Al, Lois, Margie, Judy, Rick
They are like angels in our midst, always ready with a smile, a hug, a helping hand, a cheerful word. These are our volunteers: Al and Lois, Margie, Judy, Rick. They have become such a significant part of our community that I can hardly imagine life without them. In the US, they were teachers, librarians, pastors . . . . Here, Al and Rick work in maintenance, Lois and Margie in the library, and Judy in the Registrar’s office. They have spruced up our gardens, coordinated the building projects, painted classrooms and dorms. They’ve baked brownies and united the student body in shared lunches. They came to help us out and have found family, living in the dorms and student apartments.
These volunteers have the amazing ability to see each person they meet as special, a gift from God. Every organization has its grouches--One day I came down for coffee and found Judy cheerfully teasing along one of them to practice his English, treating him as the most special person in the world. She wouldn’t have believed me if I had told her that he doesn’t talk to anyone. Margie has eagerly visited all the classes, and comes away with rave reviews of every professor, which, from a fellow teacher, are more than idle compliments. They organize birthday parties and games in the dorms, personally inviting the shy students to participate. They diffuse conflict and respond with matter-of-fact common sense to problems. They participated in a getting-acquainted Peace Circle, which became hilariously bilingual and at times even trilingual. Their contributions are far beyond the valuable concrete help that they offer.
Have you ever considered being a volunteer? These folks would tell you that it is a wonderful experience. Regardless of your gifts, we can use you if you have a spirit of adventure, an openness to learn and experience a new culture, and a willingness to serve God. The university hosts many construction work teams for short periods of time as well as volunteers for more extended periods.
On a different note, I must introduce you to our new Rectora (President): Nancy Cardoso. She is a Brazilian Methodist pastor and biblical scholar, who arrived to begin the new school year in February. I’m trying to get used to her Portuguese pronunciation of my name, which comes out as “Huchee”. She is showing positive leadership and warm interaction with everyone on campus. The picture of her is taken in Palestine, where she recently traveled for a conference.
Thank you for your ongoing support of my ministry with gifts, prayers and notes. I thank God for each of you.