One chapter ends, another begins

IMG_1187For the past three years, Amy and I have been blessed to be part of the community at Africa Nazarene University. In these nine trimesters, God has taught us much and has shaped us in many ways.

Yesterday in chapel, the speaker read Genesis 31:13b (CEB): “Now, get up and leave this country and go back to the land of your relatives.” These words to Jacob seemed to be God’s words to us, another confirmation of a new and unexpected opportunity that the Lord has provided.

Last week, Greg accepted a position in Austin, Texas as a hospital chaplaincy resident, beginning September 3.

The next month will be a whirlwind of wrapping up our teaching duties at ANU, sorting and packing, and saying our goodbyes. Once back home in the U.S. in mid-August, we’ll be visiting with family in the Northeast, gathering some furniture and other belongings, then trekking Southwest to Texas.

Amy’s progress on her Ed.D. through Trevecca Nazarene University continues and she expects to have completed all requirements by early November. She will be exploring job possibilities once we’ve arrived in Austin.

Service as Nazarene missionaries has been an amazing and life-changing experience! Over twenty-three years, beginning in 1993, we’ve sojourned in a total of 6 countries: one in Europe (France, for language school), four in Africa (Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, South Africa, and Kenya) and one in the Caribbean (Haiti). We’re profoundly grateful for the relationships we’ve made along the way; we are not the same as when we arrived. Our world is much bigger and our appreciation for the Global Church has never been greater.

Please pray for us in the coming weeks with the many changes it will bring. “Thank you” hardly seems adequate for your support across the years! Our request is that you transfer the same level of prayer and interest to other Nazarene missionaries.

Ce n’est qu’un au revoir – This is only a “see you later.” May the Lord in His Providence see fit that our paths will cross again.

 

Busy but boring

Our lives are busy but boring. We seem to work from before sun up to well after sundown, but it is still hard to come up with something to write about every week.

  • For the past several weeks, teams have been on campus from Mid-America, Trevecca, Southern, and Northwest Nazarene. Yet, we’ve not interacted much with them as we were keeping up with our own work. They visited schools, orphanages, and refugee camps. They painted a classroom and did so many other things.
  • Greg preached in the chapel service on Thursday. It went well. He will preach at the downtown campus next week.

We have decided to stop making weekly posts. We may occasionally post, but we will take the pressure off ourselves to do so weekly. It’s a little like writing a Christmas letter – every week.

If you want to know how we are doing at any given time, send us an email.

Continuing prayer requests:

  • Amy’s doctoral work
  • Students doing doctoral work in the School of Religion and Christian Ministries at ANU
  • Rain for Kenya – The campus looks beautiful now. Thanks for praying.
  • ANU

 

The family that prays together…

hymn books

…stays together.

I (Greg) have always liked that saying, and it’s no less true when the “family” is the family of those preparing for vocational ministry through the School of Religon and Christian Ministry (SRCM) at ANU.

On Wednesday for early morning prayers, we had representatives from Kenya, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and the U.S. We truly are Africa Nazarene University!

The Religion Student Association (RSA) is the student organization run by our religion majors. Besides sponsoring Wednesday prayers, they organize for a mission trip once per trimester.

Please pray for our female and male students as they respond to God’s call to life-long ordained ministry.

 

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RSA leaders, L to R: Josophat Kalimwayi, Fadweck Tepani, Forward Muchetu (not pictured: Mercy Sopera)

 

Other prayer requests

This is Holiness Week at ANU. Remember our speaker, Assistant Chaplain Shaun Bati, as he brings the message each day. Ask that the hearts of students will tender to God’s voice, and that they will respond.

Amy just finished her second (and last) statistics class for her Ed.D. program through Trevecca Nazarene University.  She has just 3 classes remaining, and is moving ahead simultaneously on her thesis.  Pray that the Lord will help her finish well as she balances her own studies with the English classes that she’s teaching at ANU.

 

 

 

 

Study in Yellow (and Orange)

The other day I was walking around the campus and I began to see yellows and oranges, so I decided to do a ‘study in yellow (and orange)’.

