Monday, March 05, 2007

Day 11 of Cameroonian Brainwashing

French Word(s) of the Day: frères (pronounced like “frehr”) and sœurs, (pronounced a little like “sir”); these are the French words for “brothers” and “sisters.” Thus, they are something you hear often in church services: “Chers frères et sœurs en Christ …”/ “Dear brothers and sisters in Christ …”

Face of the Day: Wilfred Mbacham, founder of the Fobang Foundation: If you read this blog regularly, you know Dr. Mbacham is an important friend of the Mission. He’s giving us office space and the hall for a new church, Gateway UMC. He’s helped train the workers on our HIV/AIDS and Malaria team. He’s a leading world expert on malaria. He’s a Christian, and an active member of his congregation, Church of Patmos (we haven’t made him a Methodist yet!). And he’s just a great guy to know!

Cameroon Fact: In 1986, an unusual natural disaster occurred at Lake Nyos, in northwestern Cameroon. A cloud of lethal gas escaped from a volcanic lake, killing all humans and animals within a fifteen mile radius. The final human death count was over 1,700.

Scientists concluded that the lower levels of the lake had become saturated by carbon dioxide gas due to springs bubbling up from the extinct volcano beneath. A high amount of rainfall displaced the carbon dioxide-rich water at the bottom, releasing a massive bubble of poisonous gas from the lake in a phenomenon referred to as “lake overturn.” (BBC News)

After the disaster, scientists rushed to the lake to determine how to prevent such a disaster occurring again. Six years ago, the “degassing” of Lake Nyos successfully began. Gas is simply allowed to “escape” from the lake bottom through a vertical pipe. For more information on this project, go to this site, Degassing Nyos. There’s also a webcam set up at the lake, with daily updates!

Mission Challenge of the Day: Today would be a good day to get to know Rev. John Thornburg, so let me direct you to his website, The Ministry of Congregational Singing. I recommend the poetry section, especially “When Parks are Pentecostal.” Rev. John is leading our efforts to publish a bilingual hymnal for the UMC in Cameroon.