Wednesday, November 04, 2015 2:45pm-7:45am CST
As with all of my FINAL HOWDYS, this will be written in sections and emailed on Friday, Lord willing. The first thing that I want to report on is my ride on a machine today. It made me happy and sad. Let me explain: sad because I did not bring my I Phone to snap photos while I was riding. I could have really had some doozies that would have led you to yearn to come with me in February. Glad because the traffic was heavy so we initially jumped on the median. Soon thereafter there was a large hole in the median so we jumped to the left into the oncoming traffic. It would be foolish to jump to the right because it would have taken longer to navigate the road. Since we were on the wrong side of the road the oncoming vehicles gave way to us and it was smooth sailing. My sister-in-law Ellen is chomping at the bit to come to Cameroon just to ride on a machine. She even wanted to know if they would let her drive one!
I woke up this morning at 5:45 which is extremely rare for me. For a period of time I could not go back to sleep and my fear was that I was doomed to get up early. I would have been staring at being up for 46 hours before I got to sleep on Thursday night. The Lord blessed me, however, and I was able to get back to sleep and slept until 8:45 so now it will only be 43 hours before I get some sleep. My mission tonight (plane leaves at midnight) is to eat supper and then try and sleep as long as possible on the flight to Paris. If history repeats itself, I will be fortunate to get 2 hours but I am happy with whatever I can acquire. I got on the internet and did email and surfed the web for a bit. Jean Claude came around 10:50 and we visited some and then headed for lunch. He really likes the pizzas we order and asked if we could have one again so against my better judgment, I relented. As you know; I am extremely health conscious. We both had an entrée and Mary came and joined us and it was enjoyable. I climbed a machine back to the hotel while Jean Claude went to the bank and Mary to the market. I catch myself smiling when I am on a machine and the only time my smile is bigger is when I see my beautiful wife. BTW: I will see her lovely face in about 122,000 seconds; Lord willing. When I got back to the hotel I took a shower and have changed into my traveling clothes. Will read and work for the next couple of hours as Jean Claude is supposed to be here at 5. At 6 we will take a taxi to the airport. I will probably write more after I am checked in.
Wednesday, November 04, 2015 7:00pm-noon CST
I am in “hog heaven”. I need to Google that when I get home and see where the term came from. I will pick up from where I left off above and in a bit you will know why I am in “hog heaven”. Jean Claude came at 4:40 and was followed by Mary at around 5. Martin came to pick a couple of pieces of luggage that I leave behind that have things I never deal with in the States. The picture below shows him carrying them plus another bag that you cannot see that was behind. I have seen him carry far greater loads so this was nothing for him. I break out in a sweat every time I see Martin. He wears a heavy shirt and jeans; has knee pads, boots, a heavy coat and a toboggan under his helmet. Also he wears gloves and he even dresses this way in February when it is 20 degrees warmer than now. We primarily discussed the children’s series and the women seminars. The “we” was Mary and I as Jean Claude decided it was nap time. We left the hotel around 6. The traffic was heavy but the taxi driver had no trouble getting around whatever was in the way. I arrived at 6:15 and immediately was able to get in; secure my boarding pass (I actually printed it last night), check my bags and go through Customs. The entire process from when I arrived at the airport was no longer than 20 minutes. Here is where the ‘hog heaven’ thing comes in. We are at a different gate from where we usually fly out of and it has incredibly great A/C. In fact, I am beneath a vent that is pouring some marvelous air down my neck. In addition, this gate has electrical outlets. Now; the gate we usually fly out of also has electrical outlets but what makes these special is that they have electricity! My computer is charged at 97% as it works its way to FULLY CHARGED. At some point in time I will have to vacate the premises and go out to go through security. We should board around 11 and if history is a good teacher; we will fly out later than the departure time. My connection in Paris is 95 minutes so I should have no problems. I plan to do some more “fine tuning” of my trip report so that it is ready to be sent by the time I get home. I will wait until I have gone through security and then watch a Rockford Files or something like that.
