Tag Archives: travel

Out and About in Cameroon

The last post focused on workshop issues; this one will have more other life issues. This was the longest workshop I’ve done in Cameroon, and my first time flying within the country. For instance, we stayed at a Benedictine monastery, so we were able to buy fresh milk, from the above and a small number of other cows on the compound.

Downtown Yaoundé from the air

For those looking for some perspective on the capitol city of Cameroon (where we live), here it is from the air. You can see the taller buildings and larger roads going to a center area in the top third of the above photo.

I also got a photo of our neighborhood, complete with our house, the CABTAL building, the soccer field where we get to exercise (even in isolation), and even on end of the building of our local church!

Our neighborhood

Back to the monastery, apparently this order likes to keep busy, and to make things to sell to the community. This is where they make essential oils (from lots of things, with lots of cryptic names —cinnamon was the only one I recognized):

They also have a place behind the building where we stayed, where they microbrew a beer made from locally available ingredients. But as with many places, innovation, industry, and tradition go hand in hand. They also have a talking drum prominently displayed at the monastery entrance:

Talking drum at the monastery
Hear the two tones of the drum

I didn’t ever hear anyone play it (other than me, in the above video clip), but these drums (found across Africa) are dear to my heart. They probably make no sense to most English speakers, but when you speak a tonal language, these drums are putting out the information that you normally use to make words. So the fact that these drums are used to communicate language, which is then understood at a great distance, is a testimony to the importance of tone in these languages. Imagine you had a drum you could hit that made the ‘p’ sound, and another that could make a ‘b’ or ‘k’ sound, and you could just pound out letters (on a drum carved from a tree, no less!), and so beat out the sounds of a word. Anyway, I think it is cool that something so uniquely African exists, that recognizes the unique value of tone in African languages.

How to Leave Your Kid on the Other Side of the World

This is all new to me. I’ve never sent a kid to college. And certainly never sent one to the other side of the world during a pandemic! There were so many skills I felt he needed. So many supplies, life lessons. So many adult things he knew nothing about. We held a little James-specific TCK Boot Camp: Banking, buses, bike safety, phone plans, health insurance, modern food systems, choosing a church and job applications. Just in case it helps another Mom going through it… I’ll detail a bit about the process.

PREPARATIONS: MOM-IN-A-BOX & HOMESICKNESS PREVENTION

Last year a good friend of mine put together what she called ‘Mom in a Box’ for her daughter heading off to college. Mom-in-a-Box included a first aid kit, some essential snacks, vitamins and a document that included subjects like: Sickness, Finances, Job, Church – things that you might definitely want to ask Mom about that first year away from home. Sickness includes which vitamins to take, which hospitals are in-network for us, etc. For James, I expanded this to include a Contacts list and a Food Source list. Contacts includes full names, address and phone numbers for local family/friends who have offered to be there for him when we cannot. Under each name I included tags: Emergency – for those who would do anything for him 24/7, Guest Room Offered/Ready – for those who offered him a place or had one ready now, and then other tags like Files or Storage – in case he needed to find things we left behind in a garage. Under Food Sources, I listed his closest grocery stores and where to find some of his favorite allergy-free foods.

I both Emailed him this document and printed it hardcopy. I filled the box with every medicine, vitamin, cream he could need, three jars of organic chicken soup, tea (for when he’s sick), a sewing kit, and an envelope. In the envelope, I wrote out 12 little post-it encouragements with prayers for his year. I only told him about them the day I left and encouraged him to pull one out and read it each month or on a hard day. I won’t be local to send him little things or visit, so I tried to front-load the Mom encouragement inside Mom-in-a-Box.

I know there is absolutely no way to avoid all homesickness, but as a TCK who has grown up in 5 countries on 3 continents, sometimes you need a piece of a place that feels like home. I wanted to provide James with that, and I’m a quilter. I quilted him a graduation stole with a fabric for each place he celebrated a birthday. I quilted him a Fibonacci Sequence quilt out of African cotton wax print (kitenge) for his bed. For graduation, he also asked for two African-style shirts and I made him matching masks. These fabrics can surround him with his TCK heritage when he needs it. This could also be done with family photos, a flag from your country other traditional wall hangings to remember your last feeling of ‘home’ on the other side of the world.

