February 16, 2020
Sunday, February 16, 2020 9:45pm-2:45pm CST
Sunday is always a blessed day regardless of where you are at. As long as you can fellowship with the children of God; all is fine! This morning I had the privilege of working with the Dakar Church of Christ. We had a great period of worship. I taught Bible class and had the sermon. Every congregation in Cameroon (to my knowledge) has the sermon before the Lord’s Supper. That means that after you have finished your Bible class you have a couple of songs and a prayer and you are up once more. This is a congregation in which the children outnumber the adults. In 2019 the average weekly number of adults was 36 and the children were 45. Today we had 42 adults and 60 children. The picture below is a panoramic view with the children directly to the left of the pulpit in a cove. As you can see; they are maxed out regarding space. They use a timekeeper with signs that say 20 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes and STOP. I noticed the sign I have below and thought it was interesting. If you cannot read the small print under FAST it says: Show this sign to the Song Leader when he is going too slowly. Maybe my congregation needs to put one of those up for my son when he leads! Actually, Michael does a GREAT job and I am not prejudiced in the least! A brother named Titus picked me at the hotel and we had a nice ride to the hall. When we arrived, there were 10-15 brethren standing outside as the key was missing. After some phone calls a brother came around 9 to let us in. We were greeted with the information that the electricity was not flowing. In that confined space the heat was noticeable. Just before I got up to preach the brother who prayed for me made this statement: may he be your oracle. A brother named Thierry translated for my Bible class and Charles for my sermon. After the service I was speaking to one brother. He told me that one of the problems in Cameroon is that some leaders become harsh when you do not agree with them. He told me that the application of what they know is sometimes lacking. I told him that we do not always do a good job of application in the States. Whether you are in Cameroon, America or any other country; following Jesus is easier said than done. Titus brought me back to the hotel and after 15 minutes, Richard and Lori came down to my room for lunch. We spoke of how we will eat combinations of food here that we never eat in America but they actually taste great! I have also told you on numerous occasions that a cold Coke tastes better here than in the States. Lori then went back to her room to take a nap. Richard and I had a nice discussion. One of the serendipitous blessings of the seminar (and campaigns) is the fellowship with great Christians. I called Linda to see how she was feeling. She did not sleep well last night but was feeling fine. Not only did Alex spend the night but so did Cy. He is the middle child of Dean and Bapp. Last night Buckingham Road had their annual Valentine’s Shebang (or whatever they call it). The last time I was with Linda on Valentine’s Day was 1986! I still took care of her by having flowers delivered, a couple of gifts and a card. If I ever forget to do those things; I will have to stay in Cameroon! The internet allows me to do so many things. For example, this afternoon I corresponded with one of my WBS students and graded his lesson. Then made comments to him. My prayer is that one day he will surrender to the Lord.
At about 5:20 Richard and Lori did some serious arm twisting. They wanted me to take them to an ice cream place. I, of course, did not want to go but felt that I needed to be a good leader and mom. We hailed a taxi and arrived and they made me get two scoops (I only wanted one) and some French fries. The sacrifices you have to make for your children can be great! I then did some work and Jean Claude came over to collect everything (pens, paper, marker pens, name tags, etc) for the seminar this week. Nearly 60 brethren are already here as they had to travel as no travel is allowed on the English side on Monday. I was able to Skype with TMBWITW. She is still struggling to sleep. Thank you for your continued prayers. I cannot thank her sister Ellen and Alex enough for what they are doing for her. We are excited and ready for the seminar tomorrow. Thanks for all of your prayers on our behalf.
February 14, 2020
Friday, February 14, 20230pm-9:30pm-2:30pm
Well; ½ of the seminar is finished. It seems like only yesterday we were greeting the French brethren. I know the English section will fly by as well.
Richard’s class had 48 compared with 51 last year. Lori had 39 today compared with 35 last year. My class had 80 today compared to 86 last year. The average last year for the Men’s French class was 38, the average for the Women’s class last year was 35 and the average for my class last year was 71. I don’t know what the odds are but the averages were exactly the same for all classes! As I state each year; numbers alone do not tell the story but they are a barometer. The success of the campaign will be measured by what the leaders learn and put into practice. Also, how do they help their brethren incorporate some of the things they have learned in their daily lives. Richard and I were discussing the other day that you simply cannot force brethren to surrender their lives. Some are dedicated while others can hear the Word, look at good examples and still be lethargic in their Christian lives.
