Voices from the Field Elsie Lewandowski Get to know Elsie

Second Semester of a Crazy Year

Published on March 08, 2021

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Desma & Barry Abbot

“I always felt like I was never enough,” stated Desma Abbott as she spoke to the Rain Forest International School kids.  What a great way to begin the second semester of a crazy year than by a team building and spiritual emphasis time called “January Jumpstart”.   Desma, and her husband, Barry, are working with the Baka forest people but impacted our students in a powerful way.  Desma is blind and shared how the Lord has used her in different ways as her blindness progressed.

“We are chosen.  We are loved.  We are forgiven.  We are called.”  Those words from I Peter had a message for all of us.  For me it has a special message because God again is calling me to a new position.  I have been appointed to be the missionary children educational assistant in Romania!!  When first suggested, I was blown away but now I can see how God has been arranging this for some time.  Thus this will be my last year in Cameroon but not working with God overseas.

And what a year it has been!  Never mind first semester, who can believe second semester?  With COVID precautions we began after-school practices, choir, sporting events and even a community event.  Then we had a break-in.  It was in the night. The guards did what they were supposed to do and the thieves left with nothing.  Our vigilance tightened.  But then we had a second break-in!  Here’s the official statement:

 On Thursday, 4 February, Rain Forest International School experienced an armed intrusion and robbery. We are incredibly thankful, through God’s grace and protection, that their direct interaction was limited to a handful of staff members and that no staff members or students were physically harmed! Local law enforcement responded following the incident, and investigations are underway. Please be praying for our community as we all process today’s events and evaluate what actions can be taken to better protect our community in the future.

I was teaching English to the Middle Schoolers at the time and when we were told, “Move quietly and go immediately to…” my students did just that.  They rose in mass, filed out, didn’t utter a word and quickly lined up when we arrived.  I was totally impressed.

Four days later we heard that two different people had tested positive for COVID.  We are now back to lockdown and online.  It’s while teaching online that I have always felt “never enough”.  What a glorious reminder that God has chosen me for a time like this, that I am forgiven for all the blunders and short-comings and that I am loved no matter what.

We still have several months of school left and who knows what surprises still await our community.  All of us have experienced trauma in different ways.  The robbery has triggered memories and emotions of students who have lived through the warfare in the NW region.  The COVID scare has triggered memories of loved ones who have died.  Being online has triggered memories of loneliness, isolation and failure for some students.  Please pray for us.

In addition to all of these events, RFIS is also in dire need of teachers for this upcoming school year.  Some teachers, like me, are near retirement and some, like Kristi Ten Clay, are in need of a furlough.  If God is calling you to teach His precious missionary kids, please pray with us and contact us.

Many of you have been faithfully praying for me without knowing the need.  Our onimpotent loving God knew what was needed and has honoured your prayers many times.  Thank you for your faithfulness in praying and in financially giving to help me continue to do this job.  May God continue to allow you to serve in these ways.

God is good…ALL the time!

Safe in His Hands,



For continued health and safety

For stamina to end well in spite of distractions and heat

For each step of the new journey to be revealed in its time

For teachers at RFIS in the upcoming years.


For safety during robberies and COVID

For opportunities to serve different personalities

For a new opportunity to serve in Europe (an unspoken dream come true)


Ps 91: 2 “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” (Ps. 91 suggested by an 8th Grader after the robbery – an amazing choice)

Elsie Lewandowski

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