Torchbearer Foundation for Missions, Reconciliation, and Development (“TBF”) was incorporated by the state of Missouri with three board members: Dr. Martin Niboh, Caroline Niboh and Becky Brown. A group of interested individuals began to meet with Martin to hear about Dr. Niboh’s vision to establish an organization to the benefit of his Cameroonian compatriots.
A group consisting of fifteen people interested in the TBF vision agreed to meet four times a year. Martin shared his hopes for the future:
- The formation of 100 Torches
- The creation of a micro-business and computer center
- The engagement of ten missionary-sending churches
- The construction of a meat processing project, a plan to provide public transportation
- The development of a hospitality industry & conference center facility.
TBF USA established the holding of regular meetings throughout the year. In the summer, a group of delegated individuals accompanied Dr. Niboh to Cameroon, including First Baptist Church of Branson Pastor Jay Scribner, wife Kay Scribner, Becky Brown, Janet Ellett, and Ed & Roberta Simons. The first Christian Community Development Conference was held in Yaounde, with 98 interested Cameroonians attending. Its theme was, “The Christian and Community Development.”
Torchbearer Foundation for Missions, Reconciliation and Development was formally registered under Cameroon Law, January 31. TBF USA received its tax-exempt 501© (3) approval from the IRS in August. A Board of Directors was elected and began meeting once a month for prayer and foundation development. In June, the second Christian Community Development Conference was held in Yaounde, with 161 local participants. Its theme was, “The Role of Prayer in Christian Community Development.”
An exciting year of growth with the establishment of 76 registered small group “Torches.” The first three training workshop/conferences were conducted to educate Torch members how to pray and achieve practical problem solving.
By the end of this year, there were 102 Torches regularly meeting in 8 national regions of Cameroon (provinces) and 98 training sessions were held. Contributions doubled from the previous year, including the donation of a Ford 15-passenger van by Branson Hills Assembly of God church. Furthermore, in the growth of TBF:
- The donated van was loaded with supplies and shipped to Cameroon.
Pastor of the Branson Hills Church, Howard Boyd, his wife, Kathy, and Chelsea Moore accompanied Dr. Niboh on his annual summer TBF development trip. Pastor Boyd led prayer summits and seminars on, “The Biblical Approach to the AIDS Crisis.”
Dr. Mark Hubbard, professor in the Agriculture Department at the College of the Ozarks, also traveled to Cameroon to study farming needs.
Cameroon Agape Ministry for the Underprivileged joined with the Torchbearer Foundation in Nkambe, offering educational programs on mechanics, hairdressing, and tailoring to help those in poverty.
- A goat project began in Njinikom sub-division with one goat.
- Kids Coming Out Of Poverty (CO-OP) received library books from a Branson, Missouri, church.
- A feasibility study began in Boyo on a piggery project.
Nkolebiten Torch acquired skills in income-generating activities such as poultry raising, making detergents, rubbing oils, and fruit juice production. Abuh village Torch saved and secured funds to purchase a small grinding mill.
Registered Torches climbed to approximately 155, with many training sessions held during the year. TBF begins to take off with many exciting new developments:
- The TBF Board of Directors held its first fund raising banquet with 114 people in attendance.
- An Advisory Board was formed to lend expertise when needed.
- A search for a National Director in Cameroon began.
- The Torch members who started the goat project now had 13 goats.
- A small grain grinder, installed in Abuh village in the spring, was is in full operation.
In August, $30,000 was raised to implement an Internet Café in the Nkambe Christian Community Development Center.
- A botanical garden was developed by members of Torches in Nkambe.
- The TBF Music Academy was initiated.
- 200 acres near Nkambe were acquired.
Dr. Niboh visited South Africa during his summer trip to Cameroon to see Julius Mbu, who is spreading the TBF vision there.
212 registered small group Torches meet on a weekly basis.
- The second annual TBF banquet, “An African Experience,” served as a great fund-raiser with 141 people attending.
Five mini-conferences were held in the NW Region of Cameroon with over 500 participants. The theme of the conferences was, “Missions, Reconciliation and Development.”
- Pastor Howard Boyd held Prayer Summits in Cameroon for the second time
- Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) from College of the Ozarks came to help with various business-related projects.
- Vacation Bible School was held in Belo and Nkambe with College of Ozarks students leading the program.
Computer Technology Institute (CTI) in Nkambe was in full operation by the first of the year. Additional CTI’s were started in Fundong, Belo, and Ndu.
- 50 acres of land was offered for development in Nkambe.
- The “Cooperating Out Of Poverty” (COOP) project was instituted at the Ndu Community Development Center.
- The Torches in Abuh village paid the school fees for three students through their small grinder project.
There were 295 Torches registered by middle of year.
- A second “African Experience” banquet was a great success with 180 people in attendance.
John Kongor became TBF National Director with five sub-divisional directors and numerous Torch facilitators under his direction.
- John trained about 600 potential facilitators during the year on basic Torch formation.
A delegation of 23 students and educators from the College of the Ozarks went on a mission to Cameroon in May/June with Dr. Niboh.
Approximately 1,200 people attended training conferences during the summer, and the guest missionaries touched 2,000 Cameroonians in some way.
The TBF Computer Technology Institute in Nkambe enrolled 13 trainees and began offering basic documentation services , as well as an internet café.
The Goat Project in Njinikom grew to 19 goats, with 12 Torches participating. Better housing was constructed for the goat breeding program.
The Abuh grinder project spun off profits, allowing it to sponsor 12 children in different primary schools in the Muteff and Abuh villages.
- A second grinder was installed in Afua village, with the proceeds to be used to pay student school fees.
- Two orphans were sponsored by TBF Orphans Development Ministry
Many new endeavors were begun in this year.
