Africa mission play on stage during Tulip Festival

Mission field stories of Sioux Center resident Arlene Schuiteman will be on stage during the Orange City Tulip Festival, May 19–21. The play, Iowa Ethiopia, will be performed in the DeWitt Theatre Arts Center at Northwestern College every afternoon after the parade, around 4 p.m.

The drama is being presented by Northwestern’s theatre company, which recently toured Iowa Ethiopia to the East Coast. The show is free; tickets to reserve seating are available at the Orange City Chamber of Commerce office and the Northwestern College theatre office before the festival, and at the Windmill Park information booth during the festival.

Iowa Ethiopia is drawn from the biographical archives of 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 own life.

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 theatre company has performed in Japan and across the United States, including off-Broadway in New York and at the Crystal Cathedral. The company is directed by Professor Jeff Barker, who authored Iowa Ethiopia.