October 2015

The wind brushes yellow and orange leaves across the central Ohio sky. By the time the trees have emptied their arms to stand bare for the winter, I'll be headed to Beni and UCBC to assume a new set of responsibilities and title: Director of Faculty Development and Bilingual Affairs.

"So, what is your new job? And what have you been doing the past few months?" you might ask. Good questions!

So, a rundown of the last few months:

  • May: I returned from Beni to celebrate my daughter's graduation from Salem State University (MA) with a Masters in Social Work. She'd worked hard, and it was great fun to commemorate this accomplishment. At the end of the month, I flew to Entebbe (Uganda) for a 3-day meeting to review findings from an organizational audit David Kasali (Rector of UCBC) had commissioned.
  • June: A one-week vacation at Glacier National Park (MT) with my kids marked the beginning of summer. Laughter, hiking, rafting, fishing, and precious time together filled the week. At the end of the month I joined UCBC's good friend Helen Boelens to represent UCBC and our new primary school, Academie Bilingue du Congo, at the annual conference of the International Association of School Librarianship in Maastricht (NL).
  • July: I worked long-distance with UCBC colleagues to gather and analyze faculty and course data in response to the aforementioned organizational audit. At the end of the month, I represented UCBC at the Creation Care and the Gospel Conference: US/Canada, held at Gordon College (MA). A 9-person team from UCBC had attended the CreationCare and the Gospel Conference: East Africa in May.
  • August: Numerous appointments pock-marked the first half of the month. Prayer, wrestling with God, seeking counsel, and research filled the last half, as I considered whether or not to accept the new position of Director of Faculty Development and Bilingual Affairs with its accompanying responsibilities. 
  • September: Paul Tshihamba, Missions Pastor atChrist Presbyterian Church (Edina, MN), the Missions Staff, and members of the church's Congo Task Force hosted me for two days during which we explored expanded and deepening relationships between Christ Presbyterian and CI. What a gift of time, prayer, and conversation those days were. At the end of the month, my home church, All Saints Episcopal Church (New Albany, OH), hosted David and Kaswera Kasali. How thrilled I was to be among the worshippers asDavid preached on Sunday.
  • October: My colleagues Cullen Rodgers-Gates, Paul Robinson, Jessica Shewan, Jon Shaw, and I shared a two-day retreat to review the cross-office/cross-ocean work that we share as international staff. Three days of board meeting and board retreat hosted by our friends at Blacknall Presbyterian Church (Durham, NC) followed that. And now it's preparation to head to Congo.

And now what?
I'll return to Beni at the end of this month to assume my new responsibilities. UCBC leadership determined that, in response to some of the findings of the organizational audit, a position solely focused on developing our faculty and strengthening our English program was essential. The mandate given to me and my team at UCBC includes growing our faculty in number and quality, improving instruction across the curriculum, and assuring that UCBC is a comprehensive, bilingual (English and French) institution. A small team of US folks representing expertise in these areas will advise us. The responsibilities seem daunting. I believe that with God's strength and grace, we will work together to reach our goals. God is great. God is sufficient.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership. May you, too, know God's strength and grace.

Yours,
M