Christmas gift opportunities – Dec. 2013

Looking for a unique Christmas gift for someone who has everything AND someone who doesn’t?

LVCC grads in Tanzania

Let us share with you a few of the fun giving/investments that our family has been doing for several years….
You are welcome to join us:

  1. Scholarships: $15 x 10 givers = $150 for a Tanzanian minister to study for an intensive term [$1200 for a whole diploma course - like those pictured above]

  2. Necessities for the most needy orphans and widows. Local Tanzanian churches give the most needy what is most needed whether that is food, job skills, school fees, etc. The churches have already carefully selected and sacrificed to help 106 widows and 114 orphans regularly. We get to add something to encourage them in this great work done sacrificially with close-up wisdom. [any amount]

  3. We have enjoyed contributing to the tuition of 9 of the regular LVCC teachers’ children for several year [any amount]

  4. Defending widows and others from persecution as suspected widows: $80 X 10 givers = $800 for each 3 day seminar for village government officials, health officers and church leaders

If you want to give a unique gift like this or an end of year contribution to Training East African Ministers, hit the donate button at http://team.wingriver.com/ or send a check to TEAM, 1466 Portland Ave. St. Paul, MN 55104.

Does your wife work? Oct., 2013

Janice Horsager Rasmussen is staff, faculty, and student at Africa International University as well as working at home. She does not get a salary from any of those, but she does get an office.

Jan teaching “Personal and Spiritual Development” at AIU

As AIU’s International Student Coordinator, Jan has been working very hard for several weeks to welcome and help settle AIU’s 38 new international students from 17 countries. This includes arranging volunteers, having some for meals, connecting them with their housing, taking them for a first shopping trip, giving them campus tours, and connecting them with various resources on campus.

Hosting international students at AIU

“Wageni ni baraka” guests are a blessing!


 

She also manages all of the household, (good) meals, shopping and high school kids’ activities / transport. She keeps the rest of us going. She is an amazing wife and mother!!

But her home not only blesses our family. For example, half of the days in July and August we had families as overnight guests from Tanzania or USA.

For example, Guilds (pictured below) have been missionary friends since 2000. They also hosted us in their guest house for two weeks when we were teaching in Mwanza in June. They enjoyed cool Nairobi July-August weather for fires and smores. (Since we are a bit south of the equator and at 6200 feet elevation, those are our coolest months, like fall weather in Minnesota. The fireplace is our only heat.)

Mwanza missionary friends visit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of this means that Jan’s M.Phil. research on learning experiences of international students at AIU informs her work, but has not progressed much for three months. She requests prayer as she is trying to make progress on it now. She has typed up her dozen interviews with international students and is now identifying the themes throughout the interviews.

Yes, God works through Jan’s gifts of hospitality, missions, and teaching! Please pray for God’s continued enabling to her in the many opportunities that he has given her. Pray for guidance for her future as well.

 

Family visits, “summer” 2013

In recent weeks we have enjoyed a missions retreat and old friends and family visiting from Tanzania and USA. Most of my brother, Nathan’s family (below) visited us after retreat for the first time since we moved to Nairobi 5 years ago.

Two Rasmussen families collected from East Africa and America: Nathan, Kristian, Isaac, Eirik, Steve, Janice, Rachel, Kari, Karen

What a joy to catch up with our maturing nieces and nephews who are serving Jesus!

Nathan’s family: Kristian has learned to fly solo in Florida where Kari is beginning her Masters in TESOL and continuing ministering to the homeless. Eirik was on his way from two years of teaching missions seminars and Bible school classes around Tanzania to a pastoral internship and living at our home church of Bethel Christian Fellowship – to the joy of Hannah and Justin. Nathan’s oldest, Tori, was four days drive away leading a church planting team.

Jan’s sister’s high school children from Minnesota, Paul and Katie Esslinger, joined us for 10 days of children’s ministry and fun.

Hiking on the rim of Mt. Longonot, about 1 ½ hr. drive from Nairobi. The volcanic crater is to the right and the surrounding Rift Valley floor which we climbed from on the left.

 

These four hiked all the way to the 9105 foot peak which is hidden by the clouds: Paul, Rachel, Katie, and Isaac.

