Graduations! Sept. 2017

Above: Great to see our students graduating at AIU in Nairobi!

News from AIU in Nairobi

I (Steve) am excited for my students who graduated from our Intercultural Studies PhD! Two are now home ministering in Nigeria. Moses (above, on the left) completed the World Christianity track. Michael (on the right) became was my T.A. He graduated from the Islamics track. I continue to supervise Abram (in the middle). He has been teaching in a Bible school Tanzania for many years. Adding a wife and 3 children slowed progress, but he recently sent me a draft of his research findings. 

Below: Hannah represented at AIU gradutation, celebrating here with Michael, who became our family’s friend while doing his MDiv in Missions and PhD.

Home assignment:

Itinerating: We have visited all of TEAM’s regular church supporters and nearly all of the individuals. In March through May, we traveled from coast to coast. While some have shifted all or part of their giving to other missions, the majority have continued to support TEAM. Many expressed excitement about continuing to participate in all that God is accomplishing through TEAM.

Writing: I completed a draft of the major section on “What the Bible says about witchcraft” as well as some other sections of the “What about witches?” book. I am working with the co-author in Nigeria and editors in UK and Kenya. Writing is hard work! Writing together is even harder, but will make this much better. Jan is nearly done writing up her 4th of 5 dissertation chapters.

News from LVCC in Tanzania

Above: LVCC graduates and spouses celebrate!

LVCC’s 3 residential sites have continued at the doubled rate for the past 3 sessions! (Including spouses, a record 197 studied in the spring.) In fact, they  need to split the Mwanza site into 2 sessions.

Below, 23 LVCC students graduated Sept. 3rd in Mwanza (18 men and 5 women). It was a celebration, praising God for his faithfulness, with lots of dancing, worship, and food!  See our website for a video:  https://youtu.be/SqVsVU-3OH0

 

Below: Benester is teaching the class in “Christian Family” to students and spouses. (We started giving scholarships for spouses to attend this when Jan taught it years ago.) They taught in the Mwanza PEFA church building, since they could not fit into our one classroom. 

Please pray for upcoming travels:

UN Witchcraft and Humans Rights Experts’ Workshop

Sept 17 – 25, Geneva:

Although this is a secular conference, I have been invited to speak on what the church is doing in Africa to address it. I also was able to convince them to invite Samuel Kunhiyop to speak. Jan is attending as an expert participant, related to her work on the village education programs we developed.

Pray that we build relationships with others addressing this issue.

Travel to Tanzania and Kenya:

Nov 27 – Dec 31 trip with ten others

Ministry at BCF
We have really enjoyed the multicultural community of BCF, St. Paul. It is amazing to every Sunday talk to people I have been in this church with for 35 years and talk to others in Swahili. God has answered my prayer to speak to his people as I have been preaching through Genesis.

Above: Rachel began and taught a literacy program in a Nairobi slum

Family Update

This summer all four of our kids lived somewhere in Africa. Rachel went to start a program teaching English and Swahili literacy in a slum where a missionary friend lives and ministers. She and Hannah enjoyed living together again. Isaac did community development in a small Ghanaian town. Justin continues assisting public health research in Mbarara, Uganda.

 

 

TEAM Pix March 2017: Continuity and Change

Family at LVCC some years ago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear TEAM partners,
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil. 1:3-6)

This is definitely how I feel about YOU and our African partners! Thank you! Together, God has led us through many different phases and assignments, but we have remained faithful to our calling and core business: Training ministers. We have taught those who would be faithful to teach others (2 Tim 2:2). Then we have released and sometimes relocated so they can develop while we continue to support them. The apostle Paul had a similar pattern of training and moving, but continuing to write, advise, visit, and teach.

In Tanzania, Lake Victoria Christian College (LVCC) grew from 35 when we arrived to now having 550 students. We moved to Nairobi to teach missions students while releasing and supporting LVCC. After 8 years of teaching missions at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST), we sense that we have completed our major assignments there. My former students do missions, teach, pastor, doctor and lead around the globe. Others have completed or are completing PhDs.

