May 31, 2019
Friday, May 31, 2019 12:10pm-6:10am CST
It is getting close; I will see TMBWITW (pictured below) in about 32,000 seconds!!!!!!!!! I cannot say enough good things about this GREAT Christian! All that know me well understand that I am as comfortable in Cameroon as in Garland. When I am in my ‘other country’ I am having a great time. The only exception to that is the travel but the end results make it worthwhile. Linda is a darling who does much better when I am around. I have never made a single sacrifice in traveling to Ghana or Cameroon because sacrifice involves some level of pain and I am in my element when I am in Africa. Linda is a true blessing as she is well aware of the importance she is to this ministry and the Kingdom. BTW: the other picture is of the church hall in Ngong.
While I typed FINAL HOWDY above; I have typed that so many times. I realize that one day (this could be it) I will type my FINAL HOWDY. My prayer is that that day is a long way off as I have no plans in stopping this work. I thank God for the health and energy that He has given me and I pray that neither will end anytime soon.
I slept 11 ½ hours straight last night and feel great. Made it to the ‘boarding pass’ area with no problems and was able to get my BP. Went through Customs and security and it did not take nearly as long as yesterday. We boarded and took off on schedule. We have crossed one or two time zones as there are 7 between Paris and Dallas. We still have nearly 4,000 miles to go. I have electricity in my seat so I will go over a bunch of stuff so that by the time I land; I will be in good shape.
I deliver my State of the Union address three times a year so here goes; I believe that the ultimate goal of any foreign work is to do what we can and then leave the rest up to the native brethren. Before I say anything else, I fully realize that mission philosophy is just that; a philosophy that we will not all agree on. For example; should you support native preachers or not and if so, for how long? Should you build church buildings or not? How much benevolence should you give and what are the criteria for giving? In what part or parts of the world should you work? Obviously, we will not all answer these questions in the same way and that is OK. My prayer is that 30 years from now (if there is 30 years from now) there will be no American involvement in Cameroon. If they are still dependent on us at that time; either we or they or both did something wrong. The growth of the church in Cameroon is steady but slow for a number of reasons: 1) lack of leadership 2) lack of evangelism from the members 3) lack of commitment on the part of the members. Now, this is not to say that all of the members are doing nothing because such is not the case. Over the past 23 years I have seen a positive movement from the church in general. The reality is that the church in America is declining and I would argue that the 3 reasons above apply to us as well. We need to have a greater emphasis on the church in the North and we are going to do just that. Within the next few months (I may have told you the following in an earlier missive) we are going to have a team go to the North to conduct a seminar for the sisters. Our niece is funding this journey. I plan to return to the North possibly as early as next year. There will be a need for some ‘cash outlay’ but I do not want to become their Sugar Daddy. We will supply funds with the purpose of helping them become independent. While I say ‘yes’ to many financial needs; I say ‘no’ far more often.
The Crisis continues to be a true problem in Cameroon and when it will end; only God knows. Also, the long-term harm it has done and will do to the church on the English side cannot be ascertained at the present time. I do know that for each of you who are contributing; your gifts are needed, used and appreciated. I am aware that you cannot give money to every mission work but I do solicit your prayers on a daily basis for our suffering brethren and for all in Cameroon who are going through a trial that we cannot understand.
The service you are providing in various ways is a blessing to the church in Cameroon. My plea to you is to ask God to: 1) give me the wisdom to make the correct decisions regarding this work 2) give the Cameroonian brethren a vision of self-reliance 3) raise up godly men who will serve as shepherds throughout the country 4) help more and more brethren surrender their lives to the Lord 5) help the members to take their eyes off of preachers and see their need to follow Jesus beyond the church hall. I can say with confidence that I believe the church in Cameroon has a bright future. That future will only be dimmed if we increase our footprint. We must do everything we can to reduce the American influence and increase the influence of God. There are still too many brethren whose eyes are on the American or the American dollar. The one area where we presently need to be helping with dollars is the Crisis. Our brethren simply do not have the means to do much more than live from day to day. Many of them are homeless, so many lives have been lost and they have a true and realistic fear of the future.
