Friday, February 16, 2018 10:20pm-3:20pm CST
I am struggling to know how to begin. It is somewhat incredible to me that we began these seminars 20 years ago. The Lord has blessed us and we are seeing fruit from the way the brethren are grappling with the Scriptures. In the past we found a majority of the leaders who were simply robots and could spit out what they had been programmed to believe. We understand that sound doctrine must be followed and that we are not free to believe whatever we choose. I also know that because we are fallible human beings; we do not always teach and/or live as we should. The mission of the seminar is several fold: 1) To share some teachings of the Bible so that they can go back and first model and then teach what they have learned. 2) To grow in their personal faith so that others can see Jesus living in them. 3) To assist them in learning how to think for themselves. We are aware that many good people will never enjoy Heaven because they blindly followed a man. He may have been a good and sincere man but Jesus must be our focus. Now, as long as the man is following the Lord it is good and fine to mimic his example (I Corinthians 11:1). I would argue that the most challenging part of the seminar is the 3rd point mentioned. Not on this trip but on previous ones I have stated that the church in Cameroon (I am overstating the case) resembles the church in America in the 50’s and 60’s. You may or may not agree with what I am fixin to say and certainly, we all have different experiences as it pertains to the church. What I remember was a group of people who were dogmatic and who believed that whatever came from the mouth of the preacher was correct. I am not impugning the integrity of any preacher but I believe that there were things sincerely taught that were wrong. We want to train leaders in Cameroon to be good Bible students and to preach sound doctrine that they have studied instead of parroting someone else.
Here is how the final day of teaching unfolded: nothing exceptional about the morning except to say once again that I slept well and I am thankful to the Lord for that GREAT blessing. Richard and I never have a problem getting two machines and we arrived 15 minutes early. As I write this I am sad because I will not be able to see these great brethren tomorrow. During Richard’s class I had to run some more errands so enjoyed some more exposure on a machine. Also, that gremlin that cannot be named forced me once more to drink a Coke Zero as I had to come to the hotel to give some things to Lori and collect the evaluation forms. It may be a day or two before I read all of them and when I do; I will give you some excerpts. We took two machines back to the hotel and ate lunch in the restaurant. It was delicious and as I have stated many times; it is just a joy to be with Richard and Lori and witness their faith. I did a few things to prepare for my afternoon class and then the 3 Amigos picked us to the hall. I was happy with my class and tonight at supper (a snack in Richard and Lori’s room) we all agreed that in both Kumba and Douala the seminar went well. At the end of the seminar the sisters presented each of us with a gift. You can see me receiving mine below and it was a very nice shirt. Their love for us is overwhelming. Afterwards, people were snapping pictures with us right and left. We had an adventurous ride back with the 3 Amigos. Actually, every time you climb a machine it is a wonderful adventure. Headed for the shower immediately and then went down to Richard’s and Lori’s room as mentioned above. Came back and got on the computer and then Richard came down and we visited for a bit. Lord willing, I will be able to Skype with Charlie Brown and Grandma soon. I will then be able to do some email.
- When I am teaching in the seminar I take a handkerchief to wipe my brow. I determine the heat index by how wet my handkerchief is at the end of the session. Well, today I think I could have rung a bucket of water out of mine!
- In the two seminars we had leaders from 70 congregations. If you examine the population of the church in this country, that represents those who lead roughly 75% of the Christians in this country.
- A true blessing of mine is learning from my brethren. I may be the one in front but through their comments and questions; I too am growing in my knowledge of the Word. Also, I enjoy being challenged by certain things I say because it causes me to think and sometimes rethink a belief I have held.
- I want to challenge each of you to come to Cameroon with me in the future. You can spend only a day or two but I want you to ride a machine in Douala. Richard and I were speaking of the fact that the atmosphere cannot be described. I am not a particularly good wordsmith but even if I was the best; I could not paint a clear picture of the traffic and how they maneuver.
- We had 46 men in Richard’s class; 50 sisters in Lori’s and 80 in mine. Their classes were the highest attended of the week and mine was the second highest.
- In the past, the trials (and I use that word loosely) of Cameroon made America seem so great. The reality is that on this journey we have been spoiled by the safe travel, great hotels and marvelous food. Every howdy has successfully been sent and our internet has been great.
- Below is a photo of the group in Douala.
The journey has been great in every conceivable way and we thank you for your part through prayer and to each who contributed financially. I could not have asked for a better trip.