After much prayer and discernment together with others, God has lead us to shift the focus of our training ministers. I will shift to adjunct at NEGST. As Lead Pastor at Bethel Christian Fellowship, I will focus on training members to minister interculturally. Instead of living in Nairobi and visiting MN every other year for some months, we will be ministering from St. Paul and visiting Africa for about one month each year. I will also focus on TEAM work one day each week while in the USA. Our “ligament ministry” connecting and growing up the body of Christ will continue (Eph. 4:16).

Communication with LVCC and about witchcraft and witch accusations will continue at the same pace. I will advise, visit once a year, and raise funds for LVCC. In 2017, Sam Kunhiyop and I plan to write our book for African pastors, What about Witches? A Christian Response for Sufferers and Suspects. BCF has allowed me to step away from pastoring from March 6 – June 5 to focus on TEAM assignments – especially writing the book and visiting supporting churches.

God surprised us by leading us back to BCF where I began ministering as a member 35 years ago and as full-time assistant pastor 25 years ago. Only such a House of Prayer for All Nations would encourage their Lead Pastor to spend ¼ of his time on TEAM. This allows me to train BCF’s leaders, but also not get in their way.

Please do keep praying during this transition for all the members of TEAM including us, BCF, and African partners. We trust God to carry on and complete the work He has begun. We pray He continues to lead and enable each of us in our part.

With gratitude and joy,

Steve

Rev. Steve Rasmussen, PhD
Senior Lecturer, Africa International University (AIU)
Director, Training East African Ministers (TEAM)

Family at LVCC recently

 

Kids finding their way… back to Africa

We praise God that Hannah continues to thrive in Nairobi.  In fact, the Africa Study Bible launches today in Kenya!  Justin is learning lots about public health research in Mbarara, Uganda. God has answered prayers for community and Christian fellowship for him. Isaac returned from Kenya today, where he did a water project with Northwestern’s Engineers without Borders. He plans to study abroad in Ghana this summer. Rachel is busy writing a grant to do a community development internship in a Nairobi slum this summer.

Letter from the head lay elder of our church, BCF:

Dear friends of TEAM,
It is my great privilege to write you today and share an important update about the ministry of Steve and Janice Rasmussen and their work with Training East African Ministers (TEAM). Our church body at Bethel Christian Fellowship (BCF) in St. Paul has had the joy of sending and supporting them in their ministry in East Africa since 1995, when they first went to Mwanza, Tanzania, to serve at Lake Victoria Christian College (LVCC). We are very grateful for your faithful participation with us in the ministry of TEAM, as shown by your generous support through prayer, finances, and relationship the past twenty-two years.

Many things have changed for Steve and Jan since they first went to Tanzania with their very young children Hannah and Justin. Their family grew to include a stillborn daughter named Esther Hope and their twins Isaac and Rachel. Over the years Steve’s ministry grew from his work as LVCC teacher and principal to the expanded role of training ministers in multiple sites and developing Tanzanian leaders who now run LVCC with advice, communication, and fund-raising assistance from him. In a visit to LVCC in 2002, I was both humbled and challenged by the authenticity of devotion to Christ and commitment to ministry that I saw in the Tanzanian leaders and the ministers who were training there.

Steve’s work to complete his PhD in missiology in 2008 deepened his understanding of ministry in Africa and led to its broadening. That same year, he began training missionaries from thirty-five countries at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST) in Kenya. After serving there for eight years, he and Jan returned to the United States for a yearlong sabbatical from AIU, beginning this past summer.

Shortly after Steve and Jan arrived in St. Paul, Steve graciously agreed to serve our church body at BCF as half-time Interim Lead Pastor while he continued to minister half-time with TEAM. As Steve ministered to us, prayed with our Elder Board, and worked with our staff, we began to see that he might be the person God was calling to be our next permanent Lead Pastor. With our calling to be a House of Prayer for All Nations, we recognized that he is uniquely qualified to minister across the various cultural differences in our congregation and to help train us as leaders in intercultural ministry.

