Voices from the Field Elsie Lewandowski Get to know Elsie

Year of Change

Published on November 17, 2020

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Dear Friends,

One of the kick-off day teams

As everyone has been saying, 2020 has been a year of change. March–June, our school, Rainforest International School (RFIS), was entirely online. We opened in August, like many other schools, with a hybrid system. In Humanities class, I have a total of six students, which meant I saw three of them on Mondays and Thursdays and three of them on Tuesdays and Fridays. On Wednesdays, everyone was online. In English class, I have a total of sixteen students, which should be eight and eight. HOWEVER, for five of the eight weeks of the quarter I had missing students. These were students who couldn’t get a visa and were stuck in America or were in quarantine. If anyone in the house had a fever or cough, we asked the family to stay home. Trying to get assignments from missing students made life confusing for everyone. What a blessing now that everyone is finally all here in person. Our smaller classes allowed us to social distance and remove our masks—something we all welcomed in this humidity, but now with larger classes we’re back to face masks again. Although discussions in English class are a little muffled, we’re all learning to project and speak distinctly. (Not a bad thing to learn . . .)

English class, first quarterPraise God, we’ve made it through one quarter! During the final week, we were even able to have some team-building games to finally come together as a school. It was good to hear laughter and cheers for a change instead of the solemn stillness which was normal on most hybrid school days.

Using a spray bottle to keep the balloon in the air relay

Our fall break was short. For teachers? Three days. But second quarter started with energy and enthusiasm. Being in school every day for a full day has been a stretch; still the kids have been real troopers. Hand-washing and desk-sanitizing have become routine; social distancing is more of a challenge.

English class, second quarter

Cameroonian churches have been having multiple services and social distancing for a few months. I often join in their praise times from my house where the music can be heard quite clearly. Presently it’s been good to just worship with a few friends or online. Perhaps next week I’ll attend a new Baptist church plant in the area, which has fewer attendees.

Meanwhile, the news from the northwest and southwest region is still not good. Cameroonian schools are functioning and more children are trying to attend, but students still put their lives at risk each day. Last week a private school was attacked, killing seven children and injuring many. Please pray for the trauma these children and their parents have experienced. May the God of all comfort be their rock and their hope. My heart just aches for them all.

Safe in the Hands of Jesus,



  • Strength, wisdom, and love for my students as I try to reflect God’s image to them.
  • Wisdom in planning community, sporting, and social events – what is reasonable and what needs to be “put on hold.”
  • A gracious spirit with others who do not have the same values, beliefs, and opinions in the area of COVID and politics.


  • Everyone attending RFIS is physically present and well in spite of many, many delays and confusion.
  • Students have been adjusting well to the many changes and a variety of schedules.
  • We were able to have chapel and assemblies together as a school.
  • God continues to provide in miraculous ways for the people in the northwest and southwest region in the middle of a civil war.

Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Psalm 16:5–6

Elsie Lewandowski

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