May 24, 2019
Friday, May 24, 2019 10:25pm-4:25pm CST
We had 12 Bible studies and no seeable fruit and yet this may have been one of the best days of any campaign. Let me explain; we first taught 8 school age children. We knew going in that they would not be baptized as they would have to get permission from their parents. We are looking long-term and we relished the opportunity to spend hours in sharing the Word. They had some really good questions and we had some really good Bible answers. Only time will tell what the future holds for these kids. We then taught a prospect of Margaret, who is the wife of Olivier who is one of the leading members of the congregation. The church meets in their house. I do not have a good handle on her as she was quite definite in her denominational beliefs. We then had a discussion with the church about what they could do to grow. As we were leaving 3 more prospects arrived so we taught them. Their names are Nelson, Patrick and Lorita. They were English speakers and Jean Claude and I tag teamed in teaching them. While they did not immediately request baptism, they had good thoughts and said they had never heard some of the things we were teaching. I am talking about fundamental things such as the fact that baptism is a burial. While you can never forecast the future, I felt good about the study.
Let me begin now at the beginning of the day; due to the fact that we knew our prospects were children and workers, we did not leave the hotel until 1pm. This morning I was able to do some more writing on my report, do some more work on a Bible class and fine-tune my PPT of this journey. It, of course, is not finished as we will work in Bertoua on Sunday. We knew that once we left it would be too late to eat supper so we ate lunch at noon. I had buzzgetti for the 5th day in a row (I can eat something I like over and over again) but Jean Claude switched to fish. Everything was delicious. I have explained above what happened once we left. I just was able to Skype with Charlie Brown and Grandma. Yesterday they went on a field trip and today they had Buddy Day and she is shot! It was good to see them!
- I cannot overstate something I have said at least once if not twice in previous Howdys; the learning that the members are receiving as we teach is invaluable.
- Below you can see the large Mosque that is beside the hotel. If I spoke Arabic, I could tell you what they are saying!
- I am currently reading through Deuteronomy in my daily Bible reading. If you are familiar with chapters 28-30 you know that God basically says two things to His people: 1) If you obey me, I will bless you in ways you cannot believe. 2) If you disobey me, you will have troubles that you cannot believe. I bring this up for the following reason; in each lesson we share with a prospect we begin with the reality that the Bible is the Word of God. They all say they agree but once you compare their beliefs with God’s; most stay in their denomination. If you recall; God’s people tried His patience over and over again. He continually was begging them to repent but so often they refused. We are calling people to repent but we realize that ultimately; they make the call. For all who say no we continue to pray that they will change before they take their last breath or the Lord makes His return.
- The kids pictured below had a blast looking at the pictures on my phone and then ‘hamming’ it up for the camera. They are so cute!
We are scheduled to leave for Bertoua at 7:30 in the morning. It is about a 7-8 hour journey. Unless you have not been paying attention; you are aware that none of our trips are short. I am still hoping that Air France will bump me to First Class from Paris to Dallas! Jean Claude and I are doing well and we look forward to the trip tomorrow. Well, kinda! Thanks for your continued prayers.
May 23, 2019
Thursday, May 23, 2019 11:35pm-5:35pm CST
Oh; I had just climbed in bed and realized I had not sent this!
