The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Anderson's Christmas

Of the people with whom my wife, Thanne, and I walked in Tanzania, some are still there: Mark and Linda Jacobson—healing people of the regions around Arusha. Dennis Murnyak—developing agricultural resources for small householders. Stocking fish farms with tilapia. “The fish that Jesus ate,” he told us as we bucked down a dirt road in his pickup. “Tilapia populate the waters of the Rift Valley from the Jordan River even down to Lake Victoria.”

Christmas 1992

My wife and I were invited to meet with Lutheran missionaries in Tanzania. I’d speak for their annual gathering, and they would show us what services they performed for the love of God. We landed in Kenya, where my brother worked for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Painting of an African woman On Christmas Eve, Greg and his family drove us through the narrow streets of Nairobi to the Roman Catholic church where we celebrated the birth of the Savior: bright lights, colorful clothing and a true jubilation ....

But driving home through the darker night, Greg had to swerve around the dead body of a woman. As we passed, I saw her hip uppermost, heavy thighs, her face pressed into the wretched pavement. “Too common,” Greg sighed. “The elections are coming. People are tense. This is just too common here.”

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