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Students and faculty at Matongo gather daily for Sala ya Asubuhi (Matins) and Sala ya Jioni (Vespers), plus the divine service with Holy Communion on Wednesday mornings (pictured above).


The Clausing ladies (and friend Gabby Perez) pose in their new dresses made by deaconess students Atugonza Pross and Jane Prossy.

“There is always something new to learn,” remarked Abraham Thiong, a seminary student from South Sudan, as he eagerly settled in last week for another class in the Gospel of Luke.  I told him that I couldn’t agree more.  There is no end to the edification and insight the Spirit provides as we mine His Holy Scriptures.  Even as an instructor, I’m relishing my opportunity this term to teach two parallel courses in both Matthew and Luke, giving me an opportunity to notice connections and complementarities that I’ve not had before, and I’m delighted that my students are taking this good news of Jesus to the people in their parishes.

My family and I have been at Matongo for over a month and a half now, and if I had to choose a single word to capture our experience in these past weeks, it would be community.  It’s nice to live on the same campus as all the students and faculty, to worship together in chapel every day, and to go to the same local congregation on Sunday.  Anita has been enjoying the company of the deaconess students, and our kids enjoy walks on the paths winding among the farms neighboring the seminary.  It’s been a happy change from the constant commuting of last year.

Of course, that’s not to say everything has been easy.  Since we arrived at the seminary almost a month late, I’ve been holding extra classes every week to make up those I missed at the beginning, making my schedule very full.  Living a 90-minute drive from the nearest big town has also been a bit of a challenge, especially when kids get sick or hit their heads on a chair and need stiches. (Thankfully, the latter only happened one time!)  On the whole, though, I count these weeks as the best I’ve spent in Africa.  I really believe in the work being carried out here.

Regarding our move to Tanzania, it’s going to be a race to the finish line. We’d run into a dead end in getting students passes for our kids since the Tanzanian government apparently doesn’t recognize homeschooling or online classes based in other countries. However, we’ve discovered a local school in Moshi that allows homeschool students to attend for a short time in the afternoons, sort of like the homeschool co-ops Anita and the kids used to attend in the U.S. and Nairobi.  The school looks like a really promising avenue toward getting the student passes, so it looks like it’s going to come down to a race to get the passes and move all our personal property moved into Tanzania by November 29, which marks the end of the 90-day window allowed by the Tanzanian government since the initial issuing of my personal work permit.  (Yes, it’s complicated.)

Fortunately, all this will be accomplished with the help of other LCMS missionaries, since I’ll also simultaneously continue teaching full-time at Matongo, whose final exams don’t end until December 7!  Needless to say, it’s going to be a stressful month, and your prayers are appreciated. As always, thank you for your support. A blessed Reformation Day to you from all the Clausings!

Prayer Requests, Praises, and Thanks

Pray that God’s will be done, and that He would give us peace, contentment, and endurance with regard to our uncertain situation in the month ahead.

Thank God for the opportunity to teach His word at Matongo.

Pray for the men in training to be pastors and the women in training to be deaconesses, that God’s word would shape them for ministry.

Pray for our son Emil as he studies in the United States.

Praise God for Anita’s continued good health.

Pray for God’s blessing upon the homeschool studies of all the Clausing kids.