We just got back to the base after spending four days out in Ngie at the Lynn Harnage Rescue Unit. The team helped write this report, here is how our week went:
Kelly writes: The ministry with the orphans at the Lynn Harnage rescue unit included playing with the kids, we also did presentations with music, dramas and puppets. Games included duck, duck, goose and futbol (soccer). The kids were mostly very young kids. They loved to play with the girls’ hair, which was quite painful. We also did balloons, and wordless bracelets. We handed them out as prizes as they answered questions about what we had explained, that way we knew they understood. We got to know the kids well because we were there for four days. A lot of the kids had little siblings who were babies that they carted on their backs. We had a great time with the kids and showed them God through our love and songs.
Caleb writes: We have been having an amazing time here in Cameroon. We recently had the opportunity to visit the Fon and then…walk back to the base. We started driving back after our visit, our whole team squished in the back of the Teen Missions truck. We had only driven about 3 minutes out when the truck stopped. The engine died (the gears got stuck and we could not get it out of reverse). We prayed that God would start the car, but He wanted us to have an adventure. So after about 10 minutes of trying to start the car, we started to walk. Once we reached town our leaders, Miss Anna and Miss Christine got a motorcycle so they could get back to make us dinner. Mr. Vitalis walked us back down the African roads to the base. At one point, a few guys started closely observing us and following us. Vitalis talked to them and I prayed they would leave and they did. It was a fun walk and we safely reached the base in less than 2 hours!
Anna Y. writes: YAY…bush truck rides! I’ll never be that close to anyone ever again. For those of you who do not know what a bush truck is (which might be a good thing that you don’t know), a bush truck is a truck enclosed or not you will be traveling over EXTREMELY bumpy roads. Not to mention having most all of your team members crammed into a SMALL truck. The bush truck was very fun, singing and praying as much as we could to keep us from getting stuck (which happened several times). But God was with us every step of the way! We were almost to the Lynn Harnage rescue unit and we drove to the bottom of a STEEP hill and we were told to walk. This hill was slippery, wet and mossy. I fell, which normally happens to me. We then walked a little further and reached our destination. The time we spent at the unit was amazing. Our last night at the unit it rained and rained. We woke up knowing that our trip would be difficult. Our leaders then told us that we would have to walk down the hill carrying our duffels from the unit. Oh the adventure we were about to have. Everyone picked up their duffel and started our walk. Anthony and I decided to go African like when we carry water buckets on our heads, we decided to do the same with our duffels. Make it down one hill and up another hill. Then there’s the big hill. Me being clumsy I took baby steps. Looking down the hill I saw Luke C. fall down. Next, Anna M. slipped but caught herself. I continued baby steps…my feet flew out from under me and I full on fell. My entire left side caked in native red clay. Other than that hill, our travels were fun and adventurous.
Anthony writes: A visit to the Fon: Fon – a person that is high in authority over a city—The visit to the Fon started off with everyone climbing into the back of the truck in their church clothes. The roads were rough but we survived. The Fon was a nice guy and he loved our presentation. After our presentation, we sat in our chairs and he gave us boiled peanuts, coca-cola and a drink called dudu, kinda tasted like yogurt. He told us about his father and how he died at the age of 110. We continued to ask him questions until we had to leave. We got back in the truck and left.
Luke B. writes: Life at Lynn Harnage Unit—The life at the second unit wasn’t that bad because we went to a previous unit and it had the same kind of stuff there like squatty potties, they don’t smell that pleasant and they have a lot of bugs in them. Ugh. We also did soccer (football) with the kids as we did at the other unit. There’s this little girl named Rejoice. She was at Boot Camp with us because her mom was helping and they are friends with the people who own it. We painted both units also. Life at the units was fun and I loved it!
Lucas writes: The Hike in the Clouds—So…the hike in the clouds was a trip out from the Lynn Harnage rescue unit. Certain people wanted to hike, others…not so much, but we all ended up going except KP. Some ran up and down in no time, others enjoyed it. The view was amazing! We could see everything even back to the rescue unit. We got some awesome pictures then ran down the slippery mountain back to the unit.
Mikhaela writes: My first impression of Edong African Church was, “Oh my, does a lot of people need Jesus” for there was hardly anyone inside. But then it hit me, oh yeah we run on African time and about after the first couple songs people were arriving. I enjoy different cultures, so the African church was fascinating to me, I loved the music and the way they clap to the beat of the drum even when I don’t know the words as I clap I feel into the song, the worship. I loved looking back at all the children, recognizing them from the unit. They all sang and were smiling and clapping. I found it so incredible at how their passion inspired me. For being guests, we did a presentation, with our normal introductions (name, state/canada) and started with our hello song as we clapped I heard the rows stand to watch they clapped along and I saw people smile with joy. We sang “Bless the Lord” I watched as the older ladies closed their eyes and swayed to the sound, the children sat and listened. We did a drama after the song, we did “Battleground” and I’ve done it and seen it many times before, but something about this time to this crowd was different. Right from the beginning, I heard excitement and children stood to watch. As an angel in this drama, I stand and I can see the audience throughout the whole presentation. I watched as their facial expressions caught each piece of the drama, as the demons were pushed away they all cheered and clapped. As God gave back her heart they smiled and clapped, i got goosebumps during these moments I felt the real meaning of this drama and it is good to get a reaction like that, that understanding. After the drama Anna Y. gave her testimony to the group, she talked about perseverance and her experience. We followed that with “Good Good Father” and then Luke C. did his testimony. We ended with “This is Amazing Grace” After our presentation it was really odd but kinda cool it was a female pastor. Overall the African church, the people in it and how God worked in it was amazing and truly something I would never forget.
