As you know, Christa lives in a student hostel in Yaoundé, Cameroon, while she attends 7th grade at Rain Forest International School. Her hostel (known as UBAC) is run by an association of missions, and is home to kids from several families working in CAR and beyond. The current 'hostel parents' will leave at the end of this school year. The hostel committee chair wrote to us recently:
"We are still hopeful that the Lord has someone chosen for this ministry, but only He knows all those details. Please continue to pray and to present the need... In the meantime, we all need to realize that, if there are no hostel parents, there will be no UBAC hostel next year. We as parents need to begin to think of what the alternative might be for our kids."
In other words, there is no one in sight to take on the job of hostel parents when the new school year starts in August THIS YEAR.
So who's going to be affected if there's no hostel next year? Not just our daughter! Look at the range of ministries in their different locations that may be limited or have to stop next year if there's no one to make a home for these kids
Ben, Desirée and Lyle are 18, 15 and 13 years old and their dad has been a Mission Aviation Fellowship pilot since 1985. They are now working in Lubumbashi, D R Congo.
Jessica is 17. Her parents are church planting among unreached people in Cameroon.
Peter and Rachael are 15 and 13. Their father supervises nine Bible translation programs in the CAR and is a translation consultant. Their mother works for SIL's Central Africa Group and home schools their little brother.
Christi is 13 and her mother and father work with the Mpiemo people of southwestern CAR. They are now in Bible translation as well as literacy projects.
Benjamin is 13. His family is with Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship in southwestern CAR. His father is involved in hospital maintenance and repair, printing, and evangelism. His mother is director of a nursing school, helps with hospital administration, and teaches in Sunday school and women's Bible studies.
Our daughter, Christa, is 13. We work with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in western CAR.
Being a hostel parent is a demanding job, but brings a lot of rewards. Here's what Janelle Johnson wrote about her time as hostel assistant in Yaoundé (for Cameroon, you could read the Central African region!).
"As I was getting ready to spend the evening with 12 teenagers whose collective life experience spans 3 continents, 6 languages, and more years spent in foreign cultures than in their own passport countries, I knew that God was at work in that place
My time in Cameroon was an opportunity to be a part of God's work in that country. I was able to come alongside career missionaries and encourage them in their work as well as to support the work of Bible translation, church planting, medical services, and agricultural development work of missionaries from numerous mission organizations.
So, what in the world is God doing in Cameroon? He is working through teachers and preachers, pilots and musicians. He is reaching the lost and helping the poor. He is helping people learn to run small businesses that support their families. He is going into prisons and transforming lives. He does this through his people. People like you and me. So why not join him?"
What kind of people are needed? A husband and wife team, who are mature believers, are in a healthy marriage, have serving hearts, and love teenagers.
Please pray and think about this need. Pray that God will call and equip the people he's chosen for this role. Contact us to know more about what the job involves, and feel free to mention it to anyone who could be looking for just this opportunity to serve.
Photo is of some RFIS students watching a football (soccer) match in the rain.
Joe and Deborah Troester are ELCA missionaries in Baboua, the Central African Republic. Joe serves as technical advisor for PASE, which provides clean drinking water and promotes good hygiene and sanitation to villagers. Pastor Deborah teaches at the Theological School in Baboua.