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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hello my brothers. Hello my sisters.

Ann Sponberg Peterson writes:

I was pleased to recently be in Washington DC to attend a donor reception at the Tanzanian Embassy, at which I met Her Excellency Liberata Mulamula, Ambassador of Tanzania to the United States.  This lovely reception was for Books for Africa donors, and through our collaborative work together, I was invited to attend.  It was a wonderful gathering and, as always, it’s terrific to be in the shared company of Africans and Americans dedicated to educational empowerment. 

Good new connections were made and I will look forward to renewing these acquaintances when I return on future trips.  I also had to smile when being introduced to the occasional BFA Board Member – in addition to being called a “container captain,” I was referred to as “the Namibia woman.”   In so many ways, that’s worth smiling about!   

When Her Excellency greeted the assembled group – “Hello my brothers, hello my sisters,” it all felt so right.  And so right to be welcomed to Tanzania, since we were indeed on their sovereign soil. 

It’s been a good spring in this way – being able to experience things in new ways and having so many seemingly isolated occurrences building upon one another so as to make for an impressive and cohesive whole. 

Just after returning from DC, I received a letter from Bishop Nambala of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN), asking for members of the Luther College community to pray for the candidates who would soon be ordained into Lutheran ministry on Sunday, April 26. 

April 26 was Good Shepherd Sunday and that following Friday I was scheduled to speak in chapel.  At the close of chapel my colleagues in college ministries graciously fulfilled this request to collectively pray for these 17 new pastors in Namibia.   Seven men, and ten women were ordained into Lutheran ministry in what was the 57th service of ordination since the first ordinations in 1925. 

So these small details keep aligning in an otherwise much larger spring, with so many things reminding me of the rich interdependent nature of our lives.  But then, my brothers and sisters, this is the meaning of ubuntu – a person is only a person through other people.

Thanks to Susan Bauer who reminded me through her book, Choosing Africa: A Midlife Journey from Mission to Meaning, of the importance of understanding ubuntu.  Susan Bauer chronicles her life and experience of teaching at Paulinum Seminary in Namibia.  It’s a good read and it’s especially wonderful when you can see perfectly some of her experiences as your own.  My thanks to Pastor Rebecca Bourrett who kindly gave me this book in the fall of 2013, after I spoke to the members of her congregation, Christ Lutheran Church in Natick, Massachusetts, about Empowering Learners. 

Today, just a quick update – the drought continues in the North of Namibia and so the building of our new schools has been delayed further.  It seems best and most appropriate to unite with our brothers and sisters in prayer for rain and in hope for the future for all.   Undeterred we continue in our current and long-term fundraising efforts and in the building of the Empowering Learners Endowment Fund.  

There remains much to do, and as a people of faith we are embolden to continue what we have started. Thank you for all you do to support the mission and vision of this project. God is good. God is always, always good.

Empowering Learners 

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