By Sarah Kimakwa, Marketing and Reference Librarian, James White Library, Andrews University
In July 2014, at the ASDAL annual conference held at the General Conference headquarters in Maryland, I was elected treasurer of the Association of Seventh-day Adventist Librarians (ASDAL). After the vote, I was filled with mixed feelings and wondered if I could step up to the task ahead of me. I am not usually intimidated, and I generally enjoy challenge, so why did this sound so enormous? I attributed this nervousness to my “newness” and to knowing that my predecessor had done a great job. As a new ASDAL member and also a first time conference attendee, I had a lot to learn. I figured that to understand my new role and everything I should know to do a good job, I needed to get engaged in the process . . . and the sooner, the better.
I woke up early in the morning to be at the venue in time for registration so that I could observe all aspects of the conference. Everybody seemed to know everybody; they exchanged hugs and pleasantries. I seemed to be the only new one. But, not to be left out of the fun, I quickly got acquainted with my colleagues from the Adventist colleges and universities around the world. I listened to their stories, which were fascinating. The theme for the conference was about providing access to Adventist resources online – the Adventist Digital Library. In between the sessions I took breaks and consulted with my predecessor about the new task ahead of me.
The five-day conference came to a conclusion and I returned to my office. Within a matter of weeks treasury files arrived from Walla Walla University, Washington, and then it began to feel like serious business. Before too long I received the banking details from Lincoln, Nebraska. “Oh, now this is getting intense,” I thought. I was the stewardess of ASDAL and knew I needed God’s grace to do this work faithfully. I barely have any free hours a week after my library marketing and reference responsibilities, and supervising, mentoring, and scheduling the information desk. I had to look for ways to get more than 24 hours a day, six days a week, and I didn’t want to burn out and start resenting either my paid work or my volunteer work. I got a Serenity Prayer plaque for my office to provide the source of motivation and encouragement. I also prayed for God to send help, but I couldn’t imagine where the help might come from.
God didn’t let me wonder how I was going to do all of this for long, however. God performed a miracle! One weekend, I received an email from the Dean of Libraries that I could get student help for some of my marketing tasks. I was exhilarated at the news. We advertised the position and I got several great applicants. I prayed for God’s guidance in selecting the right worker. And my God, who is faithful as always, provided me with not just one, but two great employees.
Another challenge I had was ensuring that the ASDAL files are safe and secure. Also in answer to prayer, the Dean acquired a secure filing cabinet for me to use. This has been such a tremendous affirmation that God cares for us and is faithful in both the small things as well as the big ones.
What I can say is that God provides for us in mysterious ways. All we need to do is accept any challenge put before us and say as in Isaiah 6:8, “Here I am, Lord. Use me!” Be faithful to the task and God will take care of the rest.