April 2016

Dear Friend,

How are you? Enjoying enjoying all the promises of spring, I hope. All is well here in Beni. It's rainy season. Blue-sky mornings turn into hours of pounding rain by noon, and then wrap the afternoon in cool breezes and grey skies. In spite of the weather, we carry on and do our work as best we can. Here is a run-down of a typical week for me:

  • Most weekdays I’m up at 5 am and on campus by 7:45. Mondays and Fridays share similar schedules, with the day devoted to working on projects or meeting with staff about curriculum or faculty development. My team meets for prayer on Monday morning. We share thanksgivings and concerns, and place our week's work before God. Chapel meets Monday and Friday from noon to 1 pm.
  • Tuesday is meeting day, beginning with a team meeting and individual check-in sessions. Currently we are revising course evaluation processes, assisting faculty coordinators with curriculum and scheduling, and developing a 3-year strategic plan for faculty development and bilingual affairs. In the afternoon I’m in a leadership team meeting.
  • Wednesday and Thursday mornings fill up with individual or small group meetings related to projects. Faculty development sessions occur Wednesday afternoons. While various people lead the sessions, depending on the topics, my team is responsible to coordinate the program. I join the Academic Services meeting every Thursday afternoon.
  • Saturday and Sunday I try to protect for personal care, rest, a little French study, and unfinished work from the week. This past Saturday I joined colleagues on campus for a meeting with a new funding partner. Even though the meeting concluded at 10:30, pounding rain (rainy season!) kept all motos off the road, holding me hostage for two hours before I could leave. I have managed to keep a Sabbath on Sunday, including a rest from the laptop and email.

I am blessed to live in a comfortable house with friends and colleagues, Jessica Shewan and Sifa Jolie. We live about 5 km from the UCBC campus and 2 km from the center of town. Mama Furaha manages the household and prepares meals. Mama Edwige keeps things clean and pressed, and Pascal takes care of the garden. Kasikas and Jonas, our attentive and trustworthy guards, alternate 12-hour shifts to keep watch.
 
WhatsApp, Skype, and FaceTime have become my new best friends. They make it easy to keep in touch with family and friends and enable evening work calls with US-based colleagues. Any chance you would be interested in a voice-to-voice or face-to-face call sometime? If so, let me know!

Thank you for your continued love, support, and encouragement. They continue to be cherished gifts, as do you.

M