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In our May newsletter, we announced the passing away of Florence’s father, Pa Stephen Weyih on March 23rd. On hearing that Walter’s Dad was also not doing well, we decided to spend our annual vacation in Canada, travelling there in mid-July. Hans Grob, a keen aviator, and Christ follower, passed away on August 4 after a year plus struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. We were by his bedside with Mom and Walter’s brother and sister when Dad breathed his last. Though the Alzheimer’s had caused him to forget much, he still recognized family and remembered to thank God for His provision to the end. For this, all we can do is thank God for His mercy, opportunity and kindness. In Canada during our bereavement, we were shown much love and care by our Christian family. On our return to Cameroon at the end of August, we were again shown much compassion and concern by our Cameroon Christian family. As the lyrics of the song go, “I am so glad I am a part of the family of God…”
Work for Walter in Cameroon these last number of months has focused on contending with change and participating in change. The Cameroon Baptist Convention’s accounting system is scheduled to fully change in 2017 from a North American influenced, generally accepted accounting principles for non-profit organizations to a rules based OHADA (Organistion d’Harmonisation en Afrique de Droit des Affaires) accounting system. It is a different accounting system (though not necessarily better). Yet, it is the contextually appropriate system for Cameroon. Walter and his team of staff in the Finance and Development department are currently giving many seminars so that the Convention’s 150+ departments will hopefully be prepared for the changes come 2017. On top of that, the Convention’s accounting software is also being significantly upgraded this November and Walter has been communicating and coordinating with the stakeholders, so that this needed change can also move ahead. Sometimes all these changes can seem overwhelming and we feel inadequate. But thankfully, we have a God who is far above all this, and is loving and willing to see us through our challenges.
The Harmattan is a dry and dusty northeasterly trade wind, which blows from the Sahara Desert over the West African subcontinent into the Gulf of Guinea between the end of November and the middle of March. The last couple of days the Harmattan has been blowing in, changing the air quality and signifying a change in seasons. The coming of the dusty haze marks the end of the main harvest period, and the Church in Cameroon, has been recognizing and celebrating God’s goodness and provision in spite of challenges of security and deteriorating infrastructure in the country. In this month, when the dirt roads are now dry and more readily passable, Field (area) Bible Conferences will be holding throughout the Cameroon Baptist Convention. It is a time for churches in various localities to come together for worship, renewing fellowship with sister churches, reviewing various ministries (for children, women, men, in education and health), and sharing vision for further ministry.
Before these Bible Conferences start, our local church, Nkwen Baptist Church of Bamenda, is holding a grand week-long celebration of 70 years of existence and ministry. Started by NAB pioneer missionaries to Cameroon, Paul and Clara Gebauer, back in 1946, the church has had its ups and downs over the years. There has been strife in the church, there has also been much ministry success, planting many daughter churches in and around Bamenda and also planting/supporting churches in other parts of the country. Florence is quite involved in the music aspect of celebration, having composed a theme song and directing the choir in a special choir concert. As the celebrations started, one of the former pastors, Rev. Shadrach Vegah, reminded the congregation of why the church was started in the first place—to win souls to Christ. Though the church now has a beautiful large sanctuary to accommodate worship for its 3,000 plus members, the congregation is reminded that it is neither buildings nor programs that we will take with us in eternity but the souls of men and women who hear the Gospel and respond to it.
We are thankful for that focus, for the privilege of being involved in God’s kingdom building and the partnership of individuals and churches concerned for souls in their Jerusalem and their Judea, but also in their Samaria and to ends of the earth. Thank you for your prayers, encouragement and support. God bless.
Walter & Florence