Madeline writes: The Ups and Downs of African Food—I am always excited about food, no matter from what country. And Africa did not disappoint. Here are some foods I tried and why I may or may not eat them again.
Monkey Cola; a fruit that is shaped like a potato with the shell like a coconut. When opened it has lychee looking balls lined up like peas in a pod. They are white with nuts in them, you remove and eat like a cherry. They are kinda sweet, kinda watery with the texture of an apricot.
Fufu; mashed corn, put into bags and cooked. It looks like corn bread before it’s cooked. It’s extremely tasteless and has the texture of corn meal.
Plums; these are not what you think they are, they look like mangos and have the texture of a stringy sweet potato. Pretty good if you’re on a bus for 11 hours with limited food…I would know.
Boiled peanuts; not good ol’ fashioned southern boiled peanuts, but hard shelled peanuts with unsalted half crunchy, half squished nuts.
Du Du; a milk-fruit drink. Consistency of yogurt, tastes like fruit.
Jama Jama; looks like green throw up and in my opinion, tastes like it too. Our whole team choked it down, not once, but twice. It is shredded leaves that I think are fermented, cooked and then served cold.
Grana Soup; Grana means peanut, so it’s peanut soup put on rice. It tastes like water peanuts with seasonings. I thought it tasted good.
Tea; it has no name, but Cameroon Tea. It’s served with milk and honey and could be a mix of English and Chai Tea.
Plantains; they look like bananas, but they are, I think, sweeter and firmer.
Sugar Cane; literally some guy brought us stalks of sugar cane at Lynn Harnage to eat raw. It looks like bamboo on the outside, but when you peel the green off it’s stringy like celery. You chew on the white inside until all the sugar juice is gone and then you spit it out.
Bitter Leaf; the team’s favorite. Imagine spinach dip. Only instead of spinach, it’s a plant called bitter leaf, which is named after it’s flavor, bitter, very bitter. Then they ferment it in vinegar or something. There are no words to express the taste. It’s gut wrenching. It’s kinda like eating tasteless stringy green stuff, the taste hits you and activates a gag reflex like no other.
So that’s the summary of some unique African foods we’ve experienced along with yummy meals our leaders have made for us.
Jazmine writes: It was Tuesday and its was a great day to minister to the Cameroon people in Ngie marketplace. On our ride there we hauled in one truck, 13 people, 1 extra lady who needed a ride and 4 bags of garden eggs (which look like tomatoes). It wasn’t fun. But when we got to the market (which was about 45 minutes) we had some time to visit different people. Later we got together and gave a 20 minute presentation. For our presentation we started out introducing ourselves and what state we live in. We had a hard time because everyone was busy and there was loud music playing so we had to yell everything we said. After the introductions we sang a hello song, then we sang “Stirring Up Deep Deep Wells” (which is a favorite) then we sang one of my favorite songs “Oceans” Then we introduced two puppet songs. Then a facilitator from the rescue unit named Christopher gave an invitation and 36 people that day gave their lives to Christ. Then after that we sang “This is Amazing Grace” as our final song. Last but definitely not least we got to tell kids and adults about bracelets with 5 colored beads (the different colors describe sin (black), Jesus’ blood (red), pure hearts (white), heaven (gold) and growth (green). The marketplace was a fun experience. Oh, and we got one Muslim to ask Jesus into his heart. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
Anna M. writes: At the unit we taught the kids lots of fun songs about God, that had motions to with them. The kids really enjoyed it and sang along with us the best they could but they really got into the motions. On the first day we were at the unit we were singing lots of different songs to the kids, but we started running out of stuff to sing so Mikhaela taught them a song “Oh-Lay-Lay Tiki Tong-A” It was just a random silly song, but the kids loved it and we heard them singing it all the time after that.
