October 2012 Update

Hello again everyone, Greetings once again from Cameroon, I’d like to give an update on the ministry activities of the past several mo

Hello again everyone,

     Greetings once again from Cameroon, I’d like to give an update on the ministry activities of the past several months.

    We wrote a while back about the court case we were following up with the group of children who had been molested by a man in the village just up the hill from us.  We are happy to report that the justice system here has given these little ones some peace of mind as the perpetrator was sentenced to 18 years in prison. PRAY that the kids will get the needed counseling

   It has been an eye opener for us as we have seen another facet of life here for the average person but I will come back to that later.

   Ellen has been busy with educational things. She teaches remedial reading at the Mbingo Primary & Nursery School, currently she has about 60 children that cannot read in classes 3 to 6 so she takes them out of their regular classes 4 days per week in the mornings and different classes at different times. In the afternoons and some mornings early she does reading tutoring here at the house with adults and some secondary school kids. On Monday and Wednesday afternoons she teaches English, reading, reading comprehension, and composition writing to 5 different classes at a private Christian secondary school down the road from the hospital, there are several kids there from Muslim families as well. Pray for wisdom in using her time well for teaching and lesson planning as well as the opportunities to share Christ and using the Bible as a text when possible.

   The education system here in Cameroon needs a lot of help! Years of bad habits and a lack of concern on the parts of many who ought to be caring contribute to a sad state of affairs in the training of young people for the future of this country. Pray for the teachers, children, and parents, that they will push for better results and seriousness on the parts of all involved in educating the next generation of Cameroonian leaders.

    I (Thom) have been busy with lots of construction going on here at Mbingo Hospital as well as several meetings I have had with the Technical Services Dept. of the CBC Health Board leadership and advisory committees. It has been an especially encouraging year for me in that area as I have been able to actually work with 2 different groups of people and establish some policies and methods that will greatly improve our design and construction processes- something that has been on my agenda for 11 years! I am really thanking the Lord for that! Pray for willingness on the part of everyone to desire the best for God’s glory and not the power of individuals.

   We have been working not only on project management processes but we have also begun to establish some “templates” for building spaces for many of the basic services that are and will be offered in the different health care facilities. These will provide a guide for developing rural and urban health centers, and hospitals as each of them will provide services on different levels and hence have different needs. Pray wisdom for all of us involved with this project.

   This year we have finished the new ENT clinic, the new OBGYN clinic, and the HIV/AIDS Family Care & Treatment Center which are all operational. The new TB & Chemo wards are struggling to get finished as money is tight.

   For the most part my water projects have been on hold as we have just experienced the wettest dry season Ellen and I have ever experienced here. The past few weeks have seen a drastic change as dry season is approaching so I hope to get back to work on those. The difficulties are many with the rain and in some cases roads are impassible when wet due to their slipperiness and the deep ruts caused by erosion that one can slide into.

   Recently I had recommended the book, “When Helping Hurts, how to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor or yourself” on facebook. It is an eye opening book that helps us see first of all how to be careful about defining poverty and seeing the root causes of it. Many of us have preconceived ideas of what poverty and wealth are and form our approaches to ministry around that conception. The book points out that we tend to only look at material poverty and material wealth and so for that reason have been engaged in many cases of providing money, goods, and services to the materially poor both in the US and abroad. There is a time and place for that kind of giving and certainly we know there is a biblical foundation for that, but… once we understand that the root cause of these problems are the broken relationships between man and God, man and man, man and himself, and man and the rest of creation, we know that the only real and sustainable answer to the problems is in Jesus Christ and the restoration of those relationships.

    There is a role for the church and in fact, it is only God’s Word that has the answer, giving and good works without the Word of God is merely putting a bandage on a badly infected wound. So I would encourage anyone involved in ministry and missions’ leadership to get a copy! Some other good reads on the same topic can be found at an online missions website called www.missionfrontiers.org , particularly the following 2 issues,  http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/archive/overcoming-poverty , and http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/archive/africa-in-crisis  . The following article in particular will give you and idea of the connection between a successful economy and the foundation of godly values needed to make it work.  http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/article/spiritual-capital Something to think about on the way to the polls! Pray for Christians everywhere to be empowered to live lives that will draw people to Christ!

Love from Mbingo, Thom & Ellen