Busy Saturday around Abidjan
Trip Start Mar 14, 2013
20Trip End Apr 05, 2013
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We left immediately. I had to stop briefly and change some money so I could take care of the day’s expenses – principally the car rental. There had been no way to get local currency last night. I usually have some leftover CFA francs from previous trips but last time there hadn’t been much left. Then we put just enough gas in the car for the day (a little over $20 worth at $6.00 per gallon) and off we went to an outlying suburb (the term seems a little grandiose here) of Abidjan. About a dozen people were waiting for us. I apologize for not having taken a photo, but if interested you can find one here from my last visit, although not everyone present for my last visit was here this time.
We sang some hymns a cappella, not entirely on key and somewhat syncopated, but with sincerity, and then I gave some news and announcements about new booklets we have printed in French and the annual calendar we produce in the francophone region. They were very excited. I then spoke on Christ’s suffering and why Christians are called to follow that example and sometimes suffer for their beliefs, as well as how the Bible tells us to respond to such situations. I find that most Africans are very concerned with the question "why?" about suffering and the difficulties of life. There is, to be sure, much suffering here, and it is often difficult to understand why it is so. It seems very unfair to many people on this continent. But the Bible gives answers that are encouraging even if they don’t explain everything we’d like to know in every case.
The electricity out so the fan that could have moved the hot air around in the living room wasn’t working. We soaked through our clothes for the first time of this day.
After the service, as custom requires, visitors were offered refreshment: a soda and some rice
Then we drove an hour or so out to La Mé stopping to pick up Houmarou at his little village. We drove on in to La Mé and went to the new “hall” which is still under construction after some regrettably-predictable cost overruns. The builders had talked the inexperienced local members overseeing the project into some additional options and now the price to finish has more than doubled. I‘ll have to give this some thought before deciding what to do. It is said that sin has an “advertised price” but the actual price is always much higher, which I believe is true. I also believe it is true of construction projects in Africa….
Enough was roofed for us to use it for our service. Again we sang some hymns and asked a blessing on the meeting and then I gave the same sermon again, although I had to shorten the ending a little. The heat had become oppressive and though the spirit was willing, the flesh was wilting. We soaked through our clothing for the second time.
We were then offered refreshment again: rice and fish in an onion and greens sauce. I again ate a little rice and sauce and left the fish. We sat and talked in the heat about world conditions, the new Pope and what this change might portend, the sliding moral standards of the west and so on. One man said that he had been very happy when the current US president was elected; a man with African origins. But now he no longer feels that way since the president has come out strongly in favor of, shall we say, “non-traditional” marriage… We discussed that at some length.
Finally as the afternoon waned we gathered our affairs and started the trip back to Abidjan. We said goodbye to everyone in La Mé and said we’d be back for another visit tomorrow. The drive back was uneventful and I was at the hotel before dark. I’ll try to get to bed early tonight and get at least partially caught up on my sleep.