TCK BOOT CAMP

[These activities will need to be determined by where your kid will be and what they need specifically.] James had his driver’s license already, which was helpful for many other things like getting his student ID card. He wasn’t going to own a car, so instead purchased a bike, was given a helmet and awesome locks. He has complicated food allergies, planned to live on campus and get around by bike and bus, so our boot camp focused on that. We complicated things a bit further because he won’t be 18 until October, so he can’t have his own credit card yet and I had to co-sign anything to do with finances in person. We traveled to his college town 10 days before he moved in and stayed nearby so we could get to know the area well, and I’m so glad we did. We could take our time purchasing items for his dorm room ahead of the crowds, check out different churches, tour the nearby grocery stores, try out a couple allergy-friendly restaurants, etc. Here are the topics we covered and practiced in Boot Camp:
Cell Phones: plans, payment, apps, cases, cords, etc
Groceries: sourcing clean foods, reading ingredients, budgeting, dorm cooking
Transportation: reading bus routes/schedules, biking rules & safety
Banking: deposits, ATMs, cash-back, app management
College: campus tour (with specifics in mind), ID card, first semester books

James is a kid who is usually up for an adventure if someone else plans it, but who doesn’t naturally go explore new things. This Boot Camp had some days where I required weird jobs and forced him to do them. I had a long list of tasks to master or practice and most often he could choose between, for example, planning a bus trip across town to Trader Joe’s, or walking the college campus to find his dorm room window and get his ID card and books. Our bank account appointment was thankfully on our first full day in town and they gave him his debit card on the spot, so over the next 10 days I had him do much of the purchasing on his own and then we could log into the banking app and check his account as we went. Once, the register asked him if he wanted cash back. He just froze. He’d never heard of it. These are the little things that make coming from overseas a challenge. And I’m thankful we took our time working through them day by day together.

James planned a bus route for us across town to Trader Joe’s

On top of life skills, I was teaching COVID safety as we went: Not to open doors with hands when possible, washing hands whenever possible and always before eating, etc. He would be managing it all on his own this year. He registered himself for an Amazon Student account and we ordered something to a nearby drop box. He picked it up on his own. In the grocery stores, we scouted out his favorite allergy-friendly options and noted which places have higher/lower prices. A few times I would challenge him to find three sources of broccoli (his favorite veg) and compare prices: frozen v. fresh v. steam bags. We blocked up the ice cream aisle reading ingredients and ranking which brands were better for his allergies. The one practice we didn’t fit in was a solo trip to the barber, though I did talk him through what is expected (a tip at the end) and we located a good one within walking distance.

There were two other things we did, which prepared him more on an emotional level. First, we booked an afternoon having lunch with the MK Care Coordinator of our organization. This man has kids like James on his heart, and got to debrief him about his life overseas and transition to the US, which opens the door for future connections there. Second, we participated in a campus ministry camp (all virtual this year), which placed James in an online small group of other Christian incoming freshman in his department (math/science). These were the first students he met, and his small group has gathered already a couple times at a park in these first 2 weeks. They text each other often, and it made James feel a bit of connection before beginning all virtual classes on a campus of 70,000 students.

Our final goodbyes

THE DROP-OFF

We moved him in on a Tuesday morning and spent most of the day unpacking and settling his room. We planned to stock his fridge and go out to lunch Wednesday before I left town (and flew out Friday). Having a plan is important!! We found the outlets in the dorm were all far from his desk, so in the evening I ordered a curbside pickup of cords at Lowe’s. I checked out of our AirBnB. He texted me his food wishlist and it was easy for me to find because we had toured every store in the area. We went out to lunch and got to debrief his first 24 hours of dorm life. I told him I would not park and come in, but just drop him and go. We planned out when to call and check-in. And that was it! I drove away. I didn’t want to. I had to. I did pause to bawl a moment in a parking spot. I am human. The waves have been coming for a year, and will continue another year I’m sure. It wasn’t easy, but all the planning and preparations gave me a lot of peace of mind that we were ready for whatever this first year on the other side of the world may hold!

Looking back over all the years of James’ childhood, it is obvious without a doubt that God has plans for him. It was not easy to do it solo, but better than not doing it at all. I felt the prayers for God’s Peace and Strength with me every hour. It is painful to leave the country and not take your kid with you, but I have no doubt God will continue to be faithful to James. And the Family Weekends and Holiday Breaks we will miss this year we can all surrender to Jesus. He is worthy. How to leave your kid on the other side of the world? It can only be done in obedience and worship! I also recommend having people pray! This song came on the radio on multiple stations in multiple towns across Texas as I drove away from my son: You Get the Glory.

