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Dear Family and Friends,
In our last newsletter, we reported on the political instability in the English speaking parts of Cameroon stemming from frustration regarding the marginalization of its legal and education systems. The situation has not been remedied. One piece of good news is that after 3 months of regular internet black out, the Government has allowed this service to be restored to the two English regions of Cameroon. Nevertheless, schools have remained inactive since November, and the judicial courts have been inactive even longer. Please keep praying.
The education ministry of the Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) has been seriously hampered by this socio-political impasse. Since November the church-run nursery, primary and secondary schools have not been functioning. The Baptist Teacher Training College in Ndop and the Baptist Training School for Health Personnel at Banso have had to suspend operations to respect the population’s protest of the eroding of the English education system. Even the School for the Deaf at Mbingo and the School for the Blind at Banso received threats if they continued to operate and had to suspend classes.
Only the CBC’s 2 seminaries at Ndu and Kumba have been allowed to operate, and this was not without struggle. When Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary, Ndu, started its educational activities after the Christmas/New Year break, threats of bodily harm and damage to property were received. The Provost of the seminary, Rev. Dr. Johnson Nseimboh, went to work holding a series of meetings with various community leaders. At these meetings, he stated that the seminary is an activity of building Church leaders and that closing it down was more of an attack on the Church and not directly related to the problems the population was contending for regarding the English education system. Praise God, these community leaders listened to him, and gave their approval for seminary classes to resume.
Similar threats to persons and property were received at Cameroon Baptist Seminary (CBS), Kumba, after the Christmas break if they tried to open. This resulted in the seminary not functioning through mid-February. However when Rev. Dr. Samuel Ndeley, the CBS Provost, heard the Ndu seminary’s story, he and his staff were inspired to try something similar in Kumba. They started with prayer and fasting. They met with the leaders of other seminaries in Kumba (the Presbyterians, Apostolics, and Lutherans) to share their problems and formed an association to struggle together. Then a series of meetings were held with government and community leaders. Amongst the groups they met, one of the strategic ones was with the “Okada riders” – the motorcycle taxi men – who are often at the forefront of public protests in the current political situation. God graciously allowed their support to be given and the seminary was able to restart activities and function threat-free since then.
The Kumba seminary, pictured above, sure could use some encouragement in finishing some of its uncompleted classrooms. Should you be moved to contribute, please follow the link for ways to give, http://www.nabconference.org/give/special-projects. And thank you for considering this.
Recently the Executive President of the Cameroon Baptist Convention, Rev. Godwill Ncham, along with the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church and a number of Catholic Bishops have been summoned to court, where they as church leaders and the church itself are being accused of frustrating the socio-political situation. While this is disturbing, we are comforted by Jesus’ words in Mark 13:11, “Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand what to say. Just say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.”
As Walter and the staff of the Finance & Development Department continue with the transition to the contextually appropriate accounting system, they are grateful for how far the process has gone so far. The next steps are to work with two firms, one will be an audit firm that will review the accounting work of the Cameroon Baptist Convention for 2016, and the other will be a consulting firm that will review the transition to the OHADA accounting system. Florence continues with her dental practice and is looking to renovate the inside of her clinic with newer dental chairs and other equipment. She has also, on the side, been trying her hand at farming. Not all of the farming venture is going so smoothly.
Thank you for prayers, encouragement and support. God desires us, as His children, as the body of Christ, to continue to partner together for His Kingdom work. None of us can do it by ourselves. We need each other and God’s guiding. It is our privilege to be partners with you.
Walter & Florence