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Our first success was getting to the capital of the Cameroon, Yaounde, by Air France with our baggage in tact. There is a very short time interval between arriving from Manchester into Charles de Gaulle airport and departing for Yaounde. Last time Bro Martin Spencer and I traveled there, we arrived in Yaounde but our baggage did not, and this caused some disruption to our programme as the next flight in was not for another 2 days.
The first problem was trying to change money in our usual bank, only to find the computer software was being changed and there was no prospect of any business at all. We tried several more banks without success, before finding one that would change money but at a very poor rate of exchange.
Our first call was at the ecclesia at Bamenda in North West Cameroon, an English speaking part of the country. Here there is a lively ecclesia who have been making radio broadcasts on a local radio for 3 months. The cost for a half hour programme is just £10, what an opportunity for preaching the Truth! So Bro Martin and myself did a half hour question and answer session on the devil and satan and recorded 4 more to keep them going for the next month.
We traveled further up country to the village of Bafmeng where we gave talks and answered some astute questions on the Trinity, infant sprinkling, and the words of Jesus on the cross.
The next day disaster struck. Bro Martin succumbed to Malaria. He must have been bitten the first night we arrived for it to develop so quickly. The purchase of a thermometer confirmed fever at 102* and a doctor was called for who confirmed the illness. Martin had taken a course of treatment with him and that was quickly started, but he felt as if he was going to die for the next 4 days, and threatened never to come to Africa again!! Fortunately he later changed his mind, once he felt a little bit better!!
But the work had to go on whilst Martin was ill in bed, with a programme of visits planned and congregations waiting for advertised talks. First in line was a visit to the Bambili ecclesia. This is an ecclesia that consists entirely of Students, with the Rec Bro a student also. They had brought 7 student contacts also, and a lively time of talks and questions resulted. It was immensely enjoyable.
Bro Martin was taken to the Blind and Handicapped School in Mbengwe to be looked after and recuperate whilst I traveled to Wum to continue our programme. Here there were 20 brothers and sisters and lots of children and contacts as well as the pastor of a Presbyterian Church from a nearby village. There was a request to interview a local contact and this was done and we witnessed the baptism of Bro Zun Evaristus early next morning.
The pastor invited me to address his flock in the nearby village of Ngoh. Bro Andrew Walker had been there previously and addressed his flock and received a warm welcome, so I was quite happy to go also. I decided to talk about the Trinity and not going to Heaven when we die, thinking that this would be bound to highlight differences between us. In fact they have a tremendous reverence for the word of God and were quite happy to accept what we told and showed them from the word of God! In questions afterwards they asked whether it was true, as others had alleged, that we were sorcerors! I had to laugh! I was able to convince them that our only interest and objective was in preaching from the word of God, and that they were to check everything I said against the word of God, and with this they were content.
Next day I traveled to Mbengwi to meet up with Bro Martin, who by now was feeling much better although not yet up to stand up talks. At Mbengwe the CBM jointly sponsors a Blind and Handicapped School with Meal a Day, and it was a pleasure to meet up with around 32 blind or handicapped children and their teachers, led by the principal Bro Charles and Sis Monica Nkeng who fed and looked after us with loving care. The school is now a large complex of dormitories, refectories, staff houses, school rooms a visitors guest house and a working farm where the children learn agriculture and animal husbandry. The children would just be neglected in their own villages having no value and being just a liability, but in the School they are educated and given skills that will enable employment when they leave.
They have a new ecclesial hall on site also, which is far more convenient for those who are handicapped than to travel a mile or so to the nearest village. Here we broke bread and gave more Bible talks.
Back to the low points. The next ecclesia had severe problems, theft of money, immoral behaviour, and a split amongst the brotherhood existed that led to shouting and recriminations between two groups. There had been threats of violence to brothers, and the number of members had dropped from 80 to 17 as members drifted away from the unhealthy situation. An ecclesial business meeting was held and a new Rec Bro chosen. A warning was given by CBM that unless a radical change of behaviour was seen during the next year then the ecclesia would be closed down and members dispersed elsewhere. It was very sad to see and experience and our prayers have to be for them that its members regain their first love and to overcome the temptations of the flesh.
The Lord blessed us with a tremendous experience to follow. In the ecclesia of Menjie we interviewed a number of contacts and 4 were successful. Amongst them was a 92 year old lady, Emeka Cicila (pictured above), who could neither read nor right, but who had been taught the Truth by her son. She witnessed a good, although simple confession of her faith. She was eager to be baptised. However, she was crippled, bent in the spine and could only walk with the help of 2 sticks, and the steep river bank was going to prove a problem. But she was determined to be baptised, and negotiated her way down to the water. The delight on her face as she was baptised was evident to all, and it made tears come to our eyes. Dripping water she struggled her way up from the river to be greeted by the good wishes of her brothers and sisters, before returning home to change. God bless her on her walk to the kingdom. We baptised also the wife of the Rec Bro, Sis Amin Morfaw and his mother, Sis Marina Morfaw, and a brother Christopher Tazi. The ecclesia in Menjie is growing fast and will, in God's grace, soon outgrow the little room in which they meet
The final uplift for our hearts came in Dschang, another University town where the students had found an ideal room for the ecclesia, and where 4 visitors had been invited to hear our talks. Here also we were able to negotiate a half our session on the local radio station and left some addresses that could be used on future occasions. You will have gathered by now that Mission work has its ups and downs, its risks and its compensations. We try and minimise the risks, we try and solve the problems and encourage our brothers and sisters on their walk to the Kingdom. But it is the compensations that perhaps make most impact on us, as we see and experience the delight of those who are called to put on the saving name of the Lord Jesus and who try to live their lives as he would have us live them. Their enthusiasm is an example to us all. We pray that soon the number of God's elect is made up, but until it is, there remains much work to be done, and in God's mercy we continue to try to help in one way or another, we can but sow the seed and water, it is he who brings the increase in those who have hearts ready to accept him.
|"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation." (Mark 16:15)|