JACQUES-LOU, LAURENT-PAUL, PRECIOUS, SUZANNE AND HUMBLE
Imagine the incredible sound of 200 children singing praise to Jesus. This was the wonderful sound that greeted us as we climbed the steps to set up for our first show. They were accompanied by African drums and large gourds wrapped with a net of small brass bells. Everyone was clapping! One little boy even tried to clap to Anna’s flute music. That was funny.
In Cameroon, I am Mama Linda, Big Mother or Auntie Linda. Our team is Uncle Sam, Auntie Silvana, Auntie Anna and Auntie Heather. However, the children are having a lot of trouble pronouncing Heather’s name. She has even been called Auntie Hedgerow. I like that one!
Some of the children’s names are so different from the ones we normally hear, but they are beautiful. Today, we met Jacques-Lou and his twin brother Laurent-Paul. They were 2 of the more than 30 children who kept a promise to me at the end the program today. They promised to go and tell their teachers if they prayed with us to receive Jesus. So many did.
Silas and Mary’s little children, Suzanne, Precious and Humble, are also learning to use puppets. They are helping us at the puppet shows. Precious has such a sweet spirit.
The Briquetterie is the market part of Yaounde. Each part of it specializes in a different kind of sales or service. All of the fruit and vegetable vendors are gathered together. They stack their apples in pyramids and arrange the mangoes in beautiful spirals. Other parts of the market are devoted to car parts and even computers. We visited the fabric section so that we could have proper African clothes for the villages. The colors are so fun and the patterns so different. Watch the e-mail for a link to photographs of us wearing our African clothes.
All through the market, you see many people walking around with things for sale stacked on their heads. One man walked past us carrying four large dead rats. He was selling rat poison. One man had a big shoe sitting on top of his head so you would know that he sells shoes. Another man was walking around with artificial flowers on his head and looked like a giant flower pot. Others have large flat baskets with different kinds of food arranged on top. Today I saw a man carrying a stool along with his basket. It appeared that you could sit down and eat while he held the tray for you. People here are very creative.
Our last show of the day on Tuesday was in front of a church, beside a busy street. The church brought out chairs and all of them filled with children and adults. They all listened very well and some prayed in soft whispers. However, the biggest blessing of the afternoon was all the people who stopped along the street and listened to the story of Peter walking on water. They heard the stories of Jesus and His miracles. This was wonderful. Afterwards, Anna and I went over and shook the hands of some of the men who had been watching at a distance. We wanted them to know that we were so glad they were there. Please ask God to call these people who listened on the street to faith in Him.
On Monday we did three programs at different Catholic schools. They are even putting our photo in the Catholic newspaper. We all looked pretty dirty and tired.
At one school, the headmistress was especially excited. I had a wonderful time of talking with her for over 30 minutes after we finished. She thanked me so many times for the program. She said, "May God give you the strength to travel over the whole world and tell these stories."
While we were alone, I had an opportunity to answer many questions that she had. More, I shared with her my own testimony, Mike’s story, and the faithfulness of God. Please pray that we will be able to schedule another puppet show with her children when we return from the North West. She has more than 900 children who did not hear the program.
At one school, the children stood for over an hour listening to the program. These children live very differently from most of your children. The main roads are paved, but the side roads are all dirt. You cannot do anything quickly as there is so much bureaucracy. Things that you take for granted are things that these children will never know. Most schools offer no music or art programs. Many children come to school hungry and will go home hungry. There are many beggars in the streets. Our hearts are often broken by how hard life is for the children here. We remain hopeful that if these children come to know Jesus Christ, their worlds will change.
Cameroon has an undetermined number of street children. Home is so bad that many go to the street to escape. What happens to these children? There are only a few ministries that target reaching them with the Gospel, but for most there is simply no help. More, there is no-one to see them. They sell drugs and become involved in prostitution in order to survive. They form groups of children with the younger ones doing whatever the older ones tell them to do. Children often go to the street as young as ten. God sees these children. Please pray that the Father would raise up a ministry in Cameroon that will target these children with the hope of Jesus.
THE GREAT STORYTELLER
The other night, while we were sitting around talking, the Lord gave us a really good idea. We want to be able to offer the children who pray with us a website where they can go to hear more stories and maybe watch a puppet show. We will call this site The Great Storyteller. We hope to have it up and running by August.
We want this site to be multi-lingual. This should be easy to accomplish by contacting our different directors around the world and asking them to send their own material to the site. There will be no links on this site to our respective websites as we want this to be a purely evangelistic tool, dedicated to the sole presentation of the Gospel with no "strings" to any given denomination or ministry. We want children to have a way to hear more stories about Jesus.
All of us were very excited by this idea and the Lord confirmed to us the very next day the need for The Great Storyteller. A woman came up to us after the program who was a teacher and begged for stories she could tell her children like the ones she had just heard during the show. She was at a Catholic school and very hungry to hear more about Jesus Christ. She said, "Please, I’ll buy them. Do you have anything?"
I told her about the website and she was so excited! Later, I found her with a group of children gathered around her. She was telling them all about the website and that it would just be a few months. A Catholic priest also told us that he would be waiting for us to get the Great Storyteller website running so that he could read the stories.
Please pray for this project. There is a real need to get this done!
Tomorrow, Wednesday, we leave for the North West to do ministry in many small villages. We will drive for 11 to 12 hours to reach Bamenda. Please pray for travelling mercies as this will be an extremely long and tiring drive. More, please ask God to call many children to faith in this place. There is much ancestor worship in this region and many witchdoctors. We really need your prayers.
Love in Jesus,
Sam Shaw & Assistant Director
Anna McIlwaine & French Director
Silas and Mary Nfor & Cameroonian Directors