Wednesday, June 27, 2018 9:00pm-3:00pm CST
Do I have a story to tell but you are going to have to wait a bit. Only 97,000 seconds before I see TMBWITU who is pictured on the right below. You have heard that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and she is by far, the most beautiful woman in the world and/or universe. The picture on the left is the most beautiful site for Candace. She told me that whenever she feels down, she is going to look at that picture as it will bring a smile to her face! Since I last wrote we hung out and had a good time. I was able to Skype with Linda which is a highlight of my day. We left the hotel at 5:30 and the traffic was not too bad. Made it to the airport with no problems and got in easily. That is where the story begins; Chris and Candace were scheduled to fly out on Brussels Airlines and I noticed that they were headed to the office. The person who issues boarding passes said they had to go there. We were in the office for at least 20 minutes as the man spent time playing on his computer. Finally, a boarding pass was printed for each of them to Brussels and they were told to get their other BPs in Brussels. They went back and the person (I don’t know if it was a man or woman) said they could only check their bags to Brussels and not to Dallas and they would have to take them off and recheck them. Well, that wasn’t good so they went back to the office and finally got everything worked out. While I was in the office with them I looked out and noticed that the Air France line had opened up so I went to Mike and Jan and told them to go on and I would take my bags. The next thing I knew was that Mike and Jan had to go to the Air France office and all of this (I assume) is because of the cancellation last night. Mike told me that I might end up there and unfortunately, he was correct. When I spoke to the lady who would give my boarding pass she said I had to go to the office. Reminded me of junior high as I spent too much time in the office. I must add; I was ALWAYS innocent! Well, finally the girl told me that my ticket number was no good because my travel agent had to reissue and Air France did not have the number. Talk about being up a tree without a paddle or something like that! I called my travel agent (I am really glad I had my phone on me) and she was at lunch. One of the guys there could not help me so I waited 30 minutes and called her back. Finally got the ticket number and was able to get my 3 boarding passes. Customs was no problem and when I got to the gate went in easily. They have checked my carry-ons and all is well. I assume that in previous missives (not on this trip) I have told you that my family and many who travel with me mock my getting to airports so early. Well, it paid off as I am in the boarding area with 2+ hours to spare. Oh; the area downstairs was borderline cold. Usually it is a bit cool but they had cranked up the A/C. It is nice up here. I plan to work on my trip report and PowerPoint for July 8. Once we board I plan to eat and then sleep. Will not have a book or anything. Well, in case I cannot sleep I will work on my class for February at the seminar. It will be at the airport in Paris or on the plane to Cincinnati before I write some more garbage.
Thursday, June 28, 2018 9:15am-2:15am CST
Roughly 58,000 seconds before I see TMBWITU but who is counting! This will surprise no one who has ever traveled but I had a Marvelous meal on the plane last night. Hard to believe that Business could be any better. We took off about 40 minutes late and landed 30 minutes late but no problem as I have enough time built in. We started out in Gate A32 and then after a couple of hours they moved us to A21 where Chris and Candace had flown out of. They should be taking off for Dallas in an hour or so. Was able to sleep about 4 hours which is great. Went through security and am at the gate right now. We will start boarding in about 20 minutes. It is so cool that they have free internet in the airport. Was able to check email and get some responses. I am hoping that I have electricity in my seat on this next flight. I only have a window of 1 hour and 10 minutes to clear customs in Cincinnati, retrieve my bag and get to the gate. My guess is that I will miss the flight but there is one 2 hours later.
We have crossed one-time zone. I have come to the conclusion that Air France and Delta are in a competition to see who can serve the best food. While last night’s meal was deeeeeeeeeeeeeeelicious; I think the lunch I just finished was a little bit better. Of course, none of these delicacies can touch my unbelievably great recipes. Boarding was smooth and I have a nice seat with a lot of legroom. I am happy because I have electricity in my seat so I will stay on the computer for some time. Some will be work and other will be watching videos.
