Thursday, March 1, 2012 4:00pm-1:00pm CST
Well, it is about 14,400 seconds until I will see Linda but who is counting? I do not know how long I have been doing the ‘Howdies’ but it is time for another final one. As I write I think we are over land on the east coast and making progress. We have been in the air for about 9 ½ hours (which is 9 hours too long) and have about 2 ½ hours to arrive in Dallas. Let me make some comments about the day and some other miscellaneous stuff and then I will end on a serious note. Slept well last night and got up at 7:10 this morning. Went down and had breakfast with Richard and Lori since this will be the last time I see them for 2 years, Lord willing. They are remaining in Paris for 2 more days to see the sights. Got on the hotel shuttle and made it to the airport with no problems. Still adjusting to no wallet. When I look at people with serious health problems, lack of job and other severe situations, it helps put my ‘problem’ into context. Got my boarding pass and went inside. My Pacemaker company had emailed me a copy of my card that says I have a Pacemaker so I could show it at the airport. Got on the plane on schedule but because of some fog, the flight was delayed about 45 minutes. The plane is not full and I am in the middle of 3 seats with no one on either side. It allows me to spread out and it just as good as Business Class with the exception of the food. Yes, as GREAT as Coach food is the Business Class is even better. I think it is food that is served at fine restaurants! Now they say that there is ‘a first for everything’ although I don’t believe that. For example, Jean Claude loves to eat the head of a fish and I don’t think I will ever do that. The reason I bring that up is because I turned down lunch on the plane and will also turn down dinner. The reason I turned down lunch was because I was full from breakfast. The reason I will turn down dinner is because I always like to take Linda out when I get home and if I ate on the plane, I would be too full for that. One last thing before I speak of the work in Cameroon: as I have traveled over the years I have discovered that people are pretty much the same and even the way we live is quite similar. For example, each night before you go to bed you put a bottle of water that is 2/3s full into the freezer so you will have cold water the next morning for at least a couple of hours. You realize from personal experience that a toilet seat is an unneeded luxury. As you walk to worship you realize that you may be late but that is OK because the brethren who arrived earlier (the Partlow’s) will be praying for your safe arrival. On those occasions when you do have to take a machine you are not even aware of the times when you ride on the sidewalk, the median; when you run red lights and dart in and out of traffic. When the electricity and water go off you don’t worry about when it will come back because you know that someday it will. The idea of walking one or two hours to your farm is not something you even think about. You see; we really aren’t that different!
OK, let me turn my attention to both the seminar and the work in general. Now, don’t think I am growing old because I will do some repeating. I am growing older (not old) but there is much repeating to do. I can honestly say that out of the 14 seminars we have conducted, all 14 were successful. I pray that that doesn’t sound unrealistic and I do not mean to convey that every leader went back and helped his church learn what he had been taught. We realize that all will not teach as they should but it is somewhat similar to teaching a prospect the gospel; even though you teach well each time the kind of soil the prospect is will determine whether there is a harvest or not. I am not going to rehash what Richard, Lori and I taught as I have covered that in earlier ‘howdies’ (or is the plural form ‘howdy’s’). The brethren are the best source regarding how the seminar went and we got great reviews again. Below are some of the quotes from the Douala seminar:
1. I am grateful to the elders in America who make the financial sacrifice to keep this seminar. I pray that the Lord will continue to give them strength as you are doing a noble job.
2. Thank you for the work. May the Lord give you divine wisdom to continue this work.
3. During the seminar I was so motivated by the teaching and have benefited greatly.
4. I wholeheartedly pray that the Lord gives the elders in America more financial assistance to keep this great work going.
5. I pray that God should continue to bless you and to add more years to your years. And may He give you wisdom and understanding and strength to continue to proclaim His Word.
6. Your materials and teaching have helped us to learn how to teach the children.
7. God Almighty should continue blessing the supporters and organizers and presenters of this seminar because it was excellent and my spiritual life has increased a lot. God bless you people.
8. I pray that you will continue with these excellent studies that they will continue to help the church in Cameroon.
9. I really acknowledge the work you have put in place for the church in Cameroon.
10. Your presentation has helped us a lot to learn how to teach our brethren.
My thinking has not changed regarding the long-term growth of the church. I believe that the next generation will show positive growth but I really believe that we are looking at 2 generations. I wish I could see the fruit but I am witnessing the foundation layers. Some of the brethren here are fearful of my health. It appears that some think I will go and meet the Lord soon and while that may be true, it is certain not a lock. We are working to help them understand that the ultimate growth of the church in Cameroon does not lie with Americans but with the native brethren. As I have told you before, that in no way lessens the need on our part to help. One of the great ways is by more and more Americans coming with me on evangelistic trips. The next one is in June and I would love to have you come along. If you have an interest, contact me soon as we will be making airline reservations next month and getting visas in late April or early May. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lord willing, I will be making the presentation of this journey on Sunday night, March 11 at the Buckingham Road Church of Christ. Obviously, many who receive this cannot make that journey but if you live in the Dallas area, please make plans to attend.
This trip was basically flawless and we give our Father all of the glory for that. I do not, however, want to slight the part you played in this trip. Your constant prayers, thoughts and concerns were of immense benefit. I know how tired I am when I get home so it is probable that I will not send this until tomorrow. Once again, thanks for all that you did!