Friday, February 24, 2012 10:30pm-3:30pm CST
Well, the 14th Leadership Training Seminar is in the books. As I stated earlier in the week (or possibly last week), numbers do not prove anything by themselves but they can be encouraging. Here are the comparisons between 2011 and this year.
Kumba – 2011 – Men 96 – Women 67 – Afternoon 150
Kumba – 2012 – Men 114 – Women 91 – Afternoon 176
Douala – 2011 – Men 49 – Women 35 – Afternoon 68
Douala – 2012 – Men 46 – Women 43 – Afternoon 77
As you can see, only the men in Douala were lower than last year. While only time will tell the effectiveness of the seminar, Richard, Lori and I were all pleased with our classes. Over the past years it is clear to me that the seminar has had a great impact on the church and that is what the brethren tell us. Regarding the evaluation sheets, I will look at them tomorrow and get quotes to you within the next day or two.
Some miscellaneous items:
1. This morning I walked into the hall and bumped one of the benches and the oldest man there said, “I hope you haven’t broken our bench.” I think Lori’s sense of humor is rubbing off!
2. The past two days have seen me sweat more than all the other days combined. I just keep Kleenex with me to wipe my brow. The hall has ceiling fans and while they are helpful, the heat is still real.
3. Last year I had 32 meetings with preachers and congregations. Each day when I left the hotel I did not see it again until that night. During breaks in classes I was meeting and during the lunch hour. This year I had been advised to get more rest so I lowered the number of meetings to 8 so far and then I have one tomorrow, one Sunday and one on Monday. It is nice to be able to come back to the hotel at noon and get some time in an A/C’d room.
4. I do not know precisely how to look at the church in Cameroon when it comes to financial support. Opinions vary widely with the extremes being you never support anyone to the other extreme of giving them a blank check. The more I look at the church the more convinced I am that we are dealing with too many 5 year olds. Yes, there are some mature brethren but it is going to take some time (probably more time than I would like) before we will have a solid foundational base. Here is just one example; we have a struggling congregation in Douala that truly needs a full-time preacher but the brother is going to lose his support after June of 2013. The amount he is receiving now is only $50 which is what his monthly rent is. How would you exist with a salary that only paid your rent? Just pray that good decisions will be made.
Day began as usual with nothing out of the ordinary. We got our taxi to the hotel for Lori and Jean Claude was there so Richard and I hopped machines to go to the church hall. Crossing the street here is an adventure because even though there is a median does not mean that all traffic on a certain side of the median is going the same direction! The taxis and machines are much more effective drivers than Americans. We arrived at about 8:50 and Richard got his class started on time. They were working on developing a strategy on what you do with new converts to disciple them. Richard and I then hopped on our machines and went over to the hotel to pick Lori. The 3rd brother with a machine was at the hotel and off we went. Made it safely with no problems. I gave each of the guys 5000 ($10.64) which is a small amount to us but a HUGE gift to them. I am appreciative of the help they have given us this week. The hamburger joint we go to at lunch takes forever to bring your food. Lori had the idea (a great idea) to order our food when we first got back to the hotel, then go up and change and go to the restaurant. I dumped Richard and Lori and found out what they wanted. I then went across the street and called Jean Claude and had him speak to the girl in French. Lori wanted to try a hamburger (she had eaten chicken each day) so I told her I would order a hamburger for her and chicken for me and we could swap if she did not like the burger. Well she did and all of us enjoyed our meal. By the time we got back to the hotel we had about 15 minutes before it was time to head back. Got there on time and my class went well. What took place afterwards cannot be placed in words. I tell you that the traffic cannot be described and that is the truth; well, the sisters gave each of us gifts. They entered in a line singing songs and then one by one presented our gifts. Below you have Lori receiving her gift. Each lady spoke to us and told us how much they appreciated us. We would then give a brief ‘thank you’. When it came my time I choked up so Jean Claude had the ladies sing another song. I told them that my heart never leaves Cameroon and that is the truth. Richard told them that while they tell us how blessed they are by our coming that we are more blessed and I agree with him.
The middle picture is of the brethren who came from the North. I told them that different brethren from America contributed to make it possible for them to come and one of them stood and told me to thank each of you who contributed. It was such a blessing for them to come and I pray that the church in the North will be blessed.
Well, I have written enough. We are all healthy and will be able to relax tomorrow. Looking forward to our combined worship service of the 4 Douala churches on Sunday. Thanks for your continued prayers.