Voices from the Field Elsie Lewandowski Get to know Elsie

One Step Ahead

Published on November 14, 2019

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“I could teach that,” I jokingly told Kristi TenClay. As the new interim director of Rain Forest Christian Academy (RFIS), she had just learned that the 7th Grade Humanities teacher wasn’t coming.

“You could,” she said. “You should!”

Before I understood the full impact, I was moving out of my house in Bamenda to a suite in Yaoundé. No more drawing with the kids on my veranda. No more cookies to the teens that dropped by. No more spontaneous gifts of bananas or corn or pumpkins. I really was moving and not just “leaving because of the crisis.”


But, what an opportunity – to teach history, include Biblical references, and use English as a building block to express your opinion. I’m really excited about teaching Humanities. But I’ve never taught it this way and the preparation work will be a challenge.

Then I received the unexpected phone call. My mom is in a coma and not expected to live. Praise God my entire house was packed and ready to be loaded the next day, but I needed to get to Calgary ASAP.

God worked in amazing ways and through the help of so many “family” members. A driver and vehicle were arranged for a day earlier. Someone arranged and bought my ticket. The ticket was changed when it was obvious I was going to miss the flight. The second flight was cheaper and would arrive in Canada sooner. The airline attendant was able to arrange an earlier flight from Vancouver to Calgary, and I arrived in time to hold Mom’s hand.

In fact, I was able to be with Mom for another three days (although she wasn’t conscious) and hold her hand with her final breath (even though we didn’t know it at the time). God has been so good in how things have “fallen into place” and the right people were there at the right time. I am so blessed.

Meanwhile, at school, I’ve missed the first two weeks of orientation and the first week of school. Again, God has gone ahead. Kristi TenClay, my new boss and a history teacher, will get my class started. What a great way to get the seventh grade off to a good start.

God really always is “one step ahead of us!” I am so grateful to be serving such a wonderful Saviour and friend.

Thank you for your love and care and support in so many, many ways.

In Jesus,




  • I will be able to do my job well (getting up at 5 am, planning, teaching)
  • I will be a living example of Christ for my students
  • The problems in the NW & SW Cameroon will be resolved.



  • I was able to be with my mom before she died
  • I have a job which challenges me and excites me
  • God has arranged so many details before I even knew there was a problem

O Lord, you discern my going out and my lying down…you hem in – behind and before…such knowledge is too wonderful for me.

psalm 139:3-6