Ephraim is a pastor from Cameroon who fled his homeland in 2018 following a terrifying detainment by his country’s oppressive government. He was tied to a chair for 72 hours; unable to see, speak, or move.

His wife, Winifred, their two sons, and two daughters had already gone into hiding in the French-speaking region of Cameroon once it became clear how volatile it was in their English-speaking region.

Winifred’s brother-in-law is a police officer and learned of Ephraim’s unlawful detainment.

“He told me you will either be killed or imprisoned forever,” said Ephraim. “He was able to get me released from custody and immediately boarded me onto a plane bound for the U.S.”

Ephraim was granted asylum and immediately filed for his family to join him. He found a job, rented an apartment, and spent his time ministering to Cameroonians living in Minnesota, while he waited for three years. Finally, on July 25, 2021 Ephraim’s family of six was joyfully reunited!

When Arrive Ministries staff met Ephraim, they offered to connect his family of six with a Good Neighbor team to support them practically, socially, and spiritually during his family’s first year in Minnesota. Ephraim agreed, hoping his children would feel welcomed to this strange land in the name of Jesus.

My hope is for the unity of Christians; that brothers and sisters in Christ who are from different tribes and speak different tongues will be an example to the world


“I want my children to know these are people we have a spiritual relationship with. My hope is for the unity of Christians; that brothers and sisters in Christ who are from different tribes and speak different tongues will be an example to the world,” said Pastor Ephraim.
The family was connected to a team of Good Neighbors who all live within one block of each other in North St. Paul. The team has shown the family acts of love and friendship by teaching the children how to swim, taking the family snowmobiling, to the zoo, and having them over for dinner.

After everything they have been through they are still smiling and thanking God for the little things in life


Ephraim and Winny and their kids are some of the most positive, upbeat people I know. After everything they have been through they are still smiling and thanking God for the little things in life, like a washing machine or a library card,” said Rebecca Lehmer, the Good Neighbor team leader.

“I know I have perspectives on ministry to give, I have solutions and time to contribute. Anything I can do to make the name of Christ be known, I will do it. I am in favor of Christians working together,” said Ephraim.


His fearlessness has challenged me to think about what kind of impact I am making in the lives of the people around me.


“I have been so impressed by Ephraim’s bold witness,” shared Rebecca. “He invites our team members to pray with his family. He takes advantage of every opportunity to share his faith. His fearlessness has challenged me to think about what kind of impact I am making in the lives of the people around me.”

This is exactly the sort of mutual learning and empowerment we see Paul write about in 1 Thessalonians: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.

 

Written by Kate Shermer, Communications Director