Wolf (Africa) Update – November 2022

Greetings in Christ. Please find our latest Sending Seven newsletter below, or download a printable version from our blog. Thank you for your support of God’s work throughout Africa.   -The Wolf Pack

November 2022

Fertile Ground

 “Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”   (Matthew 13:8)    

    It took some effort to keep up with the pastor in flip flops as he threaded nimbly through prickly bushes and scattered branches on the ground with two-inch long thorns.  After a year of building relationships with the local chief and community, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya (ELCK) had procured land for its mission station in Lodwar in Turkana county, and this was my first time to see this 1.5 acre plot that is hoped to serve as an outreach to the nomadic tribe and refugees in northwestern Kenya.


Branches like this from an acacia tree, with thorns strong enough to pierce through shoes, were scattered around the land designated for the mission station.

  We found our way to the thorny neem tree, under which our host, ELCK church planter Pastor Sammy Ataan, shares the Gospel each Sunday with a small but growing congregation.  Kissinger and I had just arrived from Nairobi, and were greeted by church members, the seller of the land, and leadership from the diocese (district) that oversees this area. A dinner of roasted goat later that evening provided an overwhelmingly warm welcome and start to the three day gathering.


Pr Ataan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya is from the Turkana tribe and serves as a church planter that meets under this neem tree at the Lodwar Mission station in northwestern Kenya.

   Six years ago at the request of the ELCK, the LCMS began support to this present outreach effort.  The existing Lutheran presence is small, and it has taken the ELCK time and attention to build trust with this proud nomadic people. Our efforts were merely to support and facilitate this relationship as Lutherans in Turkana discuss and agree how to share the Gospel with their people.   Although we discussed expectations, tribal tensions, local challenges, church workers, and outreach, our preparation with each attendant began weeks in advance.


Deaconess Rosebellah and an evangelist mark out the walls in the sand to visualize the size of a proposed parsonage for the Lodwar Mission Station.

  While meeting at a local guest house, a team-building effort was used to discuss future construction. We engaged the group to stand in positions of corners of rooms and walls as we mapped out a full-sized version of a parsonage.  Not only did this generate questions and suggestions to make a home suitable for this hot and dry climate, but also developed a sense of ownership by the Turkanan’s to the land and the mission plant.
Although rain falls once per year, the church plot had moist soil under a dry crust, likely from the nearby river, making it fertile ground for growing food and shade trees.  But this land is also fertile in that people are eager to know their Lord. Tribal conflicts, resource constraints, social and family issues, refugee relief, and the influence of traditional beliefs daily affect people’s lives–issues that can only be solved when we are reconciled to God.

After clearing away branches of the invasive Prosopis plant, congregants burned stumps to prevent the regrowth of this thorny bush and provide space for planting of shade trees and other plants.

  Following our visit, we received news that the congregation in Lodwar town was clearing the land of the thorn bushes.  This made the congregation more visible and welcoming, and on the next Sunday more visitors joined their congregation eager hear God’s Word of salvation through Christ in their own Turkana language.
   In Christ,
       The Wolf Family

Collaboration, participation, and encouragement helped the Turkana church members develop a sense of ownership for the mission station and the outreach opportunities within their community and region. After clearing the land, more people joined the congregation eager to hear God’s Word.

Images from Africa: When they arrived into Lodwar, John and Kissinger were greeted by Pastor Ataan, a deaconess, and the leadership of the northwest diocese.

During our time, Kissinger and John visited with the widowed mother of a student in the ELCK Project 24 program. The student had performed well enough on his grade eight exam to earn a government scholarship for high school. Project 24 is a combined effort of the ELCK and LCMS to support Christ-centered living environments for orphaned and vulnerable children.

Bottom left:  Three of the five recent graduates who completed a Bachelor of Theology through the ELCK Matongo Lutheran Theological Seminary.  The LCMS supported 40 scholarships this year for international students to Matongo.

Bottom right: Through the LCMS Water for Africa project, three wells were recently completed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guinea. 

Wolf Cubs

  Mt Kilimanjaro is always impressive to see, and we passed it enroute to meet with fellow missionaries at a recent continuing education session.

The training on Old Testament minor prophets helped us see how synchronism occurs even today, as some African cultures attempt to integrate traditional religious beliefs into Christian worship.  The gathering also provided a welcomed opportunity for our kids to connect with other missionary children. Can you find the zebra statue in the image?  

  Three Wolf cubs have been taking marshal arts class from a local volunteer and demonstrated their skills at the ASEAN festival in Nairobi, Kenya.

Prayer Requests

  For those effected by disease in eastern Africa

  For pastors as they minister to those effected by drought in northern and southern parts of Kenya (and Tanzania)

In Praise

Newly called missionaries who are beginning support building and deployment  preparation.

The completion of training by ten evangelist students through the LCMS sponsored Mission Training Center program. (below)

 Walking together with African churches takes many resources. We want to Thank and recognize some of the churches walking with us, including saints at: Beautiful Savior/Broomfield CO & Polk City IA; Eternal Savior/ Lafayette CO; Our Savior/Pagosa Spgs CO & West Pueblo CO; Lutheran Church of Our Savior/Cupertino CA;  St Athanasius/Fairfax VA; Augsburg/Shawnee KS; Crosspointe/Fargo ND; Hope/Aurora CO; Mt Hope/Boulder CO; St Paul in Altamont IL, Durango CO, Kingsville MD, Sioux City IA, Cambridge NE, Hillsdale MI, Monte Vista CO; WestPortal/San Francisco CA; First Lutheran/Kingsley IA, Rock of Ages/Colo Spgs CO; FirstTrinity/Bloomfield NE; Trinity in Alamosa CO, Greeley CO, Jefferson IA, Lexington Pk MD, Martinsburg NE, NY Mills MN, Palo Alto CA, Waseca MN, Zanesville OH, & Franktown CO;  Peace in Arvada CO, Columbus NE, Marcus IA, & Andover KS; (check our next newsletter for more supporting churches)

   If you are not already, please prayerfully consider partnering with us via on-going support.  You are an important part of our Mission team!

Support Information.  To continue or begin supporting the LCMS through the work of the Wolf Family, please consider a recurring or one-time gift securely through one of the below Give Now buttons


Make checks payable to LCMS or Mission Central. Write “Wolf-Kenya” in memo to send a tax-deductible gift through one of the following:

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
P.O. Box 66861
St Louis MO 63166-6861

Mission Central
40718 Highway E-16
Mapleton IA 51034

Reach us in the field at:

(correspondence ONLY- no checks)
John Wolf Family
PO Box 22
Karen 00502 Kenya

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Our mailing address is:

LCMS – Wolf/Kenya

The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod

PO Box 66861

St Louis, MO 63166-6861