Dr. Oscar Labang says it all

Updated: Jul 17

A Pilgrim’s Progress: A Review of Eric Tangumonkem’s Coming To America: A Journey of Faith by Dr. Oscar Labang




In this thoughtfully conceived and carefully written book, my mind immediately went to the Eddie Murphy romantic comedy movie about the rich Prince Akeem of Zamunda who takes a journey to America and encounters new realities which include the freedom to do things that a prince of his stature is not allowed to do. But the difference between the two journeys is that one is a journey of adventure and the other a journey of faith. The journey of adventure is determined by the individual and propelled by his desire to accomplish a self-defined task and the individual is very often of heroic personage. On its part, the journey of faith is predestined and an individual is simply a tool used by the Supreme to achieve a mission, and the individual is usually of humble and meek background. Interestingly, the individuals in both journeys are Princes (one from Zamunda and the other from Bamunbu) but their visions of life are set towards vastly different trajectories. One is a wealthy, wastrel, and mundane Prince looking for love; the other is a poor, helpless Prince who takes every step in life at the dictate of God or infirm hope that it is inspired by Him.



Eric Tangumonkem chronicles the journey of a young boy who offers his mind, spirit, and soul to a God he does not know but has an unshakeable conviction that this God can provide a bedrock for his existence and success. This is not a book about going to America, so it should not be read as a Bush falling tale. Rather it is a book about how a boy takes a bold leap into a void, believing that God has sent His Angels to watch over him. It is a book about faith as small as a mustard seed planted in the heart of a boy in the calderas of Bamunbu. It is a book about how a life of poverty and dire need does not deter a young university graduate's vision and ambition because it is anchored on solid rock – that rock is Jesus. It is a book, a testimony about the faithfulness of God in a civilization in which people continually interrogate the rule of God in human life. It is a book that you read not to feed the desire for having read a book but to get inspired to read other books of similar nature, to be wise, you must keep the company of the wise. That is why every reader should look forward to the two sequels


If you have not been to the heart of despair and desperation, then, Tangumonkem’s journey will sound to you like a fictional tale. However, I can assure you that it is not. When I started reading Eric’s journey through life and studies, I could relate that of a thousand others I know and my own story. I remember myself seating in an Amour Mezam bus on my way to the dominantly French wilderness called Yaounde (Capital city of Cameroon) and the jungle called the University of Yaounde 1. I knew nobody in Yaounde; I knew no French; I knew nothing about the place other than that I was the Capital; I didn’t have a dime over my registration fee and transport back to Ndop. But I had two things: my small bag with three shirts and two pairs of pants, and a big heart full of FAITH. When I sat in the buss, I was tensed but never scared because I had just finished reading the journey of Abraham’s servant to the house of Laban in search of a wife for Isaac (Genesis 24). I knew that the God who was faithful to Abraham will be faithful to my widow mother, and He will bring me back to her safely. I rest of my journey to Yaounde till now is a mystery that I have never understood. Thank you Eric for writing OUR stories. God is FAITHFUL.


Eric Tangumonkem chronicles the journey of a young boy who offers his mind, spirit, and soul to a God he does not know but has an unshakeable conviction that this God can provide a bedrock for his existence and success. This is not a book about going to America. So it should not be read as a Bush falling tale. Rather, it is a book about how a boy takes a bold leap into a void believing that God has sent His Angels to watch over him. It is a book about faith small as the mustard seed planted in the heart of a boy in the calderas of Bamunbu, and how this faith will grow into a giant tree where birds can build their nests or take their rest. It is a book about how a life of poverty and dire need does not deter a young university graduate's vision and ambition because it is anchored on solid rock – that rock is Jesus. It is a book, a testimony about the faithfulness of God in a civilization in which people continually interrogate the rule of God in human life. It is a book that you read not to feed the desire for having read a book, but to get inspired to read other books of similar nature – for to be wise you must keep the company of the wise. That is why every reader should look forward to the two sequels Married; A Journey of Faith by Elizabeth Tangumonkem, and Living in America: A Journey of Faith by Eric and Elizabeth I am sure.


Even though assured of God’s guidance and protection, Tangumonkem’s journey is typical of most faith journeys characterized by fear and doubt but never yielding completely to any of these thoughts. This is what makes the Tangumonkem’s journey of faith an epic journey like that of John Bunyan characters in Pilgrim’s Progress. The difference, however, is that Bunyam’s is a Christian allegory and can easily be dismissed as Literature. Tangumonkem’s is a real-life experience that is still in the making – encountering good and evil every day and overcoming evil with good each time. God remains the center of his existence as he goes through the tribulations of undergraduate education. Taking the leap to travel to the United States without the necessary funds, is a testament of Tangumonkem’s dependence on Divine mercy and providence, which of course never fails.


This book is artistically articulate, historically genuine, and, above all, biblically rich. Tangumonkem, who happens to be a poet too, carefully weaves the narrative of his life and struggles as a poor undergraduate student in Cameroon (Africa) and graduate student in Texas, into rich biblical texts that show the faithfulness of God at all times. To tell one’s story is a simple act, but to tell one’s story in the context of biblical teaching requires a proper understanding of both texts – the story and the bible. If you read these books in the spirit in which it is written, at the end of it you will affirm with Tangumonkem and John Sammis that when you walk with the Lord, in the light of His word, He sheds His glory on your way. Therefore, one of the central things that the reader takes away after reading the book is the fact which Tangumonkem states in the Epilogue “…the circumstances surrounding me cannot limit what God can do in my life” (127).

Oscar C. Labang, PhD

Eric Tangumonkem chronicles the journey of a young boy who offers his mind, spirit, and soul to a God he does not know but has an unshakeable conviction that this God can provide a bedrock for his existence and success. This is not a book about going to America. So it should not be read as a Bush falling tale. Rather, it is a book about how a boy takes a bold leap into a void believing that God has sent His Angels to watch over him. It is a book about faith small as the mustard seed planted in the heart of a boy in the calderas of Bamunbu, and how this faith will grow into a giant tree where birds can build their nests or take their rest. It is a book about how a life of poverty and dire need does not deter a young university graduate's vision and ambition because it is anchored on solid rock – that rock is Jesus. It is a book, a testimony about the faithfulness of God in a civilization in which people continually interrogate the rule of God in human life. It is a book that you read not to feed the desire for having read a book but to get inspired to read other books of similar nature – for to be wise you must keep the company of the wise. That is why every reader should look forward to the two sequels

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