Last January, I got to visit Kenya. Concordia Theological Seminary-Fort Wayne hosted a Pastors’ Conference at Matongo Theological College in Sondu, Kenya. I traveled with the two pastors and two professors who were leading the conference. My task was primarily to observe and participate in worship services. In order to help with this hymnal, I need to know something about their worship practice. I also taught a session on hymnody, and a session for deaconesses.
Traveling to Kenya gave me a whole new meaning to the word “foreign”. Okay – it’s true that I’ve lived my entire life in Midwest America – ten years in Nebraska; all the rest in Indiana. But I have traveled a fair amount around the United States – including Hawaii. And outside this country, I’ve been to Germany twice and the island of Aruba once.
That being said, it’s hard to know where to begin to even describe the foreignness of this African country. There is great beauty there:
There is great poverty:
There is great adventure:
There is the Lutheran Church – in many ways familiar; but also reflective of the culture.
One of my travel companions was Rev. James Douthwaite, from St. Athanasius Lutheran Church in Vienna, VA. Pr. Douthwaite posted many pictures and descriptions of our trip. If you’d like to read and see more, you might check his blog, The Sober Peasant in Kenya.
We were warmly received by the Lutherans. They were generous with their meager possessions and eager to extend the hand of fellowship. Their hospitality was humbling as we observed the stark contrast between Kenya and “land of plenty” America.