October 31, 2018
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 8:00pm-2:00pm CST
I am not sure how to begin. I told you yesterday that I was not positive about today. If you have ever done evangelism you know what it means to read a prospect. Of course, we may misread but I will share the two studies I had. The first was with a woman by the name of Juliette. She is a strong (and I mean strong) Charismatic. If you are familiar with this group you know that they are emotion based. When a person’s faith is based on emotion rather than the Word of God; it is impossible to lead them to Jesus. We only pray that she will change. The next young man was named Brice and he is locked in to his denomination. I thought that my dad was dogmatic but I think that Brice could have whipped him. Our job, of course, is to sow seed and we did and would ask you to pray that something will happen in the lives of Juliette and Brice to bring then to saving faith.
The day began at 7 and we left at 10. I was able to get a lot of work done on the computer before we left. I have been blessed by the internet connections I have had throughout. Only twice was there any difficulty and both times the problems were worked out. Simon brought me back to the hotel as Jean Claude had some discussion with a few brethren. We had a great lupper (or is it linner) and we both agreed that Juliette and Brice were not true prospects. Some brother just said; come and study and they said OK. Brice, for example, said that sin is abstract but he finally did agree that if you murdered someone there was nothing abstract about it. He also said that burial for baptism in Rom 6:4 includes sprinkling so it became apparent that he was not serious. Well, he was serious but it was in defending his beliefs at any cost. Oh, the two pictures below are: 1) on the left a picture of Jean Claude and Scott praying with a new convert after his baptism 2) the Biyem-Assi church hall. You can see it is very nice and tonight we had a total of 4.
I have a new best friend and one, shall we say, that is not my favorite. My new best friend is Florence as she believes I am 48 which is about what I look like! The other one is a woman who first met me when she was a teenager and last night she said I looked old! Can you imagine what she would think about Teresa Blaisdell! One more thing while I am thinking about it: I have been working in Africa for 30 years and Cameroon for over 22. You would think that by now the traffic and acumen of the drivers would no longer amaze me but it does. I have told you in the past that I smile when I am on a machine but I also find myself smiling when I am in a taxi as we maneuver in places that you would think are impossible. I am always at peace because of the great track record of these guys. I was able to take a machine home tonight and the ride was thrilling.
I am basically packed after having a nice shower. I cannot remember if I told you or not but I had no water last night. The Skype connection last night was bad but we are hoping for better tonight. We leave in the morning for Bangante. Jean Claude says he is better but keep the prayers going for him. I REALLY am GREAT and thank you for your continued prayers.
October 30, 2018
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 8:30pm-2:30pm CST
Another blessed day in the Kingdom. This morning we had 4 studies with 2 of them giving their lives to the Lord! This afternoon we had one more study with two young men and they gave their lives to the Lord. Let me tell you about all of them: 1) The first was a woman named Flore. I thought the study was going well but after an hour or so it became clear that she is going to follow her mother into a denomination rather than the Lord’s Church. Jean Claude and I agree that she is well entrenched. I can only pray that one day she will change. The one positive is that her children worship with us. 2) A sweet 20-year-old girl named Florence studied next. This girl is what you call a true prospect as she has visited many times and was eager to give her life to the Lord. 3) The final study was with 2 young men who are Anglophones and have been displaced by the Crisis. They have come to live in Yaounde with their aunt. They were 18 (Johnson) and 15 (Vickel). It was another excellent study and while only Johnson was baptized; I have great belief that Vickel is not far from the Kingdom. You can see Simon and Johnson on the left below. 4) In the afternoon we studied with Lesley and Kerry who are pictured on the right below. All 4 of the new converts are under the age of 20 which makes me both nervous and happy. Nervous that they are serious but happy in that they have a long life (hopefully) of service for the Lord.
