Saturday, November 19, 2022

Pastor Nolting...Wrapping things up in Tanzania

The LORD has continued to bless the work here in Tanzania. On Monday, Tuesday, and half of Wednesday, I continued the overview of the Gospel of John with the students of Wittenberg Lutheran Seminary here in Arusha. [Arusha is the third largest city in Tanzania, with a population of about 900,000 if you include the city itself and its suburbs.] On both Monday and Tuesday we spent the last hour of the class from 3:00-4:00 p.m. discussing a sermon text and then putting together a sermon outline. It was delightful to see the students examining the text and identifying its key points, and then come up with their own themes and parts. 

On Wednesday afternoon, we traveled 70 kilometers (about 45 miles) east to the city of Moshi, which lies at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro--the tallest mountain in Africa. There is snow at its top throughout the year. We held the conference at the Moshi YMCA. The building was erected in 1959 and certainly shows its age, but the dormitory-style rooms were adequate, and the meeting room airy and pleasant. They had an outdoor pool, of which I was sadly unaware. Otherwise, I could have done some lap swimming. Temperatures here are in the mid-sixties at night and mid-seventies during the day. 

I found out Wednesday night that my presentation on baptism was the entire agenda for Thursday, with the exception of Missionary Ohlmann's slide presentation on CLC World Missions set for late in the afternoon. It turned out that we spent approximately five and one-half hours on the presentation. There were many questions and much discussion, with Pastor Michael Gondwe, one of the teachers at Wittenberg Seminary, providing all the translating from English to Swahili and from Swahili to English for the entire day! He was quite the trooper! 

Friday morning was spent on various reports from the district heads of the Tanzania CLC (TZCLC), as well as discussions with four pastors formerly affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT). They left for doctrinal reasons and have begun discussions with the TZCLC. They were favorably impressed by the conference, and arrangements are being made for further meetings. Apparently, there are another thirteen independent pastors and congregations that they were representing. The Lord truly seems to be opening a door for the TZCLC at this time.

Tomorrow I will be preaching at the Graduation Church Service at the seminary church. Missionary Ohlmann will join Pastor Jeremiah in distributing the ten diplomas. Five of the students will be going back to their home congregations as evangelists and serving in the role of assistants to the pastors. The remaining five will begin a three-year seminary program in January to become ordained pastors.

What was so interesting and encouraging to see was the fact that three of the young pastors who graduated last year (Robert, Israel, and Solomon) were all at the pastoral conference and contributing to the discussion in significant ways. You could see that the ten current students all knew and respected these young pastors. That all bodes well for the future of our sister church body.

Paul Nolting--feeling quite privileged to serve the LORD here in Tanzania!

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