In 1970-1974 Joyce and I did mission work in West Africa in the country of Cameroon. That country is about the size of the state of California, and at that time had a population of around five million people.

For about three of the four years I lived there, part of my work was teaching in a preacher training school. One of the students was Eugene Elangwe. Eugene also worked for Deborah Brown (now Wilson) and Nancy O'Brian. Since none of us had the machines and conveniences of this country, everything was done by "man power." Eugene helped Deborah and Nancy by supplying some of that "man power" (manual labor).

  1. At the time Eugene was in the preacher training school, he was an unmarried teenager.
    1. Now Eugene is almost 50 years old.
      1. He has a wife and seven children.
      2. Years ago he moved to one of the northern regions of that country.
      3. He is just a little over 200 miles from the nearest American missionary--which in that area is a considerable distance.
      4. He has no vehicle, so everything he does is still dependent on "man power" (manual labor).
      5. Let me use the year 2000 as an example:
        1. His income for supporting his family was $400 a month.
        2. He was spending 75% of that income on educating his children.
        3. He had a work fund of $200 a month, which was insufficient to cover the expenses of his work.
        4. He was gardening to provide the basic food needs of his family.
        5. He spent 4 days a week traveling to villages for evangelism, and that included about 50 miles of walking (per month).
        6. There were 6 additional villages asking him to come to them and teach.
    2. Given his circumstances, I find the work incredible.
      1. He has begun 13 congregations in the area, and he has to visit several of them by walking.
      2. He realized the need to train church leaders, so he started a Bible training school.
        1. The school meets twice a year, two months in the spring and two months in the fall.
        2. The primary purpose of the school is to train leaders for the congregations.
        3. There are not enough Bibles to supply everyone in existing congregations with a Bible.
        4. There are no Bible study aids to provide the students in the school.
        5. Yet, with almost no supplies, the school graduated its first 5 students in September of 2003, after the students completed 42 courses of study.
    3. When Eugene completed our course work in his first Bible Training school, he did not stop his education.
      1. He has completed a 50-course curriculum from the International School of Biblical Studies in South Africa (by correspondence).
      2. His hope is to continue with a degree program.
    Eugene is doing things no American missionary could do as he shares the gospel with the people in Wum.

  2. Dr. Bob Fisher and Kevin Vaught report on the work of C.U.R.E. (Compassionate Utilization of Resources)

  3. One of the things that I most dislike in life is raising money--that was the aspect of mission work I least liked.
    1. The plans to help Eugene in his work have been developing for five years.
      1. I had two objectives in helping him.
        1. I wanted to increase his credibility and opportunity among the people.
        2. I wanted to send him some Bibles and Bible study aids to use in the preacher training school and in the congregations.
      2. C.U.R.E. is an extremely important part of helping me reach those objectives.
        1. It has contributed hundreds of pounds of medical supplies for the clinics in Eugene's areas.
        2. It has arranged for the shipping of the supplies (hopefully in January 2005) to the area (permission for the shipment to enter Cameroon already has been received).
        3. The hundreds of pounds of medical supplies will be shared by 6 clinics in the area.
          1. The medical supplies are greatly needed.
          2. We hope this will allow Christians to be appreciated and respected as compassionate people.
        4. Enclosed in the shipment, with permission, will be Bibles and Bible study aids for the school and congregations.
          1. We hope this will supply Eugene with some much needed tools in his work.

  4. Originally we has hoped to send several requested medicines.
    1. That is not possible--it required much too much money.
      1. Everything we ship is a gift.
      2. Hopefully, we have raised the money for the cost of shipping. (As of 5 December 2004, we now have almost $6500 to ship the Gaylord container; it will take about $10,000).
    2. I cannot begin to describe to you the need for medical supplies in this area.
    3. I do need your help in collecting Bibles and Bible study aids in English.
      1. I ask you to look around your homes and collect Bibles or Bible study books to ship.
      2. The Bibles primarily will be used in the congregations, and the aids primarily in the preacher training school.
      3. The language they use in their studies and school is English.
      4. If you can drop these off at our offices, I will take them to the warehouse to be included in the shipment.

It is so simple to hear about Jesus and become a Christian in our society in America. It is so difficult to hear about Jesus and become Christians in so many other societies.

May we not only know our blessings, but may we respond to our blessings.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 5 December 2004

 Link to next sermon

 Link to other Writings of David Chadwell