Inauguration of Dr Stanley Bhebhe

Amy and I continue our missionary work during home assignment, visiting numerous churches in the U.S., telling the story of what God is doing through Africa Nazarene University.

Unfortunately, today we missed the inauguration of our Vice-Chancellor, Dr Stanley Bhebhe. But our thoughts and prayers are with him as officially he takes the reins of the University. He is a gifted man, loves the Lord and has been blessed with wisdom and experience that we know God will use to build upon the excellent foundation already laid.

Say a prayer today for Dr Bhebhe and the entire leadership team of Africa Nazarene University.

Bhebhe

Travel notes…

The featured picture, above, is from Richmond, Indiana. I loved the sunset streaming in the stained glass window! We had a fun time with the people before, during, and after the service. We also had a great time with the people of Richmond, Maine. I’m not sure if we’ll be going to any other places that share the name.

Yes, I can still take bird pictures even when I am in the United States. I will admit that the littler birds have hidden well. I did get Mr. and Mrs. Mallard when in Franklin, IN and a seagull on the PA Turnpike.

We have made it to Maine and will be here and there in the state for the next week.

The church bulletin boards and wall displays continue to encourage us. Local NMI presidents are doing a fantastic job putting the cause before their people. (This is one of the displays from Auburn, ME).DSCN9191

Have you ever noticed that the simplest things can be really beautiful when you haven’t seen them in a long time?

Food-wise, we are sampling old favorites and trying new things (new to us).

We have reunited with college friends, NMI friends, old friends, and made new friends. Home assignment is all about connections. Thanks to those who have fed and hosted us on our travels so far.

Please pray:

  • that we keep travelling with high energy, health, and safety;
  • that we make all the connections that we need to make personally and for ANU;
  • that we can keep up with our work and studies and still find times of rest and relaxation.

mentors

None of us are where we are today without others.

On Monday, Amy and I stopped in to see one of those mentors. Ted Esselstyn and his wife, Joan, lived in South Africa for many years, and Ted is a Swazi. (Yes, he was born in Swaziland and still has a Swazi passport). As Nazarene missionaries, they invested their lives over decades in the work of Nazarene higher education, and Ted served as the first Regional Education Coordinator for Africa.

It was a joy to catch up with the Esselstyns in their retirement home outside Mt Vernon, Ohio and to share a meal together. Ted still faithfully teaches Sunday School each week at his local Nazarene church. We updated him on the progress of Africa Nazarene University, of which Ted was one of the Founders and for many years served as a Trust and Council member.

Thank God today for those whom He has used to shape you!

 

On the Road…

We are officially on the road. Since heading to our first district tour (in Indianapolis), we’ve put more than 900 miles on the car. Please pray for us as we drive – pray for good traffic circulation, good visibility, and good times together. We love seeing new parts of the USA and sometimes the sunsets just get better and better.

Of course, we are not here primarily to see the countryside or the glory of the skies. We are here to meet people and share what God is doing through Africa Nazarene University. We have been doing that and meeting those who have been on Work & Witness teams that have either worked on the campus or used it as a staging location for arriving or departing from East Africa. We have given greetings and will be carrying greetings to others.

It is encouraging to see the bulletin boards at churches that are informing congregations about missions. Thank you! These are some from the Church of the Nazarene in Franklin, IN. We feel very supported!

After the Indianapolis District tour, we will head to the Maine District. If you’re in Maine and would like to see us, please contact us. We don’t get to Maine very often.

On the hotseat

Three times per year, ANU students are on the hotseat.

In Kenya, final exams count for 60% of an undergraduate’s course grade, and 50% for a master’s student. The last 2 weeks of each trimester are exam weeks. Many students take 7 classes per term, so that’s 7 final exams they’re sitting for, each exam lasting for 2 hours. Others who are part of our online programs sit for exams in the remote locations where they live.

Exams can create a lot of pressure.

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We serve a diverse student population, providing Christ-centered education.

Here at ANU, lecturers proctor their own exams, except here we call it invigilating. This term, Amy got to invigilate for the first time, since she’s wrapping up her first term teaching English 101 and English 102. Between both classes, she has around 130 students. That’s a lot of exams to correct…or as we say here, to mark. To do so, she doesn’t have an answer key. She uses the marking scheme.

