Praise the Lord, the MaaSAE Girls Lutheran Secondary School Team has completed an amazing week with the approximately 350 students and their very committed staff and faculty.
It began Sunday with a very Lutheran yet very African worship service led by the recently retired District Pastor Nangole who has been a true friend to the Girls School and to the Cross of Christ teams in the past. He was assisted by the school’s Chaplain Senyati, a young Maasai woman who will be ordained in October. Along with her husband, Elijah – who will be ordained next month as the Parish Pastor with oversight of 22 churches in the Monduli area – they are the first clergy couple in this diocese (the Tanzanian Lutheran Church’s equivalent of a synod). The ordination of Senyati and this clergy couple are signs of increasing roles for women in church leadership.
As was expected given the culture, Pastor Dave was invited to bring a greeting on behalf of Cross of Christ and our team. It was a joy to share your love with the more than 400 gathered for worship at the school’s chapel. What was unexpected was Pastor Nangole’s impromptu invitation to Pastor Dave to share in the Communion liturgy and sharing the elements. What an honor and experience of unity!
Wonderful worship experiences started and closed the school days all week, with the girls providing all the leadership – expect when they would invite a member of our team to share a reading, prayer, or short comment in English! All who were invited were honored and humbled. And what worship! These young disciples sing to the Lord with great gusto, sometimes adding movements and dance, accompanied only by traditional drumming. It is a foretaste of the heavenly worship that never ends to hear the voices of our new friends and sisters singing in praise of Jesus!
Some of the services are in Kiswahili, some in Kimaasai, and some days in English – with hymns that would be familiar to any American Lutheran. But no doubt the most rousing service of the week is the Friday evening chapel, when the girls get to pick their favorite songs to sing. For nearly an hour we sang and danced even more energetically than in services before. I guess you’d call most of the songs Tanzanian Praise music, and they were wonderful. Elise, our team’s dancer, joined in the leadership line to the glee of the girls. All of us were so inspired by the joy the girls expressed.
Pete and David spent hours in the computer lab with the young and very competent Computer Lab teacher Hellen. While progress is slow with limited internet access and aging equipment, they were able to provide some upgrades and repairs, which were greatly appreciated.
The focus for most of the team were the daily Bible studies and conversations teams we were asked to lead. About 80 girls were divided into four groups of 20 or so, which proved to be pretty large and boisterous and enthusiastic participants. We shared stories including the baptism of Jesus, the visitation of the Magi, the feeding of the 5,000, and the miraculous pregnancies of Elizabeth and her relative Mary. To practice English and share cultures, we also brought pictures to start conversations about American food, the scenery and animals of the Pacific Northwest, and topics the girls brought up from sports to music to family structure and even politics. What fun to be in the tight huddles the girls would create to see the photos, hear the music, and ask their questions.
It is our joy to represent you and bring your love to MGLSS. We have several outings ahead of us this weekend and beyond, but we’ll remain headquartered at the Guest House here at the school until Wednesday.
Please continue to pray for our safety, health and spiritual openness. Pray for the girls, their teachers, and their awesome leadership. And please know we have you all in our hearts as we have the privilege of sharing your love and the love of Christ with these amazing sisters of ours, and yours!
Pastor Dave, for the MGLSS team