A Day on the Road

I remember134-boys-bike-in-great-shape one time journeying with my friend Pastor Timothy, going to minister in a remote church.

We were travelling by motorbike (“machines”), and Timothy arrived an hour late to pick me up. He was on foot, having gotten a flat tire on the way. He needed money to fix it, so I handed over some cash and, after the flat was fixed, we set off on a very rough road.

By the time we reached the Donga River the tire was flat again and needed to be re-repaired. Another twenty minutes was spent doing that and we were on our way again. We arrived at the church an hour late – but no worries: they were not even finished their announcements! (Sometimes a long church service can come in handy.)

donga-river-crossing-1I preached a sermon on how the Baptist Convention there could be great in God’s eyes (which was a pretty decent sermon as I recall), and afterward while we were hosted by the pastor and his family Timothy arranged to have the tire completely changed.

We finally got away from that little place a little after 3 pm and then, wouldn’t you know it, ten minutes outside of that little place we ran out fuel! I couldn’t believe it, but there you go. TIA.

So I handed my last N150 (a few dollars’ worth) over to Timothy and he gave it to the first guy we saw on a machine heading back the way we had just come. It took a long time for the fellow to come back and Timothy began to get a bit antsy about him absconding with our funds, so he eventually hitched a ride with someone he knew and followed along after him.

Meanwhile, I wanted to walk along in the direction we were travelling but Timothy forbade me because he was worried I might meet up with thieves along the road. So I sat down by the machine and waited it out.

After what seemed like a long time Timothy came along with the original fellow, puts some gas in the tank, and off we go again

At the river I was kibitzing with a fellow on the shore who asked me if I had money. He knew I was a Reverend man, but did not believe me when I told him I had no money. So I asked about the state of the Christian witness in that place that he would call a white pastor a liar. When I told him where all my money had gone he thought that was hilarious and had a good laugh at my expense.  I must admit it did sound funny when I told it like that.

Timothy later told me the fellow I had been laughing with was one of the very thieves he had been worried about. Then it was my turn to have a good laugh.

A Typical Vision

Here is a story (in abbreviated form) that is quite typical of what is going on right now in the Muslim world.

For security reasons I cannot show a picture of him, but I have a friend named Linus who lives on the Mambilla Plateau. Linus was the son of a village elder in a large village on the Plateau, “living the good life” (his words). The village was mostly Muslim when he lived there, and his family was also Muslim.

There were a few Christians there, though, and they wanted to have a pastor come and minister among them. So the pastor came one day, and my friend Linus was sitting on a rough bench in the village square plotting together how to kill the new pastor because he was converting Muslims to Christianity.

As they were plotting together Linus was suddenly thrown to the ground and went unconscious. His friends had no idea what had happened to him, so they took him to the hospital. The doctors did not know what had happened to him either, so they wrapped him in white sheets and declared there was nothing they could for him.

While Linus was lying there he had a vision of an angel, which he thought was an evil angel, so he tried to cast it away. The angel told him, however, that he was the angel of the Lord and that he should listen to the gospel of Jesus.

So he believed the gospel right then and became instantly well. The angel said he would return to his people to be an evangelist, so he resolved to do just that, regardless of the cost. He has indeed been beaten and dragged on the ground, but this has not deterred him, and his testimony is a riveting story for these people.

I went with Linus to visit some new Christians one time, way out in the bush, and we came across a Muslim man who wished to know what we were doing out there in the middle of nowhere. As we talked Linus began to share his testimony with him, and at the end the man declared that before then he had been speaking in ignorance, but now he had come to know the truth, so he also wanted to become a Christian.

According to the word of God: “. . . young men shall see visions . . .”

The Packing Process!

Through the blessing of White Cross , we have begun the Packing Process! (I know this because I am sweating and tired already!!)img_5675

Mr. Bert Harsch, who seems to be the major domo of the White Cross here in Edmonton (under the direction of Dr. Keir Hammer), called us up last month to let us know a shipment was going out to Cameroon in mid-October and we could tag onto that if we chose. Naturally there is a cost for White Cross shipments, since ships do not transport big sea containers for free, but Bert has also generously donated the cost of our boxes.

