Voices from the Field Kristi TenClay Get to know Kristi

Leaning into What’s Next

Published on May 19, 2022

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What a difference a year makes! This year of home assignment has been a tremendous time of healing and restoration, and as I have shared with multiple groups lately, I am thankful for the journey of the past few years despite its many challenges Though I have not connected with as many of my churches as I had hoped to or as I normally would have, I have been so encouraged by those with whom I was able to visit and have been blessed to spend some quality time with my home church in Junction City, Kansas.

As I write this letter, I have finished packing up my life in Kansas, handed keys to my home over to a rental agency, and shifted north to my parents’ place in Iowa, which will be my home base for these last few weeks before heading back to Cameroon (minus a trip to Rome squished in the middle of the month to meet with a bunch of other missionaries, for which I am super excited!). The shuffle of packing and shopping has begun, and I will choose to view the disaster I have created in my parents’ basement as progress. 😊 I fly out to return to Cameroon on May 31 and am SO EXCITED to reconnect with my friends and community there!

Our prayers have been answered for a new school director for Rain Forest International School, and the visit from our accrediting agency went well, resulting in the approval of another seven-year accreditation. We will be stepping forward into a new era as a school, and I am looking forward to returning to the classroom. As is entirely too common, we anticipate being short-staffed for the year, so scheduling will be a challenge, but what an exciting time to be a part of the Rain Forest International School staff.

I have reflected much on 1 Corinthians 13:12 lately, partially in preparation for a ladies retreat last month but also in general in reference to how little we sometimes understand of the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this world. There is so many heartbreaking aspects of this life that I just want to shake my head at and can sometimes so easily dismiss because of their distance from touching my life personally . . . the current controversies in America over abortion ‘rights’ and race, the uncertainties and fear under which so many in the NW and SW regions of Cameroon live every day, the whole situation in Ukraine, children who suffer from their parents’ neglect, abuse, or poor choices, friends struggling with mental health issues, financial struggles, addictions. . . . The list goes on and on. There are so many days when I simply can’t wrap my head around it all. Yet, we have hope. Let me close this letter with my ‘amplified’ version of this verse. The bold print is the actual verse (NLT), the parts in brackets are pulled from other translations, and those in parentheses are my own words:

Now (in this lifetime, in this time and place, on this side of heaven – perhaps justified, but still being sanctified) we see things imperfectly, [as if looking through a dark glass or] like puzzling reflections in a [broken] mirror. But then we will see everything with perfect clarity [as if face to face]. All that I know now is partial and incomplete [hazy and blurred, our understanding is limited.] (That is just a FACT that we simply can’t ignore.) But then I will know [and understand] everything completely, [in a perfect way] (– it will make sense . . . not just in the way I might understand the logic or the concept represented by a mathematical formula or some scientific process but) [FULLY and COMPLETELY, in a perfect way] just as God now knows me completely. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

What a glorious day that will be friends! What a glorious day! Blessings to you all. As always, your thoughts and prayers are appreciated. Keep an eye on Facebook if you want to follow my bouncing around of the next month and as I settle back into Cameroon this summer. I would love to hear from you (tenclayk@gmail.com)!

Leaning into what’s next,

Kristi TenClay

412 Colorado Ave NW, Orange City, IA 51041, United States