Looking Back at 2012

Last year at this time, I looked back at 2011, which was  a year of dramatic transitions for me – graduating from NEGST, joining CTEN as a missionary, and starting the process of raising support to return to Kenya. A great deal has also happened in 2012. As this year started, I was still in the midst of raising support and was hoping to return to Kenya in January. That ended up getting pushed back a couple months, but God provided and I had enough raised by March to fly out to Kenya. I found an apartment, moved in and started work in April.

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I really appreciate having a safe and cosy place to live. It took a while to get it all furnished and organized, and I really like it.

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Before when I was in Kenya I had been attending Nairobi Chapel, and when I came back I moved to one of their church plants that started in 2012 and is closer to home. To get involved, I joined a small group that I’m now helping to lead as well as the service planning committee. I’ve enjoyed being a part of a smaller congregation and seeing the earlier stages of what a church plant is like. I was interested to find that Nairobi Chapel was running a discipleship program at the high school across the street, and have been assisting there for the last several months. While we’ve had some challenges with consistency and attendance, we’ve also had some good conversations about doing devotions and healthy relationships. Looking forward to that continuing when school resumes next year.

Another discipleship opportunity I’ve had is to meet with a couple of young guys from Nairobi Chapel one-on-one every couple weeks over chicken and chips (similar to American fries). One of them came to Kenya as a refugee from Rwanda, and is especially interested in doing missions. Both of them were in small groups I led in 2010 and 2011. It’s been great to keep up and spend time with them.

Preaching opportunities have come up a few times, around Nairobi and up-country, and I have also been able to go for two evangelistic missions with the For His Glory team from the US, both in Tanzania and Kenya. The pictures below are taken in the Kisii prison, and a school in Musoma, Tanzania where we shared at their CU fellowship.

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Working at Carlile College has been busy! One of the first assignments I had was to get our website for e-learning up and running, and in July we launched our first cohort of distance students. The site has been running ever since! When I arrived in Carlile, our online catalogue was up and running, but no one was using it. Now, I’ve led training sessions for staff and students, and the online catalogue is being used for both book searches and all checkouts. Another library assignment was books acquisition, and I’ve organized for more than 100 books for our library in the last several months. That will be an ongoing task! Here is one of the training sessions I ran on using the catalogue.

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I also completed my first term of teaching, which was quite a task in itself. I taught Greek I and Common Communication Skills, probably better named introduction to academic writing and research. Teaching is um different than being a student, and figuring out how to assign work, find the best reading, and communicate difficult principles is really tough! I made a number of mistakes but also figured out a lot and should be better prepared for next term. Many things were made much more complicated by the scarcity of resources, for example textbooks and reading. If I was in the US it would be routine to have all my students purchase their own textbook at the college bookstore, that was my experience, but we do not even have a bookstore at Carlile and most of the books I wanted to use are not readily available locally. I also found a lot more bureaucracy and regulation than I anticipated…

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Another realization I made about myself is how much I dislike grading, and how intensely time-consuming it is…

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So that’s a snapshot of my year…much of this was taken from the December update I wrote. I send out updates each month, so if you have come across my blog but don’t receive my updates and would like to, you are more than welcome to sign up here. I have also added a page where I”ll be putting up a pdf of my updates as well. There is a lot I’m looking forward to in 2013…but that will have to be a new post. Happy New Year to you all.

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