We said goodbye to Paul and Katie at the airport 30 hours before a huge fire that just burned down a large section of it. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-23598012 Glad God is in control!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After all the grading comes… graduation!

Steve carrying the mace in AIU graduation procession

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am  privileged to now be following the man walking behind me: Africa International University’s experienced, humble, new Vice Chancellor, Dankit Nassiuma [on the left.] Saturday was his official installation as well as our AIU graduation. They asked me to carry the heavy brass mace which is the symbol of Africa International University. [The VC is equivalent to a USA college president. The Chancellor between us is a symbolic position.]

 

AIU’s 28th graduation ceremony

We have missed the friendship and leadership of Douglas Carew. Please continue to pray for AIU in this challenging transition time. Now we need renewed vision, students, finances, favor, wisdom. Pray that we will together fulfill God’s mission in His world: AIU is “Committed to His mission. Connected to His world.” We have a place in what God is doing! Thank you for taking your place by praying and financially supporting us so that we can freely give ourselves for “Christ-centered leaders in Africa educated to transform God’s people and world.” (see more at www.aiu.ac.ke)

AIU’s 2013 graduates – 95 students from certificate to PhD, with the top leaders in front.

 

                                           

International students, international wedding, and international leadership conference

God really answered our prayer today! We tried lots of hassle for 9 months to get our Tanzanian work permit renewed (so we can be fully legitimate when working in Tanzania), but were finally told we could not have one. This week, in a last attempt to get our money refunded, immigration gave the permit today instead!

Tomorrow until July 4, we will be going back to LVCC in Mwanza Tanzania. We will meet as a board for updates on the Bible school, church, and orphan ministry. But the primary purpose is to meet with leaders from various denominations to design a discussion-based seminar about witchcraft and witch accusations. Then, together, we will train trainers to lead discussions in the villages. Now, people live in fear and suspicion.  Poor widows are often persecuted and alienated as accused witches. As many as 5 suspected witches are killed each week in these areas and rarely is anyone convicted of the murder. The churches have not effectively responded to this. The power, truth, and love of Jesus are needed.  Please pray for the right leaders to come, wisdom from the Holy Spirit in designing and training, funding, and transformation in these villages.

Above:  International students led worship in chapel June 6, singing in various languages represented at AIU.

 

Please pray for AIU in this time of major transition.  As AIU has expanded by adding new programs, the expenses of expansion have exceeded the expansion of students and donors.  This expansion and the sudden death of the Vice Chancellor, V.C. (our college president) has brought new leadership.  We are excited for the new V.C. who begins July 1.  Professor Nassiuma was V. C. of a larger Kenyan university previously and has been at AIU in another job for one year.  Pray for clear vision and wisdom from God for AIU’s many new leaders.  Also pray for a reconciliation process happening in chapel this week.

 

Praying for AIU students at marriage negotiations

 

Two or our AIU students, David and BJ, are getting married July 19.  Above: We represented David’s parents in dowry negotiations in the Meru area of Kenya.  Here, we are praying a blessing on the couple at the celebration, after they had been wrapped together symbolically in traditional cloth.

 

 

 

Mount Meru

 

Great views of Mount Kenya on our way back from Meru.

 

 

 

 

Leadership conference

Above is the very international group who met to further the Africa Leadership Study.  Research continues around the continent.

Opportunities in Abundance! – May 2013

God has answered your prayers to open doors. He has given us many opportunities.Now please pray that God will enable us to do his will going through those doors.

 Research and Writing – I have been called to minister through writing. At first, I only met closed doors, but now doors are opening faster than I can go through them. Thankfully two book chapters and a book review were published early this year. The top journal in Missiology is reviewing another article.

 The first of March I led the Africa Society of Evangelical Theology conference as vice chairman and became chairman. I was invited to write up an article from my conference presentation on “Money, Ministry and Middlemen.” This week I have been analyzing the surveys and interviews from our three-year Africa Leadership Study (ALS) and will write a chapter from them.

 June 19-22, I and many of my African colleagues will be presenting on the ALS and also on witch accusations at the American Society of Missiology meetings in St Paul, MN. Afterward, Samuel Kunhiyop and I will meet to work on a book for pastors on how to respond to witches.

