what's all this about Cameroon, anyway?

If you're visiting my blog, you probably found your way here because of my prayer letter and already know all this, but just in case you were wondering what all this talk of Cameroon is all about, here's the text of my prayer letter with the explanation.

It seemed to me that many missionaries’ stories involved God leading them to do the very thing they least wanted to do. Despite their apparent unconcerned acceptance of this situation, I feared and dreaded the thought that God might lead me into the ministry I most disliked, and begged Him to be spared.

I have never known what I wanted to do with my life, but there was one thing I did not want to do: become a teacher. In the end, then, my surprise is not so much that God is leading me to do the one thing I never wanted to do in a place I never had any particular interest in going--but that I’m so excited and eager to do it.

In December 2006, a discussion with my cousin Dan Friesen (Bible translator in Cameroon) on linguistics turned into an invitation to come to Cameroon with his family to serve as a home-school tutor for the 4 school-aged children of the 2 missionary translator couples. After pondering all the reasons why I shouldn’t go, I was left with an overwhelming desire to go, and a sense that God had brought about this opportunity.

My role will consist mainly of preparing and delivering daily school lessons to Rachel (10), Jenny (11), Christy (12), and Kenneth (6) from a home-school curriculum. This will free up the parents, Mike & Becky Scott, and Dan & Lisa Friesen, to put their time into the translation and literacy work of bringing the Bible in Oroko to the people of Big Bekondo and the surrounding area. I may also have the opportunity to contribute in a very small way to the linguistic work, given my undergraduate training in linguistics and communication.

The tutor is required from August to May (the school year) and lives in a tutor apartment attached to the Scotts’ home. The Scotts and Friesens live in Big Bekondo, a village of about 3,000 in the heart of Oroko-speaking territory in the Southwest province of Cameroon. I plan to depart in early August 2007 with Dan, Lisa, Rachel and Joshua, as they return to Cameroon after furlough, and to return in May once the school year is finished.

When I confessed my concerns to Dan and Lisa that I would be a burden to them, they said “of course you will, but we’re prepared for that, and in the meantime, you can do a job which will help us.” I may not be doing much “front-line missions work” in Cameroon, but every hour I spend teaching the children is an hour the parents are available to do their work in bringing the Bible to their neighbours in their mother tongue.
Ultimately—education, experience, and rhetoric aside—all I have to offer is my willingness to go; the rest I can only leave to God.

I invite your prayers as I step out in obedience into a very new experience in a very new place. I am excited to see how God will challenge, develop and guide me through this experience, and hopefully, allow my small human efforts to build the Kingdom of God.


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