Enjoyable day! Got up at 6:30 and left the hotel around 8. We went to a local grocery store to get breakfast and I decided to eat healthy (which is what I always do). Had some OJ, cookies and a Mars Bar. I know that Linda is proud of me. We are able to buy Bibles for the new converts and Victor, one of the preachers, is holding one below. On the way you see many interesting things and the cow below took his sweet time in crossing. The journey is an exercise for the driver to miss as many potholes as possible and especially, the bigger ones. Impossible to miss them all and my brain got jarred a few times but I think it is still intact. I had told you that the journey would take 7 hours but we made it in 6. Yea! We are in a nice hotel. I am on the fifth floor but there is a lifter. Actually, you have to walk two flights of stairs and then you meet the lifter. The A/C is so good that I have had to turn it down or up, whichever makes it warmer. I have a fridge and put two Coke Zeros in the freezer and it is good that I checked them as they were starting to freeze. Unpacking for this part of the trip is like my unpacking when I do a WBS seminar and am in a hotel for only one night. We will be here two nights but I kept most of my stuff in my boxes. Had a nice shower and then we ate. Jean Claude and I both had buzzgetti. In past years he did not eat it but says he now likes it. We enjoyed our time together. There is a large Mosque next to the hotel and they broadcast over a loud PA system. No idea what they are saying and fortunately I can handle noise with no trouble. Got some work done on a PPT regarding this trip and on a Bible study I will start teaching on June 12. Was able to Skype with Linda and she is much better today. She had an injection in her ankle yesterday and it is feeling well. The doctor said he would not put a lot of medicine in because of her age! She won’t like me writing this but what can she do? Charlie Brown was taking a nap because they had a field trip today and he got overheated. Grandma was with him and tomorrow she will be with him for Buddy Day. She is the best grandma in the world! Well, I am tired so fixin to hit the sack. Jean Claude and I are well and thank you for your continued prayers.
May 22, 2019
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 9:50pm-3:50pm CST
We concluded the last day in this area with 4 Bible studies, 1 baptism and 2 restorations. As I state in virtually every campaign; I am fully aware that baptisms and/or restorations today do not determine the success of a campaign. I can check back in 1, 2 or 5 years and learn if the fruit has grown.
Day began at 7:45 and was a ‘normal’ routine. The Lord has blessed us with a great hotel and A/C, Fridge, good bed and great shower. We left at 9:45 and Victor, the preacher of the Kanadi Church of Christ came to collect us because the place cannot be found easily. In fact, the picture on the right below is taken just beside the church hall. We are up quite a way and I would hate to fall down the side of that hill. We began teaching 2 prospects and one of them by the name of Suzane was baptized. You can see her below. I mentioned that two were restored and we feel very good about both of them. We taught a 3rd backslider and we do not hold out hope as she is locked into a charismatic church. If you have ever dealt with them you know that they are on an emotional/subjective plane and unless you can get them to use their brain and not their heart; there is no hope. We pray that our judgment of her is wrong. One of our studies was sad because the woman wanted to be baptized. She said, however, that she had to get permission from her husband. Only God knows how many women will spend eternity in hell because of husbands that kept them from the Kingdom. It is easy for an American to argue that following Jesus is more important than listening to your husband (it is). The reality here is that a woman who disobeys her husband may be flogged or sent from the home. Generally, they have no skills to earn a living so they are at the mercy of the husband. We had an afternoon service and then I met with 8 preachers. Richard Sutton had helped them with a project to buy and sell corn to help with the work in the North. Due to timing issues; they will begin to sell in another number of months. The sacrifices that these brethren make are great. We came back to the hotel and had our last supper here. I had a bunch of emails and worked to get them fixed. Lord willing, I will Skype with Charlie Brown and Grandma in a couple of hours.
- This is the beginning of the rainy season but with the exception of a few drops in Douala, it has been dry. Jean Claude did say that it rained hard last night but I was sleeping.
- My modem was not working last night and the Wi-Fi at the hotel was so poor that I could not Skype with Charlie Brown and Grandma but only talk with them. Jean Claude had it fixed so I should have no trouble tonight.
- Even though the North is still French; the names are more difficult here. Oftentimes it takes some time for me to learn to pronounce a given name.
- I think I have mentioned this but we are always teaching with at least 10 brethren watching and listening. Today was no exception.
- We left last Thursday to come up here and it seems like a month ago. That journey was REALLY long. Thankfully our trip tomorrow should only be 7 hours or so. Isn’t it pathetic when you think of a 7-hour journey as short? Of course, compared to 35 it is!
Linda is still struggling with her help and I appreciate your prayers for her. We are both fine and looking forward to our journey tomorrow. Thanks for your continued prayers for us.
