advocate. He went over all the questions that I would be asked and then we compared notes to make sure that my testimony was ready. Within the first few minutes of the hearing the other side dropped their suit in light of the testimony that they expected to hear and asked for two weeks to re-file and new suit. I was told by the judge that since the suit was dropped, my testimony was not needed and she thanked me for coming. The advocate seems to think that this will most likely be the end of it. I was asked to make a written testimony with all the details we had discussed and to send it to them to be used when they make a

formal appeal to the Moshi District Land Tribunal to get the land registered in the name of the CLC. The pastors and members of the Himo congregation turned out in great numbers and were very pleased and happy that the suit against the pastors was dropped.

We hustled out the door of the court house and across the street and down to the main road where our bus said it would pick us up on the way out of town. We hopped on and headed to Arusha, about an hour away where we would catch the Impala express to Nairobi at 2:30 pm. We made it with plenty of time and even had a couple of minutes to make a quick email check in the lobby of the hotel where the bus departed from. Then it was 7 long hours on the bus. We arrived at our hotel in Nairobi around 10:00 pm, had a bite to eat, had a wonderful warm shower, and went to bed.

We arose bright and early to get ready for the East Africa CLC Pastoral Conference with pastors and evangelists from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda in attendance. We heard essays from two pastors and me along with devotions and singing today (9/2). We also enjoyed the opportunity to visit and get to know each other over tea breaks, lunch, and in the evening after our last essay.

Today we met from 8:00 till noon because many pastors had to catch a 1:00 pm bus back home. This afternoon we have nothing scheduled so we will spend some time looking into portable internet options for Pastor Gurath and I plan to check out a hostel called the Wildebeest Inn with an eye toward the 2012 Mission Helper Trip to East Africa.

We head to Etago and Kissi Kenya tomorrow (9/4) where we will attend worship service on Sunday (9/5). Our next stop will be Moi’s Bridge where I am sure the people of Emmaus Milimani Lutheran Church are anxiously awaiting the installation of Pastor Gurath as their temporary resident missionary for the next 6 to 13 months. It should prove to be an exciting few days. I am assuming that internet access will be sparse, so this might be the last you hear from me for a few days.

Remember to check out Pastor Mayhew’s blog at:

You can find Pastor Gurath’s blog at:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Visited the Vacant Seminary and Kilimanjaro Yesterday

We spent a lot of time in the car yesterday traveling from Arusha to Moshi and Himo Tanzania to visit a couple of congregations and the vacant seminary building in Himo.

The first place we visited was the congregation of the former treasurer of the LCEA (the church body that we have had so much trouble with and with whom we recently severed fellowship). The treasurer was falsely accused and arrested for stealing from the church. The bishop of the LCEA is taking this man and others to court on a variety of charges in an attempt to make financial gains. It is a sad affair! While this dispute goes on in the courts the seminary building sits vacant. This very nice building was purchased with CLC funding and remodeled by CLC Mission Helpers. Our mission offerings had paid for its up-keep and the salaries of the professors for the past several years. Now, rather than being placed in the service of our Savior's kingdom, its ownership has been disputed in the courts as the LCEA bishop has tried to mortgage the building for his own personal gain. The judge has given the local congregation in Himo special permission to use the building for Sunday worship services. This is a very good indicator that when this is all settled in the courts, the local congregation and those who have remained faithful to the Word will retain ownership of the building and hopefully the seminary and kindergarten will be able to re-open soon. The building is very nice with two large class rooms, five dormitory rooms, a kitchen, and professor offices. It also has one other class room that was being used as a kindergarten for upwards of 50 children. What a shame that greed and pride have brought this important work of the Kingdom to a halt. Special arrangements have been requested and approved by the judge in the case for me to give testimony in court on September 1st concerning CLC involvement in the funding and support of this seminary since its inception back in 2002. While we certainly don't desire any of this and recognize that such issues among Christians ought not be settled in court, none of this was asked for and as false charges were brought, these men are in court simply defending themselves against the false accusations leveled against them. While this trial is to determine the guilt or innocence of these men concerning the charges of stealing from the church, in the end, if these men are found innocent of the charges, this will also settle the question of ownership of the seminary building. From all indications, we will retain ownership of the building and we should be able to get it up and running again soon. We pray that the Lord's will be done.

