Thursday, February 22, 2007

Becoming Cameroonian -- Day 2

French Word of the Day: louer, pronounced loo-ay, has two, unrelated meanings. In church, louer means “to praise,” but it can also mean “to rent out” a room, apartment, or house. I have to confess to being a bit confused originally; I would turn to Cameroonians and ask why the sign on the side of the building said, “Room to praise”!

Face of the Day: Bienvenue Iloga Iloga, pastor of Galilee UMC, Douala: As you may have noticed, Pastor Bienvenue’s first name is the French word for welcome. Yes, there is a story behind his name … Apparently, his mother had already given birth to several daughters, and the father was getting impatient for a male heir. When a boy was finally born, the proud father exclaimed loudly, “Welcome, baby boy!” And the name stuck.

Cameroon Fact: The first missionaries to Cameroon were sent by the London Baptist Missionary Society, and included a number of freed slaves from Jamaica. They visited the Cameroonian mainland in 1841 or 1842. But they did not receive a warm welcome from the leader of the Duala peoples, King William of Bimbia. He thought the missionaries would destroy his prosperous trade with Spanish slavers. Significant missionary success didn’t happen for another 17 years.

Fast! Challenge: Find the name of the chairperson of the Mission Committee in your church and make an appointment with him or her. Ask this person what the committee is doing related to mission work in Africa. If you receive a blank stare in reply, ask for five minutes in the next meeting to introduce the committee to the Cameroon Mission. (I know, I know – you’re arguing that attending yet another church meeting is just too much, but remember, this is Lent – self-denial, abstinence and all that jazz!)