expecting the unexpected
This past summer, August to be exact, I had the honor and the privilege of being called to Cameroon. Five of us went on a mission trip to train church leaders in Restoring the Foundations ministry. This was my fourth mission trip in the past two years. I have come to learn to expect the unexpected and was very exciting to go on an adventure to Africa.
We left on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning right after our church service. We arrived thirty six hours later in Buea, Cameroon. I could say so many things about this trip but that would take a small book, so I will share some of the highlights and a video that I put together.
I have always dreamed of traveling the world. Two of the many places on my list are Paris, France and Africa. I could never have imagined that I would travel to both at the same time. Though, I also never would have imagined that I would only be passing through Paris and not even get to see the Eiffel Tower, but that is a story for another day. This story is about Africa. Cameroon to be more exact, and its beautiful landscapes, like Mount Cameroon, and it’s beautiful people.
We first arrived in Douala, Cameroon in the afternoon and were greeted by our wonderful hosts. There was a SUV to pick us up, a poem written just for us, and beautiful bouquets of flowers from their region. We were then taken over to a nice restaurant for dinner. This was just the beginning of what ten days of hospitality would look like.
Our first evening in Cameroon was spent having dinner in Douala and then heading up to Buea. Rush hour in Cameroon is like nothing we would imagine here in the states. The roads and traffic make I-95 look sane and slow paced. Since traffic is so bad, we stayed in the city for dinner to give a chance for traffic to die down a little bit. It was a nice dinner, and I ate goat for the first time. It was very good, and at first, I thought it was beef. The cuisine in Cameroon is rich and earthy, with many types of fish, greens and fruits to choose from. We were never left wanting for food, though some of the offerings, like Cameroonian plums, are much different than our food here in America. After dinner, we were off in the craziness of the traffic from Douala to Buea. The journey took several hours. Along the way we encountered multiple lanes of traffic, multiple types vehicles, such as taxi motorcycles sometimes carrying as many as four people on one motorcycle. We also encountered goats, cows, tolls, and fog (it was the rainy season). At last we arrived in Buea at the base of the beautiful Mount Cameroon. Since it was the rainy season, everything was lush, green, and in some places muddy.
Our time in Buea was very busy. It was full of teaching, prayer ministry, worship, and visiting. We taught seventeen pastoral couples, each from a different church, how to do Restoring the Foundations Issued Focused Ministry. They caught on quickly and were already very familiar with deliverance ministry. They all were very excited to add this powerful tool to their ministries. All together we had six long days of teaching. During this time, we got to know these couples well, and I fell in love with the Cameroonian people. I made a few friendships that I hope will last a lifetime and look forward to seeing them again this summer.
We had many opportunities while in Cameroon to pray for people. We were invited to the Mayor of Buea’s home. We got to spend time with him and his wife and pray for both of them. We also had the opportunity to visit one of Cameroon’s senators in his home and pray for he and his family as well. We also got to pray for and encourage many of the people who took care of us. We prayed for our drivers, the ladies in our house who cooked for us, and the many people who we met during out trip. It was and honor and a privilege to be used in such a way and I was blessed as much as they were.
We had many rainy days and many rainy nights where we went to bed to the sound of rain on the roof and African singing. We had a wonderful day out to see Cameroon. We saw the lava flow from where mount Cameroon erupted many years ago. We saw a beautiful waterfall that had once been a place where witchcraft was practiced and now is a place for people to come and pray. I had a nice little tumble down the hill at the waterfall and was thankfully caught by our driver who was looking out for me. I spent the day very damp, but it only dampened my mood a little. We saw the Atlantic ocean, which is Africa’s west coast, and that fact sort of still boggles my mind. But most of all, we just got to be with the people of Cameroon, here their stories, worship with them, and share life together in the beautiful presence of God. The first day there I had a moment where it really hit me. Here I am in Africa and the Lord is here with me. He is everywhere and the same everywhere. Sounds so simple, but yet the revelation was so powerful to me in that place. In gave me new insight to the scripture “I am with you always, even to the end of time”. There was not a day that went by on my trip, that I didn’t think and repeat to myself “I’m in Africa” over and over again…. I would think it “I’m in Africa” The entire trip was amazing. It was a dream come true. It was beautiful. It changed me. I grew in the Lord. I made new friends. I loved it and I can’t wait to go again.
Be Blessed My Friends,
There are always seasons in life. Some we understand and some we do not. As I sit here tonight, I am thinking back on the last year. It has brought a lot of changes as did the year before. I am looking forward to this brand new year, though I really have no idea of what it will hold. I am full of excitement, anticipation and some trepidation. My last few years have brought many changes and quiet a few adventures. In two years I went from not traveling at all (literally only out of my time zone once) to traveling to three countries and two continents. I have semi launched my three oldest children into the world. I have laid down my job as a real estate agent and been certified as a life coach and trained as a Restoring the Foundations prayer minister. I have reached a new place in my prayer life and God has transformed my heart, which has been the biggest adventure of all. This blog has been neglected in the last few months, however I hope to change that in the upcoming year. I will write as God leads but I am committed to being more disciplined in my posting as well as writing a book. As we go into a new year, I want to share about my past adventures and the new adventures along the way. I appreciate each of you that are a part of my life , as well as each of you who read my blog. I hope 2015 was a good year for you, though for many, I know it was a long and hard season. I lost two great friends this year. Both of them were incredible people. Both of them were lost to cancer. I am still trying to process all that I feel over losing them. And though they are celebrating in heaven, this world is sadder and dimmer without them. They will be missed by all of us, but by their families most of all. As I said at the start of this post, some seasons we understand and some we do not. Only God himself has all the answers and I am glad that I do not need the answers to know that He is God. So as this year comes to a close I pray you have memories to take with you, hope for a new season and for a new year. I pray you have peace, joy and comfort. I pray that you have these things in the good seasons and in the hard seasons. But most of all I pray that you come to know the Lord better, to walk closer with Him, and reach new levels in life in 2016.