Lost in the Matrix and Last Day of Seminars

Trip Start Mar 24, 2010
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5
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Trip End Apr 12, 2010


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Where I stayed
Hotel Sarakawa

Flag of Togo  , Maritime,
Monday, March 29, 2010

Today was the last day of the leadership conference. Mr. Fiaboé had to go to work for a required meeting, so Pierre Kloutsé came to pick me up in his car. He's working with a German pharmaceutical company that wants to market a new anti-malarial drug at cost as a service. Pierre is one of their representatives in Togo, which has allowed him to purchase an old car. That’s still quite a blessing for a country as poor as this one.

We drove to the office of Air Ivoire, and I went inside through a small crowd of hawkers selling all sorts of things: belts, cameras, photo services etc. When I handed my paper ticket to the agent, she looked in the system and said I wasn’t there. I was lost in the Matrix somewhere! I almost expected something like that, I’ve had so many problems with Air Ivoire. But at the moment it is unavoidable if one want to travel between certain cities.  The manager said to call Air France who issued the ticket and see if they could help. The Air France agent said he couldn’t find me in the system either. This wasn’t looking very good.

Finally the Air Ivoire office manager came and started looking. I don’t what he did differently, but he found my record and printed a confirmation page for me.  This whole process took more than half an hour.  That made me late for the start of our meetings. On the way we saw the usual interesting street scenes of the unusual and chaotic, and lots of posters of the benevolent autocrat who just had himself reelected.

Just as we arrived at the Church hall the power went out. It stayed off all day. So we sent someone out to buy gasoline for the generator. Once it was going we had power for my computer and projector and for the ceiling fans which are most welcome, but I had to speak very loudly, almost shout, to be heard over the noise of the machine since it sat just outside the hall. Not the best conditions, but the best we could do.

I have a presentation on strengthening our marriages, something that is important in church leaders. They appreciated that one very much, and they agreed that it should really be presented to their congregations. I will give that some thought.  The next presentation was on why God allows problems to happen in the Church. They also appreciated that one.

We had a break for lunch. The main course this time was fish soup. I’m leery of soups since they are often lengthened out with tap water. But I had to at least have some. I put a ladle full in my bowl and discreetly returned the fish eye that was floating free. I don’t mind the eyes if the fish has been fried or braised, but boiled I don’t really appreciate. No one seemed to notice….

I stuck to the liquid and the potatoes, giving the fish a pass again.

After lunch we had a question and answer session that covered lots of interesting topics, for example the explanation the parable of the wedding supper – what it meant to come without a wedding garment. I wanted to encourage the man who asked that question to give his opinion so I could see what he was thinking, but when I asked him what he thought about it he replied simply "I don’t know; that’s why I’m asking you!" Other questions included why God created angels before humans, and whether God knew that Lucifer and other angels would sin – you know easy questions like that…. 

We parted about 4:00 after a full schedule of conference topics. By this time my stomach wasn’t feeling quite right, it may have been the fish soup or it may have been any number of things, but I didn’t feel up to tackling another local meal that evening. So I extended my apologies for missing the group meal for NTBMO and said I needed to rest and work on my sermon for the next day.
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Comments

maryhendren
maryhendren on

Hi Joel,
In spite of the difficulties you had of speaking over the noisy generator, it seems that the brethren appreciated the seminars. What interesting and challenging questions...and those are "the easy ones" ?!? It must be a blessing for the brethren to hear messages on marriage and God's way--things that are true and untouched by inept government, something hopeful.

Regards,
Mary

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