Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Goodbye to Etago; on to Arusha

Hello to Family and Friends,

We are now on our way from Kisii back to Nairobi. It's two days of travel, so that we arrive to meet Pastor Jeremiah and the people of the CLCEA on Wednesday evening in Arusha, Tanzania.

Our recent schedule had to be rearranged because of car problems. We stayed in Kisii on Sunday, rather than going into Etago, because the rough roads had been too hard on the car's muffler. We had some shopping to do, as well as some intensive work on customized constitutions for the Etago group as a whole, as well as the individual parishes. 4 of the Etago men took the Matatu in to meet us also. The "Matatu" is a private bus. They jam about 16 narrow seats into a minivan-type of vehicle, and run between towns, at an economical price.

On Monday we made the trip into Etago, and spent a few minutes saying goodbye to the 136 children in the AIDS orphan school.

Then it was on to Pastor Enosh's second congregation, at Ometembe. They had expected us on Sunday, but of course we couldn't come. It was a smaller group that was able to meet with us midday on Monday. They were very friendly and had a good choir. Don't mess with Texas, though...
We probably could have walked to the next destination and gotten there sooner, as the roads were so rutted and pockmarked. It was worth the ride, though to meet the small church at Misesi. The pastor is an older man named Joseph. He had left a larger Lutheran church body in Kenya for doctrinal reasons, and is in the process of affiliating with the Etago group. He is a well-trained and level-headed man. He met us on the road, and offered me a ride on his motorcycle for the remainder of the trip. The people on the roadside thought that was a very unusual sight:

The people at Misesi told us about the history of their group, and their hopes for the future. They have a long-range vision of providing an orphanage and health clinic. We explained to them that we have compassion for peoples bodily needs, but oiur emphasis must be on the Means of Grace, providing training, Bibles, catechisms, etc.

So today we are just traveling, as we count on the steady services of our intrepid driver, Charles, who is a lay leader in the Nairobi CLC congregations:

While in Kisii, Charles gathered a group of about 14 men whom he knew, some of whom had been Muslim. We were also able to meet a few of them. We may have the beginnings of a new congregation in Kisii from these men. They are in contact now with Pastor Joseph, who is the Etago pastoral contact who is nearest to Kisii.

We'll be writing next from Arusha, following the pastoral conference that we plan to have there on Thursday. God bless, Pastors B., N., and R. Schmitt.

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