For lunch today I lovingly munched on a bag of Sweet Maui Onion baked potato chips – my favorite – and pondered the loss of such luxuries in the days ahead on “The Dark Continent.” This made me sad. Then I pondered the opportunity to observe Bill experience the loss of luxury in the days ahead and felt much happier (In Christian love).
Later tonight Esther, the boys and I will drive down to Redding and stay the night with some friends so I don’t sleep through the alarm tomorrow morning and risk missing the first leg of my flight due to the help of irritable logging trucks, eternal road construction and the hour long roller-coaster drive that is our beloved passage to the verdant valley below. Bill and I then fly out at 9:30 am tomorrow (Friday) morning, change planes in Sacramento and fly to Chicago, where we have a long layover (Lou Malnati’s Pizza anyone?). From Chicago we fly for double-digit hours to Paris, France, and after yet another layover, switch planes again to finally make the 5 hour jog to Libreville (“Freetown”), Gabon. I feel dizzy just thinking about it.
Once we’ve arrived late Saturday night, we’ll sleep in the mission guest house, and the following morning be whisked away “down country” to the small river city of Lambarene, location of the hospital founded by the world famous (and very liberal) Dr. Albert Schweitzer. Week one will involve Bill refreshing the missionaries with a study on the book of Ruth in between their other meetings while Josh teaches a short course on “how to make a movie” so missionaries coming home can present their stories and pictures in a more current and captivating format. We’ve been told (much to Bill’s relief), that the conference will take place at a 4-star hotel. I have not told Bill my speculations that the significance of those stars may differ after translation…After the annual Gabon Missionary Conference is finished, Bill and I will travel down country another 6-7 hours on dirt roads, past the end of the last telephone land-line, until we arrive in Bongolo, the small town/ village/ hospital community where I was born and raised. There, I will attempt the delicate balance of helping Bill conclude his experience of Africa in a pleasant way while simultaneously tricking him into visiting enough of my childhood haunts to convincingly coax forth some priceless footage for my Sony HandyCam and all of you folks back home. Pray for us!