Category: B.E.S.T.

B.E.S.T. (aka FATEB) Newsletter from Dr. Nupanga Weanzana

B.E.S.T. (aka FATEB) Newsletter from Dr. Nupanga Weanzana

Psalm 121:7-8
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

Yaoundé Update

Yaoundé Update

WOW, I can’t believe it has been 3 months since we returned from our time in Yaoundé, Cameroon. John and I have had a chance to debrief and assess our time in Africa.  It is amazing that just a year ago a small team met in Yaoundé to explore the possibility of opening an extension of BEST in Cameroon.  The Lord had given Nupanga a vision of expanding BEST into other French-speaking countries-the coup in Bangui just brought it to the forefront.

In October, John and I were invited to be a part of an international team meeting in Yaoundé where the vision of Best was cast, the goals set, and the steps necessary to accomplish the task.  John and I were then asked to head up the project by getting the school operational by March 2014. This meant getting everything ready, i.e., the building prepared, classrooms, offices, furniture, supplies, and internet etc. for classes to begin March 3rd.  After spending time in prayer seeking God’s guidance, John and I agreed and left for seven weeks in January.

We had the tables made by a local Cameroonian, purchased chairs, office desks, computers, printers, curtains and the internet hooked up, just about everything necessary for classes and professors.  There is even a designated room for the library but the books are still in Bangui.  Please pray for peace and security in C.A.R.  The books cannot be transported until the road from CAR to Cameroon is open and safe to travel.

We were so encouraged when Bob and Kathy, Bill, Dennis and Willie arrived to help us.  What an amazing team they were. One of the men was a painter by trade and the other had his own handy man business.  This team just looked to see what had to be done and did it.  As a team we bonded quickly and had a lot of fun working together.  Some of the doctoral students came and pitched in washing floors and walls and doing whatever was needed.  What a wonderful opportunity to build relationships, hear stories of their faith in Christ and work side by side for the sake of the gospel.

John’s highlight was seeing God’s provision-in less than a year the vision of Yaoundé came to fruition.  We appreciate that God would see fit to use us to accomplish His purposes.  It is also incredible to think how God prepares us way in advance for serving Him.  John had been a building facilities manager for years at Comcast and now in his retirement he is using those skills to serve the Lord in Africa.

Lamentations 3:22 “The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

This was a verse that was near and dear to me while we were there.  It helped me through many times when I wondered “why am I here?”  But I would awake in the morning with a renewed mind, fresh outlook and realize God’s faithfulness and compassion.  God would remind me that He desires us to serve Him, obey Him and trust Him in all areas of our life.
Now as we look back we see God’s hand in everything-teaching us, enabling, guiding, protecting us and drawing us closer to Him.

  • For every frustration-God encouraged us-through His word, a sermon or a missionary.
  • For every challenge that seemed almost insurmountable at the time-God conquered those challenges.
  • For every roadblock early on-God removed them.
  • For every trial-God gave joy.
  • For the difficulties of daily living in a 3rd world country-God gave us laughter AND a whole new appreciation for missionaries and the daily struggles and challenges they face, not to mention cultural differences.
  • For every learning experience in cultural differences-God granted mercy and opened our eyes and mind.

He reminded us that He made each one of us unique and He loves our differences but desires that our differences be meshed together. God taught us how to balance our time to complete the work necessary in a culture where relationships take priority over timelines.

Sometimes we are slow learners. God reminded us that this was God’s project not ours, His timing not ours and without Him we can do nothing.

I think the highlight for me, Marilyn, was our last day when the students had arrived from their various countries. What inexplicable joy to see them reunited, laughing together, excited to be there, and to see a deep seated joy in spite of the pain and suffering they experienced and the horrific events they lived through in CAR.  Praise the Lord a missionary in Yaoundé held a Trauma Recovery class for all the students and staff. Many students have left their families behind so they can complete their studies, graduate and return to their families, their countries, their churches and their ministry serving our Lord.  These dear pastors and brothers and sisters in Christ seek to share the gospel of Christ to those living in darkness.  As I observed and spoke with them I was overcome with joy and deeply humbled by their steadfast faith.