Back to the beginning: got up at 7 after another good night’s rest. BTW: Jean Claude’s back is a bit worse today. He slipped in the shower last night but says it is not bad. A/C ran all night and the bed is nice as is everything else. My only complaint is that the lighting is very poor but that is just the rich American in me speaking. It truly is a wonderful hotel. We grabbed a taxi to go to Nkoabang at 8:30 and made good time arriving at just a couple of minutes after 9. Simon is always well prepared and we began studies immediately. After Florence decided to give her life to the Lord Simon took her for the baptism while Jean Claude and I continued to teach. We left around 1:20 to come back and eat our lunch and have a brief period of relaxation. I “relaxed” on my computer and then we ate. It was once again excellent. We then returned at 3:30 for a study at 4 and afterwards we worshiped with the church. I spoke on the Christian Walk and the worship service was inspiring. We then got a taxi back to the hotel but the water is not flowing. They have a generator and say the water will make it up to my floor but as of now, it is still dry. I will Skype with Charlie Brown and Linda in an hour or so. I do not want to sound pessimistic but I am not looking forward to tomorrow. You see; Biyem-Assi is one of the largest congregations in the country but it is not because of evangelism. They have stayed fairly stagnant for a long time. Well, I only pray that I am a false prophet and tomorrow yields positive fruit.
We continue to thank you for your prayers.
October 29, 2018
Monday, October 29, 2018 7:00pm-1:00pm CST
A good and interesting day. Got up at 6:30 and left the hotel at 7:40. Trip to Yaounde was short and only took 70 minutes from hotel to hotel. We have stayed here before and a number of the employees recognized us. They have always provided good service and the rooms have A/C, an enclosed shower and fridge. We went to a grocery store to buy a few things and then had a nice supper. I have had chicken for about 11 straight days which is no problem for me because if I like something; I can eat it over and over. I did, however, switch to spaghetti tonight and it was delicious. We will be in Yaounde for 2 working days. Tomorrow we work with the Nkoabang Church of Christ and then on Wednesday with the Biyem-Assi Church of Christ. If you can correctly pronounce Nkoabang and Biyem-Assi see my lovely wife for your nickel. I am not worried about her having to pay for two reasons: 1) you can’t pronounce them correctly and 2) even if you could; she cannot so she would not know to give you the money.
If you have been reading my “Howdys” for any length of time you know that they are 75% fluff, garbage or both. I actually may be giving myself too much credit and the percentage may be higher. Well, I want to get serious for a minute. I have told you of the Crisis that is taking place on the English side. It is truly severe. We have brethren who have lost their homes and even their lives. Many are living in the bush in fear. I have been able to secure a good amount of money to help buy various things to help our brethren. Even though the greatest problems are on the English side it has produced a burden to the French. Many have fled to live with relatives or anyone who would take them in. The church has done a good job of trying to help. Today Jean Claude went to the market to buy a number of things to hand out. We spent about 2 hours working on getting everything prepared. What you see on the left are ‘care packages’ containing bathing soap, laundry soap, rice, ground nuts (they make this into a stew), spaghetti, sardines, water, salt and sanitary napkins. To a person who resides in the United States that would seem rather paltry but they are so thankful. There were only 30 packages handed out today but Jean Claude says on the English side the church hall will be filled. On the right below, you can see Daniel Melee (the preacher at Biyem-Assi) pouring ground nuts into a sack that Jean Claude is holding. I have no way of knowing how long this Crisis will last but I pray that brethren in the States will continue to contribute. Our brethren are truly suffering and the church is taking a big hit. For example, Kumba Town is the largest congregation in the country with an attendance of about 225 on a typical Sunday morning. That number now will go as low as 20 on many occasions. Please keep our brethren in your prayers.
Jean Claude’s back is still paining him some but is much better. I continue to feel fine. We are looking forward to our time in Nkoabang tomorrow. Thanks for your continued prayers.
October 28, 2018
Sunday, October 28, 2018 5:45pm-11:45am CST
The Lord blessed us with another great day. We had two baptisms and one of them was the brother I wrote about yesterday who was serious but had said no. Jean Claude and Simon both told me at supper last night that they thought he was serious. Well, he was at Bible class and worship and desired baptism. His name is Salomon and he is on the left below. We were also able to share the gospel with his son, Andre, and he desired baptism. Salomon had actually taught him last night as well! The one on the right is Pierre from yesterday. While the prospects have not been plenty; they have truly been serious people. We have studied with 15 and 11 of them gave their lives to the Lord.
