Thursday, October 07, 2004


Today's entry covers a variety of topics, just to update you with what's going on in our lives …

French Lessons
French lessons are heating up. We’re in the fourth week of the six-week course. On Friday, we had a “mid-term” exam. Leah scored an 80, and I scored an 82! Yippee!

We have discovered that we each have different learning styles. It’s easier for me to read and write French; Leah is better at listening and speaking it.

We have three different instructors, each of which takes a different strategy in teaching. Maurice uses a coursebook; Augustin teaches Bible once a week, and uses an exercise book; and Brigette uses a set of videos entitled Bienvenue en France. The videotapes are pretty hilarious. They’re a set of cheesy scenarios set in a hotel in Paris, featuring a couple of young hotel trainees. Vincent and Francoise are the “stars”; each episode usually features Vincent getting into some kind of trouble, and Francoise bailing him out. In yesterday’s episode, Vincent received his first paycheck and asked Francoise to dinner. Unfortunately, he chose the most expensive place in the city, and was short when the check came!

So now I can say, “I don’t have enough money” in French. Good thing I know that!

Speaking of language issues, Mallory read her first book today! She came home with the exciting news that she’d read Mac and Tab to her teacher, Mrs. Akounou. She read it to us twice tonight. Now that she’s mastered English, French isn’t far behind. She can count to twenty in the most perfect French accent you’ve ever heard …

Sermon Coming
I have exciting news also. Bill W asked me to preach at a communion service this Sunday at Eseka UMC! Yippee! I get to preach again!

When I began to think about it earlier today, I got butterflies in my stomach. That’s a good sign that I haven’t forgotten what it takes to prepare and deliver the Word of God!

Of course, there are lots of new variables to consider: how to preach in an African context; which stories and anecdotes will work and which won’t; how to preach with a translation delay …

I’ll post the sermon I use on Sunday evening … if it’s any good, that is.

A Miracle Car
Earlier this summer, while preparing to leave for Cameroon, Bill W sent me an e-mail and told me that we seriously needed to consider buying a second car for the mission when we arrived. (He was right; when I go on cross-country trips, Leah will need in-town transportation.)

But we had no idea where we were going to come up with the $10,000 that he suggested we’d need. We certainly didn’t have it laying around!

Leah and I began praying for a solution. We decided to make it a part of our presentation to churches. In every church and small group we addressed, we made it clear that we had a need … for $10,000 for a car.

We spoke to lots of great people and wonderful churches as the summer progressed, but still no $10,000. Suddenly, we had only one more church left on our schedule.

I stood up in front of that little group, with the nagging thought that this was it. I simply didn’t have any other great ideas about where to raise this kind of money.

The next morning, I received a call from the pastor of this church. She told me that a member of the congregation had just called and said that he wanted to make a donation to our family for the car. A few days later, we held a check for $10,000.

We’ve been praising God for this answered prayer ever since, and today we received our miracle car! It’s a newly-painted, completely refurbished, four-door, diesel Renault 25 (see pictures above).

We bought it for a fantastic price, and have plenty left of the original money to use for repairs and maintenance over the coming years.

It’s just a car … simply a big hunk of metal. But every time we get in it, we’ll remember that God provides in all sorts of ways.