Click here to view this newsletter as a PDF.
And away we go! We have survived the first two weeks of school. Has everything gone smoothly? Nope. Has it been a stress-free couple of weeks? Nope. Has God been faithful in the midst of it all? YES!
It would be easy to list the many things that haven’t gone quite as planned and the many frustrating situations that have come up during the opening weeks of school (especially with a new person in charge!), but the REAL story and what keeps us going from day to day is the answer to that last question: Yes, God has been faithful and He is still in control.
I officially took over as the Interim Director of RFIS on the 21st of June and feel like I have been on an exponential learning curve ever since. Lois (our previous director) did a great job helping to prepare me over the course of the past school year, but so much of any new job is just jumping in and working through it. Quite honestly, there are days I wonder what God was thinking in placing me here, but I take great comfort in knowing HE is in control (not me) and great confidence in HIS ability to use me in this place and during this season.
Between new teacher orientation, our week of staff orientation, a parent orientation/open house, and my involvement in various aspects of student orientation, I have done a lot of ‘public speaking’ in the past month. Those things don’t really bother me. However, as the director, I also had the privilege of being the speaker for our first chapel service of the year. Interestingly, in the 9+ years since I first came to Cameroon, I have never been the chapel speaker, and this was a challenge that really stretched me. There is a HUGE difference between explaining policies or even why those policies exist and seeking to speak into people’s lives from your own experiences and vulnerabilities. I spoke about who I have been, who I am, and our identity in Christ. We explored the TRUTH in how Christ defines us and the lies Satan sows that we can so easily believe. I shared some of the struggles that I have allowed to define me at times and challenged them to hear God’s truth. We closed with the reminder that God isn’t finished with any of us yet. We are all still works in progress, but through Him we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37) and what He has begun in us, He WILL complete (Philippians 1:6).
For the most part, I see my role as director this year in light of its interim nature and therefore don’t consider it my place to CHANGE things. However, sometimes you need to jump in and try things when the opportunities present themselves. And because of how our class scheduling worked out this year, we were able to slip in two new events that will bookend our week together as a community: Monday morning ‘Staff Prayer’ and Friday afternoon ‘Community Time.’ I am so excited to see where the Lord will lead us with these! Perhaps equally encouraging as managing to get them scheduled is the realization as I write this letter that both were actually inspired by things happening in our student body!
Over the past few years, our school’s student-led worship team has developed a tradition of focusing the first assembly time each week on prayer. This year, the staff is working to move in the same direction. Though the school’s staff have always been committed to praying together and for our students, our collective efforts towards this have generally been limited to one of our staff meetings each month. Through some creative fiddling with our schedule, our teaching staff will be able to start our weeks together in prayer this year. Pray with me that this will be a special time of growing together and of collectively focusing on what God is calling us to each week and throughout the year.
Throughout my years at RFIS, various groups and individuals on campus have sought to build ‘unity’ or a sense of ‘family’ on campus, and this year we have set aside an hour each week as ‘Community Time.’ We have divided the staff and student body into 6 ‘color clans’ and will use that time in variety of ways. Some weeks will be set aside for clan competitions, others will provide time for clubs to meet, some will allow opportunities to serve others within or around our community, and some might even allow us to host presentations or guest speakers that wouldn’t normally fit into our schedule. Pray with me that this will be a great time of building community as we grow and play together.