Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Readings to Return: I'm Soon Departing for my Second Term in Africa

Surprise!
I was searching for resources on leadership development that resonate with the studies I have done throughout the past 13 years or so. This is not easy to do. Most Christian authors seem to write with a particular paradigm that does not seem very compelling to me, let alone Christian. Then, one day, I happened upon a new book published in May of 2016, Transforming Pastoral Leadership: Reimagining Congregational Relationships for Changing Contexts by Quentin Kinnison. I was stunned and captivated. I could not stop reading. I think I found what I would call a truly excellent theology of leadership. The first part of the book shows where the other main paradigm fails miserably. The rest of the book shows another way. I was so grateful to finally find a book I could wholeheartedly endorse for leadership from a Christian perspective. Curious, I wondered, who is this author? Upon further investigation, I discovered he is an Associate Professor at Fresno Pacific University. This was astonishing because I was sitting in Fresno at the time! I was at Link Care for rest and Link Care is in Fresno, California! So, I emailed Quentin and he was gracious enough to host me on his campus for a lunch and visit. We share so many common passions around this topic, and I implored him to consider how this book might be adapted for the African context. To be continued...

I Forgive You...I Think...
When someone hurts you, what do you do? What is the Christian response? There are many great resources on forgiveness. This is one that spoke to me recently: The Book of Forgiveness by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu. They outline a fourfold path that I found to be useful: Tell the story, name the hurt, grant forgiveness, renew or release the relationship. This book is embellished with many riveting personal stories the authors tell about how they forgave even in the face of extreme injustice or trauma.


Product Details
Intellectual Honesty
Having spent over 25 years in higher education now, I am always interested in the intersection of faith and academics.
This book, Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey into Christian Faith by Rosaira Butterfield, fascinated me on that level. It is written by a woman who was a tenured Associate Professor of English and Women's Studies at Syracuse University and who was also in a lesbian relationship. She served as the faculty adviser for four gay student groups. She was intrigued by why Christians seemed to hate gays, so she decided to do her own research. I won't spoil the story for you, but I will say that the book includes a speech she gave to incoming freshman during which she "came out" as a Christian. The speech is thought-provoking, intelligent, and compelling. The speech itself is worth the cost of the book. 

Book Club Time!
My daughters and I all own this book now (25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to the Essential Spiritual Classics, edited by Julia L. Roller. We intend on reading some of these books (or at least excerpts from them) and discussing them even while I am in Africa. I can't wait. 

In fact, we read the last one first, or at least I was the first one done. It is The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen. This is a spiritual look at the story of the prodigal son, with layers of insight. I loved it.












Culture Shift
The last two I'll mention in this post are books I read to understand the change in culture. Peter Enns, in The Sin of Certainty, calls us back to the mystery of God. We do not have to have all the correct knowledge to be vibrant followers of Christ. I am afraid the modern era, with all its enlightenment and scientific method, led Christians to think they had to prove everything. This book calls me back to the mystery of God, and it is freeing. 







Church Refugees: Sociologists reveal why people are DONE with church but not their faith by Josh Packard with Ashliegh Hope

Perhaps an unintended response to the book called the Rise of the Nones (referring to people who select "none" for religion in a survey), this book explores the growing phenomenon of the increasing numbers of people who are just "done" with church, but who still follow Jesus. This is a must read for anyone in the US. 

That's it for my reading summary. I promise to write about something other than books next time...
Thanks for reading.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Reading for Renewal


I love to read!

For Homeland Ministry Assignment (HMA), I decided to embark on an intentional reading journey. In case you are just casually curious or intellectually intrigued, here is what I am reading, in no particular order:

1. Making and Unmaking Nations: War, Leadership, and Genocide in Modern Africa by Scott Straus (2015).
This book has been extremely helpful in the light of our doctoral student residency to Rwanda to study post-genocide rebuilding. Much is said about other countries, as well, including Nigeria. It will become required reading our our doctoral students.








2. From Crisis to Calling: Finding your Moral Center in the Toughest Decisions by Sasha Chanoff and David Chanoff (2016).
The context is the Congo Rescue Mission that grew out of the aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide. The story is riveting and real. It is sort of an African version of Joseph Badaracco's book, Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose Between Right and Right.










