Tuesday, February 25, 2020 8:30pm-1:30pm CST
It is approximately 172,000 seconds before I see TMBWITW!
Romans 12:15 says that we are to rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those that mourn. I need to explain why I am beginning with this passage. You see, I have been upgraded to Business Class so I am presently in the business lounge. It has wonderful A/C, nice furniture, wonderful lighting and free food. I am refraining from the food because I know that when we get on the plane I am in for a treat. If you think Coach Class Food is good (and it is); then Business Class food blows it away! You can see part of the lounge on the left below. Regarding the mourning; that would be Richard and Lori as I truly feel sad for them. I won’t say that I would gladly trade places with them as the Scriptures are very clear about the subject of lying. The picture on the right is of us at lunch today. We had a great time. Louis, Linda, Jean Claude and Mary carried us to the airport. We put our luggage in Louis’ pick-up. Made it to the airport with no problems and went in immediately. Had to wait about 90 minutes but there is some level of A/C in the area where you secure your Boarding passes. Cleared Customs with no problems and I waved goodbye to Richard & Lori. I told them I would say hi to them as they walked by me to the ‘peanut gallery’. I was able to Skype with Linda and she had to go and get another Chest X-ray after all but it went smoothly. I will add to this Howdy later. There must be a problem with my power cord as there is no electricity. I have tried multiple outlets and the lights are working so my cord may be bad. If so, I am in trouble for the balance of the journey. I will find out when I enter the plane but I would be surprised if it works. Thanks for your continued prayers for Linda.
Something amazing has happened and I am deadly serious. I mentioned the power cord above and was thinking that I was going to have to be very careful with the usage of my computer between now and when I get home. I then decided to go over and ask the girl in the Business Lounge if they had a lost and found. She got on the phone, made some calls and asked me to be patient. About 20 minutes later she showed up with my power cord that I had left on the plane on February 5. It had my name on it and everything! It is now 33 minutes from a full charge. I will confess that this is a dramatic example of how spoiled I am. Spoiled but deeply grateful!
Wednesday, February 26, 2020 7:00pm-noon CST
The flight from Douala to Paris was great. The food in Business Class is almost comparable to my recipes. The operative word in the last sentence is almost. At least they are trying. We deplaned and I had to wait and wait and wait for them to get off. I guess that was because I was in row 2 and they were in 31! We had to wait for about 15 minutes in the line to show our Passports at Customs. All of our bags arrived and we headed off to the hotel. I slept from 9:00am till 12:30 and then got on the computer. I went down and visited with Richard and Lori around 3 and then we went to have supper at 4:30. I then came back and will do some more stuff and hopefully get in bed by 8. Thanks for your prayers for us. Oh, Linda went to the GI doctor today to see if she will be able to have her back surgery and we are certainly praying that such is the case.
Thursday, February 27, 2020 9:00am-2:00am CST
We are now within about 72,000 seconds before I can see my lovely bride. The total trip was over 2 million seconds so you can see that we are in the home stretch. I slept well last night. Left a 5:45am wakeup call and the hotel promptly called me at 4:45am!!! Actually, the extra time allowed me to get some more work done. We left the hotel around 7:30 and made it to the check-in place with plenty of time. We had to say goodbye as I am headed for Atlanta and they are headed for Seattle. We both have long flights ahead of us. Mine is 9 hours (8 too many) and theirs is over 11. Anyone who thinks that travel is romantic probably thinks the same about kissing a cow! We are supposed to start boarding in less than an hour. Once on the plane I will write more.
