This post is Part Three of a series on some of the upcoming (and already happened and happening) transitions in our lives right now. This post focuses on work transitions and those we’ve left behind on the work front, while a future post will focus on personal relationships. You can read Part One about God’s call here and Part Two about our new assignment here.
When they learn of our transition, many of our friends wonder what happened to the work responsibilities now that we’ve left. Thinking about the ramifications of me leaving my job as Operations Director led us, on multiple occasions, to question whether or not this new assignment was really from God. It led to feelings of guilt. It brought about difficult conversations with colleagues in Nigeria. It was not easy by any stretch of the imagination!
Unlike most companies, where when someone leaves you normally just use that budget money to hire someone else, we are effectively volunteers (i.e. we bring our own salary to the position, thanks to the generous contributions of our partners). That means that when I announced that we were leaving Nigeria, my boss and his team needed to restructure the director team and re-think how certain functions of our entity were carried out. Unfortunately it wasn’t just as simple as hiring someone new.
My job was effectively split up into three chunks and given to three people, all of whom already had their own existing jobs serving Bible translation in Nigeria. Was this an ideal situation? By no means! But it was the best that we had to work with given the circumstances. When we went back to Nigeria in April, one of my primary goals was to spend as much time as I could with these three staff and transition my work responsibilities to them. I admittedly am not a good delegator—made all the more problematic when all the people I might delegate to are equally busy—so this meant explaining a lot of systems and procedures that I had developed and maintained from the ground up. Thankfully, I was able to get some needed time with staff and now much of it can now be carried out over e-mail.
I do hope that this transition will, in some ways, be helpful for the work of Bible translation in Nigeria. It allows for different people to be looking at problems and issues in new and fresh ways, and hopefully bring about solutions to challenges, particularly in areas where I felt stuck. While in the short-term it means a hefty workload increase for colleagues, hopefully in the long run that will level out and the new normal will move the work forward even better than when I was in my role. Would you pray with me toward this end?
The good news is that even though we will no longer be residing in Nigeria, I’ll still be able to directly support the work in Africa. With the blessing and encouragement of my new supervisor in the U.S., I will retain a regional assignment that will allow me to work with colleagues across the continent of Africa to advance Bible translation. About 10% of my time will be spent in this Africa-focused role. We’re still working on the details of what that might look like, but I’m excited to be able to keep this close connection. I hope to be able to get back to Africa (and sometimes Nigeria) at least once per year.
Please pray for our colleagues in Nigeria as they work to most effectively carry out the operations of the organization, given the vacancy that we have left!