Judah writes: After a long day at the Lynn Harnage orphan rescue unit the team finished group devotions and Miss Anna told us to get our flashlights and we were going to do night time camera tricks with lights. When we all gathered together we put 2 benches on top of each other and put a camera on top. We lined up in presentation order, which is 2 lines one in front of the other, after that she explained how cameras capture light and if you keep the camera open in the dark and put a light in front of the camera and spell something and then shine a light on the group then the word spelled with the light appears in the picture with us. Knowing this we had lots of fun spelling out words and making poses behind them. After a little while of doing that Miss Anna said that you can do more then spell out words so I volunteered to do a cool pose and Luke B. did a flickering light around me and when we saw the picture it looked so cool because there was a shining light around me. After that Anthony posed next as Jon Michael shined the light and he shined a blue light making it look awesome around Anthony. We continued making cool light pictures using string and different colors and then, sadly, we had to go to bed, so we cleaned up and went back to our tents to get the sleep needed for the next day.
Jon Michael writes: On the last regular day at the Lynn Harnage orphan rescue unit I went with the team to the market to perform our presentation and offer a call to salvation. I had no idea of what was actually going to happen that day though. We all piled into the back of the Teen Missions pickup, which for 13 people creates an uncomfortable ride especially on the rugged unpaved roads. In the middle of the ride it began to rain so all but 5 people, who where in the cab, were drenched by the time we arrived. We waited a few minutes for it to stop raining before we exited the vehicle and began preparation for the presentation. Christopher, the orphan unit facilitator, and native to that area suddenly walked up the hill that we were planning on doing our performance on to the bar that had been blaring music. Vitals, our leader, knew what he was doing, but I and most of our team was confused to the direction of what was happening. Suddenly Vitalis announced that we were going to walk to the city council to meet them and do our performance for them. So Christopher came back and we set out on an approximately 2-mile walk over a hill to the city council. Once there, I also learned that we had to give them copies of our passports. The building was air-conditioned, clean and surrounded with an atmosphere of seriousness. We went upstairs to a room with windows on every side except to our back. I realized that not many people in Cameroon got this experience too often. We were instructed by Vitalis to not cross our legs to show respect. Soon 3 men walked in. These men wore casual wear and baseball caps. They welcomed us warmly and we sang for them a few of our songs. They seemed very cheerful and grateful that we were helping orphans. I realized that this was truly a blessing because these men could have been too serious and not even cared, which could have made it difficult. On our way back Christopher announced that we were going to stop by the mayor’s place to meet her. As we were walking we saw a Presbyterian school with a jimmy-rigged tin roof as a fence and the fence door opened. Out stepped the mayor. She was extraordinarily kind to us. She seemed to be certainly a follower of Christ. I found it ironic how extravagant and well tuned the city council building was, yet the mayor met us outside a will of tin roofing nailed to some unfinished 2x4s leaning against a pile of mud. We continued on our trek back on a path which was still wet from the rain. Kelly suddenly hollered over something moving. It looked like a hugely massive centipede, however it was a cobra. Vitals threw a rock at it, immobilizing it some. I picked up a huge rock and slammed it down with all my might. But that only snapped it’s vertebrae near the head so it squirmed around with it’s head flailing in the dirt. Once we got back to the pickup and the location of our presentation, Christopher went back up to the bar as we stood around. We noticed a small basket strapped to the front of a motorcycle without about a cubic foot of space which was containing 8 chickens. After a few minutes, Christopher came down and got the bar owner to turn down the music. Even with this lesser noise the market was incredibly loud. We finally began our presentation on a slanted hill in wet grass. People quickly cam to watch and we soon had a crowd. Also soon after we started it began to rain again. The kids clearly enjoyed the puppets and it attracted a lot of people. When we were done and it stopped raining, Christopher asked people to raise their hands if they wanted to follow Jesus and 35 people raised their hands. Christopher prayed with them the sinner’s prayer and talked about what Christians do like reading the Bible each day. After our final presentation was done we talked with the kids who raised their hands and encouraged them. We then got back into the pickup and struggled home through muddy roads. God showed through this day that even when you feel like there is little direction in the moment God always has a point and a purpose for me.
Luke C. writes: Overnight after dinner the team gathers together for group devotions. It’s a time for worship, sharing, testimonies, and giving God glory for all he’s doing. The basic format that group devotions followed was worship, a testimony by a team member and then prayer. One team member was assigned to each day and they chose the songs and what they wanted to share with the group. In our first few weeks here in Cameroon, group devotions was a big time waster. Basically no one took the time seriously and we would go away from that devos the same as when we arrived. People would giggle through worship, interrupt the people talking, and it was really frustrating for the team members that wanted group devotion time to be a serious and holy time. One night, I addressed the situation and told everyone that I wanted group devotions to be a serious time. I said that we can have fun during the day but at night during devos we should understand that our God is holy and is worthy of our praise. And giggling through worship and someone’s testimony is extremely disrespectful to the person sharing and ultimately to God. I prayed about group devotions in hope that the time would be taken more seriously. And after a few days, the mood did start to change. Everyone began to respect the person sharing and we had an awesome worship time together. Now group devotions time is one of my favorite parts of the day. I’ll miss singing with my teammates at night when the trip reaches it’s conclusion. I’ve grown a ton in the Lord this summer in personal and group devotions time. It’s been a great summer and I can’t believe it’s almost done. I hope our team makes many more memories in the days we have left together.