Tuesday, June 30, 2015 8:30pm-2:30pm CST
Just 108,000 seconds before I will see Linda!
I will write this FINAL HOWDY in a few installments. I was able to get some work done this afternoon while the rest of the team played. Well, actually Mike, Kurt and Stephanie played while Jan took a nap. Louis came to the hotel around 5:15 and the others came soon after, Vincent had returned to Muyuka this afternoon. We had our luggage taken down by a porter named David. Stephanie remarked that in most motels/hotels in the States you carry your own bags. These guys have coats and hats and look very professional. As I write Stephanie is watching an episode of Cosby and her laughter is shaking the bench. The silver lining is that I am collecting some exercise without doing anything. Her laughter is somewhat embarrassing as everyone is staring at her. She told me that she was not laughing that loud but I just got a phone call from Jean Claude and he said he could hear her and he is at home! When we got to the airport we were able to immediately get in and very soon were getting our boarding passes. Kurt, Stephanie and I were done and noticed that Mike and Jan were taking a long time. I went over and he said they were not booked on the flight. We went to the Air France office and they showed that Mike and Jan were scheduled to arrive on June 18 (correct) and fly out two days later on June 20 (very incorrect). I love people who say there is no such thing as absolute truth. Because someone changed a single digit in the date, everything was wrong. They had the correct month and the correct year but that one digit did them in. Well, they worked it out and we came down to the gate. They then took Mike and Jan back because there was something in their bags that Customs was worried about. Turned out it was a tin of Altoids. They made it back and we are all ready to fly. The only problem is that we still have 2 ½ hours before departure. The good news is that the gate is air conditioned and it feels great. Oh, my darling daughter is chomping down on some candy and is offering me as much candy as she did ice cream! Lest you forget the amount of ice cream she offered me was ZERO! My lovely daughter just read this line and now is offering me the crumbs that she did not eat. A guilty conscience can sometimes produce a good result as we are all familiar with the old adage: some candy a day keeps the doctor away or is it some candy a day keeps a slim waist away? I tend to confuse those two!
Wednesday, July 01, 2015 12:15pm-5:15am CST
I will see Linda in about 54,000 seconds Yea!
Much has happened since I last wrote the paragraph above. We boarded the plane on schedule and then waited for some time. The pilot came on and said they needed to call a technician for there was some problem with the plane. They fixed it and we took off 2 hours late. That did not pose a problem because we had a nearly 5 hour layover in Paris. It was good to get some yummy airplane food Kurt, Stephanie and I are riding on the same row with Stephanie on the window and Kurt on the aisle so I am sandwiched in. We have 2 computers, DVD player, books, cords of all kinds, pillows, blankets and a few other things so I don’t have to worry about falling one way or the other. Kind of reminds me of riding in a taxi in Cameroon. I did get some sleep and we landed at 8am. Our luggage will be picked in Atlanta as that is our first entry into the US. We parted ways with Mike and Jan as they are flying straight to Houston. We took a train to the terminal we were flying out of and then went through security. Flight was to leave at 11 and we took of at about 11:45. We are hoping that the pilot ‘steps on it’ as we only have 2 hours in Atlanta to collect our bags, go through Customs and make it to our gate. I do not anticipate any problems. The good news is that if we miss that flight there will be another soon after. If our flight from Douala last night was canceled it would have caused big problems. First, we would have to stay one more night in Douala but no guarantee of getting a flight to Atlanta from Paris the next day. Oh, well, it all worked out. Kurt and Stephanie are watching movies as we get ready for another sumptuous meal. I plan to sleep, read and work on my class for next Wednesday night. Will close for now.
Wednesday, July 01, 2015 1:00pm-11:00am CST
Only 32,000 seconds more to see the most beautiful woman in the world! The chances that I would be married to one of the 1,000 most beautiful women in the world would be remarkable but to have #1 is something else.