The morning was as every other morning. Oh, Lori slept very well last night which was good news. When I Skyped with Linda last night she had not slept well and was not feeling well. She appears to be living on The Giant which is a roller coaster at 6 Flags. We walked Lori down to her room at 8:15 and climbed our machines. Not much traffic in the direction we were going. It was fun to cross the road on foot. You look both ways regardless of which side you are on because you never know when a machine will be headed the wrong way. Actually, there is no wrong way for a machine. Visited with some brethren and then class began. At the first break I went to the hotel and one of my missions was to get a photo of Lori’s class. You see the sisters below. They LOVE Lori’s teaching!
I think I am going to write a book. The title will be: The Cry of the A/C. Not sure how good the material will be but it has a catchy title. You see; I had to come back to the hotel to collect the sister’s evaluation forms and I heard that “voice” again. I must confess that I like the sound. I was compelled to eat another Milky Way. Headed back to the hall and was able to listen to the end of Richard’s class. Today was a joyous day because we were able to eat in my room. As good as the hotel food is (and it is excellent), there is no comparison to my splendid recipes. Terry Harlow was a dear friend of mine and great Christian brother. He made 5 trips with me but even a nice guy can say something bad every now and then. He had the gall to tell people that if they looked at my plate of food; they would ‘toss their cookies’ or words to that effect I think he was just jealous! I then went over my lesson for the afternoon and we hailed a taxi and got to the hall in time. This taxi had A/C!!!! We made terrific time as the driver took a back road. The brethren seemed to be pleased with my class and there was good interaction. I cannot convey the emotions of being with our brethren and saying goodbye. I told them at the end of my class that, Lord willing, they will see me again but even if they do not: THEY WILL SEE ME. I had trouble getting the words out as I love this nation and its people so much. At the end the French brethren always give us a gift and you can see the three of us below. They also gave me a gift for Linda to convey that they know she is making a great sacrifice. They said to me: if Linda would not let you come, you would never see Cameroon and that is true. I miss her so much but I am grateful beyond words for her dedication to the Lord and her part in this ministry. I asked one of the women if I could sell Linda’s gift and I don’t think she knew I was kidding. She very forcefully said NO! Louis handed out Bible School curriculum books to many churches after the service. Oh, the power just went off but the hotel has a generator and within 10 seconds everything was working. We said our goodbyes and got a lot of great pictures. I will share a few with you in the coming days. We feel like celebrities as so many people ask us to pose for a picture. Jean Claude brought us back to the hotel and I took my shower. It was not as hot today as yesterday but that cold water really feels good. I then started to do a number of miscellaneous things such as taking inventory of stuff for next week. Tomorrow we will buy a few things but it should be a relaxing day. During this week Louis has translated for Richard and Jean Claude for me. They are EXCELLENT translators and even better Christians. I was able to Skype with Linda and she is still not feeling well. She spoke with her doctor this morning and was advised to quick taking the medicine for her stomach. Hopefully something as simple as that can help. Please continue to keep her in prayer. Her sister Ellen “handed her off” to Alex, our granddaughter who will babysit her marvelous grandmother over the weekend.
We are all doing well and looking forward to a relaxing day tomorrow. I am not going to set my alarm. Thanks for your continued prayers.
February 13, 2020
Thursday, February 13, 2020 9:15pm-2:15pm CST
All days are GREAT in Cameroon. It is a blessing to be involved in this ministry. Richard had 46 in his class compared with 39 last year; Lori had 34 compared with 33 last year and I had 69 compared with 75.
