Not out of Africa
Jeff and Christi Boyd begin third decade of mission service on continent
August 16, 2011
From Tanzania to Congo and now Yaoundé, Cameroon ― with a brief stop in Louisville, Jeff and Christi Boyd are now in their third decade of service as mission co-workers for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Africa.
Since 1999, the Boyds have been in Cameroon at the invitation of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon (PPC). Jeff is the PC(USA)’s liaison for Central Africa. In this role he facilitates PC(USA) relationships with partner churches and institutions in Cameroon, Congo and Equatorial Guinea. Jeff’s special focus is on the educational work of the PC(USA)'s partners.
He also provides support for PC(USA) mission personnel and is a resource for U.S. congregations who are in a relationship with one of our partners in the region.
Christi is the companionship facilitator for the Presbyterian Hunger Program’s “Joining Hands” initiative in Cameroon. Working with Cameroonian mainstream churches, nonprofit organizations and grassroots communities, she has facilitated the establishment of the national network, RELUFA, and the development of its programs.
They include cooperative grain banks in northern Cameroon, a microfinance program, a Fair Trade dried fruit project, and an anticorruption campaign focusing on revenue management in oil, gas and mining projects. Christi helps further the accompaniment of these programs by U.S. churches and edits the Joining Hands Newsletter, a quarterly online periodical under the auspices of the Presbyterian Hunger Program with updates from the Joining Hands community at large.
Before a change in responsibilities in mid-2002, Jeff served for three years as a consultant to the education department of the Eglise Presbyterienne Camerounaise (EPC) and its 51 schools.
Prior to their assignment in Cameroon the Boyds had been working since 1996 in Kinshasa, capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The outbreak of renewed fighting in 1998 forced them to leave abruptly in order to ensure the safety and stability of their family.
In the DRC Jeff was the assistant director in the Education Department of the Presbyterian Community of Kinshasa (CPK). In this position he evaluated and made recommendations on the educational programs and management of the CPK’s 95 primary and secondary schools. He also assessed the physical and material needs of the schools and assisted in the development of project proposals.
While ministering through the home, Christi accompanied activities of the CPK’s Women's Department, in solidarity with their struggles in family, church and society.
Following their evacuation from the Congo in 1998, the Boyds were missionaries-in-residence in the Worldwide Ministries Division (now World Mission) of the PC(USA) in Louisville. Jeff worked with the Booth Family Africa Fund (BFAF) to set up and implement procedures for receiving, appraising and funding grant proposals from Africa in the areas of education, evangelism and leadership development. His work in both the Congo and Cameroon are connected with the BFAF.
Christi compiled a thorough profile of Presbyterian missions in the DRC.
During the first five years of their service as mission co-workers (1990–1995), the Boyds were in Njombe, Tanzania, where Jeff taught math at Mpechi Secondary School and Christi taught the basics of rehabilitation to nursing students of Ilembula Lutheran Hospital.
During the three years prior to their commissioning they lived in Fresno, Calif., where Jeff was a lecturer in mathematics while earning his M.A. in mathematics at California State University and Christi worked in a clinic for physical therapy.
After studying at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif., Jeff attended and graduated with a B.A. in mathematics from Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash. He spent two years (1985–1987) as a volunteer teacher and computer systems manager with the PC(USA) at the Barr Training Institute in Gujranwala, Pakistan.
Christi was educated in the Netherlands. She has a degree in physical therapy from the Academie voor Fysiotherapie in Groningen and took additional courses at the Gymnologisch Instituut in Utrecht. After her studies she worked for five years as a physical therapist in a convalescent hospital in Groningen. She also spent a year in Pakistan working as a physical therapist for the Salvation Army Rural Rehabilitation Training Center in Lahore.
The Boyds are the parents of three children, Matthias, Salome and Naomi. In June 2007 Matthias graduated from the American School of Yaoundé and has since rejoined the family in Yaoundé to work as a volunteer with PC(USA) partners. Salome graduated from high school in 2009 and is now studying rural development at the Van Hall Larenstein University of Professional Education in Wageningen, the Netherlands. Naomi attends secondary school in Yaoundé.
The Boyds are members of Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church in Louisville.