Two schools were initiated: The Torchbearer Bilingual Nursery School in Nkambe and the Torchbearer Community Primary School in Ngang village, with plans to add a grade level each year in order to produce full twelve grade schools.
Five Computer Technology Institutes in rural Cameroon, in addition to the one in Ndu, were operating with satellite internet connections.
A Leadership Training Manual was produced to train leaders in holistic community development and to enable the leaders to establish an effective and efficient integrated network of Christian discipleship ministry projects. A total of 339 people were trained in seven provinces.
A number of short-term missionaries from the College of the Ozarks in Branson, Missouri, came to serve in various areas of need. The college president and his wife, as well as several nursing and medical students, were among the group.
- The Nkambe Tailoring Institute increased enrollment from 10 in 2007 to 16 in 2008.
- Number of goats has increased from 15 in 2007 to 21 in 2008
- An ownership title for a pledged area was established from the government of Cameroon for land in Binshua.
- Land was acquired in Fundong for agricultural training.
- A Toyota truck was purchased in Cameroon to help the TBF full-time staff with much-needed area transportation.
- 207 new Torches were formed, making the total formed-to-date 548.
Torches continued to minister to their communities, expressing Christ’s love and meeting needs of interest to their communities. Lives were won for Christ, with some rejoining their church memberships.
- Torches contributed a total of $2,472.23 of “seed money” to the ministry.
- The Njinikijem Torches’ prayers were answered with the provision of a corn grinder.
- The COOP program expanded into Njinikom.
- The Participatory Orphans Development Program was started.
- The Jesus Film was shown in two villages.
The Torchbearer Computer Technology Institute in Ndu celebrated a ceremony of recognition for their first graduating class.
“20/20 Vision” was implemented, with an evaluation of the effectiveness and sustainability of the ministry. The TBF National and Assistant Directors, John Kongor and Rene Njamnshi, were brought to the United States to meet with the US Board of Directors. These meetings were designed to help both the US Board and Cameroon leadership strengthen their relationship, as well as to have a deeper understanding of one another. John and Rene joined a panel in the S. Truett Cathy Poverty Summit held at the College of the Ozarks themed, “Bridges Out of Poverty”. SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) shared a brainstorming session with John and Rene to seek ways to improve TBF’s accounting systems. Visits to the Branson school system’s classes and to the College agriculture center gave insight into ways to improve the ministry in Cameroon. The two Cameroonians were also invited to speak to five church congregations and interview on two Christian radio stations during their four-week visit. Supporters and friends of Torchbearers met with John and Rene to encourage and pray for them before they returned to their mission field. The pair was shortly followed by short-term Torchbearer missionaries to Cameroon. In addition:
Two vehicles in Cameroon were purchased by the ministry, which helped greatly in transporting visitors such as medical students and college professors from the College of the Ozarks.
The COOP project was expanded into five more subdivisions, in which managers received training in bookkeeping and management.
A container was purchased and shipped to Cameroon. Much needed Bibles and reference books were included for the Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary in Ndu. The shipment also contained computers, TVs, copiers, a projector, clothes, medical supplies, bicycles, sports equipment, school supplies, playground equipment, medical equipment, books, furniture, generators, motors, sewing machines and other numerous items.
- Corn grinders were purchased for two more Torches.
- The Torchbearer Health Clinic was set up in Nkambe in December.
Since 2004, TBF Computer Technology Institutes trained over 200 students, some of who are now operating their own documentation micro businesses, while other graduates are employed in offices in Cameroon.
Torchbearer schools in Nkambe and Ngang grew to now include the first three grade levels, continuing to add one grade each year.
- Goat farms have been slow to grow, so piggeries are being researched to possibly be added to Torch projects.
Two communities began to build their own roads to solve the need to link their communities with others. Rudimentary tools were used to excavate in difficult terrain.
- The donation of sewing machines greatly enhanced the Fashion Design Institutes.
In its tenth year as a formal foundation, over 600 small group Torches had been formed and Cameroonian Torchbearer participants reached over 6,000. Torches generated 35,780 prayer hours and 29,363 Bible study hours. Torches raised a total of $6,184 in “seed money,” which funded numerous small community projects. Despite the economic hardship of America, TBF still accomplished the following:
The Computer Technology Institutes trained 80 students in both computer software and hardware maintenance. (However, internet services were suspended in several of the CTI centers, due to lack of funds to pay for the direct satellite link.)
The primary school in Nkambe grew to 95 students. The TBF primary school in Ngang outgrew their current facility in the Baptist Church and began making their own bricks to build a new facility, accommodating the 110 pupils enrolled.
The TBF Medical Clinic in Nkame consulted with over 1,000 patients, delivered 10 babies, and admitted some 300 patients for short-term in-patient care. A summer medical mission trip of students from the College of the Ozarks helped with the clinic again this year.
- Torchbearers partnered with a clinic in Njinikejem to help with their patient load.
Four Torches pioneered a demonstration plot of Irish potatoes in Wowo village. The farm is expected to produce improved species of Irish potatoes and seeds.
The Good News Bakery came to full production in Ndu. It provides direct employment to 8 young people, as well as baked goods to the schools and community.
- Small mobile corn & gain grinders were provided to five communities.
A Torch in Ndu brought water to their community via a loan from Torchbearers. A 38-foot well was dug, providing great relief for the people from drought conditions.
A total of 340 potential leaders in ten subdivisions were trained and interviewed, resulting in 17 new TBF Torch facilitators being hired.
The beginnings of TBF’s long-term vision for Community Farm Schools were established on a small scale, with the harvest of Calaba yams in the village of Njinikejem. The TBF vision is to expand these schools into agricultural and trade-technology training centers in the near future.
A pilot project began in Ndu subdivision, putting into place a structure to advocate the civil rights of the underprivileged in the nation of Cameroon.