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Shortly after graduating from Grace College and seminary, Jason landed his dream job of becoming a pastor. He led a healthy church in Ohio for 15 years, and had a beautiful family, yet for some reason he and his wife, Christy, felt a sense of unsettledness.
Compelled by the restlessness in his spirit, Jason applied to some other pastoral jobs, but none of them panned out. Then Encompass’s Executive Director, Dave Guiles, called and asked if Jason’s church could host a meeting for churches involved in African missions. Jason and Christy had both been to Africa three times, and their church had been supporting missions there, so Jason agreed to host.
During the meeting, participants were reminded of Encompass’s need for more staff in Cameroon. At that time, Cameroon had about 80 churches with only four pastors. Mike Yoder attended the meeting, and for some reason, he approached Jason and Christy saying, “I think you guys need to consider going to Cameroon.” Jason recalls, “When he said that, I immediately knew that’s what the Lord was preparing for us.”
Even though Jason knew God was calling them there, it wasn’t easy. They had young kids, and moving to Africa would uproot their entire lives. Jason says, “Christy and I now joke that we took turns having sleepless nights.” But ultimately, they followed God’s call and took the plunge in 2014.
In 2015, they founded the Bible Institute in Cameroon and Jason became its first director. The first graduating class produced 31 new pastors, and the second produced 19 more. Thanks to the Bible Institute’s presence, Cameroon now has about 100 churches with over 50 pastors, which is a much healthier church-to-pastor ratio than before.
Since opening the Bible Institute, Jason has seen a “trickle-down effect” within the country’s Charis Alliance leadership. Cameroon has five national districts, and all five Charis leadership positions are held by Bible Institute graduates. The next tier of leadership beneath them is also fully held by graduates of the Institute. Jason says, “That allows them to have a unity in thinking as they have conversations and develop strategies. We’re seeing a lot of good things happening as a result of our churches becoming more unified.”
In recent years, the Bible Institute updated its 50-year-old curriculum and contextualized it for African cultures. While this was a huge success, Jason realized, “We could have the world’s best curriculum, but if our teachers can’t teach it, we’re wasting our time.” So over the past few years, they’ve been training dozens of professors in the Central African Republic, Chad, and Cameroon.
God has clearly been at work in the Bible institute, but now they’re in need of $15,000 to host the next training session and meet the ongoing needs for continued education. If God is giving you a restlessness to do something greater, consider contributing to our Africa Professor Training fund.