Monday, October 03, 2005

Adjusting to Academic Life

I am in the middle of my fourth week of classes here at NEGST and I think I have finally settled into academic life. I am really enjoying my classes, although the work load is more intense than I had expected. I am taking 17 hours this semester, and my courses are Introduction to Islam, Early and Medieval Church History, Hermeneutics (Biblical interpretation), Biblical Theology of Missions, and Power Encounter (which deals with the supernatural, confronting witchcraft, the power of the gospel, etc.). In addition, I am continuing with my Swahili classes once a week.

I have settled into campus life and am enjoying the community here. The majority of students, professors, and staff stay on campus, which gives the school a community feeling and great opportunities to get to know the other students and staff. I am one of the youngest students here, and many of the students are married with children. The majority of staff and students are African, but are from all over the continent. In addition to classes, we also have chapel services 3 days a week, small groups within our departments, and a small group Bible study where all of the students, staff, and faculty are divided into groups of about 10. We have playing fields where students can be found playing volleyball, soccer, and basketball almost every evening.

We even have small “shambas” which are garden plots where we can grow our own vegetables. I was not planning on signing up for one because I don’t know how to grow anything, but one of the Kenyan students convinced me to sign up and promised to teach me. He told me that I should obtain the asset first, and then figure out to use it.

This past weekend, I went to three nyama chomas (goat barbecues). Nyama chomas are very popular in Kenya and I don’t think there can be a proper celebration without slaughtering a goat. On Friday, the missions department had a nyama choma to welcome all of the new students in the missions department, on Saturday the school hosted one to welcome all of the new students on campus, and on Sunday I went to one after church with several of my friends from church. So I definitely had my fill of goat this weekend! On Saturday, some of the guys even taught me how to roast the meat so I was in charge of one of the grills for a while. They eat every part of the goat, including the intestines and all of the organs. I still have not tried all of the parts but am getting a little more adventurous – this weekend I ate the kidney and it was actually pretty good.

I have also been visiting several community projects in the poor areas around campus. I was hoping to have time to get involved in one of the projects here, but now I don’t think I will realistically have time for this during the term. This past Saturday I visited a Christian project for orphaned and vulnerable girls. Every Saturday they have a feeding program and tutoring classes. I went with a friend who lives in the area and we thought we were just going to observe and see what it is all about. But the guy in charge divided the kids up into 2 groups and left us with about 30 children from ages 5-11 and told us to teach them for 2 hours. We just looked at each other and laughed because we had not prepared anything, and I do not know how to teach math or science in Swahili. So instead we just sang songs, prayed, and taught them about Jesus. Then we played games with them until their lunch was ready.

Please continue to pray for me as I adjust to student life, and pray for my fellow classmates as well. There are several men here who could not afford to bring their families with them, so they live far away from their wives and children. There are also several students who are struggling to pay school fees, which are pretty high for African standards. In addition, for many students English is their second or even third language. I cannot even imagine doing this level of study in a language other than English, and I know that many of them are really struggling with the readings and writing papers,

Thank you for you prayer support!

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