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It’s hard to believe it’s time for the quarterly newsletter again!!
August and September saw Jeff working closely with our partners on some major issues related to persecution, as seen later in this newsletter. This time frame also saw Sonya operating in high gear. Once our student summer guests left, she began in earnest working on this year’s commitment to helping at the local CBC school, with administration, some teacher mentoring, and trying to identify and bridge some large gaps in the education system. That school is the grateful recipient of one last grant from the NAB Restore a Primary School Project, in order to repair some buildings/roofs, add some desks, and a few other things, but since those funds were not accessed until the end of August, she was trying to tender and supervise repair work, plus administrate and do a bit of teaching, all at the same time, from mid-August until we left for a short vacation at the end of September. ’Twas a bit hectic.
Since we are writing between Canadian and American Thanksgiving seasons, it seems appropriate to be giving thanks – for many things!
Coming back to Banyo, I (Jeff) am even more grateful for some of the things we may often take for granted in other settings: clean running water, which can get hot if we need it to; electricity; access to internet; and a nice home around us. None of these things are always stable here, so when they are present, they are a great blessing. And now that we finally have a back-up generator installed, we have some recourse to charge computers, operate the lights for a few hours, and hopefully save the contents of our refrigerator when the local power options fail (like this weekend. . .). And if you are getting this newsletter at all, it would seem we managed to get our stuff sent when the internet was uncooperative.
We have just arrived back home near the end of October after spending that holiday in Slovenia and Croatia. We chose to go there because one of our children was working there, and it seemed like a good place to join up with him for a little break. Indeed, it was wonderful to see our son John and to enjoy the new sights and sounds we encountered in that part of Europe. Sonya got in some water time and checked scuba diving off her ‘bucket list,’ although lower-than-average October air and water temperatures made it a bit more reminiscent of her Canadian out-tripping experiences than she expected for being on the Adriatic Sea. The extra week in a Croatian quarantine hotel was NOT in our original timeline or budget, but our symptoms were minimal, so it was quite manageable.
We are grateful every time we arrive safely at our destinations here in Cameroon. We changed out our Toyota Helix this spring for an older Land Cruiser, and it again served us very well on the awful October roads. It handled everything that was thrown at us on this trip and only ground to a halt when we somehow got a bolt in the tire about 25 k (an hour travel time!) from home.
Another blessing I am very grateful for is the freedom to be a Christian, and to intentionally follow Jesus Christ in my daily life. This is a privilege not enjoyed by everyone in this part of the world, where persecution against believers from this culture is rampant.
All of the people among whom we minister are MBB, and all of them endure persecution to one degree or other. In our last newsletter (in August), we talked about the backlash brought about due to the official launch of our Health Clinic in Nigeria. There are great blessings, progress, and support from the governor and other official levels, but the persecution of the MBB believers was pretty severe, and is still ongoing.
This spate of persecution has now reached us in Cameroon, where it is causing about as much spiritual and emotional havoc as it did in Nigeria. At the same time, however, the same level of faithfulness, steadfast endurance, and patience is being exhibited by the Christians here – certainly, it is something to write home about. Just yesterday afternoon, one of my friends was on the phone with several members of his family, all of whom were threatening him and his wife and children if he did not recant. I was really heartened by his robust response to them. It turns out that this latest wave of persecution is allowing the Good News of Jesus to be preached just as much as the last one. I pray it will have as good an effect as that in Nigeria, where the young men who have recently accepted Christ – as a result of their parents’ example – are still doing very well.
Here in our own House of Prayer, our preacher for the week has chosen as his text 1 Peter 4:12–19, which starts off, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you. . .” People here have counted the cost of following Jesus, and they are not willing to die on any hill except the one He has set for them. This is part of the joy we have in this place, ministering among such people.
We are also thankful to report that we are still fully funded as NAB missionaries, but if you are able to further help our partners, with projects related to education, evangelism, and community development, please go to the NAB Cameroon/Nigeria – Least Reached People Group projects webpage and consider either a one-time gift or regular donations. Every way they are seeking to minister becomes more arduous and complicated in times of persecution, and since most of us cannot currently go and visit and stand with them physically, we can stand with them in prayer and in financial support.
We are not at full health at time of writing of this letter, with issues that may or may not be related to COVID, but we both seem to be on the mend. Compared to what many of our friends are struggling with, it all seems minor, but we still covet your prayers for health, and also for wisdom and strength and grace.
Jeff & Sonya Kilmartin
Box 50, Banyo.Adamawa State, Cameroon, West africa
Canadian address: 13233 60 Street NW Edmonton, AB T5A 0S4
Jeff.email@example.com | firstname.lastname@example.org