Friday, November 3, 2017 8:45pm-2:45pm CST
Today was a productive and yet unusual day. Let me start with the latter first: we did not go out today as we were scheduled to work with the Bonaberi Church of Christ. As with all of the congregations; they had months and months of advance notice of our coming but told Jean Claude yesterday that they had no prospects. To be fair to them; the congregation is almost completely made up of workers and the brother who is serving as their preacher is only part-time but a full-time accountant. Their former minister, Louis Bassay is studying at Harding and is scheduled to return next June or July. My prayer is that this great man of God will not have been harmed by the influence of America. My experience is that the large majority of 3rd world people who come to America are spoiled to the place that they either want to remain or go back on a much higher standard of living. I can understand that since I have been working in Africa for nearly 30 years and is the major reason why I steadfastly oppose a brother or sister from this country to go to America for an extended period of time. America is like a Candy Store to a 3-year-old. If you allow them to remain for an extended period of time; they will not want to come out. I pray that what I just said does not sound harsh as my only concern is for the well-being of the church in this country. I love the Bonaberi congregation and know that they are striving to do their best.
Now for the productive part: I was able to work on a PowerPoint Presentation of the trip that I will show to a number of congregations upon my return. I worked on a Bible class that I will be teaching when I return at my congregation. I worked on the sermon I will preach this Sunday at Jean Claude’s congregation. I worked on formulating the itinerary for our trip next October. These campaigns and seminars do not happen by accident nor without a great deal of planning. I also visited with Mary about a number of future seminars and visits that the sisters who have been trained by Louise Clement will make. The most pressing one is next month in the North which will require a far greater expenditure because of great travel expenses and more costs regarding lodging. The trip for Mary and Nadedge will cost a little over $350. I spent a good deal of time with Jean Claude discussing a new ministry we want to begin. As you know; the leadership of a congregation is vital to its growth. In the smaller cities and villages, the leadership is often poor and needs training. Some of them can come to the seminar in February but many cannot. We want to begin a ministry in which 2 brothers will travel to an area and spend Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the leaders of the congregation. We will organize the seminars much like the ladies do theirs. That is; a number of leaders will come from various congregations to a central village and spend those days in training. Our prayer is that this will enhance the growth of the church in this country. Obviously; the cost will be determined to a great extent by the distance being traveled. We would like to send Jean Claude and Simon Parfait to the North in December but that will cost about $450. We have two other seminars tentatively planned for January and March and they will only be about $125 each. This blog goes out to a limited number of people and I am not sure how many actually read it. I have probably shared this story with you in the past but here goes. I do not believe many brethren read their bulletin very carefully. I joked to an elder some years ago that they should put the following in the bulletin; The piano will be delivered and ready for worship next Sunday and see how many people even read that! I will also put this in my trip report that will go out to around 200 brethren/churches around November 15. If you can help with this endeavor; please email me and let me know and I can give you the info on how to make your check out. If you cannot help financially; please keep the plan in prayer.
Instead of giving you a ‘blow by blow’ account of the day I will give a few highlights besides the ones above. Jean Claude came around noon and I had already begun some of the work mentioned above. He and I went to our favorite hamburger joint and enjoyed our meal. I took a machine back to the hotel while he went to do some other errands. Oh; I was blessed to ride on a machine in high traffic where we were on the wrong side of the road and going against the oncoming vehicles. I can’t remember what kind of fish swims upstream but that was who we were and it was really nice! When I got back I was able to dialogue with Mary about the women’s stuff I mentioned above. I have been on the computer for the past 6 hours and feel comfortable with what I have been able to get done. Let me explain the two pictures below which are from yesterday; on the left is the village of Kombe. This is a typical small village with no electricity or running water. Floors are all dirt and the blocks are made from mud. I have been fascinated over the years to note that the poor people I come in contact with are more times than not; happier than Americans. If you look at your stuff you will notice that so much of what worries us is tied to our wealth. I know when I was a little kid I was happier than my grandchildren and had about 2% of what they have in material things. On the right you see Martin and myself. He is such a loving and humble Christian.
As of yesterday, Linda was still on her roller coaster. I pray she can get off soon. I will Skype with her and Charlie Brown in about an hour. We are doing well and thank you for your prayers.