HOWDY

February 14, 2018

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 10:40pm-3:40pm CST

Dear All:

Happy Valentine’s Day to all. I got my nice card today and Linda has already received her goodies. I am blessed beyond words to have her as my lovely bride! I am running behind schedule tonight. Earlier we had a power outage of roughly 15 minutes which is strange for this hotel as the generator usually kicks on immediately. I was speaking to Richard and Lori about how things have changed dramatically in the 30 years I have been coming to Ghana and Cameroon. In the early years it was common to have no water or electricity and now those things are taken for granted. Had another great day with 39 men in Richard’s class, 38 in Lori’s and 79 in mine. These are some of the highest attendance totals in Douala for the entirety of the 20 years we have been conducting these seminars. I am thankful that the brethren are not tiring of them but are eager to study and learn.

Here is the day:

Awoke at my usual 7:15 after another good night’s rest. Lori slept well but Richard did not. It did not show in his teaching as he did another marvelous job! He and I did our usual machine ride. I am noticing that I am smiling less on machines and I believe that I am becoming so used to them and so comfortable that I do not notice many things I did in the past. Now, I do not want to mislead you because some things will still bring a smile to my face. For example, when we leave the hall at night the road we have to cross is jammed with cars, trucks and machines. We simply move out carefully and when we see an opening, we go. Now, the opening may only be a foot but how much do you need! As stated above, Richard had another great class and the brothers enjoy his teaching. I have spoken to some of the sisters and they likewise love Lori’s teaching. Richard and I did not go to the hotel at lunch as we had a meeting with the brethren from the North. They are pictured below. The church in the North is very small and weak. They really look forward to the seminar each year. Due to the high cost of transportation, we assist them in coming. I am sure that I have told you before but they take a 4-hour bus ride followed by another 3-hour bus ride followed by a 14-hour train ride followed by a final 4-hour bus ride. Our discussion with them dealt with some possible financial help we will give them to assist their efforts. If we do help it will be a one-time gift that will allow them to generate money on an ongoing basis. They will purchase and sell corn and we will give them the “seed” money. Once they get going, they will be able to produce and reinvest the money. Pray that we will make a correct decision. After that meeting Richard wanted a Coke Zero (I was totally against it but being the good leader I am, I acquiesced) and I was shocked to actually find a small shop within a short distance from the hall that had a Coke Zero. We then came back and visited with the brethren and then my class began. I am never overly happy with my classes as I always feel I could have done a better job but overall, it was OK. The brethren listen well and ask good questions and make good comments. Oh, after the first break I took the picture of Simon, his wife Nadedge and daughter Emmanuel. He preaches for the Nkoabang Church of Christ which is in the capital city of Yaounde. He is an excellent preacher but a better Christian and Nadedge is a marvelous helper to him. After my class we climbed our 3 machines driven by the 3 Amigos and the trip was fascinating. I may be contradicting what I said above but it is a marvelous thing to watch how they navigate the roads. When we got home I took a nice cool shower and after the power came back on, went down to Richard & Lori’s and enjoyed supper. A combination of Ravioli, Tuna and Sausage is quite delectable, especially when eaten at room temperature. I was unable to Skype with Charlie Brown and Grandma as they are out shopping. I still have some emails to get to so am shooting for a bedtime of 11:30. We are all well and appreciate your constant prayers.

In Christ,
Jim Corner


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HOWDY

February 13, 2018

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 9:30pm-2:30pm CST

Dear All:

I don’t know if I am crazy or not but I noticed yesterday that there is a 7 and not 6-hour difference between us and CST. I know there has been no time change in America and I am sure of the same here so evidently, I simply was miscalculating earlier. For those of you who know me it will be hard to believe that I made a mistake. Actually, that was my first mistake since my last one!

