Northwestern theatre to tour in Ethiopia

Northwestern College’s touring theatre company will perform their most recent worship drama, “Iowa Ethiopia,” in churches and schools in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, December 26 through January 6.

“Iowa Ethiopia” is drawn from the biographical archive of Arlene Schuiteman, a nurse missionary to the Sudan and Ethiopia in the 1960s and ’70s. After Sudan’s Civil War forced her expulsion from that country, Schuiteman traveled to Ethiopia. There she helped open a “dresser school” in the city of Mettu, teaching wound care and other medical skills to health care workers.

Now retired and in her 80s, Schuiteman reflects on the spiritual revival that swept through Ethiopia during her years there—a revival that touched her personally and resulted in some surprising gifts of the Holy Spirit in her life. Schuiteman is also traveling to Addis Ababa this month with the Northwestern troupe.

In addition to sharing Schuiteman’s story, “Iowa Ethiopia” also tells the story of Judaism and Christianity in Ethiopia, from the Queen of Sheba—who is rumored to have borne King Solomon’s son—to the Ark of the Covenant, which many, including Schuiteman, believe was brought to Ethiopia and remains there today, guarded by an elite group of priests.

Northwestern’s eight-member troupe includes Hannah Barker from Orange City and Daniel Sikkema from Hospers. Theatre alum Gabe Franken, formerly of Sioux Center, is also acting in “Iowa Ethiopia.”

Northwestern’s touring theatre company has performed in Japan and across the United States, including off-Broadway in New York and at the Crystal Cathedral.