Saturday, November 12, 2022

Nolting Update from Tanzania...Nov. 2022

A summary of the Mission Trip--I thank you all for allowing me to carry out this work in one of our foreign mission fields!

I flew out of North Platte to Denver Monday, November 7, at about noon. I then flew from Denver to London. I had a ten-hour layover there and so took the subway train into central London and visited the British Museum. I was able to see many of the artifacts I taught about years ago while serving at ILC--it was delightful! I flew overnight from London to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and from Addis Ababa to Kilimanjaro International Airport in northern Tanzania arriving about noon on Wednesday. Because I was traveling east, I essentially lost a half day, which I will regain next week when returning home.

Missionary Ohlmann met me along with Pastor Jeremiah, who is the head of the Tanzanian Church of the Lutheran Confession (TZCLC), and Professor Michael, one of the seminary teachers. We traveled about an hour to Arusha where the seminary is located. 

Missionary Ohlmann and I are staying at Christina House. Christina is Pastor Jeremiah's cousin. It is a delightful small resort that caters to tourists coming to Tanzania to go on safaris and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. This is not the tourist season, so we are the only guests at this time. The rooms are very comfortable, with windows you can leave open twenty-four hours a day. It is about 65 degrees at night and about 75 degrees during the day. While there is mosquito netting around the beds, I have yet to see a mosquito and there are few other insects--no screens on the windows. The resort, which is surrounded by a wall, is a bit like a tropical paradise--lush trees and bushes with flowering plants everywhere. Our rooms are on the second floor along with two unoccupied rooms and a small veranda with chairs and couches. This morning I went out to the veranda about 6:00 a.m. and was able to quietly read my daily devotion while listening to the birds sing, a few roosters crow, and (sadly) the sound of traffic on the highway in front of the resort. We are provided breakfast each morning and supper each evening, both of which feature fresh fruits and lots of vegetables.
The seminary is about one mile up a bumpy road from the resort. I keep thinking it would be marvelous to purchase a small tractor with a blade to simply grade the road! I would make a lot of friends and do a fine public service! The seminary is built on land owned by Pastor Jeremiah, which he is transferring to the TZCLC. It has a wall around it. Inside the front entrance, there is a simple dirt courtyard with a wonderful shade tree right in the middle, which covers the entire area (probably 70' x 70'). The main church is there. It is a concrete structure, which looks like an octagon. It has a double entry door and windows around two-thirds of the building on the ground level. It is two stories high with a tall metal roof. There is no glass in the windows and there are open window areas on the second-story level in which they hope one day to place stained glass. The building is not finished, but each year they strive to push the project toward completion. Behind the church is a connected seminary classroom (probably about 15' x 20') in which all classes take place. There are five long tables at which two students sit per table. There are ten students enrolled, but only seven have been in attendance these last two days. I have been told that one young man is sick, but I do not know where the other two are--presumably at their homes. Behind the church and classroom, there is a courtyard (probably 20' x 40). In the center of the courtyard is a long table under a tent which is used for meals. On either side of the courtyard, there are long buildings with, I believe, seven dormitory rooms for the students--two to a room. At the end of the courtyard is a kitchen building. An older woman serves as a dorm mother for the young men, and she cooks their meals over an open fire using wood as her fuel. There is a double outhouse for taking care of those necessities. They have a rather ingenious hot water system. A tank of water is contained within a brick housing. Under the tank and within the housing is a place to burn wood. The hot water is transferred by gravity feed through a hose to two concrete sinks for washing bodies and clothes.

My first two days of classes have gone well. We begin at 9:00 a.m. and end shortly after 4:00 p.m. with an hour break for lunch. I eat lunch with the students and my translator. The first lunch was a large bowl of brown rice with small portions of beef to give it flavor together with either coffee or tea. Tanzanian tea which, by the way, is very mild and while the young men used sugar, I drank it without--very nice! The second day was an even larger bowl of cooked corn with carrots mixed in for color.

For my classes I am presenting material on the Gospel of John. I am using the materials we used at both Grace and St. Paul's but in an expanded form. At this point we have covered all the introductory materials and have begun looking at specific sections of John. Each afternoon we take a specific text and work through it together as if preparing for a sermon. We come up with a theme and parts and discuss how to take the facts and impress them on people's hearts so that their individual lives will be impacted--very enjoyable! We have also discussed numerous questions raised by the students, such as--how do you answer someone who denies the Trinity and why is it that Christians do not agree on infant baptism?

The young men are eager, intelligent, and well-versed in the Scriptures. As is typical, some are more willing to speak than others, but all have made contributions to our discussions. I shared with them a picture of my family that serves as my computer's home page. I am looking forward to sharing with my daughter, Laura, the fact that I was informed by one student that he intended to marry one of her daughters! That will have to wait a while, however, since she is only twelve!

Yesterday after classes Pastor Jeremiah and Missionary Ohlmann took me along to visit an orphanage. Pastor Jeremiah visits the orphanage regularly and hopes to have the seminary students assume the religious training of the children. There are twelve orphans at the facility, but the orphanage pays school tuition costs for about forty additional poor children in the area. After grade school, if children cannot pass the exams to get into high school, the orphanage trains the young ladies to sew and provides practical training in agriculture for the young men. I was privileged to share with the children and staff the story you will be hearing in church tomorrow--Zaccheaus.

Teaching the Children at the Adonai Home for Destitute Children 

Today after lunch Pastor Jeremiah, Missionary Ohlmann, and I headed southwest out of Arusha to visit a new church being built in a village, Mbuyuni, by a small congregation of Maasai. In a way, it is sad because their former pastor was led astray by the promise of a church body in Nigeria to support him monetarily. They lost their pastor and the church they had just built. But it is a testimony to their faithful resolve. The church walls are built half-way up and a tent has been pitched on the inside of the building in which the congregation will worship until they have the means to complete the building. Their pastor, Robert, is a recent graduate of the Wittenberg Seminary and currently returns to the seminary regularly to instruct the students in their English. He is an outstanding young man. He is married and has three really cute children--Angel, Innocence, and Onesimo. We sang hymns, were greeted formally by one of the church elders, addressed briefly by Missionary Ohlmann, and then I was asked to present a message. I talked primarily to the children and spoke of how Zacchaeus needed the love, forgiveness, and acceptance of God, and that he received it from Jesus. We concluded the service with another hymn and prayer by Robert. What a pleasure to enjoy the fellowship of these saints of God!

Pastor Robert Looskira at the TZCLC Mbuyuni Congregation

Teaching at Mbuyuni

The TZCLC Congregation at Mbuyuni

That is enough for now. May the LORD bless and keep you all!

Serving Christ together with confidence in His presence, power, and promises,
Pastor Nolting

1 comment:

Unknown said...

God bless your work in Tanzania. Our missionary field is being served by two wonderful pastors from the U.S. and Pastor Jeremiah, who I met at a previous synod convention. May His word reach those who thirst for the truth.