March 2020 Newsletter


Graduation 2020 is in the books!  It was quite the celebration January 18th.  The students were almost hard to recognize they looked so good in their nicely tailored outfits that our graduating tailors had made; the girls had their hair done and festivity was in the air!  

 The food was prepared and the chairs were in place and ready for the guests when family and friends arrived a little after 2pm. 

It was one of the biggest days in these young people’s lives.  Throughout the merriment and ceremony, our great God was glorified.  A member of the Tanzanian parliament addressed the graduates and the crowd and commended Next Life on the training it’s doing to give a hand up to the young people in Tanzania.  Pastors from the area gave thanks to God through Jesus Christ for the blessings He has shown all of us.  Certificates of completion were handed out, food was served, and many pictures were taken.  All the neighborhood children were invited in to share the meal with us.  What a joyous occasion! 

There was dancing before, during and after the ceremony!

New Campus

The plans are drawn up and we’re ready for building.  Please check out the plans and costs at  Patti would love to talk to anyone interested in financially supporting part (or all) of our building project.  Currently we have the capability to serve 45 students at our leased site.  When we complete our new campus we have the potential to accept 300 students plus house female students in a dormitory.  Wow!  We’re so thankful to God! 

When we put out a notice that we are accepting students, we receive hundreds of applications.  We currently have over forty young people on a waiting list!  God is up to great things!

New Tailoring Students

The Monday after graduation our new tailoring students began their journey with Next Life.  Not only will they master the trade of sewing but they’ll learn English, entrepreneurial skills, and Bible lessons.  These thirty young people range from 13 years in age to 23 years old and an educational background of completing 4th grade to completing 11th grade with most having a 7th grade education.  They are all very enthusiastic about learning.  Only four of our new students are from the village of Mbuguni where Next Life Foundation is located.  Many walk two to two and a half hours to get to class each day.  They have made a commitment to learn. After just a few days practicing on the treadle sewing machines many were designing and making simple shoulder bags. 

Look at the joy and pride on their faces!

Think what they’ll accomplish after a few months of training!

Sponsoring a Student

Do you realize that you can radically change the life of one of these young people for $60 a month?  That’s two dollars a day!  Learning a life skill at Next Life Foundation not only affects the student but he/she will, most likely, support their parents, siblings and possibly aunts, uncles and cousins when they complete their training.  The region of Mbuguni sees hope for their young people again. They have an opportunity to meet Christ for the first time or to deepen their faith through devotions with Pastor Elia, the local pastor that visits each week.  These are generational changes.  Time spent at Next Life impacts our students, their families, their future children, grandchildren, etc.  The Boards of Directors and staff will use your financial gifts as responsibly as possible and the Holy Spirit will multiply them beyond our imagination.

How many of us can find $2 a day by giving up a specialty coffee, a lunch out or something else once a week?  Please pray and consider sponsoring a student.  You can learn more about each youth at to chose a student to sponsor.

On The Road Again

Laurence and Patti have been putting miles on her car again.  This time they were in Oklahoma and Texas.  They were the keynote speakers at Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s Entrepreneur Seminar in Enid, OK February 20-21. 

What an honor it was to tell their story and the story God is weaving for the young people at Next Life.  They prayed (along with many in Iowa) that God would be glorified in all that was said.  They also had an opportunity to speak at Eagle View Church in Ft Worth, TX.  Again, may God be glorified in all that happens at our training center and when the Next Life story is told.  We could never make these connections or do what we do without Him!  Laurence and Patti met many wonderful people as they traveled and had a great time together.

Prayer Requests

  • New students adjustment to NLF and safety as they come & go
  • Financial blessings to build at our new site & to support our students
  • Holy Spirit guidance in all NLF does today and in planning for the future
  • Holy Spirit speak into the hearts and minds of our Muslim students and their families.
  • Battle the enemy to diminish the fear of corona virus and flourish the economy of Tanzania and the USA for God’s glory.


     So often we can look back in time and see how clearly God has answered prayer but I praise Him for showing me how He is answering prayers right now from so many people and in so many languages.     

“May he Grant you your hearts desire and fulfill all your plans!      May we shout for joy over your salvation,     and in the name of our God set up our banners!      May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!     Now I know the Lord saves his anointed;     he will answer him from his holy heaven     with the saving might of his right hand.     Some trust in chariots and some in horses,     but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”                                                          Psalm 20:4-7     

The Christian parents that have been praying in their tribal tongue or Swahili for their children who are now our students. Our board members and myself who have been praying for our students to know Christ in a deeper way and for our Islam students to know Christ as their personal Savior. The faithful sponsors of students that consistently lift up their student in prayer. God has heard these prayers and is faithful.     

