Wednesday, February 26, 2014 8:10pm-1:10pm CST
Well, we are at the airport. Since I last wrote we left the hotel at 5:45 on the hotel bus. It takes about 15 minutes to get here. We walked right in and went directly to the place where you wait to get your boarding pass. Did not wait long and that part went smoothly for both of us. You have to pay 10,000 ($21.74) airport tax. I have often wondered why they don’t charge 100,000 because what would we say: ‘no, I refuse to pay and will stay in Cameroon for the rest of my life’! Then we went through Customs which was also smooth. Got to the gate and they were not prepared to receive us from a ‘security point of view’ but they let us come in and sit in the A/C which was very nice. About 15 minutes ago they asked us to come out and go through security. I had to show them my card saying I have a Pacemaker so I would not go through the X-ray machine. There is a place where you put your carry-ons for them to look through. When the man saw all of the medicine I had he said: ‘for you’ in a very questioning way. I said yes and that was that. If the flight is on schedule we have about 3 ¾ hours before taking off.
Thursday, February 27, 2014 6:00pm-11:00am CST
Much has transpired since the writing above. Will try to recapture at least some of it. Boarded on time and the plane left about 20 minutes late which was no problem. Richard took a sleeping pill and it worked and I was able to get about 3 hours of sleep. The slumber was prefaced by a wonderful meal but, of course, to call a plane meal wonderful is to make a redundant statement. Teresa, you can ask Richard what I just said. Oh, while I am thinking about it Richard Sutton was a bad boy on this trip. You see, he is a borderline diabetic and he was to stay away from some stuff but he said that ‘when the rats away, I will eat’ or words to that effect. He was speaking of his lovely, beautiful, talented, intelligent (you get the picture) wife so please do not tell her what he said. I would hate for Linder Road to have their preacher in traction! We landed right on schedule and the flight was flawless. We cleared Customs easily and went to secure our bags. While Richard waited I went and exchanged some money. The luggage finally came and all 4 were in a row. We had to walk about a ½ mile and get on an elevator which took us outside where we captured the hotel shuttle. Ride is about 10 minutes or so and we arrived about 7:30. Our rooms were not ready so we gave them our bags to lock up and they delivered them to the rooms when they became free. There was an 80% chance of rain but I made the mistake of listening to Richard so we got back on the bus that took us to the train station. It was raining mildly and neither of us had an umbrella. It also was quite chilly. Got off the train in downtown Paris and walked to the Louvre. Richard, Louise and I had visited it 2 years ago which was one too many times. It is kind of like having a dentist pull your teeth with no Novocain; it is a situation you can live without. Well, there was a loooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggggg line and we waited in it as we continued to get wetter and wetter. Just as we were getting close to the front of the line Richard suggested that we forget it and go back to the hotel. He didn’t have to speak twice. We didn’t know exactly where we were (hey, I can take you all over Cameroon but not Paris) and after asking a couple of people, we made it back to the train station. Got back around 3 or so and Richard wanted to check and see if he could get a SEAT PLUS seat for his flight from Paris to Salt Lake City as that flight is 11 hours and 10 minutes long. SEAT PLUS gives you some more legroom and more reclining ability. On a trip of that length, it is very nice. I already had an Exit Row on my flight which is 5 minutes longer! Don’t quite understand why it takes longer to get to Dallas than Salt Lake; only thing I can figger is Richard has a faster pilot. We made it back to the hotel and went down to the restaurant; we ordered a Bacon Cheeseburger and a Club Sandwich and split them. Both were excellent. We visited for about an hour and then went back to our rooms. I have taken a shower and will go to bed very soon. We are getting up at 6 so I would like to get about 10 hours’ worth of sleep. The trip continues to go smoothly and I know that that is because of your prayers. Will write more tomorrow.
Friday, February 28, 2014 9:15am-2:15am CST
I am back. Got to bed around 8 last night and slept well as did Richard. We have now parted ways and it will be 2 years, Lord willing, before I see him again. I always enjoy our trips as he is such a great brother and a strong encouragement to me. He is only trumped by his wife Lori and that is the truth and he will confess to that. When he reads this he will enjoy my ‘dangling participle’ and that is an inside joke. Had a good breakfast at the hotel and got on the shuttle around 7:40. Arrived without incident and the check-in process went smoothly. I don’t fly out for another 2+ hours but I have been getting some work done. Computers allow you to do so much that in the past you had to do when you got home. For example, I have the outline of my PowerPoint presentation and will give it to my beautiful, smart, wonderful, fantastic (you get the point) daughter-in-law to clean up.
