African outfits

African outfits
Our crazy family

Saturday, January 28, 2012


My day didn't exactly go as I had planned but I am quite thankful how it worked out. For the past 2 weeks I was planning on finishing washing all the towels and sheets from the house that our team had used. The original plan I had was to do one or two sets a day, the machine is very small and there was no rush. Just a few days into this plan, the President of the school requested that the house be used for a visitor/friend of his. The thought was that it would just be for a few days but the man and his driver stayed all week long and just left today. The staff house is to be occupied by 4 teachers tomorrow - they will be staying for 2 months. Once the man moved in I no longer had a key, and today I discovered that I still had a load of wet laundry in the washer (from over a week ago - uugh!). This morning I ran down to see about making the beds and washing linens, only to realize there was no electricity. We do not have a washing machine at our new place so Ellie and I had done a few "loads" by hand and I am not very fast at it. There was a woman named Perpetual who was cleaning. I asked her if she knew anyone who would be available to help me hand wash the laundry. She offered to help me and I must say it was very humbling. This woman is so strong and makes it look so easy. I started washing something and she laughed saying "Is that how you do it?" We got through the laundry and I did learn a thing or two - mostly that I am pretty weak. While working together I asked her if she was from Ndu, to which she replied "no." Then I asked how she came to be here. It was a long story about how God brought her to this Seminary to prepare to be a minister. I stopped working all together at one point because I couldn't even see what I was doing from the tears in my eyes. When her youngest child was just 4 months old (she has 3 children), her family had moved into a new home. Earlier her husband's brother had gotten into trouble and ended up in prison. The brother was responsible for him and had to pay bail. The brother again got into trouble and wanted them to post bail again. This time Perpetual's husband said "No, we will pray for him instead". The brother then got a gang to storm into their house and try to kill them. At 2am men came charging into their home with machetes and started slashing her husband. Perpetual said she could do nothing, they had no idea who these men were or what they wanted. Suddenly, she felt a power from within and started saying the name of Jesus and went towards the men and her husband. She layed her body over her husband's and was slashed (she showed me her scar across her thigh and it was over a foot long). Somehow, the 2 of them started fleeing for their lives with the gang behind them. Her husband fell into the ditch and she had to go back and find him. The whole time she believed that they would live, because that would give glory to the name of Jesus. They made it to the neighbors house and after much pounding the neighbors let them in. They got to the hospital and were in for over a month, the husband had been slashed 18 times - over his torso, head, neck, and his arm was severely broken. While in the hospital, the man who was the head of the gang called to see if it were true that they were still alive. The brother had contacted him again to kill this couple but the gang member refused. He came to visit this couple in the hospital to see for himself the miracle that they were still alive. He said that God must be real if they could live through that, because he knows that there is no way the man that he slashed and stab could be alive. I was impressed by this woman's strong hands and after hearing her story I was impressed by her strong faith. This horrific event in her life was the catalyst for her to commit to full time ministry and that is why she is at CBTS to get her training that she needs to be a minister.

Friday, January 27, 2012


So I've been rambling on now for quite a while just telling the day to day stuff. I'm looking for some blog ideas: What would you like to know about Ndu? Or Cameroon? Or what we are doing? Do you want pictures of anything in particular (keep in mind it takes over an hour for just a few pictures). Just thought I would ask since I might be missing something that you are just curious about. Thanks for the feedback!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


It takes so much time to put pictures on these blogs but it's so hard to give an idea of what Drew is doing without pictures. I'm going to attempt to get a few pictures posted. There isn't much "smooth" concrete around here and mostly that is because there are few finishing tools. Drew was given some tools to donate to the workers here from Shafer Equipment in South Minneapolis. Drew is working hard to make sure the Cameroonian workers are learning to use the tools so they will be able to continue working on concrete projects even after we leave. The 3 men that Drew has worked closest with are all doing a wonderful job, with one of them showing a real gift for finishing. Here are some pictures of the process: all the cement is hand mixed, the rocks are hand chopped, the cement carried in buckets. If this is interesting to you and you would like to see more pictures, we will post more once we arrive back in MN where we will have better internet service.

