- Written by John Wolf, LCMS Africa Region Project Manager John Wolf, LCMS Africa Region Project Manager
- Created: September 30 2016 September 30 2016
“Mimi ni mtoto wa Mungu!” is the first line in Swahili to the hymn “God’s Own Child.” We arrived in Iringa on a Friday afternoon and were blessed to have two weeks of overlap with a fellow missionary who is a pastor and was able to hold the Divine Service for us on our porch! We sang “God’s Own Child”—in Swahili—both weeks, to introduce us to language training by emphasizing our position as baptized children of God! It’s been such a blessed reminder that we are baptized into Christ: into His name, His death and His resurrection. We’ve loved this hymn for years, and now we can love it in two languages! And you can hear the kids humming it often during the day.
We have now started our fifth week of language training. We have adjusted to life in camp, we’re adapting to the walk from our cabin to our classrooms and the dining hall (it is almost a half a mile each way, we couldn’t help but feel the distance for a bit!). The kids have adjusted to waking up in time for 7:30 breakfast and 8:30 class. Angus has stopped crying when the helper we have for him takes him to play, away from the classes. And even our most reluctant talker has been known to speak up in class, in Swahili!
A real blessing we didn’t really expect is all the other people in the area who are doing such great mission work. This past February we were asked at Gloria Christi in Greeley, Colorado, if John would be working with missionaries from other denominations. Since being in Africa we have been blessed to meet many other foreigners to Africa from many different backgrounds. Each encounter has been an opportunity to learn about needs in Africa, approaches to helping and living tips. We’ve met an Italian doctor working a small village who took a week of Swahili with us and later was able to provide confirmation that we just had a stomach virus and not something more serious. We received sage advice from a few nearby missionaries who grew up in Tanzania and were able to connect us with a local farmer. We met an entrepreneur with an American charitable organization helping small businesses in northern Tanzania, and we have become friends with an optician missionary to Mombassa, Kenya. It’s a blessing to begin building relationships that will not only help in the work to be done, but also help us learn how to navigate this path God has set us on!
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, www.hereiamsendmesendme.blogspot.com, which is also where you can sign up to their mailing list and make donations.