As you can see; we have made some time and crossed at least 2 time zones. We are presently over the Atlantic. Still have over 6 hours to Atlanta and then a 2 ½ hour layover (have to claim bags and clear Customs there) so I won’t have to wait too long. Then 2 ½ hours to Dallas. Boarded on time and departed pretty much on schedule. I have had another fantastic airplane meal (redundancy is one of my greatest traits) and will work on my computer for a while. I may try to get some sleep and will see how that works. Let me give you my ‘State of the Cameroonian Church’ speech. I was completely satisfied with the seminar. It was stressful only because of Linda’s health. We had discussed this 2 months ago and decided that the best thing for the Kingdom was for me to make the journey. I am thankful that I have a wife that understands that our eyes need to be focused on the next life and what we can do to help others achieve Heaven. Too often our hearts trump our brains and we do what we want to do. Linda squarely understands the significance of this ministry and especially, the seminar. Many Christians will talk about sacrificing for the Lord but she is a living example of one who is putting the will of God above hers. I could not be prouder of her!!!! You have already seen the numbers but what you cannot see are the lives that will be changed by this training. The brethren were excellent students and I am confident that the majority of them will put into practice what they have learned. We have several goals regarding the seminar:
- Help them develop the ability to think for themselves. So many of our brethren (on both sides of the ocean) listen to a preacher or parent or someone and shape their beliefs with someone else’s brain. I still marvel at Acts 17:11 as we see the Bereans comparing Paul’s preaching with that of the Scriptures. It is easier to let someone else think for you but there is no wisdom in such behavior. It makes me truly sad to think of all the good people who will perish because they listened to someone else. If I am going to be a leader in the church, I have to be a thinker.
- Reach members throughout the country. I mentioned in an earlier blog that we had over 70 congregations represented in the 2 weeks. These leaders are teaching and modeling Jesus for roughly 75% of all members in the country! Due to the size of both our country and the number of congregations; that would be an impossible feat in the States.
- To ‘piggyback’ on #2; through our leaders we hope to make a huge impact on the next generation of Christians. As I have told you many times in the past; my vision for Cameroon goes far beyond the day I take my last breath. I firmly believe that when you look at the church overall in the States and in Cameroon; they are headed in opposite directions. I pray that I am a false prophet but I travel so much in the States and speak with many elders, preachers and members. What I see and hear too much is a church that is headed in the wrong direction. Certainly, our country is but it is unfortunately true that typically, our culture effects the church more than the church effects the culture. I believe that the church in Cameroon Is moving in the right direction. Our young people in Cameroon will take the church to a new high in coming decades.
- Ephesians 4:12 says that a primary mission of leaders is to equip or prepare God’s people for works of service. The phenomenal growth of the church in the first century came from leaders who equipped God’s people. Leaders alone will never promote significant growth. As they lead the people of God to surrender their lives to Him; then the growth will burst forth. There is a reason why we call it a Leadership Training Seminar. These men and women that we were privileged to influence over a 2-week period will go far beyond anything we could ever do.
Does this mean that our work is finished? By no means; I believe that for many more years (hopefully at least 10) I will be able to travel to Cameroon on a consistent basis. My desire is to continue to lead seminars and campaigns. Lord willing in June 3 Americans will work with 9 congregations. As with all campaigns; there will be a two-fold mission; teach the lost and strengthen the saved. I know that one day my energy level will drop but as of now; it has not. I want to work as long as I can with both WBS and the church in Cameroon. I fully understand why a man or woman with a secular job would look forward to retiring. In my way of thinking I do not have a job; I have a mission and I will allow God to determine when it is complete.
Well; I am only one time zone from TMBWITW! We will land in about an hour and then proceed from there. I was able to get about 3 hours of sleep. Watched a movie and will now read some. Flight has been smooth with no turbulence. I cannot thank you enough for all your prayers. Will write more in either the airport or on the plane to Dallas. It just hit me that I live in a perpetual state of homesickness. When I am in the States, I am homesick for Cameroon and when I am in Cameroon, I am homesick for Linda. I have truly been blessed by our Lord!
We are under 15,000 seconds before TMBWITW comes into my view, but who is counting? Landed on time in Atlanta and absolutely flew through Customs and getting my bag transferred to this flight. Got some Chick-fil-A and then headed for my gate. Flight is full and we are a tad late but nothing significant. Dean is picking me up and I have already spoken with Linda. She got the go ahead yesterday from her GI doctor so everything is ready for March 9. Please keep her surgery and recovery in prayer. This will be my last writing and I will send it tonight or tomorrow depending on how tired I am when I get home. I cannot thank you enough for each and every prayer offered on our behalf. The Lord certainly blessed this journey. My report at Buckingham Road is on Sunday at 5pm on March 8. I pray that, if possible, you will be there.