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Orientation to a New Culture

2017-07-25

I have arrived safely in Cameroon on Wednesday evening, May 17, 2017. As we were flying over the northernmost African countries – I believe they were Tunisia and Libya – we were flying quite low and I could clearly see the desert. It made me think of the Israelites wandering for 40 years… I saw that story in a whole new light when I saw firsthand the vastness of the desert. Wow!

My introduction to Yaoundé, Cameroon occurred around 6:30 pm local time, and everything went very smoothly. I found all of my luggage right away and soon after I met the Wycliffe member who was there to meet me, and then we were on our way! Cameroon is very, very humid, but it is absolutely beautiful! It’s breathtaking (in beauty, and in that it is so hot it’s hard to breathe).

Thank you again for your prayers! I do have one other small prayer request – I am having a really hard time adjusting to the time change. (I’ve dealt with jet lag many times before, but it’s never been this tough!). Please pray that I will be able to sleep through the night and feel more like myself this weekend.

The past two days have been absolutely FULL of orientation and meeting, many, many people! Fun fact: in Yaoundé, there are about 13 000 people/square kilometre. This morning, I learned how to navigate the ‘kilometre’ I’m living in and take a taxi to go get groceries. Families have offered to host me for meals each day this week, and that has been a huge blessing. Last night, one family took me to see a play that the Wycliffe children put on at their international school. Very sweet! I have a few more days of orientation, and will begin some linguistic work on Monday.

I want to share one passage with you. While waiting in the airport in Brussels, I opened my Bible and as I read Psalm 139, verses 7-10 they were such an encouragement to me:


“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I go up to the Heavens, You are there.
If I make my bed in the depths; You are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there Your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.”

What a promise for us! I reflect on His faithfulness… The Lord has gone before me – He has prepared every detail, worked ‘behind the scenes’ to orchestrate everything and to bring me to His beautiful nation of Cameroon. Thank you for being a part of it!  I marvel that He has gone before me and will be with me in Cameroon, and I pray that you are reminded today that He has gone before you and is with you as well.

Kathryn van Wyngaarden, Wycliffe Canada intern, Cameroon, 2017

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