We also had the opportunity to visit the home of the original members of the LCEA who came out of the very liberal Lutheran church body in Tanzania that supports the ordination and marriage of homosexuals among many other un-Scriptural doctrines. They took this bold step knowing the persecution they would face as the district headquarters for this church body are literally, right behind their home. It was a joyous reunion as we were welcomed into their home. They were so very glad to see Pastor Mayhew, whom they have worked with for the past three years as our part-time visiting missionary to East Africa. This small band of Christians have had a had a very difficult past couple of years as their congregation has been torn apart by the turmoil brought on by the greed, ego, and pride of their former leaders. They have had fellow Christians falsely accused and even arrested and imprisoned. As we arrived at their home, we were met with the shrill shrieks of African joy from the women and hardy handshakes and hugs from the men. While I have never met these people before, you could instantly sense the common bond that we share. They were so appreciative that we have stood by them and offered assistance in their stand for the truth as we strive together to serve our Savior. One of the older elders of the congregation asked if he could say a few words to us. It was quite touching as he struggled to control his emotion while telling us of the congregations struggles and of their love for the Lord and their commitment to the truth of God's word in spite of the apparent set backs and tribulation of the past couple of years. What a joy to fellowship with these brothers and sisters in Christ.

The day was cloudy from beginning to end and we didn't think we would be able to see Mt. Kilimanjaro. But on our return trip to Arusha in the late afternoon the clouds began to disperse a bit and the peak began to show itself. It is quite a beautiful site. Pastor Malyi explained that the word Kilimanjaro is an ancient word that means difficult journey. It was named for the journey that the priests would make to the top of this mountain as they took young virgin men and women to the peak to sacrifice them to their gods. Pastor Malyi expressed thanks to the Lord that Christianity had been brought to Tanzania by the Germans and that such practices no longer take place.

We are taking a day of rest in Arusha today (Saturday) because Pastor Jeremiah's niece went to be with the Lord this week and today is the funeral. Please remember Pastor Jeremiah and his family in your prayers as they mourn the loss of their loved one.

We get up early tomorrow (Sunday, 8/29) and plan to be on the road by 6:30 am as we head to Tanga for another pastoral training seminar and congregational visits.

Don't forget to check out Pastor Mayhew's blog at:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

One Day in Arusha, Tanzania

We rode the bus for about 7 hours today over various types of road and un-road (lots of bumpy, dusty, bumpy dusty construction) and right through the heart of Massai country on our way to Arusha, Tanzania. We met with Pastor Jeremiah to discuss the schedule for the next week or so. It looks like we will be here for one day of pastoral training tomorrow (8/26) and then it is off to Moshi, Tanga, and beyond. We will be back in Nairobi on the evening of September 1st for the 2 day East Africa CLC Pastoral Conference on September 2-3.

Here's a little info from the BBC about Tanzania:

Country profile: Tanzania

Tanzania has been spared the internal strife that has blighted many African states.

Though it remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with many of its people living below the World Bank poverty line, it has had some success in wooing donors and investors.

Tanzania assumed its present form in 1964 after a merger between the mainland Tanganyika and the island of Zanzibar, which had become independent the previous year.

Unlike many African countries, whose potential wealth contrasted with their actual poverty, Tanzania had few exportable minerals and a primitive agricultural system. To remedy this, its first president, Julius Nyerere, issued the 1967 Arusha Declaration, which called for self-reliance through the creation of cooperative farm villages and the nationalisation of factories, plantations, banks and private companies.

But a decade later, despite financial and technical aid from the World Bank and sympathetic countries, this programme had completely failed due to inefficiency, corruption, resistance from peasants and the rise in the price of imported petroleum.

