Thursday, February 14, 2013 11:30pm-4:30pm CST
I am writing later than usual. Have still not Skyped Linda and Charlie Brown. Will do so after I write this. Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you. I have already had flowers delivered to Linda and a bunch of other stuff that Jennifer was keeping for me. The last time that Linda and I were together on Valentine’s Day was in 1987! Let me explain the two marks on my head below. Louise had brought little Valentine Stickers for the women and they started putting them on their heads. When I went over to discuss the evaluation sheets with them they put those on my head. When I got back to the church hall Terry inquired what it was and he was not that all impressed.
Our attendance has been very consistent and is getting closer to last year’s number. Today the men had 44 as opposed to 47 last year; the women had 41 as opposed to 38 last year and my class was 57 as opposed to 63 last year. As I stated on Monday, ultimately the only numbers that matter are the ones that represent the leaders who go back and first model what they have learned and then share it with the brethren.
Here is how the day went: started off like all others. Terry and Louise are not sleeping well but I am. I am sorry that they are having trouble as it is no fun to be awake at night. We have gotten taxis each morning with no difficulty and when we got to the hotel there were no women present. Terry and I waited for about 10 minutes and then abandoned Louise. Martin was waiting for Terry. Martin wears a long sleeve shirt covered with a coat that is covered with a vest and wears a helmet. When we look at Martin we start sweating!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We made it to the church hall by 8:15 and hung with the brethren. I went to a photo-copy place next to the church hall to get copies of the Evaluation forms and the itinerary for the seminar in 2014. Oh, as I write I have a cracker in my mouth with some Cashews at my side along with a nice Pineapple drink. The sacrifices that we make are great! I hope you are praying I can function as my A/C is getting toooooooo cold! Now where was I; around 10:20 I hopped a machine to go to the women’s class. On Thursday I do so with a three-fold intention: (1) Snap pictures (One of which is the middle one below) (2) Pass out and explain the evaluation sheets. For those of you who are reading for the first time we pass these out each year so that the participants can ‘grade’ us. (3) Buy a Coke, Sprite or Fanta for each lady. This may seem like a small thing to you but they really enjoy it. Most of them cannot afford a single drink! I have always received great pleasure from giving things to those who have so little. (Well, I also give to my Grandkids and ‘so little’ cannot describe all of the stuff they have). The following is going to be very close to something I wrote 2 days ago; after I had gotten the Cokes for all of the girls I thought about my poor Brother Terry in the sweltering heat in the church hall and wondered what he would want me to do. I concluded that he would want me to sit down in a nice A/Cd place and enjoy a cold Sprite so I did what my brother would want me to do. I mentioned that to him at lunch and discovered that I don’t know him as well as I thought! We went across to the hamburger joint for lunch and Terry and Louise have been craving fish and no one has had any. Well, today they did and they both said it was the best meal they have had on the trip. They did acknowledge, however, that it could not touch the delicacies that I create. In most areas I am not artistic but I am when it comes to cooking! Oh; Martin carried Terry again and Dan carried Louise; today Julian carried me. He is clearly a preacher and not a machine driver. He went to slow and took no chances. I remember one time there was at least 1/16 of an inch of clearance on each side and he simply remained behind. I love him but pray that I don’t have to ride with him tomorrow. When I got back to the hall I had a quick meeting when some brethren regarding whether or not the preacher will remain. It is a very difficult situation and I pray that we make the correct decision. My class went well; I often times get ‘on fire’. That is their term when I bring up something that is controversial or does not match their theology. One of my intentions in my teaching is to help them develop the ability to think and not simply be parrots So many of them mimic what they have been taught and bring out arguments that are not sound. Romans 14, of course, deals with how we are to behave on matters of opinion. After the class we took pictures and then I spoke with the sweet wife of the preacher that we are dealing with above. Terry and I have discussed the matter and it is not clear to us what the best decision is. We are going to speak with them again tomorrow and try to determine the correct direction. We got a taxi back to the hotel and I started packing for our journey on Saturday. Louise came down and spent some time on the computer. I showed her part of a video I took today on Julian’s machine. It is quite educational and I pray that when I get back it can be edited. If I can get Elvis to drive me tomorrow I will be able to get an even better video.
Some miscellaneous things:
1. Simon Parfait is a dear brother from Yaoundé. He did not come Monday or Tuesday because he had to teach a class at his congregation. In his words he “took the road” on Tuesday night immediately after his class at 7:30. Oh, his wife is about to give birth any second. The culture here is quite different in that regard; he views learning more about the Kingdom of God and how to be a good leader than being present at the birth of his child. Not defending or condemning; just reporting. Oh, his wife is fine with that.
2. Terry and I were discussing this morning how similar Douala is to Garland. For example, each night before we go to bed in the States we put a bottle of water in the freezer so the next morning we can have ice cold water for an hour or so. I am sure you do the same. Or the fact that when we brush our teeth we don’t use the tap water to rinse with but our bottled water. Or that you leave the A/C on very cold because you don’t want to take the chance of the power going off in the night and you waking up in a hot sweat. You see; Cameroon is not so different after all.
3. I mentioned the “Rolex” watch that Terry purchased in front of the hotel the other day. Well, it is still working and when he looks and sees that everything is still functioning it puts a smile on his face. Either that or he passes gas a lot as he smiles frequently!
4. I have become so familiar and comfortable on a machine that I will call someone or even pull out my paper and write something down as we motor in and out of traffic. I don’t worry about the drivers because they are sooooooooo good!
5. I never think to go to the blog site (is that a term) to look at responses to my stuff. It would be easier for me if you would simply fire off an email to firstname.lastname@example.org While I cannot send from that address; I can receive. Once I get to Kumba I know things will go slower regarding the ‘net’ because I will be on a modem. I really do enjoy hearing from you!
We are all doing well and continue to appreciate your prayers. One more day here and it is on to Kumba.