A busy day of rest in Douala

Trip Start Mar 24, 2010
Trip End Apr 12, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hotel Ibis

Flag of Cameroon  ,
Saturday, April 3, 2010

Today was a very busy Sabbath. Mr. Mabout was nearly an hour late in picking me up; he apologized for oversleeping which he said he hardly ever does. Few people have alarm clocks here so they operate on habit. I think we're all pretty tired after the schedule of the last few days.

So after watching the usual scenes of markets and crowds and people hustling to get by we arrived at the hall almost an hour late and after a prayer started the seminars straightaway. The first was on the importance of, and how to go about, studying the Bible. That’s a reminder and an explanation we all need from time to time. After a very short break, to catch up some lost time, I have another on making our marriages stronger. That one was very much appreciated by the wives present, as well as the men attending the conference.

We had an hour for a lunch prepared by our church ladies: chicken, macabo (a tuberous root something like a cross between yam and a potato only harder, fried plantain (a variety of non-sweet banana), and a sauce of stewed vegetables. Since when we pay for a conference they eat very well by local standards (it’s a nice thing we can do for them inexpensively by our standards) Mr. Mabout asked me if I wanted a glass of wine or beer with the meal. I said I preferred we not serve alcohol with lunch. They could have a glass with dinner, and with my blessing, but in the heat and humidity here it’s hard enough to stay alert in the afternoon, I didn’t want to make it more difficult.  Mr. Bikoé teased me in only half-serious protest: "but the Bible says wine rejoices the heart!" I replied with a laugh, “Rejoice your heart this evening!” We drank water, which we all needed anyway. I went through almost a gallon today, even though I didn’t do anything more strenuous than carry by laptop case about 100 meters to the hall.

During services, I gave a sermon on the faithfulness of God. After services I set up my laptop and mini-projector and gave a ninety-minute presentation using PowerPoint, on a chronological geographic study of the lands of the Bible. It was much appreciated and there were many good questions about the location of this or that place mentioned in the Bible, and about the modern names of ancient places. They were particularly interested to see the outlines of the 1948 borders of Israel and West Bank and the nations round about. This kind of background is hard for them to get even if they want to. They don’t have access to a lending library nor can they afford Bible helps that would allow them to sort through such questions. We have a concordance and a few other books in a church library that they can consult, but they simply don’t have access to anywhere near what we take for granted in the west.

Mr. Mabout drove me back to the hotel. I’m pretty tired this evening. I talked about six hours today in very humid heat. I’m sure I’ll sleep well tonight. The conference will start again at 9:00 tomorrow morning (Easter Sunday) if all goes as planned.
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