Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 29 - Nairobi Jammin - Anna Gurath, Team Kenya/Uganda

My husband has a way with words, which is good because his line of work requires it! Mike/Pastor Gurath's blog post from last night well detailed the happenings of our "Arrival Survival" and our first day in Nairobi...I'm not an eight-time veteran though, so I hope I can bring some fresh perspective! 

While waiting in the line for our visas, I'm pretty sure that a good handful of fellow travelers asked me random questions that I didn't have a straight answer to (it's been a while since I've traveled internationally, let alone ever traveled to Africa), so I just looked up at Mike and he would kindly lead them in the right direction...we soon found that this was a trend. Looks like blondes have more fun AND are more approachable! After about an hour getting through the looooooong visa line and thankfully identifying that all our luggage had made it with us, Mike was quick to find Jemima's friendly face in a crowd of a couple hundred Kenyans trying to find their family, friends, clients, or new mega-church pastor. Yep, think Joel Osteen arriving in your hometown. Apparently there was a celebrity pastor that had arrived around the same time we did, and there were a ton of people there to greet him in his fancy suit. Jemima and her friend Joan graciously helped roll our luggage out to where they had parked after stopping at safaricom for the technological essentials and dropped us off at the hotel to get some rest.

Yesterday (Monday) we ventured off to breakfast at the guest house/hotel after sleeping in. We made it to the tail end of service time and had the whole dining area to ourselves, which is nice because that means less spectacle. Pancakes, potatoes, steamed cabbage, bread and jam, Spanish omelette, etc. were available - and we're enjoying taking advantage of the spread while in town! I finally got to meet Abdallah the driver after hearing funny anecdotes and videos of his jokes the last few years, and we made our way to the Lutheran Heritage Foundation to get some printed materials to share in the days ahead. It took a while to find the new location, but it was found with the help of Herbert, who helps run the place. We were blessed to miss the dreaded Nairobi jam on the way back and witnessed the other side of the road not experiencing the same. Naps and dinner followed where we met another wazungu that introduced himself as Mark, a guy from Tennessee who goes around doing medical camps and was in between sending teams off and picking up another at the airport. He gave us the lowdown of the room and shared that the Kenyan Junior Olympic team was also staying with us which explained all the kids coming in and out of the lobby in Nikes and wind breakers. We did some studying, social media updating and blog writing when we went back to the room and woke a few times early this morning for hunting the lone mosquito that made it through the net and the morning call to prayer at the mosque next door. Today is all about resting before we pick up the rest of our team tonight (Kirsten, Hannah and Jennifer) and head out to Kiisi town tomorrow. Hopefully I can share more photos as we go along - Mike has his camera for plugging in to the laptop for easy posting. 

Many thanks to all for your continued prayers as everyone makes their way to their respective countries - may the Lord keep us in his care as we share his love (foreshadowing of our lesson series!) with so many in East Africa!

In Him,

Team Tanzania Vistitation Schedule

Just a quick note to let everyone know about the tentative visitation plans for Team Tanzania.  Our team includes Pastor Nathanael Mayhew, Raven Haight, Sam Naumann, Jessica Schreyer, and Jess Schaller.

June 30 - Arrive Kilimanjaro Airport 8:00pm - drive to Arusha
July 1 - Meet with pastors in morning / VBS at a congregation in evening
July 2 - Arusha Pastoral training in morning / VBS at a congregation in evening
July 3 - Arusha Pastoral training in morning / VBS at a congregation in evening
July 4 - Arusha Pastoral training in morning / VBS at a congregation in evening
July 5 - Church in Arusha area / travel to Moshi in afternoon
July 6 - TCLC Conference in Moshi all day
July 7 - Moshi Pastoral training in morning / VBS at a congregation in evening
July 8 - Moshi Pastoral training in morning / VBS at a congregation in evening
July 9 - Moshi Pastoral training in morning / VBS at a congregation in evening
July 10 - Travel to Makanya / meet with pastors in evening
July 11 - Makanya Pastoral training in morning / VBS at a congregation in evening
July 12 - Church in Makanya / congregational seminar and VBS with children in the afternoon
July 13 - Makanya Pastoral training in morning / VBS at a congregation in evening
July 14 - Makanya Pastoral training in morning / return to Moshi in the afternoon
July 15 - Return to Kilimanjaro airport in evening for return trip home

Thank you all for your prayers for a successful visitation.  May Christ's name be glorified in all that is said and done!

