Friday, June 25, 2010

Meet The Haff

To the relief of concerned parents and family members, I didn't just take our group out traipsing through the bush all by myself. Though that would have been an exciting adventure and I do love a good adventure. Maybe next time....

But no. We were able to hook up with one Pastor Herb Haferman; which by the way is pretty much my hero.

The Haff (pronounced Hoff) is an ordained pastor of the ELCA and has devoted his life to serving in Tanzania. He's a graduate of Wartburg College (which makes me like him even more) and Wartburg Seminary. For the last 40 some years, The Haff has lived in Tanzania, first serving as a teacher, then running the Language School (where we stayed), and then finally pretty much just moving on to ruling the world (or at least the Tanzanian diocese). Though not officially in charge of anything synod or diocese, both operate because of his ridiculously awesome influence and guidance. Though he would never admit everything he has done to help develop the Lutheran Church in Tanzania, he is by far one of the most influential people EVER.

Having formally retired from the ELCA twice now (he's like a faithful dog that just keeps coming back), The Haff continues to work daily to extend the body of Christ. Along with his builder and evangelist Luka, Haff travels all around central Tanzania to build up new congregations; primarily among the Masaai tribe. If someone were to write a book about his life and the wicked awesome things he's done- it would no doubt be a best seller. And let's be honest, it'd probably be made into a movie, too. The work this man has done really is THAT cool.

In honor of this great man, I want to make a list.
I present: The Top 8 Reasons The Haff is Awesome

1. His nickname is "The Haff" and he is NOT related to David Hasselhoff.

2. I've watched this man suck bone marrow out of a goat bone with my own two eyes. Only after to hear him say, "Delicious."

3. He's 70 something and I have to run to keep pace with him.

4. While at Mikumi, he makes what he calls his Lion Noise to get the attention of elephants and giraffes. It really just sounds like an awkward grunt but because he's old- we let him continue.

5. He eats Marmite. If you don't know what this is or what it tastes like, consider yourself lucky.

6. While eating Marmite, he gets so into it, that he doesn't even notice that he has left a lovely trail of it in his beard.

7. The man speaks fluent Swahili for Pete's Sake!

8. Despite being separated from his wife and children (who live in Iowa... his wife living in Eisenach Village in Waverly), he continues to be a faithful servant doing everything within his power to live out the Gospel.

And because I can:
8.5 Even after having had me in Tanzania before, he let me return; this time with a group that was even rowdier than I. This man's got some patience!

Thank You Haff for EVERYTHING you did for us.
You're so cute with Marmite in your beard.

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