Thus, when Steve and Jan expressed openness to serve as BCF’s new Lead Pastor, we began the  process of discovering if God would confirm that this was His plan. Our Elder Board agreed to submit the possibility to our staff and ministry coordinators in December and January. Both leadership groups prayerfully considered it and unanimously affirmed our belief that this was of God. We presented Steve as our pastoral candidate to the entire congregation in early February, and our membership unanimously affirmed him as our new Lead Pastor on Saturday, March 4.

So what does this mean for Steve and Jan? What does this mean for the ministry of TEAM?

Steve will begin his ministry as BCF’s Lead Pastor on June 5. He and Jan will also continue their ministry with TEAM. Like you, we at BCF place high value on TEAM. Therefore, we are releasing Steve as our Lead Pastor, to give a quarter of his ministry hours to provide ongoing leadership support to TEAM through writing projects, communications, advising, fund-raising, and occasional travel.

Because Steve will be giving a quarter of his ministry hours to TEAM ministry, one-fourth of his salary will come from TEAM funds. We see this as an opportunity for expanded ministry, especially in Tanzania. With a smaller portion of TEAM funds required for Steve’s compensation, there is now an opportunity for TEAM to utilize more funds in strategic investment for the building of God’s kingdom in East Africa.

What does this mean for you as a TEAM supporter? As Steve and Jan’s sending church the past twenty-two years, we are very grateful for your partnership with TEAM. We appreciate the support you have shown for the work of TEAM, Steve and Jan, and the Tanzanian leaders of LVCC. Here at BCF, we are maintaining our current level of support for TEAM in this new season of Steve and Jan’s ministry. We encourage you to also continue or perhaps increase your current level of giving for the training of East African ministers.

Please be praying for God’s continued guidance and grace for Steve and Jan, their family, and the exciting developments of their ministry. We thank God that we can share together with you in the ministry of TEAM.

Sincerely in Christ,
Ken Holmgren
Lead Lay Elder at Bethel Christian Fellowship, St. Paul, MN   USA

Addendum from Dr. Jim Olson
One of the greatest blessings of being the Lead Pastor of BCF for twenty-six years was the opportunity to partner with Steve and Jan Rasmussen and the ministry of TEAM. As I have now transitioned into my new role as the President of the Pilgrim Center for Reconciliation, it gives me great joy to know that Steve is stepping into the role of Lead Pastor of BCF AND continuing to lead the efforts of TEAM. I wholeheartedly agree with Ken and BCF in encouraging your continued support for Steve and Jan and TEAM in this new season of expanded ministry.

TEAM Pix: August 2016: 3 Rs

Thanks for your prayers for our intensive courses. Jan just finished her grading. I am still grading and supervising PhD students (like those from my intensive class above).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leading, ‘Riting and Relationships

We are now in St. Paul, Minnesota for a year of ministry focused on the 3 Rs: leading, ‘riting, and relationships.

Writing: After 8 years of teaching, AIU has given me a year sabbatical. I will move the “What about witches?” book to the front burner. God enabled Jan to interview over 60 international students and professors around Nairobi. Now she needs to type up and analyze them and then write her dissertation.

Relationships:  Home assignment as a missionary means focusing on relationships with the USA members of the TEAM, this time especially with our sending church (Bethel Christian Fellowship http://betheltwinscities.org/#/home). TEAM is a ministry of BCF. For 22 years, BCF has graciously contributed significant administrative and financial support every month and passed on every dollar from other donors.

Leading: BCF’s elders have asked me to serve as interim senior pastor from Sept 15. They want me to split my ministry between pastoring and TEAM for some months while they call the next pastor. During those months, BCF will pay half of my salary and continue fully supporting TEAM. TEAM will pay the other half of my salary. Please pray for effective ministry in all of our roles.