In Christ,

Nathanael Mayhew

Arrival Survival

Pastor Gurath

Phoenix to L.A. to Amsterdam to Nairobi with a maximum of two hour layover in each city kept us cruising along.  The usual mish-mash of foreign businesspeople, returning residents, tourists, volunteers and others jammed into our oversold flight headed for Jomo Kenyatta International airport.  The international terminal is still being rebuilt from the fire that consumed nearly the entire thing two years ago.  Passengers deplaned onto the tarmac and crammed into buses that shuttled weary masses to the immigration line.  That's where things really start to liven up.  Fill out your blue entry card, or the tan one they gave you on the plane, don't forget to pick up a visa application…oh and your customs form.  Once you actually get the visa to be allowed in the country from the surly desk agent it's time to play "Where in the airport is my luggage…if it is, indeed, in the airport?"  The little things we take for granted at airports like the signs that point us in the right direction or  the instructions you can study while waiting in line, you know the ones that we reply to in our heads with "Well, duh, everyone knows to have their I.D. and boarding pass out for inspection"  are sorely missed in this setting.  Oh, but that's not all.  That suitcase full of maybe forty dollars' worth of books or medical supplies that you decided to bring along to help people can be taxed at a nearly one hundred percent rate.  Thanks, Obama.  (He's just an easy target these days.)  It's really not that bad after the 7th or 8th time coming through this way.  I know that it's way better having someone travel alongside of you.  She's  (Anna, aka Mrs. Gurath, aka the more popular Gurath in Kenya already) counting how many times I mention that traveling alone is the worst and traveling with her is tremendously  better.   So far, it's a lot.  Jemima and her friend Joan were kind enough to pick us up from the airport and take us to our guest house for the evening.  We are already adjusting to the time change and had Monday to finalize some trip details and even make it out to see our friends at the Lutheran Heritage Foundation out in the suburb of Hardy with the help of driver and friend, Abdallah.  He laments the fact that I come every year at Ramadhan and we don't have the opportunity to sit down to a meal together as he is fasting during the day.    They have been very generous in helping with our work here in East Africa by providing issues of Good News Magazines,  along with catechisms, The Book of Concord,  God's No and God's Yes by Walther and several hymn books in either Swahili or a local language.  We went to and fro without hitting the dreaded Nairobi traffic jam and settled in for the evening.  Thanks for all the prayers and support.  Psalm Devotion of the day Psa 62:1-2  . For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.  (2)  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.


Sent from my iPhone

Monday, June 29, 2015


Good Morning!

It's departure day for most of the Mission Helpers. Pastor Mike and Anna Gurath arrived in Nairobi yesterday and will spend the next couple of days getting things ready for the others on the Kenya Team.

The thirteen other Mission Helpers will be arriving in Chicago today by air and by land. A big thanks to Pastor David Pfeiffer and the members of Ascension Lutheran in Batavia (Chicago area) for helping out again with shuttling us to and from the airport and taking care of vehicles while we're gone.

The Kenya and Tanzania teams fly out together this afternoon while the Zambia team starts their 37+ hour (flights and layovers) trip to Lusaka later this evening.

Your prayers are greatly appreciated. We'll try to check in along the way.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Getting Ready to Go...

The 2015 CLC Mission Helpers to East Africa are counting down the days until their June 29th departure. This trip will allow fifteen volunteers the opportunity and privilege of proclaiming God's saving word to more than 2500 children. Some of these children will be members of CLC affiliated congregations, but most of them will not. For many of the the children, this will be first time they have heard a clear and Biblical presentation of the Good News of Jesus Christ as the one who died and rose from the dead for their sins! Along with the child evangelism efforts, several pastors and leaders in four different countries in Africa will receive encouragement and training from Pastors Michael Gurath, Nathanael Mayhew, Todd Ohlmann. 

A Dala Dala
waiting for more passengers in Tanzania
The fifteen Mission Helpers will divide into three teams and travel separately to their destinations. Teams flying to Tanzania and Kenya will travel together as far as Amsterdam where they will then part ways. Team Kenya will fly into Nairobi and Team Tanzania will will be flying into Kilimanjaro. Team Zambia will fly through Dubai on their way to Lusaka. Buses, Dala Dalas, Matatus, and rented vehicles will take them to a variety cities, towns, and villages where they will proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Team Kenya
Michael Gurath (Phoenix, AZ) 
Anna Gurath (Phoenix, AZ)
Kirsten Gullerud (Mountain View, CA)
Jennifer Grabow (Mankato, MN)
Hannah Hulke (Eau Claire, WI)

Team Tanzania
Nathanael Mayhew (Sleepy Eye, MN)
Samuel Naumann (Clarkson, WA)
Jessica Schaller (Watertown, SD)
Raven Haight (Markesan, WI)
Jessica Schreyer (Mankato, MN)

Team Zambia
Todd Ohlmann (St. Louis, MO)
Lucas Brown (Phoenix, AZ)
Lydia Albrecht (Milwaukee, WI)
Heidi Lau (Eau Claire, WI)
Riley Noeldner (Eau Claire, WI)

Pastor Ibrahim with the children
during the 2001 Mission Helper Trip to Tanzania
Please pray that the Lord would give an abundance of wisdom, love, compassion, patience, and safety to the Mission Helpers and to those they go to serve as the Gospel is proclaimed to 2500+ children in several villages throughout Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia. Pray also for the pastors and church leaders that Pastors Mayhew, Gurath, and Ohlmann will be working with during the pastoral training seminars and conferences.