I Cor. 16:9  ‘For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’

February 25, 2009

Fall 2008 Trip to East Africa

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”  (I John 17:20-21).

These words of our Savior’s prayer from Maundy Thursday night serve as a wonderful summary of my recent visitation to our East African brethren.  Accompanied by Mission Helper Russell Schmitt and Mission Board Chairman Bruce Naumann, I spent five weeks in Kenya and Tanzania working with our sister churches there.

Here is a brief overview of our thirty-five day trip–by the numbers:

We traveled over 3,000 miles (4,800 km) by car or bus from Nairobi, north to Nyahururu and back, southeast to Mombasa and back, and west to Kisii (Etago) and back.  Then it was south to Arusha, Tanzania, east to Moshi, Tanzania (at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro), further southeast to Tanga, Tanzania, and then back again to Moshi.  From there we visited Himo, Tanzania (where St. Peter’s seminary is located) almost daily during our final week before making the long trip back to Nairobi, Kenya.

We visited eighteen congregations varying in size from eight to eighty-five members,  Some owned their own wooden or metal church buildings, some worshiped in rented quarters, and one congregation worshiped under a  metal awning which hung off the back of a member’s home.

We participated in the two-day, annual East African General Pastoral Conference in Nairobi where twenty-five men (about four men from each district) studied six doctrinal essays presented by six different pastors.

We participated in a graduation ceremony for eight seminary graduates from the five-year seminary program (this was the first graduating class of St. Peter’s seminary).

We conducted five seminars in Nyeri, Mombasa, Etago, Arusha, and Moshi, which were attended by seventy-eight pastors, evangelists, and Sunday school teachers, who heard twelve different studies (some were repeated).

We spent six days teaching the eighteen students currently enrolled in St. Peter’s seminary in Himo, Tanzania, teaching twelve different classes.

What a blessing to be part of this work of strengthening the unity of the faith between our synods and working together in the proclamation of the gospel so that many believe in Jesus as the Christ!

—Pastor Nathanael Mayhew, Lawrenceville (Atlanta) Georgia, USA

What a Great Day!  Feb. 20, 2009
We had the graduation at Nagalapuram, Andhra Pradesh, India of the Martin Luther Bible School, started as a two year program in Feb.  ’07. That is the way to spend the day. The 16 were graduated. Two men were unable to attend the ceremony,  Suresh was absent to take an examination for his teaching appointment, and Chellaiah was absent due to a child being ill. We gathered on the roof of the building we rent for classes with an awning overhead to protect from the sun. It was a beautiful day with a fine breeze blowing to keep us cool, fluffy clouds going across the azure blue above. Four of us spoke: Pastors Rajamani, Sampath, Ude and me. Three men had prayers interspersed. Pastor D. Paul read the responsibilities to the men and they answered they would carry them out. As the men knelt for blessing, seven of us proceeded individually to each man to pronounce a blessing with prayer laying on hands to each. I was granted the privilege of handing out the diplomas.  At the close student Edwin Raj spoke thanking each for the teaching and help, including the CLC USA. Pastor Aseervadam closed the program with a more casual talk. Afterward we ate a meal cooked  by D. Paul’s wife. The devil certainly took one on the chin today as these men went forth to serve the living Lord. They are assigned to the Kopeddu and Uthukottai Districts of the Berea Evangelical Lutheran Church. Prospective students attended the ceremony and are scheduled to be interviewed. The pastors who teach in the school are: D. Paul, Rajamani, Bhasker, Sampath, Aseervadam. May God continue to bless this new venture for Him and His kingdom’s advance.

The Lenten Season
With Ash Wednesday we have now started the season when we consider the great passion of our Lord for us. He willingly proceeded through everything that He might accomplish our salvation by taking our punishment on Himself. Having lived the perfect life, He then died the sacrificial death and appeased the wrath of God. We do not focus on our sacrifices during this season, but on His sacrifice and consequent atonement. May your Lenten season be a time of deep soul searching to expose your sin and of a deepening of faith as you contemplate Him for you.

A fine Lenten series could be on Is. 53, where it is detailed in prophecy how He would do it all for us. He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. It is so beautiful how the Spirit gives us the substitution of Christ with the repeated use of ‘He’ for ‘us’ and ‘our’. Another fine series of sermons could be on the events of Holy Week and how He fulfilled the prophecies perfectly just as He lived His life perfectly, that there could be no doubt of His accomplishing our salvation.

Below you have the Holy Week Prophecies as recorded in John with the Old Testament Reference.

Holy Week Prophecies

John 12:15                     Is. 53:5

12:38                         53:7

12:40                         53:12

15:25                   Ps. 22:18

(17:12) 13:18               69:21

19:1-3                        34:20

19:9                 Zech.  12:10

19:18                     Is. 53:9

19:24                   Ps. 35:19

19:28-30                     41:9

19:33-36          Zech.     9:9

19:37                    Is.  53:1

19:41                           6:9-10

Pastor Koenig