Cameroon churches unite to celebrate prisoners’ baptisms

Karissa Haumann

Converge missionary, Cameroon

  • Missions

Most of the people living in Banyo, Cameroon, are Muslim. Converge first started a ministry to reach the unreached peoples in this area through mercy ministries — digging wells for clean water. Converge missionaries Jim and Ina Smith came to the Central African country in 2001 and assisted in helping a Christian health center develop into a hospital.

The Smiths began ministering to a young man named Suley, who ran away from his family when they threatened to kill him after they learned he chose to follow Christ. Suley walked a difficult path in his faith, struggling to find his way with Jesus.

The Smiths encouraged him to share his faith as joyfully as he had received it. He started visiting the prisoners in Banyo and sharing his journey to Christ. After the Smiths returned from a trip to the United States in March, he told them the good news that nine men in the prison had made a bold decision to follow Christ and wanted to be baptized.

One of the men, from an unreached people group, is very sick and malnourished. In Cameroon prisons, there is little food prepared for prisoners. Families are expected to provide food for their family members. This man told Suley that he wanted to be baptized before he died. The other believers agreed; they also wanted to make a public profession of faith.

It wasn’t easy to organize a baptism since the prisoners were not allowed to leave the prison. Church members donated money so that a mobile baptistry could be built where the prisoners could be baptized safely. All four churches worked in unity to create a program that would honor God and these men’s bold decisions. It all came together this joyful, sunny and hot Easter Sunday. Suley had the joy of seeing these nine men he had worked with being baptized in the presence of the pastors and 200 Christians from the four local churches.

Karissa Haumann, Converge missionary, Cameroon

Karissa Haumann and her husband, Oliver, are Converge missionaries in Cameroon. They established a much-needed physical therapy department at the local missionary hospital that serves the region. Karissa leads a Christian radio station that broadcasts the gospel in the local languages. Learn more:

Additional articles by Karissa Haumann