Day began at 7:15 after another good night’s rest. Richard and Lori said they both slept well and for that I am thankful. Nothing out of the ordinary until Richard and I left the hotel for the hall. Yesterday was a public holiday and you could tell a big difference in the traffic. We have to walk across the street to catch a machine and the walk is exhilarating. The two times that Linda has been here she loves to cross the street and dodge the traffic. It is a challenge and she is a girl who likes to be challenged. Richard’s class went well. The brethren this year are asking more questions in Douala than in Kumba. If my memory serves me right (and I never forget anything) the Kumba brethren usually talk more. Julien and Martin brought Richard and I back to the hotel. I had a “working lunch” but even then, I am careful to eat healthy. I had a Kit Kat, 4 Oreos and a Coke Zero. If you will take the time to look at the ingredients you will be shocked to see how jam packed this stuff is with Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin Q (builds your IQ), Vitamin R, Riboflavin, Phosphorous, sodium and mercury! I went back early to meet with Paul (the preacher of the Bertoua Church of Christ) and Rodrique (The preacher for the Yokaduma Church of Christ). Primarily chatted and wanted to know how their works were going and what could be done to enhance them in the future. I then took the photo of Paul along with his wife Rose and son Preston. They are a great couple and true servants in the Kingdom. I then had my class and it felt as though it went well. Climbed machines with the 3 amigos and hopped into the shower as soon as I got to my room. My water from the shower is either scalding, and I mean scalding hot or cold. Well, I prefer a cool shower to burnt skin plus I was hot from the day so it felt good. I then went down to Richard and Lori’s room and we had another feast. I had one of my famous dishes and added some green beans that Lori had bought in Douala and the food was deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelicious. Do different stuff since I got back to the room and will Skype with Charlie Brown and Grandma in about 50 minutes, Lord willing.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

  1. For those of you who have been reading my “Howdys” for some years; I understand that you are getting the same Pablum, for the most part as in the past. For you youngsters who do not understand the word Pablum you need to talk to an elderly person like Teresa Blaisdell. Now that is one elderly girl. She is, however, a good one! At any rate; I was blessed beyond measure today regarding machines. First, picture a road with two lanes on each side and a median. The traffic was so heavy that we climbed the median and blew by those poor people in taxis, cars and trucks. Second, picture yourself on the right-hand side (the correct one) of the road and machines are coming towards you on your side. It is so wonderful! Third, for a short period of time my driver did the same thing and I know what a Salmon, swimming upstream is like.
  2. I really do want to thank each of you who have been praying for Linda. The Lord has been so good to us and one of the ways He blesses us is through brethren like you. Today one of the sisters by the name of Ruth told me that she prays for me every day. It is a true blessing to be in the family of God.
  3. The seminar is nice for a plethora of reasons. One of the serendipitous blessings of the seminar is that you get a nice break during the day. You get to come back and change into a T-shirt and shorts and enjoy the A/C.
  4. Even though the holiday is past; we had an excellent attendance today with 38 men in the morning, 36 sisters in Lori’s class and 61 in mine. If you are new to these blogs you may wonder why Kumba had such higher numbers. Well, there are literally 4 to 5 times more congregations on the English side.

We are all well and looking forward to another great day tomorrow. We continue to say THANK YOU for all of your prayers.

In Christ,

Jim Corner


HOWDY

February 12, 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018 9:55pm-2:55pm CST

Dear All:

Douala started well with 41 men in Richard’s class compared to 24 last year, 40 women in Lori’s class compared to 34 last year and 62 in my class compared to 59 last year. All of us felt good about the classes. Here is the day:

Awoke at 7 as I had to get things set up for the sister’s class. It is held in the hotel so they have good A/C. Richard and I climbed machines for the 5-minute ride to Jean Claude’s congregation. They have made some big improvements to the hall but the pictures I took today did not come out well. They have real live benches with backs1 They also have a nice tile floor and they are the first building I have seen with an A/C. They did not run it because of the expense but it still looks nice. Monday is always a special day as we see brethren for the first time in a year. Made a trip to the ladies’ class but I have mentioned it below. After Richard’s class Julien (the preacher at the Dakar Church of Christ) and Martin carried us to the hotel. I just snacked and got some work done. Left at 2:30 and the two guys above along with Yacouba (the preacher for the Logpom Church of Christ) picked the 3 of us. During my class I nearly stepped on a kid that could not have been more than 1 ½ years old. He was meandering in the hall and I did not see him. After my class the three amigos brought us back to the hotel. We ate supper in the hotel restaurant and enjoyed a fine meal. I have been downloading pictures and working on a couple of sermons. Oh, the picture below is of Jean Claude and yours truly from this past Saturday. Hopefully I have not already posted it.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