 

Jan’s MPhil thesis draft

Jan (see left) has finished a 220 page MPhil thesis draft on international students at AIU! She has also begun the new PhD in Education here. All of her MPhil credits will apply in the PhD. Pray for how she should use her MPhil thesis.

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching – Steve is teaching Intro to Missions and a PhD class on Advanced Contextualization. He taught Leadership Development and Anthropological Research Methods last term. Jan taught Spiritual and Personal Development.

 Pastoring & Administration – For two months I have added another job – Acting Dean of Community Life. This means that I am pastor for the community, including overseeing chapel, grace group, bereavements, etc. but also that I am in meetings most days, sometimes for much of the day.  Jan has settled in another batch of international students and set up a fun hike for international student families in April (see below). 170 international students study at AIU.

 

AIU international student outing

 

 

Pray for AIU Transitions – Please pray for the transitions at Africa International University. After the sudden death of our vice chancellor, the top management is almost all new. Many of our friends and neighbors have also left. Transition to a University is bringing many changes. AIU is trying to sell land to get out of major debt.

 

AIU gives us opportunity to invest in influential students. They make good impact for God’s kingdom. Some of our alumni and students are former Mus!ims. They have been part of more than 10,0000 Mus!ims following Jesus and more than 100 churches of Mus!im background believers. According to this article, they are not the only ones seeing breakthroughs in the Mus!im world:

In June and July, we have opportunities in the USA to speak in churches, professional meetings and visiting family, friends and supporters. We hope we have opportunity to see you.  Email us or call BCF at 651-645-1534.

 Thanks for your prayer and support!

New President of Kenya Inaugurated!

Kenya’s flag

Uhuru Kenyatta was inaugurated as Kenya’s 4th President on Tuesday, April 9th. In the end of March, the Supreme Court confirmed that he was indeed the winner of the elections, so we didn’t have any run-off elections. The country has been peaceful – Praise the Lord!

Uhuru means “freedom” in Swahili. He is the son of Kenya’s first President, Jomo Kenyatta. We are celebrating Kenya’s 50th (jubilee) year this year. The country has a new constitution and a new president. We pray for increased unity and God’s continued hand on this country.

Spiritual development application and reflection: April 2013

Jan’s last session of teaching Spiritual Development class -, reflecting on how to apply insights

From Jan: Teaching my last class session for “Spiritual and Personal Development” this term. We reflected on applying the spiritual disciplines in our lives over tea at my place. I was blessed by this group of pastors, youth ministers, singers, song writers, a dancer, and even the former Mayor of Nairobi.

Leadership Development class – March 17, 2013

AIU Leadership Development class, downtown Nairobi class

 

 

 

 

My Leadership Development class met at AIU’s downtown location evening class. Therefore 16 Kenyans and one Nigerian. Great group of mostly pastors (some over multiple churches), plus school principles, administrators, and people who have retired from other careers like Parliament to do something new. May God help us all to be more Christ-like developers of leaders who develop leaders who develop leaders. Banana not Banyan tree leaders. Now the fun work of class moves to the necessary work of grading, but I still learn a lot from some student papers.

Nairobi, near downtown AIU extension site

Praise Jesus for peaceful elections and post-election in Kenya!

Kenyan elections - waiting to vote

Kenyans wait to vote March 4th, 2013

People were out on the street not rioting, but waiting in line to vote, sometimes for more than 6 hours. More than 80% of registered voters voted. Many churches have been praying, preaching, and preparing for peace, so we must thank God. God has given considerable progress in the new constitution in which power has been distributed away from the President. We now have independent institutions like courts, electoral commission, police, etc. So even with very close elections, this time people have trusted the legal system to process the challenges.

Professor Kibwana, one of my students who graduated last year from our missions program has been elected governor of Makueni county. You can pray for increased justice, shalom, and prosperity there and throughout Kenya. You can even pray Kenya’s national anthem with us…

O God of all creation
Bless this our land and nation
Justice be our shield and defender
May we dwell in unity
Peace and liberty
Plenty be found within our borders.