I get the question frequently, “So what do you do all day?” It’s a good question…
This missions trip is not like a typical trip. Because I’m working on theological education in a recognized university there are some very nice features that we are able to enjoy. Sometimes I describe the days here like being at a monastery. We are cloistered behind a gate, food is all provided in a common refectory, and a real community is formed during the week.
The day starts at 5AM for me. Because class is so early, I get up and ready for the day quite early. The dormitory is about 150 yards from the showers, up a very steep hill. And, I get my first opportunity to say prayers as I arrive to the shower. (Lord, sustain me as I jump into the cold water!) Afterwards I have a light breakfast, pray, and prepare my notes.
Class starts at 7AM. Everyone attends promptly because I give them only 20 minutes to finish a daily quiz. After the quiz is done we begin the lecture, study, and prep for their final projects. My hope is that they will have a great understanding of how the Bible fits together… a “six-act play”… and have a method for writing Bible Studies for their context.
Class is a mixture of lecture and learning lab… where they work on writing Bible Study questions and leading groups. I throw in a break or two… but it’s pretty constant for three hours. At the end they go to the library and work on reading for the quiz and their final project before going to break and then two more class periods. All in, they are in class for 11 hours of the day. They’re doing great though! Most of my students are already in ministry — one of them is the Rector of 128 churches!! He’s very focused on his studies so that he can help his pastors grow and become better preachers and disciple-makers.
After taking some tea, I sit down and try to write a blog post, revise my notes for the next day, study, return a few emails. Often grading quizes and papers takes the longest time. The syntax is sometimes poor… but unlike Americans, their handwriting is superb!
Lunch interrupts the desk work. Usually, lunch is rice, beans, posho — often with an avacado or rabbit. The cooking here has steadily increased in variety and the attached farm produces a lot of wonderful additions.
During the afternoon I park myself on the “porch” of the refectory an interact with students. I help them on their final project. They help me understand what they are getting… and what I need to clarify in class. Even though everything is in English the accents can vary wildly. The Sudanese have an Arab accent. The Tesso have a very crisp way of speaking. The Kenyans are very British. And the Riancholi have a very stout way of speaking.
Finally as the day closes the lawnmower goats run by… grabbing a few bites from the grass along the way. (25 goats just went by!) The babies cry out and interrupt all of the work everyone is doing.
The evenings are up for grabs. Dinner is usually late, 6:30 or 7PM and because we’re on the equator the sun comes up promptly at 6 and goes down promptly at 6. There is no “dusk” here. And then it’s just really dark. If the power is on then we will chat about the day with the other professors, think through teaching strategies, and tell stories of what we heard God doing.
Then, because my day starts so early… I head to bed. I try to be out by 9PM so that I can be fresh for my students the next day.