Leadership Meetings

Thursday, February 27, 2020
Man, Montagnes District, Cote D'Ivoire
Today we had set aside for leadership training at the little hotel we use on the outskirts of Man. We had a slightly later start that planned, leaving the hotel about 8:00. We stopped at the Brioche to have our pastry and café au lait breakfast with the exception of Lee who had breakfast and juice at the hotel, since he avoids coffee. Then we stopped to buy water for the day including bottles for the 15 men who would attend.
As I paid, we had to go through the Man checkout ritual. Many shops have practically no change to give. So the cashier will add up the purchases, and either ask for a coin or two to allow her to reach a point where she can make change or she’ll offer some other product in lieu of change. She may offer some candies or chewing gum or one can decide to purchase something else in order to round out the amount. This time she offered me some hard candies, which I accepted and then gave them to her to eat. May as well not have them go to waste.
We began about 9:00 with a prayer in the little shelter we use for our meetings. I introduced Lee for the lesson of the day. Because of the lessons we’ll be covering here and in Togo, and my not wanting him to have to work on translating two lessons, he needed to go first here; he can use the same lesson again in Togo.
So he covered Pitfalls of Service, which included 11 points. He covered the first half of them in about an hour. His presentation was very physically animated and he certainly held their attention. After a 15 minute break he covered the other half of the points, finishing up about 11:30. We took questions for more than half an hour on a variety of topics before stopping for the day. 
In the heat of Africa, most afternoons are not heavy working time, it’s too hard to exert much effort or to concentrate. Someday I will experiment with an air conditioned meeting room to see if things have changed, but in my previous attempts, it seemed just too hard to stay awake: old habits. The men had some home work to do in any case. We talked for a while afterwards and refined our plans for the next few days.
Then we said goodbye for the day and drove back to our hotel where we had a late and light lunch. I don’t have much appetite in the heat. I should probably live here….
The afternoons was devoted to office work. There is reasonable Internet access through wifi in the little hotel bar, which is also air conditioned so while the tables are not optimal for office work, it’s the best place to work if one wants air con and Internet access.
I had invited Séussié and Paul and Kramoko to join us for dinner and they did; they were right on time this evening. It was a pleasant meal with conversation about local foods, a subject which migrated to elaborate French cuisine (I told the story of some six-hour meals to which we were invited when we lived there. As we were sitting under the night sky, Lee noticed Venus and shared what he knew about that planet, including some Russian and American landers that reached the surface, which is about 800°F! We talked about the Goldilocks position of the Earth, neither to cold nor too hot, just right to allow us to live. 
The men mentioned to us how much they appreciate out regular visits. Friends and acquaintances in the villages are often surprised. They say “a white man comes all the way from France or America to visit this little group? That’s amazing!” This time, they said “TWO white men are coming from America to visit your little group? Why?” But, they said, for the members it is a confirmation that we sincerely believe what we teach and they are thankful to be part of a church that acts this way.
We finished about 9:00 pm and walked them to the vehicle. We’ll try to start out tomorrow at 07:30

Photos & Videos



Thanks for including the pictures of the meeting hall, Lee's lesson, and the men at the tables. It seems a great effort for everyone--your presentations and travel to be there, and the time and efforts all the men make to attend. It's stunning to think about the earth's perfect positioning for life and all the systems God sustains. The words of appreciation you receive encourage us, too. We pray for your safety and accomplishments.