By Nora O. Lozano
Yes, Happy New Year in February! But before I invite you to celebrate this New Year, I would like to invite you to another celebration.
Let’s celebrate together that as of the publishing of this blog, we complete three years of consecutive monthly publications. I am thankful to God for this achievement, as well as to our blog coordinator and publisher, Anyra Cano; and for all the writers for their original and creative pieces, and to you, our readers. We are preparing great and meaningful content for this year, and we invite you to continue reading our monthly publications.
Now to the Happy New Year in February!
For most of the world, January is a month of new beginnings as we welcome a new calendar year. For me, it is a double new beginning as I also celebrate my birthday on January 1st. However, in my work as CLLI Executive Director, the month of January does not mean new beginnings, but endings.
The work of non-profit organizations in the United States has a particular cycle. January is a month where organizations close the business of the previous year. It is a time to send important documentation to government agencies as well as donors. The deadline to send these documents is January 31st, and my goal is always to send them a little earlier than that. Once they are sent, I can breathe a little easier. Then I start to celebrate the end of the CLLI business year, and the beginning of a new year, a new cycle that starts on February 1st.
So this February 1st, I will be celebrating the CLLI’s Happy New Year! And I want to invite you to celebrate with me.
The transition to a new year offers an opportunity to reflect with gratitude on the previous one as well as an opportunity to plan with hope for the future.
When I think about gratitude in relation to the previous year, I want to thank God for all the things that we were able to do in spite of the pandemic. We were able to continue offering virtually our transformational trainings. Students continued to learn and be challenged, faculty continued to teach powerful content at the same time that they were learning appropriate teaching methods for this complex season, and the CLLI coordinators and staff continued serving faithfully and joyfully. All this is truly remarkable for a second year with a global pandemic. But also, I am so thankful for all of the CLLI’s friends and donors and their contributions in prayers and financial resources. Your generosity allowed us to continue with our goal of transforming women’s lives in the name of Christ.
In addition, I am also grateful for the creativity that God has given to CLLI board members, faculty, coordinators, and staff. While it is true that the pandemic has brought us many challenges, it is also true that it has brought some blessings. For the CLLI one of the blessings is that it has pushed us to do things in new and creative ways: from working in virtual offices to designing new formats and delivery methods for our trainings. All this has resulted in an opportunity to do the things differently, but always with the same quality and excellence.
As we transition to new things, it has also been a time to say goodbye to other things. One of them is our traditional January Training at Camp Buckner. We held this training for 13 years during the same weekend and in the same place. I could write a book with all the stories of growth and transformation that happened there every year, and another book with all the fun experiences that we had. However, the pandemic and new opportunities led us to the difficult decision of transitioning this training to a different format. While the decision was complex because it required celebration and also grieving for what it was, it also brought a sense of newness and excitement as we will be able to serve better our current students who are ready to learn in more hybrid formats.
This leads me to reflect on the future. While we continue with our clear goal of providing transformational leadership training for Latinas and Latinas-at-heart from a Christian perspective, we cherish your prayers as we continue exploring new formats and delivery methods for our enriching curriculum. We are excited about experimenting with these new possibilities, and evaluating them, and then refining them again and again, until we get them “seasoned to perfection.” We want to do this because God deserves our best work and our students deserve the best leadership education that we can offer.
In light of all this, I invite you to celebrate the CLLI’s Happy New Year on February 1st! And as I do that, I am reminded of these powerful words by Dag Hammarskjöld that my friend Dr. Pam Durso shared with me some time ago: “For all that has been, Thank you! For all that is to come: YES!”
So let’s give thanks for what it was, and let’s look forward to what it will be. And in everything, let’s glorify our good God who is always watching over us, guiding us, and providing for all our needs.
For all that is to come: Happy New Year CLLI! May God bless you this year in wonderful and surprising ways! Amen!
Nora O. Lozano is executive director and co-founder of the Christian Latina Leadership Institute and has been involved in Christian theological education for more than 25 years.