Voices from the Field Elsie Lewandowski Get to know Elsie

A Send Forth Celebration

Published on August 19, 2021

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Dear Friends and Family,

It’s hard to believe my twenty-six years in Cameroon have come to an end. This past year has been particularly challenging with the COVID restrictions, robberies at the school, and numerous schedule and staff changes. I thank God for making His powerful presence known in many ways.

My time at Rain Forest International School was challenging but filled with rewarding experiences, learning challenges, and new friends. I certainly was in the right place at the right time. Saying goodbye to Bamenda, Cameroonian friends, and Cameroon in general was difficult but, again, God arranged schedules and meetings. In Bamenda, I had a Send Forth celebration (such a better word than goodbye). I was given several traditional Cameroonian outfits, some lovely posters, and other wonderful gifts. It was overwhelming how much sacrifice and love went into these gifts. I had time for personal goodbyes but also time to rest and reflect. God knew what I needed.

My next adventure was to see me heading to Romania. Jason and Erin Bergman and the family are already there being part of the summer camp program at Camp Falcon Rock. My new responsibility was to help set up an educational program that would meet their needs, whether that program was to be incorporated with the local school or exclusively homeschooling. My summer in Alberta was to be spent looking for curriculum and packing winter clothes. I am so excited to hopefully live in Europe for a year and to have the
privilege of working with homeschoolers again.

However, there is a glitch. A while ago I noticed a black spot in the vision of my right eye. Previously, a black spot in that location turned out to be retinal cancer. I have been cancer-free for more than fifteen years, but this was disturbing. Long story short, a swollen optical nerve triggered a diagnosis of a slow-growing mass behind the eye. I’ve had an ocular scan and MRI in Cameroon and a CAT scan and MRI in Alberta. A meeting with an ocular oncologist at this point has determined that in order to “get at the mass” I will lose my right eye permanently and the nature of the mass is yet to be determined. Even after a good biopsy, the doctor wanted to do more pathology tests because my case “is complicated.” I don’t know what that means, but to me it sounds hopeful.

So far God has been with me EVERY step of the way, providing people to take care of my classes, my house, and my cat in Cameroon. In Canada, everyone is surprised by how everything I’ve needed has been done speedily and with the most qualified people. People’s prayers have followed me everywhere, and God has honored them. Even small things like having an ocular resident at the hospital when we went to the hospital emergency. She was getting ready to leave and in five minutes we would have missed her. This kind of thing has happened again and again. We are in awe.

We know that God is great and loving. He has reasons and plans beyond our wildest dreams. He has proven to be faithful and I trust Him. I’m so grateful to be journeying this with Him. Give Him glory!

Elsie Lewandowski

elsielew55@gmail.com | nabonmission.org/missionaries/elsie-lewandowski