My first trip to Cameroon brought many other “firsts” along with it. My first case of Malaria, my first time sharing a hotel room with a bat, first time serving as a translator for Spanish-speaking Chinese passengers and French-speaking African passengers, and several others. However, what was most notable for me was seeing the way a new Church could be mature in their service and devotion to the Lord. The Christian Church has been in Cameroon for many years, but the work of the Church of the Nazarene is only about a year and a half old there. As we traveled through one small area, we got to see a network of people coming together for worship and training. Our local leader has worked with the Church of the Nazarene in several countries and has developed a true skill in connecting with people and touching their hearts with the Gospel message. More than fifty people showed up for the three day conference.
One thing that stood out to me right away was that some smelled of alcohol or stepped out for regular smoke breaks. Others were seasoned, matured Christians who led worship and prayer times with a genuine connection to their Heavenly Father. It was exciting to see a church on all levels, devoted to ministry and fellowship. God will convict his people through the Holy Spirit in a way that will not destroy those who are still weak in their faith. My short stay in Cameroon seemed to be a reminder to me on the most basic level that God is in control of His Church and His Kingdom. I have many jobs on the mission field, but I am so relieved that the role of convicting others of sin rests with the Holy Spirit. Not that the Lord can’t or wouldn’t use me as an instrument in convicting believers or even non-believers of sin, but I’m glad that it’s ultimately the Lord who has control over this domain.
I am almost over my bout with malaria, my bat friend pictures have already made their rounds on the Facebook circuit, and if I’m totally honest, I have no real future as a trilingual translator. So, after witnessing the Holy Spirit at work in Cameroon I can say that will be what stays with me most from my short trip. Only God could bring people together from all different parts of the country and from all different levels of Christian maturity and development as I witnessed with this new work. I hope I can be faithful in my task here to preach the Gospel and allow the Holy Spirit to work through me and in the hearts of others as well.
“What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” 1 Corinthians 3:5-7