Thursday, June 25, 2009

Third Term

It's a bit difficult to sum up the entire term in one post. But I'll see what I can do. Basically, this term has been all about student council. That's where I put my time, focus and energy. For a few weeks it was on my mind constantly, like every waking moment. I have found that as secretary, I have rather a lot of responsibilities. I have also discovered that there are a lot of things the student council does that could be done better. Many times I have felt that if I could be a full time secretary, 40 hours a week, then I could do a decent job. One of my responsibilities is for our secretary office, which offers typing, binding, and printing services. Unfortunately, most month the office only makes about half of the salary of our administrative secretary that we do employ full time to run the office. So we have to subside that office with our more profitable divisions, such as the farm. I have been trying to think of ways to make more money, and also how to incorporate a writing center into our secretary office. NEGST really needs a writing center, and getting that started, and sustainable, is one of my goals while I'm here.

I also have a lot of meetings and consultations, and of course it can be boring, but actually I have found that I do enjoy a lot of it. I like knowing how the school runs and hearing the inside story on things. Most meeting have actually been okay as far as length, but then the Senate meeting yesterday was seven and half hours, and I found that a bit long! I've researched such diverse topics as asbestos and GPA policies, and met with so many people over these issues. Raising money for the school to get charted by the Kenyan government, figuring out how to include all students in the graduation banquet, approving the leave of our employees, working on our financial systems and guidelines, handling various requests of the student council--these are all things I've had to do over the last few months. Leadership in a cross-cultural setting is really interesting, and presents a lot more challenges. Most things that are communicated are misunderstood. I've engaged in so much interpretation over what things really mean, the fine art of reading between the lines.

Since I am still a full time student, I have also had some classes to attend and assignments to do. This term I only took 14 hours, my lightest load yet, and I have had more difficult getting papers done this term than ever. At one point or another I was behind in each class, the first time I've turned in papers late at NEGST. I'm taking African Church History, Matthew 1-13, Introduction to Missions, and Introductions to Urban Missions. Matthew was the best, and hearing Dr. Wood's theology of justice was fascinating. Each term so far I've experienced a paradigm shift in my theology: 1st term, contextualization; 2nd term, power encounter; and 3rd term, Matthew and how justice is a huge theme in the Bible, and especially in the teachings of Jesus. I see it all over the place now. Justice really has never been emphasized much until I went to Wheaton, and then it was primarily social justice, which is obviously a big part of it, and really important, but I don't think its all there is to justice. This is something I certainly hope to continue studying in future.

Matthew has also taught me to be much more curious about what I read in the Bible. I've realized that there are so many things I've accepted at face value and never questioned, and when I think about why or what exactly it means, I have no idea. Like why was Jesus baptized? I found out that I really don't know, and I don't remember ever really considering that question. I wrote a paper on it and I still don't think I know. I mean, I do have some thoughts and ideas about it, its not completely meaningless, but there is a lot about it I think I'm missing.

Second term I was largely focused on my ministry involvement in Kibera, but I became too frustrated and had too many problems with the church and at the end of the term decided I could no longer continue there as an "assistant" pastor. Since then, I've been attending NPC (Nairobi Pentecostal Church) Woodley but I haven't really gotten involved. I hope to when I return in September.

I would also like to buy a motorcycle, and was planning to do so but the process of finding one and buying was just too difficult and I didn't have time to really shop around and find one. That's something else I will do in September, and although I must admit I am rather nervous about driving a motorcycle around here, I'm also really excited! It will be so awesome, and to have my own transportation... amazing.

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