20 January 2006

Yahoo, ambiguity!

As you may have heard by now, there has been renewed unrest in Côte d'Ivoire due to what seems to have been a simple misunderstanding of what had been said by the UN’s International Working Group (GTI) assigned to help in the resolution of the continuing conflict in Côte d'Ivoire. Wednesday, Obassanjo, the president of Nigeria, flew into Abidjan to meet with the leaders of the government and the new prime minister to explain what was meant by what the GTI had said concerning the National Assembly. Unfortunately, because of this little misunderstanding four demonstrators in the southwest of Côte d'Ivoire lost their lives because those who knew better incited them to demonstrate. Being in the rebel held part of Côte d'Ivoire these demonstrations do not affect us directly, though we find ourselves concerned for those friends and colleagues who find themselves living in the middle of it.

Besides the country being in a bit of a scrap right now, both Angelika and I have been hit with some bug that we are finding quite debilitating. For the past four days in my case and for the past two days in Angelika’s case we find ourselves running to the toilet far more often than we would wish. We have had a serious bout of the runs and an inability to keep most foods down. When the only food that looks attractive to you is boiled rice and rice water, you know that you have been hit by something. Fortunately we have a fairly understanding French military doctor and staff right here on campus and we find ourselves making regular trip to the infirmary for meds and advice. At this point we have no clue what has hit us so we are trying to lay low and build up a little strength. If you are of the praying sort you might want to mention this to the Great Physician. We are confident that He knows what is going down and what is coming up!

This week we began a 15 weeks theological training course at our church in Bouaké. We had about 7 students turn up for the first lesson this past Wednesday which was simply a test which I had prepared to try to help each student realize where he might need to do some study as we go into this class. The main reason for the class is to help those who want to learn how to better preach and teach the Word of God as leaders in our community. We have an interesting collection of young men, older men and a couple of women who have signed on and have agreed to pay the 250 CFA (approx. 50 cents) per 2 hour class. We are encouraged by the enthusiasm and interest expressed by the students and their involvement in the life of the church. Pray that the things shared in this class will be useful and helpful to our community here in Bouaké and beyond. We have some interesting situations that are certain to come to a head as we go through the different aspects for what it is to lead in the church and what exactly it means to teach in the church context. In the words of Alfred Kuen, the teacher is tied to what he teaches. Unlike other occupations, to teach or preach the Word demands a corresponding lifestyle which attributes honor to the One who is the subject of our teaching. To do or live otherwise is to neutralize the message and in many cases brings more harm to the Kingdom than good. As I think about that I am more impressed than ever of the weight of the task before us.

On the lighter side of life, we need to let you know that we are planning to fly to South Africa around the end of February for about 3 weeks to visit family and to do some research concerning the future of the ICA campus. We will be getting in touch with several vocational schools and technical colleges to see what they are doing. We will also be looking for possible partners who would be willing to help our association of churches in Côte d'Ivoire dream about how to make the most out of a property which is uniquely setup for live-in training/teaching. This is only exploratory at this point as we still have a 5 year commitment to hold the school against the possibility that there may be other mission agencies interested in running a school on this campus. You can see we have a curious dance to follow right now. We are to care for this place for a given period in hopes that it may once again be useful as a missionary kids training institution. At the same time we are being asked to look into other options for the use of this place while at the same time it is already spoken for at the moment. Ambiguity has never come easy to me but I am finding that right now I have to embrace it.

Yahoo, ambiguity!


Bob & Jessie Paeth said...

We are praying for both of you. Get well soon. Enjoy your trip to South Africa.

Lori (Gould, ICA '77) McKee said...

Rod, I enjoyed reading this one too. Interesting about using the school as a possible vocational school in the future. It would be great if that would work out.

BTW, I heard one of the Nest "boys" is a great beekeeper; you probably know him - just thought I'd mention. I think he lives on the NEst property but I can't remember his name.

Libby Collier said...

Hi Rod,

Cori Stern who knows the Hicks,(I believe was their name), suggested I contact you. We are interested in adopting twins from La Pouponierre Orphanage. WE live in Southern California and just returned from a trip to Uganda. We always felt the Lord wanted us to have 6 children. We have 4 now and believe that these twins may be number 5 and 6. We know that if it’s God’s will it will happen. Would you be willing to help us inquire as to if they are truly orphans? And therefore adoptable? We heard their mother died and their dad brought them there. I can give you other information if you are willing to help us. If not do you know of someone else who might be. We need someone there in Boake to help us move along the process. Kindly reply as soon as possible… Thank you so much,

For His Kids,
Libby Collier

Libby Collier said...

My email is libby@turnnetwork.org
Hope to hear from you.