  1. This is the dry season but it has rained the past 2 nights. Fortunately, it has been dry in the day time.
  2. I went to the ladies’ hall to make sure they had everything. The idea that I had to ride a machine to get there had no bearing on my decision. Some of you are familiar with the game of Clue and you youngsters don’t have a clue of what I am talking about. At any rate; I was forced once more to go to my room and drink a Coke Zero. I cannot figure out who is compelling me to do this but they need to stop. You see, I feel guilty enjoying a cold Coke when my brothers are sweating. Wait; scratch that last sentence due to Revelation 21:8!
  3. In my introduction I spoke of spiritual role models and mentioned Ross Hollingsworth who is a member of my congregation. I have known him for nearly 27 years and he is one of the greatest and strongest Christians I have ever known. Barbara, his wife, is also an incredible Christian!
  4. Over the years I have been blessed beyond belief regarding those who work with me in the seminar. I am not going to try and name all of them as I know I will leave someone out. I will say that this year is an incredible blessing with Richard and Lori. Their faith can be seen and they truly model what they preach.

GREAT NEWS! Linda got her blood work back and there was no problem with Lymph Glands and no Cancer. She gave blood today to check her Thyroid. Thanks for your prayers and please continue to pray for her.

We are all fine and looking forward to tomorrow. Thanks for all of your prayers.

In Christ,

Jim Corner

 



 


HOWDY

February 10, 2018

Saturday, February 10, 2018 8:30pm-2:30pm CST

Dear All:

It has been a relaxing and nice day. Let me go over the pictures below first. The pig on the right was alive when I took the picture but may be ham and bacon by now. In Cameroon when a man takes a wife, he must pay her family a bride price and the family is the extended family. Part of the price is a pig or goat and Jean Claude says this is a good pig! I pray that the marriage is good as well. On the right are pictures of a gift from a sister by the name of Salome. She came to the hotel this morning around 7 to give them to us. On the inside it says we are so thankful for your visit in Cameroon. Richard and Lori’s say something different. We loaded at 7 on schedule and was off by 7:30. Made excellent time and arrived at the hotel by 11. The traffic in Douala is not nearly as bad on Saturday as a weekday. On the way we passed the Banga Bakundu Church of Christ hall. This is one of the halls that we roofed 4 years ago. I got a good picture of it and may show it tomorrow. I got a bunch of good pictures today. In the bus there were the following signs: No fighting, No vomiting and No smoking. Then on the other side of the bus it says Don’t send your head or hands outside. Lori was wondering if the Don’t send your head or hands outside would create a problem if you had to vomit. Jean Claude said that in that case you were “authorized” to send your head and hands (especially head) outside! It irritates me at times that I cannot remember things to tell you. I will be somewhere during the day and think that I need to put something in the blog but by the time I write; the thought has taken wings. Well, I finally remembered something really cool from Thursday. I was speaking with Denis Asikpo who preaches for the church in Matoh. We worked with them this past June and we had 12 baptisms. He told me that all 12 are faithful and growing in their faith! That is certainly not the norm in Cameroon, Ghana, America or any other place I am aware of. Another thought; we were amazed at the speed of the internet connection at the hotel in Kumba. I have no idea what it was but it was far, far faster than the hotel in Douala and even faster than my 3G modem! On the way from Kumba we only made 2 stops; one was to buy some bananas from a roadside seller and the other was in Douala where Martin picked Jean Claude’s stuff to take it to his house. On the way to the hotel Martin flew by us because he was on a machine and we were in a van. He was waiting for us at the hotel when we arrived. We put our stuff up and took a taxi to a nice grocery store to buy stuff for the next week. Things such as Pringles, Water, Coke Zeros, canned corn, cheese and most importantly; Milky Way Candy Bars. No Mars Bars or Snickers but I will somehow manage. We then took a taxi (I hate taxis) because I will not put Lori on a machine with someone she does not know. If I am on a machine and the driver takes a wrong turn I know how to direct him. Another thing; a sister from Lori’s congregation made book marks for all the sisters. They appreciate anything and everything they receive. I realize I am all over the map in this HOWDY but my mind is in a ramblin mode. I just found out that ramblin is not a word but it should be. Kind of like the word fixin. It does not show up as a non-word because I added it to my dictionary and I think I will do the same with ramblin. We went to our favorite restaurant and we all enjoyed our food. We then came back to the hotel and I began to unpack which took me awhile. I really like the idea that I will be here for 12 days as the Feb trip is nice regarding travel. Richard and Lori had no hangars so I took a machine to get them some. The main reason I went was so I could ride a machine and it was marvelous. A car thought it had the right of way but my driver showed that guy who was in charge! I have prepared my lessons for tomorrow. I will speak at Mambanda while Richard will speak at Dakar. Lori will go to Jean Claude’s church and teach the kids. We went down at 7 to have a coke and I have showered and will see if I can Skype Linda. Tonight, our church is having the annual Valentine Banquet and Linda is taking our 9-year-old grandson, KB, as her date. We have not been together on Valentine’s Day since 1988 when I made my first trip to Ghana. Since then I have been in Africa each and every February. I cannot thank my sweet wife for being so supportive and sacrificial. Richard, Lori and I went down and had a coke and a nice visit. It is time to prepare for tomorrow. Please continue to keep us in prayer.

