Friday, February 20, 2015 9:50pm-2:50pm CST
The seminar is much like Christmas. For months you look forward to it (at least if you are a kid) and then it is over. The planning for the seminar is nearly a year-round thing. Very shortly I will be putting together the lessons for the 2016 seminar if the Lord grants me strength. Today’s men’s class numbered 126 which was 6 less than last year; the ladies were 107 which was 13 less than last year and there was no afternoon class and I will explain that in a few minutes. The numbers were not down too much from last year as we averaged 122 men each day versus 127 in 2014; 99 women versus 106 last year and 159 in the afternoon class against 183 in 2014. Near the end of the Howdys I will reflect and ‘wax like an elephant’. We are highly pleased with what took place this week and only pray that the Lord will grant fruit from this endeavor.
There is little difference from day to day in the way I begin. That is why you never read anything regarding the early morning that is significant. Today we ordered our supper before we left and headed for the hall at 8:40. This morning Louise had her normal class and it went well. Chris finished his class in the first 2 morning sessions and I finished in the 3rd session. The reason was that a brother was being buried today and his funeral service was this afternoon. Jean Claude had suggested that we suspend the afternoon session out of respect for the family which we were happy to do. I actually closed at 11:30 as there were many loose ends to tie up. Chris, Louise and I climbed machines back to the hotel and ate lunch in his room. We left for the funeral at 1:40. In many ways, it was no different from one of ours. The family was already seated when they brought the coffin in. It was carried in a taxi and when it approached the horn began to blow. We stood as they brought the casket in. There was a 30 minute period of viewing the body. We were not asked to view so we remained in our seats. Then they had a few songs followed by a prayer and then the eulogy. Then a brother of the deceased, his wife and a family friend came forward to speak. The wife was so overcome with emotion that she could not get a word out. They were very compassionate to her and then the preacher for the Kumba Town Church of Christ said a few words. There was a closing prayer and then singing while they removed the coffin. They gave us a program and it was interesting in several ways; on the cover was a picture of the deceased (he was only 43) with his birth listed as ‘Sunrise’ and his death as ‘Sunset’. Inside the program were a number of songs that you know that we sang; Blessed Assurance, I Must Tell Jesus and Have Thine Own Way, Lord. Regardless of the place or circumstance; a funeral brings us down to planet earth for at least a short time as we see what is truly important in life.
After the funeral Chris and Louise climbed machines to the hotel (it was only a mile or so) while Jean Claude, Vincent and I scouted out potential hotels for the future. The hotel where we are staying is only 8 years old and was exceedingly nice when it first opened but in many ways it is falling apart. Louise, for example, never had A/C as the motor was deficient. It may get fixed but it will be after we are gone. Jean Claude moved rooms 4 times because of different problems with each room. When we headed back it began to rain and we were in a taxi. No A/C so with the windows rolled up we were ‘saunerized’. I can’t figger why my spell checker does not recognize that word! We had supper in the hotel and while the power was out when we arrived, they soon put on the generator. The options on the menu are limited but very nice. Because we ate at 5 I was able to get a head start on packing and I am basically ready to go. Will Skype Linda and Charlie Brown in about 30 minutes and then go to bed.
1. At least one time during the course of a campaign or seminar I must spend a few minutes of talking of the rich blessings that God has given to those of us who live in America. I have been to Ghana and Cameroon over 70 times and calculate that I have spent over 1,500 days on this marvelous continent. Due to that fact; the material situation that is prevalent is not as noticeable to me as to a first-timer. There is no arrogance in that statement; just the fact that when you have been somewhere so often you are no longer amazed as you were at the first. For example, the first time I saw a toilet with no seat it was quite a revelation. You mean that it is possible to use the bathroom without a toilet seat? Yes! The idea of carrying a flashlight with you at all times at night due to electrical outages is not something we do in the States. For example; the difference between last night and this night is nearly the difference between day and night. Last night the current was so low and the hotel did not put on the generator. While it was not hot in the rooms, it certainly was not cool. I just looked out the window and there is not a light on in Kumba but my A/C is nearly freezing me out and my Coke Zero has ice in it. The simple things in life are big such as a nice candy bar or whatever ;floats your boat’. I don’t know why the Lord has blessed me the way He has but I am certainly grateful.
2. The time I have spent these last two weeks simply reinforces what is truly important in life and what brings the most pleasure. It has been a delight to be surrounded by faithful brothers and sisters who truly know the idea of sacrifice. To sing songs of praise with them is a blessing that words cannot describe. The reality is that I cannot, on my little computer, begin to share the happiness that is mine.
3. There are cold showers and COLD showers. Tonight the water was not on when we first got here so I ate and then came to my room which was quite cold. By the time I got in the shower it was REALLY COLD but I adjusted.
4. The first picture below is of four of the village preachers along with the men who are assisting me in helping them. They are doing a good work and we pray that fruit will be born.
5. The second picture is of the ladies class. You saw that they averaged 99 in a room that would comfortably handle half that amount. In fact, some had to listen on the porch.
On behalf of Chris and Louise I am very grateful for the many prayers that you uttered on our behalf. We had no problems and are truly blessed. The only sad thing is that I received less than 10 emails the entire time I was here. Hopefully in the future you can write.