The Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) is a major partner in the Bible translation and literacy work that Wycliffe members from many countries do around the world. In May 2016, Dr Michel Kenmogne began his new role as the SIL executive director.
Michel comes from the Ghomálá community in Western Cameroon, who have always wanted to worship God in their own language. He married Laure Angèle in 1993, and they have five children.
After joining the Cameroon Association for Bible Translation and Literacy (CABTAL) in 1995, Michel led the literacy work and completed his doctoral studies. In 2004 he became CABTAL’s director where he helped to gather leaders of Christian organisations across French-speaking Africa to discuss how to give Bible translation a greater focus among the churches. This led to the development of the Introduction to Bible Translation course that became part of pastoral training in numerous seminaries.
In 2011 Michel became the Africa Area Associate Director for Wycliffe Global Alliance while simultaneously helping to develop a Bible translation philosophy statement.
In 2013, Michel was nominated to be the SIL executive director. After several months of uncertainty, he decided to let his name stand, trusting God with the outcome. But his wife was still anxious. ‘We can’t play games with God. We said we would leave it in His hands. We need to leave it in His hands,’ he said to her. During devotions Laure Angèle read Genesis 12:1, where God told Abraham to leave his country and go to a land God would show him. She suddenly knew that God was calling them.
Although Michel has served in roles that he would not have chosen for himself, he has learnt to trust God’s plans: ‘God wants to use us in whatever way it pleases Him to accomplish the plans that are His and not ours.’
Adapted from Elaine Bombay’s article The Courage to Say Yes to God.