Rasmussen Family Reunion at Sand Hill Lake Bible Camp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rasmussens (above) met at camp in August.  The Horsagers (below) gathered at the family farm in July. What a privilege to be with family!

Horsager Family Reunion at Clar-Mar Farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pastor-students at LVCC more than double!

TEAM will also continue to support Lake Victoria Christian College (LVCC) with three quarters of its expenses. Those expenses have increased for a great reason: 170 instead of the usual 85 or so ministers were trained last session in the three short-term residential sites. Most of these new students are pastors of churches who have not had opportunity to attend any Bible school before.

Musoma school last session. Please pray for the current sessions.

 

Right now, Musa, our former student and current missionary to the unreached is teaching missions in Mwanza while Nestory is teaching Books of Moses in Musoma. The Ngara school starts the end of August.

TEAM Pix March 2016: Witchcraft Accusations and the Church Conference a Success!

Witchcraft Accusations and the Church Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for your prayers. The Witchcraft Accusations and the Church Conference in early March in Nairobi went great!  Over 200 scholars, students, and church leaders participated for two days – double the number and time we have had at any previous Africa Society of Evangelical Theology (ASET) meeting. We also plan to produce two books. (ASET is finishing its first book from last year’s conference.)

Steve speaking in the general session of the conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does the Bible say on witchcraft?

The first day, various experts, mostly African elders, shared their expertise on the topic. Steve connected the research, the practical situation in the villages, and the Biblical teachings. He really challenged us to trust in God’s power (not fear deceivers and accusers), and to care for the accused (usually widows, orphans, and the vulnerable). Steve’s hard drive crashing that morning made him trust God – and the Holy Spirit REALLY enabled him!

Before the meetings, Bishop Sam Kunhiyop and Steve, with writing expertise from Hannah, discussed the book they are writing on witchcraft accusations for pastors, funded by Tyndale Foundation.  Pray for this book to come together. This will be a priority in our sabbatical this next school year.

Church leaders’ working group

 

 

 

 

 

Church leaders and researchers go deeper

Then, as a follow-up from our 2013 conference,  20 of us committed to working on this issue met for two days to share in depth what we are learning and doing about witchcraft accusations around Africa, and to make plans to collaborate more. Steve’s mentor Dr. Priest led us.

We discussed some of the things we had been posting on the blog at http://henrycenter.tiu/section/witch-accusations/. For example, how Nigerian movies (from “Nollywood”) are spreading witchcraft beliefs in new forms around Africa (The most recent post by Kunhiyop’s on this had over 10,000 hits.)

From the DR Congo, we heard Rev. Abel Ngolo report how families and some pastors identify children as witches and even torture then to exorcise the witchcraft. However, he is ministering to these children and teaching pastors how to better handle the situation. (In Kinshasa, 70% of 20,000 street kids were chased from their homes for such accusations).

Members of this group conducted and conference and then a survey of 700+ pastors. One result of the survey was that pastors with less theological education were more likely to be accusing children. Because Pentecostal pastors have less training, they are also more likely to be involved. (Training saves lives!)

Jan and the deans leading session on Tanzania village workshops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reporting on village seminars in TZ

Many were impressed with the training being done by the Pentecostal pastors we work with in Tanzania. The Lake Victoria Christian College (LVCC) deans presented with Janice their approach to this hot issue in 19 seminars to over 1000 villagers. Jan contributed her expertise in adult education to the whole four days. She submitted a post for the blog so you can read more soon..

Connections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We enjoyed this conference because we got to introduce our friends to each other: 10 church leaders from Tanzania we have worked with for decades, colleagues and students from AIU and other theological schools, as well as Steve’s mentors from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago, who sponsored it with ASET. Above, Steve is with the former Dean Tienou of Trinity International University, Chicago and the LVCC Deans from Tanzania:  Revs. Benesta Misana, Raphael Okeyo, and Nestory Lunyilija.