3. The Challenge for Africa by Wangari Maathai (2009). Written by a Kenyan who won the Nobel Peace Prize for Sustainable Development, Democracy, and Peace, this book is incredibly insightful about all parts of the continent. I have some reservations about some of her presuppositions and conclusions, but I find her perspective to be particularly helpful. She certainly challenges my notion of how to help people, communities, and nations in Africa. Unfortunately, she passed away much too soon (in 2011 at the age of 61). 











4. Made to Flourish: Beyond Quick Fixes to a Thriving Organization by Shelley G. Trebesch (2015). This book piqued my interest because long ago, my good friend from my Johns Hopkins University days, Dr. Lindsay Thompson, introduced me to the notion (and field of ethics) of "flourishing." This author earned her PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary and presents an excellent overview of the concept from a Christian perspective. It is the kind of book, I think, that is best read in community with lots of discussion. I believe it will make the reading list for our doctoral students.











5. The Shepherd Trilogy by Philip Keller (originally 1970).
This is a collection of three books in one: A Shepherd Looks at the 23d Psalm, A Shepherd Looks at the good Shepherd, and A Shepherd Looks at the Lamb of God. I had heard about the first of these books since I became a follower of Christ in the early 1970s. But, for some reason, I never read any of Philip Keller's writings. Now, they have even more meaning for me knowing he, himself, was a shepherd in the rural hills of Kenya, where I have had the privilege of visiting. This book is very encouraging and inspirational. I am glad I am reading it.









6. Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Father Jacques Philippe (2002).
A little over a hundred pages, this devotional is perfect for focusing on peace for one's own heart. Based on Colossians 3:15, "May the peace of Christ rule in your hearts," the author explores what that looks like in everyday life and how to achieve and sustain that peace that only Christ can give.












7Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (1992).
Written a long time ago, somehow I missed this book. I found it in a bookstore in Lawrence, Kansas and it is proving to be helpful as I think about managing competing demands.










In the Queue

8. Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella H. Meadows (2008).

9. Systems Thinking for Social Change: A Practical Guide to Solving Complex Problems, Avoiding Unintended Consequences, and Achieving Lasting Results by David Peter Stroh (2015).

10. Teaching for Critical Thinking: Tools and Techniques to Help Students Question Their Assumptions by Stephen Brookfield (2012).

Have you read any of these? What do you think? I'd love to hear from you.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Becoming Wise about Wisdom


wisdom-sign

The year is coming to an end, and it is time to pick a word for 2016...But, before revealing my new word, I will briefly share some highlights of my discovery related to my word for this past year: "wisdom".






Highlight 1
Wisdom, or special discernment, is needed for every domain of our lives. Here is how we might depict such a thought with a Venn Diagram:
You might wish to change around the portions allocated to a particular domain, but this is how I see it working. Some people might be very wise in their profession, but lack wisdom for their personal lives. Some might be very wise in practical matters, but lack wisdom for their spiritual lives, etc. 
This diagram does not necessarily depict the way it IS, but rather, the way I think it SHOULD be.
Highlight 2
While the "Wisdom Literature" of the Bible can be found in the center of the Scriptures (open a Bible in the middle and you'll likely turn to Psalms), including Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes, I found a compelling lesson about wisdom by comparing narratives of the first and last books, Genesis and Revelation.

  Genesis 3:6
  "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was...desirable for gaining WISDOM, she took some..."
   
  Adam and Eve grasped WISDOM and received DEATH.








Revelation 5:2
Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain to receive...WISDOM.
   Jesus (the "second Adam") grasped DEATH and received WISDOM. 





  Highlight 3
   "Progressive revelation," or the idea that a concept is progressively developed throughout the Bible, seems to apply to "wisdom."
  Psalms 111:10 (and elsewhere): "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
  Proverbs 14:16: "The wise fear the Lord and shun evil." (see also Job 28:28)
  James 3:13: Fear the Lord, shun evil, and "do good." 
  I Corinthians 1: Christ is wisdom to us. We must be crucified with Christ, or die to self.
  Ultimately, the path to true wisdom is the path of genuine humility.   
 As John the Baptist said, "He must increase, but I must decrease."  Therefore, the progression to wisdom is to
  fear God...shun evil...do good...and die to self. 

 Conclusion
 Here is the conundrum: It requires wisdom to pursue wisdom! 
 God help me to do so. May God give me the courage to fear God, shun evil, do good, and die to myself every day of my life! 







Tuesday, October 6, 2015

"When everything was nothing"--Remembering and Rebuilding


Rwanda is "The Land of a Thousand Hills"
One of the most memorable moments for me of the past few months occurred when I was in Kigali, Rwanda. 

I met a young woman named Egidia. She was the picture of vibrancy and life to me--young, educated, articulate, and passionate about her work at the Kigali Memorial. Being curious, I decided to ask-

"How old are you?"

Egidia told me she was born in 1989. That struck a chord with me because I gave birth to a baby girl in 1989 (Lynn). 

"Did you grow up in Kigali?"

Oh no, she explained. Her parents, Tutsis, fled to Uganda during the attack on the Tutsis by the Hutus in 1959. 

"Oh, I see. So, when did you move to Rwanda?"

I have to admit that I was not prepared for her answer. She said "We came to Rwanda in July of 1994."

I had just viewed the film "Hotel Rwanda" again and finished reading literature on the Rwandan Genocide. I knew one of the world's worst atrocities took place between April and July of 1994 and that by the end of July, more than 800,000 people lay slaughtered across this small country (the size of Vermont). Bodies were left to decompose in fields, houses, churches, in the streets, and in latrines. 

I knew Egidia would have been five years old, so I asked her...Do you remember what it was like then? 

Then she said it. She said the phrase I will always remember...
Loading"Do you mean when everything was nothing?"

Yes. That is what I meant. You see, Rwanda lay in ruins. There was no government, no streets, schools, hospitals, electricity, running water. No currency of any value. Many Hutus had fled to Congo (then Zaire). What was left was unconscionable devastation and death everywhere. 

"Yes" she said. She had some memory of it. But mostly, she has decided to focus on the healing process. 

Egidia is the personification of the healing and growth of this small country that has taken place in just 21 years. It is nothing short of remarkable to visit Kigali today and to see a clean, developed city with Hutus and Tutsis working together. The economy is doing well. It is indeed, a different world from the one that existed when Egidia and her parents made the journey back to their homeland at the end of the genocide of their people. 

Today, the people of this small country generally do not refer to themselves as Hutu or Tutsi. They are Rwandans. Perpetrators of the genocide and survivors live and work alongside each other. Thousands of people have sought and received forgiveness. Kwibuka! The Kinyarwandan word for "remember" is a watchword throughout the countryside. Memorials are there to help all to never forget what happened here, and the story of remembering and rebuilding is as compelling as it is instructive.
A picture of Kigall that I took in July of this year, 21 years later



The question for our WATS Doctor of Ministry (DMin) students who are studying Transformational Leadership for Peace and Reconciliation, is how did Rwanda transform from a failed state and probably the poorest country in the world in July of 1994 to being as vibrant and beautiful as Egidia herself? 

How will the northeastern part of Nigeria arise from the decimation and destruction it has experienced at the hands of Boko Haram? Once this terrorist group is defeated, many of our students will go back to their northern states and find "everything turned into nothing." Houses, schools, churches, and farms have been burned and destroyed. Millions have been displaced. More have been killed than we know. Our graduates, leaders for Nigeria, will need to be as resilient, strong, loving, forgiving, and wise as the Rwandans who have rebuilt their country.


What did the Rwandans do? How did they do it? What can we learn from them? 


Stay tuned. We plan to spend our two-week immersion residency (in January 2016) in Rwanda with all 22 students of Cohort 1 of the DMin program. Egidia is helping us now to plan our activities, and she will be there to welcome us when we arrive. We will meet with key leaders from different sectors of society--especially and most importantly, the church where the Gospel and message of forgiveness offers the best and most powerful way forward. We will also meet with leaders of schools and officials in government and nonprofit organizations dedicated to the peace process. I believe we will return to Nigeria with many new deep understandings to help us as we march into Nigeria's future.    

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Nigeria Today: Politics, Will, and Love

Nigeria is in the news almost every day now. Some of you have asked me what I think about what is going on. Here are my thoughts today.

Politics
On February 2, Punxustawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter for the U.S. and Canada. 

On February 7, for good or for bad, the Nigerian Electoral Commission assured the nation of six more weeks of pre-election debate and tension.

The purpose of this blog post is not to take sides in the election or to comment on whether the postponement of the election was good or bad. I really don't understand all the variables involved. 

What I do know is that this is a great country with many resources, and yet it struggles as a developing nation with extreme poverty, wide-spread corruption, and Islamic terrorism. 

What I do know is that people are dying, especially in the northeast. Women and children are being kidnapped. Boko Haram has captured a large amount of territory throughout the past six years. Thousands have been killed. Millions of people (really...millions) are displaced, eking out an existence in refugee camps in Cameroon or elsewhere. Family members are separated from one another.

What I do know is that we have students at WATS who are intricately connected to the northeast states and cities. One such student, Joshua Ada, started a school for children in the north. Two weeks ago, we received the news that he was killed after his car broke down in the middle of a northeastern town. Grief gripped our campus.

What I do know is that there are no easy answers to the huge challenges that the people of this nation face every day. I have written about these problems in this blog and in my quarterly newsletter. For the purpose of this post, I will distill them down to two main streams: corruption and greed which in turn exacerbates extreme poverty and jihadist terrorism which has led to unfettered brutality, oppression, and factionalism.

Will
It is through brute power that Boko Haram does what it does and gets away with it day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. It is the power of greed that fuels corruption and perpetuates a crippling, halting effect upon a nation that could be great.

To try to understand this kind of power, our doctoral students (in the Doctor of Ministry program) read and discussed Nietzsche's The Will to Power. Nietzsche considered Christianity to be the enemy of humanity because (according to him) it created hindrances to a human being's right to pursue whatever he or she wanted (through envy, lust, greed, etc.). If Christianity were removed, then through the sheer will to power, people could have what they wanted and therefore, feel fulfilled. The main driving force in being human, according to Nietzsche, is to get what one wants, whether position, achievement, materialism, or pleasure. 

Viktor Frankl, though, believed that the main driving force in humanity is to find and make meaning in life. He calls this drive the "will to meaning."

Our students wrestled with questions about what drives Boko Haram? Was it the will to power, the will to meaning or something else?

Surely, the will to power is what drives forces for corruption and greed. 

What force can combat the will to power?

A book written by a social philosopher, bell hooks, was brought to bear on the sociological situation. Here is part of a description of the book from the New York Times:

Her best points are simple ones. Community -- extended family, creative or political collaboration, friendship -- is as important as the couple or the nuclear family; love is an art that involves work, not just the thrill of attraction; desire may depend on illusion, but love comes only through painful truth-telling; work and money have replaced the values of love and community, and this must be reversed.
How do we get there? 

Love
As the students read Forgiveness and Power in an Age of Atrocity: Servant Leadership as a Way of Life by Shann Ray Ferch, we all began to gain new perspectives. This book provides us with a new "will" or a new human drive for fulfillment...the will to forgive, the will to serve, the will to lead in forgiveness and servant-hood.

Where do we get the will to forgive and the will to serve and lead in forgiveness and servant-hood? Where does that come from? It does not seem to come automatically, welling up inside of us all by itself, even after reading such compelling works as these books. 

I propose we receive the will to forgive from the Divine Forgiver. I propose we seek first to be forgiven and then seek the power to forgive as we have been forgiven. 

What is the connection to servant-hood? Once we are truly forgiven, we are satisfied to be a servant. We do not need position, power, or prestige. We are forgiven. We are loved for who we are, not for some status society gives to us. We are free to let go of ourselves and to embrace a selfless approach to forgiving, loving, and leading. It is here I hope we can begin to approach the monumental challenges that face us in Nigeria.

On the night before Jesus was betrayed, He knew his disciples would soon be facing the brutality of both the Romans and the Jews who were about to crucify Him. He knew greed had gripped one of the 12 and that some of his inner circle secretly wished to hold high positions in the Kingdom of God. He knew they would soon be scattered. What did He do? 

"...He got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin, and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him..." and he said..."I have set  you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master." John 13:4-5, 15-16

No matter who wins the election, it will be as we pray for God's power of love and forgiveness to come to this nation, working through none other than our very own lives, that we will be able to begin to approach the daunting challenges of Nigeria.





Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Year...New Word...New Focus

What is your word for the new year?

Each year I join many others in selecting a word to think about and reflect upon throughout the upcoming year. 

Purpose 
The reason I choose a word for the new year is to provide a new focus. The word is not arbitrarily or serendipitously selected. Rather, this exercise requires reflection over the past year, a self-check on one's personal mission in life, a gauge on what the new year may hold, and self examination of one's resolve. determination, and passion.


As many others do, I spend several weeks thinking and praying about this word. After all, it will become my watchword for the next 12 months or so. It will help to prioritize my intellectual explorations. It will provide new directions for my study and meditations. Hopefully, focusing on this word will manifest itself in some betterment of me as a person, as a Christian, as a missionary. 




Another way to think about this activity is to think about naming a folder for the documents of your computer. When you put a simple label on that folder, it represents so much more than just that word. It stands for all the files in that folder. You create documents, save photos, store information, and organize thoughts all within that folder. It is saved and you are able to go back to it anytime, as long as it has been backed up and there is no computer failure. 

Selecting a word for the year for me is like telling myself what folder I am choosing to work on. It gives me direction and rules for my navigation through the upcoming year.



Here it is: my word, my mental file folder name, my new focus for the new year: WISDOM.
It is a direction, not a destination (read: goal) which I will once and for all achieve. Goals are often thought of as behavioral in nature. While acting wisely is certainly behavioral, I see this pursuit as something much more holistic. I want to create habits of being that reflect wisdom. 

If you are like me, after choosing a word, you begin to notice it everywhere. It seems to appear in places you have looked before, but now you really see it. That is what is happening to me now. 

Wisdom and Practice
My first sighting of this word shortly after the strike of midnight signaling the new year was in a very familiar passage--the analogy Jesus chose to use to end the greatest sermon ever preached. Who is wise according to Jesus? Those who put his words into practice

"Practice" is an interesting word because of its variance of meanings. Obviously, Jesus meant that when we DO what he said we should do, that is wise.

This word "practice" gives me encouragement, though. I used to play the flute seriously (friends from my childhood and teenage years will remember, I am sure). My private flute teacher would give me coaching and I would go and practice. I would hardly ever, or maybe never, play a piece well the first time I saw it. It took practice. It took hearing what my teacher said and trying it out. Even after performing a solo in a concert or competition, I never saw myself finished with a given piece. It could always be better. 

The noun "practice" can also indicate a profession such as law, medicine, education, counseling, and the like. Doctors and lawyers refer to their "practice" where they exercise their professional judgment to perform a public good. Lawyers "profess" justice or mercy. Medical professionals "profess" health. Teachers "profess" learning, Counselors "profess" mental health and wholeness. 

Wisdom and Professing
So, what do Christians "profess"?  I found these three things all from the book of Hebrews:
1. FAITH:  "Let us hold firmly to the faith we profess"   Hebrews 4:14
2. HOPE:  "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess" Hebrews 10:23
3. The name of JESUS: Let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that openly profess his name." Hebrews 13:15

So, I am off and running toward WISDOM.  I will focus more on putting the words of Jesus into practice. I won't  get discouraged when I fail. I'll keep practicing! I'll openly and boldly profess FAITH, HOPE, and the wonderful NAME OF JESUS. These are my first steps in my journey toward new understandings about wisdom. 

Feel free to check in with me next year this time and ask me about the results of this effort. I welcome accountability! 
What about you? What is your word? I'd love to hear about it and about your journey into a new focus for the new year. 



Monday, November 3, 2014

She told me her story...

Angelina, WATS student
She told me she did not know the date of her birth, but that she was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church as an infant in 1973. This is how an incredible and inspiring story began to unfold during one of my mentoring sessions with one of the ladies of my Tuesday morning group. 

A soft-spoken and humble Hausa woman, Angelina was given an English name because of her baptism. Her story was so moving to me that I asked her for permission to share it with you, and she kindly said yes...

Angelina's father had four wives. She was born to the third wife, and she was the only one to survive out of the 12 children her mother bore. 


Life as a child was extremely difficult for Angelina. She grew up in Plateau State, a Christian among many Muslims. 

It was especially hard because she would have to tend sheep as a young child, taking them to pasture early in the morning and staying with them in the field all day until it was time to take them back home. There was no time to go to school. 

Perhaps the hardest part of her childhood, as she described for me, was working in the fields. It was back-breaking labor in extreme heat for hours and hours at a time. Her father did farming and she had to help. Again, for this child and preteen, there was no time for school.

For some unexplainable reason (other than the mercy of God), Angelina was eventually given the opportunity to go to school when she turned 14 years old. Since she had never been to school prior to this, however, she found herself in a very difficult situation: she could not read or write, not even her name. Nor did she know any English. School was very challenging and frustrating for her, but she worked hard at her lessons when she was not in demand at home.

When Angelina turned 19 she also learned to sew, thinking that would help her to be able to earn money for herself as an adult. It was during this time she met the young man who became her husband. 
Angelina grew up in Plateau State
Angelina was happy to marry a man whom she loved and who loved her! He was the one who introduced her to the personal, peaceful, and powerful love of Jesus. He was preparing to be a pastor as their first child, Joy, was born. As the years went by, Jeremiah, Grace, and Benjamin were born into the family. 

News from her home village was not good, though. Something terrible happened to her mother. One of Angelina's half sisters died and the mother of the deceased (one of the four wives of her father) blamed it on Angelina's mother, accusing her of being a witch. Angelina's mother was tortured (gasoline was poured on her and she was burned) and sent away to live in the village where she had lived as a child. Angelina's mother was shamed and labeled a witch. The father told Angelina that the daughter of a witch must also be a witch, and so Angelina was cut off from her entire family.The brutal treatment of her mother also meant that if Angelina tried to visit her mother, she might face the same fate. 

Again, she told me that because of the mercy of God, she has been able to be in contact with her mother. And in the face of it all, her husband has been a wonderful source of comfort and encouragement. In fact, her husband even supported Angelina's desire to continue her education. So, she went back to school, landing in what we (in the U.S.) would consider high school right along side her daughter, Joy! They studied together, did homework together, and finished secondary school together! English was very hard for Angelina, though, whose first language is Hausa. But, with perseverance, she finished secondary school along with her daughter.

She soon entered into an institution of post-secondary education even though English still plagued her. Her husband was working on his bachelors degree, and he supported Angelina in her desires to do the same. They were studying in the north when her husband's church (he had become a pastor) sent him to Lagos. Therefore, Angelina had to leave the school where she was studying. As she moved to Lagos with her family, she began praying and seeking information about where she might transfer as an undergraduate student and continue her studies. She found WATS two years ago, and has been studying very hard ever since then, working toward a bachelors degree.
Angelina in class along with her fellow students at WATS
She requests prayer for her ability to understand English well enough to succeed at WATS. She still speaks Hausa at home, and even speaks at women's conferences in Hausa. She gets tutoring from friends, and she humbly asks for your prayers!

Angelina wants to work alongside her husband in the church he pastors, heading up a variety of ministries, no doubt helping other young women from similar backgrounds in the north. Being fluent in Hausa will be a tremendous help as she reaches out to other young women in similar situations. This is the kind of work I would not be able to do, but Angelina can! And, she wants to do so. I am moved by her perseverance and commitment to help others who have had similar backgrounds as hers.

I am honored to know Angelina. She inspires me. And...now we are part of her story! 

To all of you who are supporting me financially and with prayers, please know that you are helping Angelina. You are here with me, and I am working hard to find ways to help Angelina to persevere in her academics so that she, in turn, can help others who have similar stories.

Please join me in thanking God for His mercy extended to Angelina and in praying for her that she will soon be very fluent in English, enabling her to complete her studies at WATS successfully.