Saturday, October 31, 2015

Blog Hop: 10 Things You Should Know about our Mission Field

All scary missionary stories come out of Africa, right? I’ve heard people say through the years, “I want to surrender to God’s will, but I’m afraid He will call me to Africa!” 


Perish the thought!! Please, not Africa!

Well, I’m here to encourage you that…Africa isn’t so bad! In fact, what I really want is people to come out and bring me suitcases full of goodies visit me here. I want you to know that it isn’t scary. It is, in fact, fun! It is beautiful! And most of all…the continent on which we serve is wide open to the gospel, so I guarantee your visit would also be very rewarding!

This week I’m taking part in a missionary blog hop that discusses the topic of 10 things I wish people knew about my field. Hopefully these 10 things will be an incentive for my friends, family and supporters to visit me here in Cameroon. At the end of my post will be a link taking you to the next blog. we go. 10 things about my field that are in no particular order:

  1. We speak English!  Yep. When you come to visit us in Cameroon you won’t have to worry about communicating and sharing the gospel through a translator; you can speak English. Now, we don’t speak “American” here :P , so you might have to ask people to repeat themselves and vice versa, but being able to freely speak with the national people will make your visit so much more enjoyable!
    Pidgin is a trade language spoken here in Cameroon. 
  2. Snakes, Spiders and other dangerous, wild animals do not abound here in our corner of Cameroon. Yes, we have on occasion posted photos of large spiders (they were non-poisonous), and only two times during our 11 years here did we post photos of snakes. These are not the norm. Have we seen a snake or two? Yes, we have. But what we mostly see are goats, pigs, chickens, dogs, and cats. Pastor Jim and Myra Wright, Baptist World Mission furlough replacement missionaries, filled in for us while we were on furlough for 7 months. Myra suffers from Ophidiophobia (you're welcome for the vocabulary word of the day). She didn't see one snake during her entire time here. So, please don't let a fear of critters keep you from visiting our field! 
    We love to keep chameleons as pets!
  3. Bambili, Cameroon isn't hot. I know from experience that when people think of Africa they think of how hot it is. And yes, there are some pretty hot places on this gigantic continent, and even hot places within this country, but thankfully Bambili, Cameroon (where we live) isn't one of them. The temperature is in the 80s nearly year round. July through September are our coldest months (usually between 70-80), so should you choose to visit us during your summer break...that would be a wonderful time of year. 
    Our front yard view!
  4. There are no fast food or franchise restaurants in Cameroon. This might seem like a no-brainer to some, but you would be very surprised at how many people don't realize this. We only have small, locally owned places. We eat out every Monday for our family day and have had to wait for our food for hours at some places. Thankfully our most current favorite restaurant is pretty speedy, and we hope it will be around for a long time.  When someone living in the U.S. doesn't want to cook...Pizza Hut comes to the rescue. It doesn't work that way here in Cameroon. Cooking here means a lot of time and dirty dishes. So, you'll understand why Little Caesars is our staple meal on furlough :) 
    Our current favorite family restaurant: PresCafe
  5. Cameroon is sometimes referred to as the armpit of Africa. And aptly named, too. When you enter Cameroon, that is the first scent that will assault you...smelly armpits. The smells of Cameroon will overwhelm you at first. Americans are just accustomed to the over-sanitzed scents of the US. The organic odors here, while pungent, are probably more healthy than the synthetic smells of body sprays and candles! I promise that after some time, you won't even notice the smells. FYI...we still wear deodorant in our home, so don't forget to pack yours.  
    No caption necessary...
  6. Off-roading is a fun past time in the states, but here in Cameroon, even when we are on-roading...we are off-roading! Our roads are quite an adventure here. The driveway to our house is a big hill that, during the rainy season especially, makes for a very fun ride. Our motto is, "We will slip and we will slide, but we will make it to the other side." Thankfully we don't have any death-defying drops near our road. The worst that could happen is that we would slide into the ditch. 
    A muddy road on the way to Benakuma
  7. We have access to internet!! Obviously, right? You are, of course, reading a blog post that was published here in Cameroon. We are actually very blessed to have a very decent internet connection here in Bambili. If and when you come to visit, you don't have to worry about the digital separation that are of the days of old. 11 years has brought a lot of changes in this area. When we first moved here I remember driving to a little internet cafe, scared to death to be behind the wheel of my car on our famous (or infamous!) roads. It took me nearly an hour to get online and order flowers for my mom for mother's day. Now, we have computers, iPhones and kindles all connected to our wireless router. Keeping in touch has never been easier!
    I FaceTime with my mom daily
  8. We have a saying among the missionaries here in Cameroon...TIA. This is Africa. While we almost always have internet, and usually have power and water...This is Africa after all and we are frequently thrown curve balls. Power can suddenly go out for days on end. An appliance can blow up and it take days, if not weeks, to replace. The water could dry up and the internet could go out. Nothing is for sure here. If anything, one learns flexibility by being a missionary.
  9.  The people of Cameroon are friendly, love visitors and are very open to the gospel. Of course there will always be a few exceptions, but we rarely have people refuse gospel literature. The Cameroonians love to chat. Greetings and questions about how one is doing, and how their family is doing are required before a normal conversation begins. I once entered a store to ask if they had a public toilet. I was harshly rebuked for not greeting first. Lesson learned...the hard way of course.  You don't just wave at your neighbor as you drive stop, roll down your window and ask how they are doing and how their family is doing. You always stop and greet. Any visitor to Cameroon will enjoy the many opportunities to get to know the people and more importantly the many opportunities to share the gospel with them. 
  10. The final thing you should know about our field, and perhaps the most important of all, is that we need more laborers. We are swamped in the work. We have people from other villages begging us to come out and preach the gospel. The harvest truly is ripe in Cameroon, but the laborers are most definitely few. Would you pray the Lord of the harvest that He would send YOU into the harvest field of Cameroon?
Hopefully these interesting things about our field of service will give you a burden to pray. We would also love for this post to give you a desire to visit us! A missions trip will change your life. It changed mine. When you travel across the ocean and see the need first hand, the experience will forever change you. 

Our field director, Steve Anderson, says that you may leave Africa...but Africa will never leave you. It will forever be imbedded into your heart.

To hear more interesting things about other fields of service, follow this link to Lou Ann's blog to read more about her field of Sain.
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