I am writing from my office! Had a good flight and plane arrived 20 minutes early. Sailed through Customs and my bag was there when I got to the carousel. Royce and Nancy Calhoun brought Grandma and Charlie Brown to the airport and we then went to Chilis. I actually wanted to go to a place where I could get buzzgetti but I was overruled. I am unpacked and ready to rest. One more time; thanks so much for all of your prayers. This was a highly successful and healthy trip.
May 30, 2019
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 8:30pm-2:30pm CST
It is 172,000 seconds before I see TMBWITW! Jean Claude picked me at the hotel and we left at 6:15 arriving 30 minutes later. I went in with no problems and the area where you secure your boarding pass was cooler than usual. It was actually quite comfortable. Waited about 45 minutes before I could get my boarding pass. Those who travel with me mock the fact that I get to the airport so early. Well, if I would have waited 45 minutes later to arrive, I would be downstairs in a long line instead of being in a room with A/C waiting to depart. I went through Customs quickly and when I went through security, they check everything in your carry-on. Well, I have plenty medicine and the girl today, like last time, commented about the volume. I simply said I was an old man and she just smiled. I found an A/C plug that works and I am fixin to relax.
Oh; the pictures below are of one of the Garoua congregation’s hall. The other is of r-l; Mamoudou, Nassourou & Abdoulaye. A shiny dime to anyone who can pronounce all of the names correctly! They are preacher’s in the Garoua area and all are hard workers in the Kingdom. Oh; my spell checker only said that Nassourou was not a correct spelling so I guess the others are more common than I thought. Any of you have any brethren with those names?
Thursday, May 30, 2019 6:00pm-11:00am CST
It is now roughly 104,000 seconds until I see TMBWITW! Talk about being blessed, that is, me. After I wrote the stuff above, they moved us from one gate to another and then departed about 25 minutes late which isn’t too bad. The flight was wonderful and I had one of the best airplane meals I have ever had. For those of you who travel, you can have some idea of how GREAT it was. If you do not travel then you can only dream. I got about 2 hours of sleep on the plane. When we arrived, it took nearly an hour to get to my luggage and most of that time was taken in a loooooooooong line at Customs. I got to my hotel room and took a shower and then slept for a few hours. Have had lunch and caught up on emails. I will begin my Final Howdy tomorrow and ship it on either Friday night or Saturday. My plan is to get in bed no later than 7 and get a long night’s rest.
Thanks for all your prayers!
May 29, 2019
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 5:10pm-11:10am CST
I will see TMBWITW in about 184,000 seconds. I don’t really pay much attention to this sort of thing but thought you would be interested.
Another day to sleep in and added 30 minutes and woke up at 7. I guess if I were to stay 4 more days, I could make it to 9! The sleep was restful and I did routine stuff and then got on the computer for several hours. I have been able to ‘fine-tune’ a bunch of stuff in the last two days.
Jean Claude came over and we visited about the October campaign and some other things. We then went to lunch and had a great time. Jean Claude prayed for the food and in the prayer, he mentioned what a great blessing Linda is to the Kingdom. Amen!!! Without her sacrifice, this ministry would not exist. The Lord has truly blessed me with such a GREAT wife! He also asked the Lord to fly with me and I know He will. It was raining and you can see the picture on the left below. Some of the machines have those large umbrellas to keep the passenger dry. The others simply get a free shower although the drivers do not give them any soap! You can see the picture of Jean Claude and myself. He is such a great example of what a Christian is to be. I am totally packed and ready to head home. I called Linda and Bapp took her to the ENT and she got a good report.
I will leave for the airport in about an hour with a departure time of 11:25. I will overnight in Paris which I have been doing for some time as it allows me to get a good night’s rest rather than being up for 44 hours or so. I will begin my Final Howdy tonight and post it on Saturday morning. It could be Friday afternoon because this is going to be a straight shot from Paris to Dallas so I will arrive at 1:55pm instead of the usual 7pm. Royce and Nancy Calhoun are going to bring Charlie Brown and Grandma to the airport. They are great friends and hard workers in the Kingdom. Linda is allergic to driving at DFW and that is why she is not coming alone. During my Final Howdy I will do as I always do; summarize the trip and give you my assessment of how the church is doing in Cameroon. Thanks for all of your prayers and I know that you will be praying for my journey home.
