B.E.S.T. (aka FATEB) Newsletter from Dr. Nupanga Weanzana
The LORD will keep you from all harm– he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
These verses that we read often became very alive in the life of our institution in the last two years. In the midst of chaos, killing, pillaging, destruction, looting, our Lord was our only refuge. In the time when there was no police, no army, no other security forces to protect people, these two verses gained another dimension. The Lord was our protector, we give Him thanks and glory. Nobody on the campus was wounded or killed although many billets ended their trajectories on our campus, piercing roofs and destroying windows and doors. Each time, these bullets reached empty rooms.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We want first of all to apologize because for a while we did not keep you closely informed about the situation in CAR. When you house is burning … Some of you sent several encouraging messages. All of you, we were convinced, were praying for us. God has been so faithful to us.
BEST campus, a place of safety: The events that took place after December 5, 2013 led about 3,500 people to seek refuge on our campus. We became a shelter. They were accommodated in the classrooms of the primary schools. These displaced people came with empty hands. Thanks to some of you who helped us to provide foods to them as a testimony of the Christian faith. Later, some NGOs built shelter in tents for them. Now about 400 people are still on the site. Many have completely lost their houses. They do not know where to go.
Moving ahead in time to Yaoundé (Cameroon): After January 10, 2014, many African countries asked their citizens to leave CAR. They sent aircraft to take them out from the country. Within a week, about 45 foreign students left Bangui to return to their home countries. It was impossible to continue classes on the Bangui campus. We were obliged to relocate some programs to Yaoundé. According to our plan, the beginning of the program in Yaounde was scheduled for October 2014. But there was a big risk to lose about 45 students, so we moved to Yaoundé ahead of schedule. The administration of the school with the permission of the board, decided to relocate the third year of the bachelors program, the masters program and the doctoral program in Yaounde. Thanks to God because all these students joined the new site in Yaounde. We were able to begin classes in March and with God’s help the school term will end on September 27. It was not easy, but we are committed to improving the site in Yaounde. Thanks to those of you who provided support for students (transportation and housing).
School in Bangui: After the big turmoil, classes in Bangui (1st and 2nd years) resumed in February and were completed August 23rd. The violence in Bangui affected all activities. Many students were not able to pay their fees, sometimes for good reasons. As you have heard, some churches were looted. For the schools (nursery, primary, high schools), many parents were not able to pay because they did not receive their salaries. The women’s school has now only 10 students. We are really struggling financially.
There is a big need to reorient the campus programs in Bangui. According to our projections, the school in Bangui needs primarily to direct its mission to meet the need of the local churches and society of the Central African Republic. This is why for the coming year we will launch the following programs: bachelor in theology in evening for lay people, English language school and opening of the women’s school to ladies from churches in Bangui, not just student wives. We are also working to complete the Leadership Centre. The next academic year starts on October 20, 2014. By the end of 2017, we want BEST to become a university.
School in Yaoundé: For the coming year, we will keep only the master and doctoral programs in Yaounde. We want to stabilize our master’s program. As said above, we rushed to go there, now the time has come to continue the development of the programs in Yaounde. The next academic year starts November 3rd. The doctoral session will be held in Yaounde from November 17 to December 19. We need your prayer for God’s wisdom as we are facing challenging issues in Cameroon. We are also planning to launch a pre-school and day care unit in Yaoundé in 2015.
Next steps: We want to keep in our mind the Panafrican vision of the founders of BEST in 1974. We are only going to change the strategy, not our mission. Instead of waiting for students from French African countries to come to Bangui, we want to create multiple sites in Francophone Africa. We are now working to start a school of theology in Kinshasa and also next year to launch a 3 year pre-school school that will be developed into a primary and secondary school, and later to become a branch of the B.E.S.T. University. We are committed to keeping evangelical theology at the heart of training. It will remain the “mother of sciences” as it has been, but we want also to train people in other areas of life. We are happy that TeachBeyond, a well-respected organization in Christian education, is coming along with us to fulfill this new vision. Burkina Faso and Senegal are also in our list of sites for possible future development.
- Wisdom and discernment from the Lord as we are taking big new steps
- We need your advice and expertise to help us
- Financial support for students in Bangui and Yaoundé
- Financial support for new sites.
May Lord bless you.
Nupanga Weanzana wa W.
President of BEST