Friday, 5 December 2014
Interview from a Bible School Student
A young lady asked me (Brittney) if she could do an interview with me for one of her class assignments in Bible school and I thought I would share it with you all:
Where is your current mission location and how long have you been serving there?
- My current mission location is in Buea, Cameroon, Africa and I have been serving here for almost 3 years
What was your motivation for service or for becoming a missionary?
- I saw that there was a need and serving on the mission field over seas was something I desired to do.
What preparation did you have to perform before your service?
- I was blessed to be mentored by older and more mature Christians, had personal Bible studies, and was a teacher's aid in a Christian school while finishing my last year of High School in Ghana, where I also did a teachers' training course. I served with a mission in Ghana for several years, working together and learning many things before we came to Cameroon on our own.
How or did you find a sending agent and how did you conduct support raising?
- We are not part of a big organization but rather are funded through individuals and different congregations. Often my husband will teach or preach the Word of God, or show a power point about the work in Africa, I have programs such as a "ladies tea" to share about the work with other women from a woman's perspective, and we always enjoy visiting with people one on one or with their families as well. Basically, we try to encourage others the best we can and trust that God will provide our ministry needs.
What kind of mission work do or have you done?
- We work with men, women and children in various villages, run a gym ministry, and run a small Christian school from our home. We also do benevolence with the elderly, widows, orphans, handicap and others who are in need as well as counseling with single and married people. Whenever God opens a door, by faith we walk through it.
What were some of the initial challenges when you began the work?
- When we first came to Cameroon we didn't know very many people except for another missionary family who is hundreds of miles away. Making connections and getting to know people was one of our challenges. Lack of water supply was also a problem as we only had running water 2 times a week at best. Since then we have been given funds by generous Saints for a water tank and water pump so our water supply isn't much of a problem anymore. It was a challenge (but fun!) finding out where to buy groceries and toiletries. Finding good medical facilities is still a challenge.
How did you go about language and culture learning?
- My husband went to school to learn French and he grew up in Ghana where some Pidgin English was spoken so he was able to pick up Cameroon Pidgin English quickly. I am currently using Rosetta Stone to learn French and I learn a bit of Pidgin everyday just by living here and interacting with people, but it is especially difficult as I am very busy with the kids and with our ministry to find time for language learning. English is widely spoken, so that is a blessing. God has blessed our family to be "chameleons" so adapting to the culture wasn't too difficult. My husband grew up in Africa, and so is in many ways more comfortable with African culture than American culture. Our kids have only really ever known African culture as well.
Were/are there any family issues?
- We are blessed to have a wonderful family but one of the difficulties of working together as a husband and wife on the mission field is separating work time with family time. Because we don't see missions as our "work" but rather our LIFE it can be difficult to stop at the end of the day.
Are or have there been any obstacles in your work?
- Fighting sicknesses (malaria, typhoid, infections, etc) is a constant battle, dealing with a developing nation's government is another and constantly being asked for physical help can be frustrating.
What or are there any keys to success for your work?
- Keeping focused on what is important- the Word of God, consciously making an effort to raise Spiritually minded children and have a good family atmosphere, meditating on and reading our Bibles and pray everyday, sing to the Lord are personal habits that help. As far as mission methodology, we feel that patience is a key character trait because rushing things or desiring to see results right away can lead to long term problems. Helping others without creating dependency. We always seek to put quality over quantity, and would rather have a deep impact that will last than a broad impact that will fade quickly. Also, flexibility is key- you may enter a mission field with a plan or a program of how you are going to do things but you do need to be flexible when you come face to face with reality, and willing to reexamine your approach and let the Holy Spirit lead.
How did and do you handle readjusting when you return home?
- This is a trick question because it is difficult to say where "home" is but ultimately our citizenship is in heaven. My husband also says "Home is where the heart is" and we have made Cameroon our home. That being said, we also have "homes" in America, and in Ghana where we spent so much of our lives. When we go back to America we are often surprised that drivers abide by the traffic laws, amazed about the many options on different products (there is a whole aisle just for cereal in grocery stores!), and struggle to keep our kids well behaved despite lack of routine and consistency. We are also really busy whenever we are in the United States, visiting and sharing and encouraging/being encouraged that we don't really think much about readjusting.
I hope I was able to answer her questions thoroughly but if any of you readers have any further questions please let me know, I'd be happy to answer them!