But whatever terms we use, it all comes out to the same thing: ANU students are getting a great education in a wonderful Christian environment. Pray for our students, that they’ll finish strong.

 

Global Librarians

Nazarene librarians bound together by a love of books and the people who read them can make a huge impact. This week, ANU is hosting five librarians from three countries. Recently retired from Northwest Nazarene University, Sharon Bull, a Canadian, leads the group. She has traveled the globe working with librarians at several Nazarene institutions. You can follow her posts on Facebook through the Mission: Nazarene Libraries page. (above – bottom right)

Lungile Seymana, a Swazi, is the head librarian at Southern Africa Nazarene University for the campus in Manzini. Two years ago a similar team came to Swaziland to train her and her staff. Now, she has abundant practical advice for using the OPALS system. Her travel was sponsored by the Education Development Foundation. (above bottom left)

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(Ruth, Ellen, and Bobbi working with Salome Kivuva on the computer)

Three Americans round out the group. Ruth Kinnersley, Director of Library Services at Trevecca Nazarene University, has taken a lead role in training ANU staff librarians in the OPALS system. Bobbi Tomlin, a church librarian from Boise, ID and Ellen Beckwith, a retired public school librarian, have taken the task to catalogue books from the shipment sent from Nazarene Bible College through Christian Literature for Africa in cooperation with the Education Development United Foundation. (Bobbi and Ellen are pictured below.)

These librarians are part of a larger Global Tech team. The other team members are installing security measures at ANU’s downtown campus.

If you have skills and a willing hand and heart, contact Rob North at rnorth@anu.ac.ke to find out if there is a team coming to ANU that you could join. We love sharing our wonderful weather, beautiful flora and fauna, and warmhearted people with visitors.

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Our home assignment starts soon. We will be on the following districts: Indianapolis (April 22-29), Maine (May – ), New England (May  – ), Upstate New York (June  – ), Metro New York (June  – ), Pittsburgh (July  – ), and Mid-Atlantic. (July -). If we will be near you, we would love to spend some time together. Contact us at gregamyc@gmail.com to set up a time. Let’s not just leave it to chance.

Prayer requests…

  • Finishing this trimester strong
  • Safe travels from here to there and back again
  • Success in sharing the stories of ANU and her God-given impact
  • Amy’s Ed.D. work – keeping up with the work while on home assignment
  • Greg – He’s writing another book — We’ll keep you posted

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Happy Easter from ANU!

3 days together with Jesus

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Rev Gift Mtukwa, Chair of the School of Religion and Christian Ministry (SRCM) at ANU, answers a question from the floor.

The 4th Global Theology Conference of the Church of the Nazarene was amazing! Nearly 300 theological educators, pastors, and other Nazarene leaders from around the world gathered for three days here in Leesburg, Florida. With our theme of “Christology,” the questions we addressed centered around Jesus’ identity and what that means for the Church as we pursue God’s mission in the world.

All the full-time faculty from ANU’s School of Religion and Christian Ministry (SRCM) came as part of a delegation from Africa more than 50 strong. We were especially proud of our own Gift Mtukwa, who wrote a paper on Paul’s Cruciform Mission in 1 Thessalonians. He partcipated in a lively panel discussing his paper, along with paper of Dr Jorge Julca (South America Regional Education Coordinator).

I’m so glad to be part of a denomination that devotes time and resources to theology and its practical application. Having a good mix of educators and practitioners made for a rich time of exchange in both small groups and plenary sessions. Last night, our G.S., Dr David Busic, preached an excellent message on Christ based from the Gospel of Mark, after which we joyfully celebrated the Eucharist together.

Prayer requests

  1. I fly back to Nairobi today and tomorrow, hopefully avoiding a strong snowstorm that is plummeting the Northeast of the United States. As I type this, my flight has not yet been cancelled or re-routed, though other SRCM faculty have had routing changes. This could be a serendipitous adventure…
  2.  Amy and I have just 3 weeks left before we head to the U.S. for our home assignment. There are many tasks to wrap-up before we go, including administering final exams for both my religion classes and Amy’s English courses. Thank you for praying that God will give us the stamina we need to finish this trimester well and to get packed up for what promises be a fruitful time of deputation in churches and visits with loved ones.