Now, God has given Next Life property of our own and I believe he will bless us with a facility that will welcome many more students to hear His name glorified and their lives changed. He is moving in marvelous ways in northern Tanzania and I am blessed to see it happen.     

We had such a sweet time of devotion at our site on Friday with Pastor Elia. There was much singing (and many can’t help dancing when they sing), scripture reading, praising God, preaching, praying and more singing. Even our Muslim students stayed and participated; the Holy Spirit is working! My heart was full despite the language barrier.     

Now, tomorrow I leave this beautiful, yet struggling place to head home to frozen Iowa. I’ll miss the sights, the sounds, and the smells…. and the warm weather. But mostly I’ll miss the people; our new students that don’t quite know what to think of this pale skinned lady, the few students I already knew and our staff. I’ve grown to love them all. We’ll stay connected through prayer; God will watch over them. And when God’s timing is right, I will return again.

God bless and hold my friends in Tanzania,    Patti

New Students

Whenever we get new students at Next Life Foundation I try to interview each one with Laurence’s help interpreting. It gives me a very tiny glimpse into their lives.

It doesn’t cost the student, or family, anything to come to our school, so our directors are very selective and have a thorough process to make sure we have the neediest of the needy being trained.

When I start to think I’m understanding the Tanzanian culture something comes along and shatters my total perception! But a mother’s love is similar from culture to culture and as a mom, I would feel such relief and hope if my child was accepted into one of our programs at Next Life. Daily life is so hard here in Tanzania. Let me give you a few examples of our twenty eight new tailoring students.

Isaka got very sick when he was young; to the point that he was unable to attend school beyond Standard 4. He’s a small statured 14 year old with a huge smile that matches his personality. With a 4th grade education his mother probably dreaded his growing up and having to work out in the fields. The family has no money to send him to a trade school plus most require a minimum education of Standard 7. What a huge relief it must have been when Isaka was accepted to NLF. Graduation day was the first day we met but he didn’t hesitate to sit by me and put his arm around me for a picture. Now that is bold!

Musa is another one of our new tailoring students. He’s 18 years old and stands 4ft 1in tall. He has a heart condition so he would never make it working in the fields. It is a 4 hour walk for him to get to class each morning but sometimes he is able to scrounge together bus money (1000 tsh or $.43 to get to Mbuguni and back). What joy and relief his mother must have felt when he was accepted into our school! He will now have a future in tailoring.

I always ask the students about their families when I visit with them. Some have lost their parents and siblings so are living with relatives. Some have interact families. When I asked Florah about her family the tears started coming. Her father went to work in the tanzanite mines and he hasn’t returned. They haven’t heard from him and it’s been a long time. The blue/purple gem, tanzanite, is only found in a small area of the world, near Mbuguni. The mining business is extremely dangerous. The unknown, whether Florah’s father is dead or alive, must be excruciatingly painful. I’m sure he lost his life in the perilous mine… But the unknown!

I say it so often – we take SO much for granted in America; the opportunity for education, the opportunity for employment, and just the opportunities. It’s so easy to get “compassion weary” here in Tanzania because everyone has such real need. As we truly give those at Next Life Foundation opportunity, it will change Tanzania.

Bwana Asifiwe (Praise the Lord), Patti

(I’ll be working on getting all our students on our website. “Sponsorship” tab on top of page then “Students” on right side of page. A student can be sponsored for $60/month)

Muzungu in the Neighborhood!

Every year I’ve come to Tanzania I’ve stayed at Maasai Safari Centre in Arusha at least part of my stay. The past few years, this has been my primary home. Cornelius Mollel is the proprietor. He is the most gracious host, a wonderful Godly man and full of great life stories.

But a couple nights ago I took the opportunity to stay with my friend, we’ll call her Sarah, out in the village. She rents a place that’s about 10ft by 12ft, concrete walls, no windows for 30,000 tsh ($13) per month. She thinks it’s quite expensive for no windows and no electricity. She has a queen size bed, a couch, a coffee table, a propane tank that she cooks on and in the corner are piled her tubs. The tubs are used to wash her clothes and they store her few pots and pans. Her towel (notice it’s not plural) and blankets are stored in zipper bags that keep the bugs out. There are plastic bin type shelves that hold other kitchen essentials. Against the other wall by the couch are three 5-gallon buckets stacked on top of each other that are filled with water. If she needs the water to be clean she has to boil it first. To do any cooking besides rice, beans or ugali (mixture of corn flour and water) she must go purchase the ingredients.

