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God comes to His people through the preaching of His Word.
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A universal tradition (as far as I can tell) in east Africa is for the whole congregation to recess out of the nave during the closing hymn of the divine service. Once everyone is gathered outside in a huge circle, announcements are made and a second, final benediction is given.
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Pastoral and deaconess students work diligently on their final exams in the Chemnitz Library at Matongo.

Dear Fellow Redeemed,

The lecture halls are empty; the dorms are quiet; the sound of conversation no longer fills the dining hall; the sounds of prayer and singing are no longer heard daily in the chapel. The term at Matongo over, and faculty and students have gone home for the Christmas holiday. For my part, I’m certainly glad for a change in schedule after months of weekly commuting, and I can only imagine the joy of my students as they journey home, many of whom have been away from their families since the beginning of the term in August. Two of them, in fact, have new baby daughters waiting for them who were born during the term and whom they have only seen via photos on their cell phones!

Although classes are over, I still have a bit of traveling to do before Christmas. The LCMS is providing certificates to past graduates of the mission training center program in Kenya in order to recognize their achievement, and St. Andrews Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau, MO has provided bicycles for many of these graduates to use as they travel from place to place preaching the Word of God. It’s my task to see that these certificates and bikes reach their destinations, and these trips are also giving me the opportunity to meet one-on-one with more of the bishops and to visit the various diocesan offices.

The Clausing family is also preparing for travel. A few of the kids and I hope to do a little hiking in the mountains north of Nairobi after Christmas, and the whole family is looking forward to our much longer journey next summer. We’ve been in Africa almost two years now, and there are only six months left before our first return visit to the United States!

In the midst of all this travel and planning for travel, we also joyfully remember that our Lord is a God who travels. He knows that our sin makes us unable to journey to Him, so He comes to us instead. He came in the flesh to the manger in Bethlehem long ago; He comes to us now in the preaching of His Word and the sacrament of His body and blood; He comes to all the local villages in east Africa when our preachers leave the seminary and go out with the Gospel to their people; and He will come in visible glory at the end of this age. We sing in our hymns this season of the God who travels: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!”, “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come”, “Joy to the World, the Lord is Come!”

We wish you a blessed Advent and merry Christmas, and we thank you for supporting the work of spreading the Gospel, through which our traveling God comes to His people.

Prayer Requests, Praises, and Thanks

Thank God for a successful conclusion to the fall term at Neema Lutheran College at Matongo.

Ask God’s blessing upon students as they travel home to their families over the Christmas holiday.

Pray that Anita and I would have wisdom as we sketch out our calendar and plan for home service in the U.S. in the summer of 2018.

Pray for our oldest son Emil as he continues the college search and application process in preparation for next year.

Pray for peace in Kenya amidst political divisions.