Update from Africa Nazarene University

May 23, 2008 at 5:00 am 1 comment

Jambo! Habari Yako? (Hello! How are you doing?)

“And this is my prayer, that your love may grow richer and richer in real knowledge and all discernment, that you may test the things that are better, that you may be unsullied and blameless as you face the day of Christ, abounding in the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11 Modern Language New Testament).

These have been busy days. We have been having chapel services each day in an emphasis that we call “Holiness Week.” We have these special days of emphasis each trimester and the normal procedure is to invite a guest speaker from outside our campus community to meet with us and preach in each service. We decided to try a different format this time, however, and use our own students who are preparing for ministry – and they have done an outstanding job. I would recommend any one of them to a pulpit anywhere. The only downside has been trying to make something happen with our p.a. system. Each day has been a time of trial and error and some days it has been more error than trial. We have a company coming this morning to test a new Bose system and I am trusting it will be the answer to our prayers. We are making progress with what we have, but I don’t think we will ever have the sound we need until we can spend some money and do it right. Hopefully, by noon today a decision will have been made and we will be on the fast track to having really good sound in our new building. 8000 square meters of open space in a concrete room makes for a tough place to kill an echo problem.

Did I say things have been busy? My days are starting usually at 6:30 a.m. with my first student meetings and I finished last evening at 6:40 – and there was another meeting (a student club meeting) that I should have attended, but since it took place at 10:00 pm. I missed it. Sometimes I wonder why I have an office because I don’t get to be in it very much. Hopefully, when graduation is over, the new sound system is in place, and the Holiness Week events are behind us, my schedule will lighten up some. Actually, until next Tuesday my days are looking a little more normal and I am grateful for that.

We had seventeen visitors this week from Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas. They are business students on a tour of American based businesses in Africa. They will be traveling the continent for thirty days. I’m sure that they are getting an education that they will never forget. They weren’t here long, but it gave them an opportunity to visit an African class and for some of our business students to interact with them. Maybe someday we can take students to visit their campus.

The big thing on the horizon is graduation. On Wednesday of next week our guests will begin arriving and some will be with us for as long as a week. They will come from literally all over the world. As I understand it, we have 208 graduates, or graduands, as they say here, and we are expecting around 4000 people to be at the graduation ceremonies. Our new building should be filled to capacity and then some. There will be banquets, luncheons, parties, and celebrations all over the place in addition to the regular official activities, so it’s a pretty big deal. My neighbor and deputy vice-chancellor, Dr. Mark Pitts, has had his hands full with planning everything so I know he will breathe a big sigh of relief when the last detail is finished.

We are in the beginning stages of making plans to take our university choir to Orlando, Florida, to attend our General Assembly and Conventions in June of 2009. Though there is still a lot of red tape and permission- seeking to do, we also hope to be touring various parts of the country doing concerts and exposing our students to first-hand American culture. If your church would be interested in having this group for a concert, please let me know and we will try to work it into our schedule. Plans are still very loose at this point, but we plan to be in the US for two-three weeks with a music group of about 16, plus four sponsors (including Mary Jane and me). We will keep you posted as time goes on.

I wish I could say that we couldn’t be better, but that’s really not true. Mary Jane has been battling an infection that has pretty much knocked her down. As I understand it, her white blood count is supposed to be around 13-15 and hers is at 37. She is taking an antiibiotic for an infection and still doing what she has to do, but is pretty much wiped out most of the time. Please keep her in your prayers.

I am doing okay as long as I don’t overdo. Because these days have been so busy there has been more of a tendency to violate that policy, but I really do think that things will get back to normal shortly. In many ways my job is like that of a youth pastor and it sometimes just takes more energy to do it right now than I have available. You can pray for me to have the physical strength that I need and wisdom to know when to shut it down. I had to get off some of my medicine because of an allergic reaction, but my blood pressure remains in the normal category and I keep a daily watch on it. I know many family members and friends are concerned because of the TIA I had in January, but all seems to be well at this point. Your prayers really do make a difference.

I received a report from our financial officer this week that over $35,000 has already come in from our scholarship drive of last year and more is arriving each month. The plan here is to hold the money in escrow until September of 2009 in order to maximize the interest that can be gained before we begin releasing the money to our students, but I know that a lot of young people are going to really be helped and blessed by this effort. To those who made pledges we thank you so much for your continued support. Your $10 per month for one year is going to make a different beyond what you can even imagine.

Mary Jane and I are hoping to repeat last year’s tour this December and early January 2009 as well. If you would be interested in hosting us we would love to come your way. We have a story to tell that will warm the hearts of your churches and help you to see what huge dividends can come from a little bit of investment. Please prayerfully consider doing this and help bring the bright light of a Christian education to a place that has for so long been known as the “Dark Continent.” We look forward to hearing from you.

Well, it’s now 5:23 a.m. and I guess that wraps up another edition of this newsletter. Thanks for your prayers, notes, and faithful support. Please feel free to share this newsletter or weblog with as many people as you would like. If someone you know wants to be added to our mailing list, just have them send their e-mail address to: randyandmaryjane@aol.com. We would love to make our readership family a little bigger.

Be blessed and have a wonderful weekend!

Until next week, Kwa herina! (Goodbye!)

Randy and Mary Jane James
Africa Nazarene University
Nairobi, Kenya


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Update from Africa Nazarene University Update From Africa Nazarene University

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Ruth Ann Harris  |  May 28, 2008 at 3:59 am

    Hello — It was good to hear from you, as always, but we’re certainly sorry to learn of the health concerns — please know that we are praying for both of you — hope everything goes very smoothly for you through this especially busy time and that you are able to enjoy the graduation festivities — thanks for sharing the great news about the scholarship drive — Love from the Harrises


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