July 2, 2013

Teesa’s Update: Transitions

Here at Vox we remain connected to several Vox community members currently living and serving overseas. Teesa Bahana, a much-missed Voxmie, is… well, read it yourself!

After some great encouragement, I have been assured that some of you would still like to hear updates from me. My apologies for the months since my last (and only) update, you deserve better. Or perhaps I was sparing you. We will never know. Anyway, seeing as grace is a big part of what it means to be a Vox member and Jesus follower, I shall hope I am forgiven and move on.

In my last update, I was struggling with the dust and wind in Maai Mahiu, Kenya, a small dusty town located near one of the most breathtaking sights in the world, the Rift Valley. The contrast is stark, the grand beauty of mountains, hills and stretches of land sizes and sprawling valley to a town where trucks almost equal the number of inhabitants and oh, did I mention the dust? My days as Executive Assistant involved keeping the Country Director on top of his emails, setting up meetings for him and making sure he attended them by managing his calendar, checking in with all the program managers on their budgets and objectives for the year and other miscellaneous that would pop up from time to time. Examples of such adventures included figuring out how to streamline HR systems, helping write grants (one of which earned funding for the Knowledge and Resource Center you’d always hear me talk about!) and helping figure out how to get thousands of products made in Kenya and shipped to the US by yesterday. Some days were filled to the brim with excitement and rushing around from one place to another to get things done, other days were slower that allowed me to check in with co-workers and try and work out how to improve their performance at work and how they felt about their work as well. All of those days are now a fond memory… well…most of them. Let’s go with a good enough amount.

In April, I left CTC and Kenya. It’s hard to explain why when I’m so grateful for the experiences I had and the people I was able to meet. So many people over the past year became like family and showed me a tremendous amount of love. CTC was my first job and involved a lot of figuring out strengths and weaknesses. After awhile, it became clear to me that my combination of strengths and weaknesses weren’t a good fit. So, I left CTC with no firm job prospects and no concrete idea of what I’d do nextnor even what I wanted to do next. All I had was the security of some savings as well as the knowledge that I would be able to spend some time with my family and not have to pay for too many things (which I am incredibly grateful for). I also had the knowledge that I was doing the right thing for me and for the organization by leaving. But knowing without a doubt that it was the right decision didn’t mean that jumping into the unknown again all that easier. There’s something about having a specific amount of money to last you an unspecific amount of time that brings out anxiety you didn’t even know you had. And highlights how much you lack in the faith you thought you did have. I spent my first few weeks of unemployment at home in Uganda applying for jobs, catching up on TV shows and racking my brain for things that I could do in the meantime. A few weeks ago, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to even write an update. It would have been me trying to justify myself and argue against invisible detractors looking down on me for leaving a guaranteed job with no future course of action.

But about halfway into my time here, I realized I was getting some answers to prayers I had prayed for as long as I can remember, and prayers I continue to pray. Like what it looks like to trust God even when you fear that the future ahead isn’t what you’d hoped. How it feels to be patient that the timing will be right for whatever the outcome will be. And learning why faith is one of the most elemental but also one of the hardest things about following Jesus because it’s about trust and patience. May be elementary to some but has been revelatory and reassuring for me in this time of transition. And regardless of the outcome, that’s an outcome I’m happy and blessed to write.

Though, you might also like to know I am starting a new job at the African Leadership Academy (ALA) in their Strategic Relations Department and I am just thrilled. ALA is committed to transform the continent through finding and grooming the next generation of African leaders. I’ll be helping host guest speakers and visitors to campus as well as coming up with external opportunities for the students. I can’t wait to get started and to fill you in as I begin a new life in South Africa.

So much love to you all. Miss you dearly as always and look forward to visiting and meeting all the new babies!

[Photo by tkagiza @ Instagram]

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