Evangelistic initiatives in the African country of Cameroon resulted in more than 5,000 baptisms, including several people of the Muslim faith. The “Horizons of Hope” evangelistic drive, which took place at over 500 preaching sites and over 3,000 small groups in March and early April, marked the implementation of Total Member Involvement (TMI)—the world church initiative to get every member involved in mission—in the region.
Evangelistic initiatives in Cameroon were supported by the West-Central Africa Division (WAD) church region based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Additional support was provided by regional offices in Lomé, Togo, and Lagos, Nigeria, which provided additional speakers to staff many of the preaching sites across the French-speaking nation. Meetings were coordinated by Same Vincent, WAD evangelism director, and Jean Pourrat Meting, evangelism director in Cameroon.
Preaching an evangelistic series was a first for many church and lay workers, including Eto Samson, a driver at the Adventist Church headquarters in Cameroon. “After the panic of the first few days, I grew up in my personal relationship with God,” he said. “My joy is immense to have served as an instrument.” Samson explained that for years, he thought driving pastors around was his only responsibility. “Now I can see that everyone can do something to proclaim the message of life.”
Samson said that this was the very first time he had been involved in preaching activities in over 20 years of service. He was not the only one. Many were in the same boat. But in the end, all felt more impressed to come closer to God. “We found out that the most important thing is quiet prayer and communion with God,” one of them said.
Same Recipe, Similar Results
Evangelistic initiatives across Cameroon put over 3,000 small groups in motion. Preparations followed TMI principles and best practices. Accordingly, health expos, free health check-ups, blood donation drives, home visits, assistance to the needy, and Bible studies in small groups prepared the people to meet Christ.
At the end of the program, an amazed Meting reported that the “Horizons of Hope” series gave the Cameroon church the opportunity to understand the real value of the TMI initiative. “We were able to operate around 3,800 evangelistic sites simultaneously,” he said. “We had 511 public sites and approximately 3,300 small groups.” The results speak for themselves, he said, as he was glad to report an initial 5,042 baptisms, which almost equals the total number of people baptized in Cameroon during 2016. “It is a first for our territory,” said Meting. “Glory be to God!”
“In Cameroon, I witnessed only one word—unity. It was unity in total membership involvement, and unity in action.”
Irineo Koch preached a series in Douala, the coastal city and economic capital of Cameroon, traditionally one of the hardest, most resistant cities to the gospel message. Koch was happy to report, however, that hundreds decided to surrender their hearts to Jesus in that part of the country. “It was amazing to be part of a massive baptismal ceremony in the river!” he said.
In Eastern Cameroon, the local church territory was happy to report that evangelistic efforts resulted in over 2,000 baptisms and that more than 1,000 members who had stopped coming to church decided to recommit their lives to the Lord.
Muslim Attendees Come to Jesus
The conversion and baptism of a young Muslim imam and his wife left the church in Douala in utter amazement. Two weeks before the beginning of the series, the young imam began to read and study a Bible in Arabic, secluded in his room for hours at a time. At the end of those two weeks, he happened to receive an invitation to attend the “Horizons of Hope” series. The imam attended faithfully every evening, and little by little, all his questions were answered.
Convicted about biblical truth, the imam talked about it to his wife, who also accepted the message. Eventually, both decided to follow Jesus. But then persecution began. Deprived of their belongings, the couple received the voluntary help of church members, who helped them to resettle. Even as their personal safety remains a concern, the new converts said they are ready to preach the gospel to other Muslim residents.
In the capital city of Yaounde, another Muslim guest originally from Mali decided to be baptized against all the odds. Elie Weick-Dido, the WAD leader, was the speaker at a site where the young Muslim student responded. Weick-Dido encouraged the young lady to stand firm. “I am so delighted and happy! It is the best day of my life!” the former Muslim young lady said as she as coming out of the baptismal waters. “For others, it is their wedding day. But for me, the day of my baptism has been my most beautiful day because, by His grace, I am now one with Jesus.”
Vincent hopes that the Cameroon drive will result in many more baptisms, as additional ceremonies are planned for the next few weeks. He said they hope to reach at least 7,000 new converts, as the church in Cameroon strives to reach its goal of doubling its membership by 2020.
As he was about to board his plane to return to the WAD headquarters, Stephen Bindas, WAD family ministries director and one of the preachers in Yaoundé could not hide his satisfaction. “In Cameroon, I witnessed only one word—unity. It was unity in total membership involvement, and unity in action,” he said. “May the Lord be praised!”