Tanzania's economic woes were compounded in 1979 and 1981 by a costly military intervention to overthrow President Idi Amin of Uganda.

After Mr Nyerere's resignation in 1985, his successor, Ali Hassan Mwinyi, attempted to raise productivity and attract foreign investment and loans by dismantling government control of the economy.

  • Politics: President Jakaya Kikwete won elections in 2005
  • Economy: Annual growth rate between 2000 and 2006 averaged 5.8 per cent, one of best performers in sub-Sahara Africa. Power supplies are erratic and fall short of demand.
  • International: Tanzania hosts thousands of refugees from conflict in the neighbouring Great Lakes region
  • This policy continued under Benjamin Mkapa, who was elected president in 1995. The economy grew, though at the price of painful fiscal reforms. Tourism is an important revenue earner; Tanzania's attractions include Africa's highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, and wildlife-rich national parks such as the Serengeti.

    The political union between Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania has weathered more than four decades of change. Zanzibar has its own parliament and president.

    • Full name: United Republic of Tanzania
    • Population: 43.7 million (UN, 2009)
    • Capital: Dodoma (official), Dar es Salaam (commercial)
    • Largest city: Dar es Salaam
    • Area: 945,087 sq km (364,900 sq miles)
    • Major languages: English, Swahili
    • Major religions: Christianity, Islam
    • Life expectancy: 55 years (men), 56 years (women) (UN)
    • Monetary unit: 1 Tanzanian shilling = 100 cents
    • Main exports: Sisal, cloves, coffee, cotton, cashew nuts, minerals, tobacco
    • GNI per capita: US $440 (World Bank, 2008)
    • Internet domain: .tz
    • International dialling code: +255

    President: Jakaya Kikwete

    Ruling party candidate Jakaya Kikwete, Tanzania's long-serving foreign minister, won presidential elections in December 2005.

    He vowed to continue the economic reforms set in motion by the outgoing president, Benjamin Mkapa, and to create jobs and tackle poverty.

    A veteran of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), which has controlled Tanzania since the country's inception and also governs in semi-autonomous Zanzibar, his presidential aspirations were thwarted in 1995 when he made an unsuccessful bid to represent the party in polls.

    The former military officer was an unswerving supporter of Tanzania's founding president, Julius Nyerere.

    Mr Kikwete, who was born in October 1950, is married and has eight children.

    His predecessor Benjamin Mkapa retired after 10 years in power. He was credited with being the driving force behind Tanzania's extensive economic liberalisation, which was well received by the IMF and World Bank.

    Under his presidency inflation dropped, the economy grew and Tanzania's foreign debt was wiped. But Mr Mkapa's critics said that, behind the statistics, most Tanzanians remained impoverished.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Nairobi for One Day

    Just a quick post to let everyone know that we made it back to Nairobi from the Congo. We arrived at 1:00 am and got to bed around 2:30 am. We taught pastors here in Nairobi from 10:00 till 3:00 pm and now we are catching up on a few things. I'm at an internet cafe' right now that has the worst keyboard I've experienced in quite awhile.

    We pick up Pastor Mike Gurath at the airport tonight at 9:00 pm and then head to Arusha, Tanzania tomorrow for a visit with Pastor Jeremiah Issangya and pastoral training.

    Hopefully we will have better internet access in Arusha.

    Sunday, August 22, 2010

    CCLC Working in Zambia

    We just got done with a meeting with Pastor Yumba, president of the Congregation Confessionnelle Lutherienne Au Congo (CCLC). He was working today near the Zambia border south of Lubumbashi. We had visited this area a week ago and tried to cross over into Zambia for a quick look around but we weren't allow. Today he told us that he has a contact in Zambia who is working to translate Lutheran materials into Bemba, the local dialect of the north part of the country. He is planning to begin a Lutheran congregation in Zambia and Pastor Yumba is assisting him in his efforts. Virtually all of the materials we have sent and made available to Pastor Yumba and the CCLC are in French and Swahili but they speak English in Zambia so we plan to send a few English resources so they can be translated into Bemba more easily.

