Saturday Feb. 13, full day of ministry at Rescue Unit (RU). Spent morning foot washing, 9-noon. Over the 3 days, provided shoes to about 180. We ran out of larger sizes. Facilitators, who served sparingly, also ran out of rice for the large crowd that came–over 200 easily. The needs are very great in the world, and we see this so vividly at an RU. No matter how much we provide, there are always more. Rather than despair, we must remind ourselves that while we cannot meet all needs, we can meet some needs in the name of Jesus. We can serve with joy, not despair, as we share the Living Water which quenches all thirst and the Bread of Life who satisfies our deepest need and hunger. Keeping children in line is a difficult task–as they know survival depends on being early enough to get something, perhaps the only food they will get in a day or many more. We can but do what we can in His strength to meet as many needs a possible. We were very pleased to see the DO arrive with his wife & children about 2 pm. We hastily prepared a table with Coke & water to serve our guests. While very gracious, the wife seemed a bit uncomfortable & out of her element with the crowds of orphans. The DO seemed very pleased with all he observed, asking many questions & even enjoyed the puppet presentation–full of Gospel message followed by another powerful message from Vitalis. God has granted TMI favor by this valuable connection. Back at his office, he indicated he would help us in any way he could, an offer likely more certain given his first hand visit.
Sunday Feb 14, church, travel & Valentine’s Day. We were up early, taking down tents, packing for return to Bamemda. Did the normal two shift drive to Benakuma for church. While waiting at a small 4 room medical clinic before church, the doctor gave a tour, indicating one particularly difficult case where a young man was dying due to no longer having resources for medicine. The teenaged boy requested someone to speak with him, so I went to his bedside and listened as his soft voice told me (Tom P) he was dying and could we help him. Rest of team arrived, we split into three groups so we could visit different churches. Sample service, about 1.5 hours, starting with singing, prayer, offerings, message: pastor preached in English, simultaneously translated by another in pigeon English. During service I gave the doctor & host some money for the boy. Team representative asked to share briefly, followed by pastor led prayer. Invitations to stay for dinner we graciously declined due to schedule. After church, passed clinic & was requested inside by the boy. Told him we had given a small gift to the doctor for him. I leaned close & asked him if he knew Jesus as Savior, he responded “Yes, and that is my church.” I reminded him that only Jesus matters now, that whether he lives or dies, he should not fear, for he will live forever in glory with Jesus. Known only to me as the boy in the clinic, may God show him great mercy and heal him for service on earth. Van driver Valentine–how appropriate–arrived after 1 pm & we started back by 1:40 pm. Another hot, dusty, very bumpy ride back. Brief stop at the waterfall for lunch, back on the road to the detour through river bed by broken bridge. Vehicle in front of Papa stopped while Papa was in the river bed, truck stalled out & would not start. Valentine’s gift to the team: he took out his battery to temporarily replace the truck battery to start up the truck, Papa got it started & off he went for home. More speed & smoother road, by 6 or so we were both safely back at base–thank you, Jesus, for answered prayer. Each moment on the road in Cameroon is dangerous, and God has provided much traveling mercy. Very tired & dusty and very thankful for the driving of Papa & Vatalis, the student prepared meal awaiting us, the day ended with devotions & showers for about half the team, the others scheduled for next morning.
Monday Feb. 15, a day of regrouping. Laundry, cleaning & a more relaxed schedule today. We will go to another RU tomorrow, planning to leave, God willing, by 7 am so that we might spend a good day of ministry before returning tomorrow night. For all at home in US & Canada: the entire team remains healthy and enjoying this wonderful opportunity to serve! Thank you all for your prayers!