Following the growth of the work in the Caribbean, Jamaican Christians urged BMS to begin a mission to Western Africa, wanting to share the gospel with their fellow Africans.
As recently freed slaves, they proclaimed: “We have been made slaves for men, we can be made slaves for Christ.”
So in 1840 BMS decided to ‘commence a mission in West Africa’. An expedition group was formed, including a Jamaican Baptist minister, John Clarke, and a doctor practising in Jamaica, G K Prince. They set sail to investigate possible locations for starting the mission, and on 1 January 1841 they stopped off on the island of Fernando Po (now known as Bioko), off the coast of Cameroon, en route to the intended destination of the River Niger.
However, the welcome they received from the governor at the British naval base at Clarence, and the openness of the recently freed slaves to the gospel, encouraged Clarke and Prince to recommend Fernando Po itself as the first location for the mission, with a view to also expanding the work into the Cameroon mainland.
A church was established in 1842 at Clarence, the main settlement, and it was from there in 1845 engineer Alfred Saker started to investigate mainland Africa and Cameroon.
Slowly his work in Cameroon was established and after four years of faithful perseverance he baptised the first local convert. Watching one after another of his missionary colleagues die from tropical diseases, Saker still remained committed to the mission.
Alongside Saker from 1850 was former Jamaican slave, Joseph Jackson Fuller, who worked in Cameroon until 1888 and was significant in the success there. BMS work in Cameroon ended abruptly in 1887 when the country became a German colony.