Thank you for your faithful prayers.  It was your prayers that carried us through many days.  John has been asked to go to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo to search for a location for BEST’s expansion into that country.  Prayers for a successful and safe trip would be appreciated.

Thank you again for your partnership in prayer.
Love in Christ,
John and Marilyn

Bangui Update

Bangui Update


Deb just returned from 2 months in the Republic of Central Africa, the heart of Central Africa, a landlocked country ranking as one of the poorest in the world. But surprisingly,  one of the more stable countries of Africa in the last five years.

Unfortunately, in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), there is no industry, no work, no jobs. And anyone with hope talks of going to Ghana or Cameroon to look for work.

These are friendly, genuine, peace-loving people, who understand the value of education. Unfortunately, the conditions at the schools are deplorable.  We visited a public high school with 10,000 students. Overcrowding is the norm. The National University at Bangui is three years behind due to teacher strikes so no one can graduate.

The mean annual income is about $700/year.  Mean life span is 45 due to aids, malaria and typhoid.

While there, we were able to take foodstuffs to the Fulani, refugees from Sudan, who are even more destitute than the Central Africans, and to the Pygmies, who have been pushed out of their forests and are also dependent on aide.

Mtelo Ministries is partnering with FATEB, a private university in Bangui, to improve the education system, pre-school through grade 13. We are also partnering with two orphanages and food programs run by Central Africans that also provide medical checkups and preventative care for the 200 children in the programs.

A Mtelo work team of Americans at the end of February was able to repaint and refurbish overcrowded housing bringing some cheer and hope to the gloomy prospects for the future.

We took medical supplies, eyeglasses, soap flour and sugar. But so much more is needed. We talked with folks whose families are in towns to the north and east under siege by the Lord’s Army. They can’t go to them and the family members cannot leave. We heard that there are already 100 US Marines in Central Africa in the area bordering Chad and Sudan. We were advised not to go anywhere near there. In fact, the gates to the city of Bangui are closed at 9:00 pm every night as protection from marauders.

We met a man who had been one of the Invisible Children. He had been abducted at an early age forced to labor for the Lord’s Army. Miraculously, by the grace of God, he escaped. And he was telling his story to all who would listen.

This region needs your help. This country needs your help. Please partner with us.

Mtelo  is an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff operating entirely with donated supplies and services. Every dollar you donate to Mtelo will go to providing food, medical or school supplies to those in need in the Central African Republic.

To assist with this project, designate CAR in the memo section when you hit the donate button.


Bangui Evangelical Graduate School of Theology

Bangui Evangelical Graduate School of Theology

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

When Jesus wept over Jerusalem he said:

“If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace– but now it is hidden from your eyes … They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” Luke 19:42-44

In Greek, the word translated by “coming” means visitation for the purpose of bringing salvation. Through Christ the Lord visits his people. BEST is engaged to proclaim the visitation of the Lord in the world, beginning with our continent, Africa.
We thank the Lord for the first quarter of 2012. BEST has experienced a very busy quarter with visitors. Jack and Theo Robinson, Tom and Deb Berg, George Durance, and a team from Trinity Evangelical Presbyterian Church led by John and Marilyn Roughley. We mentioned these people because God has used each of them to bring insight about the future of BEST.
First doctoral student defended his thesis: Dieudonné Djoubairou is the first doctoral student who defended his thesis on January 4th. We thank the Lord for His faithfulness in leading this program.

Annual Colloquium: The annual colloquium of BEST was held at the beginning of January 2012. The theme this year was “Bible and Democracy”. The main conclusion was that the word “democracy” as political system is not found in ancient Israel or in the New Testament. However, the ideals of democracy such as justice, wellbeing, equity, peace, etc. are part of the biblical values for society.

