Friday, February 19, 2016 7:05pm-12:05pm CST
I am sad. That is not a joke because the seminar is finished until next February, Lord willing. There are not enough words to convey not only my joy regarding the seminar but the good that it has and is doing. Our prayer is that the future will hold the same. Next week I will have some reflection on what took place these last two weeks.
Here are the raw figures: this year we averaged 33 men each day in comparison with 38 in 2015. The women this year averaged 26 as opposed to 33 last year. The afternoon class averaged 44 in 2016 and 52 this year. As stated in my blog last week, I do not know the reason for the drop-off in both Kumba and Douala but it was bound to happen sooner or later as we had constantly climbed for a number of years. We ask you to keep the brethren in prayer as they travel back and as they take what they have learned to their brethren. This seminar is able to function because so many of you contribute to it financially and all of you keep us in prayer. The brethren pictured on the left below are the 10 from the North. That part of Cameroon has been largely ignored and they will spend between 22 and 28 hours one way to get from their homes to Douala. The expense is so great that they cannot afford it so many of you contributed. When I gave them their traveling money this afternoon one of them spoke for the group. He specifically asked that I give thanks to all who helped them make the journey. When you read this they will have only began the way home.
Day began as all others having followed a sound sleep. This morning Ricardo knocked my door and wanted to know if I would like to go to breakfast. The hotel has a free breakfast so I dined on 2 hard-boiled eggs and some bread. In Ricardo’s class during the week he spoke from Matthew 5 that we are the salt of the earth. He used the example that the white of an egg is not tasty without salt. I told him this morning that I kept my mouth shut when he said that because I like the white of an egg and I never put salt on it. We had a nice conversation and then it was time to go upstairs and change for the day. Four of the five days this week I wore African shirts. On Monday and Friday, they were from Cameroon; on Tuesday from Nigeria and Wednesday from Ghana. I went downstairs to give Lucy their taxi money but she had not arrived. I tarried a few minutes in the room because it has nice A/C. Finally, I had to leave and we climbed machines to the hall. I was there for the first hour of Ricardo’s class and then had to do my duty. He had forgotten something at the hotel that he needed so I was nice enough to go and fetch it for him. I do not like riding machines but I will do so anyway to help the team. Scratch that last sentence because of Revelation 21:8! I took the girls their taxi money and collected their evaluation forms. I have not even sorted them yet and will do that tomorrow or Sunday. After Ricardo’s class Julien and Martin carried us back and we dined in his room. I don’t know what it is about Cameroon but everything tastes soooooooooooo good! Almost as good as plane and hospital food. The operative word in the last sentence is “almost”. We visited some and I came back to my room to do a few things. Then Julien and Martin carried us back to the hall. Because of the long travel of so many, they had asked if we could shorten the afternoon session. Well, it was questions and answers and I was only give 4 so we were done by 4. Then the sisters came in and sang a song for us and presented gifts to Mary and Lucy. They also gave gifts to Ricardo and me for Lori and Linda. I have not opened hers so I don’t know what it is. One of the sisters spoke and told us that the gift was small but it came from their heart. Whatever they are; they gifts are BIG! We had a great and sad time in saying goodbye. We then took that wonderful machine ride back to the hotel. I took a shower and have been working on this since. I am actually going to relax tonight and not set my alarm. Ricardo and I have a couple of things planned for tomorrow but I told Jean Claude to not even come. I want him to get some rest.
- I may have told you the lifter is working. We are so happy. We have found ourselves, however, starting to climb the steps only to remember that we can ride.
- We realize that all blessings are not equal but that all come from God. Surely the spiritual blessings we enjoy (children of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus, those who house the Holy Spirit) are the greatest. When you look at physical blessings you would not put your house on the same level as your TV. We have been so blessed on this journey and many would be classified as small but I know they are all large and I praise God that He has kept us safe and healthy.
- I mentioned the other day that since 1988 I have been in Africa each February. When I first started traveling to Ghana the trips were 25 days in length. We might go the entire trip and NEVER see a cloud and if we did see one, it was very small. Of course, my first journey to Cameroon was in 1996 but I have noticed the weather changing. This is the dry season and we have seen no rain but there are clouds all over the place. I do not think I have seen any blue since we landed.
- The couple on the right below are Rodrique and Cristel Popabou. My spell checker obviously does not know African names because it “red flagged” ‘Popabou’! He is the preacher in Yokaduma and is doing a GREAT job.
I only have a few more things to do and I will watch a movie or episode of The Rockford Files. I will eat some Ritz Crackers with sausage and a Snickers or something healthy like that. I will continue to write my ‘fluff’ each day. In about 4 hours I will Skype Charlie Brown and Grandma. It is so good to be able to see her each day! Ricardo and I are doing well and thank you for every prayer.