Tuesday, November 6, 2018 8:00pm-1:00pm CST
Solomon will say that there is a time for every season. A time to write a Pre-Howdy, a time to write many intermediate Howdys and a time to write a Final Howdy. Now, I am acutely aware that in his day there were no computers nor blogs but here I am. After I last wrote here is what happened; I did some more fine tuning on my trip report and think it is about finished. I am so thankful for my computer. Left the hotel at about 6:15 and there was no traffic. Today was declared a Public Holiday because the President was sworn in. Had to wait for about an hour and then got my boarding pass; cleared Customs and got to the gate at about 7:45. It has A/C and an electrical outlet that works so my computer can stay charged. We have not had our carry-ons checked but will within 30 minutes or so. The flight is still nearly 4 hours away but I like to be early and not miss flights. I have not taken any pictures today or yesterday. The one on the left below is of the Biyem-Assi church hall and is one of the finest, if not the finest in Cameroon. On the right is a photo of the traffic in Bonaberi yesterday. The traffic was not all that heavy and we had no problems. I am going to read and write more tomorrow. We are now under 200,000 seconds before I see TMBWITU. I was able to Skype with her earlier and will call her before I take off. The next time we have contact will be Thursday night.
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 4:15pm – 9:15pm CST
Here is what has transpired since I last wrote: I met a man named Mel Davis and spoke with him for hours. He splits his time between England and France. I gave him one of my WBS cards and hope that he will write and we can study. The flight from Douala to Paris is almost always late but last night we actually left the gate 15 minutes early and landed at 6am which was 30 minutes early. I had a GREAT meal (are there any other kind) on the plane and then slept for a few hours. The line at Customs to show my passport was quite long but the luggage was still not out when I finally got to the carousel. At any rate; my bag made it. I take two over but one can fit inside the other and coming back I only need one. Made it to the hotel with no problems and went to bed from 8am till noon. I then walked around for a while and had a nice lunch. I have been able to catch up on all of my email. I am really glad I am overnighting because I feel fine and plan to get about 10 hours of sleep tonight. No contact with Linda other than to email her. I tried to call Linda on my IPhone but it would not go through. I am sure there is some way to make it work but Mark Drew is not with me. I am going to go over all of my stuff (trip report, PPT, sermons) and be ready for a relaxing flight home tomorrow. I leave Paris at 10:25am and fly to Cincinnati. I have enough of a layover that I do not need to worry about clearing Customs and checking my bag to Dallas. I will land tomorrow night at 7:07 and Michael, my son, will pick me. Tomorrow on the plane I will write my usual summary of the trip and my view on the work in Cameroon.
Thursday, November 8, 2018 11:10am-6:10am CST
Roughly 50,000 seconds before I see TMBWITU! I slept well last night and feel much better than usual when I fly straight. Had no problems in checking in at the counter for my boarding passes to Cincinnati and Dallas. Got to the gate about 90 minutes early and we boarded earlier than usual and we actually took off on time. The “flight tracker” on the plane shows us getting in to Cincinnati about 30 minutes early. I have a nice bulkhead seat with plenty of room and the seat has electricity so I can spend the balance of the trip using my computer. Had a GREAT lunch (I really miss airplane food when I am home) and after finishing this; I will look at some DVDs that I brought.
It is now time to get serious and look at the overall work that we are doing in Cameroon. I realize that much of what I am about to write has been stated in other Final Howdys. The issue here is not my lack of creativity but the fact that what we are trying to accomplish will not be done in a short period of time. I have already told you of the blessings of the journey that we just finished. There will always be hiccups (witness Ebolowa and Biyem-Assi) but I look at a campaign in its totality. In your marriage (if you are married) it is not wedded bliss 100% of the time but you look at the overall picture. Now it is true that TMBWITU is perfect but alas, I am not. Nevertheless, we are very happy. Well, I could not realistically have asked for a better campaign. Now; what about the church as a whole? Positive progress requires time and lots of it. While the church in Cameroon has had an American presence for over 50 years my footprint is only 22 years. Generally speaking, the older brethren are stuck in their ways and there is not much hope that a significant number will change. I am reminded of my dad and me when I was about 10. He had a small cement porch poured and before it hardened, I took a stick and wrote JIM. By the time he discovered what I had done; it was too late to change it. I realize that some people (including some young) will never change so I do not worry about that. What I continue to see is thought process changes which lead to behavior changes. When I teach a prospect the gospel, I spend more time on repentance than I do on baptism. The reason is very simple; repentance is when I make a mental decision to surrender my life to the Lord. Once I do that; baptism is automatic since it is a command of my Lord. If, however, my view is that baptism is some type of magical ceremony that guarantees eternal life; I may very well get wet but never repent. In Luke 6:46 Jesus said to some who were not true disciples: why do you call me Lord and fail to do what I tell you to do? Our goal with both prospects and the church is to help people live a life of dedication. Via seminars that we conduct, seminars that the natives conduct, campaigns by both Americans and Cameroonians, support of village preachers and village seminars (these are just a few things we are doing) the church is growing in both number but more importantly; in faith. We can teach and baptize huge numbers of people but the growth of the church is not based on baptisms but on those who have surrendered their lives to the Lord. The work that I do does not focus on evangelism alone but on discipleship. The work that is being done could not happen without faithful partners such as you who support this ministry with prayer and dollars. The church in Cameroon is growing because of your partnership with me in the gospel.
1:40pm – 11:40am CST
We are about 1 hour from landing in Cincinnati. Flight has been smooth and we are under 30,000 seconds before I see TMBWITU. I did watch a couple of movies and have done some reading as well. The layover in Cincinnati is 3 hours so I will not be in any type of time squeeze. I have been a bit surprised at how many empty seats there are on the plane. Generally, the flights are full regardless of the time of year. I will shut the computer down and finish the last hour reading. I will write the final installment on the plane to Dallas.
It will be roughly 10,000 seconds before I see you know who! We were ahead of schedule on the flight to Cincinnati and we deplaned as quickly as I ever have. Went through Customs with lightning speed and the luggage came shortly thereafter. Had to go through security but it was no big deal. I went to Chick-fil-A for supper and then went to the gate. Before then I was able to talk with Linda and all is well. I did some stuff at the gate on my computer and boarded on time. Scheduled to land at 7:07 in Dallas. I conclude with a huge THANK YOU for each of you who have been praying for me and Jean Claude. The Lord certainly listened and answered in the affirmative. This trip, as well as every other one I have made is possible because of our Good God and His faithful servants. I pray that the Lord will richly bless each of you in every way.