3 weeks

Our family has been on this adventure for just 3 weeks, in some ways it feels much longer than that. For the most part we are adapting to life in Ndu. Our kitchen is missing some key pans and Irene has been a saint working around in this less than ideal space. She is normally a cook for a single gal missionary in Bamenda and is having to adjust to this house as much as I have. There is definitely a mouse that comes out at night and nibbles through plastic to get to our food. Tonight Drew is setting out a sticky trap to catch the critter - I really hope I am not the one to find him. I realized today that I sound very negative when I talk about this house. The truth is, we live in a "mansion" in MN, in comparison to this place. It's also true that most of the people around Ndu live in homes that are far less than this home I am living in now. We have 2 toilets that flush (and when we don't have water pumping into the house, we can still pour dirty water from a tank into the toilet to flush it), we have electricity much of the time, we have headlamps when we don't have electricity, we have a stove AND an oven, we have a frig - that is FULL. We also have 2 showers and one even has hot water, we have a table and chairs,beds with mattresses and blankets, french press for coffee, games to play, good books to read, a computer with an internet stick! Life is refreshingly simple here. Our friends the Rundus's asked if we would like to come over Friday evening and watch a movie with their family (if there is electricity). I said sarcastically that I would have to check our schedule... and then quickly thanked them for the invitation before they changed their mind. Generally,no one goes out after dark (which is usually about 7pm), so having something on our schedule is a treat. I have loved the family time: Drew is reading through a series by Chuck Black (out loud). The books would be an easy read for any of us but reading together is a great opportunity for discussion. Kyle brought his guitar so some nights we spend singing praise and worship songs together. There is no tv, no phone, really nothing pulling us, although at times we will have visitors show up (and they are always welcome). The weather is beautiful (if you can look beyond the dust), cool at night to the point of needing a sweatshirt, warm, almost hot during the day. The people are friendly - everyone you pass says "Good Morning" or "Good Afternoon". Drew goes to chapel every morning at 730am - I haven't quite made it there yet. The President told Drew that they are "Praying the Petersens back". I could see coming back for a short term again but so far I don't feel the pull to move here full time. The biggest blessing for me has been how real and alive the Word of God has become to me. I have a whole different appreciation of it as well as a need for the Truth. What a privilege to be here and have so much support and prayers for our safety and well being.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Please Pray

I'm feeling sad today. We found out this morning that a 9 year old girl of one of the students here at CBTS was raped just outside the campus fence last night. The family brought her to Bamenda today to get her checked out at the hospital there. Please pray that she has not been infected with the HIV virus and for her physical, emotional and spiritual healing. What a horrible thing - I can not imagine the pain her parents must be in at this moment. Pray that God would comfort them. Pray that they catch the man that did this. Pray for safety for all the other little girls (and boys) that have to fetch water for their families, or be home alone because their parents have to work. Pray for safety for us too as we more strictly enforce the "no walking alone" rule that we had gotten a little lax on. Please lift this family up as you have been so faithfully lifting up our family in prayer.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Thoughts I'm having on Life in Cameroon

I'm an observer by nature. The first few days we were here everything seemed so surreal and exciting. Now that I have been here a few weeks and met more people, had a few more experiences I feel like I am getting a clearer vision of some of the problems as well as some of the things that are better than I experience at home. I'm only getting a slightly clearer picture - I don't think I could ever grasp all of the ins and outs of the culture. One thing I have observed is that this campus has "missionaries" constantly coming in and out. There are a few missionaries here full time and I really admire their perseverance and dedication. The short term people (like us), come swooping in with all these grand ideas to save the day. Most of the way we do things just don't work here in Ndu. For instance, there is a team that came a few days ago to paint, they brought a container full of items to give away. The container had over 100 boxes of books and videos which are now being sorted in an already overloaded room, waiting to get into the computer system and shelved in their library. The kids and I are helping Henry work through these boxes. One box was full of old children's video tapes. Nice, except most people do not even have a tv, let alone a video player (or electricity much of the time). I also saw a child playing with a roller skate that had been brought here from the states, except for the sidewalk leading up to the classrooms and the steps Drew is working on, everything here is dusty dirt paths and roads, no place for a roller skate. The children were using it like a car to play with and had no idea what it's true purpose was. Even when you go to market many of the booths are old clothes that were shipped here in containers from Good Will or other thrift stores overload. Many of the clothes we wouldn't even use for rags. Some of the books given are completely inappropriate for this part of the world - they have no use for preparing for Y2K or retirement. On campus here we have received a warm welcome, it's overwhelming to the faculty and students the amount of work that needs to be done around here and they welcome the help. They also are Christian believers and recognize us as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. When we go to market or outside the campus as white people we get stared at, or mocked. My boys were with their friends and got sugar cane at the market, this caused laughter and pointing as some older boys said "Look white man eating sugar cane!" One day when I was out, an older woman said to me "We stare at you because you are white". I told her we have many different colors of people where I am from, many black people. I explained that we stare at them because they have such beautiful colored clothes and head coverings. She thought that was pretty funny. I haven't been here long enough to have my feelings hurt over the attitude to white people but I know some of my fellow long term missionaries have felt the sting. It's sad but the truth is white people have a history of abusing people of color, there are many people today on both sides of the color spectrum that cannot see past the skin and get to know the person within. When I am in my little MN bubble I don't think about these things, unless I'm reading a historical novel like "Uncle Tom's Cabin". I think it is good to see how hurtful it can be and just chose to be one little part of the change by how I treat my fellow humans.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A new week to look forward to.

I heard yesterday, the electric company that supplies the electricity in Ndu says the CBTS campus uses too much of the electricity. Their solution is to not supply electricity on Sundays and Wednesdays. The water pump is run by electricity too so that will be effected. I guess it's good to know so I can adjust my expectations. Shower for church on Saturday night and fill every available container of water to use for flushing toilets, washing hands, and all the other things you need water for.

