Friday, August 15, 2008

The Person Who Traveled Farthest to Attend Retreat

One of the special things about this Family Retreat is that my friend, Magdalene Nungu, is here from Cameroon. She is the founder and director of a disabilities ministry in the Bamenda area of the Northwest Province. I met her last year when I was part of the team distributing wheelchairs through her organization. 

One of the main parts of her work is a school for children with disabilities. For some of the children it is also their home, because they are shunned or neglected in their own villages. It is a sweet thing to see those children--now loved, clean, and well-fed--coming to love Jesus and to hear them praising him.

She has a dream to begin having Family Retreats in Cameroon, and so she is here to observe and learn. Of course, a retreat will look different there, and so we with her for discernment as she figures out the the core values and purposes of a Family Retreat, and gets ideas about what is transferable between cultures.

A small example today . . . . Magdalene watched the children playing outside. There were a pile of wadded-up paper balls with an outer layer of foil. The children were instructed to pick up a few balls and then to throw them away, just as quickly as you should throw away sin out of your life. There was a blizzard of "sin" energetically being discarded. Magdalene said, "We could do that" -- no expensive materials or equipment required to play a game that makes a biblical point.

There was a short presentation this morning about our Harvest Project wheelchair distribution in 2007 and Magdalene said a few words about her ministry. Tonight she was amazed and grateful as she told me about several conversations today--people planning to donate wheelchairs to JAF, people who wanted to know more about her ministry, and a few thinking about the possibility of being part of the next wheelchair distribution, including a young man in a wheelchair who is an architect. 

I could see the wheels turning (sorry, I couldn't help myself) as she thought of the impact he could have. It would be almost impossible for most Cameroonians to imagine a disabled person having that much education and respect in his profession. Just the presence of such a person, even if he did nothing else, could open new vistas for young people with disabilities and their families.

So please pray for Magdalene, that this visit would lead to deeper, broader ministry in Cameroon that brings even more glory to the name of Jesus.


thepipers said...

Thanks for these updates. We went out to dinner with your husband last night, and he said he'd only talked to you one time. Guess that means you're joyfully busy!

Can't wait to see the pictures.

Jenn said...

Thank you for sharing this with us!