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Tanzanian visitors bring cultural exchange to Clear Spring Community Bible School

June 11, 2008|By JOSH SHAW

CLEAR SPRING -- Students at Clear Spring Community Bible School got special lessons Tuesday in geography and music from four guests visiting the school from Tanzania.

In an effort to share cultures and provide support to each other's mininistries, the Delaware-Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America brought the visitors from the Mara Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania for a two-week visit.

"We are here because we want to exchange experiences from the Mara Diocese with here," Amillen Kweka, parish secretary and diocesan development committee chairperson, told the students and parents gathered for the visit. "We want to teach you about our culture and learn from all of you."

The trip is part of a regular exchange of trips back and forth from the United States and Tanzania, according to Eric Norgard, senior pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hagerstown. He said the trip was planned and funded by both the DMS and the Mara Diocese.

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At the Bible school, Pastor Simon Mantago showed the children that Tanzania is on the east coast of Africa, then taught everyone a song in Swahili, the national language of Tanzania, called "Walk with Jesus."

"It is a great learning experience for the kids to see how people with very little and who are poor in comparison to us praise the Lord a lot and are so joyful," Pastor Elaine Swinehart of St. Peter's Lutheran Church said. "It means a lot to the church and the community."

In addition to learning about the Tanzanian culture, the associated churches are helping to raise money for agricultural development and to buy chickens for the people of Tanzania.

Two years ago, a similar trip was planned, but only one member of the Mara Diocese was able to visit. Tuesday's visit was the first time students at the Bible school, ranging from preschool-aged children to eighth-graders, were able to meet and learn from the visitors.

The four visitors, who will stay with different families throughout their trip, were scheduled to visit Fort Frederick State Park and see some other historic churches and buildings in Hagerstown. They were invited to dinner and worship Tuesday night at Mount Tabor Lutheran Church in Clear Spring.

They will be attending a religious conference in Gettysburg, Pa., next week and return to Tanzania on June 22.

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