Thursday, March 15, 2012

End is Near :(

Our time here in Cameroon is quickly approaching its end. It seems as if we just arrived. Today was a great day here. I gave the students some hands on assignments and they far exceeded my expectations. I have been trying to get them to "think outside the box." The assignment was to build 2 compost bins using local materials and to build several types of "vertical gardens." They did so great on this assignment and even build some upside down tomato planters.

Tonight I am not feeling very well. My throat is quite sore and my head is pounding. I am going to go to be and try to get to feeling better. Be praying that I am not sick!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Today I was finally able to start teaching our vocational classes. We spent a large amount of time trying to understand what the Bible says about the principles of agriculture. The students really seemed to enjoy it. At about 11a.m. the trainers for the snail program came and taught us for several hours. The picture to the left is Caleb, one of the snail trainers. It was great material and the students seemed to learn a lot. It was very informative. I believe that the snail program is truly going to be an opportunity for the students.

We continued our work on constructing our "compound" today. The students went to the jungle and gathered bamboo for our fence. We got most of the fence constructed. We also nearly finished construction of the snail pen (the pen is constructed with the blue netting you see in the picture). All of the students got involved and the work went really fast. Part of their grade is based upon the amount of work that they put in with the construction of the agricultural projects this week! Its amazing how well incentive works....

Keep the prayers coming. Last night we had over 35 responses and all were restored!!! Every member of the congregation repented. It was unlike anything I have ever seen.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Yesterday I was unable to give an update of the work here in Cameroon due to the fact that our internet was down for the day. But yesterday and today were great days. Much was accomplished. We were able yesterday to acquire rabbits from an individual in Beua. We bought 5 rabbits. 2 of them are full grown breed able females and one is a 3 month old female. We also bought 2 3 month old males. All of them were in what I would call poor condition. The man we bought them from did not think it necessary to water them because he thought all the water they needed was in the plants he was feeding them!!! He also had them in cages wrapped in plastic. They were sweating profusely and looked aweful but they were the only rabbits we could find. However, after just two days of good food, unlimited water, ventilation, and some pampering by the students, they seem to be doing quite well and show major signs of improvement.

Today we went to a "preachers meeting" in Kumba. It was very interesting to say the least. It was very hot, dusty, and dry there. It was about a 2.5 hour drive to get there even though it was only 50 miles from here. We were able to meet about 20 preachers and encourage them. This meeting made me realize after talking with them about the struggles they face here financially, how important the work we are doing is. Most of them are living well below the poverty level even here in Cameroon!!!

While we were gone to the meeting, the students began construction of the bamboo shelter and fence for the back of what we call the "compound." It will provide shelter from the sun and rain for the rabbits, ducks, guinea pigs, chickens, and the snails. We were able to get the frame up and part of the fence (as you can see from the pic). We also were able to begin construction of the free range snail pen. We got much more work done than I expected.

The students have been very surprised to see me work hand in hand with them on these projects. They have the perception that "white man from America" doesn't know how to work with their hands. They thought we all had soft hands and all had servants to work for us. They were glad to see that my hands certainly are not soft and I wouldn't know what to do if I had a servant.

The excitement is really starting to build here at the school and in the village. Many people outside of the school are pitching in to help with the construction of the pens and fence and many are also planning on attending the course beginning Monday morning. One student cornered me today to thank me for the work we are doing here. He had been considering not preaching when he graduates in December because of the churches financial situation here, but now he believes he has a good chance with the knowledge and hands on practice that he will receive here to become completely self sufficient!!!! It is truly moving to see what is taking place here. Keep praying, its working.....

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Today for lunch we finally got to try Giant African Snail. I was a little bit nervous and excited all at the same time. A wife of one the students from the school cooked them for us. It is hard to put into words the texture and flavor however I will attempt to give it my best shot. It had the texture of what I imagine a car inner tube to be and it was flavored similar to that of calamari.... We also had plantains and what they call yams. It was over all not a bad meal.

After lunch we began construction of the rabbit cages. I hired a couple gentleman from the village who are "experts" in bamboo construction to come teach the students (and myself for that matter). However it did seem that by the end of the day we had way more Indians than we did chiefs!!! But with lots of teamwork and diligence we were able to nearly complete the cages. All we have left is to put on the doors and the waterers and feeders.

The students really expressed how discouraging it is to preach in Cameroon because they live in such extreme poverty. They said that they often don't know where the next meal will come from. Several have some extreme anxiety about graduating and going to a new village to preach because they haven't had any means of supporting themselves. After briefly explaining the rabbit breeding program to them they all became extremely excited. By just selling 10 rabbits at the market in one year they can make more than the average taxi cab driver does in a year!!!! The work we are doing here has the potential to help explode the spreading of the Gospel in Cameroon and many other parts of Africa! Please pray for this work to continue unhindered. There is the very clear possibility that this school and many preachers (and could be completely self supported within the next year!!!! God is so GOOD!!!

The weather here has been hot and humid. The gnats are driving me crazy but thanks be to God I haven't seen a mosquito yet!! I have been taking sponge baths twice a day but I sweat so much in the bathroom that I feel just as dirty as before I bathed. It is worth the sweat to be here with these wonderful people doing this awesome work.

We are still planning on having many from the community and the area attend our course next week in sustainable living. Please be praying that nothing hinders their attendance.

