Voices from the Field Kristi TenClay Get to know Kristi


Published on November 17, 2020

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Storm damage – tree down (close call with the backhoe that was under that roof!)

Traditionally the 15th of November is considered the end of the rains and beginning of true dry season, but considering the storms we have seen in recent weeks and the unpredictability of 2020 thus far, no one is making any bets on that this year!

Storm damage – fence down

We welcomed in the month with a storm much more reminiscent of my prairie upbringing than what is typical here. Our general conclusion is that it was some sort of microburst, because though we had INSANE wind, trees down in several places on campus, and a massive chain link fence laid out flat, it doesn’t appear that many of our neighbors lost roofs, trees, or much of anything else, and as far as we can tell, no one was injured. We count that as quite a blessing! Though the replacement of the fence will be quite an expense, the fallen trees created a few ‘close calls’ but not a lot of real damage. Ron Ziegelbaur (our Director of Technical Services) put in a lot of hours with his chainsaw, but I suspect we have some employees who will be enjoying some extra firewood for a while.

The rains this season have been frequent and heavy; from the 1st of October through the 10th of November, we have had over 700 mm of rain – that’s over 27 inches! – double what we often get in that same time frame. The rains fit well with the image from my last newsletter of the waves – they just keep coming. For weeks the ground has been saturated, unable to absorb any more. However, unlike the waves, we KNOW there is an end in sight. Ironically, this is an ending we tend to NOT look forward to. All too soon the ground will be dry and cracking, the grass prickly and brown, and the dust will return.

I think ‘saturated’ is a pretty good description for how I have felt throughout this year – like the ground that squishes with every step or the air that is so heavy with moisture that you WISH it would just rain to give some relief. I wish I could make some grand theological statement about having spent the year fully saturated with the Spirit and overflowing with the thankfulness and joy to which we are repeatedly called. But quite honestly, the fullness has often been of earthly troubles and frustrations and the moments of overflowing have as often been tears as anything else. Have any of you been in that place recently? I don’t say this to complain, but rather to be honest. God has truly carried me through these valleys, and each struggle has brought growth – but growing pains are generally not ‘fun.’ Just as we live in a very different world than we did one year ago, we are ALL not the same people we were last year at this time. Please pray for me, as I will continue to pray for so many of you as Paul did for the Ephesians that we all, “being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17b–19). Let our souls be saturated with HIM.


  • Praise God that a couple of board members/parents have stepped up to help start a recruitment committee that will hopefully be able to communicate our desperate need for teachers.
  • Praise God that we have been relatively untouched by COVID in our local community! We have made many adjustments and taken many precautions, but thus-far Cameroon has been much less affected than our communities ‘back home.’ We are SO thankful to have all our students back on campus!



  • Pray that God will provide the workers. We have some long-term missionaries who have recently retired and others who will be leaving us in the next few years, dramatically increasing the need. We believe God has a plan for RFIS in the future, but If we don’t get more new teachers, we are only a few years from extinction.
  • Pray that God will lead us to the appropriate balance between waiting patiently and actively.

For I will saturate [the] thirst of [the] weary, and every person
[who] languishes I will replenish.

Jeremiah 31:25 (LEB)

RFIS students back together in Chapel! (Meeting outdoors for extra safety.)

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