May 21, 2019
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 9:15pm-3:15pm CST
The North is truly different from much of Cameroon. I always need an interpreter but Jean Claude has been extra useful in navigating some of the things which prospects have said. It is not always as simple as translating from French to English. Today with most of the prospects we were using 2 interpreters once again. We were blessed with 7 Bible studies and 4 souls!
Here is how the day unfolded: Got up at 7:45 with a departure time of 9:15. We were about 15 minutes late because Jean Claude’s computer has been messing up and he took it to a technician. Turned out that a serious virus had attacked it. While I was waiting to leave Larisa (doubt if that is the correct spelling) cleaned my room. All of the employees here have been so nice. We arrived at the church hall at 9:45 and the church was singing. They had planned to have their worship in the morning and then have prospects. You can see the assembly below. The first two prospects were quite different. One was a student named Rewa and we discovered later that his parents had told him they would stop his school fees if he was baptized. That pretty much ended any hope of him obeying the gospel. Yes, following Jesus is far more important than a secular education but tell that to a teen in Cameroon. The parent is all-powerful. We did teach a man named Matai and he is on the far left below. We then had two prospects that were not fruitful but then we had 4 and 3 of them surrendered their lives. From left to right after Matai is Ernest, Emmanuel and Jousephine. This campaign has followed all others in this respect; the ‘pre-campaign’ work that the local churches do determines the amount of fruit. Overall, the prospects today were excellent. Jean Claude had left his computer with a technician and now it is working. We ordered supper and had another delicious meal. The buzzgetti is so good I am having it for each meal! Got to work on the computer regarding email.
I must say something about Linda and she would kill me if I were there. Since, however, I am an ocean away I am safe and hoping that she forgets by the time I get home. I love her dearly and have been concerned about her health for over 18 months. The problems she has had are not life threatening but that does not change the fact that she has good days and bad days. Here is why I am writing; she does not do a good job of reaching out to people for help. I am not saying that she needs so much but a visit (if you live in the area) or a phone call would truly boost her spirits. I know you are praying for her and I am grateful. If you have the opportunity; could you please reach out to her. When you do; tell her to forgive her loving husband! She is such a GREAT example of what a sacrificial Christian looks like. Many wives would not tolerate my schedule but she knows her sacrifice is leading to the salvation of others.
- Our son Robin Skyped me on Sunday night and he wanted me to guess who he had seen that day. Actually, he said I would not be able to guess. A couple from Buckingham Road named Jeff and Reta Faris were in the area having visited family. They simply walked in without knowing Robin worshipped there. If they had known, they probably would have gone someplace else!
- Campaigns have many serendipitous blessings. Hey, I spelt serendipitous the first time correctly! At any rate; plenty brethren listen as we teach so they are both learning and hearing some other ways to share the gospel.
- In teaching the Word of God there is a vast difference between differences of opinion with prospects versus when we discuss who is the best ball team or who is the best politician (is there such a thing as a best politician)? With the Scriptures, however, we are listening to God and we know He is always correct. In our teaching we do not throw out what we believe but what God says.
- I have not had any pictures of baptisms because we have been too busy teaching. While the brethren take the prospect to the water, we are instructing someone else. I always enjoy seeing one born again but we have come to teach.
I was going to wait to send this after I Skyped with Charlie Brown and Grandma but I am having trouble keeping connected to the internet and will try to send this now. If you do not receive it, please let me know! We are doing well and thank you for your continued prayers.
May 20, 2019
Monday, May 20, 2019 10:40pm-4:40pm CST
The Lord blessed us once again with souls. The reality, however, is that as long as we are sowing seed we are being blessed because we are doing His bidding. All did not respond to Jesus in a positive way; all did not respond to the Apostles in a positive way so why would we feel to be any different. We were able to share the Word of God with 8 and two of them accepted the Lord via baptism. They are below with Jean Claude and the sister’s baby, Veronica. The new sister’s name is Rigoureuse and the brother’s name is Francous. I am not nearly as concerned with her as she is the wife of one of the brothers but Francous is from a village where there is no church. He was in Ngong today for a holiday. The brothers say they will follow-up with him.