Coalition formed

Out of the desire to make a difference we formed a coalition: Light: Christians Addressing Witchcraft and Witch Accusations. Steve was encouraged to lead this group into vision, a mission statement, etc. We formed a board of ten top scholars and church leaders, which includes the heads of three churches based in Nigeria, Ghana, and Malawi totaling more than 14 million Christians. Other members are from Kenya, DR Congo, Burkina Faso, USA, and UK. Please pray for this community of Light to move ahead in bringing light to local communities.
Prayer update:

  • Thanks, too, for your prayers for Chinyere Priest.  She is recovering.
  • Jan got ethical review board approval.  Pray for the Kenyan government research permit to come quickly and for her interviews.
  • Jan and Steve have 3 intensive courses to teach in April as well as Steve finishing his regular semester courses.
  • LVCC in Tanzania: Record numbers of students in the one-month intensive terms (53 now studying in Musoma and 59 in Mwanza) have brought great opportunity and challenge.
  • Thank you!  We appreciate your  concern and prayers.  God is faithful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

TEAM Pix March 1, 2016: Pray for Witchcraft Accusations and the Church Conference This Week!

Witch Accusations and the Church conference

For the next four days, Jan and I will be staying at another university. Wednesday and Thursday we will discuss with a small working group what we have done related to Witch Accusations and the Church since the 2013 conference and make plans for next steps. Friday and Saturday we will be presenting to 150 leaders on these topics.

We are sponsoring 12 top Church and Bible College leaders from Tanzania to come and be part of this. I look forward to friends who I have worked with for decades meeting each other: from Mwanza, Chicago, Nigeria, DRC, Ghana, Malawi, Canada and Kenya.

I and others have been working hard to pull this all together.  But this will only be worth anything if God does his work. I know that Satan loves accusing, deceiving, and threatening with this, but I also know that God is trustworthy and all-powerful.  He loves the vulnerable especially (who are often accused). Please pray!

We had a good few days in Mwanza in January working with the LVCC deans. Here Janice discussed the presentation she will do together with them at this conference about the 15 seminars about witch accusations that they did. All but Pastor John Mwanzalima will come. Almost a year since his accident, he is still not well enough to travel far or sit long.

Please pray for complete healing for him and also for Chinyere Priest. She is my teaching assistant, PhD supervisee, and an enthusiastic learner from Nigeria. She planned to be part of this conference. She had an operation, but they cut her colon so she needed another operation to fix that. She just got home after 24 days in the hospital – mostly in intensive care. She is still in much agony, but praising Jesus for sparing her life.

Pray for Jan. She completed all revisions on her PhD research proposal. Now she is completing a detailed ethical review process, but is running out of time to do her interviews and survey before summer.

We also appreciate your prayers for our daily life, relationships and tasks. We are well and our teaching is going fine. Pray for our revision of our MA theology curriculum. Continue to pray for AIU leadership, vision, finances, and future. God enables us through your prayers.

 

TEAM Pix Aug. 2015 Tenwek Hospital Missions Week

Thank you for praying for our ministry to Tenwek Hospital staff this past week!

God touched people as Steve spoke in three evening services at their Medical Missions Emphasis Week.

Tenwek Missions Week

“We treat, Jesus heals” is seen everywhere. We learned from them and Steve challenged them in following Jesus model in Luke: declaring the kingdom of God with teaching, healing, and dealing with demons….even to our “enemies.”

Tenwek Hospital sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our host, Elijah Bii (pictured with his family) is chaplain to the staff and a 2015 AIU graduate.

 

Tenwek hosts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the mornings Steve spoke for various departments’ devotions, like the doctors’ below.   He drew on his research and writing on holistic, integrated Christian responses to sickness.  We also discussed with doctors, chaplains, and others how they do this and their questions and plans to do better.

Tenwek morning sessions with medical personnel

We interviewed leaders in the Community Health and Development Program which is doing amazing outreach work in so many communities. Since this is one of the effective Christian organizations we have been studying in our Africa Leadership Study, it was great to meet them and learn more.

