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Last month in our newsletter we mimicked the “Priceless” Visa commercial. One of the things listed in our newsletter was the number of books about mission work in Africa that we have to read before deploying. These books cover many aspects of being a missionary. We’ve read about cultural differences and cross-cultural communication. We’ve read many books about charity work (mercy), with a focus on the history of mercy in Africa. One of the most important books we’ve had to read is called African Friends and Money Matters. It provides insight into how relationships are different in Africa and even how the idea of hospitality is different. This will be crucial for John, as Project Manager, to learn as much as he can about the nuances of the various cultures and communities and their hospitality practices in order to better do his job as project manager working with the church bodies and congregations around the continent. One of the things we’ve learned is that hospitality to guests seems to be very important to many Africans. Another book we’ve read, called Foreign to Familiar, talks about warm-culture and cold-culture groups. In Africa (a predominantly warm-culture area) the concept of welcoming strangers into your home seems to be widely practiced. Relationships are extremely important, from what we’ve read.

This relational aspect of life is something that actually comes naturally to John. He is from Minnesota, and if you’ve ever heard the phrase “Minnesota Nice” you understand. Hopefully this will serve him well in Africa, but it has also been a joy for us as we work at building relationships with all of you. Many weeks we are visiting churches within an hour or two of our temporary home and so we don’t always stay where we are presenting. But recently we have had opportunities to again experience hospitality from members and pastors of congregations we have visited. Probably the best part of the support building phase of being a missionary has been the opportunities we’ve had to share time with our brothers and sisters in Christ around the country. The hospitality that has been shown to us has been phenomenally uplifting during a difficult time of uncertainty and frequent travel. Being welcomed like family is a blessing and a balm to seven weary souls. This hospitality shown to us will be brought to Africa once we deploy and we pray that we will be able to share the Love of Christ that has been extended to us with people we meet there too! Thank you to each and every one of you for opening up your lives to us and welcoming us as we share the work to be done in Africa. Thank you for your continued prayers for our family and for those we are called to help in Africa!

John Wolf is the Africa Region Project Manager for the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. He and his family, with the support of LCMS churches like Saint John’s, are serving in Kenya. Please keep them in your prayers! We encourage you to follow their family blog,, which is also where you can sign up to their mailing list and make donations.