Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Consulting and Sharing

Whew!  Last week was busy! I knew it would be – like living in a minor whirlwind – but all went well.  I have decided to write two entries so that I can include more pictures.

EEL-RCA Secretary, Job Mario Mamadou; VP, Rev. Jean Barthelemy Gbami; President, Rev. André Goliké

Tobias Schaefer, ELM, Germany; Rev. Dr. Andrea Walker, ELCA, USA

Kristian Skoummose, Mission Afrika, Denmark ; Willie Langdji, ELCA, Cameroon
15 Central Africans and 10 partners arrived in Garoua Boulai Tuesday, November 26 and met together all day Wednesday and Thursday.  During the first session, the Central Africans told stories about the difficulties they have been living.  Later one Central African wondered why we told them, but the partners agreed that they helped us to better understand the reality and to spiritually support those experiencing great difficulties in the CAR.  We hope that the telling lifted a small part of the burden they bear.  (Note:  now that the French have agreed to send more troops to support those from neighboring countries (with a priority of making the main route between Garoua Boulai and Bangui safe), we are hoping that the whole country can settle into peace and rebuilding.  Time will tell.)
During the rest of the consultation, we talked about what EEL-RCA programs are able to accomplish and where they are experiencing most difficulties.  We also talked about reports, the financial health of the church, and ways partners can support EEL-RCA.  There were also lots of side conversations among friends and colleagues, including discussions of possible humanitarian aid. 

Thanksgiving Dinner, 2 bishops and a Dr.
Much of the meeting was serious. You can see it in the thoughtful expressions on people’s faces in the pictures above. 

 We only had a few logistical glitches (such as not all rooms we had reserved 

Center in the Lutheran Compound were available, but we got a few rooms in a local hotel and inn - no room in the inn?  Wait, it’s too early for that story!) Food was plentiful and great.  

On Thursday, after the meetings, we celebrated Thanksgiving together.  That went as planned – and was enjoyed by all!  We had grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, fried plantains, and avocado salad prepared by local women (who also provided plates, glasses, silverware, and napkins).  Rev. Dr. Andrea Walker brought cranberries (in cans) from the US and I added to the meal by preparing 6 pumpkin (OK, squash) and 2 sweet potato pies.  Some of us “had to” test one Tuesday evening!  I also whipped the cream that Anne Langdji brought from N’gaoundéré.  Other partners provided beer, wine and soda.

Some people stayed for the hospital festivities (see the next blog) and others left that day.  By Saturday, all were back in CAR, Yaoundé (or on a flight to Europe), or N’gaoundéré.  And I was alone in the guest house again in GB!

Hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends. 

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