Published by Calvin Seminary
ANN AT CTS: CHAPTER 3
ANN PLANTINGA KAPTEYN
Lee S. Huizenga Missionary-in-Residence
If I organize my decades of interactions with Calvin Seminary into chapters, I have just completed “Ann at CTS, Chapter 3.” Chapter 1 would be the years when I studied at Calvin Seminary full time for my MTS degree in the early 90s, chapter 2 would be the en- richment courses I took over the years to better equip myself as a missionary, and chapter 3 would highlight the two wonderful years spent at Calvin Seminary as a Lee S. Huizenga missionary-in-residence.
My husband and I have been serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators for 20 years, living in Brazil and Cameroon, and in 2015 we moved to Grand Rapids to start a new chapter of ministry closer to our children and our families. During my time at Calvin Seminary, I split my time between seminary responsibilities and my Bible translation consultancy work with Wycliffe, making many trips to the Central African Republic to work with Bible translators.
My work at Calvin Seminary included teaching missi- ology courses, mentoring students, and participating in the life of the seminary. One unexpected highlight was leading conversation groups for international stu- dents who wanted to practice their English. Through these groups, I met inspiring students with a wealth of experience, and I gained insight into cultures I knew little about. An example of this can be found in the photo above; I was learning all about the Chinese Communist Party from my three Chinese conversa- tion partners.
Another highlight of my time at Calvin Seminary was taking time to step back from working as a missionary and instead spend time reflecting on missions. What is the mission of God? What has been the legacy of the work of missionaries, both positive and negative? How does the reality of the enormous growth of the Church in the Global South change things? As I read about these topics, I came across articles written by African theologians, such as Lamin Sanneh, underlining the importance of Bible translation for the growth of the Church in their countries. This reading convinced me all over again to continue the important work of sup- porting African Christians in their efforts to translate the Bible into minority languages. I plan to continue to work full time for Wycliffe Bible Translators from Grand Rapids.
I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Calvin Seminary, to the donors who underwrite the mission- ary-in-residence program, and to the faculty, staff, and students for their warm welcome.
BETWEEN BANGLEDESH & OMAN
REV. JEFFREY BOS
The happenings of life overtake us and carry us on. I never thought much about enrolling at Calvin Seminary, it just happened. While an MDiv student from 1998-2003, I never thought much about pursuing a life and ministry in Bangladesh—it too just hap- pened. Serendipitous events, divine providence, and a sense of calling—to which I never totally said “yes” but then neither did I ever say “no”—propelled me across the world to serve on the faculty of the College of Christian Theology Bangladesh through Resonate Global Mission. This lasted until 2017 when security concerns, family circumstances—as well as more serendipitous events such as providence at work, con- versations, and connections—led me to the Al-Amana Centre in Muscat, Oman, where I hope in the future to expand my role as a theological educator in the areas of Islam and ministry with Muslims. As has been my experience in ministry, it just happened.
Between living in Bangladesh and then Oman, my family and I had to pull into port somewhere. “Going home” is a phrase with a strange meaning for those who have made their home in a strange land. In time, the homeland becomes strange. However, God provid- ed my family a wonderful home to land in Grand Rap- ids during this period of transition and the opportuni- ty for me to serve as a Scholar-in-Residence at Calvin Seminary during the 2017-2018 academic year.
What I did during my year at Calvin Seminary is a story I will leave for others to tell. What the communi- ty at Calvin did for me during this year back home is more than I can tell. What touched me most was the latter term in the title I was given. For the last year, I have been a resident. I had a place to call home. This home was complete with all the amenities, including an office with a desk, constant electricity and water supply, a name tag and email address, as well as af- fording teaching opportunities and involvement in the course on Christian engagement with other religions.
Being a resident meant that I belonged and felt a sense of belonging. I found an embracing community that welcomed me into their homes, a place to contin- ue the Spirit-led search for truth with others and quest for my identity in this body of Christ that is Calvin Seminary. I cherished the chapels, the town halls, pacing the halls, settling into other spaces, and being present with other faculty, students, and staff.
Everywhere I have been in the world, I have observed that despite the variety of human dwellings, all homes must have doors. Perhaps the doors are the most important part of a homely edifice. The walls are built in order to create a façade to support the windows and doors. Doors are where strangers may enter and friends may exit and come again. The seminary build- ing has many doors, lettered from “Entrance A” to “Entrance M,” connected by a circling, spiralling hall- way. I seem to have made a habit of entering through one door and leaving through another. As it happens, Calvin Seminary is a wonderful place to lose oneself and to find oneself over and over again.
If the doors remain open, I shall be back again. And I hope to create some doors for anyone from the Calvin Seminary community who might like to make the trip to the Al-Amana Centre and Oman. Let’s see what happens.
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