Day in the Life: Quarantine Day 11

[Before I journal out what a typical day of Quarantine in Cameroon is like, I want to say there are some big differences between Quarantine here v. in the US with unlimited high-speed internet streaming services, curbside pickups, Amazon deliveries and Door Dash from your favorite restaurant. In Cameroon, power and internet are a costly privilege. I am Quarantined on our office compound where there is a backup power generator, so if it all cuts out – it is back on within about 60 seconds. Still, I have traded streaming music/movies for using my list of downloads while power lasts, and singing or listening to a flock of tropical birds outside when it doesn’t. I’ve traded curbside pickups and Amazon deliveries for friends and neighbors sharing/swapping. And I’ve traded restaurant meals for my own kitchen creativity (and some simple meals)… Add the cool, wet season of tropical ‘winter’ and a whole lot of bugs – and it’s the same! Just about…]

6:30am – I wake up to birds praising their Creator and the slam of a screen door nearby. All windows are open louvers with screens, so noise travels! Slowly getting up, I put my clean coffee mug outside on the front porch chair and set up my own seat for morning coffee.

7:00am – Kent arrives before his work day to pour me coffee with whipped cream! He backs away, so I can reach out to pull the coffee inside, and then sits down on the other side of the porch. Once I am back behind the screen door, he takes off his mask and we share long-distance coffee. We talk about the kids getting out the door at 6:45, or what’s going on in the house or at the office. We often share thoughts about current events. Today it’s about Critical Race Theory and how the Church should respond. Basically, we pretend to solve all the world’s problems in our 45 minutes… 🙂

8:00am – Kent rushes back to set up an online portal to a linguistics conference in the Netherlands he and another colleague are attending virtually all day. I pray for them, finish Bible reading and throw some breakfast together. Goals of the day are blogging, Email, finishing my 1000-piece puzzle. It’s hard not to count the hours left – three more full days! Joel and Anna haven’t seen me except on phone calls for 5 weeks. Feels like forever.

1:00pm – My puzzle is almost done and I need to stop or I won’t have anything to do for the next few days. I watch one more episode of a TV series I downloaded, but it’s the second to last one I have. Unless I want to rewatch the whole season again, I’ll need to find something else to do. I decide to save it at least another day. I could reread a book, but decide to read online instead.

1:30pm – Kent texts me from his conference that Anna is in tears about online school because her computer is down (that she built). I call her. She doesn’t pick up. Teenagers and their headphones with loud music! I call her brother and finally get her on the phone. She needs to be creative and not put more on Dad today. She agrees to try working on her brother’s old dinosaur laptop that sounds like a jet engine.

3:00pm – My friend Lori knocks outside. My first week of Quarantine, I was the only one, but now there are 4 households of us and we are allowed to walk outside on the path between 3-6pm at a distance. I’m late for walk-time! I change into exercise clothes and begin putting on my shoes when Anna calls in tears. She just saw an Email saying that her Zoom violin lesson across the globe started a few minutes ago. She’s panicking and not sure what to do. I postpone the walk by an hour, calm her down, and log in to listen to her lesson with her from here.

4:15pm – Violin Lesson salvaged in spite of high winds and rain ( = spotty internet/power). Hopefully I can still get in a walk! I find my fellow-Quarantiner and we start around the 1/4mi path. After one lap, it starts sprinkling and the hills in the distance disappear behind a looming wall of water. We make it a fast 2 laps and retreat to warm up inside. It is ‘winter’ with weather in the 65-80 range and it often rains during our ‘outside time’. It makes taking out trash and drying laundry a bit complicated. Thankfully, no laundry or trash runs for me today! I have a thick blanket on the hard tile for a yoga mat and can stretch out.

6:00pm – I decide to cook a real dinner, not just eat fruit & cheese. I have chicken drumsticks, a moldy onion, a questionable zucchini and some drying out carrots. I clean up the onion and sautee it with peeled carrots. I add water and chicken to simmer, and am pleasantly surprised by the zucchini – not one worm inside! It gets sliced up and steamed on top of it all. I found a steak seasoning mix that I spice it with and serve topped with butter and sea salt. Food for a king! I notice a little river of ants coming in a crack in the wall, but can’t figure where they are feasting… ominous.