Here is how the day went: got up at 7:50 to prepare for the day. Left the hotel at 9 and was at Ngong by 10. You can see the church hall on the right below. We immediately began teaching and it went as many days. For example, I taught a man named Jean and I might as well have been teaching a tree! He is locked into a denominational mindset and I pray that one day he will unlock it. It is very warm here; I would say hot but Jean Claude disagrees. Both yesterday and today the brethren brought us cold bottles of water which was very thoughtful and appreciated. In between students it is somewhat frustrating because we cannot interact. You see, the brethren speak about as much English as I do Swahili! After we did the morning and early afternoon teaching some sisters brought food for everyone to eat. There were at least 20 brethren with us. We then taught some more and I finished with a sermon. The day truly went well. We hopped back into the vehicle with Teresa, er, Methuselah and made it back to the hotel by 5:30. Had a marvelous shower and then ate around 6:15. Had buzzgetti again and it was GREAT! Visited some with Jean Claude and then hopped on my computer to get some work done. Was able to Skype with Charlie Brown and Grandma and she is still not feeling well. Please continue to keep her in prayer.
- One brother today had a leather jacket along with a shirt and tie. I started sweating when I looked at him but not a drop of sweat fell from his brow.
- In my teaching and preaching I had two translators. Jean Claude translated into French and Mamoudou translated into the native dialect of Foulfoulde. A little surprised that Mamoudou and Foulfoulde tripped up my spell checker!
Jean Claude and I are both well and we thank you for your continued prayers.
May 19, 2019
Sunday, May 19, 2019 8:15pm-2:15pm CST
The North is far less receptive to the gospel than the southern part of Cameroon due to the Muslim influence and a particular denomination that has done a huge amount of benevolence over the years. The Muslims are not radicals but few convert. Due to those facts; I was very pleased with today as we were able to share the gospel with 11 and have 2 baptisms and one restoration. We give all of the glory and praise to God!
Here is how the day went: got up at 6:15 and left the hotel at 7:30. The journey to Lagdo takes 90 minutes and we arrived right on time. The church was already singing and the children’s class had begun. Due to the high number of prospects they only had worship and no Bible class this morning and that went well. The local preacher who is pictured below with his wife did the preaching and I assume he did a good job. There is a local dialect so he was speaking in French and another brother translated into the dialect. The singing was excellent and we had a good worship. You can see the congregation below. We had 95 in attendance today and the fellowship was delightful. After the worship we sprung right into teaching. One of the first prospects I taught said he wanted baptism and was headed to the water when he changed his mind. While I wish he was serious; I would prefer he wait instead of getting wet. I pray the seed that was sown will ultimately bear fruit. We had some of the ‘normal prospects’ who are locked into their beliefs and even the Word of God cannot change them. After we finished with the prospects, we had our afternoon worship and I preached. I had Jean Claude translating into French and another brother translating into the local dialect. It does give you some extra time to think about what you are fixin to say. We then made the journey back and arrived at 5:30. I was able to get a good shower and the water was lukecold which is OK. Note: my spellchecker says that lukecold is not a word but it is!!! After a hot day the last thing I want is a hot shower. We ordered supper and ate around 6:30. The hotel food is delicious and we enjoy visiting about the day as well as the work in Cameroon. After Jean Claude went to his room, I began cleaning up things such as pictures on my computer and doing email. I am able to get so much work done because of the internet and the computer versus the early years when I traveled to Ghana and then Cameroon.
- You will get a kick out of this. I asked one prospect how old he thought I was and he said between 100 and 125. Can you imagine what he would have said about Teresa? Probably pushing 200!!!! The other prospect said 70 and since I am 69, I gave him a treat. Not really!
- While we were teaching most of the church stayed until the afternoon worship. During that time some sisters had prepared food for everyone.
