Jacqueline Zoutene's father was a pastor, so she grew up with God's Word in Central Africa. Now, as she sees her region being terrorized by the Muslim sect Boko Haram, she fears for her loved ones but continues to draw her strength from the Bible. In fact, she turned her commitment to God into a job working for the United Bible Societies since 2006.
"From a very early age, I had a deep love for Bible stories, and I knew them by heart," relays Zoutene.
"I was especially moved by the way God worked through the men and women in these stories. Through these [Bible] stories, I discovered a way of living, faith in God in both joy and suffering and the deep relationship that you can have with God if you place all your trust in him."
Zoutenne grew up in northern Cameroon, where Christians, Muslims and Animists live side-by-side.
As a child, she said she found it hard to see Muslims in important positions, and to watch churches being ransacked and Christians persecuted.
"I am very saddened to see my region now being terrorized by the Muslim sect Boko Haram. I am living far from my loved ones, and sometimes I fear the worst for them. In times of despair and doubt, the words of the Lord in John 14:1 are a great comfort: "Don't be worried! Have faith in God and have faith in me," said Zoutenne.
She said she feels Christians should testify to Christ through their lives, by living a genuine faith, in integrity and honor and in accordance with the Word.
Zoutenne is especially touched by the United Bible Societies' Esther project, through which girls who have become mothers and girls who have suffered sexual exploitation are introduced to God's Word. "It is often when we are at the lowest point in our lives, when we feel rejected, that God comes to meet us," she said.
"This is certainly what happens in the Esther project: these young women discover God's Word and enjoy the fruits of happiness which come with God's call. Seeing lives change creates in me an even deeper thirst for God and his Word."
Zoutenne said she knows humans are lost without God's Word, so she makes it the heart of raising her own children now. "My husband, our three children and I begin our days with a time of reflection and prayer. This is an opportunity to teach our children Biblical values, which we believe are the highest possible values, since they are from God. We also encourage our children to read God's Word for themselves."
"I love my children so deeply that I don't want them to go astray. I want to be sure the education I am giving them is the best one," said this believer. "That's why I rely on God's Word. I pray that God will come to each one of my children and that they will remain close to him whatever the circumstances, that they will be able to proclaim themselves as Christians whatever happens. A life close to God is the best thing that could happen to us."