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

Traveling is Simply Part and Parcel

Published on November 14, 2019

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I (Jeff) am writing this from a guesthouse in Gembu, Nigeria, after being in a small village the past several days. Traveling is simply part and parcel of the ministry here. Visitation is a huge aspect of Fu*ɓe life, and is the best way to bring teaching, encouragement, and spiritual strength to the people here, equipping them for the work of the Kingdom. Thus, I find myself on the road every week or so. For a lighter view, Sonya also recently wrote a slightly goofy blog- Suitcases and Stuff – about her travel reflections.

About a month ago, Sonya and I were able to meet with our NAB colleagues in a beach resort in Cameroon. Praise God for the several beautiful days there, re-connecting and hearing what God was doing in the various fields we are engaged in. After that, Sonya and I headed to different countries, (more on Sonya’s travels below); I went north and east in Cameroon, visiting several faith communities with my friend Suleymanu, before going back to Nigeria to finish the semester at the seminary there. The roads were bad, as this is still rainy season, but the people were gracious and hospitable, and we managed to see and encourage a good number of them. Here in Nigeria I have been working on several paper projects for the ministry. I was asked to write a kind of manual on how to help women train their daughters – “Aynugo Biɓɓe Rewɓe” (roughly translated: ‘Caring for Female Children’). I also helped their organization, Nyande Hesre (New Dawn Initiative), compose a letter outlining what their organization is involved in. This letter will be sent to politicians and community leaders here, soliciting local support for the work they are seeking to do. Praise God for a good response so far, and for the community support in preparing for the clinic.

I must say, I am extremely impressed with the attitude and work ethic of the Christian Fu*ɓe here. Faced with great challenges of all kinds, they are looking into the future and seeking to be proactive in meeting those challenges head-on.

Perhaps it is because the ministry here is so new, but they are constantly experimenting and trying new things, both in their worship settings and in their community life. When I was a pastor I could have learned much from their courage and faith. Taking suggestions from the community at large; in one community the leaders decided to visit one compound in the community per week; the whole congregation will process there together after their Wednesday services and spend time worshipping with the different families in their compounds. This enables the infirm, the aged, the very young, and the sometimes recalcitrant, to join in worship and truly feel like they are part of the community. After several months they tell me the experiment is a great success. Pray for wisdom and strength for the Fu*ɓe leaders, and that we make progress on our initiative for training more leaders.       

On the economic front (always an issue with refugee peoples) they have begun several initiatives, including community bee-keeping, training young people to be carpenters, tailors, nurses, veterinarians, bricklayers. In the main Fu*ɓe community we are praying, and waiting, for a sea container from Canada (paperwork has all been done, but needs to be cleared in Abuja) so we can begin a health clinic from the community here. As I drove there this week, folks from neighbouring towns asked me when it would be open for them; I told them to keep praying. (PRAISE THE LORD-WE ARE EXTREMELY EXCITED TO REPORT that we were JUST notified that the paperwork for the sea container was signed!) We wait to confirm there are no more hurdles, but will keep you posted on that if you subscribe to our email updates. (See below for Jeff’s email address if you want to be added to that list.)

While we were in Cameroon together, Sonya and I broached the question of inviting our supporters from North America to come and see the people and the work here firsthand. Cal Hohn has given us the green light, so I am hereby inviting YOU to consider whether you would like to come visit the Fu*ɓe in either Cameroon or Nigeria from November 2020 to February 2021. More information on this invite will be forthcoming as we go along – including the cost and requirements from this side – but for now, be considering the idea in principle, and drop us a line if you are considering it. On these happy notes, I will turn this over to my better half…

I (Sonya) am reviewing what transpired for me since our August newsletter. I took one weeklong trip to one of the villages to work on the guest house and my Fulfulde language skills and another trip to Yaoundé to help Elsie Lewandowski get her house and teaching kick-started after her move to Yaoundé (and her sudden trip home for her mom’s funeral). I then spent September working in a local small school. That was a whirlwind of classroom time, discussing the concepts with the principal, a bit of teacher training, as well as a boat load of time helping them problem-solve the growing pains associated with exploding from 30 students to 110 in the first week of school registrations. I coordinated with the mason and carpenter that the hospital graciously made available, free of charge, in order to maximize their available time to renovate and repair a couple of rooms, build desks, etc. I’ve greatly enjoyed exercising my gifts in teaching and administration and my love for renovating. We were able to help them with some funds from the special project Restore a Primary School which helped them immensely. Pray that they are approved as an official CBC school and that they be a great witness in the community. (Click HERE to read more about this particular school, and click the above link if you are interested in donating to this).

I finally felt confirmation in my spirit that I should arrange to go home to Canada, and shortly after booking those flights, my mom took a serious turn for the worse and they had to move her to hospice care. I had arranged a few days along the route, to spend with my son John in Croatia, and that was amazing, and much needed, as I hit the ground running when I got to Canada, with hospital visits, my own medical appointments, landlord responsibilities, and prepping and going to two of the five Alberta Baptist Association’s GO team’s missions events – in Edmonton and Central Alberta. It is such a privilege to be so graciously received and supported by stalwart and new mission supporters in Alberta, and we are grateful for the offering they designated to the Fu*ɓe ministry. Pray that the total needed funds are raised to complete the water system for the clinic and to support their pastor/evangelists. Click HERE to see to learn a bit more from the simple video we made for the event.

My health has been a bit off as I’ve been fighting with some adaptations to the arrival of winter in Canada, but I am mostly enjoying the crisp weather and a little bit of snow. I’m rearranging my travel plans to visit my boys in Winnipeg and return to help out with my dad’s cataract surgery and then continue to support my family and my mom. Pray for my family that we walk the valley with grace, and for wisdom for me as I make decisions about the timing of returning to Cameroon.

Our last bit of good news to report is that our language helper Suleymanu and his wife Halima have just had a healthy baby girl. Mother and child are doing well and we are waiting for an announcement on a name.

Well, there’s a ton of links for you to follow, which may keep you reading for a while. Hope it will keep you praying for us and our Fu*ɓe brothers and sisters as well. God bless you for your prayers and support. Feel free to drop us a line sometime!

Jeff & Sonya Kilmartin

 

Finally brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. 

II Thessalonians 3:1-2

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