Posted on Aou 03 2023


[Photo: Commitment to ministry]
The Hotel Fanga in the city of Bertoua, in the Eastern region of Cameroon was selected as the venue for the Cameroun Union Mission spiritual retreat for pastors and their wives. The theme of this gathering, held from July 25 to 30, 2023, was: "I will go: Shepherd's Model of Spirituality". The main facilitators were Pastor Jeffrey Brown, Associate Secretary of the Ministerial Association of the General Conference, Pastor Kwame Kwanin, Ministerial Association Secretary and Mrs. Mimonte Dorcas Odonkor, International Shepherdess Coordinator, both from the West-Central Africa Division and Pastor Jean Christian Esso, Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Cosendai Adventist University. 450 participants attended this meeting.
Tuesday July 25, 2023 marked the effective beginning of the spiritual retreat of the Cameroun Union Mission pastors and their wives. The main activities on this first day were the installation of the various delegations and the opening ceremony. In his opening remarks, Pastor Jeffrey Brown invited all participants to be ready for Jesus' return at any moment. The opening meditation by Pastor Valère Guillaume ASSEMBE MINYONO, President of the Cameroun Union Mission, selected from Mark 6:30-34, presented the importance of a spiritual retreat and the need for God's servants to work out their salvation. Hebrews 10:37-39.

[Photo:Pst Kwame in costume] [Photo: Shepherdess Mimonte in the center] [Photo: Pst Assembe in costume]

On the second day of the meeting, Pastor Jeffrey Brown's morning meditation urged participants to enter into a partnership with God as Abraham did. From Nehemiah 4:14 and Genesis 18:19, and 29:20, he invited all to pass on the values acquired to future generations in a spirit of reverence and submission.
The day's events included a number of presentations, during which participants were able to appreciate the importance of zealous commitment to the Lord's cause, and the character that must be honed to better represent Christ. The second presentation identified strengths and weaknesses based on the five different temperaments that enable us to know ourselves and each other under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The third dealt with the qualities of the spiritual leader. Like prophet Daniel, spiritual leaders are characterized by three things: they give account (Luke 10:1-4); they are informed and influence those around them (Daniel 6:4; Col 3:23-25); and their testimonies speak for themselves (Daniel 6:3-5). The fourth presentation dealt with the problem of the second season of pastoral ministry, namely the summer (35-50 years), which is the time of conflict, struggles against the flesh, power struggles and pride of life. The final presentation of the day focused on the causes, manifestations and management of diabetes.
On Thursday July 27, the third day of the spiritual retreat, Pastor Valère Assembe's meditation of the day presented the Holy Spirit as the source of excellence (Jeremiah 2:12,13). The day's first presentation dealt with pastor’s maturity marked by the danger of complacency and stagnation. Indeed, to avoid these pitfalls, we need to work as a team and seek unity in the service and the home. The presentation ended with a service to renew marriage vows. The second presentation of the day focused on the Pastor's job description. It was presented by Pastor Kwame Kwanin. As a prelude to his presentation, he proceeded to the dedication and distribution of the book "Back to the Altar". Shepherdess Mimonte Odonkor recalled the responsibility of the pastor's wife; she said that the ministry includes joys and sorrows, and the success of this ministry depends on the vision that the shepherdess confers on it. The fourth presentation was the one participants appreciated the most. Pastor Jean Christian Esso identified the different categories of members found in our church communities, outlining the strengths and weaknesses of each category, and how to integrate them into the church’s life.

[Photo: A moment of prayer] [Photo: Pst Jeffrey in prayer] [Photo: Pst ESSO]

Pastor Kwame Kwanin presented the first study of the following day, referring to retirement planning. We learned that retirement can be a stressful time, if we haven't prepared for it. It can honor or dishonor the cause of God. To avoid all these stressful times, we need to save 10-20% of our monthly income. In his final address, Pastor Jeffrey emphasized on the importance of good conduct, which consists in finding a new missionary paradigm. It's time to give way for a new generation, to become a trainer and adapt to new realities.
The day's health segment focused on the causes, symptoms and prevention of high blood pressure and prostate disorders. This was followed by workshops in three main groups. Honorary pastors, under the supervision of Pastor Jeffrey Brown, the second led by Pastor Kwame Kwanin and the last supervised by Shepherdess Mimonte Odonkor, who presented financial supports to widows and wives of honorary pastors, before giving way to exchanges on individual concerns as well as those relating to the studies presented during this spiritual retreat..

[Photo: Book signing for Back to the Altar] [Photo: Presentation of envelopes to honorary widows and shepherdesses] [Photo: Souvenirs]

One of the most important closing services of the spiritual retreat was the ordination of Pastor Paul Douglas, the General Conference’s Treasurer, who was admitted into the pastoral ministry on Sabbath, July 30, 2023. A video recorded on the spot was sent to him, along with the welcoming wishes of the audience. The closing sermon focused on 2 Timothy 4:7-13, 21. Pastor Jeffrey Brown from these passages drew an analogy between the apostle Paul's statements and pastoral ministry. He invited the participants to take care of their social, physical, mental and spiritual health (2 Timothy 4:13). The closing ceremony featured exhortations and recommendations from shepherdess Mimonte, pastors Kwame and Jeffrey, followed by closing statement and Pastor Assembe, the Cameroon Mission Union President’s final prayer.

[Photo: With the delegation from North of Conference] [Photo: Congratulations to Pastor Paul Douglas] [Photo: GC, WAD, UMCM and shepherdess coordinators]
[Photo: Assembly view ] [Photo: Assembly view ] [Photo: Assembly view ]

Armand Arnaud Yangman Avom
Communication Cameroon