As you can see from the time: we have crossed 5 time zones and are scheduled to land in Atlanta in about 2 hours. The pilot did step on it because Stephanie went up to the cockpit and told him she would ‘talk his ears off’ if he didn’t get with the program. It appears that as I have gotten older I am able to sleep a bit more on a plane. I think that between last night’s flight and today’s I have gotten 4 or 5 hours which is good for me. I made some good progress on the class I mentioned above. I have watched fewer videos on this trip than any in the past and Stephanie is the main reason. She would spend a lot of time with me in Cameron which I REALLY liked! After I finish this I am going to work some more on my class in February for the seminar, do some miscellaneous stuff on my computer and read. It is kind of interesting in that we ate nothing but chicken for the first few days of the trip and ended up eating chicken last night and this afternoon. Oh, the pictures below are of me and my darling daughter and the team headed for the airport. Behind us are all of our bags but we could have fit 10 more people in!
When I look at the condition of the church in Cameroon it mirrors the church in most places on this planet. For example, they have lukewarm members, the church in Ghana has lukewarm members, my congregation has lukewarm members and the church in Laodicea had lukewarm members. There are dead churches in Cameroon, dead churches in Ghana, dead churches in America and we read of a dead church in Sardis. There are also faithful congregations and brethren throughout the world but all too often we struggle because the number of ‘hot’ members is overmatched by the others. Linda and I have 10 grandchildren and they range in age from 3 to 14. We do not expect them to all be on the same level of maturity. As long as our 3 year old behaves as a child of that age should; we are pleased. If, however, our 14 year old acts as his little sister, we would be alarmed. When I was a child invariably at the end of a year our preacher would get up and say: “we didn’t grow much this year numerically but we really grew spiritually.” Looking back on that my opinion is he was ‘covering our hides’ with that statement. Having said that; I do believe that significant spiritual growth will precede numerical. If your aim is just numbers then you will evangelize heavily and disciple lightly. The end result will be after a decade you baptized many with little or no increase in attendance, giving or involvement. I am much more interested in helping people truly understand the life of Jesus and model their lives after His. Paul will say in I Corinthians 11:1: follow my example as I follow the example of Christ. He was not holding himself up as the model but the Lord’s life. I want to be very clear; we MUST teach and defend sound doctrine. Paul teaches in Romans 6:17 that there is a pattern of teaching that must be followed. Jesus, as our ultimate example, always did the will of His Father. The point is this; if our focus is on the church or baptism instead of Jesus; we may baptize a good number and they may have their name on our roll but too often they will not be living a life of faith. I have mentioned in blogs on earlier trips that it is very difficult to change the minds of the older members of the congregations (sound familiar). I believe that many of our members who are dogmatic will nevertheless see Heaven because they are doing what they truly believe the Lord wants them to do. The future of the church rests with those who are younger which scares me in the States because we live in a culture where you cannot condemn anyone or anything. Unfortunately, some of that mindset has crept into the church. I do not do Facebook but some brethren who do have told me of reading positive posts from those who call themselves Christian regarding the Supreme Court decision upholding gay marriage You have to have virtually no knowledge of God’s view of homosexuality to not be extremely alarmed. In Cameroon we want to raise a generation of Christians who revere the Word of God, who know the Word of God, who practice the Word of God but first and foremost; those who know Jesus. Over the course of this campaign I spoke with many preachers and members. Those who are faithful are disturbed that the church is not growing faster. Well, I would like to see immediate growth but it does not work that way. If you get my monthly reports you are aware that everything we are doing has the next generation in mind. BTW: if you would like to receive my report just email and give me your email address. My email is email@example.com. Patience is a virtue that a preacher or leader needs if they want to see long-term growth. I truly believe that the future in Cameroon is bright but the glow that I hope to see will not be realized in my lifetime. I pray that I turn out to be a false prophet but that is my view at this time. We are in the last stages of writing the curriculum for the teens. I will start the process of editing all of the lessons and then forwarding them to Louis for the final edits. We want this to be a “Cameroon friendly” set of material.
Throughout these HOWDYS I have stated our thanks to you for your participation in prayer. I do not say that lightly and am truly grateful. This has been a smooth and prosperous trip because of rthe Lord listening to His children. One final time: THANKS SO MUCH!!!!!!