For those of you enduring a hard North American Winter, I thought I would send a few pictures I took around our yard in Lomé. We have mentioned before that the yard here is really beautiful. Last night we had a nice thunderstorm. It rained for about an hour and really washed the dust off things after quite a number of weeks with little or no rain. So this morning I ventured out with the camera. Our apartment in Cotonou is quite opposite. It is basically a concrete apartment. We have a nice tree outside and we used to have a tomato plant, but we didn’t water it enough and it died.
I suppose it has pretty much become official that the Baileys who were supposed to be here next week have now been reassigned and will not be coming to Togo. Instead, they will be the office couple in Abidjan. We don’t yet know how permanent this “temporary” assignment is going to be but we hope it won’t last too long. It makes it so we have almost no time for the things we like to do and spend all our time just taking care of bills, traveling, and doing administrative things. The worst part is just not knowing how long or if or when.
Soeur Black had a great idea to write about and send pictures of “along the road to Lomé.” It was a great idea. The only problem is that the camera battery was almost dead so every picture was either too late or out of focus. I guess that part of the blog will have to wait for another day.
Our purpose in coming this trip, in addition to the usual financial things such as paying bills and giving the missionaries their operating money, was to make sure the chairs were delivered to the new Hedzranawoe chapel and help the branch get moved into the building. The Hedzranawoe branch was created last August when I drove President Ayekoue over from Cotonou for a special sacrament meeting. The area of the branch covers the northern part of Lomé, and the members in this area have had to walk for as much as two hours or take a moto taxi if they can afford it, in order to get to the chapel located about in the center of Lomé. In addition, they have had to start Sacrament meeting at 7:30 in the morning since there were 3 branches in the building.
Finding and purchasing the chairs was quite an adventure in itself. The Gillis’ had located some nice padded stacking chairs from an Indian named Mike. We are not talking about someone straight off the reservation but from India. His little store is crammed packed with everything from sewing machines to plug strips and also chairs. I, Soeur Black, was very amused by him as he reminded me of a combination of Don Knotts and Ali Hakim, the peddler in the movie Oklahoma. His eyes would look everywhere when he talked to you and he always had a big smile on his face and could sell you absolutely anything you could possibly want or need. When we paid him, in cash of course, his counting speed could rival that of any card shark in Las Vegas.
Soon after the division, a nice little building was located that would serve as a chapel, and the building was rented about the last of October. Since then, it has been an uphill battle trying to get the building furnished so the branch could hold meetings there. On Saturday, the chairs were finally delivered; we had a member in the branch build some tables for the sacrament and teaching stations and today, Sunday, they held their first meetings in the new facility. There were 65 people in attendance, the most the branch has ever had, and all went well and everyone was happy, even with the loud music blaring from the bar across the street and the Pentecostal singing of another church. I don’t know where that church is but it is within earshot for sure. Did you know that “Israel Israel God is Calling” and “What a Friend we have in Jesus” are the same tune?
This afternoon, we decided to go to another sacrament meeting in the Tokoin Branch as we had some things to deliver to the Branch President. We went without so much as our scriptures because we had already been to church and just planned to attend Sacrament meeting, meet the members, and come home. No sooner had we arrived, than the Branch President asked us to speak in the meeting. That worried Soeur Black as you can imagine but she stood up and did a very good job extemporaneously in French. I was very proud of her.
We are simply trying hard to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord here in Africa. Before leaving never did we dream that it might include finding chairs and rental facilities. But those are temporal things that need to be done so the members here can have the opportunity to progress in the gospel.