Tuesday, June 28, 2016 10:25pm-4:25pm CST
I will see the most beautiful woman in the world in about 93,000 seconds! Left the hotel at 5:30 and it was interesting watching us load the two taxis. These are small Toyota Corolla’s and we had 7 passengers (plus the drivers) and 9 large suitcases and 6 carry-ons but we had no trouble getting them in. Well, maybe a little trouble but nothing that could not be handled. The traffic for the first mile or so was horrendous. It is hard to describe how congested the traffic is but for those of you who remember Central Expressway when it was 2 lanes on each side; well, reduce it to one lane on each side and you will get the picture. After a while the traffic ‘thinned’ out and we made it to the airport with no problems. We were immediately able to get in and get our boarding passes. Sailed through Customs and got down to the gate fairly quickly. You have to go back out once security arrives to have them check your bags. Kevin got called away because they had seen a large piece of wood in the X-ray and thought it might be illegal. It was just a chair (not full size) that he had bought and there was no problem. Bryan and Chris took me and Ken on in Spades and Bryan had never played before and it showed. You need to keep Chris in prayer because I think he may need psychological help when he gets back. We drilled them but I must confess that Chris had a huge albatross around his neck. Then Bryan was hungry and wanted to know if we could go get a Honey Bun. I think he must be delirious or simply forgot that he was not at DFW. We went down and got a cold Coke Zero (Bryan had a Jino which is a nice fruit drink) and we got some really nice peanuts. Bryan also was able to get some Sour & Cream Pringles! We are about 45 minutes from loading. The picture on the left below is a few days ago at a nice petrol station. The picture on the right is of the board at the Kossala Church of Christ I was at on Sunday. Notice the high number of kids. Also, do not think that they are self-sufficient because of the contribution. The 11,350 is just a little over $20.
Wednesday, June 28, 2016 4:30am-Tuesday, June 27, 2016 9:30pm
We are down to 72,000 seconds before I see my gorgeous wife! What am I doing up at this time of morning?! Most of you know that the only reason I can spell “technology” is because I have a spell checker. I marvel, however, at my present situation. First, my seat has a power outlet which is relatively new for the flight from/to Paris. Second, I had to be able to see it so I got my IPhone out and used the flashlight. Third, I am charging my MP3 player while listening to my ITunes. Right now I am listening to 728B. Now, for many of you that may not be very impressive but I am very impressed and a bit surprised at my technoologicaal expertise! I mentioned the other day that my ‘light-up’ keyboard was not needed on this just completed journey but it is handy right now as the cabin lights are dim because most insane people are asleep. I was happily shocked that Air France started the boarding process at 10:25 for a 11:45 take-off. Actually they should always do this because we left the gate right on time. Every seat has a personal video system so I can see where we are flying, how fast, at what altitude and the arrival time. The scheduled arrival is 7:10am but we are on schedule to land at 6:55 which makes me very happy since we have an 8:35 departure to Atlanta. We should be fine and by the time you receive this you will know. Had another EXCELLENT meal but, of course, that is the only kind airplanes serve. I have been working on my Trip Report and will have it finished, Lord willing, before I land in Dallas. Kevin is going to put together the PowerPoint presentation of the report we will give at Buckingham Road on the 10th of July at 5:00pm. I am going to lead a song, have a prayer and another song to give the guys time to talk. I will only make a few short comments. I know that everyone only wants to hear Bryan but tough luck; you are going to have to listen to Kevin, Ken and Chris as well! I have some correspondence to write and then I will try to sleep.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016 8:30am-4:30am CST
We are under 50,000 seconds but who is counting? As you can see; we have crossed a few time zones on our way to Atlanta. Got a bunch of letters written and got an hour of sleep, maybe. We landed 15 minutes ahead of schedule and had to walk down a ramp from the plane and take a bus to the terminal. We arrived at Security fairly quickly but my Pacemaker slowed us down a bit. The man asked me for my card showing I had a Pacemaker and the first card I showed did not have my name on it. He needed one with my name and I had it in my wallet. I am going to digress for just a minute: I am so pleased that my seat has a power outlet and it is a joy to look at my ‘thing’ that says fully charged. Ken had to get some chocolate for his lovely bride and ducked into a store while we went to the gate. They had started lining up but it was 10 minutes before we moved so he made it with plenty of time to spare. I have an excellent bulkhead seat with lots of room. There is a 21-year-old girl from France who was a foreign exchange student about 3 years ago. She is returning to visit the family she lived with. Her name is Axelle and is very sweet. I am going to give her one of my WBS cards and encourage her to study. Due to the fact we left early we had breakfast and it was SUPBERB. With the electrical outlet I will be able to stay on the computer most of the way.
