††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Mbingo, Cameroon
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 28 April 2002
Dear Praying Friends and Family:
Our time in Cameroon is rapidly drawing to a close. At present, our reservations have us departing June 12, less than seven weeks from today (though we continue to try to change them for a few days later). While we much look forward to seeing many of you, we are sorry to be leaving this place where God has worked in so many ways for and through our family. As we prepare to leave, please pray in the following areas:
Outreach to Moslems through water projects: At the end of March, we were able to travel to Banyo, about 160 miles northeast of Ndu, where fellow BGC missionaries John and Gala Dallman serve. The area is 90 to 95 percent Moslem, though traditional animist beliefs continue to exert a strong influence on many people (see the charms around the childrenís necks in the picture below). We visited about seven Moslem villages where John, an engineer, has drilled wells, as pictured above. John has wisely required the communities to donate materials and labor, as well as contributing the first part of a maintenance fund ahead of time. Thus, the community takes ownership of the wells, even while seeing that the bulk of the capital expenditure comes from Christians. When the well is completed, John has a major celebration in each village, showing the Jesus film and discussing the truths of the gospel with the community.
Please pray for the Spirit to be at work preparing and opening hearts as John shows the film and preaches the gospel. Pray for courage for those who accept the truth claims of the gospel but fear the earthly consequences of making a commitment (ostracism from families and friends - possibly death). Pray for a church planter to come to Cameroon and join this ministry, building on the solid foundation of good will built up from these wells.
Pray for those affected by death: In the last month, our cook, Fidelia, lost her 35-year-old husband to an unknown illness (the picture above was taken in December). Just last week, a tailor in our church, Edward, died of AIDS. His two girls, six and eight years old, come to our house every Saturday so that our boys can read with them and encourage their learning. As we have stated previously, death is a constant presence here, and widows and orphans often suffer severely. Pray for Fidelia and her four boys for employment after our departure, for men in the church to provide help with those young boys, and for comfort from the Holy Spirit, that in the midst of trials Fidelia could hold on to the truth of Godís sovereign love. Pray for Edwardís girls, that their aunt would provide good care for them, and that others will love them too with a fatherís love.
Pray for those studying biblical eldership with Coty: God has challenged these six men through the truths of His Word to reevaluate their picture of the role of a pastor. Pray that the Word planted will continue to bear fruit, and that God will give them wisdom to see how these biblical truths can best be lived out in the Cameroonian context.
Pray for those who have studied Christian Marriage and Family with Beth and Coty: In addition to the semester-long class at the seminary (see the picture below), which continues to go well, the local church asked us to lead a daylong seminar on marriage and family, together with Felix Fimba, a fellow teacher at the seminary. Felix handled the marriage section, while we focused on teaching about the biblical foundations for raising children. Traditionally, wives are treated as property; while their status is higher within the Christian community, the idea that a manís relationship with his wife should be closer and more important than his relationship with his parents is quite foreign. We have pushed the biblical arguments for the true unity and love that exists in Christian marriage, and many are thinking hard about the implications for their own marriages. Many have told us that their marriages are different because of the course. Similarly, the seminar opened many eyes to a biblical view of childrearing. While, in many ways, children are desired and valued more in this culture than in the US (a big family is clearly seen as a blessing from God), many parents spend little time with their children, and discipline tends to be erratic and harsh. The idea that one should never hit a child in anger was new to many participants. So pray that the biblical ideas we have taught would continue to bear fruit, and that these pastors and their families would serve as examples to entire communities of what a Christian family should be.
Pray for the effectiveness of our few remaining weeks: In particular, pray for the remainder of Cotyís teaching in his courses other than marriage: economics (where his module on financial intermediation for the poor is leading to serious consideration about how local churches can serve their people through helping the poor tosave), Pleasures of God, and Revelation. Pray also for Coty as he prepares to speak at CBTS graduation June 7 (the scheduled speaker from Britain had problems making travel arrangements, and the graduating students voted to ask Coty to speak). Pray for Beth as she ministers to women and children in the area, and for our children for the impact they will have on their friends. Pray that in these last few weeks we will obey the command of 1 Timothy 4:16 and receive its promise: ďPay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.Ē
Pray for our transition back to the US: We do not know where God is leading us in the future. We have contacted about 25 churches with open pastoral positions, and are corresponding with several of those. Pray for Godís leading for us and for the pastoral search committees. As we leave Cameroon not knowing where we are going, pray for the faith to follow wherever God might lead, and the confidence that God will direct us in His paths for His glory and our good. Pray also for Erin, who is in the last stages of making a college decision.
Pray for yourselves: You know that we have prayed all along that God would be pleased to use this mission of ours to raise your awareness about missions, so that you will serve Him even more faithfully as those who send missionaries and those who go themselves. Please continue to pray for what God will do through our trip in your life and in the lives of our others supporters.
Thank you for the prayers we know you will offer. We are here because God has worked through your giving and your prayers, and we know that He will continue to work through those prayers to make our work here effective and to bring us to our next place of service.
Partnering with you in the greatest of all causes,
Coty and Beth Pinckney