Bethlehem Seminary in Yaoundé, Cameroon is a church-based extension site of Bethlehem College & Seminary. Dieudonné Tamfu (class of 2009), is the Director of the extension site where he is also serving as a full-time professor. For a seminary to be truly church-based, it needs to be in close association with a church or a group of churches. By God’s sheer grace, Église Baptiste Bethléem has been planted and is now in its second year. When Dieudonné teaches in the classroom, he is teaching not only as a professor with a PhD but also as a man who is immersed in pastoring the church. We have 12 students fully engaged in the classes being offered by the seminary. About half of them are serving in Église Baptist Bethléem, which was officially planted 13 months ago, and half of them are pastoring in other churches in Yaoundé. We love the mix between students who are experienced pastors and students who are preparing for future ministry serving alongside Dieudonné. All are benefiting from his mentorship.
Let me tell you about three of our students:
Dieudonné and I had a chance to co-teach in course in another part of Cameroon several years ago. Edwin took the course and was deeply affected. When he heard Bethlehem Seminary was going to have an extension site in Yaoundé, he was one of the first to enroll in our MDiv program. Several years ago, he planted a church that is now growing and thriving. So, he brings church planting experience into the classroom as a fellow student. I wish you could hear him preach and teach!
Another student, Haison, was our French interpreter in our first pastoral seminar we taught two summers ago on the kingdom of God. He was an excellent interpreter. Little did we know that, as he was interpreting, the teaching from the seminar God was doing a deep work in his heart. He realized that his own preaching in his church had been significantly influenced by the prosperity gospel. He sensed God’s leading to publicly express his sorrow to the congregation for not understanding properly the already but not yet of the kingdom. He realized he had been preaching in such a way that people had expectations that weren’t met and the faith of some were being harmed. He was so impacted by the seminar that he enrolled in the first cohort of our MDiv program, even though it meant traveling by taxi across the city to the classroom. Haison has been pastoring his church faithfully for several years, but now senses God is leading him to accept Dieudonné’s invitation to become an associate pastor at Église Baptist Bethléem. This will be such a blessing to Dieudonné and this growing congregation.
I will tell you about one more student, Elison. He was a school teacher in one of the government schools that was shut down because of the political unrest and violence in his part of Cameroon. This opened the door for him to follow his heart’s desire and come to seminary. In seminary he has discovered (and we have witnessed!) a strong aptitude for learning the biblical languages and the kind of exegesis that we are emphasizing. He not only is gifted in academics, but his heart is filled with worship and he is one of our worship leaders in the church. He got married last year. Elison and his wife are now expecting their first child. He applied for our Alex Steddom Scholarship which would make it possible for him and his family to come to Minneapolis in 2023 to study for the ThM. This degree would enable him to return to Cameroon and, if approved, serve with us on the faculty in Yaoundé. I just got word from Jonathan Woodyard, our Director of Admissions, that Elison has been awarded the scholarship!
There are so many more stories I could tell about every one of our students. We love each one of them and see God’s clear work in their lives. What a privilege to have the joy of investing in these gifted men and their wives and to partners with them in glorifying Christ in Cameroon and beyond.
Thank you all for your prayers and for the manifold ways you support Bethlehem College & Seminary. The impact is extending to faraway places!
One final note: we would love for you to join us in celebrating Bethlehem’s 150th Anniversary. This is 150 years of God’s faithfulness in sustaining us through not only the wonderful victories but also the “many tribulations” which he has promised in his word. Your prayerful and financial support of Bethlehem College & Seminary fills us with thanksgiving that you are a part of this history!
Sincerely in Christ,
Associate Professor of Biblical and Global Studies
- That God will sustain Pastor Dieudonné in his directing, teaching, and pastoring and that he and his wife, Dominique, will continue to thrive in their marriage, the parenting of their two children, and their partnership in ministry to the church and school.
- That God will strengthen and sanctify Bethlehem College & Seminary and Bethlehem Baptist Church in this uniquely challenging season.
- That God will guide our students who will be graduating in May as they are now seeking his guidance and are already making connections and plans for next steps after finishing their programs.
- Pray for Serious Joy: The 34th Bethlehem Conference for Pastors, which we will be relaunching in February 2022. Our theme is Gravity and Gladness in a Groaning World. Pray for both our preparation and the pastors who will be joining us.
- Pray for the full funding of the Serious Joy Scholarship for all our resident students.