You may wonder where I have been. Well, I have been on the other side of the world in Yokaduma and there is no reception for my modem. I am sending this from Bertoua and hope that you enjoy it.
Saturday, October 18, 2014 7:30pm-1:30pm CST
Got up this morning at 6 to prepare for the journey. We made good time and all in all it was a smooth journey. I didn’t say the road was smooth, however. When you are traveling you dare not try to use a toothpick unless you want to cause a serious wound! This is the end of the rainy season and we had some rain and lots of mud and pot holes. The driver did an excellent job of navigating. On the way we got stopped by the police and the driver had forgotten his driver’s license. Fortunately, a bribe goes a long way and off we went. They have ‘rain gauges’ along the way and only a car or narrow bus can pass through. There are gates that the big trucks have to go through and when it rains they lock the gates. Louis said sometimes the driver may have to wait as much as one week before he can go. Usually it is only a day or so. We arrived around 2:30 and went directly to see the new preacher’s house and church hall. They are very nice and I will take a lot of pictures tomorrow to send to those who contributed to this need. We are staying at the Elephant Hotel which is very nice. My room has a fridge that works well and an A/C that does not. The compressor may be shot so basically it is a glorified fan. Fortunately ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ and mine is that I have no hot water. The cold shower felt really good! The light in the bathroom is on vacation but I have a Maglite that turns into a glorified candle so it was of great use. We went to Rodrique and Cristels (the preacher and his wife) for supper. She made fried chicken and fried plantain and it was very nice. Had a good visit with them. They have 3 children: Danielle (9), Eunice (5) and Chris (14 months). Danielle and Eunice call me Grandpa Jim and when they saw me they came running to hug me. They are cute kids. Last year I taught Danielle and Eunice how to cross their eyes and Danielle demonstrated! Louis and I had a great visit on the way. We are both looking forward to getting to work tomorrow. I just spoke with Don and he and Jean Claude had one Bible study and she was baptized so we are grateful. I have been ‘babying’ a Coke Zero in my freezer and in a bit I will harvest it and have a few mini-Mars Bars! Life ain’t all that hard!
Sunday, October 19, 2014 9:15pm-3:15pm CST
Had another great day in the land of Cameroon. I spoke with Jean Claude and they had 5 studies and 2 baptisms today and our prayer, as always, is that these new babes grow in their faith. I was blessed to study with 4 and 3 of them gave their lives to the Lord. One of them is pictured below and her name is Anita. This is an interesting story because I taught her 3 years ago and while she resisted at the time, she began to come and worship. Timing is not the same for everyone but I am so happy she is now our sister! Let me begin the day with a rather embarrassing story. I dutifully set my alarm clock last night but forgot to put the switch in the ON position. We were supposed to leave at 8:45 and Louis knocked on my door at 8:44. Well, I threw stuff on and was thankful that last night I had prepared everything regarding my lessons. We arrive at about 9:10 and the church was singing. I was up within 5 minutes and the class went well. I discussed the fact that we are a family and that love will draw outsiders to us. They then had a 5 minute break where we greeted one another and then a song and I was back up preaching. I preached about ‘Knowing Christ’ from Phil 3:10. I had to edit my lesson as I went along because I had 2 translators. Louis translated from English to French and then Roger translated into Mbimou. It is pronounced Bee-moo with the M and O silent. You have to get used to waiting for two people to speak before it is your turn again. At least I have plenty of ‘down time’ to think about what I will say. Mbimou is the local dialect and it has NOTHING in common with French or English. We had 90 today which ties the record. I know it was not because of me as attendance figures wherever I go tend to be the same with or without me. The picture of the congregation is below. When the building was built they did it in such a way that they could take out the back wall and add on if need be. If they keep this up; that may be a need in the future. After worship I taught Emmanuel, Anita and William and they are the ones who were immersed. It was an interesting walk down to the water and the brethren were careful that the ‘old man’ stayed upright! After our last study we went back to the hotel for supper. We had ordered ½ chicken each with rice and fries. Well, we split a ½ chicken with no rice. When Louis placed the order they did not tell him they were basically out of chicken for fear that we might have canceled the entire order. The supper was excellent but visiting with Louis was even better. We then went back to the hall for the evening worship. The attendance was about 40 which is excellent since 49 of the 90 this morning were children. It is unfortunate that the vast majority of the children do not return on Sunday evenings. Got back to the hotel and started working on pictures and videos. Took a nice shower (more about that below) and will try to relax for a while. I did speak with Linda and I implore you to pray on behalf of Terry Harlow. He is a dear brother who has made 5 trips with me to Cameroon. I have known him and his dear wife Chris for 35+ years. He has cancer on the brain stem and cannot have surgery. They have tried several treatments to no avail. Of course, he has always been in God’s hands but now to an even higher level.
1. I was AMAZED; I mean truly AMAZED to go to a market in Yokaduma yesterday and see Coke Zero and Coke Light!
2. There are only two things that take my breath away. The first is each time I see my beautiful wife. You would think after all of this time I would be used to her beauty but it still amazes me! The second is when I take a cold shower in Cameroon! Wow; that water sure was cold!
3. Louis and I will work in Kombe next Sunday and Monday. They called today and there were 3 prospects for the campaign that wanted to be baptized. They asked Louis if that was OK and of course he said yes. We are not interested in ‘notches on our guns’ but only that more souls come to the Lord.
4. The bath towels in this hotel are about 6’6″ tall which is toooooooooooo tall!
5. My light in the bathroom did not work and I mentioned it to Louis. I thought he would go to the hotel and ask for a bulb but instead he went to town and bought one. He installed it and it was brighter than my bedroom light (where I am working) so he kindly switched them out. I had been working with my flashlight in my mouth but now I have enough light.