I decided to start with a bottom row of books, since that is the easiest thing to start with, and I have a few of them to go. (The opposite of St. Paul; he had his books come after him, while I will send mine ahead.) Being a pastor working in small towns and rural settings, I knew I would not be close to good theological libraries – and of course I started out before everything could be found on-line over the internet – I have been collecting (?? not sure if that is the right term) books for about two decades.img_5676

Not all of them will go with us of course. While I like the feel of a book in my hands, and can use them much better than looking at a computer screen, they are too heavy to transport them all, and I expect that a lot of what I will need will be found in the library at the seminary in Mbu.

When we lived in Nigeria and I taught at the seminary in Ndu, Rev. Dave and Mary June Burgess had already been there for ten years. They were retiring back to the United States the summer of 2009 (our older boys travelled with them when they came home). Dave had made the seminary in Mbu the best one on the Mambilla Plateau, and probably the best one in Taraba State. Prior to that he had been working at the same library I’ll be at in Ndu, Cameroon for (I think) 29 years. They have named the library after him, so I am positive that library will also be in extremely good shape.

So the packing has begun. Because I am still working full-time as a pastor here at Wiesenthal, I do not really get overly excited about our mission. This process, however, makes the whole venture seem much more real and . . . well, yes – exciting!img_5678

Thanks again to Bert and White Cross. This is a wonderful blessing.

Praising God for Minnie Kuhn

When we lived in Nigeria in 2008 all of us got malaria at least once (except for our oldest, Robert, who somehow managed to stay out of the way of the mosquitoes).

I remember contracting it on a Tuesday night when I got a chill and a fever, and I knew already what it was. The next morning I walked up the hill to go to our devotional and described my symptoms to a friend across the fence. He said, “You’ve got malaria,” and I said, “Yup, I know it.”

Later that morning I went with our son Daniel to the clinic across the street (very handy for us) to get checked out by a Dr. Daniel. The doctor checked me over and sent me for blood work, after Daniel. Dan had tonsillitis, having already had malaria the week previous.

Meanwhile I was given a bucket of drugs (13 a day – Kai!) to take, and told to get lots of bed rest and “good feeding.” This last part sounds good but is not as easy as it sounds. When someone in Nigeria gets sick it is the duty of their friends to come and visit them. So I still had many visitors.

At one point the doctor told me his name, saying that he had been delivered and named by the missionary Minnie Kuhn, who will be known to many of our NAB people here in North America – and by literally thousands of people in Nigeria. I praise God that her work is now being carried on through men and women like this.

img_4355Pictured here is Dr. Wim and Marlene Munting – the wonderful missionary doctors who were serving in the hospital while we were living in Gembu. This was their farewell celebration in 2009.

“Things Just Come”

Sonya likes to say that “things just come” to her, and it is true. She is never at a lack for things to do, and is very good at seeing needs and trying to fill them. This week I am batching it at home in Alberta, while Sonya is filling a need in the province of Manitoba.

When we lived in Manitoba she was very involved with the camping program at our Lake Nutimik Baptist Camp, in the Whiteshell Provincial Park. She even served as the program director for a summer or two before we moved. Since she has been gone, she has kept in close touch with the new program director there, and has helped out most summers at the camp in one way or another.Mom's pix 057

This summer she has been helping out at Nutimik in various ways – this week she is out on a chain of lakes in the Park, canoeing with a group of high school girls. Sonya is a canoe instructor here in Alberta and loves to be on or in the water, whether it is a lake, river, or her favorite: white-water.

When we travel to Cameroon we know a few things that are going to happen, mostly with my position. I’ll be teaching, travelling, and continuing the evangelism ministry I have been doing the past seven years.444

Sonya’s position will be a little more ambiguous. While she will be travelling a lot more with me, and working more closely with the women in the Fulbe villages, she’ll also be working on “the things that just come to her.” And I am confident that, God helping her, she’ll do a great job.