Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy Easter from the Central African Republic

Dear friends,


Greetings from Central Africa! We have had quite an exciting Eastertide—Deborah had to have an emergency appendectomy on March 19. She is making a good recovery, after spending Easter in the Protestant Hospital at N'gaoundéré, Cameroon. God was good to us, in that everything worked out for her to receive the care she needed. Dr. Jim Mongé, of Duluth, Minnesota, an excellent surgeon, had arrived in Cameroon just two days before, and was able to do the surgery. Deborah wishes to thank Dr. Arroga, director of the hospital; Jean Baptiste and his team of nurses in the intensive care unit; and Dr. and Dr. Solofo here in Garoua-Boulaï, who diagnosed the problem. Thanks also to Jim and Karen Noss for their hospitality in N'gaoundéré.  


During January and February we enjoyed the visits of folks from Michigan, North Dakota, and Texas. Rev. Paul Owens and several other members of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Alpena, Michigan were in Cameroon in January. Rev. Owens is a former professor at the Bible College in Garoua Boulaï, Cameroon, just down the street from our house. He and his parishioners came to visit the Bible College and other Lutheran supported institutions in Cameroon.


In February members of the Central African Republic's Partner Synods traveled to the CAR for the dedication of the Women's Center and a new church in Bouar. We traveled together with them to Bouar, where we were warmly welcomed by the President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in CAR (EELRCA), Rev. André Golike, and his colleagues. While there, Deborah had the privilege of preaching at the annual women's conference of the EELRCA. She preached in French and the sermon was translated into Sango, the local language. Joe was also present at the women's conference, as one of his Central African co-workers, Josephine Oumarou, addressed the women on the need to use water from a clean source or to treat it before drinking it. Joe and his co-workers still have a lot of work to do regarding hygiene education. Many Central Africans do not know the importance of making sure their drinking water is clean.


Even though the women of Central Africa live in one of the poorest nations in the world, in an atmosphere of war and violence, it was inspiring to see how enthusiastically they sang, danced, and worshipped during the conference. We even enjoyed a humorous moment when one group presented a short skit, showing how we are all "sheep who have gone astray"—with some women acting as sheep and others with small sticks trying to guide the sheep onto the "straight and narrow way."


Each region brought an offering to help defray costs of the conference. The total offering, from all over the country came to around $150, yet this represented a tremendous sacrifice on their part. This is a nation where people are living on less than $1 a day. According to U.N. statistics, the CAR is the fifth-poorest nation in the world.


Sadly, some churches from northern CAR were not represented at the conference, as they had disbanded, along with the entire village, due to violence in that region. Refugees from northern CAR continue to move south and west into Cameroon, in search of safety from bandits and rebels in this war-torn country.


We urge you to inform yourselves and your churches about what is going on in the Central African Republic, and to keep the people and the churches of that nation in your prayers. The violence and unrest is directly related to the problems in Darfur, Sudan, and Chad. Unfortunately governments in that region have been unable to stop the fighting and protect their own citizens from rebels and marauders.


Furthermore, the government of the CAR has not been able to pay its civil servants. This means that public schools are closed, public hospitals may not have doctors or nurses, and other government services have been curtailed. In this humanitarian crisis, church organizations and other NGO's are often the only source of help. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is doing its part as we assist the EELRCA, together with our Lutheran partners in Germany, Denmark, and elsewhere. It is important to continue to support ELCA efforts in the CAR. Contact Global Missions at the address below to find out how you can help.


Rev. Twila Schock

Global Mission and Development Services Units

8765 West Higgins Road

Chicago, IL  60631

Telephone:  773.380.2641


Thank you again for your prayers and your support,


Joe, Deborah, and Christa Troester

Baboua, Central African Republic

April 2008


Prayer requests:

  • For peace in the CAR, and a just resolution to the conflicts in that region
  • For wisdom for church leaders and missionaries as to how to respond during this difficult time
  • For safe water for all
  • For safety during travel in the CAR

For the right teacher for our daughter Christa, who will be entering 6th grade this fall; we are still seeking a teacher for her, so that Deborah, who is an ordained pastor, may be more active in assisting the local church. For more information see:


Mailing address:

Joe and Deborah Troester

B.P. 111




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