I need to take a few minutes to give some serious praise. I have been involved in African missions for 26 years and doing it full-time for nearly 23. Between this aspect of the ministry and my work with World Bible School I get many accolades. I can assure you that they are not deserved. There is not an ounce of humility in the previous sentence but a ton of truth. Let me tell you of one person that deserves a lot of credit and that is my dear wife Linda. She is truly a special person in more ways than one. For those of you who are somewhat aware of my schedule you know that she spends many days and nights alone. Very few wives would tolerate a husband that has my schedule. I have heard people speak of my sacrifice but their praise is misplaced. Linda is the one who truly sacrifices and she does so because she has a GREAT love for the Lord and His Kingdom. She is aware that while she is alone, much work is being done for the advancement of the Lord’s Kingdom. I am acutely aware that many wives would not allow their husband to be gone for a single trip, much less 3 each year. That does not include the weekends when I am traveling with WBS. The next time you pray you need to thank God for Linda Corner!
Friday, February 28, 2014 2:15pm-12:15pm CST
As you can see; we have made quite a bit of progress in crossing 5 time zones. Don’t know precisely where we are but we are over the States. Let me take a few minutes to give you my assessment of the state of the church in Cameroon and our role. Much of what I will say is repeat from previous blogs and reports. The reality is that the work that we are doing will be slow. If you take a 5 year old child and watch him carefully, you do not perceive physical growth day by day even though it is taking place. The growth is so slow that it is imperceptible to the human mind. When I look at our work I am examining an 18 year window. If I look at the church as it was in 1996 versus today, I see great change. The change is not numerical as much as it is in the spiritual growth of many of the members. Do not misunderstand; I would argue that the majority of our brethren in Cameroon are still very weak. Having lived in America all of my life and being raised in the church; I would make the same claim about us. When you look at the history of God’s people they have always been a minority and in most cases; there has been a minority of faithful within that group. Helping brethren to grow in the likeness of Jesus and leading them to true discipleship is a never ending job. When I look at the needs in Cameroon one of the greatest that stands out is an ability to stop miming what they have always been taught. In my view the church in Cameroon closely resembles the American church in the 50’s. I was raised in the church and we were basically taught that everything was black and white and that you adhered to the doctrine that was coming from the pulpit. Now, lest you get a wrong idea; much of what we taught was ‘right on the money’ but we were not taught to think for ourselves. I have heard older brethren make statements like: “I believe today what I believed 40 years ago”. With all due respect; they are showing a lack of spiritual growth, intellectual curiosity, pride or possibly all 3. When I stand before the Lord on judgment day I will not be judged on how well I regurgitated the teachings that came from the pulpit. In Acts 17 the Bereans listened to Paul but they did so with their Bibles, ears and brains open. While we need to respect elders and preachers we must never confuse them with God. All of us make mistakes and in James 3:8 he says that no one can tame the tongue. Part of the context of that chapter deals with teaching. We are trying to help our brethren in Cameroon learn to look at the Scriptures and think for themselves. We are making some progress on that front but not enough. I would have no trouble in pointing out a myriad of problems within the church in Cameroon but I also see progress. We are developing a generation of leaders that will take the church to heights it has not obtained today. We are teaching more and more children to love Jesus at an early age. We have activities in place that are changing the church for the better. The contributions of Americans are still needed. Your continued prayers and financial contributions are vital as we help the church grow. The American church is not the savior of the Cameroonian church but we are playing a vital role in their growth. I will never be able to adequately thank you for all that you do. It will be in Heaven that you are able to see much of your fruit.
Saturday, March 01, 2014 11:35-11:35am CST
Landed ahead of schedule and my son-in-law with 3 grandkids picked me up. I was able to get home in time to see Charlie Brown. Of course, the best present at home was Linda. I want to thank each of you who kept this journey in your prayers. As you have read, everything went well and you had a big part in that as the Lord was listening to you. Please continue to keep the work in Cameroon in your daily prayers.