On a side note, thanks to all who helped my wife today in the rescuing of my goat Molly who got stuck in the fence today. The picture below was just too cute not to share!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Just What the "Dr." Ordered

Today was a day filled with excitement and opportunity. We to the nearby city of Limbe to gather supplies and tools to build the rabbit and snail cages. While there we had the great opportunity to evangelize to 3 different people. One was the owner of the hardware "store" that we were at. She was a catholic and I began asking her if she had ever read 1 Tim 4:1-4 and she said she had not. She then got out her Bible and read it and her eyes got about the size of dinner plates. She exclaimed that she always thought it wasn't right but now she new it wasn't from the Bible. We have another Bible study set up with her and one of her workers. We also ran into a young man named Vincent that we have studied with several times and he attended services on Sunday here in Wotutu. We encouraged him to really consider his eternal destiny and he claimed he knew what to do but said he wanted to think about it some more. We finally pressed him into letting us study with him tomorrow at 10 am. I really believe we will convert this young man and the woman from the hardware store.

After lunch we began construction of our open range snail bed. It is coming along nicely. We should be finished with it tomorrow and I will post pics of the finished pen. We also should start on the rabbit pens tomorrow.

This evening we went for a stroll through the village and went and visited the village "Dr." He was wonderful company and we enjoyed some nice bottled water on his porch while we talked. I found out in our conversation that he also owns a very large plantation and farm about 6km from our village. I explained to him what I am teaching here and he became very excited. He then insisted that I show him first hand at the school. One thing that I showed him was how to use a 1.5 liter water bottle turned upside down with a hole poked in the lid for a drip irrigation system. He became so elated seeing how well it was working with our vegetables here at the school. He said he wanted me to come to his farm to train all his workers and managers how to farm, irrigate, and fertilize better. I told him I couldn't because of my obligation to the school right now. He then proceeded to tell me how was going to try to procure the land next to the school for us to use for our school farm. Maybe meeting him was "Just what the Dr. ordered...." The picture above is Brother Martin Johnson and the Dr. with myself.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tuesday March 6th Update

Today was truly a busy and wonderful day here in Wotutu. We had a gentleman from a non-profit organization that trains people in how to raise snails to come by the school and to get us started in this training. The students and the staff here are all very excited about the prospect of raising snails for consumption and for selling at the market (snails bring premium price here). After this man came and left we had another wonderful meal by Elangwe's wife. She has been wonderful in her cooking and care of us.
Each morning we get up at 5 a.m. and we have a devotional period with the students until 5:30 at which time we then have what they call a "radio broadcast." This broadcast does not go through any AM or FM transmitter but rather is sent all over our village and 4 or 5 surrounding villages via a giant p.a. system. Imagine waking up every morning to the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!! This evening Elangwe took us up the mountain to the village of Tolle. It is a village located in the middle of giant tea plantations. There is a small congregation there that is struggling to survive. One of the preaching school students has recently started preaching there every Sunday and is conducting weekly Bible studies there. I was able to teach a study in "Growing in Faith-fullness" tonight. My message was received very well by the people. The picture above is me with the members of the congregation there. While we were there preaching the students of the school went into the Jungle to get giant bamboo for the construction of all our animal pens and for our fence. We should get started building our pens and shelter tomorrow. We are truly having a great trip and the Lord is really blessing the work. Please continue to pray for us!!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday March 5th Update

Monday proved to be a long yet great day of work. We accomplished a large amount of work. Elangwe (director of the school) and I went and met with the people who are going to come train the students how to raise snails in cages. They said that they would come to the school tomorrow to help us start getting set up. We also were able to locate and view several sets of rabbits. We cleared the area where we are going to put the rabbits and snails and all the students helped when they finished with Brother Johnson's lectures on 2 Corinthians. Tomorrow we are going after school to the jungle to gather Indian Bamboo for building a shelter for our animals. I am very excited and optimistic because the students are very hard workers and really want to learn what I am teaching them. I truly believe that this work is going to have a great impact on their lives. I am putting a picture here of the area we cleared behind the school today where our rabbits and snail cages are going to be.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Safe and Sound

I am thankful to now safely be in Cameroon. I arrived yesterday evening Cameroon time 5:50 pm (US time 11am) to be greeted by the wonderful smiles of Elangwe and his beautiful wife and cute son Ray. We then waited on Brother Martin Johnson to fly in from Utah about an hour later. My flights were all good. I had 3 separate flights which meant 3 separate audiences to teach to. I am well rested this morning and ready to preach the Word and worship with the saints here. We have several denomination visitors that are planning on being here for worship. I plan on preaching a sheet sermon I made several years ago from Acts 8 on the conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch. Please be praying that their hearts are pricked by the Word and come out of their false religion!!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Springing Forward

Today I feel like a giant spring that has been firmly pressed to the ground and is ready to catapult into the great unknown. I have been looking forward to the opportunity to travel to Cameroon Africa, to work with the school of preaching, for months. All of the planning, praying, and preparing has only wound my spring tighter. The prospect of being able to aid 18 students, 4 instructors, and countless others, so that we can begin working towards getting the school, congregations, and the preachers self supporting and sustaining motivates me knowing that it will only aid in the further expansion on the kingdom of our Lord. Many have financially aided and sacrificed to make this opportunity possible. Within 24 hours from now I will land in Douala Cameroon and be greeted by our wonderful director of the school, brother Elangwe.

I am going to be teaching and learning at the same time on this trip. I recently learned that a major source of food and income in western Africa is escargot, snail meat. When I first discovered this I imagined snails smaller than a golf ball but to my grateful surprise the snails in west Africa are capable of growing to the size of a small football! I also was able to find a woman in the city of Limbe, Cameroon who has a large snail farm and she graciously has agreed to bring her staff to the school and train us how to raise snails! I also will be traing the people in how to improve their agricultural techniques, how to raise rabbits, pigs, and goats in such a manner as to be near self-sustaining! Please pray for me as I fly today and tomorrow and be looking for daily updates of our work in Cameroon.