Faculty Travel: Masaki in Tanzania

Some of the children from the St. Ebenezer Lutheran Cathedral in Shinyanga, where each day started by picking up travelers from the parking lot. Dr. Masaki stopped in to say hello.

Dr. Masaki returned from his fourth trip to Tanzania just this past week. He first spoke at the 3rd Annual Theological Symposium of the South East of Lake Victoria Diocese (SELVD) of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), where he was asked to lecture on the topic of “The Vitality of the Lutheran Heritage in the Divine Service.”

After the symposium ended, he then taught a couple of classes to pastoral and diaconal students at the Bishop Emmanuel Makala Training Center. From Dr. Masaki’s Facebook page, here is a report from him about our brothers and sisters in Tanzania:
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“It is hard to find an appropriate word to express my profound joy of seeing the faces of the pastors of the SELVD-ELCT. The issue on the ordination of women and what they call ‘liberalism’ is now a problem of the past. Pastors have grown together so much in the solid confession of the Lord as Lutherans. They are consciously convinced of the Book of Concord Lutheranism! One of the first cohort students approached me during break time and said, ‘Look at your (not mine personally but the work of the CTSFW) fruits of labor!’
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“Our CTSFW graduate and student, Dr. Daniel Mono and Rev. Yohana Nzelu, continue to exhibit their clear and respected leadership among the pastors. Bishop Makala said that the main problem of the diocese is how best it may cope with the fast numerical growth. When this diocese was created in 2012, it had 15,000 people and 17 pastors. Now that the number of the pastors has increased to a little more than 60, the membership has also grown at a much faster pace. It’s over 90,000 now. That’s 15,000 baptisms every year! This diocese is striving to reach so many people in this region who have never heard the Gospel yet.”

Dr. Masaki with two of their three District Pastors (equivalent in standing to our own District Presidents). Dr. Daniel Mono (who received his D.Min. from CTSFW in 2018), and Rev. Yohana Nzelu (who received his M.A. in 2016 from CTSFW and is currently pursuing his D.Min. as well).

As to his classes on Christology and the Lord’s Supper:
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“Unlike the previous two cohorts, the lectures are given without a translator/interpreter into Swahili. Also compared to the first two, the number of students is small. According to Bishop Makala, this is only because the diocese can afford their future salaries up to this number. He can recruit many more students, which to me is an amazing thing. The smaller number means that I can get to know each student better. Hearing each one’s stories on how they became a Christian/Lutheran and how they have been guided to this point to study for the pastoral and deaconess services in the church is quite breathtaking and extraordinary.
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“We are thankful that CTSFW’s assistance in theological education of the SELVD-ELCT is bearing wonderful fruit. The solid confession of Christ is ever growing under the terrific leadership and careful planning of Bishop Makala and his team. I am proud of all my students of diverse background and a variety of talents. The Lord’s blessings will remain with them!”

Dr. Masaki’s class at the training center. One day a student responded joyfully and strongly in class, saying, “Sawa Kabis!” which means “Truly, absolutely!” The phrase became something of a theme for the class (this, according to Dr. Masaki is their “Sawa Kabisa” pose). They concluded their two-week intensive by singing “A Mighty Fortress” in Swahili.