In Christ,

Jim Corner


HOWDY

February 9, 2018

Friday, February 9, 2018 8:30pm – 2:30pm CST

Dear All:

I think I have been messing up (hard to believe) and putting 7 hours between CST and us. It is only 6 whereas Paris is 7. We finished a great 1st ½ of the seminar. The numbers were remarkably close and consistent. The men’s class in the morning averaged 85 and the sisters 83. The afternoon class averaged 155. The numbers, of course, do not tell the story. That story will not be told for many months and even years. The goal of the seminar is long-term. We want to help the Cameroonian brethren lay a solid foundation. The key words in the previous sentence are Cameroonian brethren. My opinion, you may disagree which is OK, is that too often in the church we do harm in mission work. We do all of the funding, turn the native church into an American one and make them dependent upon us. As I have told you in years past; one of the struggles I have is knowing when to give, how much to give and when to say no. I am confident I make more than my share of mistakes but my goal is to see the church in Cameroon stand on its own feet. I do not want to create a situation in which someone younger than me follows me and then someone later on follows again. I have a great deal of confidence in the Lord and know that He can do mighty things through our brethren. Let me deal with the pictures below and then I will detail the day. On the left is a young man named Terrance who translated for me this week. He is a Vice-Principal in a high school which in their vernacular makes him higher than a Headmaster. As you can see, he is a tall guy. He was a joy and on two occasions rescued me when I had said the wrong thing. I probably need someone like that in the States when I teach and preach. On the left is Richard with Glen Besong. Glen is the preacher for the Farm Road Church of Christ and is a delight to be around. He did a great job for Richard and the two of us could not be happier with these fine Christian men.

Got up at my usual 7:15 but that will change tomorrow. There is never anything of particular interest in what I do in preparing for the day. Richard and I climbed machines and headed for the hall around 8:40 and the ride is only 2 minutes. The down side of riding a machine here versus Douala is there is no excitement. Traffic is not heavy and you don’t need to dodge stuff so it is not nearly the adventure that Douala is. The men turned in their evaluation forms and I have been able to read many of them. They are very positive and I will share some of the comments in the next day or two. Richard is always well received and for good reason, he is a really good teacher. He relates well to the brethren and his exegesis of a given text is always good. After his class we climbed machines again to come back and I went to my room and started packing for our journey tomorrow. Also, was able to get some work done on the computer. We all climbed machines and headed for the hall around 2:40. My class went well and I was pleased for the work done this week. Oh, Lori was very happy with her class today as well. I understand that there is no way to explain what takes place and to help you emotionally enjoy our brethren. Two years ago, my daughter came to Cameroon. One day we were in the hotel and out of the blue she said: dad, you were right. That got my attention because I do not hear that often from my children. I asked her what I was right about and she said that when I told people you cannot understand until you experience it; I was right. Well, today they sung a song that says “You are the most high God” and the words and their passion brought tears to my eyes. Later on, a brother was going to lead us in prayer and he said: let us talk to God which I liked. We climbed for one last bike ride in Kumba and started packing some more. Went down for our last supper and it was like all the others: delicious. I have a various number of things to do before I Skype with Charlie Brown and Grandma. We are scheduled to leave around 7:30 in the morning. Please pray that we have a safe and uneventful journey. Please continue to pray for Linda. We are all well and ready to move to Douala.

