Lois recently translated a ‘batch' of letters from the Mbaiki Bible Institute, where seven Pygmy (Bayaka) student couples finished their training. Lois writes, "I had tears in my eyes reading letters written by Bayaka students; imagine Pygmies writing to sponsors! Wow!!!! Something many never dreamed could happen. I'll have to admit it is taking some "decoding" to get all their words [some written phonetically], but I'm getting there."
Lois admits, "My only contact with Pygmies was with Kangazo Martin and Angele at Bata the three years when they attended Bible Institute. I remember when Angele gave birth to one of her babies. Di (Davis) came to my house asking if I wanted to go see the baby at the dispensary. We both wondered what a Pygmy baby would look like. Teeny, maybe? Well, this little girl, to our amazement, was the same size as other African babies. My other contact with Pygmies has been praying for them.... for many years. I never visited them!
Likely Marvin Goodman, (CAR missionary from 1945-1987) one of the first of our missionaries to interact with the Bayaka, never dreamed of Bayaka pastors either. But Barb Wooler, from the beginning of her ministry among them, had as a goal the preparation of evangelists who would spread the gospel to their own people. She saw the fulfillment of this dream as men graduated from her school in the forest and went forth carrying their Bibles and their treasure of memorized verses, to reap a harvest among their people and see the establishment of churches in various villages.
A further step in the preparation of these leaders is now the opportunity to attend Bible Institute. This was a huge transition for them, necessitating their coming out of the forest, living in community with non-Bayaka, and perhaps hardest of all, sitting for hours at desks. Janet Varner, professor of Mbaiki BI women, remarked once that it was the usual thing to have their attention for a short while, and then their heads went down on the desk for a nap.
Do pray for these couples as they graduate and go out to ministry, that they would be faithful to their calling, and that they would see a continuing harvest among their people.
Pray for the transitions in their living conditions as the forest disappears and they must find other ways than hunting to make a living