Thursday, November 5, 2015 3:30am-Wednesday, November 4, 2015 8:30pm CST
Well, we were nearly two hours late leaving Douala and since I only had 95 minutes to connect I will have to see when the next flight to Atlanta is. Of course, that will also mess up my flight to Dallas but hopefully I can still make it on Thursday without spending a night in a hotel in Atlanta. I am happy that I have an electrical outlet at my seat so I am not losing any battery power. I spoke with Linda about an hour before we took off and did not know the status of the flight at that time. This won’t make her very happy. On a bright note: I was able to have some wonderful and marvelous airplane food so that made me happy. I am going to finish a book and then decide if I will try to sleep. My next paragraph should give you more information. Of course, it won’t matter because by the time you receive this I will be in the States. Oh; here is why we were late boarding. It was raining, yes, raining. No thunderstorm or lightening, just rain. We had to walk outside and climb some stairs to enter the aircraft. They did not have covered stairs and told us that it was too slippery. Well, when we finally did board it was still raining and no one, to my knowledge, fell.
Thursday, November 05, 2015 11:00am-6:00am CST
Whew!!!!!!!!!! My schedule was to land in Paris at 6:25 and depart Paris at 8. We landed at 8 and did not get to the transfer desk until 8:30. There was a long line as I was not the Lone Ranger. After what seemed to be an eternity I finally got my chance and the girl started typing and typing and typing on her computer. Obviously she was trying to find a flight and she ultimately got me on one to Minneapolis and I am scheduled to land at 12:50. It is going to be tight because I have to clear customs in Minneapolis and my flight to Dallas leaves at 2:15. I am scheduled to land at 5:15 which is only 45 minutes later than the original itinerary. Last February Louise Clement was flying home and the schedule got messed up and she had to spend a night in Houston. I was not looking forward to a night in either Paris or Atlanta. Oh, I did get about 3 hours’ worth of sleep last night. I had a MARVELOUS lunch (the only kind that airplanes give) and am listening to music while I type. Have been going over Richard Sutton’s class for February and will soon look at mine. They are written but I still want to become as familiar with the material as possible. I just realized that I will see my precious Linda in about 43,000 seconds. I can’t wait to see her. The picture on the right is ice over Canada.
I am aware that much of what I write is fluff and nonsense but I do like to get serious for a while during my FINAL HOWDY. This trip was another seamless journey. Truly speaking, we did not encounter any problems whatsoever with the exception of the time in Bafang where we had to take Jean Claude to the hospital. Even that went well and he is feeling fine. I am fully cognizant of the fact that what we do on a spiritual level is the determining factor in the success or failure of a trip. In reality, because we were involved in the sowing of the Word of God and fellowshipping with our brethren; there could be no failure. I also realize that baptisms do not determine the ultimate success because the greater question will be: are they faithful 6 months from now; 18 months from now; 10 years from now and till they go to meet the Lord. I am very content with what took place on this trip and already look forward to February. The growth of the church on the French side will be far slower than on the English. I have already, in earlier missives; shared some of the reasons. I am not, however, discouraged by what I see. If you look at any congregation or a group of congregations, the long-term growth or decline is largely based on the youth. Not to discount the older but we (yes, we) will be in the ground within the next 20 or 30 years or less. We are able to serve as models and teachers for those who are coming behind. While I cannot look into the future; what I see from so many of our young members (not simply preachers) leads me to have an optimistic mindset. One thing that I want to emphasize is your part in the growth of the Kingdom in Cameroon. Some of you are able to send funds and they are always used and appreciated. Some cannot give money but what you can give is even more important: prayer. I know there are many things that consume your ‘prayer time’ but I would beg you to remember this work on a daily basis. I want you to always keep my health in your prayers. As many of you know, the word ‘retire’ is a dirty word to me but I am aware that poor health could shoot me down. I look older (perhaps because I am older) but I feel as good as ever.
Thursday, November 05, 2015 3:00pm – 3:00pm CST
Just 14,000 seconds until I see my darling wife. This will be my last transmission before I send tonight or tomorrow. We landed in Minneapolis about 10 minutes early. You no longer have to fill out a Customs form as there are machines you use. The process went smoothly and quickly. I did not have to wait long for my luggage and was off to my gate. It was a long, long way but the timing was fine. I arrived at the gate about 15 minutes before we started boarding. This is a small plane and made even smaller when compared to the wide body jets I have been flying. Read USA Today to get caught up on some stuff. I will watch an episode of Rockford Files and plan to land at 5:15. I have spoken with Linda and texted Bapp as she will pick me at the airport. I cannot put into words the deep gratitude that I have for every thought and prayer. This was truly a GREAT trip and I am thankful for your participation. Of course, the GREATEST thanks go to our loving Father.