Let me give some general views of both the trip and the ministry in Cameroon. Much of this will be repetition from either previous “Howdys” on this journey or things I have written in reports. Let’s begin with the trip: I have thought over the past few days and this was one of the most fruitful and easy trips we have had in June. Fruitful not only from the standpoint of baptisms but the times we were able to share with our brothers and sisters in Cameroon. “Success” of a trip can be hard to quantify. We understand that we, like the Lord, want everyone to come to repentance. We also understand the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:13,14 that the road to destruction is vastly more populated than the road to eternal life. There is a plethora of reasons for that but I am convinced a major one is that few people (% wise) will surrender their lives to the Lord. Even within the body of Christ I would argue that well over 50% do not live sanctified lives. I certainly pray that I am off and will allow God to be the final judge. I have limited exposure to the Kingdom but what I see are more and more brethren who have a “church building” mentality. They are moral in their daily lives and might even consider themselves to be religious. When you examine, however, the fruit in their lives the picture is not always pretty. I would not lie to you or mislead you into thinking that everything in Cameroon is hunky-dory. The church in that country has many backsliders and many lukewarm members. We know from churches such as Sardis and Laodicea that ‘dead’ and ‘lukewarm’ churches have been around from the beginning. What we saw on this campaign were many brothers and sisters who truly love the Lord and are trying to bring their lives into conformity with the will of God. Realistically, we could not have hoped for a better campaign. I want to briefly talk about the physical side of the trip. As I have written in the past; I am fully aware that the spiritual trumps the physical in ways that I cannot describe or understand. That said; I thank God for the blessings He gives me in the States and on this trip. When you compare the physical side of the trip you, of course, measure it against previous ones. I have been working in Africa for 28 years and remember the day when you were surprised (pleasantly I might add) to see A/C or a cold Coke. On this trip we had a fridge in our room in both Kumba and Douala. At least for me; blessings that would be called small seem so much bigger in Cameroon. The other night at the dinner table I mentioned to Kevin that a cold Coke tastes better in Cameroon than in the States. The travel this year was by far easier than last year. Kurt Simmons, Mike & Jan Degge and my marvelous daughter can recall some serious mud last year. This year we dealt with mud by not on the same level.
I will never be completely satisfied with the work in Cameroon any more than I am completely satisfied with my own faith. I know that my faith is small and I often fail to serve the Lord as I should. My ‘benchmark’ for determining if I am pleased is based on direction. In II Corinthians 4:16 Paul speaks of the fact that “outwardly we are wasting away”. I was showing Axelle some pictures of my family and stumbled on one of me that was 30 years old. I actually had a dark beard and looked young! As my dear brother Bryan will say: I am ancient. Those of us who have some age on us understand that reality. A kid like Bryan cannot because he is still growing. What I like about the passage is: “inwardly we are being renewed day by day”. If we are living as we should, we will always be growing. The faithful Christian will never waste away spiritually. When I examine what is taking place in Cameroon within the church, I see positive results. I know that I have shared this in the past: I am convinced my eyes will never see great numerical growth in Cameroon. When I was a kid our preacher would get up in late December or early January and say something like this: ‘brethren, we may not have grown much numerically this past year but we sure grew spiritually.’. As a kid I didn’t give it much thought but my take as an adult was that was code for: we didn’t grow. Having said that; when you look at either a congregation or the church in a country; true spiritual growth will always precede numerical. When I examine this ministry; we are laying a foundation rather than putting up walls, windows, doors and a roof. There are many things that we are doing that are contributing to the spiritual maturity of many brethren. The February seminar, the support of selected preachers, the preachers who toil in the villages, the sisters that train others to teach children and the Bible school curriculum are only a few. I think I mentioned yesterday the effort Jean Claude suggested regarding putting together a follow-up team for the campaigns. I think that is an excellent idea and would not be cost prohibitive. I am confident that within the next 20 years many congregations will have elders. I am also confident that within the next 20-50 years (if the Lord delays His return) the church will grow by leaps and bounds. If you look at the church in Ghana the first convert we are aware of was in the late 1950s. Jerry Reynolds and another brother went with their families and lived in Ghana in 1961 & 62. However, 15 years later the church had only grown to 3,000 with no elders in any congregation. Today there are well over 300,000 members in 1,500 congregations and those are conservative numbers. Also, there are many congregations (I don’t know the number) that have shepherds. There was a great deal of groundwork that was laid to precipitate the growth that is evident today. I do not expect the numbers in Cameroon that are in Ghana because of 2 reasons: 1) the population of Ghana is at least 5,000,000 more. 2) 80% of the population of Cameroon is French speaking and for a number of reasons, the French are not as receptive to the gospel as the English. That is true whether you are talking about France, Belgium or any country in the world where French is the dominant language. I would ask you to pray for this work on a daily basis. This is not a newsflash but ministries like this require money. I am so grateful to those of you who have been blessed to give on a regular or one-time basis.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016 2:15pm-1:15pm CST
Under 15,000 seconds!!!! Flight to Atlanta was fine except it was 30 minutes late and we only had about an hour when we deplaned to clear Customs, get our bags and get to the gate. When we got out of Security we saw on the board that our plane was boarding. Bryan and I were the last to board. In fact, when I walked up to the girl that checks boarding passes she said: are you Corner or Rendon. Once on board the flight attendants said our bags had made it to the plane before we did. We should land at 2:45 and be at the gate on schedule. Unless something out of the ordinary happens after we land, this is all until October. Once again, I cannot thank you enough for your prayers and I say that on behalf of the entire team. Remember to be at Buckingham Road @ 5:00pm on Sunday, July 10. You will like what you hear.