The Two Tales of Cameroon
Pastoral Couples Conference, February 8-17, 2019
Perspective can be defined as having a particular vantage point. I left Cameroon with two distinct perspectives. One was a tale that revealed the dark side of an enemy that seeks to divide and destroy. Another tale, expressed the amazing unity that comes when people from very diverse perspectives are drawn together through their faith in Jesus Christ.
News regarding the conflict between French and English speaking Cameroon that has escalated since last October is hard to come by in the west. So, hearing first hand stories of personal loss and tragedy was sobering and deeply sad for us. We learned that days before we arrived a pastor in English speaking Cameroon had been killed. Granaries were destroyed and houses burned.
While every conflict has its different perspectives, one that escalates to death and destruction only serves the purposes of the enemy and grieves the heart of God. To read more…
Would you please pray for a just and peaceful resolution to the conflict in Cameroon and
for God’s people to be strengthened in their faith?
The other tale of Cameroon stands in sharp contrast to the conflict. It is a tale of the unity that exists between followers of Jesus Christ demonstrated when 40 pastoral couples from a wide variety of churches and organizations came together for a week of fellowship, teaching, and deepening of their marriage relationship. It was truly amazing to watch these couples, most of whom did not know each other in advance, begin to build new friendships as we studied the Scriptures together and acknowledged the supremacy of Jesus Christ in all things.
We experienced what Paul described in Colossians 3:11, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.“
Although denominations and distances might have kept them from ever knowing one another, their faith in Jesus Christ and desire to go the distance in their marriage and ministry brought them together in a special way. By the end of the week, a stranger to the group would have easily assumed that they were gathered together for a family reunion.
One pastor expressed, “Another good side of this meeting is the fellowship, you know, really spending time talking to each other, fellowshipping and breaking down barriers.”
So, it is this tale of Cameroon, forged by our unity in Jesus Christ, that stands out to me. We were also so thankful for the hard work of Marius and Gildance (pictured above) and their team. The couples who attended committed to deepen their marriages, work harder at communicating and build upon the new relationships that were formed. To read more….
Pastor Jim and Arline Parris did a great job bringing to life some of the Bible’s key teachings about the centrality of Christ in our marriage, having a clear vision, developing understanding and honor, and keeping our marriage sacred.
Pastor Will Schraven was a wonderful blessing of pastoral encouragement as he taught on our exchanged life in Christ, the sureness of our calling and the value of developing healthy spiritual disciplines.
One Pastor commented, “Coming here and seeing a seminar which is not lecturing ideas, but the Word of God, directly the Word of God, it was a blessing to us.”
Pastor Rick had the privilege of teaching from the book of Colossians and encouraged the group to better understand the importance of Christ’s supremacy in and above all things, including the church, our personal purity and in all of our relationships.
So, What’s Next?
Ukraine, May 17 -26, 2019
Our next Shepherds’ Support conference will be in Ukraine this coming May. We are excited to have Pastor Bob and Vickie Butler and David and Beth Butler join our teaching team. (Yes, Bob and David are brothers!) Please be praying for us as we prepare for this special opportunity to encourage pastoral couples who serve in many of the challenging areas of their country.
As you might imagine, there were moments of difficulty throughout this conference and we were keenly aware of your support through prayer.
God was victorious in every way! Thank you,
And the Shepherds’ Support Board:
Steve and Connie Troxel,
David and Beth Butler,
Jack and Nancy Shirley,
Sid and Zane Williams
Our next training conferences
May – Ukraine. July – Cuba. August – Belarus and Moldova.