Dear reader, my name is Andreas Albers (26), a student of theology for the FELSISA.
Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to tell you a little more about myself and about my studies.
I grew up as a “pastor’s kid” in Lüneburg and later in Pretoria. After completing High School, I applied to study mechanical engineering at the University of Pretoria. However, about a month before classes started, I realized that that was not what I really wanted. I wanted to become a pastor! In so doing, I would continue in the footsteps of both my father and my grandfather, who are also my role models. I therefore promptly applied for a Bachelor of Arts programme at the University of Pretoria to prepare myself for the Theological study course proper at the Seminary of our German Sister-Church (SELK). My main subjects in Pretoria were Biblical Languages (Greek and Hebrew) and History of Ancient Cultures. After stumbling in the first year of university, I pulled up my socks, learned some valuable lessons and went on to finish my degree in 2011. In April 2012, I left Pretoria for Germany, to study at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Oberursel.
The programme in Oberursel consists of a Grundstudium (the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree) and a Hauptstudium (equivalent of a Master’s degree). The Grundstudium is completed in Oberursel only, while the Hauptstudium is completed in part at any large University in Germany and in part in Oberursel. After finishing my Grund-stadium, I continued my Hauptstudium, first in Oberursel, and then at the University of Hamburg. I then studied for one year at the Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne as part of an exchange programme between the Seminary in Oberursel and the Seminaries of our big sister church in the USA. This is an excellent opportunity, done voluntarily, to learn from some of the best Lutheran teachers of our time in the English speaking world. In May 2016 I returned to Oberursel. I hope to complete my remaining courses in Oberursel by April 2018.
Apart from learning from many good teachers in Oberursel, Hamburg and Fort Wayne, I have also been privileged to learn from, visit, worship with, and get to know Lutherans from Scandinavia, Latvia and of course Germany and the USA. It is encouraging to know that we have so many Lutheran brothers and sisters around the world who confess the same faith and practice the same Word and Sacrament centred Divine Service every Sunday, albeit in a different language and setting.
In June 2015 I got engaged to Maria Schmidt-Dahl. We will be getting married between the writing and the publishing of this report (23/07/2016). The wedding will take place (or rather took place) at her home congregation in Stelle, Germany. Maria is studying to become a pharmacist at the University of Frankfurt, which is about 20km from Oberursel. She will hopefully have completed her studies by 2020, which is why I am planning on doing my vicarage in Germany, so that we do not have to live apart. We intend on moving to South Africa in 2020.
I know that my studies are taking a long time. I also wish it were different. However, I cannot wait to go back home. Last, but not least, I want to sincerely thank all the congregations and individuals who pray for us theology students! We really appreciate it!