Final days in Côte d'Ivoire

Trip Start Apr 02, 2014
Trip End May 07, 2014

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Where I stayed
Hotel Ibis Plateau

Flag of Cote D  , Lagunes,
Thursday, May 1, 2014

Yesterday morning, Wednesday, I rested and got caught up on some work that had been accumulating. I worked on a split sermon I'm scheduled to give at two different congregations this weekend as well as some presentations I’ll be making during the ministerial conference in Ghana which starts Sunday. I have two articles to write for the next issue of Discern, and there is the regular French editorial work of which I need to stay abreast. I also reviewed a leadership seminar for the afternoon and had some notes printed for Paul and Séussié so they can review the material later.

They were scheduled to arrive at the hotel at 1:00, but due to rain and traffic didn’t arrive until 2:00. We went up to my room on the 7th floor, and started right away. We went over a presentation on the importance of character for Christian leaders, which took 4 hours with a break in the middle. They told me afterwards it was thought-provoking and helpful.

They left after 6:00 pm. I asked Paul to come back with a car at 08:00 so we could drive out to La Mé one last time on this trip for a baptismal counseling for the two women who are starting the process. After the men left, I was able to connect to my wife on Skype which was wonderful. It’s great that we can talk inexpensively during these long trips. It make them endurable.

Today, when I went down to breakfast, the lobby and restaurant were almost vacant. I had never seen it that way before. Then I remembered it was May First, Labor Day in most of the world. I find it ironic that most of the rest of the world has adopted May 1st as Labor Day due to the Haymarket riot in Chicago in 1886. In 1887, the US however set its Labor Day in September to avoid the appearance of commemorating the anarchist bomb thrown at the policemen at Haymarket. (A monument stands in Chicago today on the site of the Haymarket massacre as it’s also called.) In any event May 1st is widely observed in the world and I found, pretty well observed in Côte d’Ivoire. The city center was quiet, with most shops closed.

Paul and Séussié arrived with a car at 07:45; early due to the lack of traffic! We drove out to La Mé, stopping at a little grocery store so I could buy the ladies a care package: powdered milk, sugar, tea, corned beef, chocolate spread, cheese that doesn’t need refrigeration (I know, that’s not really cheese…), cookies, and soap. These are mostly luxury items for them, which they rarely if ever buy for themselves, so that makes them all the more appreciated.

We arrived at La Mé about 8:45, we interrupted the morning bath for one of the members’ granddaughter. As I took a photo of her in her tub, I noticed that one of the neighbors had left the door to his house open; people aren't shy about such things here, so I snapped a photo to show you a typical bedroom in La Mé. Obviously it’s extremely basic, but the people here live at a level far above those in the area of Man. Notice the mosquito net that can be let down at night when they would unroll a foam mattress on which to sleep. 

I was thankful to be able to give out the care packages and that brethren in the States and Europe make such small and encouraging gifts possible. They were received with smiles, laughter and many thanks. We then started our Bible Study/counseling about baptism, and we talked for about two hours. All the local members came, not just the two interested in baptism. I centered the discussion on Romans 6, 7, and 8, with excursions to many other passages as well. The ladies had read the chapters and understood most of them, and I was able to fill in some concepts that weren’t clearly understood.

We wrapped up at 11:00 at which time the ladies served us a lunch of futu (a well-loved sort of dough made from bananas) rice (for me), atiéké, and chicken in a brown sauce to go on top. We continued talking during the meal, and as we wrapped up I was happy to say I’d be back to see them in just two months or so.

We said goodbye all around and headed back to the car for the quick (this time) drive to Abidjan, arriving about 12:30. I said goodbye to Séussié, who will head back to Man. Paul will come to the hotel one more time tonight to bring me some receipts and wrap up any unfinished business, and then I will have finished with the French portion of my work here. Tomorrow, if all goes as planned, I will fly to Accra for the last few days of work, in English this time, for this trip.
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mary on

Thanks for the pictures and commentary, Joel. The pictures speak a thousand words and are good reminders for us. How encouraging that the women have have progressed in their studies and that many friends and relatives enjoyed the counseling. The gift packages must have meant a lot to the ladies. Now they can look forward to baptism.

Tess Washington on

Thank you for this wonderful narrative and the colorful photos! Thank you for enduring all things including being away from your wife for so long!

Jean-Pierre Vernaud on

Nous vous souhaitons un très bon Sabbat depuis Allen, nous passons de très bons moments avec nos frères et sœurs du Texas et nous avons suivi plusieurs cours avec Daniel, bonne continuation pour votre voyage, à bientôt

danielandcindy on

Wow, catching up on your blog (and hearing Daniel's stories) surprises me all over again how full and productive your days are! It is so good to have Daniel home safely now. Our prayers remain with you for the remainder of your journey.

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