In Christ,

Jim Corner



HOWDY

February 8, 2018

Thursday, February 8, 2018 9:00pm – 2:00pm CST

Dear All:

The Lord has blessed us once more. The day was good with 89 men in Richard’s class, 90 women in Lori’s and 168 in the afternoon class. We feel extremely good about the classes and the response from the brethren has been excellent. Here is how the day unfolded:

Got up at 7:15 and showered, etc. and got ready for the day. Nothing out of the ordinary and Richard and I went down to climb machines to the hall. I wish you could actually come to the seminar because my feeble attempts at writing do not in the least paint an accurate picture. I stayed in Richard’s class until 10 and then went to Lori’s. We pass out evaluation forms on Thursday to be turned in on Friday. We are trying to get a better sense of what the brothers and sisters are thinking. Unfortunately, that guy that forced me to go to my room and drink a cold Coke Zero the other day did the same thing again! Got back to the hall and enjoyed the balance of Richard’s class. Oh, all of us who have spoken over here will, from time to time, use a colloquialism that is familiar to us but nothing that makes sense to the brothers. Today Richard spoke of Bible thumpers and it was a hoot to watch Glen try to figure out what he was saying and even funnier to watch Richard try to explain it! While I am thinking about it: I love dust! It is a joy being able to go out without messing around with mud and there is certainly none of that stuff here in the dry season. We came home and ate in Richard and Lori’s room. I hesitate to show the picture below as it may truly get your taste buds in a tizzy. Yum, yum!!!!!!!!!!!! I had to get back early as I met with some sisters who teach seminars on weekends and the churches that we will work with in June. Both meetings went well and my class was OK. Nothing to brag about but not too bad. You can see the group pictured below. Each year I would snap a picture of the group so I could show it to brethren in America. The brethren in Cameroon kept asking why I snap but don’t give them a photo. Well, starting two years ago we take a picture and have a professional make copies so everyone who attends can take theirs home. We will pass them out tomorrow. Afterwards, we climbed machines back to the hotel. We went across the street to a grocery store and bought a couple of soft drinks. Visited with Richard and Lori some and am in pretty good shape regarding time. Still have some stuff to do but should be in bed by 11 which would be great. Please continue to pray for Linda. She was not feeling good yesterday. It has actually been 5 months since she felt good and we are praying that one of these tests that are being done can help discover the problem so we can know the solution. The first 4 days have whizzed by and tomorrow we finish our time in Kumba. We are all doing well and thank you so much for your prayers.

In Christ,

Jim Corner



HOWDY

February 7, 2018

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 11:30pm – 4:30 CST

Dear All:

When a thought enters my mind, I have to write it immediately or senioritis will attack me. Hey, senioritis is a word as my spell checker did not go ballistic!!!! I was able to Skype with Linda last night and the picture was clear and the audio great. Elizabeth, Charlie Brown’s mom came to Grandma’s rescue so we are in her debt. I just got off of Skype with Charlie Brown and Grandma and we had a good visit.

Here is how the day unfolded:

Got up at 7:15 and did usual routine stuff. When you brush your teeth, you rinse with bottled water as the tap water is not guaranteed to be safe. It might be OK but I do not want to take a chance on coming down with Montezuma’s Revenge! Richard and I climbed machines and was only about 5 minutes early because we had some stuff come up at the last minute when we were preparing to leave. Nothing of interest but it took time. There is a reason why I shoot for an early time to leave. Richard always does a GREAT job and today was no exception. A brother named Glenn Besong has been interpreting for him and you can see them below. For those of you who are new to the blog; even though we are on the English side they speak Pidgin (not sure about the spelling) but while you can understand someone speaking Pidgin, many in the hall would not understand us. He is speaking of grace which is not the easiest subject to teach. I realize that defining the word is simple but there is much diversity in the religious world on the matter. He had the men get in groups this morning to give some examples of grace. You can see one of them below. I was able to stay in his class for the entire morning but that will not be the case for Thursday and Friday. We climbed machines to come back to the hotel. I had a working lunch so had 2 ‘things’ of sausage that they had brought and two Banana Twinkies. Even when I have to eat quickly I am able to eat healthy. Went over my lesson for the afternoon and other miscellaneous stuff. Left for the hall at 2:30 and got there while the singing was going on. My class went well and Lori was pleased with hers this morning. Jean Claude says everything is going well. We had 88 men and 90 women this morning. The afternoon class was 163. Going by previous seminars we have probably peaked. After my class I took a machine home while Richard and Lori walked. I rode for 2 reasons: 1) I love to ride machines and 2) I am tired after standing for 3 hours. We ate supper in the restaurant and as always, it was good. I have been working on various stuff since then and am ready to call it a day. We are all well and continue to say THANK YOU for your prayers.

In Christ,
Jim Corner