Suffering the Doldrums

There are regions on the ocean as you near the equator where the weather can easily turn from squalls to a lasting calm which, for sailors, might be more frustrating than anything else, because it means they are going nowhere fast.  These regions are known as the doldrums (there is a great illustration of the doldrums in the film, Master and Commander). The name has entered into the language of everyday life to signify a period of time where not too much happens, where one might become bored and listless with the routine.

We might be in that period (or, more probably, one of those periods) here in Cameroon. Sonya is teaching in the Primary School several days a week, and then again in the Women’s department, trying to get struggling students caught up with their peers. I am struggling myself to keep at least one or two steps ahead of my own students in the area of Baptist History and Distinctives, along with Old Testament studies.IMG_8126

We are also spending several hours each day poring over little homemade cut-outs with pictures of various actions that we can do, places to do the actions, little clock faces that tell us whether we are doing it in the past, present, or future, and so on (the picture is of Sonya ronda -ing a defter/book on her head as part of our lesson). All of this is to help us in our language learning, as we seek to learn F*lfulde from our F*lbe language helper. (I keep saying we ought to just be praying for the gift of tongues, but for some reason Sonya does not think that is terribly funny.)

None of this is particularly exciting. When we invite individuals to come from our supporting churches to see what and how we are doing, and to check out the ministry, those things are not really what we will want them to experience.

But – the doldrums, at least for a time, are necessary to get to where you wish to go. In the relative calm that is Ndu right now, we have time to focus on the things that simply take time and concentration – to pore over, to memorize, to study, to repeat ad infinitum, ad nauseum (or so it can seem).

So, we must suffer the doldrums – to be patient as we go through them, and endure what must be done (the F*lbe would say it requires munyal). Let me hasten to say that in all of this Sonya and I are neither bored nor listless; it is all interesting stuff, and we are thoroughly engaged – it is just not the stuff that makes exciting reading when you write about it to the folks back home. (I was reading an article the other day about how “boredom” is a product of our modern age, and how it is moral dilemma – since to be bored with something means you have made a moral decision about the topic’ relevance to you and your life, and so on. Fascinating stuff.)IMG_8127

We are happy that it has been relatively calm on the seminary compound, so we have time to go through the doldrums here. It allows Sonya’s Kids’ library program (pictured above) to go forward. I am sure it will not always be like this, but your prayers for the peace of our little town, and the country at large, are appreciated. Thanks so much for your partnership with us here.