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On May 30, 2023, Trudy Schatz, retired missionary to Cameroon, passed away at age 95 in Edmonton, Alberta. Hence, she had a change of venue from this life to the hereafter. Trudy, a nurse and then a trainer of nurses during her missionary career, mainly at Banso Baptist Hospital, had a special place in our hearts, especially for my wife, Florence. Trudy was one of our great encouragers. Florence’s father had served as Trudy’s cook, and Trudy was like a second mother to Florence. Although we could not attend her memorial service in person, we were able to send a video tribute from Bamenda, including songs sung by Florence with a small group of Cameroonian singers.
With home assignment looming in mid-July, a change of venue, we prayed and asked for prayer on how Florence and my responsibilities in Cameroon would be handled. Despite efforts by the North American Baptist Conference to find a missionary replacement for me in restive Bamenda, it did not work out. So with this situation, the imperative was to engage in training Cameroonian staff before leaving the country. I coordinated and taught at a seminar held in Bamenda from June 28 to July 1. The topic was the Cameroon Baptist Convention financial regulations, with 38 participants from Baptist hospitals, health centers, schools, a seminary, a bookshop, the CBC printing press, a rest house, and administrative offices. Now this may sound pretty boring to some, but it is necessary for uniformity of financial work practices and promoting good stewardship. Then on July 7, I taught at a one-day seminar in Bafoussam organized for Baptist school bursars, assistant bursars, financial clerks, and stores officers. Beyond that, I worked regularly with staff of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Finance and Development Department to prepare them to cover my responsibilities as much as possible as I departed from Cameroon on July 12.
When approaching a change of venue situation, it is not unusual for plans to change and adjustments to be made. It was not an easy decision, but we decided Florence will remain in Cameroon until the beginning of October, God-willing, to attend to her dental practice and to work with the Immanuel (English) choir of Nkwen Baptist Church to put on some concerts to raise funds for the church pastors’ housing project. We are both already looking forward to being together in October.
During home assignment, we look forward to opportunities of meeting and thanking in person all who partner, support, pray, and encourage us. It is an honour and privilege to represent you in this ministry in Cameroon.