|My Wesley College students for the past two weeks.|
Exhausting, but exhilarating. Challenging, but very, very satisfying.
Wesley College is a new endeavor of the United Methodist Church in Tanzania, East Africa. As the permanent faculty is not yet in place, I have been privileged to serve as a guest lecturer for the past two weeks.
It's been a dream come true.
First, I've always wanted to be a missionary. I just love the whole cross-cultural thing. I love to learn greetings in foreign languages and watch people smile when I try them out. I love to participate in cross-cultural worship. I love to build relationships with people who are different from me in so many ways, yet the same as me in the ways that really matter.
Second, I've always wanted to be a teacher. There is nothing like the joy of sharing a new fact, concept, or idea and watching the lights go on as people "get it." In my 36 years of ministry, first as a youth director, and then as a pastor, I've done lots and lots of teaching (including teaching pastors here in 2013). But this is the first time I've ever been a "real" teacher, designing courses, giving assignments, grading tests ... It's not as easy as it looks, believe me. I now have even more respect for professional teachers like my son, my daughter, and my sister.
Now as I sit here in the Kilimanjaro airport waiting to board a flight for Amsterdam, I am filled with gratitude. I thank God for this opportunity. I thank Eric Soard and Bonface Wanyama of Wesley College for inviting me. I thank Bishop Paul Leeland, the cabinet, and the WNC Board of Ordained Ministry for granting me a sabbatical to do this. I could not have pulled it off otherwise.
Next adventure: Cambodia, February 2019. Between now and then: A new grand-baby, a storytelling festival, a 100-mile bike ride, and lots of time with family. And housework. Which I enjoy. Seriously!