Thank you, thank you, thank you!
First, all praise and glory be to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for making this incredible mission journey to Cameroon possible.
The following is a copy of the thank you placed in this month’s Gayville-Bergen Parish Newsletter. However, we need to include some special thanks to the ELCA Mission Staff in Cameroon (June and Phil Nelson, Ann and Willie Langdji) for their extreme and generous efforts on our behalf to ensure our success, comfort and safety in Cameroon. Thank you to Bishop Nyiwe, Bishop Jean Paul, Pastor Sodea and Mancini, the staff of the Lutheran Seminary in Cameroon, the staff and especially Directorice of the Center for Women in Meiganga, and the many seminarians, wives and friends who helped us in Cameroon. We also want to thank the South Dakota Synod, Bishop Zellmer, staff, Companion Synod Committee of the South Dakota Synod, especially Cathy Larson, and all of the mission workers we met who have worked tirelessly and anonymously in Cameroon and around the world. They carry on the work of the church in the face of loneliness, hardship, and often danger. Please remember these workers in your prayers, especially those currently in Cameroon from the Central African Republic. Pray for their safety and for the opportunity for them to continue work in CAR soon.
While we were gone we saw the Holy Spirit was working through all of you in Cameroon, the ELCA, the SD Synod, Bergen and Gayville Churches, and in the community at large. We saw it from afar in the work you carried out at home, we felt it in your prayers in the security and peace of mind we had and in our safe return, and we witnessed it in the fruit it produced in Cameroon, which we are eager to describe to you in the coming months.
The work of the church never faltered. Time and time again email messages confirmed that leaders were stepping up to conduct worship, read lessons, assist visiting ministers, and even preach sermons for Sunday worship. Councils continued to meet and carry on the work of the church. Confirmation and Sunday education classes continued with the youth. Bible Study and the work of the women of the church continued. The Food Pantry continued to function to support those in need. The Gayville-Volin School sack pack completed the school year for a record number of students. The community bread deliveries continued for Gayville and Volin. Jesus’ sheep were fed in both spirit and body. Even our lawn was cared for and a garden of tomato plants ready for our return.
Your prayers never failed us as we felt their power protecting us when we traveled or were separated, when we ate strange food, slept in strange beds, walked among soldiers and strangers in a foreign place where we did not even speak the language. Again and again we witnessed our needs being met often even before we anticipated them. It happened too often for coincidence and felt like an umbrella sheltering us.
The physical support you provided not only helped us meet our expenses, but also produced seven fold fruit – to name only a few examples which we will explain in more detail, the seeds you sent with Pastor Timothee grew, produced a crop and more seed, the sewing materials were used to make sewing kits, pastors’ stoles, and clerical shirts. Money you donated helped purchase more materials for stoles and shirts, repair sewing machines, make copies of lesson materials for English classes, buy Bibles and plastic crosses, and assist a few seminarians in need. The gifts of soccer balls (footballs in Cameroon) were wildly and joyously received to help promote good will as were the gifts of jewelry, caps, calendars and children’s toys.
We cannot even begin to thank you individually or even list everything people did, let alone try to list individual names. All we can say is all praise and thanks to God.”
Pastor Ralph and Barbara