LIA Blog and Updates

June 2024 Newsletter

Weddings and Wonderful Children

Greetings, Dear Friend!

Recently, two joyous weddings filled our hearts with happiness. The first was a beautiful celebration in Burundi, which united Pacifique and Emelyn in May. The second, a couple of weeks ago, was heartwarming as the May family's eldest daughter, Maggie, was joined in holy matrimony with Christian Salemink. We are delighted to share the accounts of these blissful events with you in this letter. As the May Family has traveled to the United States for fundraising, they also have current stories to share about their other children.

Let us begin in Burundi.

Pacifique & Emelyn

Husband and wife since May 11th

During the school breaks before his wedding, our dear LST student, Pacifique Bizimungu, could be found working hard on the campus jobs at the LST. With a soft smile on his face, he let us know that he was saving for the dowry payment and the wedding. Eagerly, he handed out invitations to all of us when the big day drew near. Therefore, it was with great joy that Tiina and the boys also traveled to Burundi with Pastor May to celebrate Pacifique and Emelyn as they were united in marriage.
During the two days of wedding events, we witnessed the splendor of Burundian fashion and customs. Stylish, colorful dresses and traditional dances were astounding. The wedding ceremony at Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church was reverent and beautiful. Pastor Alfonse Polisi officiated the wedding, and Bishop Emile Nkurunziza preached. We were also happy to see another LST student, Vénuste, at the wedding. He helped us understand what was said in Kirundi.
Pacifique and Emelyn's chosen Bible passage for the wedding: Matthew 19:4-6.

He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

May God bless Pacifique and Emelyn and give them much joy as they share their lives together!
Bishop Emile was the most wonderful host to the May family during our stay in Burundi. Without hesitation, he offered us rides to different locations, shared many lovely moments of fellowship when sitting down for meals, and was always concerned about our well-being. Unfortunately, two traffic accidents occurred during the weekend. Tiina broke her right wrist in the latter one. But each time, the Bishop swiftly took control of the situation and eased any trauma by adding his God-given humor to the otherwise serious events.
Christian & Maggie

Husband and wife since June 14th
Christian and Maggie have belonged to the same friend group at Concordia University Chicago since they commenced their studies there in the fall of 2021. As months went by, they grew closer. Christian proposed to Maggie at the end of 2023, and that is when the wedding planning began in earnest. The couple, their family members, and dear friends from the University and elsewhere contributed in small and great ways to make the entire wedding week memorable. These plans culminated when Pastor May walked his daughter down the aisle of the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Tears were flowing as the gathered crowd watched the touching miracle of God, making two become one, taking place in front of their eyes.
Pastor May officiated the wedding, Christian's father, Pastor Salemink, preached, and Pastor Leininger, who did the couple's premarital counseling, was the lector. Our friend, Mr. Andrew Hayes, an extremely talented organist whom we met in 2020 when we were in Canada, let the chapel organ's pipes burst out in joyful hymns. As if that was not enough to raise goosebumps, Mr. Aaron Reynolds masterfully joined in on his trumpet. Maggie looked stunning in a dress made by her grandma Holly.

The ceremony and the cheerful celebration were beautiful witnesses of God’s created order in uniting a man and a woman, a bond that He blesses and intends to last a lifetime. We pray that Christian and Maggie will always rely on Christ and have peace through the good times and the hard times.

Christian and Maggie's chosen Bible passage for the wedding: Colossians 3:12-14

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Other May Family News

As mentioned before, the May family has traveled to the United States. So far, we have visited churches in Minnesota, Nebraska, Michigan, and Ohio. Pastor May made a quick ten-day return to Kenya to settle two American families at the LST for the summer. They are there to join the mission of the Lutherans in Africa by teaching and working in the library. We will write more about them in our future news.
In addition to visiting churches and preparing and participating in the wedding, the Mays spent some lovely bonding days with the whole family at the beginning of summer. Everyone was able to attend our youngest daughter, Sofia's, high school graduation. It was a day filled with many friends and lots of fun, and we couldn't be prouder of Sofia's achievements. She is headed to Bethany Lutheran College for the nursing program in the fall and wishes to become a pediatric nurse. For the summer, she is babysitting a tiny infant and her two toddler-age siblings, a testament to her nurturing nature and responsibility.
Tristan sweats in a landscaping summer job in Missouri. He will continue his criminal justice studies in Concordia Mequon in August. He trains in the National Guard every month and has been told to expect activation in the near future. With the presidential election coming up and the mess at the Mexico border, there may arise a need for activated guardsmen. Please pray for his protection and for peace for America.
This summer, Sarai is employed by Canvasworks Inc. in Minnesota. It is a family-owned business of our friend and repeat volunteer at the LST, Mr. Duane Smith. Other times, Sarai is happy to have use of her old school's weight room for workouts. Some days, Sofi accompanies her. It has been good for girls to spend time together, and Sarai has also enjoyed hanging out with her high school friends and going fishing, among other things. Sarai is in the process of deciding whether she should continue in Concordia, Nebraska, or find another place and point of interest in her studies. She feels that she won't obtain what she wants in her current line of art studies, although she did enjoy her first year in college enormously.
When we left Kenya, Jonas said goodbyes to his friends, packed all his earthly belongings in one large suitcase, and closed the door for the last time. After a lot of back and forth in considering options, we decided that he could follow the older siblings' path and attend Mayer Lutheran High School for his last two years of secondary education. He is excited. Mom is emotional. Sofi talked with one of her high school friends whose family she considers fantastic and a perfect fit for Jonas, and they agreed to host him. Jonas will be sharing a room with Adam, a Senior who can provide daily rides to school. A new (and for mom somewhat worrisome) activity will be joining the school's football team. Please pray for his safety, as he has never played on a football team. Second, pray that he would miraculously be a natural talent and would not be shunned by other guys who have lived and breathed football since they were years younger.

Matthew, therefore, will be the only remaining May kid at home. He is excelling in his online high school and has already opened his coursework for the tenth grade. At the moment, Matthew is in Christ Academy at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, with Jonas. Among one hundred other youths, they dive deep into Scripture, learn about the Lutheran faith, and have fun playing sports and attending different events and activities. Afterward, we hope to provide him with fishing opportunities during our "church tour" to balance duty and fun. Jonas will return to Mayer to start summer football training.

In other news, besides getting married, Maggie has returned from their honeymoon. She and Christian are busily looking for an apartment somewhere near their university. Maggie also needs a new job, so please pray for success in both areas. She has about four more months of studies left before she graduates with her Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Theology. Christian graduates from the pre-seminary program in May, and then, God willing, they will move to Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, where Christian will begin his pastoral studies.

As always, we are so very thankful for our children. We are thankful that the Lord has them tightly in His hands and for all the joy they bring into our lives.

New Websites for LIA and LST!

Rev. Paul Arndt recently visited the LST and Meru region in Kenya for a duration of a couple of months. In addition to teaching, preaching, filming, and helping in several other ways, Rev. Arndt overhauled the website for LIA and built a new site for the LST.

On these sites, you can find general info about ...

Please check out these new websites and let us know what you think!
You can support the work of Lutherans In Africa ... here.