Hope for the Nations
|When I Begin, I Will Make An End|
by Victor and Claudine Chamberlin, Field Directors in Cameroon
God makes no false starts. Man's mind, tuned to physical senses, is incapable of grasping the comprehensiveness of God's plannings. Consequently, we are apt to dismiss day by day occurances as unimportant. Doubtless, few noticed it that day when a stranger spoke to two fishermen and said, "Follow me:" Only He knew the impact these would soon have upon the world.
And still today, this same Lord now searches for those who will hear His "Follow Me".
On a Tuesday afternoon in March of 1995, in a tent were many were gathered to worship, a plea was made for urgently needed help in Cameroon, Africa. Two old veteran missionaries, heard not only the speaker, but also God, who said to them, "I want you to volunteer".
They could not know, or could they ask, what God would require of them. But they had followed him for many years and they knew that by answering His call meant He would be with them wherever He led.
Upon their arrival in Cameroon, God began immediately proving His faithfulness! In just one day, housing was found were it had been said none was available. God's #1 intervention! Further investigation revealed this to be a very strategic location to reach a spiritually impoverished quarter of the city. Again, God was intervening!
Meaningful house fellowships made it obvious a church would soon be more appropriate. But inquiries had quite firmly established that no desirable site would be available here. Then a young man came, wanting to sell hi site. It was exactly were and when land was needed! The man wanted money to travel. God was again moving!
See how he has moved to His end? God was going to bring His love to a very neglected portion of Limbe. A need was created by a crisis situation. In response to that crisis, workers and funds were provided in one day! Those workers who had answered His call were led to the exact place He wanted them. A place for them to live and land for His church, were pre-arranged by Him. None of those involved knew they were becoming a part of God's moving to bring an end -His end- to what He had begun.
And still His plan is unfolding. Soon difficulties arose. And the corrupted culture of Limbe, evidenced itself in manifold ways. These challenges caused those who had answered His "I want you", to recall work in which they had participated forty years earlier in Papua New Guinea. There in a primitive land, schools were established. Little children learned to read and were led to Jesus. and went home to win their parents!
Today- more than forty years later- those same children have passed the message on to their children and grandchildren. Government, businesses, homes and churches across the land have been impacted by them. Now they teach in their own Bible Schools!
Here again, is evidenced another step of God working towards His end. And after all the intervening years, He was saying to this now elderly couple (who had been a part of that effort in Papua New Guinea) "I want you in Cameroon".
As the couple surveyed the culture now surrounding them, they were reminded how God had used those schools and the little children of Papua New Guinea to bring His Word to marvelous fruition in their land.
From that remembrance, it was not a great projection to envisage a similar approach in Cameroon. But to launch such projects then at 30 years of age, seemed more possible than now at the age of 70. as well, not having stored any earthly treasures, how does one begin such a task?
Watchman Nee said, "The more utterly impossible of doing a thing ourselves, the more we give glory to the one who does it." So, with the sole purpose of bringing glory to God.
Form a class of 5 children on a front veranda, the number grew to 10, 15 and 20. Parents saw the wonderful things happening to their children. They could actually read.write.spell.be kind and courteous.and pray!
Quickly, the number of parents pleading for this kind of schooling for their children increased. Attendance swelled from 50 in 1999, then 120 the next year, and on to over 300 now in 2005! From what? This veranda "class-room" beginning has sprung into four classroom buildings, encompassing over 11,000 square feet today!
Why, may you ask, is this school in such a demand? The answer is that even in a land awash with corruption, everyone knows there is a better way. Lura May Bustin Memorial Christian Academy is known as "The school with a difference". People are learning that this school does make a difference!
Children are being taught Christian character. Learning the "Sweet Bees" is part of the daily curriculum. Bee kind.Bee Humble.Bee Friendly.Bee Honest.Bee Loving.Bee Compassionate.Bee Responsible.Bee Respectful.Bee Trustworthy.60 Bees in all! In a society where these characteristics are sadly lacking, what parent would not want his or her child to learn and practice such beautiful traits?
Business people and pastors of other churches are eager to get their children into this Christian Academy. Officials from the Department of Education are much impressed with the school and have even said the system used should be the pattern for all of Cameroon. The only fault they have found is that to date there is not an adequate playground for the younger children. A play area has been purchased, but must be developed with playground equipment and must have a high security wall.
The church body is growing. In recent months 12 business men and government workers, including the city's Magistrates have forsaken their witchcraft practices, their liquor, their immoral life-style and turned to Christ! These men are having a tremendous impact on the city of Limbe as well as on surrounding towns.
A 3 story 65 x 85 foot multi-purpose building is about half completed. (This building will double the present footage.) All construction must be of concrete and steel in Cameroon, so it is very expensive. Any wooden structure becomes just so many termite lunches. The ground floor will be for the church. But not soon enough. The increasing attendance has outgrown the two classrooms presently used for services.
The number of AIDS orphans increases at a shocking rate! Families are being torn apart, leaving many children destitute. Even in the Mission school, there are presently about 30 children who are orphans, or have only one living parent. Many orphans are forced to return to the villages where they become virtual slaves for the elderly, thus they can no longer attend school.
And worse yet, they are initiated into rites of witch-craft! This, of course, means these children are undoubtedly lost to the Gospel! A heart- breaking situation, indeed! In an effort to rescue some form such a fate, the burden and plan has been to utilize the second floor of the new building as a home for orphans and destitute children.
That elderly couple now going on 76 and 78, are praying that others will hear and heed Good's call and accept the challenge to help keep this "school with a difference" pressing forward. Dedicated teachers and those with ability to train national teachers are needed.
The time has come for a high school to be established. Otherwise those completing the 8th grade must either drop out or attend a secular school where there exists much immoral conduct among teachers as well as students. Parents, pleading that the school be extended to the secondary level, are willing to sacrifice in order to pay school fees for their children to continue in a wholesome environment.
In Papua New Guinea, those pilot schools of the 50's and 60's continue to reap a bountiful harvest for God. We saw Him do wonders there! Could it be that "those two young missionaries" had been sent there to prepare them to plant a similar seed in Limbe, Cameroon? Only God knows at what point each of us becomes a part of His plan to "bring an end" to that which He had begun.
If any reader feels God is saying "I want you", please respond. Do whatever He bids. Please join in helping Him bring to an end, that which He began.
Perhaps by now you have guessed who the aged couple is. If so, here is a personal word of sincere appreciation. Thanks so much to all who shared with us in so many ways as we traveled about the States these past 11 months, representing Cameroon to do whatever He bids as our part of His plan for Cameroon. As God enables we are enlarging our borders on all these fronts. Thank you for all your wonderful hospitalities and concern! It was a joy to be with you and to share with you what God has been doing. May God richly bless each one.