Voices from the Field Jeff & Sonya Kilmartin Get to know Jeff & Sonya

Continuing Work With F*lbe communities

Published on August 16, 2018

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Dear Family and Friends,

Greetings from cool Cameroon! It is rainy season here, so most days the weather is on the coolish side; we got a few solid hours of sunshine yesterday and it was a welcome change – even managed to get some clothes dry on the line. Sonya, on the other hand, has been enjoying (?) a record warm summer in Western Canada.

These days I (Jeff) am mostly working inside, writing this or that. From May 26 to July 10, I was “on tour” to about ten or so F*lbe communities in Cameroon and Nigeria (Sonya was with me for the Cameroon side of things). I wrote a 30-page report on that trip (don’t worry – it has lots of pictures!), which I hope many of you will have time to read through. (If you did not receive a copy, please let me know and I will try to get it to you.) The trip gave me a good understanding of where our Christian brothers and sisters fare at in each place, and in general.

There are certainly a lot of challenges they are facing (persecution, illiteracy, poverty, to name just a few), but they are working to slowly chip away at each obstacle in their way, and see the Kingdom of God move forward in their midst. In the midst of all their struggles they remain very hospitable hosts, and it is always great to see people who are becoming good friends.

Sonya and I parted around June 12, and she took a personal leave and headed to Edmonton to spend time with her parents, since her mom’s cancer shows no signs of retreating and is taking a toll. Sonya travelled a rather lengthy, but cost effective, route to Edmonton via Nairobi, Holland, Winnipeg, and Camrose, followed by trips to Lethbridge, Calgary, and Canmor, so if you follow her on Facebook you can see that she has additionally been able to see all four of our kids, have some outdoor fun, share with some churches, visit friends and siblings, shop for stuff she wants to bring or send to Cameron, do some work with the Friends of the F*lbe Society, and attend Triennial. She has been trying to get some other teaching related work with Elsie done, but somehow (!) that kept getting bumped to the bottom of the priority list, so not too much got done there. She is wrapping up her time in Canada and should arrive back at our Ndu home near the end of August.

Back here in Ndu I have begun preparations for the coming semester, with classes starting on August 20th. I will be teaching three courses (Isaiah, Apologetics, Introduction to Old Testament), mostly to Bachelor level students. Our semester, however, will be broken up by what they are calling the “socio-political crisis” here. There has been a separatist movement in Cameroon for many years now, and in the recent past there have been violent clashes between government and separatist factions.

In late September and early October there are a couple of dates that will be “flash points” in the region (a national holiday, presidential election), which it has been deemed wise that missionaries be absent for. Because of all that, Sonya and I will take 3-4 weeks around the mid-semester break here and travel again up into northern Cameroon (where there are no separatists to worry about), and also into Nigeria, where I hope to visit a few of the F*lbe communities I missed last time. This will, I hope, become part of our yearly routine. Visitation among the F*lbe is a huge aspect of evangelism and strengthening the existing churches – in fact, it cannot be done without it. Very often the leaders who would normally wish to be travelling are unable to, for lack of resources. When Sonya and I go, we then become catalysts for a whole series of things that such visits allow.

I have been preaching a little bit since I’ve been back. Irene, who works in our house, invited me to preach at her church, so I spoke on “Our Identity in Christ,” something which, apparently, is little understood here. I will speak at our home church here – Nshihodoh {sp??) Baptist – and then again in a chapel service soon after the semester begins.

Meanwhile, I am working on language learning, and visiting some of our Muslim neighbours in the area. Later today, for instance, I will head out to the market and see how many F*lbe I can greet, while I am on the look-out for a calabash. I will also call and see if I can visit my friend the Ardo soon. Sonya has been trying to do some language studies while in Canada, but says she has not been as successful (or disciplined) as she hoped, especially while travelling. So hopefully we can get that going well when she is back.

Ok, so we have a lot of work to do, and hope that you will consider what you can do, right after you finish this newsletter.

Pray for us! To get more information, updates and prayer requests by email, (or a copy of Jeff’s long report, or the link for our recent video!!) email Jeff at jeff.kilmartin@gmail.com and ask to be added to our list, or check out our blog for resources and recent opportunities we’ve had to share: https://kilmartinblog.wordpress.com/.

Thanks again for your prayer, support and friendship!

In Him,
Jeff and Sonya