Tuesday, February 7, 2017 10:10pm-3:10pm CST
There is so much to write about today. Before I start at the beginning there is an urgent prayer request. This may sound strange to your ears and I do not completely understand it. One of the truly great preacher’s in the Southwest Province is currently in prison. One day about 2-3 weeks ago, he found a body of a woman who was dead on his property. In the village, the custom is to check with the Chief of the city and one of his counselors. If the chief and counselor deem that they do not know what caused the death; the body is buried where it was found. Denis (the preacher) called for the Chief but he was out of town so he called him on the phone and also one of the counselors. Denis himself is a counselor and they determined that the body was to be buried. The family of the woman was OK with that with the exception of one brother who has Denis put into prison. His court date is February 27 but I fear that even that could be moved back because of the strike. No cases have been heard for over two months. Denis is one of the strongest and most hardworking brothers I have ever known. Please pray for him and his wife Patience.
We had a good day at the seminar with 30 men as opposed to 34 last year; 33 women vs 26 in 2016 and 66 instead of the 47 we had last year in the afternoon session. We all feel as those the classes are going well. I do not see Louise but Don is doing a good job. There is one aspect of my class that never changes regardless of the text or topic. I want to challenge the men and women to learn to engage their minds and think for themselves. I told them today that when they go to church for worship or Bible class to never leave their brain at home. Certainly, in the States we have too many brethren who allow someone else to tell them what to believe. Many of them will be sorely disappointed on judgment day. I am not opposed to preachers as I are one but I realize I am not God and do not have all of the answers. Today we finished up with the topic of Discipleship and then had then break into groups. You can see one of the groups below. Each group was to discuss and answer the following questions: 1) Give 3 ways that a leader would show that Jesus is first in their life. 2) Discuss and tell how a leader will bless others. 3) Respond to this question; how does a leader’s obedience impact the church? They did a great job and three groups presented their conclusions and the class was then free to make comments. Let me give you a sampling of some of the responses: To #1: by being a good example to those both in and out of the church. Lead in a humble way and show service in all they do. #2: Invite members into their house for fellowship. Be an encourager to the saints. Sacrifice their time for others. #3: As they follow Jesus it will help transform both them and the church. By modeling the life of Jesus. Some of these may sound rather simple but if leaders do these things; the church will be blessed.
My prayer is that this seminar will truly help these brethren to change their behavior, where needed, and to truly work on their own walk with the Lord. As stated yesterday; the long-term value of the seminar will not be seen for a long time. If you could be with me I am convinced you would be very encouraged by what you would see and hear. Let me hasten to say this; I fear that sometimes you may get a wrong impression of what is taking place and here is what I mean. While the seminars have had a positive effect (in my opinion and that of many brethren) the church still has a long way to go. Kind of like the church in America.
OK: day started as all others. Not much variance in the morning although we did go down 15 minutes later with Louise as the first day always has some set-up that the others do not. Even at 8:30 there were 15 ladies present which was fairly impressive. Don climbed a machine with Julien while I was looking for Bangoss (Martin). He came running across the street as he was parked on the other side. The journey to the church hall is only 10 minutes’ maximum. Louise did not need me today so I was in Don’s class all morning and it was enjoyable. At lunch Don and Louise came back to the hotel but I had meetings with 3 different preachers. Everything went well and I was able to do a little bit of visiting with various brethren after the last meeting. I thought before my class began yesterday that I might not have enough material but now I fear I have too much. I will have to pick up the pace tomorrow as I begin on the topic of Service. My class ran a bit over as brethren had so many questions/comments. We climbed machines back and once again I rode with Louise. On the way back I conveyed to her how much I enjoy watching the machines maneuver. Her comment was the way they negotiate! I fell going into the hotel (actually on the street) and have some marks on both hands and one knee. Also, struck my face on the concrete but I truly believe my beard saved me. Pretty sure I would be doctoring it were it not for my facial hair. BTW: Linda; I am fine! We ate in my room tonight and as I told you; no more recipes but you would have enjoyed my dish. Actually, Don and Louise are starting to beg for my food so I share some of it with them Louise got on my computer while Don and I visited about old times. I have already showered and will Skype with Linda and Charlie Brown in about 30 minutes.
- Guy Elissa (pictured below with Don) has been helping with the translation this week. He works for the Cameroonian Embassy and has been stationed in London and will leave at the early part of March. He translated for me back in October and does a GREAT job.
- This is the dry season but it actually rained during Don’s class this morning. Nothing severe but it did get my attention.
- Oftentimes the “miscellaneous” part of my blog is pure fluff but this is an exception. Jean Claude and I are thinking about putting in a WBS Reading Center. He has told me that many denominations have them and they have proven to be helpful in growing a church. We would have a TV and a video projector to show religious CDs on. We would have 3 computers that are hooked to the internet for people to do WBS lessons. We would have so many WBS lessons and books (both in French and English) for people to read. We are still in the infant stages and do not have a firm figure in mind of cost. I am alerting you of this not for funds but for prayers.
- Now it is time to share a funny thought; today a brother named Godlove came by at lunchtime to visit. I have known him for well over a decade and he has a good job. He was talking about how tough Catherine (Jean Claude’s first wife) was in Bible class. He said: she would terrorize us. Gisele was standing there and she also taught Godlove but was much kinder. He said: Gisele was the UN Peace Keeping unit and Catherine was Al-Qaida. He also said that she would beat the children and forbid them from crying. He said they would internalize until they got away from her and then they would cry and cry and cry!
- Let me say a few positive things about this hotel: 1) The lighting in the room is actually better than any hotel I have stayed at in the States. 2) It is very spacious with more room than I need. The amenities such as fridge, A/C and bathroom are really first class. The day can be very long and hot and I am able to work in comfort and I thank the Lord for these blessings.
Have a few more things to do and will hit the sack. It is looking like the Strike is not going to cease anytime soon so we will have to find out when the best day to travel to Kumba is. I am really sad because it appears we will lose 2 days of instruction, I realize the power of God but also understand that He does not always override stubborn people. I have first-hand experience with that. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.