The day began as all days. I will not bore you with the tedious nature of the morning. We went down at 8 to order our lunch. Then made sure Lori was settled in and Richard and I climbed machines. That is the only way to travel in Douala if you want to make good time. We arrived by 8:30; when my driver started, I think he tried to pop a wheelie. If I could speak French, I would have told him to do that on his own time! We pass a petroleum place where tankers load up and there were 30 trucks. I nearly had a heart attack this morning as Louis was 10 minutes early. I told him that he might need to call Linda to tell her I had passed. Today the men are working on breaking down a chapter of a book and they were using Ephesians 1. Richard is such a good teacher and what he is sharing with the brothers will be of immense help to them and their congregations. I came back to the hotel around 10 to pass out the evaluation sheets to the sisters. I also had someone come up to take drink orders. I always get the sisters a drink on Thursday and we give them candy each day. Yesterday when Richard and I returned to the hotel at lunchtime the sisters were walking out. Mary (Jean Claude’s wife) greeted Richard with a handshake and he mentioned to her that her hands were cold. She gave a mischievous response and said: we have A/C and laughed. I think that Jean Claude should discipline her for such an attitude. (I cannot do smiley faces or I would at this point. Just imagine one.) I never cease to be amazed at the fact that my A/C calls my name. I had, and the operative word is HAD, to go to my room and drink half a cold Coke Zero and force myself to eat a Milky Way. It was hard but fortunately I am a very disciplined person. Let me add this and I realize it is not the first time I have done this over the years. I am acutely aware of my creative limitations and my great ability to say the same things over and over. Instead of apologizing I will simply use my old age as an excuse. The reason I said that is I am convinced I will never get over the efficient way that the machine drivers move about. We were able to climb on the sidewalk and go around much traffic. When I am in the States and in a traffic jam, I am sorry that we do not drive as they do. I went back to the hall for the culmination of Richard’s class and we then came back to the hotel. We had a nice lunch in the dining room and a good rest. Lori went to take a nap as she did not get much rest last night. She does get a lot of rest in my class as she sleeps most of the time. She is like my beloved wife; whenever she has trouble sleeping, she gets a copy of one of Richard Blaisdell’s (our preacher) sermons and she is out like a light in 2 minutes. Don’t tell Richard I said that because it might hurt his feelings. Let me explain the picture on the left below; I have been meaning to post it. On Monday during my introduction I commented on Linda’s health. Jean Claude immediately went to the board and wrote what you see. Maladie is sickness in French and mal de dos is back pain. Someone may need to explain to Teresa Blaisdell that Operation is operation in French! BTW: a finer person you will never meet than Teresa! I cannot say enough positive things about this FANTASTIC sister! You can see that Jean Claude put the date for her surgery. Linda has made 2 trips to Cameroon and made a lasting impression. She is the sweetest person in the history of persons and a GREAT Christian. I am truly blessed to have such a sacrificial wife. I went over my lesson for the afternoon and it was back to the hall. We were on time today and at the first break we had a picture made of the group. We will make a copy for each participant and they really like that. The picture on the right below is one that a brother took with my camera. Actually, it is a phone but it doubles well. I was pleased with my class and then met with 2 brothers that represent 2 of the congregations we will work with in June. We will meet some more of them next week. Oh, I sweat more today than any day thus far. Richard even mentioned that I my shirt was soaked. Jean Claude gave us a lift back and the traffic was terrible. Once we got close, we just hopped out and walked the rest of the way. I am soooooooooo grateful for a nice shower at the end of the day. I have been furiously getting stuff done since tomorrow is the last day of the French section. I was bummed out yesterday as I did not get to see Charlie Brown. He had a doctor and dentist appointment so Grandma did not pick him up. Hopefully I can see him today. Linda seems to be doing well but I still solicit your prayers for her. Your calls and visits are truly appreciated. We are well and look forward to our last day. Thank you for your prayers!
February 12, 2020
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 8:25pm-1:25pm CST
Etc, etc, etc! The day saw 44 men as opposed to 35 last year on this day. The women were 34 which is precisely the same and my class was 66 compared with 67 last year. While I am thinking about it; I realize that I have posted the ‘phone picture’ below on many occasions but I still get tickled at it and think that my congregation should have such a sign.
Here is the day: got up at 6:30 with nothing exceptional to report. I did sleep well again and that is a great blessing. Went down to Richard and Lori’s room at 8:15, walked her to her room and then Richard and I climbed our machines. Another thing which I keep forgetting; I have mentioned that Lori comes down from time to time to get on my computer and Louise does the same thing when she is here. Something they both have in common is that they enter my room wearing a sweater. They are in Africa and wearing sweaters. They say I keep my room too cold but I am not sure that that is possible. I must confess that if Linda was here, she would have multiple sweaters and one or two heavy coats on! Richard’s class went well. They are breaking down the book of Philemon. Topical sermons are typical and while they have their place; if you want to help the brethren learn the Scriptures you must preach expository or textual sermons. Richard’s class is challenging but the men are doing a good job. Before we begin in the morning and afternoons, we have some uplifting singing. It is truly a blessing. After his class we climbed back on and came back to the hotel. Ate in my room today and it was scrumptious!!!!!! I went over my lesson for the afternoon and we left at 2:30. The traffic was back to normal which means it was HEAVY. We were 15 minutes late to class. Of course, since I am the teacher, they could not start without me! The class went well (what else can I say). The listening and participation is really good. The picture below right is of the brethren from the North. They are such a blessing and Lord willing; I will return there in October. When I got back to the hotel I jumped on my computer and then went down and visited with Richard and Lori. They are such HUGE blessings to the Kingdom. I will call Linda in about an hour to Skype with her and Charlie Brown. Thank you for your continued prayers.