May 28, 2019
Tuesday, May 28, 2019 10:15pm-4:15pm CST
This day began in a frustrating way. I had the time to sleep in but woke up at 6:30 and could not get back to sleep. I got up at 6:45 and was able to get a lot of stuff done this morning. I finished a PPT and did a rough draft of my report of the trip. I will go over it a couple of more times to make edits. I was also able to determine what pictures my sweet daughter-in-law will put on the website next week. I was able to catch up on email so the morning was good. BTW: the picture on the left below is of Paul baptizing Raissa in Bertoua on Sunday. The picture on the right is of Vincent Nsah. He is the preacher for the Muyuka Church of Christ and they have been hard hit by the Crisis. Many members have left and if they can find employment on the French side; it is unlikely they will ever return. Vincent is one of the godliest Christians I have ever known and I count it a great blessing to have him as a friend. He and I went to lunch and had a great time, we then went to the Post Office and then back to the hotel. On the way to the P.O. I mentioned that my darling wife says that one of my greatest qualities is that of being a pest. He said: she is right to which I replied; I thought you were my friend. He then said; friends speak the truth to a friend and smiled. Somehow, we got on the subject of the longevity of clothing and he said that he was wearing a pair of trousers that Charles Hanson gave him in 2004! We then agreed that Charles is not only incredibly bright but a GREAT Christian brother. Julien, the preacher at Dakar, then came to the hotel and we went to buy some material for him to make me two shirts as he is also an excellent tailor. We rode his machine and it is always a blessing to ride a machine in Douala. I was smiling the entire time as we were passing cars left and right and that is quite literal as you go wherever there is an opening. The few of you who have enjoyed this great adventure will understand. The rest can only go to 6 Flags and ride the most adventuresome ride and get some idea of what it is like on a machine in Douala. When I got back, I did some more stuff on the computer and then relaxed as most of my packing is done. I had a very nice and healthy “last supper” of Tuna, a Banana Twinkie, a Mars Bar and a Coke Zero. There is a good reason why I have such a youthful physique! I then began another PPT for my class that will begin on June 12. I just finished Skyping with TMBWITW (The Most Beautiful Woman In The World) and Charlie Brown and they are doing well. Grandma is a bit tired but that is because she is old! Don’t tell her I said that if you love me! Thanks for all of your prayers.
May 27, 2019
Monday, May 27, 2019 8:50pm-2:50pm CST
It is great to be back in Douala traffic (note picture below). This has truly been a short trip (tell that to Linda) and yet it seems a month ago that we left Douala for the North. As stated in earlier missives; this was the most exhausting trip of the 86 and yet so rewarding. Here is how the day unfolded; got up at 6 after another good night’s rest and left Bertoua at 7:05. Stopped at a Petrol station and got some OJ and Plantain Chips. I do not like Plantain cooked but I really like the chips. I can’t remember all of the ingredients but it was packed full of vitamins, minerals and good stuff like that! I can’t remember how long I told you this trip would take but we arrived at 5:00pm. On the way we were able to visit with Toko William who is pictured below. He was the preacher of the Kake II Church of Christ and an excellent one. All of the houses on the main road in Kake have been destroyed because of the Crisis. The church cannot meet but some do so in the bush. The Crisis has caused so many to be scattered. Toko is in Ayos (not sure if I spelled that correctly) and is trying to start the church. One of his biggest problems is that he must learn French. The Crisis has divided so many families as parents send their children to live with friends or relatives wherever they can. My heart breaks every time I think of the trouble that this Crisis is causing.
The hotel is very nice and Jean Claude ordered supper for me and then he and Mary left to go home. BTW: I did not have Buzzgetti tonight! He has a meeting in Limbe tomorrow so I will not see him until Wednesday which is when I fly out. I have been working on Campaign Pictures and will do some other stuff regarding packing. Linda is at an afternoon movie with Michael and his clan so I will Skype with her later. We are doing fine and thank you for your continued prayers.