I woke up at 4am overwhelmed with God’s goodness. I’ve been given so much! Am I using all that has been given to me wisely? Sarah is so content with what God has blessed her with. She so freely gives of what little she has. I’m ashamed to admit I hang on too tightly to what God has given me.

When I asked Sarah to show me to the bathroom she asked me to wait. So many people share it she wanted to clean it up first. It’s a glorified “squatty potty”; porcelain with foot grips on each side of the hole. I’d never specifically thanked God before for my two toilets in my house!

In the morning she told me she’d pay for the water for my shower- bless her heart- but I chose to use my wipes rather than use the community shower! When I inquired where I could spit when I brushed my teeth, she took me about 10 yards from her “compound” and said this was a good place for brushing teeth. It was close to a river so there were women doing their morning chores. I was definitely a curiosity. I just smiled and waved. Sarah said it made a real buzz in the area that a muzungu (westerner) was staying the night in the neighborhood!

My husband and I have changed our lifestyle the past few years since I left my full-time job to spend more time on Next Life Foundation but I believe God intentionally showed me how little “stuff” is really needed. I need His constant help so I don’t get caught up in the Western consumerism mentality. May I be fully content with the wonderful blessings He gives me and has given me each and every day.

May His face shine upon you, Patti

Graduation Day

Graduation day was Saturday and oh what an exciting day it was! I thought I was going to burst with praise for our great God! I’m so honored to be the one God chose to work through on the American side for Next Life Foundation. The students looked great, the girls had their hair and makeup done and the boys looked sharper than tacks. Their families were in attendance and the mood was very festive. I can’t tell you how many times “Bwana asifiwe” was proclaimed by the many speakers at the front table. It means “Praise the Lord” in Swahili. (Those were about the only words I understood during the three hour ceremony!) The poor photographer didn’t know which way to turn. Everone wanted a picture with this friend, with this teacher, with this Mzungu (westerner…that was me)! After the official ceremony was over a meal was shared with sodas of many kinds. The neighborhood children who had been peaking over and through the fence during the set up, the ceremony & the past two years of these students training were invited in to share the meal and merriment. Then the dancing started, or should I say, continued; some students actually began dancing when we were waiting for guests to arrive.

It’s exciting to see these students complete their training in a skill that will sustain them physically by providing an income for them but it’s even more exhilarating to know they have heard the news of Jesus Christ. Some have accepted him for the first time and I pray others have deepened their faith. That is always my prayer for our students.

I met my friend’s three daughters at graduation and two of her daughters were wearing hijabs, which are the head coverings worn by Muslim women. My friend is a woman of strong Christian faith. It breaks my heart to see that two of her daughters have married Muslim men. It makes me realize how important it is to pray against this intermarrying of the young people. God is always at work and we know He is answering our prayers. Because 1 John 5:15 tells us “And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.” We have seen the Holy Spirit at work on our site. We give all the glory to God and look expectantly to what He will continue to do. Thanks be to God.


NLF Annual Banquet

You are invited to the Next Life Foundation Annual Banquet

Featured guest Co-Founder, Laurence Laban, from Tanzania, East Africa

Thursday Sept 5, 2019

Downtown Church 2105 N Ave Milford, IA

6:00 Social time 6:30 Dinner 7:15 Program

Laurence & Patti Speaking Engagements

August 3-11 Okoboji Bible and Missionary Conference 7 Okoboji Grove Road Arnolds Park, IA

August 14 7pm Crown of Life Lutheran Church 2795 Dutton Road Rochester Hills, MI

August 15 6-8pm Trinity Lutheran Church “Meals with a Mission” 5758 W M-36 Pinckney, MI

August 18 10:30am Monona Lutheran Church 4411 Monona Dr Monona, WI

August 25 10:30am First Presbyterian Church 3501 Hill Ave Spirit Lake, IA

August 28 6pm Harbor of Joy Lutheran Church 1204 L Ave Milford, IA

Annual Banquet Thursday, September 5th Downtown Church 2105 N Ave Milford, IA 6:00 Social time 6:30 Dinner 7:15 Program