This past week (April 8-11) we spent an exciting few days at Bossabina 2, a small village in the north-western Central African Republic near the border with Cameroon and Chad. Together with our friends and colleagues we celebrated the 20th biennial Synod (national conference) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Central African Republic (EELRCA). Over two hundred delegates met to worship, study the Bible, and elect their new church leaders for the coming four years. Twelve new pastors were ordained, all of them having completed two years of pastoral internship after graduating from the Theological School in Baboua in 2008.
The synod re-elected Rev. André Goliké to a second four-year term as president of the church (a position equivalent to bishop in many churches). Rev. Jean Gbami of Bohong was elected as Vice-President. Mr. Jean Marc Abbo was selected as treasurer. Mr. Abbo is director of PASE, the church's development program for providing potable water and hygiene education, the organization with which Joe works as technical advisor. A new administrative committee was also elected, with one representative from each of the church's seven regions.
Representatives from two of EELRCA's partners, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Mission of Germany (ELM) were present at the synod. As two of the ELCA representatives, we were privileged to be guests of the EELRCA church in Bossabina. We enjoyed great hospitality, including hot water for our "bucket shower," (heated over an open fire), and lots of manioc, rice, meat with peanut or okra sauce, and, for breakfast, omelets made with fresh local eggs.
Photo is of a traditional Gbaya dancer celebrating the end of the Synod.
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. Their daughter Christa is attending seventh grade in Yaoundé, Cameroon.