The past several weeks have been very busy for us. We have been active in so many ways that we haven’t had time to blog, to keep up with newsletters, or anything else. God has been giving us a lot of work and a lot of blessings and satisfaction.
Three weeks ago, Sarah and I joined Jonathan and Melody at Broum Tusu (for more info, see the blog post “Two Very Different Sabbaths) to do a week-long Bible training, trying to help them along in their spiritual walk. It was a very fun time. We got breakfast and lunch provided for us by the locals, which meant bouille for breakfast (rice, water, sand, salt, rice flour, sugar (usually, except not at Broum) plus lime, tamarind, wheat, or peanut butter sometimes for flavor), and boule and sauce (rice paste dipped in sauce) for lunch. We made our own dinners. The food is not bad, but because of their way of cooking it, it’s a little gritty and sandy.
Anyways, the bible training went very well! We had a regular attendance of roughly 80 adults, plus Melody did a children’s story daily for over 100 kids. The group was very active, interested, and excited for the training they were getting, and very thankful for it as well.
Friday, Sarah and I were asked to go see a lady who had engorged and probably infected breasts, and was having pain while breastfeeding. Afterwards, we drove an hour home, took a shower, and rested a little, then jumped back on our moto the next morning and drove back out to Broum to rejoin the Dietrichs for church. After church, Gary, Wendy, and Cherise joined us, we had a local lunch eaten the local way (grab the boule, pack it together, then dip it in the common sauce), then transported the equipment and the engorged lady back with the Roberts while we drove back on our moto.
The next day God gave me a birthday blessing. I was supposed to leave with Gary for Cameroon, but due to a delay, we were postponed until Monday early morning departure. So I was able to spend my entire birthday at home, and sleep in a comfortable bed one more night.
The next morning we left, picked up Dr. Scott in Moundou, and after a 2 hour misunderstanding with people at the airport in Moundou, we finally left, arriving in Yaoundé late morning. For an international flight, it was surprisingly easy. I thought they would be more complicated, as far as customs and stuff went. Anyways, we had received an overflight permit, but were only allowed to land at the main international airports. That put a wrinkle in our plans, as we had intended to take Scott to visit the Adventist hospitals in Cameroon to discover how he could best help them (there are no Western doctors in Cameroon because of security concerns from Nigerian gangs coming in to Cameroon and kidnapping whites) and offer additional training for the local doctors who may not know how to work with certain Western medical equipment, etc.
After an unsuccessful attempt to get broader landing permissions, we visited the offices of the newly formed Cameroon Union, and the “old office” of the Secretary/Treasurer of the existing Central African Union who will soon relocate to the new Union office in Gabon. From there, it was decided that Scott would go by land to one of the hospitals, and we would go visit some other AMA projects near Douala. During the trip, we didn’t get to do everything we had planned, but it was a productive trip.
We flew back to Yaoundé on Friday, picked up Scott, then flew back to Béré via Moundou. As soon as we landed in Béré, we immediately unloaded, repacked and refueled the airplane, traded Scott for Sarah as passenger, and took off for Pala, where we met Jonathan and Melody for another Bible training.
That’s where we are now. I tried writing this blog several days ago, but we keep having phone issues and running out of charge all too quickly. But there has been some effective work and quite a few blessings from God as well. The training is going well, we had about 25 regulars and 30-35 present for the meetings per day. We expect the Mission (Conference) president to come tomorrow to close the training with us on Tuesday. Then we will be back to Béré, finally!
But we are excited for how God is leading in our lives. It is now officially set, we are planning on returning stateside this summer. There are some organizational meetings we will be attending in August to get organized with people throughout the group. God has been providing locations, funding, and other needs for the meetings, as well as making group members aware of how we can work towards growth within the organization.
After that, we are heading to Pathfinder Oshkosh to recruit. The initial plan was to get tickets with clubs, or individual tickets, but then they sold out. So we were going to try international tickets, and they sold out as well. I asked the Camporee if they still had space for vendors, and they not only had a booth available for us, but they provided it for free, and we can get tickets for everyone we need to help with recruiting! What a blessing. Now we have tickets for everyone who had had difficulties getting other tickets.
At some point during our travels away from Chad, we hope to spend roughly a month and some in a Francophone country doing concentrated French learning for Sarah to get a step ahead in her communication skills. We are still trying to figure out what would be the most effective option to take in maximizing learning and minimizing cost. If you have any ideas, feel free to let us know!
One thing we’d like to do, in a perfect world, is to time our trip to arrive just before everything, and then visit families and our church families, take French lessons in Quebec, then come back to the US for the FNCE Dietitian conference in October, then fly back to Chad right after that. FNCE would provide CEUs and great networking opportunities for Sarah with her nutrition work, which will be very useful in the future. But as many things in Africa, we can only say that is our hope “God willing”. He will guide us, whether in that way or another is His choice.
It’s a lot, but I hope it has caught you all up with what’s been going on in our lives and missions, and we hope you’ll forgive us for the relative silence on the blog front. We love you all, miss you, and miss hearing from you. If we’ve been negligent in replying to emails, we will try to get to them soon.
David (& Sarah)