Please pray for Linda. She was able to go to worship this morning but she is not feeling well this afternoon. Jean Claude and I are both well and looking forward to working with 3 more congregations tomorrow. Thanks for your continued prayers.
May 18, 2019
Saturday, May 18, 2019 9:30pm-3:30pm CST
I almost, the operative word is almost, did not know what to do since there was no packing, unpacking or traveling to do today! The computer, however, allowed me to continue to work and have a productive day. Let’s begin at the beginning:
The Lord blessed me with a GREAT night of sleep as I did not wake up until 10! Tomorrow will be about 6:15am but that is OK. Around 11:15 a brother by the name of Victor (he is the preacher for the church in Lagdo where we will be tomorrow) came with the driver who will carry us to Lagdo. It is about 90 minutes from here and the driver’s name is Methuselah. Generally, I am the oldest in a group in Cameroon but not this time!!! The only other time I am with someone older is when I am in the presence of Teresa Blaisdell!!!! We went to a very nice grocery store to buy some water and some other basics such as Mars Bars and Snickers. We got back and had a nice lunch. I dined on some M&Ms, Banana Twinkies, a Snickers and Coke Zero while Jean Claude will had another full meal but he is still growing! The problem is that he is growing horizontally rather than vertically and the primary growth is in the middle, if you know what I mean! He is a REALLY good guy, however! This afternoon I was able to get a lot of work done. Began work on my PPT of the trip and my trip report. Obviously, there is a great deal more to do but at least I have started. I also adopted two new WBS students (adopt is the word we use when we take on a new student). One lives in Dallas and the other in Frisco so my prayer is that at some time in the future I can sit down and study with them face to face. Oh; Victor said they have 20 prospects for us tomorrow. Another congregation is going to meet with us in Lagdo so we are praying that many honest souls are able to be taught. As I have told you so many times; I am not concerned with baptisms but with conversions. Please pray that we have a fruitful day.
While my memory may not be the best in the world; I do remember that what I am fixin to say has been said by me on many occasions. My middle name should be repetition as I know I do a lot of repeating in these Howdys. I am fully aware that the only thing that truly matters is the eternal. Paul will write the following in II Corinthians 4:18: so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. I am also aware of James 5:14 that says our lives are like a mist that appears for a brief period of time and then hits the road. BTW: that last phrase is from a modern speech translation!! I am also aware, as you are; that all gifts come from our Father (James 1:17). Finally, I realize the fact that we should give praise and thanks to God as shown through the leper who was healed in Luke 17:18. That is all “run-up” to this: I am so thankful for the physical blessings the Lord has given on this trip already. Yes, the journey from Douala was long but it was safe and we had no problems. This hotel is wonderful; I have been in many hotels where the lighting was so poor at night that you needed to keep a flashlight in your mouth but this one has an abundance of light. The fridge is quite possibly the best one I have ever seen in a hotel in Cameroon for this reason; it has a large freezer. Most of the fridges have a freezer that will allow you to put 2 Mars Bars and that is it but I can put a 1-liter Coke Zero (actually could put 3) in the freezer and it REALLY works! In fact, I put a bottle of water in the freezer about an hour ago and I cannot drink it because ice does not drink! The A/C was so good that I had to move the thermostat up as high as it would go last night. I will have to do that each evening. The restroom is wonderful in every way and the bed is really comfortable. Now; if everything in this hotel was bad, I realize that I am still a child of God and what is truly important will not change. Nevertheless; I am grateful to the Lord for His blessings. I know you feel the same way as He has showered you.
With all of the travel, I am in hopes that Air France upgrades me to First Class for my flight from Paris to Dallas on May 31. I am not saying I expect that but it would be a nice way to end the journey! I called Linda a while ago and caught her at Chili’s with Michael and his tribe. We will have to wait until tomorrow to Skype.
Pictures below are from yesterday. I will hopefully have some pictures from worship tomorrow. The one on the left is of Ngondere which is a large town where we will work on Friday, Lord willing. The one on the right is a common picture as the women are hard workers. Jean Claude and I are both well and thank you for your continued prayers.