9:00pm – After eating my dinner, chatting with family and reading a bit more (only a few more puzzle pieces!), it’s time to get ready for bed. The empty apartment gets dark quickly after 7:00 and then the bugs feel free to take over. I catch a mosquito in mid-air and feel victorious. Last weekend a big rainstorm brought in several huge cockroaches and I had to convince both myself and them that I was in charge. But I drew the line at the enormous spider in the bathroom! I just couldn’t get close enough to kill him with a shoe. He disappeared somewhere near the back of the door and my towel. I named him Henry. We are peacefully coexisting. I pretend he’s not there, and he pretends that I am not there.
I use a different towel.
And I bring my broom in with me –
just in case.

10:00pm – I’ll wash my 3 dishes tomorrow. And handwash a few last things to wear. Lights out. I’ve had lots of time to chat with Jesus. To puzzle. To sleep. To fight bugs. The crickets are chirping. All that goes through my head is spider nightmares, so I sing a praise song half asleep. Think on only what is good. Most of all I am thankful that I am not sick and not bringing COVID back home next week!

Pandemic Super Summer

When James graduated high school here in Cameroon in June, we had little reassurance that he would make it across the globe to begin college. All borders were closed. Europe was closed. The US would welcome us home, but there was no way to get there without going through Europe. Could we rent him a fishing boat to sail across the Atlantic? We debated delaying his studies by a year. We debated cancelling our own trip to the US. But we didn’t have peace about that. We had medical check-ups we really needed to take care of. We had family we needed to see. And most of all, James was ready to move to college and begin life as an adult.

The day before our “scheduled” trip (3rd itinerary attempt) the transformer in our neighborhood blew, and fried the motherboard of our backup power system. We gave away or tossed the contents of our fridge and defrosted the freezer and put cell phones and laptops on a friend’s generator. We unplugged everything and left the washing machine with dank, soapy water for a neighbor to handle later. The day before travel, I hauled the sewing machine next door where it was hooked up to a generator and I sewed masks for our trip. It would take 30 or so hours to travel, so we would need several masks for each of the five of us. The generator was very powerful and the sewing went very fast!

After two date cancellations, we were SO grateful to fly out July 9 (on Joel’s 16th birthday!) At the time we left, the COVID numbers were much lower here than in the US and Texas in particular was in the middle of a surge in numbers. It was easy to fear. As I packed our bags, my assigned Bible reading included Psalm 91 and these words hit me:

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty…
He will protect you from the deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers…
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness…
For He will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.

It felt a little presumptuous to me at the time to believe that we could travel so far and be exposed to so many people to a hotspot big city and then all return without any of us catching Coronavirus. I had only a mustard seed of faith that He could do that for us. Every time we would have to pass through a crowd in the Paris airport, or eat strange airline food in tight quarters, or hear someone on the plane cough, the fear in me would rise. I would almost hold my breath, trying not to panic through the stifling masks. And He would gently repeat to me, “Do not dread the disease.” It became a phrase on repeat in my brain throughout our trip. Do not fear. Do not dread. Even if this Almighty protection was temporary, it is still better for me to stop the fear. It gains nothing.

By a miracle of God’s goodness, we were able in the midst of pandemic social distancing to accomplish:
32 Flights flown (4 each to Texas and 3 each to return), even more security checks!
5 Wellness Check-ups
4 rounds of bloodwork
3 Follow-up Visits with Specialists
5 Dental Cleanings
2 Follow-up Dental Visits

12 months of prescriptions and supplements acquired
6 Houses stayed-in
1 Car driven

4,325 miles driven
2 stops at Buccee’s
8 or so hours sitting on hold
39 Amazon Orders
Countless outdoor meet ups with so many!
Countless cups of ice cream and blueberries consumed!

Some people brought us food. Some people cooked us food to share on the back porch. Someone helped pick up books we needed for school this year. Someone lent us another book. Someone gave us their home for a week while they were away. Someone gave us use of their pool. Someone gifted us a week at their condo. Someone gets our mail all year long and keeps our important papers filed. Someone let us haul boxes in and out of the storage area in their attic. Someone quilted James’ graduation quilt. Many gave him graduation gifts that allowed him to furnish his dorm room and set up a bank account with healthy savings. Even though we were socially distanced, we felt very close and supported and loved by our church and our team.

One friend hearing about the crazy circumstances and struggles we had asked, “Have ANY of your trips to the mission field been EASY?” … Um… I couldn’t think of one. There was the trip we all got ill. The trip we had things stolen. The trip of tummy bugs. The trip of visa stress. There really is always one obstacle or other. We’ve come to expect it. And despite the obstacles of 2020, this summer we were equipped to return to Bible Translation work to thrive in Cameroon another year. This super-packed summer of business and activities really was a miracle!