    Please pray that the Lord will bless this fledgling effort to spread the truth of God's Word in Zambia!

    Time in Congo Winding Down

    It's Sunday evening here in Lubumbashi, DR Congo and our work (in country) work is nearly finished. We attended and preached at Trinite Lutheran Church this morning where Pastor Muzakuza, the president of the ELCC is the pastor. Church lasted 2 hours and included much singing, prayers, Scripture readings, a sermon, and the installation of two new elders in the congregation. The singing is what amazes me. The only instruments they use are drums, made of a hollow, carved out log with a hide strapped over the top and various pieces of metal that are beat against each other to make a high pitched clanging noise. There is also much clapping and the shrill shrieks of from the ladies in the congregation. The voices harmonize together with seemingly no effort what so ever. It is a joy to hear them sing.Following the worship service we met with the two man translating committee of the ELCC and tried to work out the details of how they can work together with the CCLC so as not to duplicate efforts and to assist in proof reading each others work before they move on to publishing and printing. There is still some uncertainty and skepticism about working together with the CCLC but I am confident that they are taking positive steps in the right direction.

    After our translation committee meeting we were invited to the home of the congregation president/chief who seems to be a man of some financial means by African standards.
    We were treated to a typical Congolese meal of rice, bugari (a dough ball made by grinding corn, cob and all, used for scooping the various soups/sauces and dishes) chicken, fish, cole slaw, and even some spaghetti pasta. Our host were very gracious and the fellowship and conversation was a lot of fun. I always enjoy these times of fellowship because they really give you a chance to get to know each other as friends and build that relationship that is such a precious gift from the Lord.

    On our way back to town we were taken to local arts and crafts flea market of sorts. The sellers saw the color of our skin and got very excited. I am sure the prices escalated at a higher rate than did their excitement level. I inquired about a small set of wooden salad tongs with handles carved like a giraffe and was told that they were $30. Nathanael asked about a chess set and a price of $200 was given. I ended up buying two bracelets and four necklaces for $7 after much negotiating. The first price I received was $10 for one bracelet.

    We have one more meeting in about an hour this evening with a couple of pastors and then it
    will be a bit reading and off to bed. Our Ethiopian Airlines flight leaves tomorrow at 1:10 pm. We were told by the airlines, when we confirmed our seats yesterday, that we should be there by 10:00 am. We will say our goodbyes to the pastors, their families, our translators, and Mr. Martin Essien (from Nigeria) tomorrow around 9:30 am.

    I was able to talk to (and see) Beth and the kids yesterday via video Skype. It was great to see and hear them. They seem to be doing well. They should be finishing church right about now. Josh heads back to ILC after church. Beth will miss his help around the house and with the little ones. In some ways it doesn't seem like I have been gone for nearly two weeks already, but when I think of my family and the congregation it feels like I have been gone for months.

    I forgot about this picture until I looked again tonight. Look carefully and you will see that the boy on the right is wearing a St. Louis Cardinals shirt. I took this with my cell phone at the airport when we were waiting to pick up Mr. Martin Essien from Nigeria. This young lad is one of the many young men running around the airport trying very hard to out maneuver the other boys for the privilege of helping you with luggage, whether you ask for it or not. Sometimes they will just walk next to you with their hand on the suitcase while you carry it or roll it yourself and when you get to the car...they have their hand out waiting to be paid. This young man agreed to let me take his picture and I gave him a 1000 Congolese Francs ($1.13). He ran over to his friends and our translator John (in the picture) told me that the other boys were asking why I took his picture and he told them that I liked his shirt. They told him he should come back and ask for 5,000 francs (about $6). He came over and asked for the 5,000 francs but didn't get any more money. You can't blame the kid for trying. I don't think they get too many Muzungu's (white guys) through the Lubumbashi airport. Gotta love the entrepreneurial spirit!

    Be sure to check out Pastor Mayhew's blog at:

    I'll check back in from Kenya in a couple of days.