Voices from the Field Kristi TenClay Get to know Kristi

Changing Chapters

Published on May 13, 2024

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Just a quick picture with my friend Goodness, who is also leaving this year (and one of my seniors photobombing).

Greetings from Cameroon . . . for the last time. Wow, I don’t think this is one of the ‘lasts’ that I had considered. Though it is far from my last newsletter to all of you, it IS the last one I will be writing from here in Cameroon. There is a very real finality in that, which gives me pause. There is so much to do, so many goodbyes, and so many ‘last’ times to navigate in the rapidly shortening days, and yet a significant relief to be able to look at my calendar and see that ‘Fly’ on June 26.

A quick group picture at the end of high school retreat before hitting the road.

As always, it has been a busy season at Rain Forest International School. The huge Valentine’s dinner I had been baking and preparing for in the weeks before my last newsletter went GREAT! We served about 150 people and heard nothing but good comments on the food and festivities. Since then, my kids (the senior class) have also served food at our school’s annual Carnival (nearly 300 meals!) and hosted a massive ‘garage sale.’ Though successful events, we are all relieved to have them done for the year! Now I get to shift gears with them into my role as graduation coordinator, and they get to shift gears to planning their senior trip.

Easter egg hunt with the ‘littles’ on our compound.

However, life at school in general has definitely not slowed down at all. With each task or milestone we pass, more inevitably fill its space. A community service group on campus is wrapping up Bible, food, and clothing drives for a couple of local orphanages. Our high school girls’ soccer team recently went on a sports evangelism trip to work with amputee soccer players in another part of the country, and external exams (IGCSE through Cambridge and AP through the College Board) that will continue into the first week of June have officially begun. I don’t think any of us realistically expect much down time until after graduation (June 15).

Some of our students spent their Spring Break giving a total facelift to the mural just outside our campus.

Please be praying for RFIS, as my transition is only one of many goodbyes within our staff this year – some for a short time, and others permanently. Such farewells are a regular part of life in a community like this, and though it is ‘normal,’ they never become easy.

On a more personal level, I still have many more questions than answers about the details of my future but am generally too busy to spend much time worrying about it on most days. I am confident that God’s plan is good and that though it seems somewhere between blank canvas and a toddler’s scribbles to me, it is the beginning of what he already sees as the masterpiece he is creating. I recognize it is often in the waiting and in the questions that God touches our souls in special ways, and I desire to honor him in this time.

My ‘Fuzzy,’ who will be staying behind in Cameroon.

He may be an American kitty, but he has definitely decided Africa is his home.

It will be hard to leave him behind, but he will be so much happier here where he can hunt those slithery creatures I hate so much.

I am tremendously looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Minnesota at Triennial in July. (Drop me an email if you know you will be there so we can make sure not to miss each other!) From there I will jump into our local NAB association meetings (Hey SWA people – can’t wait to see you!) in August and then the whirlwind of home assignment. Though my last home assignment was only two years ago, there are so many of you I didn’t get a chance to visit, so I am excited to be able to reconnect and share this continued journey with you as the next chapter unfolds! I remember being able to rejoice with some of you in person as pieces fell into place before I came to Cameroon (I was at lunch with one of my Kansas churches when I finally got an offer on my house, which enabled me to pay off all my student loans – one of the final hurdles in spring of 2010.) Who knows what bits and pieces God will start fitting together and sharing with me as I visit you!

If you already have dates for mission conferences and such that you would like me to keep in mind as I begin to build my calendar, I would love to hear from you! Because I didn’t get to see any Canadian churches last time, I am hoping to make a massive road trip to hit as many of those as possible this fall – any takers? (Though you NON-prairie people might not understand it, this child of the prairies is really looking forward to the plains of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and I can’t wait to experience the Canadian Rockies, which I have so often been told are amazing!)

Thank you in advance for your prayers as I stumble through these last pages of my chapter in Cameroon. And patiently await God’s title for the next chapter.

Kristi TenClay