“The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cameroon to the United States of America, H.E. ETOUNDI ESSOMBA, hereby informs the general public that the Embassy will resume the issuance of entry visas to Cameroon as of Monday June, 22nd, 2020.”
I wish you could have climbed into my heart when I received this good news sent from the Cameroon Embassy!
In mid-March, I was at Delta’s ticket counter checking in when I got a text that said President Trump was speaking at that very moment and would likely announce a new travel restriction. I was on my way to teach a seminar at Bethlehem College & Seminary’s extension site in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The plan was to spend 10 days there plus two weeks of quarantine when I got home, but this new restriction would probably extend my stay in Cameroon indefinitely. If it was just me, I would have gone. But for family considerations, it was clear that I should exchange my boarding pass for a voucher to be used at the soonest possible date. Cameroon shut its borders on the last day of the conference. I missed a lot of excitement! Dieudonné, my Cameroonian colleague (TBI Class of 2010), stepped in and taught the seminar to 100 pastors and Christian leaders.
But now it looks like the door is opening to go to Yaoundé in August and join the Tamfus as they welcome back the current cohort of students and welcome in a handful of new students who will be in the Bethlehem College & Seminary M.Div. program. Our seminar courses are open to pastors and Christian leaders throughout Cameroon. Our semester-long courses are for the small cohorts of students enrolled in the M.Div. program. This semester I have the joy of teaching the Intermediate Greek Grammar course, building on the elementary Greek courses Dr. Tamfu taught them last year.
This is the last prayer letter I am writing as Bethlehem’s Pastor for Leadership Development. Lord willing, I will write future prayer letters as an associate professor of New Testament and global partner of Bethlehem Baptist Church. My new title is Director of Theological Education in Cameroon. What a joy to spend the foreseeable future serving the three organizations that are closest to my heart: Bethlehem Baptist Church, Bethlehem College & Seminary, and Training Leaders International. I plan to continue teaching a course or two every year at our main campus and begin teaching one or two courses a semester for our extension campus in Cameroon. I’m excited about this new chapter in my life and more grateful than ever for all of you who are friends and supporters of Bethlehem.
Together with you in the Greatest Cause,
- for our students, staff, and faculty here in Minneapolis and at our extension sites in Memphis and Cameroon as we all begin this new academic year amid potentially overwhelming uncertainties and complexities.
- for the Stellers as we raise the rest of our support for this new phase of ministry.
- for those who are still seriously considering enrolling in our college program for this Fall.
- for the administration and faculty as they continue to plan our re-opening this Fall.