We want to write this prayer letter together, so we can give you an added layer to your prayers. The added layer is to pray that during each student’s time at Bethlehem College & Seminary deep relationships would be formed that have long-term Kingdom implications. However, many of you must be already praying for this—because it is already happening in very significant ways.
Let us illustrate. We met in a village in Cameroon back in 2005 at the encouragement of four graduates of The Bethlehem Institute who were teaching together at Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary. While teaching at the seminary, these men were observing me, Dieudonné, the converted town barber now aspiring to preach the gospel. As Pastor Tom and I talked and prayed together, we sensed God’s leading for us to spend a season of study and apprenticeship together at Bethlehem. Before coming I was encouraged to get a couple of years of pastoral experience. God led me to plant a church in Limbe, Cameroon.
We then spent several years living as family in the same house in Elliot Park from 2007–2010. We mined gold together from God’s word in Bethlehem’s church-based graduate program. Then we separated from the church in distance—not in heart!—communicating frequently between Minneapolis and Louisville. Once the Ph.D. was in hand we reunited in proximity, becoming neighbors in Elliot Park and serving as pastors at Bethlehem Baptist Church and at her daughter church, Jubilee Community Church.
Throughout our relationship, we talked and dreamed and prayed together about somehow impacting Cameroon with solid biblical teaching that would draw the peoples of Cameroon ever more deeply into the love of Christ and devotion to his mission. Last Sunday was a culmination of that dream with the first public worship service of Église Baptiste Bethléem. Pastor Tom prayed the prayer of dedication of the church and commissioned the church’s first two elders. Pastor Dieudonné preached the inaugural sermon. Our seminary apprentice, Elison, helped lead the congregation in the worship of God in both French and English.
This is the culmination of 15 years of relationship between a professor/pastor/mentor and his student/member/apprentice. And it’s the beginning of the next chapter as partners and peers for however many years the Lord may give us together. Three more Bethlehem College & Seminary students and faculty are preparing to join the team as soon as they can. You all are a vital part of this as you continue to pray for this added layer of the Bethlehem College & Seminary vision: the development and endurance of Kingdom-advancing relationships, both among our students and together with the faculty and leaders of the church.
Together with you in the Greatest Cause,
Dr. Dieudonne Tamfu
Pasteur, Eglise Baptiste Bethléem
Assistant Professor of Bible & Theology & Executive Director of Cameroon Extension Site, Bethlehem College & Seminary
Adjunct Professor of New Testament, Bethlehem College & Seminary
Director of Theological Education in Cameroon, Training Leaders International