A visit to La Mé

Trip Start Jan 13, 2013
Trip End Feb 04, 2013

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Flag of Cote D  , Lagunes,
Tuesday, January 15, 2013

This morning we were to have left at 10:00, and I was ready, but "African time" intervened and Paul and Michel didn't arrive until 11:00. We paid the driver the equivalent of $50 for the use of the car and his services for the day and started out. First stop: a filling station. Gas is expensive in most of Africa; it’s about USD 5.50 to 6.00 per gallon. So rental cars arrive essentially empty and the renter pays for gas. Obviously no excess gasoline is returned at the end of the day, so one tries to calculate carefully and avoid too much overage. With our church members living so close to the edge all the time, I do my best to avoid any waste possible, to anything else would be hard for them to understand, and probably discouraging.

I ordered 5000 Francs (a little over $10) of gas and the gas gauge needle moved slightly. We learned that the car we rented had a gasoline engine car rather than diesel, which is this part of the world is considerably less expensive than gas, and also gets better mileage. We told the driver to make sure he came with a diesel car for the trip up country which will start tomorrow.

Our destination was the village of La Mé about 20 miles out of Abidjan. The driver was told which direction to take, toward Abobo and Alépé, and he said he understood. We found out a while later that he didn’t really know the place and we ended up taking a 45 minute detour until he got straightened out. There went a lot of our 5000 Francs of gasoline, which it was understood; I would have to cover. At least we tried….

We arrived at La Mé, which I first visited 10 years ago – how the time flies. We were received by two members whom I had baptized eight years ago. They were concerned about what was happening in the local congregation, there was tension and they had been excluded from the group when they hadn't agreed with the decision made by several others to change associations. La Mé had received about two weeks ago the visit of a man from another African country, and representing another church association. He encouraged the group to make a change. I won’t mention names here this time or post photos because the fellow in question reads this blog – several times he’s posted derogatory comments here under one or more assumed names – which I learned when he made a mistake and posted one from his own normal e-mail address. The truth will out….  I don’t want to put any members in La Mé in an uncomfortable position or make a target of anyone.

To make a long story short, in the course of the day we met with a number of members who confirmed that they had decided to leave, several who decided to stay, and one who felt he’d been manipulated by the ways things had been done, and had decided to stay with us as well. A few others appeared to have “got out of Dodge” to avoid having to see us or discuss anything. During the meeting with the African visitor, misinformation was dispensed (I’m being kind) and money was promised, and some members believed and accepted. But it appears we will still have a small congregation in La Mé. Those who decided to leave us I encouraged to hold to their love the truth, something I’m afraid they will find more difficult now, and I asked God’s blessing on them and wished them well. We're all in God's hands. Time makes many things clear, and Jesus said we would know men by their fruits. Since we are each responsible for our choices, we can all be very thankful that God is merciful.

As we started out of La Mé, the driver announced that the low-gasoline-light had gone on. I thought of the time spent driving the wrong direction. “We need a few liters to get back to a gas station” he told me. We found a house that had gas for sale in old whisky bottles and bought two liters (half a gallon) at a substantial markup.

We had to stop again in Abidjan and put some more gas in, but at least it was at a less outrageous price. Arriving back at the hotel about 5:00 pm, I said goodbye for the evening and we agreed to head out at 07:00 tomorrow (African time?). I spent a few minutes of daylight, as the sun sank toward the horizon, curiously examining the bats hanging from the trees just outside my window on the fifth floor.

I’ll try to get to sleep early tonight, tomorrow we should to visit some interested people around the capital of Yamoussoukro, three hours’ drive north of Abidjan.
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Hervé on

Bonjour Mr. Meeker. Merci pout toutes ces nouvelles. Que tout aille bien et au plaisir de vous lire bientôt!

Tess Washington on

We will continue to pray for God's blessings in every way for you and our brethrens, Mr. Meeker! Thank you for letting us know about these things!

Mary on

Hi Joel,

Your rental car and the gas situation make for building patience. As readers we almost anticipate with an "oh, no" feeling as the driver goes the wrong way and the gas gauge light blinks on. We're sorry about the difficulties in La Me and trust that God will bless the members through your honesty, kindness and spiritual strength.

Wow, what a lot of bats hanging around there. Did they stir themselves at night?


Margaret Howard on

Praying for all to go well on your trip and for you to return healthy. So sad to hear of people leaving and of their not understanding what is going on.

Elisa Botta on

Oh oh! Why is it everytime I hear about misinformation being spread about along with promises of money I always think of a certain individual? Enough said.

Janel on

So sad to hear further confirmation that derision has no boundaries. We will continue in prayer for this and similar situations. As you say, "The truth will out."

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