February 10, 2020
Monday, February 10, 2020 7:30pm-12:30pm CST
Better than Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You see; with Christmas you have the anticipation and then it comes and within an hour or so all of the presents are opened and it is on to the New Year. With the seminar, it is 5 days with our French brethren followed by another 5 days with the English! Instead of one day it is 10. Now, don’t talk about this to any grandkids as I don’t want to give them any ideas. I have been trying to cancel Christmas altogether for some years but grandma puts her foot down. Not a particularly large foot but a very powerful one! The attendance for the men in the morning was 34 (last year the men were 32); women 25 (last year the women were 40) and afternoon class was 59 (last year it was 68). Here is how the day went:
Got up at 6:30 and did miscellaneous stuff. Richard and I went with Lori to her room where her class was held. It was all set up with nice chairs and they have A/C. We have fans. At about 8:20 Richard and I climbed machines to go to the hall. It is only 10 minutes away and today and tomorrow are holidays so the traffic was light. Yesterday was election day and tomorrow is Youth Day and they said that today is a bridge. It was so good to see so many brethren that I have not seen in either 8 months (the North brethren) or a year (the rest). We got started on time and Richard did his usual masterful job. Louis Bassay interpreted for him and Louis always does a superb job. Around 9:50 I climbed a machine to go to the hotel to make sure the girls did not need more books. They did not and as I was leaving the strangest thing happened; the A/C in my room called out my name. I don’t know what the twilight zone is like but I may have entered it. Well, I figgered I had better answer the call so I did. I felt bad knowing my brothers were sweating in the hall. Ok, I felt kind of bad. Well, confession is good for the soul so I thought to myself; those poor slobs are having to sweat while I have comfort. I also grabbed a Milky Way while I was there. Linda will be proud of me; I only drank water and not a Coke Zero! Made it back for the majority of Richard’s class. We then hopped machines to come back to the hotel. It is nice being able to change into a T-shirt and shorts and relax. Richard and Lori came down and we had a feast. Now, what you have all been waiting for. Here will be my one recipe of the trip. Major restaurants have included my recipes on their menus. You take the following: Hormel Microwavable Meatloaf and potatoes (do not microwave it), tuna, corn, cheese and crumbled up Pringles (any flavor). Lori had some chicken salad she had made so I added that to the mix. Remember you do not heat but simply stir it around. Talk about deeeeeeeeeeelicious!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, I forgot to tell you that I sweat for the first time on the trip. Really sweat bad in my class. Any way; after lunch Lori went to take a nap and Richard and I visited for 30 minutes. He then left and I went over my class for the afternoon. Someone was supposed to pick us but they did not show up and I called Jean Claude and he said to just get a taxi. Against my better judgement we took a taxi instead of 3 machines. Ugh! I felt that my class went well and then we headed back. Oh, I was a poor picture taker today and only got the one below. Hermann (on the left) is a member at Jean Claude’s congregation and helped with the translation of our manuscripts into French. Rodrique is the preacher in Yokaduma. Jean Claude brought us back to the hotel and I took a nice shower. I will snack later and Lori is going to come down to do some emailing. I plan to Skype with Linda around 10:45 my time and then hit the sack. It has been a good day and we are doing well. Thanks for your continued prayers. I also continue to ask those of you who can call Linda to do so and if you can visit, that would be great. Your prayers for her are a blessing.