Praise God with us for all He accomplished!

Sustained in the Beautiful Hard

The first time I heard it was Sept 6, 1999. In the wee hours of the morning through the jet lag as newlyweds who naively landed ourselves on assignment in Kenya, the dawn was alive with the exotic melodies of birds. Their songs heralded the beginning of a fresh new day, bathing it in beautiful anticipation, proclaiming God’s glory to all. Through all our years in Kenya, Uganda and Congo these morning songs were a constant joy.

Landing in Cameroon two weeks ago, I subconsciously expected everything to be similar to our life in Congo. Sure enough, some of our favorite things about our previous home – morning birds, huge juicy mangoes, choirs singing in church in colorful fabrics – were similar. Oh how I missed those morning songs!! Cameroon has the same freshly roasted peanuts, red clay roads, long handshakes and strong hospitality. To focus on all the beautiful things, I am tempted to reflect on our Spring Break trip as a fabulous success.

But that would not be the whole story. It was certainly not my success. And it would skip the testimony of God’s power in our lives this past two weeks to stop there. Let us never skip an opportunity to tell of his mighty works even when it costs us something. So we will share the detailed truth that it may bring God even more glory.
Each day several friends ask, “How was Cameroon?”
The short story is: “It was beautiful. And it was hard.”
Vibrantly beautiful and
terribly hard
at the same time.
Complex.

Spiritual opposition often feels like all the cards are stacked against you. Nothing went very smoothly, and God intervened over and over and over to keep us moving forward. He sustained us. Our first obstacle was the denial of visas that left uncertainty over our departure like a cloud until God miraculously delivered new visas the exact day we needed them. Secondly, the 24 hours of flights did not always include foods we could all eat, but God brought a flight attendant to bring us special treats from First Class.

Upon arrival in Cameroon, we realized we had left our Yellow Fever vaccination cards in America. They are required for entry into many African countries and some will even vaccinate you in the airport if you don’t have your yellow card! We were stuck at the mercy of the health department officials. They could have refused us entry or forced us into shots then and there. God gave us favor with one of the officials who decided against protocol to accept our photo images of yellow cards on Kent’s laptop. (Later one woman would try to stop us from leaving the country on the same grounds, but pass us because of the work we do.) God’s intervention for the win!

We settled into our guesthouse rooms and crashed. We had not been prepared for the heat and humidity. We knew there would not be air conditioning. What we didn’t know is that March is the hottest month of the year. So 90-degree days don’t sound too hot, until you factor in 95% humidity with a ‘Real Feel’ of 117 degrees! We were sweating through 3-4 sets of clothes each day, which didn’t help us hydrate after the airplanes. We couldn’t drink enough and we had to focus on filtering enough water for the 5 of us to keep up. The heat sapped our energy and melted our brains, putting us in a fog. Sleeping under mosquito nets seemed to make the heat worse. God kept our filter working quickly, gave us a fridge that worked, a fan to sleep by, and sustained us in a way that doesn’t make sense to me even in retrospect.

Within 48 hours, I was not recovering energy or health from jet lag, I was actually getting worse each day knocked down with the flu. Kent left for his conference out of town. While he was away, I was not sleeping much at night. I think I was allergic to the dusty, lumpy mattress. One night, my lungs began to fill to the point where I felt out of breath to walk a few steps. I am familiar with walking pneumonia, and knew I was in trouble. God intervened. One of my friends was taking me shopping the next morning and I asked her to help me buy an inhaler and allergy meds. She just ‘happened’ to have meds and an extra new inhaler sitting in her house that another missionary had given away! Within 2-3 days with the meds and inhaler my lungs cleared and I could breathe again. I haven’t had allergic asthma like that in maybe 10 years, but it hunted me down on this trip.

Kent’s conference was productive and fruitful, but not without difficulty. He was staying in hotel that some days had water and some days not. God got him through and got him home. He returned safely back to us after 4 days and promptly came down with the flu. For a few days we were both down at the same time. I had a horrible stomach ache that wouldn’t go away. God gently reminded me what the enemy was trying to steal, kill and destroy on our trip. He would love us to call it ‘ruined’ and only remember the ‘bad’. We gathered our family to sing and pray. My stomach ache left and never returned. It was a turning point in my full recovery. Kent had enough of the dusty, lumpy mattress and got a ride to bargain for a new one. God granted him favor with the shop and he bought a wonderful new mattress for 70% of the asking price! We started to sleep so much better!