I was blessed with another good night’s rest and got up at 7. A brother from Yaounde named Scott came and took us to the hall. We are talking about a small house and you can see the congregation below. There are 4 congregations in Yaounde and one of them sends members each Sunday. It will still be a struggle for this congregation as they are new babes, for the most part. The worship service was very encouraging. During the sermon the rain began to fall heavily. The roof is zinc so the noise was great but we managed to get through. Jean Claude was using his phone as a songbook! My how technology has changed over the 30 years I have been working on this continent. 8 or so climbed into Scott’s car to go down to the Nyong (Plunge) River to witness the new births of Salomon and Andre. We then went over to Salomon’s house to encourage not only the new brothers but the entire congregation. It was a beneficial time. Jean Claude and I came back to the hotel and I started packing. This hotel has been very nice as the power and water have been constant. My fridge was absolutely fantastic and my Coke Zeros are now history. I can get some more tomorrow in Yaounde. Jean Claude and I enjoyed our supper and discussed, among other things, the crisis. Today, for example, his congregation numbered 278 which is a full 100 more than usual. This is because of displaced brethren from the English side. I will Skype with Linda later and in the mean time try to get fully caught up on stuff. Jean Claude’s back is better but he still needs the prayers. I am absolutely great and we both thank you for your prayers. This has been a great campaign thus far and tomorrow we travel to Yaounde where we will work on Tuesday and Wednesday.
October 27, 2018
Saturday, October 27, 2018 8:30pm-2:30pm CST
If you are receiving this on Monday, it is because shortly after I arrived in Mbalmayo the internet went down. If you are receiving it on Saturday then disregard the previous sentence. Actually, as I write I am using Jean Claude’s modem which is working so hopefully I will get this sent before he repossesses it!
The Lord blessed us with a fruitful day. You can define “fruitful” in more than one way. You may teach a prospect and they did not respond but you have done what the Father has commanded and in that sense; you were fruitful. Even when we have a good number of baptisms we must never forget that it is the Lord that is doing the work and we are weak vessels that He is using in a great way.
I awoke at 7 and we left at 9. Simon Parfait picked us in his vehicle and we went to study with a husband, wife and daughter. I will tell you what happened in the afternoon in a moment but the morning session was quite interesting. The man appears to be serious and is an intelligent guy. He said he wanted baptism but not at this time. I still felt as though it was a good study. We then came back to the hotel for a brief rest.
In the afternoon we were not able to resume our study with the husband and his family but we were privileged to study with the brother on the left below, Pierre (Peter). Please pray for him as he has had more than his fair share of problems in life. He will need all of the encouragement that the brethren can give. Remember this is a small congregation and he is the first man. The picture on the right is one of the strangest prospects I have ever had. Well, the rabbit actually wasn’t a prospect but he did come in and listen for a short time. No positive response, however. After the baptism we went back to Pierre’s house to encourage him to remain in the faith. We then came back to the hotel and Simon joined us for supper. We had both a good meal and a better discussion of a number of things.
- Jean Claude appears to be 6 months pregnant with twins. He calls his belly his ball. The night we were in Ebolowa after the evening service a sister named Vera dropped her phone. Jean Claude said it his is ball and that is the reason why it fell.
- We baptized Pierre in the Nyong River which is quite interesting because in the local dialect the word Nyong means to plunge so this is a true baptistry!
- Jean Claude tried to help me with my modem. He is a blessing to be with for many reasons. If I ever need anything I have it with a smile.
I will Skype with Linda soon. Jean Claude’s back is better but his doctor said that once the mission is over he will need to get it X-rayed to have a better diagnosis. Please continue to keep him in prayer. I am doing GREAT and we both thank you for your continued prayers.