February 9, 2020
Sunday, February 9, 2020 8:10pm-1:10pm CST
A great day to worship the Lord with my Cameroonian brethren. I spoke at Logpom which is a 4 years old congregation. Two years ago, they had about 20 and today the attendance was 47. They are a very evangelistic congregation with set goals regarding those they are trying to reach. You can see the congregation below. Not a lot of breathing space. They had a fan which provided some needed air. I taught the Bible class on the need to 1) surrender our lives to the Lord and 2) understanding that all will not respond. My sermon dealt with the power of the blood of Christ versus the power of sin. The singing was excellent and one of the songs had this phrase: I live in your hand o Lord. Words cannot describe the great emotion of singing this song with our brethren. This congregation has a mixture of French and English speakers. My translator’s name was Nicanor and you can see him below. I have known him since he was a kid. He is now 30 years of age and did a great job. He thought I looked like I was 60 which means he would think that Teresa Blaisdell was only 80! A brother in Christ took me back to the hotel in his car. Lori was already here but Richard came about 30 minutes later. I took a quick shower which was so nice after the hot morning. We then ate in my room and had some delicious food. I have decided to wait until tomorrow to give you my one recipe for the trip. I know that many of you will be waiting with baited breath. BTW: you might take a mint for that!
I spoke with Linda and found out that she went to the ER last night. Our son and daughter-in-law carried her. I hope they didn’t hurt their backs! At any rate; her stomach has been troubling her and they said she has Gastritis which is what our primary doctor said on Thursday. She was also dehydrated so they pumped her full of liquid. When she answered the phone, I could tell she sounded better. I am glad she went as the medicine she is now taking should help her feel better soon.
During the afternoon I did a whole bunch of miscellaneous things to prepare for tomorrow. I then went down to Richard and Lori’s room and we had a good discussion. Then we spent time in prayer for the seminar. Jean Claude came around 7:50 to collect materials that will be used all week. He is such a hard worker and we could not pull this seminar off without his great assistance.
Let me offer a few prayer requests:
- Please pray for Richard, Lori and myself. Pray that we will teach not only the truth but in a Christ like way. We want the brethren to leave the seminar stronger than when they came.
- Please pray for each participant. Our prayer is that they will be serious in their study of His Word.
- Please pray for their congregations. The goal of the seminar is not to simply teach the leaders but that upon their return; they will share what they have learned. More importantly that they will model Jesus for the brethren.
- Please continue to lift Linda in prayer.
During the evening I was able to relax. Watched a Rockford File and had a great supper of Pringles, cheese, crackers, cashews and water. I am only drinking one Coke Light per day. Since my Bladder surgery 3 months ago I was told to drink much more water and I have been a good boy. Oh, I also had a Mars Bar and a Milky Way but they were miniatures. I am intent on keeping my youthful shape!
We are truly excited about tomorrow. I will get to see brethren that I have not seen since last February. I am grateful to each of you for your part in this journey. For those who gave funds, for those who are taking care of Linda and for all who are praying.
February 8, 2020
Saturday, February 8, 2020 8:30pm-1:30pm CST
Must get to bed early tonight as tomorrow I have to get up early. I will be preaching at Logpom which is the smallest and newest congregation in Douala. It was established 2 or 3 years ago. I have been there a handful of times and look forward to seeing the brethren once more.
Day began at 8:15am. I slept well but Richard and Lori did not. Evidently there was a party going until 4am or so but I chose to sleep and was unaware of any noise. I know that many of you understand what a great blessing it is to be able to sleep. My memory is not the most robust so I will try to remember what I can. This morning Richard and Lori came down and we put name tags together for the seminar. Also loaded Lori up with a bunch of stuff for her class on Monday. While I am thinking about it; I walked across the street to get a couple of things but they were out. Somewhat disappointed as the traffic was light and there was no challenge to make it over and back alive. The good news is that I was able to climb a machine and go to another store so everything worked out well. The brethren from the North were delayed because the bus from Yaoundé to Douala broke down just outside of Yaoundé. They will get in around 9 tonight! There journey will have taken approximately 40 hours! Richard, Lori and I has lunch at the hotel. The food is always great. It is such a blessing to be in fellowship with them. When I came back to the room, I went over my Bible class and sermon for tomorrow. Next was beginning to go over my class for next week. The picture below is of the booklet we give to each participant. We want it detailed so they can return and teach this material to their members. More importantly to model the behavior of Jesus that we are focusing on. I spoke with Linda and she has some kind of gastric problem and was given medication. Please pray that she begins to feel better. I have had a nice shower and will do my normal stuff once I finish this. Tomorrow is election day so we will try and be back to the hotel by noon and not go out for the balance of the day. We will have some good time to do our final preparation before Monday. I am excited about tomorrow and what will unfold next week. Please pray for those who are traveling. Thank you for your prayers for us and Linda!