Sunday, November 13, 2005

Back Under the Mosquito Net

Two weeks away is plenty long. I arrived back at Yaounde’s airport last night to be welcomed by some pretty happy kids and a relieved wife!

There’s no reason to give a blow-by-blow account of my trip; it’d bore you greatly. It might be more instructive to simply give a kind of brief recap. Later this week, perhaps I’ll reflect at greater length on some of the things I learned.

So here’s what I did while in the US:

… Visited Columbia College, in Columbia, South Carolina. The trip was primarily meant to meet the founders of eChristianEd, a new online Christian Education course which we will be inaugurating in Cameroon in January. In fact, we are the very first international affiliate of eChristianEd. But while on campus, I was invited to speak about the Mission in two different classes.

… Attended worship at the Council of Bishops meeting on Wednesday morning. I saw some old friends, including Bishops Larry Goodpaster, Scott Jones, William Oden, and John Wesley Hardt. Even got to celebrate Communion, which was very moving.

… Met with our new overseeing bishop, Benjamin Boni, of Cote d’Ivoire, as well as the Senegalese missionary, members of the Cote d’Ivoire Board of Ordained Ministry, and representatives of GBGM and GBHEM. I’ll say more on this later, but firmer plans are now underway for ordaining pastors in Cameroon. Also, we are about to schedule our first Annual Meeting next April.

… Spoke at Trinity UMC in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Mason UMC in Mason, Michigan. Visiting Trinity was especially meaningful to me, since it is truly the “mother church” of the Cameroon mission. This is the church where Victor Ayuk first became a Methodist, and which nurtured him into ministry. Victor is the one responsible for introducing the Methodist church to his friends and family in Cameroon, which paved the way for GBGM to get involved.

… Visiting my good friends, Tim and Susan Tuthill (and their one-year old son, Ben). I first met Tim about ten years ago at Perkins School of Theology. He spent a lot of time at our house in those days, and when he got married and brought Susan to Dallas with him, we spent a lot of time together. We’ve kept up over the years, as our ministry has led us different directions. I was fortunate to spend a week of quality time with them. They were extremely kind to me, allowing me to spend the week in their house, eating meals with them – they even let me borrow their car to do some serious Christmas shopping! Tim and Susan were gracious to me – yes, that’s what it was … good old-fashioned grace! I am grateful for the time I spent with them. And because of their hospitality, I have returned to Cameroon a bit richer, renewed in spirit, and full of warm fuzzies.