I am Ama,* from Cameroon. People in Cameroon speak French or English. I speak French.
I wanted to study nursing, but we couldn’t find a French-speaking university in Cameroon that has a school of nursing. It appeared that I would have to study in another country.
Then someone told us about Cosendai [koh-SEN-dai] Adventist University, four hours outside the capital city of Cameroon. The school teaches in French and has a school of nursing.
We knew nothing about Adventists or what the name means, so we called the school to see if the university would accept a student who’s not an Adventist. The woman who answered said the school accepts all faiths.
I was excited, for at last I could pursue my dream. I was accepted to study and eagerly waited for school to begin. I packed my bags, said goodbye to my family, and with great anticipation I boarded the bus that would take me to a new adventure.
The journey took us over rough dirt roads and through countryside I’d never visited before. Finally, long after dark, I arrived at Nanga, the city closest to the university. The school was a short distance from the town, so I found two motorcycle taxis to take my baggage and me to the school. They roared down the muddy dirt roads and soon arrived on the campus, stopping in front of the women’s dormitory. A student on duty showed me to my room, and I collapsed, exhausted, onto the thin mattress. Looking around at the aging building, I hoped I wouldn’t be disappointed.
The next morning I walked around the campus to see the school in the daylight. The buildings were old, and I had hoped for something nicer. Then I wandered up a dirt road and found a huge construction site. The sign indicated that this site would be the new university campus. One day this will be a fine school, I thought to myself. But for now, we’ll have to make do with the old campus. I learned that the university campus was sharing a secondary school campus until the new campus buildings are completed.
Other things surprised me, too. Classes start as early as 7:00 in the morning, and some go until 10:00 at night. And all students on campus are expected to attend chapel three times a week, on Tuesday, Friday evening, and Saturday morning, as well as daily worships in the dormitory. I’m a member of a Christian church, but we seldom go to church. So this was really different for me.
I reluctantly went to the first chapel service. The music was inspiring, and the speaker’s talk was compelling. I found myself looking forward to chapel services. I had come to the school knowing nothing about Adventists, but I quickly learned. Someone explained to me that God set aside Saturday—the Sabbath, they call it—as a holy day to spend with the Creator. At first this seemed strange, but it soon became a beautiful teaching to me. The most important lesson I learned was that at Cosendai the Bible is not a decoration on a shelf; it’s the textbook of life, the road map to salvation. I began taking my Bible to chapel with me so that I could follow along during worship services.
In my year at Cosendai I’ve become familiar with the Bible, something that I hadn’t expected to learn at university!
My mother likes to hear about what I’m learning in school, so when I go home I take my Bible so I can share what I’m learning. Sometimes I find Mom quietly reading my Bible. And my sister, who is a lecturer at another university, has asked me to save my old Sabbath School quarterlies for her. She enjoys studying them.
I’m in my second year at Cosendai, and my life has changed so much. I feel that I’m much closer to God than I ever was, and I know more about myself, too. I enjoy learning more about God every day.
I live off campus this year, so I’m no longer required to attend every chapel service. But I don’t want to miss them, for I learn so much. Someday, when the time is right, I may become an Adventist. In the meantime, I’m just grateful for everything that God has given me through Cosendai Adventist University.
Your mission offerings help support Adventist education around the world. This quarter part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build the new campus at Cosendai Adventist University. ⎭
*Ama is short for Amougou and is used here for ease