On Sept. 25, Antoinette Beanzoui became the second woman ordained by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Central African Republic. The church is only one of five in Africa to do so. In 2002 it ordained its first woman, Rachel Doumbaye.
Beanzoui says both men and other women don't always understand and often criticize her for wanting to be a pastor. "It is a very challenging work," she reflects. "With fervent initiative and the grace of God women will do much better."
Beanzoui, who will teach at a seminary, spent three weeks last summer visiting her church's companion synods--Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast, Eastern North Dakota and Western North Dakota.
"Most people are unaware [of the political and social problems] of the CAR. The first victims are women and children. The education of children is at its lowest. ...There's a large problem with girls dropping out of school, becoming pregnant and then the father leaving them to raise the child alone."
Beanzoui's husband, Félix, also was ordained Sept. 25. He will teach at a Bible school, training people for evangelism and agricultural activities.
For the past five years, the Beanzouis have been sponsored by the ELCA International Scholarship Program, which has supported studies of more than 600 leaders in companion churches since 1988.
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