A few weeks ago, there was no yellow. All I could have done was a study in brown. Thanks for your prayers for rain. we’ve had several good rainfalls. The campus is vibrant again!

Just one more…

Speaking of vibrant, next week is Holiness Week. Please pray for a vibrant response to the messages of Pastor Shaun Bati.

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Two weeks in the DRC

 

DRC – Democratic Republic of the Congo, not be be confused with the Republic of the Congo

For the past two weeks, I (Greg) taught in Kisangani, DRC, which is in the northeast part of the country. My flight took me from Nairobi to Addis Ababa, then on to Kisangani.

 

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Heading out to Sunday church with Rev Okende and his son, Martin.

 

The 30 pastors I taught were grateful for the two diploma-level courses, “Holiness 1” and “Holiness 2.” Since the DRC is a French-speaking country, I got to brush-off my French, too.

 

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Arnold plays the jembe.

We met Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a 90 minute break in the middle of the day. The pastors seemed very grateful for the instruction, and were tremendous singers. They joyfully belted out and danced to “Ensemble, louons le Seigneur” (Together, let’s praise the Lord), one of my favorites from Benin that I taught them.

 

While there, I stayed with the District Superintendent, Rev Jean-Louis Okende. He was a very gracious host, and we enjoyed good conversation and meals together.

Pray for the Church of the Nazarene in Congo!

 

 

 

 

Compare and contrast

Teaching in a different educational system can be confusing, but it definitely is mind-broadening.

In general, the contrasts in terminology show up with the end of the term (trimester). In America, we proctor an exam and then grade it with an answer key. Here, we invigilate an exam and mark it with a marking scheme.

Here, we write our final exam in the first couple of weeks of the term and then the entire department decides if it is okay or if it needs to be changed. This is called premoderation. After the final exams are all marked and final marks turned in, the department gets together again to consult on the final results. Failing marks need to be explained and the marking of exams is checked for accuracy. This is called postmoderation. It is a very communal approach to university education.

As an English teacher, I also end up teaching my students the American terms even as I struggle to remember the British terms. Here are a few examples. I end sentences with a period which are also known as “full stop”. I put the year of an APA citation in parentheses, but my students put them in brackets.

Yet, one thing is the same everywhere. Coworkers make or break the work experience. The picture at the top is the wonderful bunch that I work alongside in ANU’s Languages and Literature department. Mrs. Muchai, the chair of the department, is seated at the lower left. She has literally written the textbooks that we use for the English classes.

Prayer requests –

Thank you for praying for rain in Kenya. Please, don’t stop. Notice how the grass is beginning to green and the ibis can get some food again as the ground is not as hard.

This is a week off classes and the campus is quiet. Please, pray for the faculty, staff, and students as we prepare our materials and minds for the next trimester that begins at the beginning of May.

 

Popping in

 

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This is about 1/3 of the Work and Witness Team that stopped by to say “hey.”

 

One fun thing about living and working at Africa Nazarene University is when Nazarenes stop by.

Take the Work and Witness Team that visited us on Wednesday, for example.

These were energetic Nazarenes from Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Colorado. They’d just finished 2 weeks working at a rural children’s center, helping with Vacation Bible School and assisting with the installation of a water system. They’d heard some of the good things that God is doing at ANU and decided to stop in and see for themselves.

Amy and I led part of the tour around campus. It was a reminder of all the Lord has done so far, but also that our best days lie ahead.

If you’ve ever passing through, stop by and see ANU. You, too, will be amazed at what has sprung up on the African plain.

Prayer requests

The long rains (March-April-May) have still not come. Drought is spreading in Kenya, and with it frustrated farmers and food insecurity, especially in rurul areas. Please pray for steady rains, strong enough to water the earth but not so sudden as to cause flooding.

Thanks for those who prayed for us as we wrapped up the trimester. All grades are turned in, and we now have about 2 weeks break before the May trimester begins.

Ask the Lord to give rest to our faculty and students, and wonderful re-connection with family.