Board meeting: the board of the school had its annual meeting in February. During this session, a new manual of procedure for the board was adopted. The seven year plan proposed by the president has been approved.

Future of BEST: After 35 years, BEST needs to expand while keeping its original mission. African society today is different from that of the creation of BEST in 1977. BEST is called to play a new role in the changing Africa. A seven year plan has been elaborated with the contribution of many people from inside and outside of Africa. The following paragraphs describe some of the four key elements of the seven year plan.

1. Expansion of the Women School: For the last 35 years, the women’s school was limited to the wives of students. There is a need to make this school a center to empower women and girls. The school will soon be opened to women and girls from the city. We will add new programs in professional computer skills, professional sewing skills, entrepreneurship and health promotion.

2. Training of teachers: At BEST, we identified the field of education as a critical tool for the transformation of the society. We are planning to launch a school of education to train teachers from a biblical, Christian perspective. Especially in Francophone Africa, there is a big need for such schools. Many churches have their own Christian schools, but their teachers are being trained in government schools.

3. Improvement of the kindergarten, primary school, high school and English Language School: for the next seven years, we are committed to improving the quality of our ministry and performance in these various schools. The goal is to make these schools models of good education in the city.

4. Construction of a Leadership Center: This center has been under consideration for several years, and now construction is ready to begin. It will contain 27 guest rooms, several meeting rooms for conferences and seminars as well as kitchen and dining areas.

Visiting professors: we received many visiting professors from America, DRCongo, Cameroon and Kenya. Dr Ian Shaw, from Langham Scholarship, founded by John Stott in England, also visited BEST.

Leadership positions of graduates: Jules Mboka and Jacques Vungbo, both graduates from BEST have been elected respectively as president and vice-president of CEUM (a denomination founded by the Evangelical Covenant Church of America) in the North-West part of DRCongo. The president of BEST and a team from BEST were present during the ceremony of installation in Gemena.

Health: the president of BEST had surgery in November. He had a gall bladder problem. Now he is doing well.

Thanks for being co-workers and partners in the Lord’s harvest.


  • For the seven year plan
  • Needs of financial support for students
  • Financial support of the school (salaries, electricity, water, improved internet access)
  • Permission from the government to begin building of the Leadership Center

May Lord bless you,
Nupanga Weanzana, Ph.D.
President of BEST

BEST student profile: Fidele Yougouda

BEST student profile: Fidele Yougouda

Dear Friends,

We are beginning a new feature profiling students and faculty at BEST.

This month we would like to tell you about one of our graduating students, Fidele Yougouda his wife Rachel, and their family. Fidele and Rachel came to BEST several years ago from Maroua, Cameroon having been sent by the church in which he was one of the pastors. Fidele is receiving his Master’s degree in Missiology this year and Rachel has graduated from the women’s school.

Upon graduation in July, Fidele and Rachel will return to their home city of Maroua where Fidele will resume his duties as pastor, teach in the Bible Institute and the school of Theology. However, their heart is to evangelize the Muslims in Maroua-“the heart of Islam in Cameroon” as Fidele puts it.

Fidele and Rachel will be evangelizing the Muslim members of their families, their neighbors, the Fulani in their area, as well as Muslim students at the University of Maroua using tools like the Jesus Film, Bible study, friendship evangelism, and the Magdelena film which is geared toward Muslim women.

Fidele and Rachel approach their ministry as a team effort. In both the Fulani and Muslim cultures, men share with men and women share with women. Therefore, Fidele will be sharing with the men and Rachel will be sharing with the women. They have already begun this phase of their ministry in Bangui as Fidele is ministering to some of the Muslim men there and Rachel is holding a weekly Bible study with a Muslim woman in Bangui. Support of BEST through scholarships and operational financial support is critical to the training of quality individuals like Fidele and Rachel to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Francophone Africa.

Love and our heartfelt thanks,
John and Marilyn

(from the MteloCAR June newsletter)