One of the neat people I met on the Plateau was a Mambilla man named Pastor Timothy Shadgem. He was the director in charge of the Gospel Evangelism Team, and we got to be good friends. Timothy has a great heart for spreading the good news about Jesus and he led me on more adventures than just about anyone else. One Saturday in October was fairly typical.
I was not riding my own machine (motorcycle) yet, so I waited for Timothy to show up at my house. He was due at 6 am, but finally arrived at 7:30. Something to do with his wife needing help. After buying some “foil” (i.e. fuel) we headed off down the mountain and wound up in a little village where he had arranged for me to preach.
There were not too many people there, as an old man had passed away and most of the people were off attending his funeral. Seven men sat on a board bench, while Timothy and I were given little stools to sit on. A background of young boys sitting against the wall of the building completed that side of the picture. Out in the road dogs, goats, girls, and women would occasionally walk by. Timothy said to preach the gospel, so off I started and the men listened attentively as I shared about the God who made everything and who loves us, so much so that even when we did bad things he sent his son to pay for our punishment.
When I was done I asked for questions or comments, and they thanked me very much for coming. They said they knew the message must be true because otherwise a white man from Canada would not come to them to tell it.
After the preaching I said I had two more gifts. One was the gift of prayer, so two of the men asked for prayer for healing in their backs. Then we gave them a soccer ball, to the joy of all. After that they sent a young boy to ask if an older man wished for prayer, and he came back and said yes, so Timothy and I went to pray for him. This was a recent convert to Christ, who wished for baptism one day. After that we said goodbye to that village and went on our way.
We drove back towards Gembu, up the hill, and then turned off to the village of Wah. The Jauro of all the surrounding villages of Gembu lived there, I was told. This is a very important man, one of the traditional rulers. We drove to his compound, where a group of men were sitting, important in their own right. We greeted them all and then went into the house, where we waited in a room lighted only by the sun coming in the doorway. The Jauro was next door, getting up from bed. He came into the room, a very tall man, well-built, but quite old – maybe in his 80s – and stooped over now. He sat on his chair, while we were on a mat at his feet. We exchanged greetings and I told him next time I would have a small gift to bring him (I need to get him some footballs), and that I would pray for him if he wished. So I anointed him with oil and prayed. He then told me that he was having trouble with his eyes, so when I came back to bring him some medicine for them.
Then we headed back to Gembu once again, and as we passed my house Timothy asked if I needed to get anything, and was it still time enough to get to Warwar? Neither of us had a watch, but it still seemed early, so I said, nope, let’s keep going.
Warwar is across the Donga river, over some pretty big, steep mountain trails. On the way there it was not too slippery, since it had been dry, but we got stuck in a little stream that flows across the trail. Timothy couldn’t get the bike out of it, so I asked if I should get off and walk. No, he said, he can get us out. So he hits the gas, and lets out the clutch too fast, and the bike jumps up and I fall backwards off the end, and land with my butt end in the stream. It happened pretty fast, but I was not hurt too badly. After I got up I was laughing, but poor Timothy was pretty shook up that he had dumped the Field Director in the stream.
Down in Warwar we attended the ordination council for one of the field pastors. We got there an hour and a half late, which was great for us because it meant we missed most of the preliminaries. The ordination council is a whole story in itself; suffice to say the poor candidate scraped through with a 59% pass-rate after being raked over the coals by his colleagues.
After that the pastors and wives got together for a meal, and it rained while we were in there, so we drove back in the rain. That was interesting, and bit tricky, but we had no mishaps, though this time I was asked to please get off and walk a few times – which I appreciated.