Sam Monono walks up the aisle of a vast church sanctuary, his eyes set on dozens of raised hands in the pews. These are the newcomers to tonight’s discipleship training course in Buea, Cameroon. Monono carries a large freezer bag, from which he repeatedly extracts a thin key—one of several devices from the In Touch Messenger Lab—blessing each visitor with a smile and a good word.
All ages are represented in the crowd, but the target audience is the 15-to-25-year-olds who pack the front rows. These young people have turned out for a message on how to find a godly marriage partner. While many in this nation say that nothing good can come from Cameroon, Monono believes otherwise.
Monono is a delegate of youth affairs for Cameroon’s Southwest Region. In this role, he acts as both advocate and mentor for the youth he encounters. Not content simply with graduation rates, he wants students to gain measurable skills that make a lasting contribution to the nation. And as a minister of the gospel, he knows their biggest investment is in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
The weekend arrives and Monono is in a classroom above the church sanctuary, listening to a university freshman. As one of the only women in an engineering program, she feels isolated in her courses, overwhelmed, and in need of courage. After a few women comfort her, Monono looks at her with fatherly concern. He tells her to put down roots in the church. “You need people to know who you are, so they can ask after you, and pray for you.” When the class breaks up, he takes time to hear her story and promises to call and follow up.
He wants students to make a lasting contribution to the nation. In Touch resources like the Key play a big part in this mission.
His work with the youth of Cameroon blends together well with his ministry at Hope Outreach International, an organization that evangelizes the lost, equips harvesters, and empowers orphans and widows. In Touch resources like the Key, the Micro (a small SD card), and the original Messenger, play a big part in this mission.
In everything, Monono serves with a personal touch, as comfortable showing a malaria patient how to operate a Messenger as he is praying with a government employee at city hall. “I have hope for this nation,” he says. “We are looking for leaders to transform others. That is the Cameroon I’m looking for—a wonderful Cameroon.”
Photography by Ben Rollins