You might not know it from reading my fluff but I do have one or two serious bones in my body. There are two things I want to discuss with you.
First; I am highly aware that from Final Howdy to Final Howdy as I share the state of the church in Cameroon; things don’t change in a great way. I believe that is true because positive change takes more time than we would like. If your local congregation has changed for the good in a great way over the past, let’s say 5 years, that is fantastic. I know from what I read that the church in America is declining in growth. Some of what I am about to say has been stated in earlier “Howdys” because I want to give not only a ‘status report’ of the church but how this campaign contributed in a positive way. If you have been reading my reports for any length of time; you are aware that my concern is always direction. We will never grow as fast as I would like but the central question is: which direction are we headed? I now have a 22-year window to look through regarding the work in Cameroon. Is everything positive as it pertains to the church today in that country? Absolutely not! One of my mission philosophies is that we must push them out of the nest. This does not make me right; it is simply my view. I believe that the church over decades in foreign work has done much harm with dollars. It was always done with a good heart but in country after country we have developed an entitlement mentality where the native church expects us to do all of the funding. That retards their growth in giving as I believe the church in Cameroon can do so much more than it is doing regarding finance. There is a reason why I only spend a small amount of time in Cameroon in Leadership Training, Evangelism and Encouragement. I want the church in Cameroon to fund itself, train itself and sustain itself. I believe that will take place but not until we begin to pull back. For example, 8 years ago we had 14 preachers on support and that number is now 7. The goal is for the number to be zero. I am not saying that we have reached the place where we should stop all funding; simply that adding new financial commitments will slow the growth of the church as it pertains to taking care of itself. This past campaign may have been the best one ever. Oh, not in number of baptisms but in the various ways that I spoke of day after day where we were maturing the local congregations. The brethren were highly pleased with the work that was done with children, sisters and leaders. You can never judge the success of a campaign by baptisms, even if the number is high. The question is not how many were baptized over a campaign but how many of them will be faithful 1 year, 5 years and 10 years from now? The work we did with the local churches will have, I pray, a great impact on the future of the church. I do believe there is a good nucleus forming of both leaders and followers.
Let me address a severe problem that I will place in my trip report that will go out to many, but not all of you. There has been simmering tension for a number of years between the French and English in Cameroon. It would appear to me that all of the power (political and military) is with the French. Over the past few months there have been rebels who are stirring up trouble. The military is fighting back and here is the result as it pertains to the church; many of our congregations are not able to meet at all and the rest have seen their numbers in worship reduced in a great way. Many of our brethren are living in the “bush” in fear and have little or no food. I want to help to the greatest degree possible and if you could contribute any amount; make a check payable to the Buckingham Road Church of Christ and put “Cam Benevolence” under memo and mail to:
Buckingham Road Church of Christ
Attn: Jim Corner
3630 Buckingham Road
Garland, TX 75042
My plan is to wire money around August 1 and I have chosen two reliable brothers who will take care of the distribution. Only God knows how long this crisis will go on so please ask Him to intervene to bring peace. I cannot state strongly enough that many of our brethren are suffering and living in fear.
About 14,000 seconds to you know what! Flight from Paris was great and we landed about 10 minutes early. I had a fairly tight connection but everything went well and I was at the gate before boarding began. For some reason they put me in 1st Class which is fine but I ain’t eating anything because Thursday night is Dairy Queen night for Linda and me. Actually, with her Celiac there ain’t much for her except a salad and blizzard. I called her and she was at Chili’s so she will be fairly full. Customs was no problem in Cincinnati and my bag came out so all is well. I did get a text from Chris and he and Candace are in Germany until 5pm their time and will fly to Chicago and then to Dallas arriving about midnight tonight. They have REALLY had a long trip home! We have about 90 minutes before we land so I am going to relax. Can’t end without telling you once again how grateful we are for all of your prayers. We do not take them lightly and they give us comfort. Remember that we will make our trip report at Buckingham Road at 5pm on Sunday, July 8. Hope you can make it.