17 June 2005

13 June 2005 – Reflections over the Sahara Desert

This morning after catching a taxi to the Patisserie Abidjannaise, a coffee and a croissant, I caught another taxi to the Airport where I checked in and found my way to the waiting area for Air France flight 703 to Paris. My flight to the US is not until tomorrow afternoon. Thinking about getting a room in a hotel not far from the airport.

Unlike our flight out of Oregon three weeks ago, the spectacular view that we see on the in-flight bird's-eye-view screen (one of the interesting features of the 300 series Airbus aircraft) is the vast Sahara Desert. It is impressive to fly mile after mile at 550 miles per hour, 37.000 feet above the earth and to see little or no change. We are in a 330 A Airbus which has 7 seats across in the economy section of the plane and 6 across up in the front of the aircraft where folks like us only pass by as we board or de-board the plane.

As I fly north to Paris and on to the US I cannot help but reflect on what has transpired over the past few days and weeks. We have been asked to oversee the good management of the former International Christian Academy for the next two years in the hopes that some group will manifest a desire to use the station for MK education in the future.

At this point World Venture (formerly known as CBI) has only 12 fulltime missionaries engaged in CI. This request must be seriously considered as we look to our future in CI. The situation in the country is still considerably tense, with no one really being sure that any real peace is in sight. It would seem that the current president is loosing favor with the international community although we have said so before.

After speaking with the different church leaders with whom we partner in CI, as well as our mission colleagues, we have decided to take on the challenge with specific conditions. First, we will be answerable to a 3 member oversight committee (OC). This will be far better than having to answer to a whole field. It may also help us to see other possibilities and avoid certain pitfalls that come with such an affair.

The former School Board of ICA had asked that World Venture keep the school in such condition that a school of up to 50 students could be started there within the next 5 years. We have agreed to a one year trial period open to review and evaluation by the OC. The OC is composed of one member from each of the three teams now working in CI (Medical, Special Focus and Church Development).

We are excited about the possibilities for ministry in the Bouaké churches as well as the possibilities we may have with 250 French peacekeepers living on site. Of course we are in need of great wisdom as we go into this new phase of ministry. We will continue to focus on Dioula outreach in conjunction with the churches in Bouaké.

Being in Bouaké again is a dream-come-true in some ways for me. Having worked in Bouaké before getting married, I have always thought that it would be good to return. At this point to live in a Dioula courtyard in Bouaké as I did when I was single is no longer possible. Security is a very real concern just now, not just for us but an entire courtyard, which is why we just cannot live in the city proper. I guess that everyone must make concessions during times like these.

So that is what I am thinking of as we cruise along at 550 mph over the sand and rock below. As for posting these thoughts, I guess it will have to wait a few days until I get back to where I can get online again. Until then, Tiao!

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