 

Interviewing Community Health professionals at Tenwek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Community Health Development Program’s motto, translated is “prevention is better than cure.”

Tenwek Community Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Their work reminded me (Jan) of my past Extension nutrition work in communities, but with a Jesus model and a church base.  They are working on issues like safe water, HIV/AIDS, immunizations, and community empowerment

On the four-hour drive out we had a problem with the car, but praise God we got it repaired in just an hour (and the mechanic found another problem that could have caused bigger issues).

This week: 

Today is Graduation at Lake Victoria Christian College in Mwanza, TZ.

Sunday, Pastor Tom and Alice Flaherty from Madison, WI will speak at our church and then spend a few days with us.

Monday we begin our first Semester at AIU.  Steve will teach Social Anthropology and Contextualization for masters and a PhD seminar on Research Methods.  Hannah starts her MDiv, part-time.  I (Jan) will teach Adult Education Theories.

Rachel and Isaac will head out for a week of Cultural Field Studies with Rosslyn Academy – going to different Masaai sites.

 

TEAM Pix March 2015 Writing and Teaching about Witches

My (Steve’s) research on sickness, death and witches taught me how critical this is to people’s life and faith in Jesus in Tanzania, Africa, and the world. For example a person suspected of being a witch is murdered every day in Tanzania alone. But at first, my attempts to teach and write about this met with repeated closed doors. So we kept praying and talking. 

God has now opened many doors! Now we really need YOU to pray us through them!

Teaching counselors and teachers

 

In December, John Jusu and I taught probably the first class ever in “Witchcraft, Accusations and Counseling” at the request of the psychology and counseling department at AIU (below).

Those who we taught in the 2013 seminar in Tanzania have now begun seminars in 15 locations across NW Tanzania inviting church and community leaders to respond better to witchcraft accusations and persecutions.
Writing
The article that Hannah and I wrote for the top missiology journal inspired them to make a theme issue, which is free online. (Go to this link http://www.internationalbulletin.org/issues/2015-01/2015-01-012-rasmussen.html)
IBMR article by Steve and Hannah

 

I have also been asked by the Henry Center for Theological Understanding to join a team of mostly African scholars and church leaders who will be blogging on this topic for the next 10 months. I will write 10 blog posts and respond to others.

I am nearly done with the first draft of an article and 18 notes on particular scriptures related to witches for the Africa Study Bible.

Samuel Kunhiyop, Hannah and I now have Hippo Publishers committed to publish our book on “What about witches: Christian response to sufferers and suspects” – once we write it.

ASET – I am currently chair of the Africa Society of Evangelical Theology. This Saturday (March 7) is our annual meeting. We focused the theme on Christian Response to Suffering and more than doubled the number of presentations on everything from terrorism to Job. Presentations somewhat related to witchcraft will include Janice, myself, Bob Priest (my former supervisor – USA), and 2 students I am supervising. Dr. Isaiah Majok Dau, bishop of the Sudan Pentecostal Church will be flying in straight from the fire of war in Sudan.  We have an agreement with Langham literature to make a book from the best of the presentations.

The following week (March 9-13) Jan and I will go to a writing retreat where I and others will revise and finalize our chapters for a book from our Africa Leadership Study. I am writing about the top African leaders’ use of intercultural skills – NOT about witchcraft for a change.

Please Pray! So far, writing has been a struggle.  All of these have something due in the next week and more in the months ahead! Only the Holy Spirit through your prayers can enable Jan, myself and others to write what will reduce fear, ostracism, beatings and murders. Only God can give us the focus and fruitfulness to write all of this in addition to all of our regular responsibilities (For example, Jan is teaching one class and finishing her last PhD class. I am teaching three and supervising 7 student’s research projects.)

