Thursday, November 03, 2011 7:25pm-1:25pm CST
Only 104,403 seconds before I see Linda! Well, I am in the airport. Just after I told you that Jean Claude was feeling better he began to hurt real bad and needed to go home and rest. Louis stayed with me and we discussed a number of things regarding the future of the church. Left for the airport at 5:45 and arrived by 5:55. Got in with no problem into the area where you obtain your boarding pass. It did not open until 7 but it does have A/C. The problem is this: picture a room that requires a 30,000 BTU A/C and you have a 5,000 BTU unit. Obviously, it takes a bit of the heat away but not all. Was the first in line so got my bag checked quickly. I had printed out my boarding pass last night so sailed through that. You next pay your airport tax of 10,000 ($21.98) and then go through customs. The procedure is simple and does not take long. Then you have to go through the X-Ray machine and I am not supposed to do that because of my Pacemaker. The first time I did this in Cameroon I spoke to the man in English and he spoke as much English as I do French. I pointed at my Pacemaker which meant nothing. Finally I told him not to worry and I walked on in with no problem. Tonight they actually asked to see my card that shows I have a Pacemaker and they patted me down. Not nearly as thoroughly as in the States but that is OK. Got down to the gate and they went through my bags. In the past they have been very extensive but they only looked in a couple of pockets this time. The reason was that usually it is Air France employees who check you out but I got down so early that only natives were there. I then wanted to use the computer and the gate has some nice A/C outlets. I counted 8 in all and tried all of them as they were very pretty. Unfortunately, none of them worked. Well, one of the workers let me plug in to some real electricity that the workers use when you are boarding. I am surprised they let me but that is OK. I only have 4 hours to kill and I will be ready to take off. I may write some on the plane.
Friday, November 04, 2011 7:30am-1:30am CST
Well, we are in five figures as I will see Linda, Lord willing, in 59,387 seconds. Once you get to 4 figures you are only hours away! I got on the plane with no problem. It appeared to be full. I had decided to eat supper and then try to sleep for the balance of the time. The food was great, of course, because it was airplane food. Its only rival is hospital food. I was able to get about 4 hours sleep. Landed at 5:45 which was a few minutes ahead of schedule. When your connecting flight leaves at 11:20 you would actually like your first flight to be late! You descend down a flight of stairs from the airplane and then ride a bus to the terminal. I then had to get my boarding pass and then go through security again. This airport is not like airports in the States because if you are connecting, you do not have to go through security again. Got the ‘pat down’ job again but everything is OK. I found some electricity quickly so am typing with a full battery. On the plane I am supposed to have electricity so I will be able to be on my computer for the vast majority of the flight. Have over 3 ½ hours to kill so will watch a movie.
Friday, November 4, 2011 12:40pm-9:40am CST
If all goes according to schedule I will see Linda in 19,783 seconds! I don’t know if you pay any attention to the times I write. If so you can see that we have crossed at least 2 time zones. I don’t know exactly how far we have gone but know we have been in the air for about 4 hours. It is sad when you have been flying for 4 hours and you are not half way there! Watched the movie I mentioned above and then walked down to my gate. Plane took off on schedule and it looks as though we will arrive 30 or so minutes early. All of the flights have been smooth with very little ‘bumpiness’ and all of the flights were basically on time. I had my last ‘plane meal’ on this journey. I won’t eat supper because Linda expects me to take her out and I do not want to disappoint her. It is somewhat sad that it will be 3 full months before I get another of these marvelous meals!
Let me summarize my thoughts on this trip and where this ministry is at the present time. Some of this, perhaps most, will be things that I have stated in the past. Due to the slow nature of ministry, you do not see dramatic changes in a short period of time. When your 1st grader begins school, while they do increase in their knowledge during the year; at the end of the school year they have not mastered Physics, Chemistry, Spanish, Calculus and World History (just to name a few subjects). Now I must throw in one caveat; my 4 grandchildren who have already completed 1st grade have mastered the above subjects but it must be remembered that they have me as their grandfather. They have also mastered humility! This trip was divided into two parts with one being evangelism in the North and South and the second being our seminar. From the beginning my focus has been on the seminar. That is not taking anything away from the winning of souls but if we can help the natives grow in their Christianity, the numbers will follow. A seminar (or campaign for that matter) can never be fully judged at its completion. I am, however, completely happy with what took place. When you look at the small number of congregations and brethren in the North, it was astounding that we averaged 72 brethren for the 3 days. In Douala we only averaged 12 more this past February and that is from a much greater number of congregations and brethren. Numbers, of course, do not tell the story. Their response, however, told a marvelous story. I am eager, in the months ahead, to see how they are doing. Lord willing, we will bring 10 of them down to Douala in February as we did this past February. That requires a cash outlay of $1,000 as the transport for one person is $100 round-trip. We do not fund any food money on the way or any lodging once they are in Douala. I am prayerful that their level of discipleship will increase and the time that Gisele and Linda had with the sisters will have a long-term impact on the children. As far as the state of the ministry: I am completely satisfied. Now, do I mean that our ducks are in perfect order and that the church is now a well-oiled machine that can operate independent of us? Not at all! I believe that there is still much that we can do to assist the church in Cameroon to move them towards independence. As I have stated before, the job will not be finished in my lifetime. My primary concern is always direction; are we making progress and headed in the right direction and I believe the answer is a definite yes.
I understand that the physical is not dominant but I still believe we need to thank God for any and all physical blessings. This trip was without incident. The one exception is the ongoing Kidney problems that Jean Claude is having. My health did not even have a slight hiccup. When you think of all of the hours of travel on different types of vehicles and in varying types of traffic and roads, we did not have a single problem. The hotels were the best that I have ever stayed in with only 3 minor and short electrical outages. The rain never did interfere with our work and even when we were caught in rain on two occasions it had no adverse effect. The food was delicious throughout and most of all, the incredible fellowship that I had with the brethren was a joy. I simply thank the Lord for His care and protection. I also thank Him for you. Only He knows but I would love to know how many prayers were uttered on our behalf. I do know that some of you were worried about both my health and the fact that I traveled to and from Cameroon alone. Any worries you had were misplaced. I do thank you, however, for your love and concern.
Saturday, November 05, 2011 5:55pm-5:55pm CST
I am sorry it has taken me so long to write this. Landed ahead of schedule and once I had cleared customs and gotten my bag my son-in-law was waiting for me. Made it home with no problems and got to see Jose Luis. He is a little boy that Linda babysits and we were glad to see each other. Linda was fine and we went out to eat. Went to bed and slept until 2 this afternoon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had been up 46 hours with only about 4 hours of sleep on the Douala/Paris flight. Slept 17 hours and can’t ever remember sleeping that much. Well, things will be back to normal soon. Once again, thanks for all of your prayers.