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A letter from Leisa Wagstaff on home assignment from Cameroon

December 2012

Dear Partners in Mission,

This is one of the few Christmas seasons that I have spent in the U.S.A. in the past 28 years. It is indeed an enjoyable time with family, friends and supporters and of gift-wrapping, baking a gazillion of cookies, and arranging Christmas trees, manger scenes and lights. I miss tremendously, however, the simplicity of Christmases spent in small villages in Africa where this holiday time is focused on multiple worship services, a few special dishes of food, and at least one new article of clothing for the children.


As my daughter and I reminisce on the people and places where we have had the pleasure of sharing the holiday season, we are mindful that we have been privileged nomads—leaving each time by choices made by the PC(USA) mission agency, global partners and us. Even having to go through the heartrending pains of leaving people and places that had become family and home, we were still advantaged. We left having options, feeling confident that the future held much in store, and knowing we would be welcomed wherever we resettled. Unlike too many in the world, people who have no say in whether to stay or leave, because the options of starvation, war, persecution, unfair systems that keep one dependent and destitute, lost farming and grazing land without proper compensation and agreement to the powers that be, and lack of political freedom and free speech are not alternatives at all.

The countdown for my return to Cameroon has started. By the end of January I will be reunited with colleagues, students and neighbors there and unpacking the things I had left behind. It will be a period of daily visits from the community to welcome me back and to inquire about my stateside family and friends. They will also be very interested to hear news on the life and witness of the PC(USA), a church that I am sure they have prayed for daily—as is their custom.

I, too, will eagerly desire to catch up on what has transpired in the lives of my village mates and struggle to provide extra classes so that the student teachers in the subjects I teach will be well equipped for the different components of their upcoming exams and the gymnasts I coach will soar in their competitions. This time will pass in a wonderful blur and before I realize or am ready to face it, my term of service in Cameroon will come to an end. Then, by choice, the sojourn will continue as I unite with the wonderful people of South Sudan. I pray that you will continue with me on this journey.

Let each of us be thankful for the greatest gift of all, the birth of a Savior, try to live out the true meaning of this holiday season, and pray for the silence of war in all of its forms that rages within ourselves, homes, communities and world.

Below are a few musings on Africa by my daughter during different periods in her life.

The sudden memories
Of a heavenly place
Where life began
Bring a smile to my face.

The magical animals
Roaming picturesque hills
And the loving people
Give me warm chills.

Too often unappreciated
Please don’t break my heart
The wars and the poverty
Let’s move toward a fresh start.

My dear sweet Africa
I love you so much
I carry you with me always
Sweet dreams you gave to me
You make me strong
In my heart you’ll remain
My sweet, my sweet
My sweet, sweet home.

The Motherland
Is the reason I smile
The strength of my people
Is the reason I survive
It should be so obvious
When you see my beautiful face
That I originate from an
Oh, so wonderful place.

Follow me
Into my dreams
I’ll show you a marvelous scene
Believe me when I say to you
You will never neglect what you see.


In Service Together,

Leisa T. Wagstaff and ‘Mabotle

Until January 30, 2013:
P.O. Box 85
Leasburg, North Carolina 27291

The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 100
Read more about Leisa Wagstaff's ministry

Write to Leisa Wagstaff
Give to Leisa Wagstaff's sending and support



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