We went to Emmanuel Baptist Church yesterday. This church is bigger and cleaner then the church we attended the week before. I was actually able to understand more of the sermon too. The bad part about going to a different church each week is that they all have you stand up and introduce yourself if you are new. There is no way you can get away without being noticed in an all black African church when there are 11 white people all in one pew. After the service we were invited into a room where they prayed over us and gave us what looked a little like our donuts from church but there was fish inside (surprise!).

It's a new week: I'm excited to get back to the library and help catalog books. My house isn't as chaotic as it was and it's feeling like home. My new cook, Irene will be coming this morning. Drew will be off to chapel and then on to work on pouring more steps. We have fresh roasted Cameroonian coffee to start the day... Life is good.

Pictures 3

Here are a few random pictures from our time here: This is a picture looking at the student housing.
The girls at the Child Care Center: Kaley, Alyssa, Ellie with the workers.
Last night we hung out with our friends from Canada.
This is in our living room in our little yellow house. Okay, I'm done for the night... I'll add more tomorrow if I can.

Spiritual Warfare

I've been thinking about this blog for a long time now and really haven't jumped into it because in our society it seems really weird. Here in Africa the spiritual world is very real, not just something you see in movies or tell as scary stories. I'm talking about evil spirits under the authority of Satan - the Bible tells us in Ephesians 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." As we were driving here to Ndu with the team we passed witch doctors dancing along the side of the road. Peg warned us not to look at them, especially don't make eye contact. Of course where we are from it just seems like a curiosity, someone in a costume or a cool photograph to show what Africa looks like, but it is more than just pretend. We also passed graves in peoples front yards that are decorated and much more ornate then the homes of the living. The families here worship their ancestors and give them a beautiful grave as their dwelling place. I recently learned that most of these villages had a human sacrifice to keep away the evil spirits and then a tree would be planted over the grave of that sacrifice. The old market place in Ndu has a large tree in the center with a grave marking the life that was given so that this town would flourish. The land where the CBTS campus is was once the home of the "Evil Forest" - I know that sounds like a fairy tale but this was a place of cult practices and a place that was feared. The history of the evil forest is that criminals were let lose in the forest to be punished by the evil spirits - and this was a punishment worse than prison. Over 60 years ago, the Baptists asked the local Fon if he had some land they could use to build their seminary. The Fon is like the king of the area and is still very powerful even today. (The books we read before coming here implied that the Fon has no power any longer, but that is not what the local people have told us). So the Fon gives this evil forest to the Baptists, almost as a joke, thinking that they will maybe last 6 months at the most and he will have the land again. What the Fon did not realize is that the Baptists were planning on using this land to train up people for the Kingdom of God - the King of Kings - who has far more power than all the evil of the world. So 60+ years later they are still here, but the battle is still on. Even though this sounds a bit like a tall tale it is very real. One thing about this battle against the "principalities of the air" is that it is ongoing... at least until the final battle when Satan will be put in his place once and for all. As Christians we are protected by the blood of Jesus but that doesn't mean that Satan won't do whatever he can to try to bring us down. You can see it around this campus, young people trying to break free of the curses that they have been brought up in. Our friend Dan was sharing how one of his students told him that his Uncle said not to kill a snake if he saw one because he (the uncle) was part of that snake. One day the student came upon a snake in his house and killed it instinctively, that day his Uncle died. His Uncle was not in that snake, but he was not in Christ either, and had no protection from Satan using him as a pawn to cause confusion in this young mans faith. This story is not unusual, almost everyone you meet has a similar story. One thing Peg said to us when we first got here, was that here in Africa it is easier to share the Gospel of Christ because you don't have to convince anyone that there is a spiritual world. It makes sense, so many of these people live in real fear, and to know that they can live in peace because of the blood sacrifice that was made by Jesus Christ,that is exciting news. We met a boy here in Ndu that was initiated into a cult and has never been the same since. There are secret societies and cults all over around here. I was told that when they have seminars for Sunday School workers they include training on how to recognize kids that are possessed or have been initiated into cults with unthinkable things done to them. This is happening on a daily basis. Where we live, no one even thinks of training their Sunday School workers in this type of spiritual warfare. The first night that we were here in Ndu, we had no idea of any of the history of CBTS. Drew woke up in the middle of the night feeling like someone was covering his mouth so he couldn't talk and pressing on his chest. He felt paralyzed and pinned down, but recognized right away that this was a spiritual attack. He tried praying but nothing came out at first. It took everything in him to utter the name of Jesus and to begin to pray. Once he started praying in the name of Jesus for protection, he gradually could feel the pressure subsiding and was able to continue praying. Then Drew then prayed over our whole house and outside the rooms of each team member. We are told in the Bible that Satan flees at the name of Jesus and we have seen that it is true. We shared this story with some of the other missionaries living here and they all have had similar experiences. I'm not sharing this story just to tweak your curiosity about Cameroon, I'm sharing this because we are seriously in need of your prayers. We ask that you pray for this whole campus and the ministry that is going on here. Continue to pray for the Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary, and the missionaries that serve here, even after we return home to MN.