Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thursday Aug 3 - Day 9

Our team has spent a restful night in their host homes. I think all of us feel that slight sense of home away from home since we came back from camp. We all meet at the Nens in the morning and have a great time for our team. Team time includes talking about John 1 - the idea of Jesus and John the Baptist being sent. Sent away from home, sent to initiate, serve and give a message, sent into the unknown. Even after camp, with almost half of our trip over, the text frames our purposes here. One of the things we must instill in the next generation is that the Church is on the move. God's very idea of the Church is one that is mobile, not in the physical sense, but in the sense of movement and momentum - the Church is called to the very people that are not part of it yet. Many times, that requires being sent out and away from what we know. And for our team, it means 6000 miles by plane, 300 miles by bus, 10 miles by canoe, all in 7 days.

I try to have our leader team meet every day or two to get a pulse on how they are doing, how they think the team is doing, any issues we need to address and to pray together. GM sums up this morning well in commenting, "We are a real team this morning." So very true. I've said it before - I think this type of role as a leader is one of the most difficult - traveling with students to another culture, working some kind of ministry task with people you have never met, staying healthy and alert, being dad, mom, nurse, leader, servant, all on a 24x7 pace. I've been very fortunate - this leader team is one of the best I have worked with. One clear indication is that they share my sense of urgency about preparing students - we didn't bring them 6000 miles to coddle them and do ministry for them. We brought them 6000 miles to push them to the edge of their lifestyle regarding risk, mission and reaching those who haven't been reached yet. My experiences in the past few years tell me that leadership requires modeling endeavors that are so out of the norm, that they will be successful only if God comes through and intervenes.

After a short break, we gather again with G and W for our camp debriefing. The purpose of this gathering is to go over the details of the camp and learn from it. Before we left camp, G had the students fill out a quick evaluation. As we begin our discussion, W reads from a bunch of the evaluations. The question of whether our trip was worth the investment is answered - as she reads some of the answers, she is visibly moved and brought to tears. This singular instant is the positive indication of success.

We have lunch at the Nens and right after lunch, LF gets bit by their dog Smokey. Not a huge bite, but it is close to warranting stitches. She's a trooper though and does fine, relaxing at the house for the whole afternoon. The rest of the team hits downtown in the afternoon for some souvienr shopping.

The shopping experience is also wild. Bartering is expected here and our team has fun doing that with our local hosts helping out. The exchange rate is 500 Central African Francs to $1 American dollar. A nice African button-down shirt cost 7000 CAFs ($14), and an official Cameroonian soccer jersey cost just under 3000 CAFs ($6). In other words, buying stuff is cheap. Since buying stuff is cheap, many of us felt a bit awkward about really bartering. Some of our hosts told us we paid way too much for some items, even though the difference meant very little in terms of American money. Part of the market area also includes a whole set of tailors, seamstresses and shoe cobblers.

After dinner, G, CH, ADress and I spend a little bit of time brainstorming about what makes a successful student small group. We have a great discussion, especially since CH and ADress have come out of a very successful small group experience in their high school years. Their Dteam leaders have done it right - and you know who you are.

Photo: Our team with the Nen kids; shopping at the market in downtown Yaounde.

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