Wednesday, February 22, 2017 12:20pm-5:20am CST
The countdown has begun! I will see the most beautiful woman in the world in about 234,000 seconds. To put that in perspective; it has been nearly 2 million seconds since I saw her adoring face. For the past 3 weeks, time has been flying by but the next two days will slow to a crawl. Coming over the trip seems faster because of the anticipation of the seminar or campaign, as the case may be. Once it is over, however, you are ready to be home right now. On a 5-hour journey with your kids when they were young did you ever hear 5 minutes into the trip: are we there yet? Oh well, it has been a great trip as you already know. I can’t predict how this blog will play out as I will add to it a number of times before it is sent. As I have stated on many occasions; I would love to sleep till noon on a travel day but I woke up at 7:30 this morning. Stayed in bed for a while but realized I was not going back to sleep. With only a few exceptions; everything is packed and ready to go. I did some tweaking to my PPT for Buckingham Road on March 12. I pray that the presentation will be encouraging. Jean Claude is supposed to come at 1 and we will have our last lunch. Basically relax this afternoon and then head for the airport at 6 for a departure at 11:55pm. When Louise emailed me (did I tell you she made it home safely?) she said the flight out of Douala left an hour late which is oftentimes, par for the course. She made all of her connections and arrived in Lubbock 20 minutes early. I get to the airport early so that I can check in quickly and then head to the gate where there is A/C. I don’t remember if I told you but in October I was upgraded to Business Class and that was REALLY nice. Doubt if lightening will strike twice but hope springs eternal. I will Skype with Linda this afternoon before I leave and then be able to call her from the airport tonight. That will be my last contact with her until I see her on Friday. Quite a difference from my first trips to Africa where I had no communication with her for 25 days.
I did not put this in my Howdy yesterday because I did not want to alarm Linda. I went to a doctor at the Military Hospital. I think I mentioned Fred Mboka who is a member at Jean Claude’s congregation and is also a Colonel in the army and an MD. He arranged an appointment and took me to the doctor and said: he is the doctor of dizziness. I am guessing that is not an official title. Maybe his title is: MDOD? Well, I have dealt with dizziness for some years and take medication for the malady. I have a blood pressure cuff with me and my BP was perfect. He ran me through some tests and it appears that I have an inner ear problem. When I get back I will check with my doctor and probably go to an ENT. He gave me a prescription to take and the dizziness is of such a nature that it is faint at the moment. I would not have gone to him if I was not traveling but am confident that all will be well. While you cannot pray that I have a safe trip, regarding this matter; I would ask that I am able to find a correct diagnosis in Garland. I will write more later.
We are now under 200,000 seconds until I see Linda! I am in “semi-hog heaven”; no I did not get upgraded to Business Class but 1) I am in a wonderful A/Cd room and 2) I have electricity so I can use my computer and not lose power. Jean Claude, Mary and I had a delightful lunch and then climbed machines back to the hotel. We then Skyped with Linda and they were happy to see her and the feeling was mutual. I will call her in a few hours and that will be my last contact until Friday night. Left the hotel at 5:40 and got to the airport around 6. I am confident that I have said the following on a former trip: a picture may be worth a thousand words but being there is worth a thousand pictures. The shot on the left below is from the back seat of a taxi and you can tell we are on the correct side of the road with heavy traffic on the other side. That is why you see machines on OUR side! I generally get pictures of people sleeping on the trips but the one below is the only one I have. Jean Claude is doing a good job of directing us on the way to the airport! Arrived with no problems and went in immediately. Had to wait about 30 minutes but then got my boarding pass, cleared Customs and here I am. They will ‘chase’ us out and start inspecting us within the next hour or so. Still have over 4 hours before we fly out. Scheduled to land at 6:30 in the morning and I am overnighting. Did this in October and it is really nice to get a good night’s rest instead of flying straight back. Will just stay at the hotel as I have seen all of Paris I ever need to see.
Let me spend some time in discussing the ramifications from this journey. I spoke with Jean Claude and he has the same belief that I do regarding the seminars, namely, they are having a positive effect. From seminar to seminar and trip to trip I am aware that there is a great deal of repetition in what I say. I just want you to know that I know that. The ultimate goal of this ministry is the following: Cameroonians Winning Cameroon For Christ. The American influence has its place but we must never lose sight of the fact that a local church determines its destiny. In the States, we can bring in a guest speaker and he can say some good things and motivate us for a night or two but he will go back to his home. If our congregation is to grow; we will do the heavy lifting. I am not going to go through all of the parts of this ministry but they all are aimed at 2 generations from now. I realize that the Lord may come back before then and if so, that is His business. Until He chooses to make that decision; we need to be involved in spreading the gospel. While there are exceptions to the rule; a church will never surpass its leaders. Oh, a congregation with weak leaders can have some strong members but not many. We know that the church in Sardis (Revelation 3) was dead because Jesus said so. However, within this dead church there were some faithful brethren. That church, however, was not dominated by strength. In many ways, I am repeating in different words much of what I said in previous Howdys. This seminar had (I think) a positive impact upon those who attended. Now, as I have said in the past; the ultimate success or failure of this or any other seminar will not be known for some time. It is obvious that previous seminars have had a GREAT impact on the leadership of the church. Also, I am not naïve; I am aware that some who attend the seminar go back and do nothing with what they have learned. I also know from experience that many do use the material and that positive change is taking place. My overriding request for you regarding prayer as it pertains to the church in Cameroon is the following: please ask the Lord to help those who would lead His people to be true Christ like leaders.
