We left home early and stopped in a small village in the bush a couple of hours later. There we spent two hours with Roger, a 60-year-old man who used to listen to our short wave radio programmes. He had come to one of our Bible camps in 2005. As he cannot get the radio programmes any more, I encouraged him to write and ask for our Bible teaching on cassette.
He attends a church in his area and, in his desire to make the truth in Christ known, he organised a meeting involving mixed Christian denominations. This plunged him into theological confusion. I advised him to hold on to the truth. I let him know that believers from our church would be willing to come and minister regularly if he wanted the truth declared in his village.
He took several copies of the newspaper
Later that day we got to our destination. Étienne and Paul were waiting for us. The Lord warmed our heart in enabling us to see this dear brother [Paul]. Despite the trial of his recent imprisonment, he stands firm in his faith. He continues to preach in his little settlement, and works in his field and village the rest of the time.
He just teaches what he has learned in the EP preachers’ course and what he sees in the Bible. He lends his books to local teachers, which allows him to talk more with these men.
As you can imagine, his stint in prison following the false accusation against him has not been easy. But he is not bitter. As Joseph of old, he became steward of the inmates, as well as the preacher and pastor of the prison. On the day of his release, some of the other prisoners were crying.
He says that the loss of sight in one of his eyes has come suddenly. This is quite a handicap for his work in the fields. But the Lord upholds him. I gave him a couple of books (the commentary on Genesis and the
I was able to speak to Étienne from my heart about the spread of the gospel. He is busy with many things, so I reminded him to be an example to others. His acceptability should not come from his position in society (he leads the town council), but, above everything, from being a disciple of Christ. I underlined to him his privilege and responsibility for good teaching in the church since he has several young male students in his congregation.
We preached on the two evenings we were there. Vincent taught us very well and simply in the Word. For dinner, we had again hedgehog and chicken. This was a real treat. I also brought back 10 litres of honey. Then in Tanda I was given some more! In each of our stops – Abengourou, Agnibilékro – we were able to preach. We also sold many EP books.
Douado, who used to live in Buna before Ivory Coast’s civil war, suffers from drepanocytosis, but cannot take the medical tests he needs. He says that if he is still alive at 50 years it will be the Lord’s sheer grace to his family.
All in all, I was encouraged, as we had been able to strengthen the hearts of the believers and to preach the glorious grace of our great Redeemer.