Our October 2017 newsletter – We’re here!


In Tanzania for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Serving with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania

Dear friends, We’re here! We made it to Tanzania, just one short month ago. Life has been BUSY since then. Here are some of the highlights of our time.

ARRIVAL: Our trip from the US was long, tiring, and went exactly according to plan. Dr. Joe Troester, who serves with his spouse, the Rev. Deborah Troester, as ELCA East Africa Regional Representatives, met us at the airport and transported us to a hotel for the first night.

GRATITUDES:                                                            tired and amazed

•Safe flight

•Both of us AND all our luggage(!) arrived on the same plane

•A familiar face was there to greet us

FIRST DAY: Joe and Deborah picked us up and took us on a tour around Arusha, stopping at the Lutheran Centre, headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, a grocery store, the cellphone store, and a restaurant for lunch. We then made it to our house for our first night in our new home.

GRATITUDES:                                                      Arusha and Mt Meru

•New friends to show us around

•Getting into the house

•Beginning to get a sense of Arusha, a bustling and diverse city of 400,000 people at the foot of Mt. Meru

FIRST WEEK:  We spent time figuring out where everything was, started organizing the home, and met with staff at the Training Centre for Development Cooperation, a project of the Danish government and a variety of aid organizations. TCDC is known for training both in Kiswahili and in economic development strategies. We made plans to begin Kiswahili study in our second week.

GRATITUDES:                                                                  Frida Teri

•Beginning to get over jetlag

•Setting up the house

•Making plans

SECOND WEEK:  We met with the Rev. Dr. Angela Olotu, Dean of the Faculty of Theology at Tumaini University Makumira. She shared about the academic context, the seminary, the student community, faculty members, and asked if we would teach particular classes for the fall semester. Mark accepted her invitation to teach Dogmatics (Systematic Theology) I for the Bachelor of Divinity program, and Theology of Religions at the Master’s Level. Cynthia will teach Introduction to Christian Education in the Bachelor’s program and Gender and the Bible in the Master’s program.

We also began intensive Kiswahili study with a very skilled Kiswahili teacher, Mrs. Frida Teri, and began to realize what a gift TCDC is to our area and to many around the world.

Finally, we visited Arusha National Park with Melanie Nelson, an ELCA volunteer teacher at a school in Bukoba, on the Lake Victoria coast, who was also studying Kiswahili at TCDC. We had a wonderful day!

GRATITUDES:                                                                   Just a few of the animals

•Getting our courses assigned

•Beginning Kiswahili

•Being in class together and working together to learn

•Having a GREAT teacher

•Time to see beautiful flora and fauna in and around Arusha, and Arusha National Parks

•A friendly and supportive mission community who are present and helpful

THIRD AND FOURTH WEEKS: We concentrated on Kiswahili study, while continuing to set up for life on the campus of Tumaini University Makumira.


•Finishing Kiswahili Beginning Intensive

•Being able to understand a few words

•The ability to construct and speak a full sentence seems MIRACULOUS!

•Beginning to understand the rhythm of life here, and to keep working to settle in

NOW: We have plunged headlong into preparation to teach. The semester begins November 2, in just under a month. We have much to do, and we’re so grateful to be here!


•Good internet access in our home

•Continuing good work to set up our home

•Partnership with the university to make things work

•The ability to be here and serve the gospel of Jesus Christ in this way


There are many ways to do so.

      Pray for and with us.

We know so many of you are holding us in prayer. Thank you! We join you in prayer, that we might continue to learn and grow, and that what we offer here might be of service to God.

Follow us on our blog or Facebook page.

We are posting essays regularly on our blog, MandCinTZ.com. Our Facebook page, M&CinTZ, has lots of pictures and reflections on our life and service.

Take part in our Team ELCA crowdfunding campaign.

We were invited to take part in ELCA Global Mission’s pilot crowdfunding project. Through this site, you can make a one-time gift to get our mission fundraising work off the ground. GIFTS OF ANY LEVEL ARE SO VERY HELPFUL. Thanks so much to you who have already given! Find information and a giving form here.

Give through the ELCA Tanzania page.

All those serving as longterm mission personnel in Tanzania are listed on the ELCA’s Tanzania page. Information and opportunities to give are found here.

Become a sponsoring congregation.

Is your congregation interested in forming a relationship with us as we grow in faith and mission together? A form that can be filled out online can be downloaded here, or you can talk to staff who can share information on how to take part, by calling 800-638-3522, ext. 2657, or emailing globalchurch@elca.org.

We look forward to hearing from you – in email (Mark.Rich@elca.org, Cynthia.HolderRich@elca.org) or on Facebook. Thanks so much for walking with us! We couldn’t do it without your support.

Peace and love, Cynthia and Mark

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