While I will not deal with all that we are doing I do want to highlight the children’s ministry. I spoke with Jean Claude today and he believes that Noble Age 4 can be translated completely into French within the next 4 months. This is no small undertaking and he has 3 others who are working with him. We have had this material in English for 2 years but due to reasons beyond anyone’s control; it is now getting done. We are also working on Noble Age 5 which is 2 years behind schedule. Once again, the reasons for the delay were unavoidable. Noble Age 5 is for the teenagers and our goal in this series is to help them not simply get baptized; but surrender their lives to the Lord. When I look at the church in America and Cameroon I see many similarities; I pray that I am wrong but I see member after member who has never surrendered their lives to the Lord. If you look at your congregation and subtract the backsliders and lukewarm; a good chunk of your congregation is out of the picture. When you look at the power of God and the weakness of the church; you are driven (at least I am) to think that somewhere along the line we have failed our Father. Ephesians 3:20 says that God is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or think by the power that is within us. That, of course, is the power of God but unless we are plugged in to the power source; we will remain small. The children’s material and the work that Louise does with the sisters is aimed at changing the next generation of kids. She and the sisters in Cameroon are doing a great job.
Thursday, February 23, 2017 2:45pm-7:45am CST
The number keeps reducing as when I will see Linda. Lord willing, it will be in about 140,000 seconds. Boarded early last night and actually took off 10 minutes early which is quite unique in Douala. Flight was fine and I was able to dine on some marvelous airplane food. How they do such a great job is beyond me. Did some reading but also got a few hours of sleep. Customs was a nightmare but only in the sense of time. You would have to see this line to believe it but it took 1 solid hour to get to the man who stamped my passport. Once I got to the luggage carousel my bag was there. I go over with two bags; one large and a second smaller. I leave virtually everything I take so on the way back I can fit my small bag into my large one. Got to the hotel shuttle with no problems and was able to check in immediately. I took a 3 hour nap and have been on the computer for the past hour or so. I am fixin to eat and the plan is to get to bed by 7pm and get up at 6am. I feel fine and know that your prayers are with me.
Friday, February 24, 2017 8:45am 1:45am CST
I am now within 75,000 seconds of seeing Linda!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Got to bed at 7:15 last night and had a good night’s rest. I was packed before I went to bed so it only took about 30 minutes to head downstairs. There was no line so I checked out immediately and the bus to the airport arrived within 2 minutes. Once I got here I was able to check in with no difficulty. Do not use a human anymore. Print both the boarding pass and luggage tag and just drop the stuff off. Took a train to the terminal and got through security with no problems. In the past, they have asked to see my “Pacemaker Card” but did not today. I am at the gate and will take off in about 2 hours if everything is on schedule. Will do some more work on my PPT and Trip Report. Flight to Atlanta is about 10 hours and I am hoping I have electricity all the way. On the way over the plane only had a USB connection for power and I do not an adapter for that. Will get one before my next journey. The picture on the right below is of some of the preachers in Kumba. From left to right: Glenn who preaches for the 3 Corners Fiango Church of Christ which is a suburb of Kumba. Jacob who preaches for the village church in Bai-Manya. Jean Claude who weasels his way into every picture! Bro. Inyang who preaches in Bole and I do not know the last preacher.
We are down to 36,000 seconds but I am not paying that much attention! We have crossed at least 4 time zones; maybe 5. Have been in the air for 9 hours and should be landing within 2 hours or less. Boarded with no problems and have had another delicious meal. There is a girl from France named Maeling with her 9 month old son Gabrielle. You can see them below. I gave her one of my WBS cards and encouraged her to study or share it with someone who is interested. Please pray for her. We had a good visit. She grew up in Nicaragua and is going there to see her family. I was able to hold him a bit while she ate. Was able to finish a book and watch a couple of shows. I will clear Customs in Atlanta and then have another 4 hours in the airport before I head to Dallas. Our son Michael is picking me up but I am not scheduled to land until 8:39pm.
We are now within about 20,000 seconds of seeing Linda! Flight from Paris was fine and cleared customs and got my bag with no problems. Since I have a long layover I have been casually walking from place to place. Ate at Boardwalk Café and had an excellent hamburger. Have been reading the internet and seeing how the world is looking. Should board in roughly 1 hour. This will probably be my last entry so I want to close by saying THANK YOU one more time. This trip has been smooth from start to finish and I cannot convey my gratitude for all of the prayers on our behalf. I want to remind all of you who go to Buckingham or who live in the Garland area to please come on Sunday, March 12 for my report. The service begins at 5:00pm.