Experiencing the Lord’s Goodness in Cameroon

Cameroonian lay leaders gathered outside to pray with each other in small groups as a part of their Unbound ministry training.

This article originally appeared in Renewal Ministries’ November 2019 newsletter.

“Now to Him who by means of His power working in us is able to do more than we can ever ask, or even think—to God be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever!” (Eph 3:20-21)

“God is good—all the time!”

“And all the time—God is very, very good, and that is His nature. Wow!”

This Cameroonian adaptation to an oft-used phrase capsulizes our mission experience. God is very, very good—we all experienced the “Wow!” of the Lord’s goodness and healing power.

The purpose of this mission was to provide Unbound teaching and training for seminarians, priests, sisters, and lay leaders. Unbound is a method of deliverance healing that utilizes the five keys of repentance and faith, forgiveness, renunciation, authority, and the Father’s blessing. We were invited and hosted by Fr. Jude Thaddeus Langeh, CMF, formator and superior of the Claretian seminary in Yaoundé. You can read more about Fr. Jude, and his recent experience of being kidnapped and tortured, here. Remy Takam served as our translator. Remy is on staff with Catholic Christian Outreach in Ottawa, Canada; is involved in the Charismatic Renewal; and is very familiar with Unbound. He was a great addition to our team. We experienced the grace and blessing of the Lord for our entire mission.

Approximately sixty people attended our first training session. The majority were Claretian seminarians, from nine different African countries. Most were somewhat bilingual (French and English), though the majority spoke and understood French better than English. Eight sisters, from two different religious communities, had traveled far to be present. Five or six priests also attended.

Miriam Wright, a Renewal Ministries’ board member, and I alternated teaching the kerygma and the concepts of Unbound, and leading prayer ministry. The people were open and receptive. Miriam confirmed that my teaching and discernment were “spot on,” and I felt the same way about her. I experienced God at work through me as I led “activation ministry”—speaking prophetically of how God was at work in people’s lives. We thank God!

Our second training involved about 125 people, mostly lay Claretians and a few clergy. Though we had a shorter time with them, we again took time to not just teach the concepts, but also to teach how to pray with people through the Five Keys. I was amazed at the testimonies of healing, forgiveness, and newfound freedom. Participants were empowered to go forth using the Unbound method in their own lives and ministry.

Bishop Sosthène Bayemi, the national coordinator and episcopal moderator of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Cameroon, joined us for Mass and dinner. He is very pastoral, inspirational, wise, caring, and supportive.

Political Unrest

We heard many stories of the violence and unrest in the Anglophone areas of Cameroon, both from the conference participants and from my missionary friends. It is so sad. There is no doubt that the ministry Unbound provides is both timely and impactful in this situation of war and trauma. There is great need for healing and forgiveness, and of course, of the proclamation of the Gospel, now more than ever.

Fr. Jude seemed very pleased with the fruit of our training. His personal experience of healing and renewal convinced him all the more of the value of Unbound formation.

Reflections from Miriam Wright

We, the team, offered our loaves and fishes and the Lord multiplied the impact. They key question we asked was not “what can we offer” but “what is needed.” The Lord closed the gap.

One memory that will stay with me is of a seminarian who felt he had lost his vocation. He shared a little of the struggle with me during a break. After teaching about the Father’s Blessing, I asked him to come forward to receive a blessing, as a demonstration for the group. The Lord moved powerfully in his heart as he received the blessing. In an email he sent after the event, he said:

“My faith has been restored. I feel the joy of my calling once again, a joy long lost. I must confess that not only did I feel an extra force of grace flowing in me when you prayed with your hands over me, I also was moved to tears when I reviewed the video for the very first time.”

He will be ordained to the diaconate in Rome this June. This one young man’s experience would have justified the whole trip!

Also, I was deeply moved by Fr. Jude’s faith, love, and the power of the Holy Spirit moving through him. He is a mighty man of God! So often we hear about those who are persecuted for the faith, or who suffer the ravages of war, violence, and injustice. When I recall Fr. Jude’s face, and his story, I see the love and mercy of God shining brightly through him. He is a living example of how God turns all things to the good for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose. God be praised!

In Rwanda, Unbound is one of the vehicles that is now bringing healing after the atrocities of the genocide. My hope and prayer is that Unbound will be one of the tools in Cameroon that will help diffuse the situation and help to turn the tide from anger, violence, and unforgiveness to communication, collaboration, and mercy.

Come Holy Spirit!

Peter Newburn

Peter Newburn serves Renewal Ministries as a country coordinator for Cameroon. He has served in full-time ministry for over thirty-five years. He and his family spent three years as missionaries in Cameroon, where Peter was a theology teacher at the major seminary. He also worked for almost nine years as a parish life coordinator in the Diocese of San Bernadino, California, where he was responsible for overseeing all aspects of pastoral ministry and the administration of a large parish.

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