May 26, 2019
Sunday, May 26, 2019 8:50pm-2:50pm CST
Trip #86 is finished with the exception of a great deal of traveling.
Finished with a blessed day. Had 5 Bible studies and 2 baptisms. The Lord led us to teach 47, baptize 11 and witness the rededication of 3. We are grateful for the way He was at work. We are also grateful for your prayers during this time.
Here is the day: got up at 6:30 after a good night’s rest. Around 7:30 the lights went out and were out until we left. Jean Claude and I hopped two machines which was delightful. This is the first time on this journey that I have been able to ride a machine. We arrived around 8:50 and some dear brethren were there to greet us. I taught both the Bible class and sermon. Paul led the singing and both he and Jean Claude are excellent song leaders. We then began teaching prospects after the morning worship and two of them gave their lives to the Lord. Their names are Ngandeu and Raissa. I taught Raissa and Ngandeu was listening the entire time that Jean Claude was teaching another prospect. After some interaction it became clear that she both wanted to become a child of God and was ready. I taught another couple but they appear to be locked into their denomination. They agreed that everything we said was from the Bible but unwilling to yield. We then went to the baptisms and back to the hotel. It rained sooooooooooo hard once we got back to the hotel! Our laundry had evidently been on the line during the rain because it came back to us soaked. We hung it up and pray that it will dry before tomorrow. If not, it will dry in Douala or perhaps in America one day! Oh, I forgot to mention lupper or is it linner? At any rate you only get one question as to what I had. Jean Claude, on the other hand, had liver so I am beginning to question his sanity! Then Paul came over with his family and several other children and we had a nice visit. I showed them the pictures from this trip and they seemed to be interested. I also showed them a bunch of pictures of Charlie Brown and they liked them. I then did some writing and watched an episode of The Rockford Files. I just Skyped with Linda and she is doing better. Thanks for your prayers for her.
- It is always good to see those who have been converted on previous trips. Lucy and Sandra were two her were baptized this past October and they are growing in their faith.
- Jean Claude told me that the brethren on the English side are saying they are in tears because we cannot come and work with them. Those tears are a two-way street. It is my daily prayer that this Crisis can come to a peaceful conclusion.
- I had so many good pictures taken today that it was hard to choose which ones to post. I chose the two below for the following reasons: 1) on the left is a picture of Jean Claude’s daughter Linda. When my Linda came to Cameroon for the first time Catherine (Jean Claude’s late wife) was pregnant with her and she is Linda’s namesake. She turns 18 on July 3 whereas our oldest grandson will turn 18 on July 19. 2) the second picture is of Paul, Virgil and Jean Claude. Paul and Jean Claude are brothers and Virgil is Paul and Rose’s oldest child. He is named after Virgil Butler who made at least 10 trips to Cameroon with me.
We are looking forward to the journey tomorrow. Scheduled to leave at 7 as we are looking at an 11-hour ride. Once again, thanks for your continued prayers.
May 25, 2019
Saturday, May 25, 2019 7:30pm-1:30pm CST
Got up at 6:15 and we left Ngondere at 8:30. Made good time and arrived at 2:30 in Bertoua. The trip was without incident. I did see some Pringles that I had never seen before and they are pictured below. I don’t buy chips in America so I don’t know if we have this flavor or not. I did not detect any ham flavor but they were good. As you can see from the picture on the right; you can carry a lot more in your vehicle than you think! The next time you move don’t rent a U-Haul; just use your car or van. The hotel we are staying at is very nice with A/C and a fridge. I have already had a nice shower and am looking forward to tomorrow. I am going to Skype with Linda in 90 minutes or so. Oh; had Buzzgetti for the 6th day in a row and it was as nice today as the first day. I did look in the mirror and I am starting to look like a noodle! Going to go over my lesson for tomorrow and get to bed earlier than usual. Please pray that the Lord will bless our worship tomorrow and lead us to some good prospects. Thanks for your continued prayers.