Thursday, February 17, 2011

Field Notes from East Africa, Winter 2010/11

Thursday after Epiphany 6
February 17, 2011

The Lord be with you

Rev. Shauen Trump and his family (Krista and Josiah) have arrived in Kenya and have begun their work for the Lord directing all the outreach work of the LC-MS in East Africa. His newsletter, Field Notes, can be found on line. A link has been added to this blog. A portion of the current newsletter is reproduced below. As we keep this work, Shauen and his family in our prayers each Sunday, please also keep them in your prayers.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

Agricultural Seminars with the Meyers

Six days after we landed in Nairobi, Shauen was on the road again for a two week trip into Tanzania. Over the initial days of the journey, Agricultural Missionaries Delano and Linda Meyer stood in corn fields, looked at cattle in stables, asked questions about plants, fertilizers, and land practices, and learned everything they could about the farming techniques employed in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro. All this to establish the background for the program they brought to the people of the Lutheran Church of East Africa (LCEA), a small church body currently exploring opportunities for joint mission efforts with LCMS World Mission.

This amazing team-teaching duo spent decades farming in the United States before “retiring” to mission service in West Africa. There they continued to do what they knew best, infusing instruction on soil conservation, nitrogen fixation, and small-business management with solid Law and Gospel proclamation through discussions on Christian stewardship, marital fidelity, and the two kingdoms.

Years of fine-tuning their two-day program has resulted in a polished presentation of information in an intuitive teaching style. Each section begins with questions, “Tell me how…” that are discussed in groups. Well-versed in some of the sweeping generalizations we can make about African culture, the Meyers divide discussion groups by sex and age and solicit responses in order: young women, old women, young men, old men. Were the old men to speak first (the social custom), no one else would speak to contradict them. The Meyers know that their class may be the first time some women have ever been publicly asked their opinion and they lavish praise.

After learning from those gathered before them, the Meyers begin pointing out opportunities for improvement. “If fast-moving water will carry away the soil, how can we slow it down?” “How can we put more hummus into the soil so we need less fertilizer?” “How can we take advantage of the yearly cycle in the price of maize—is it possible to sell later?” Together the class explores ways to improve the life of the soil, the yield of their crops, and their quality of life. The Meyers masterfully present a compelling and interactive opportunity for these subsistence farmers to give their farms a boost while hearing the Gospel message.

Shauen was privileged to travel with the Meyers and Rev. Claude Houge for this program, taking an opportunity to meet the leadership of the LCEA for the first time. He also participated in the program by leading a Bible Study called “Honor God with Your Body.” On Sundays they worshiped with many of the participants attending the agricultural sessions. The first Sunday Rev. Houge preached and they witnessed the church grow through baptisms. The second Sunday Shauen shared the message and witnessed the confirmation of three boys. Praise the Lord for His work in this part of Tanzania!

Shauen Preaches in Mkombozi Congregation

Sunset in Tanzania

Josiah and "Aunt" Rhoda

More pictures can be found on the Trump newsletter.

Prayer Requests

• For the work of Tanzania’s Lutheran Church in East Africa
• For our family as we settle in to our new home
• For Shauen as he adapts to his position as Mission Facilitator

In Praise

• For Josiah sleeping through the night
• For the safe journey and good health during our time of homeservice
• For Josiah sleeping through the night
• For the 12 men who graduated from Shauen’s TEE class in Uganda
• For Josiah sleeping through the night
• For a successful and safe journey with the Meyers in Tanzania

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