Tuesday, July 02, 2013 12:15am – Monday, July 1, 2013 6:15pm CST
As you can see, I am getting a late start. It seems like we have been in Douala for several days but we only got here this morning. Let me try and recreate the activities of the day. The driver was supposed to be at the hotel at 7 and he was. By the time we loaded and left it was about 7:25 which was fine. We stopped at a small store to get some things to eat on the way. I looked on the shelf and they had some Skkipy Peanut Butter. Yes, it was spelt Skkipy so I knew something was up. This brand is made in London. I decided to eat healthy for breakfast and knew that Calcium is good for you so I got an Ice Cream Drumstick. It was really good and went well with my Slim Jims. Between all of the Calcium and Protein I should be in good shape for several days. Plus I am eating a Nestlé’s Crunch right now which is giving me much energy. However, you don’t have to worry about me putting on any weight because I am balancing it all out with a Coke Light. We made it to Bonaberi with no problems and dropped Vincent, Louis, Linda and Mary and marched on. The picture below of Martin, a driver, shows how they load down machines. I have seen him carry much more than you see in this picture. Oh, notice that he has a jacket and gloves on. Now, it ain’t no 100 degrees but it is at least 80 and that does not require that kind of gear. The traffic was not too bad and we got to the hotel by 9:30 or so. We are back in Paradise! A/C with thermostat control, running water (even hot) and a very nice fridge. I realize that our lives should not revolve around things (and they don’t) but I have seen our houses, cars, furniture, etc. Kurt, Tucker, Rob and I went down to a grocery store to buy some water and a few necessities such as those that I am partaking of at the present time. I know that some people who read my blogs believe I live on Chocolate but I eat very little of it in America. It just tastes better here! We then went to lunch and as I have told you in the past; never go hungry or the mortician will have to carry you out as the service is soooooooooooo slow. I got pizza today and it was very good. Not CiCi’s but still very tasty. Kurt, Rob and Tucker also got ice cream but I used good self-control and did not partake of any. Now it is true that I had had some of Rob’s pizza plus a salad but that doesn’t figger into this equation. Going to the restaurant we took taxis because it was raining small. On the way back it was not and Jean Claude was going one direction so I told Vincent to take the 3 Stooges with him and I climbed a machine. Rather mundane compared to what I will tell you later in the blog. We got back to the hotel and I started packing but first took my first real shower in days. This ‘running water’ is kind of cool. I have to get used to flushing instead of pouring my bucket of water into the commode. Oh, you all can suspend your buckets and turn on your water. I have great confidence in you that you have been living the ‘Cameroonian Life’ with us. I then went out on the street to find a store that had some candy I like (actually it is more like a throat lozenge) and I went to at least 8 stores and none of them had what I was after. I take them back to the States and always use them when I am singing or preaching. We left the hotel at 6 to go to the combined service. This is a worship service of the 4 Douala congregations. The weather was dry and I knew that if we tried to take a taxi there was no way that we could arrive on time so we all took machines. You cannot imagine the tight squeezes that these guys make. You would think that people would always be ‘crashing and burning’ but they are not. Rob and Tucker were very impressed and it will be interesting to hear them talk to their parents about this adventure. Rob has told me that he wants a machine and his dad has shown great wisdom in saying NO. He thinks that maybe his dad will say yes after Rob has turned 35 and has several kids. We took a long way around to avoid the bad traffic and that is a funny saying because our traffic was plenty bad. Was disappointed in the attendance tonight. Didn’t count but don’t think there were more than 40 present and as I said above, the weather was good. Maybe they had heard that I was preaching tonight! Saw a lot of good friends and still enjoyed the time together. Each of the congregations always has a representative of their congregation get up and say some things to us and usually they put it in writing and give a copy to each of us. In the one from Jean Claude’s congregation they said this about me: Dear Jim, our fellow country man. In the past they have told me that they would get me a Green Card and one brother wants me to build a house here and move to Cameroon. He says I can go and see Linda every so often. When I have told her that in the past she smiles but I don’t know why. After the service we took the picture of the team that is posted below. We then got a taxi back to the hotel and I got on Air France’s website and printed out our boarding passes for tomorrow night. Went down and gave the children theirs and told them how happy I was that they came on this trip. They have done a GREAT job and have been a source of encouragement to the brethren that they came in contact with. I just Skyped with Linda with her seeing my picture but me being able to see her and Charlie Brown. Junior and Alex (two of our grandkids) are at the house but they were sleeping. Have a few more things to do and will hit the sack.
Some miscellaneous things first:
1. Tonight at the service Julian, the preacher for the Dakar congregation came up and said that someone had put a dollar bill in the plate on Sunday so I changed it for him. This is about the nastiest looking dollar bill I have ever seen.
2. The other night in Buea Rob and Tucker were bad boys. They got Louis’ key and went into his room and took toilet paper and wrapped everything. I learned from Rob that he had done that in the past (no shock for a teen) and asked him what his parents would think. Then I was shocked to hear that David and Lisa (his parents) had assisted him in the past. I asked Kurt what he would do if his teens had wanted him to ‘teepee’ a house and he had the same response that I did. Of course we would not contribute to the delinquency of a minor. I hope that David and Lisa have repented.
3. When we were coming up the lifter (elevator) today Rob and Tucker were emitting sounds. Now the sounds I can handle but the odor that accompanied the sounds is another story. Their parents need to have a serious conversation (good luck with that) with them about polite etiquette. It was especially appalling to me because I am a very delicate person. Just ask anyone who knows me. Wait, strike that last sentence!
4. What I am fixin to say is not a joke. The men here will talk about how fat their wives are with the woman in question present. It is no big deal and the women simply smile. If you want to sleep alone for a while just tell your wife that she is fat, even if she ain’t! Go on, I dare you; I double dog dare you!!!!
5. Oh, one of the conveniences in most of the hotels in Cameroon is that there is a light switch right by the bed. You can hop in bed with the light on and then cut it off.
That’s about it. Tomorrow morning we go to the wood market to buy souvenirs and then prepare for our long journey. We don’t fly out until 11 tomorrow night and when we land in Paris we have a long layover and then about a 9 hour flight to Chicago followed by a flight home. Now I am not joking about what I am fixin to say: pray that the connection in Chicago is smooth because we only have 1 hour and 25 minutes between flights and we have to clear Customs in Chicago. In all probability we will fly out of a different terminal than what we fly into so we are praying that everything is on time. We are all doing well and looking forward to being home. Please remember to come to Buckingham Road on the evening of July 14 @ 6pm to hear our report. Thanks for your continued prayers.