Sunday, November 7, 2021 Tanzania (Nov. 2021)

Flag of Tanzania
On Tuesday, November 9th, I will be leaving for a long-awaited trip to the Mission Fields of Tanzania. Having been sidelined by the Covid pandemic for the better part of two years, I am eager and feel incredibly blessed to travel overseas again. I'll be in Tanzania for about a month.

I'm especially thankful for this opportunity to travel to Tanzania because I will be able to attend and offer words of Gospel encouragement at the graduation service for six men who have successfully completed four years of training at the TZ-CLC Wartburg Lutheran Seminary in Arusha. Tanzania has been somewhat of an anomaly during the pandemic as classes have been conducted (uninterrupted for the most part) during the pandemic. This has allowed the students to finish their studies on schedule. Graduation will be held on November 14th at the seminary in Arusha. Individual ordination services will be conducted at their home congregations as we visit. 

Maasai Worship Service in 2019
 TZ-CLC leaders Jeremiah Issangya, Michael Gondwe, and Godson Mshana have put together a rather busy schedule for the four weeks I will be in Tanzania. We will be visiting three new areas of outreach located in Zanzibar, Dodoma, and the Maasai regions in the Arusha and Pare districts. We will be visiting preaching stations, attending ordinations services, and conducting pastoral training seminars for the leaders and pastors who serve in these areas. 

The outreach efforts on the island of Zanzibar are exciting. The TZ-CLC has been sharing promising reports on the opportunities with contacts there for the past several years. Over the past three years, TZ-CLC leaders have made two previous visits. There are currently three preaching stations on the island being served by pastors and lay evangelists who have come out of the Ev. Lutheran Church of Tanzania. The ELCT is affiliated with the very liberal Lutheran World Federation (LWF). They are working with the leaders of the TZ-CLC to be better equipped to serve the Lord as faithful preachers and teachers of God's saving word. We are hopeful that one of these individuals will be able to attend the seminary in the not-to-distant future. Zanzibar has a population of roughly 750,000-1,000,000 residents. Recent census data indicates that the island is predominately Muslim accounting for 99% of the population. Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism make up the other 1%. Archeological finds date Islamic history on the island back to the 10th century. From the late 1400s to the 1600s the island was a Portuguese colony until the Sultan of Oman seized control and re-established Islamic rule. This island received its independence from Great Britain in 1964 and shortly after formed a union with mainland Tanganyika to form was is now known as the United Republic of Tanzania. What a privilege our Lord has given to be involved in bringing the truth of God's saving word to this unique part of the world where the Gospel is so desperately needed!

I'm also excited and thankful for the privilege of attending and teaching at the TZ-CLC conference that is scheduled for Nov. 17-19 in Moshi. This will be a gathering of pastors and lay leaders where we will hear lessons and essays from pastors of the TZ-CLC with the goal of growth in our understanding of God's word. We will also have time to discuss the work and future plans of the TZ-CLC and the seminary. 

It's going to be a busy four weeks of travel, teaching, and visits. I will travel from St. Louis to Washington, DC to Vienna, Austria to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. The trip will take nearly 44 hours. Once there, I will travel with leaders of the TZ-CLC by car, Land Cruiser, Dala Dala, Bus, and Airplane to reach all the areas where the Lord has given us the opportunity to proclaim the Good News.

As always, your prayers are requested and much appreciated, knowing by faith, that our God, who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will surely provide all that is needed for this visit to be a success in honoring Him, proclaiming the truths of His saving word, and serving the sheep of His Tanzania-CLC flock with the Gospel!

No comments: