Friday, May 3, 2013

Some Details about the WATS Library

Here is the sign at the entry of the seminary campus.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the WATS Library. They have more than 40,000 volumes, and it is probably the best theological library in West Africa.

Here is a view of the Library from the floor above.

Yes! This works. I used it, and it was fun and very functional!

A view of the stacks...Dewey Decimal System.

Stella is reshelving...

The Circulation Desk with Reserves in the background

The Reference Section. Just beyond it you can see the carrels for undergraduate students.

The Periodicals are in a very comfortable room.

The roof leaks. :(

The Head librarian, Lizzy, has her degree in library science, but also earned a Master of Divinity degree. She has a staff of about 5 people.

Only about 30% of all the students have laptops. Here is a picture of a graduate student studying in his own personal carrel. He has his own laptop.

The library has 10 computers that were donated, but they are not yet functional. A team of helpers is due to arrive in July to get them up and running! :)

When I asked Lizzy what the greatest needs are, I thought her response was so insightful. She said everything they have has been donated from the West. What they really need is works from African authors and other perspectives.

Here is the security desk (left side)as students leave the library. People come from all over the geographical area to use this library. They are given guest passes to visit. It is a great library, and I am excited about it!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Leaving this Thursday for visit

Dear Friends,

I will be flying to Lagos, Nigeria on Thursday, the 18th of April to spend a week at West Africa Theological Seminary.

I will arrive on Friday afternoon Nigerian time (Friday morning in the U.S.). I would appreciate prayer as I take my first trans-Atlantic flight into a new experience!

The purpose of this trip is to give me a preview of my responsibilities once I arrive to work at WATS. I look forward to meeting the faculty and staff of the seminary, but especially the students!

I will try to post pictures on this blog so you can follow along with me on my journey.

By the way, I figured out how to correct the blog subscription problem (thanks, Wendell!!). You should be able to subscribe and have emails notify you of a new post. Scroll all the way down to the bottom and you will see how to subscribe.

As I close this post, I'd like to thank all of you who have committed to praying for me and who have sent donations for my support. I am humbled and honored. God bless you and return this blessing upon you many times over.

Many people have asked me how the support raising is coming along. It is very encouraging. I will give more details in the near future.

I know that many of you feel as Cheryl Cozette does when she said (on behalf of her husband and herself)"So,...we join you in your ministry." This encouraged me deeply!

And, I know Liz Mathew's comment will resonate with our desire to be of service in the Kingdom of God: "We are only here a little while, and then we are done." This inspired me deeply!

Thank you, my friends.

Stay tuned. I hope to be posting pictures of WATS by next week this time!

Blessings upon you,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Next steps...

Thanks to all of you who have responded to my blog or sent me email messages about my recent decision to go to West Africa Theological Seminary. Your words of encouragement mean a lot to me!

Many of you have asked important questions, so I decided that this post would be dedicated to answering some of them.

1. When will you leave the U.S. to go there?

The short answer is that as soon as my preparation has been completed and all my support has been raised, I can go.

Preparation: I need to do the following--Complete the course entitled "Perspectives." This is in progress. I go to class every Tuesday night (when I am not traveling for my job). I need to complete two separate weeks of training at WGM headquarters in Marion, Indiana. One of those weeks will be in July, the other one will be later on. Finally, I need to complete 5 weeks of special training in Colorado Springs right before I go. I will talk more about this special training in a future post. I also need to get all immunizations and paperwork completed for my visa.

Another thing I plan to do (but it is not required) is to visit WATS in April. I plan to leave on April 20 to visit for a week. This will help me to know better how to prepare for my departure later on. I have gotten all my immunizations (started Hep A & B) and my paper work is in order for my visitor's visa. The visa to live and work there is another matter, one to be tackled closer to that time.

Raising Support: Even though I have not yet departed the U.S., I am considered a "Missionary Disciple" by WGM now, and my initial three-year appointment has begun. I am incurring expenses for the work (all the training, visa, etc.). I am in a transition period of leaving my job and becoming a full-time missionary. My boss has kindly allowed me to stay on in my current job until a major portion of my support is raised so that I can go to Africa. (Thanks, Ken!!)

2. When should I start contributing to your support?

The sooner the better! I can assure you the support you provide will be used only for this ministry and will assist me with those things I need to do to make the transition to WATS, such as the training costs.

3. Does WATS have female students?

Yes! I hope to work closely with them and to to promote the opportunity for women to receive spiritual development and educational experiences to prepare them as leaders for their villages and churches.

4. What all will you do at WATS?

Besides helping the Provost, who is actually like a president, I will be able to teach courses in the graduate programs, help with program development, and assist in coordinating visiting professors. Occasionally, I may speak in chapel. I am really looking forward to working directly with the students.

5. What will happen to your dog, Selah, when you go?

Many of you know that Selah, my Sheltie, has been my constant companion for most of the past 12 years. She is quite the old lady now--totally deaf and quite arthritic. I will be sad to separate from her, but knowing that Shelties typically live between 12-14 years, I understand she does not have much longer before she will "go over the rainbow bridge" as they say about dogs. My daughter Lynn, who picked Selah out among the litter of puppies that many years ago, will be the one to care for her in her last days. (Thanks, Lynn!)

This post is long enough! Let me know what other questions you have. This is helpful for me because I want my blog posts to be useful and meaningful.

Thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments. If you have not subscribed to this blog, I would like to invite you do so below.

Blessings upon you,

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What Africa Needs Most...

I have been told by people in Africa that if you ask a North American what the top 5 needs are in Africa, you will hear the usual suspects: poverty, hunger, disease, orphans, corruption... But, if you ask Africans what the top 5 needs are, you are likely to hear something else rise to the top: leadership development.

At first that surprised me. But, it makes sense.

Other voices concur.

Dambisa Moyo, author of Dead Aid says "The responsibility of development of the African continent is front and center the responsibility of African leadership."

Ghanaian economist George Ayittey calls for fast-moving entrepreneurial leaders that he depicts as cheetahs to overtake the elite hippos that rule with corruption.

But this begs the How can Africans (in greater numbers than now) become prepared to lead?

There are many answers,but no doubt, the most important answer is through intentional leadership development and theological education IN AFRICA. The two go hand in hand. While others are rightly focusing on political and economic structures, I see the greatest need to be spiritual. How can corruption be addressed? It is a matter of the heart.

The late African scholar, Kwame Badiako remarked that “What happens within the African Churches in the next generation will determine the whole shape of church history for centuries to come.”

If you look at Nigeria alone, it is the seventh most populous country in the world with a population of over 162,000,000. Yet, less than 20% of Nigerian pastors have theological or pastoral training.

But...good news...

There is a seminary there--tucked away on the south side of Lagos, the largest black city in the world. Named West Africa Theological Seminary, or WATS, it serves about 560 students (with plans to double this number before the end of the decade) from 150 denominations, 75 native language groups, 6 different countries, and 31 (out of 36) Nigerian states.

WATS is addressing the most important needs of the African continent.

And...that is where I am going! I plan to work alongside friends there as Special Assistant/Adviser to the Provost. Join me in my journey, won't you? Go "with" me by reading my blog posts, visiting the website, (come visit the campus!), contribute to my support, and pray for me that my dream will be realized and that I will be able to fulfill this appointment that I have been so honored to have received.

I truly believe that you CAN go "with" me. As I go, I can represent you, too.

Blessings upon you,