Greetings from Cameroon – Tuesday, March 8, 2016

We made it to Bamenda! The drive yesterday took us 6 1/2 hours and covered approximately 300 kilometers (about 200 miles). The first two-thirds of the drive was on very good two-lane highway, but because of the traffic, the large hills, and the many, many villages and small cities that we had to pass through, we were unable to make good time on the “good” part of the road. Once we hit the last one-third, we had to slow down to a crawl, rarely going over 40 MPH the rest of the way. The road was absolutely terrible. It was a lot like the Ganta-Monrovia highway in Liberia and completely full of huge, deep pot holes. But, we finally made it to Bamenda and the headquarters facilities of the CBC (Cameroon Baptist Convention) that is located there. 
Soon after our arrival, we found out that we would only be staying one night in Bamenda because the location of our training had been moved to their hospital training complex in the nearby city of Mwinga, which is about 20 miles away. That evening we had dinner there at the Bamenda complex, met with the head of the CBC and confirmed our training schedule with them. We ended up staying in the guest house that they have in Bamenda. Luke and Daniel had fairly large rooms, but mine was really small. That didn’t matter so much because we would be moving to Mwinga anyway.
I almost over slept this morning. I set the alarm on my cell phone for 6 am but did not hear it go off. For whatever reason, I woke up at 6:30 am and looked at my phone and realized that I better get moving! So, I jumped in the shower, shaved, brushed my teeth and got dressed and headed to the dining hall to meet Luke and Daniel. I was supposed to meet them at 7:15 and I think I got there at 7:20. Not bad, but on this first day of training I wanted to get up early, look over the material and my notes, spend some time in prayer, and not be rushed. Oh, well, it was not to be.
After breakfast we loaded up the van and headed out to Mwinga. The traffic was really bad at that time of day, so the 20 mile trip took a little over an hour. The medical training facility in Mwinga is located outside the city a few miles on the side of a huge mountain. The complex probably has around 20 buildings or so, including conference rooms, guest house, and living quarters/apartments for long-term and short-term volunteers. The hospital has over 800 employees, of which 40 are full-time doctors. They also have many volunteer doctors, nurses, PAs, etc., that come from the US, Canada, and Europe to stay and work for anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months.
Our training began at 10:30 am, which was about 1 1/2 hours later than we had planned, but we had talked about it the night before and knew that with the change in locations it would more than likely cause our start time to change as well. We’ve learned along time ago, that when working in the developing countries of the world, you have to be flexible.
We had 22 leaders come to the training, including the President of CBC and his wife, the head of their Women’s Ministry, 2-3 from the headquarters staff, and the rest were pastors from various places in Cameroon. 
The training went very, very well today. After some introductions, Luke began by talking to them about our four-phased leadership development process and how we had come to conclusion that after spending two years in Uganda doing “events” (workshops/seminars) followed by a 1 day train-the-trainer type program, we had to do something different. We had trained several thousand people and over 300 trainers/facilitators but had learned that only four or five were actually using what we had given them to teach others. 
Luke explained to them that Pastor Daniel had met with us during our second trip and told us that what we were doing was very good, but it was not going to last. The people saw us use projectors, laptop computers, show DVDs, use PowerPoint slides, and give out 60 page books and said to themselves, “I can’t do this.” So, we went back to Kentucky and began studying, thinking, and praying about what God wanted us to do about this. What we learned was that to develop leaders who would “lead” like Jesus, we had to use the “process” that Jesus used to train, equip, and release His disciples. The result is our four-phased leadership development process that is now starting a leadership movement in both Uganda and Liberia.
Luke then asked Pastor Daniel to come up and give the leaders his testimony on how this process is working after three years of implementing it in Uganda. It was absolutely amazing to hear how after starting out three years ago with 17 leaders, they now have over 500 leaders in Phase 1 in just Uganda and several hundred more in South Sudan, Kenya, Burundi, and Rwanda. He also told them about how the teaching we had given them on serving leadership and by working through the process of learning to lead yourself in Phase1, then to leading others by developing trusting relationships in Phase 2, and then to leading a team by building community and teamwork in Phase 3, had dramatically changed the way he pastored and led his church. He had learned how rewarding it truly is to focus on a few potential leaders, to train and equip them, give them on-going coaching and mentoring, to empower them to do the work on their own, and then be able to stand back and watch them as they used their gifts, talents, and abilities for the Lord. Daniel’s testimony was very, very powerful.
After this, we jumped into our Phase 1 training we call “Beginning the Journey.” Even though we had started later than we wanted to, we were able to get through about two-thirds of the material and wrapped things up at 4 pm. Overall, it was a very, very good first day!
The leaders did decide that they wanted to start earlier and have shorter times for breaks and for lunch. So, tomorrow we start at 8:00 am (instead of 9 am) and will only take 10 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch breaks. We shall see how this turns out?
Well, that’s my update from Cameroon for today. It was an awesome day and we even had pizza for dinner! 
Thanks again for your prayers. More from Cameroon tomorrow! I plan on posting a few pictures in the morning.
Blessings!
Fred

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