Lois Wilson, longtime missionary to the Central African Republic, was one of the Grace Brethren International Missions personnel forced to evacuate the C.A.R. because of civil strife in November of 2002.
Raised in a Christian home near Philadelphia, Lois first trained as a nurse, and then attended Grace College in Winona Lake, IN, graduating in 1963. She worked for about seven years at the Brethren Navajo mission in New Mexico and felt called to central Africa in 1969.
After language study, she began serving at the Bata Bible Schools in the C.A.R. in 1972, using both her medical and teaching abilities. She also supervised fourth-year students who were teaching preschool children of Bible school students.
Since being forced to leave the C.A.R., Lois has been living northeast of Harrisburg, PA, working at the computer to preserve Christian literature in the Sango and French languages. A member of the Palmyra, PA, Grace Brethren church, Lois responded with the following when asked to describe the work she is now doing:
“In January of 2003 the Central African Republic began to experience the loss of one of their jewels — literature! For years the Bata Bible Institute and Seminary and the Foyer for Literature at Yaloke had been producing documents, commentaries, and lessons for students, pastors, and members of the Central African church. Literature for evangelism was also produced at Yaloke.
“During wartime anything goes, and the rebels seemed to consider literature one of the things needing to go! Thousands of dollars worth of materials were destroyed. Even as we missionaries left our homes in the C.A.R. (as the rebels advanced through the country) we wondered just what God had in mind. I wondered if the C.A.R. would ever again be a part of my life.
“But God had His plan. And that was to allow me to help in preparing a CD library of documents, lessons, and commentaries so that in the future they could again become available in printed form. Sometimes I work from mimeographed copies that cannot be scanned, so I type letter by letter. Some copies give my eyes a workout as I try to decipher what’s actually been printed. Many copies were used by teachers, students, and missionaries, but have been graciously loaned to me to be saved on CD for future use. I’m able to scan a few of the documents. Oh, how nice!
“When starting up my laptop each morning I say, “Thank you, Lord!” [I give] thanks that He’s given me a job in central Pennsylvania that will advance the church of Jesus Christ in Central Africa. No day is boring as I scan, type, and edit literature. My job is like taking seminary classes — for free!
“I once shared with Dr. Francois Ngoumape, Dean of the Bata Biblical Seminary, that I was then typing the course, ‘Theology of Christ.’ He replied that ‘Theology of Christ’ was his favorite course to teach. He thanked me for the work I was doing and encouraged me to keep on. My fingers received a burst of energy that day!
“The literature work in the C.A.R. is once again in production mode, thanks to the hard work of Pastor Dounia Marc. No longer heading literature production at Yaloke, he now works from an office in Bangui. And God continues to encourage me. Whenever a CD goes to Pastor Dounia, or to Drs. Hibaile and Ngoumape at Bata Seminary, I know that yes, I’m still involved in the work of God as He builds His church in Central Africa.”