Big news!

March 6, 2017

Once again, I am long overdue for an update and will need to catch up on several months of events. But first, the most important event in my personal life: on January 30, I got married! My husband’s name is Eric Toudze, he is Cameroonian, and we have known each other for over four years. We first met in Ngaoundéré, where I studied French my first year in Cameroon, but Eric lives and works in Yaoundé (the capital of Cameroon, about 680 km from Meiganga, where I live now), so we don’t get to see each other very often. We keep hoping that will change, but at Christmas time we made the decision to go ahead and get married, even if we can’t live in the same place right now.

A civil marriage ceremony is required to legalize a marriage in Cameroon, so we did that in January and are planning a church blessing ceremony in July. We had the civil service in a city south of Yaoundé called Ebolowa, where Eric’s cousin is an attorney and was able to help us with all the legal paperwork. The church blessing will be in Ngaoundéré, where Eric’s parents and many of his relatives live. Here are a couple photos from the civil ceremony.

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I spent Christmas in Ngaoundéré with Eric and his family. Leading up to Christmas, there were many Christmas programs and concerts here in Meiganga, both at the seminary and at the local congregation. For the past couple years, I have been working as a volunteer advisor for the Sunday school teachers of the French-speaking congregation. We have some very committed young adults who teach the Sunday school and work with the children in preparing their Christmas program. They do an amazing job! If my internet connection were better, I would add some video of their concert, but a couple photos will have to do.

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Back in October, I wrote about my dog, Lady, who died. There was definitely a void in the house without her, so in January I adopted a new puppy. Marie, my cook, gave him the name Gamo (Gah-mo), which means “peace” in the local Gbaya language, because she said he brought peace to our hearts after the loss of Lady. He is about 4 months old now and is growing very quickly. Here is a photo of him in early January, at about 2 months:


Many of you may know that soccer (what the rest of the world calls football) is huge in Africa. Every two years is the African Cup of Nations tournament. The women’s tournament was held here in Cameroon in November and December, and our Cameroonian women made it all the way to the finals. They lost 1-0 to Nigeria in the final match, but the country was very proud! Then in January, the men’s tournament started in Gabon. Much to everyone’s surprise, the Cameroonian men’s team also made it to the finals, and on February 5, they won 2-1 over Egypt! It had been many years since Cameroon had won the championship, and they had been beaten by Egypt several times, so it was truly an upset. The whole country was in a pandemonium of celebration.

lionnes  lions-indomptables

Cameroonian women’s team (les “Lionnes”) and men’s team (les “Lions”)

[Photos courtesy of :, and]

 The celebration continued that week, as February 11 was the annual “Festival of Youth” national holiday here in Cameroon. As usual, our students from the seminary marched in the parade here in Meiganga. Now everyone is getting ready for the next celebration – International Women’s Day on March 8.


Students of the Lutheran Institute of Theology in Meiganga marching in the Festival of Youth parade February 11.


In the midst of all these special events, of course, the daily life of teaching and learning at the seminary continues, and I continue to be blessed and enriched by my interactions with students and colleagues.

 + Grace and peace +


18 thoughts on “Big news!

  1. Lucile Wattermann

    Dear Beth,
    Cecil and I want to congratulate you and Eric on your marriage. May God bless you wish many happy years together. We always enjoying reading about what you are doing in Cameroon. Today (March 6) we are experiencing strong March winds and the unbelievable temperature of 70 degrees! On February 24 Algona received twelve inches of snow and today our yard is finally free of the remains of that snowfall. However, we know March can be unpredictable so there may be more snow before spring arrives. We hope we will be able to meet Eric the next time you visit in Algona.
    Love in Christ, Lucile and Cecil

  2. elisabethjo Post author

    Thank you so much, Lucile and Cecil! I hope Eric will be able to travel with me this summer; if so, you will certainly meet him then.
    Blessings to you,

  3. Ron Entzminger

    Dear Pastor Elisabeth–Wonderful, happy news. Congratulations from Christ Lutheran in Palatine. Maybe a return visit to our church when next you are on home leave, along with Eric, can be arranged–it would be a great treat for our congregation. Blessings.

  4. Gary Andersen

    Congratulations Elisabeth on your marriage to Eric! This is great news indeed. May God bless the two of you and your continuing ministry. We will be publishing the pages from your most recent blog in our next newsletter.
    Blessings in Christ,
    Pastor Gary Andersen and the congregation of American Lutheran in Worthington, MN

  5. Ele

    Woo Hoo!!! God’s blessing for you both. I am so excited about this new phase of your Cameroonian life. Thank you for sharing!!!

  6. Ralph Egbert

    Congratulations from Ralph and Barbara Egbert. Many blessings and grace to you both. We are very happy for you.

  7. Peace Lutheran Church

    Greetings from Peace Lutheran in New London, Minnesota, U.S.A. We are happy to hear the exciting news of your recent marriage. May God richly bless you and Eric throughout your lives. We wish you lasting love, good health, and much happiness – and that you can live together soon!
    Best wishes,
    Your friends at Peace Lutheran Church

  8. Karen Wick

    Easter Blessings to you from Gethsemane Lutheran in Dassel, MN. During the children’s sermon on Palm Sunday, our congregation saw your wedding picture and learned more about you – where you are located on the globe, what you do, and, the children’s favorite part – your puppy! We want to congratulate you, as well as thank you for all you do.
    You are in our thoughts and prayers.

    1. elisabethjo Post author

      Thank you, Karen! You can tell the children that the puppy is growing very quickly. 🙂

      Thank you so much for your prayers and support! God’s blessings to everyone at Gethsemane!

  9. Mike

    Elizabeth and Eric! Wow, congratulations and so very very happy for you both. We follow your blog from a small farm east of Columbus, OH but my home congregation is Old Westbrook Lutheran in sw Minnesota. We pray happiness and protection for you and your three children. May God richly bless your work and family. In Christ our humble King, Mike Lohre


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