On Sunday August 14th, our daughter, Abbe Geneva Linder, was baptized in Ngaoundere Cameroon. Our son, Pomgna Freeland Linder, was baptized in the same church and by the same pastor, Jonas Miner. Pomgna was born in Cameroon and has always been a United States citizen. He is categorized as a citizen born abroad. Pomgna came to the United States to live when he was fifteen months old. In turn, both Abbe and Pomgna celebrated their first birthday in Cameroon with their grandmother, as well as their baptisms.
My wife, Halima’s father is Dii, a tribe in Cameroon. He chose the name Pomgna, which means “Gift of God” in Dii. There is a New Testament translation of the Bible in Dii. There were many people from the Dii tribe present at the baptism of both Abbe and Pomgna. It was heartwarming for Halima and me to witness our children being welcomed into the Christian community by their tribe. In a nation where people of African descent are often marginalized, being able to name one’s identity, especially, when rooted in baptism is central as we prepare our children to serve God.
A friend of the family made a candle stick for Pomgna when he was baptized and we used it at Abbe’s baptism also. The light represents many things, including the spirit of Christ that both our children have constant access to. The woman who held the candle stick when it was lit has been our family friend for many years and stood for all the people in the Ngaoundere community who are committed to helping one another walk toward Christ in order to fulfill God’s divine plan. Our family will remember the baptisms of Abbe and Pomgna by lighting a candle in the stick made out of wood from Cameroon on each birthday of our children.
- Vicar Dale