Gaye Montgomery - Experiences in Francophone Africa
Gaye Montgomery of Montgomery Compliance Law in Washington DC writes about her experiences with FLAG in Cameroon and Cote d'Ivoire.
In November 2016, I traveled to Cameroon, the first country I had visited in Francophone Africa, for a series of meetings to launch Cru’s Faith and Law Around the Globe (FLAG) ministry in Cameroon. I so enjoyed my time there that I agreed to join Bob Trierweiler, FLAG’s founder, at a regional FLAG conference – the first in Francophone Africa – being planned for the following year in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. My principal motivation? To come alongside the FLAG team and support their work in the region. I also was eager to get a first-hand look at how FLAG Cameroon was maturing and learn more about Cru’s LeaderImpact ministry in Francophone Africa.
What I enjoy most at FLAG events is spending time with the conference participants, and this conference gave me a chance to build on relationships formed at earlier FLAG events in South Africa and, of course, Cameroon. Punctuated by worshipful music by a local ensemble, the conference sessions focused on FLAG’s history, growth, values and distinctives; the “Cycle of Justice”; impediments to walking with integrity in the legal and judicial spheres in which many of the participants operate; devising strategies to overcome those challenges; and encouraging participants to integrate their faith with their work as legal professionals.
Most “firsts” are exciting, and participating in FLAG’s first Francophone Regional Conference was no exception. What I recall most vividly, however, are two things:
1. the enthusiasm and commitment of the conference participants, particularly the delegations from Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the oldest and most active FLAG group in the world, and
2. a story told by a member of FLAG’s Abidjan team over dinner one night of her years’ long effort to get a local lawyer involved in FLAG and how he, somewhat reluctantly, agreed to attend a small portion of the Abidjan conference. Long/short, as each session ended, he stayed for the next one, and as each day ended, he returned the next day. How gratifying to see this lawyer’s curiosity ripen into a genuine interest!
On a lighter note, the conference gave me the opportunity to meet the Cru Military guys, dust off my college French, perfect my whole fish de-boning skills and have some great Vietnamese food.
I’m always encouraged by the many lawyers and judges who invest their time and money to attend FLAG events. I left Abidjan with a heightened sense that Christian legal professionals need forums like FLAG to encourage one other and challenge one other to “[l]et justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
By Gaye Montgomery