6. When we went to the restaurant we discovered they had no ketchup for the fries and, of course, it is illegal to eat fries without ketchup. Well, I know the drill and had brought some ketchup from Bertoua so we were able to avoid prison!
7. There are many serendipitous blessings (Teresa; you will have to ask Ricardo what serendipitous means and no, it is not a disease) in Cameroon. One is that you discover that shampoo is a luxury that no one needs. Are you aware that bar soap will clean your hair as well as the most expensive shampoo? If you disagree with that then you have bought into “Madison Avenue”.
Sunday, October 20, 2014 10:00pm-4:00pm CST
All days are great in Cameroon. We had four studies with no baptisms and Don and Jean Claude had 3 studies with 1 baptism. That makes 17 studies and 7 baptisms in 3 days. The harvest is dependent on the preparation of the local churches and thus far it has been good. Will go back to the beginning of the day:
I was careful to set the alarm correctly and I got up with no problems. I have my trusty flashlight nearby but thus far we have not had so much as a second of electrical outage. We got to the church hall at 10 and had 3 prospects. I feel extra good about one of them and fairly good about the other two. Here is the reasoning; none were baptized but all three are regular visitors. I think with time some or all of them will surrender. That was a very long study so then we went back to the hotel for a while. Then had another study. This is one of those that is very sad as the man is so steeped in his denominational doctrine that he cannot see the truth. When you look at the Scriptures they could not be clearer that baptism is burial since Romans 6:4 and Col 2:12 clearly state that. It requires no knowledge of Greek to know what the word means. I will often use the example of Naaman and point out that the command of God was to dip 7 times in the Jordan River. I always ask 3 questions: 1) If the man had gone to another river would he have been saved? Of course the answer is no and I have never had anyone answer that incorrectly. 2) If the man had went to the Jordan River and dipped 3 times would he have been saved? Of course the answer is no and I have never had anyone answer that question incorrectly. 3) When the man went to the Jordan River, dipped 7 times and was healed; who healed him; God or the water? Of course the answer is God and they always get that correct. When you then point out that baptism saves because that is what God commands they look at you like you have 3 heads! This was an intelligent man but I fear one who has followed false doctrine for so long it will be hard for him to obey the gospel. I hope, of course, that I am wrong. We then came back to the hotel for supper. Wow; did they give us a bunch of food tonight. Louis had told the manager this morning about the ½ chicken thing yesterday so he showed Louis the chicken they would slaughter for us (Louis’ words) and it was a big one. We had more rice, fries and chicken than we could eat but what we did eat was very tasty. We then went to the church hall for our final worship. It went very well and at the end one of the brothers got up and conveyed the churches deep gratitude to all who contributed for the house and hall. We got home at about 6:30 and Rodrique and Cristel came over for a visit. They are such a nice couple with great kids. They are pictured below. In the other picture Eunice is on the left and Danielle on the right. The electrical power is going down so it is somewhat dimmer in here and the A/C is even warmer than usual. Not complaining as we have had a very enjoyable stay. We are scheduled to leave at 7 in the morning. Lord willing I will post this tomorrow night.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 10:50pm-4:50pm CST
So much to write and do. Don and Jean Claude had a number of studies today with one baptism. The total for the first section of the trip is 22 Bible studies and 8 baptisms. We pray for both the new babes and the ones who rejected for one reason or another. Here is the day: Got up at 5:50 with a 7 departure time which we made. The journey back to Bertoua was very easy. The bottom picture is a bus being loaded in Batouri. They get as many people inside and as much stuff on top as possible! We arrived around 2:15 and went to secure transportation for tomorrow. We are scheduled to leave at 7 again. When we got to the hotel Jean Claude had ordered our supper and it was ready. We had each ordered a ½ chicken but this restaurant must be related to the one in Yokaduma as we received a total of ½ chicken. It was good as were the rice and fries. You may notice a common diet. When then took a machine to the church hall for a 6pm service. Don had two prospects to teach while I took the Bible class. My sweet daughter says that I repeat myself often but I don’t know because I can’t remember anything! At any rate I know that there are many things in common between Cameroon and America. For example, tonight it was raining and Jean Claude and I climbed on the same machine and off we went with the driver. I know that often times at Buckingham Road that our members come in such a fashion. When you arrive you are a bit wet but that is OK. My class was a repeat that I have been teaching for the past trip or two on instrumental music. This is really needed here (and in America) because virtually all denominations use instruments. The reality is that Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist were all strongly opposed at their conceptions. The class was well received and I had about an hour of questions. We then climbed back on the machines and rode in the rain again. Was not real hard coming and less hard going back. The light in my bathroom does not function but that is OK because the light from the bedroom gives enough light. The negative is that the A/C is so cold that it made the water even colder. I then was able to Skype with Linda and Charlie Brown. I have really missed that kid. Jean Claude and Don came down and Skyped as well.
1. My dear wife and sweet daughter both say that my son-in-law is not worth a plug nickel. Well, I think he is. This past Christmas he gave me this cool USB charger. I had it with me and my IPhone was fixin to ‘hit the road’ so I was able to charge it. Hopefully they can understand that he is worth a plug nickel.
2. This may not seem like a big deal to you but in every hotel we have been in the toilet has flushed properly.
3. I am happy to be in Africa because I do not have to worry if I match or not. Today I wore a striped shirt with plaid pants. Not sure that they match but really don’t care.
I still have email to catch up on so I will sign off. Looking forward to the trip tomorrow. Oh; for anyone who is worried this trip as been exactly the same as every other trip. GREAT! We do appreciate your prayers and we are all doing fine.