It’s Saturday of Thanksgiving week. Advent begins tomorrow. I’m enjoying the birds and lovely breeze as I sit in the garden of the house where I currently live. The three weeks since I returned to Beni have been full and demanding. They have also been full of challenges and blessings. It seems that many of the challenges hold hands with blessings. Let me share just two.
New title and responsibility. My new position as Director of the Office of Faculty Development and Bilingual Affairs at UCBC opens up challenging and exciting opportunities to collaborate and lead change at the university. Bilingualism is core to UCBC. It’s in our name (Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo). But over the last few years we’ve lost focus on English. I am not an expert in bilingual education. So, I’m having to do some fast learning! The blessing? Well, I have two excellent UCBC teachers on my team: Célé Mukirania and Malonga Mashauri. Both men are dedicated to UCBC and its mission. They are hard workers and creative thinkers who have already demonstrated their commitment to the work. They also keep me focused!
Another blessing is an Advisory Team in the US that provides professional support. Between them, T.C. Motzkus, Faye Chechowich, and Jan Dormer share considerable expertise in the areas of faculty development and bilingual education. Their support, advice, and counsel have already helped me tremendously.
Teaching an English class. The week fills up fast with leadership meetings, appointments with individual teachers, and planning sessions with faculty coordinators. A wiser person would have said “No,” to teaching an English class. Class meets twice a week for 2 hours. Even though I’ve taught “Creation Care and the Common Good” before, I still need to make adjustments. After all, this is a different group of students.
The rewards outweigh the time challenges, so far! Teaching gives me a chance to get to know a group of students—something particularly important now that I’m in a more “administrative” role. I get to witness students improving their English and their abilities to read and think. I’m enjoying co-teaching with Emily Hamilton, one of our International Staff members. In addition to sharing the load of preparation and facilitation, Emily and I complement each other in our processes and methods.
My prayer for you, on this eve of the start of Advent, is that God will bless you through the people who share your days.