Through the fog of heat and illness, we were trying to tour available houses for our move this summer, but our time and energy reserves were so low. One hour out of the house required two more recovering. This was made only more complicated by the fact that there were no known houses available big enough for our family. The unrest in outlying areas had many displaced colleagues moving into the city in the past years, so there is a housing shortage. We met one Cameroonian colleague who has 25 family members staying with him! We also had no car, the heat was unbearable and we needed to walk everywhere in the muddy clay. Hour by hour, God gave us the strength beyond understanding to get something done.

Our last 2 days in Cameroon were wonderful. We had strength again. And good friends had planned to come and spend time with us. We hadn’t lived in the same country in 14 years. Sweet fellowship. Time to smell flowers, dry laundry on the line, enjoy the first spring mangoes. In the midst of a minefield of obstacles, James, Joel and Anna enjoyed everything! They enjoyed the foods they remembered from their younger years. They enjoyed meeting new friends and attending their new school. Teachers let them jump right in. Joel chased agama lizards and played in the dirt with the little kids. Anna picked her favorite tropical flowers. James immediately clicked with other teenagers who “get him” as a missionary kid. So much glory. So much beauty. The calm before the return storm.

Our last night in Cameroon, I had a horrific nightmare. I can count on one hand the number of times I have been tormented by a dream like that. It had zero connection to reality. It was pure evil. We fought back with prayer and I began to sing praises to Jesus, which our enemy hates. God carried me through. He is victorious!

Our return home was odd in that every single airport was frought with more obstacles. It seemed that we would never make it home. There was a 2-hour delay leaving Cameroon due to trouble with the fuel truck (?!). There was a strike in Brussels for air traffic controllers, so we boarded and sat on the tarmac another 2.5 hours. This meant we missed our connecting flight in Washington DC by 5 minutes and were stranded. All the while, Anna’s health continued to decline. She was sick to her stomach more and more often and hadn’t eaten much in 2-3 days. We were rescheduled, overnighted in Houston and finally made it home (without bags) the next day. The fingerprints of Grace followed us. Airport personnel cleaning up barf for us. A stranger giving us a plastic bag when we needed one. The airport shop having a ‘sale’ on Tshirts and toothbrushes when our kids needed something else to wear. A hotel with free breakfast enough to feed our boys, and free airport shuttles that run at 1am. God’s grace followed us. (Anna has a parasite and is recovering well at home.)

He sustained us. We would not have survived this trip without his help. We not only survived, we accomplished almost all our goals for the two weeks! So how was our trip?

The verse that comes to mind is Paul’s testimony in 2 Corinthians 4:8-
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.
We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.
We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.
We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus
so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”

If you read this all the way to the end, I pray you have seen the life of Jesus in this story. I pray this post is like the beautiful birds’ song which proclaims God’s glory to all who will listen. If He can comfort, guide, protect and sustain me when I feel like I can’t breathe in a foreign country with flu and malarial mosquitoes at 117 degrees… He can comfort, guide, protect and sustain you where you are too. He sustains in the beautiful hard.

“But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
Psalm 3:3

 

March to Cameroon

One of our most frequently asked questions is what are our plans, so I’d like to give an update since we last wrote about our timeline (here). We did not make our goal of near 100% by Christmas, and in the process of doing so (and in celebrating Christmas) the deadline to submit an abstract for the linguistics conference in Cameroon passed. We also spent a good deal of time re-evaluating our agenda for the March trip, as what we had originally intended didn’t seem like it would work out. As we were getting solid dates we wanted to be gone, we checked on airfare, and the prices we saw seemed to be the final nail in the coffin of this trip.

Fortunately, God didn’t let us stop there. With firm dates in hand, we looked for better (i.e., cheaper) tickets, and ultimately found some for half the price we had been quoted. So we now have tickets to leave the first week in March, and return the third week.

Then last week, I wrote the conference organizers, and asked if there was any way they would still accept a submission from me. Just yesterday, they responded and invited me to apply despite my tardiness. So yesterday I submitted that material, and started work on other logistics necessary to attend the conference.

Tickets are purchased, passport applications are sent off, and the linguistics conference is a go! While it feels a bit last-minute to us, God seems to be working out our main goals for this spring.

But in the mean time, we have two passports currently getting renewed, and very little time left after that to get our visas to Cameroon, so please pray that we would have wisdom and favor in navigating these bureaucracies.