Voices from the Field Kristi TenClay Get to know Kristi

End of One Era, Beginning of Another

Published on August 25, 2022

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Greetings from Cameroon! It has been a busy couple weeks, and I offer sincere apologies for being late with this newsletter.

To answer the questions many of you have already asked – Yes, I am LOVING that I am NOT in charge! Though I was glad to come back in this capacity, there were questions in my mind about how well I would adjust to such a huge shift, especially with a totally new person in charge. There have already been more situations than I can even list where some challenge has arisen and I have felt a tremendous relief that it isn’t my responsibility to solve it! I have enjoyed the freedom to be available when help is needed and been incredibly blessed to have the privilege of helping lighten the load when I can for those carrying the burden of those responsibilities without dealing with the pressure myself.

I have been back in Cameroon since the beginning of June, just in time to take part in some of the end-of-year festivities connected to graduation for an amazing group of students in the class of 2022. Between those kids completing their time at RFIS, the hostel now officially closing, and the retirement of Jeff and Carolyn Stoker (both long-time members of the school’s staff and missionaries with the Evangelical Covenant Church), it feels like we have reached the end of an era in some ways. The end of one era means the beginning of another; this summer our new School Director arrived, I am now back in the classroom, and the hostel is in the process of being converted into two apartments. We are short-staffed, as is often the case, but I am excited about the people we have on staff this year and the direction Anna (our new director) is leading.

Students returned last week, and, as always, it is fun to see how the dynamic and personality of each class changes from year to year with the departure of former students and the return of others or introduction of new ones. Unfortunately, our enrollment is quite low this year (in fact, I think we are the smallest we have been in 20+ years, with numbers only in the mid-50s). That does create some challenges for the school, but as with our small staff, I am eager to see what God is going to do with this group of kids.

So much has happened in the couple of months since my last newsletter, and I appreciate the many prayers many of you have lifted in support of me during this transition. After spending all of June and July bouncing back and forth between two apartments (partially because I was taking care of a friend’s pets and partially because of some plumbing issues in my apartment), I am so thankful to be fully moved into my own place now. Likewise, my cat is much happier now that he doesn’t have to share me with the other two cats! (For those of you who know and have followed the saga of my cat, he handled the trip here like a champion. Fuzzy is LOVING exploring and hunting in the wilderness on the back of property, but pray with me that he will NOT wander father than that, as the employees on our compound have warned me that he would make a good meal for any of the neighbors if he wanders past our walls – YIKES!)

I arrived in Cameroon for the first time in July of 2010, and it occurs to me as I write this letter that this has now been ‘home’ for as long as anywhere else I have ever lived. At no point in my adult life can I look back and say that I am where I would have guessed or predicted even five years earlier. I am so thankful we serve a God who knows better than we do and has a plan greater than mine. 😊

Blessings to you all!

Kristi TenClay