After much preparation and prayer we arrived in Cameroon on January 17th. We were thankful to have my parents travel with us and spend time with us during our first days in Cameroon. They were able to help us make contacts with different people (professors at college, taxi drivers, etc), watch the kids, get advice on housing, and encourage us in many ways.
Many things were on our "to do" list for our first 2 weeks in Cameroon. One of the things was to work on getting our visa's extended. When we went to the immigration office in Buea they told us that they could not give us an extension b/c of the type of visa we came in on and that we would have to go back to the states and then come back to Cameroon with the right visa. In the states we applied for the 3 month visitor visa but b/c we applied with my folks who wanted a 1 month tourist visa the Cameroon Embassy gave us all a 1 month visitor visa. So, we went back to the guest house and prayed and the following day a worker, Fredrick, from the immigration office in Buea told us that we presented ourselves well and he would come with us to the capitol, Yaounde, and help us apply for the extension. When we went, the first person we were supposed to see said that we should leave, after our 7 hour bus trip, and come back next week. However thank you all for your prayers, because God really helped us out... Frederick's father was a personal friend of the the assistant director of immigration. He was able to go in and see him and he allowed us to explain our situation to him. Within an hour visa's were extended...NO BRIBES included. It was really amazing too, as we had planned to at least spend a day or two in Yaounde going to various offices to try and get it worked out, but ended up getting back the very same day! Now it will be easier to get out next extension and then 2 year residence visa, PTL.
As I already mentioned, my parents helped us find housing. We found a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment for only a little over $150. It's in a good location b/c it's not far from the middle of town, it's in a safe neighborhood, there are lots of families around, it's easy to get to, it's close to the French class building, and there are several little shops and veggie/fruit stands around. It has a fairly large living/dining room, which could be used for get-together/small groups studies, and also has a spare bedroom which is being used as an office and a guest room. SO, we just need guests! (Hint, hint). :D We are very happy with our new home.
Jeremiah has continued his study of French, starting classes at the Institute for Bilingualism which is only two blocks from our house . He took a placement test and has joined the 3rd level and is doing "tries bien." I took, okay tried, to take the test and they told me that I didn't know the basics so I couldn't even join the lowest level class. It was very frustrating because I thought the lowest level class would teach me the basics. It's kind of humorous looking back at the situation. Thankfully we have the Rosetta Stone software and I have been learning the basics so I will be able to join the next lower level French course at the French school in April.
There are a lot of kids around our neighbor hood with whom Hannah and Jonathan quickly became friends. I saw no reason to wait so we started a Bible Club with them within the first week of moving into our apartment. We played games, sang songs, and read a Bible story to them starting with...the beginning. :) I realized there was a lot of work to be done with them when I found our they didn't know the song "Jesus Love's Me" or know the creation story or about Noah. There were about 20 kids that came and I'm sure there will be more this week when the other kids hear about it.
We have been taking family walks and visiting different parts of Buea so we can become familiar with the town. We are getting settled in, and even have a piece or two of furniture for the first time in 6 months! We really look forward to getting a dining table and chairs, so we can have people over for dinner and Bible discussions. Jeremiah and I have both made a number of contacts, and hope to be able to start up faith-building discussions this week or next. More about all that next report though! Thanks all for your prayers and your encouragement, and we hope that you also will be encouraged as well. We love and miss you all.
.Jeremiah in a nearby grocery store which is a 40-foot container that’s been converted into a shop.
Laundry Day! Brittney and Hannah working on Laundry in our Bathroom.