October 26, 2018
Friday, October 26, 2018 6:15pm-12:15pm CST
With all of the packing and unpacking my days are running together. I am not sure what day it is but I think it is Friday, at least that is what I have put on my heading! It has been a relaxing day. I got up at 7 and we headed out around 8:30. Stopped by a shop to get breakfast and I had ice cream, plantain chips and OJ. I am one of these people who are very disciplined and I stick to my diet. The road from Ebolowa and Mbalmayo is a nice tar road and we made it in 2 hours. Let me explain the pictures below; on the left is a picture from yesterday and it is the children’s classroom at Ebolowa. On the right is something I had never seen; a car phone! The hotel is very nice with A/C and a fridge. This is a GREAT fridge. I put a Coke Zero in the freezer (it had just been turned on) and we went to town to get some water and by the time I returned; it was already beginning to freeze. That may not seem like a big deal to you but in both Yokaduma and Ebolowa I had no fridge and the one in Bertoua looked very nice but did not put out any cold in the least. Jean Claude and I went to the restaurant to order supper and the rain fell heavy. We have truly been blessed on this journey as the rain has never affected the work in any negative way. I think I told you early on that Mbalmayo is a new congregation not even up to 10 members. There are two congregations in Yaounde who are working with it and Simon Parfait will come down from Yaounde tomorrow and work with us both Saturday and Sunday. He is the preacher for the Nkoabang Church of Christ and we will work with them next Tuesday. Our supper was delicious and the girl who took care of the food is named Janet and is from Buea. She is an Anglophone by birth but is fluent in French. I am an Anglophone from birth and can barely speak English! Due to the shortness of the day I have been able to get a lot of stuff out of the way and plan to watch a movie or a Rockford File or two this evening. There are not many times when I can totally relax so this will be enjoyable. It is such a blessing to be able to Skype with Charlie Brown and TMBWITEU. In case you have forgotten; that is The Most Beautiful Woman In The Entire Universe. I could add AB which would stand for And Beyond which is certainly true. The greatest thing about Linda is not her physical beauty but the faith that is evident in her life. You see; she is a beautiful Christian which is what truly matters. I know that Alex (our 13-year-old granddaughter) and Charlie Brown are going to spend tonight with Grandma. They will have a blast. All of the grandkids love Grandma more than me with good reason! It will still be 3 hours before I am able to Skype with Charlie Brown and Grandma. Jean Claude says his back is better today. Please continue to pray for him. I am doing well and thank you for every thought and prayer.
October 25, 2018
Wednesday, October 25, 2018 8:00pm-2:00pm CST
To say it is a blessing to be a child of God could easily be the biggest understatement of all time. We realize that regardless of the circumstances in our lives; Heaven awaits. I start this way because this was a discouraging day versus the earlier ones. The one prospect that we were supposed to have this morning did not show and we ended up studying with no one. I did have a good conversation with one of the brothers and hopefully it made an impact. The work in Ebolowa is a sad one. We began this congregation about 13 years ago and early on, there was much promise. They grew fairly quickly to 50 but then a huge problem took place. They had two preachers and one of them became a ‘serial fornicator’. Virtually all of the Christians were new converts and when they saw the behavior of one of their leaders; the majority left. For so many years they have struggled. The brother told me today that the ‘religious atmosphere’ of the town is that people go to a hall on Sunday and the rest of the time belongs to them. Unfortunately, this mentality has entered the church. I truly do not know what the future holds but I would ask you to lift this small church up in prayer.
Let me go back to the beginning of the day: slept really well and got up at 7:00. I did some work on the computer and we left for the hall at about 9:45. It is literally less than 5 minutes away by machine. As mentioned above; we were not able to study with anyone but I pray my exchange with the brother will be passed on to the members. We came back so I spent a long time with Jean Claude which is always profitable. We both believe that despite problems, the church has a bright future in this country. I know that we have our fair share of problems in the States so we should not be surprised that every member is not on fire for the Lord. I was able to get a lot of stuff done on the computer. We had an early supper at 3:30 and it was delicious. Left for the hall at 4:50 for a 5:00pm service with the brethren. It started promptly at 6:15!!! I used several texts but the overall message was to encourage them to sound faith and service. I may preach this a number of times in the next week to various congregations. Jean Claude seems to think it is needed. We got back at about 7:30 and I took a nice shower and have been working since. Lord willing, I will Skype with Charlie Brown and Grandma in 2 hours or so. We leave in the morning for Mbalmayo which is only 2-3 hours away. This is a new congregation and we will work with them on Saturday and Sunday.
Regarding the pictures below: the signboard is in Bulu (the native dialect) French and English. On the right are Etienne and his wife Giselle with one of the children, Gaius, in the middle. Please continue to pray for Jean Claude’s back as it is still not totally well. We appreciate your continued prayers.