Other prayer requests:

  • Good guidance for Janice as she writes her PhD dissertation research proposal.
  • Challenges at AIU: Clear vision, Student – management disagreements, Finances
  • LVCC: Now teaching an intensive month of classes in both Mwanza and Musoma, Title deed for the 17 acres in Mwanza, Finances

 

Greetings and news from Hannah – Aug. 2014

Dear friends and family,

Thank you so much for your support these last few years. Thank you for calling me, feeding me, letting me stay at your house, sending me cards, doing fun things together and praying for me. Your welcome has made me feel at home during my time in college. I did a research paper about missionary kids and realized again just how rich I am in friendship and how much of my success I owe to you all, and your prayers.

I’d love your continued prayers for my next step. After applying for many jobs, an unexpected opportunity fell into my lap. My new supervisor was praying for help with the Africa Study Bible and happened to connect with my dad. He offered me a one-year Editorial Assistant position in Nairobi. I’ll be moving in mid-August and will live with my family. I’m very excited about this chance to use the writing, cultural analysis and ministry skills I’ve developed at Mac! It was a total God-thing.

I’d love to hear more about how you all are doing. Now that I’ve graduated, the best ways to keep in touch are through email or at my new writing projects website (including a poem about my job decision process): hannahras.wordpress.com

Or Facebook / Skype / visit!

Love,

Hannah

Update from Hannah who is moving to Nairobi

Thank you so much for your support these last few years. I owe so much of my success to your prayers.

God answered your prayers for my Macalester education! I wanted to “go out with a bang,” but God exceeded my expectations. I graduated with highest honors and degrees in English and Sociology.

Hannah’s Macalester graduation with Justin and Mom

 

 

Some of you may remember how at InterVarsity Leadership Institute I discovered the Christian values Macalester was founded on. I realized that my perspective as a Christian was a vital reminder to the rest of campus about their purpose. This year for the first time, Macalester gave out awards to people who live out the founder’s mission. I felt so honored to receive one (pictured below with Justin, friends, and the mentors who nominated me).

Hannah receives the Neill award at Macalester

In my January update I mentioned that we were looking for a new chaplain. Justin (on the left) and I got to interview the new chaplain, and she is perfect for Macalester – praise God!

 

 

In addition to the chaplain’s transition, you can continue to pray for Macalester Christian Fellowship – for a new leadership team taking over from the graduated seniors, and for evangelism efforts to bear fruit. Justin will be leading a Bible study in the spring, in the dorm where he will be a Resident Assistant. But first, he’s studying psychology in Scotland in the fall. He’d love your prayers for all his community-building opportunities.

Your prayers for my future paid off! After applying for many jobs, an unexpected opportunity fell into my lap. My new supervisor was praying for help with the Africa Study Bible and happened to connect with my dad. He offered me a one-year Editorial Assistant position in Nairobi. I’ll be leaving August 19th and will live with my family. I’m very excited about this chance to use the writing, cultural analysis and ministry skills I’ve developed at Mac! God’s plans were different than mine – but perfect.

I’d love your continued prayers for this transition:

- For moving: finishing a writing project, getting a visa to stay in Kenya, smooth flights
- For work: wisdom and humility as I bridge the needs of the African contributors and the US-based publishers
- For friendships: many high school friends have moved away, and I’m worried about navigating the public transport system

If you’d like to keep in touch with me personally (other than prayer!), look me up on facebook or follow me on my new writing projects site (including a poem about my job decision process): hannahras.wordpress.com

Love,

Hannah

Sharing about TEAM at Duluth VBS

Sharing at Duluth VBS

Fun to share with every grade yesterday about Training East African Ministers! These kids are giving offerings to train Tanzanian ministers. The amazing VBS and children’s ministry at Duluth Gospel Tabernacle is run by a great team led by missionary kid (Rebecca Haapanen). It shows. How many VBS have a missions session every day where the kids pray for missionaries.? Kathy Bloomdahl led our session and had files of all of our old emails and pictures that she has used to stimulate prayer. We have been so blessed this summer to meet people who pray for us every day and know what is happening. How encouraging!! who knew that people read our emails?