Trip to Guinea

Conrad Vine December 04 2018, 8:20 am

Wednesday morning. Pack my bags. Drive to airport. All-night flight. Hello Paris. All-day flight. Hello Freetown. Hello Conakry. Heat. Heavy humidity. Damp shirt. Where is Fred? There he is! We greet. We hug.

We drive. Dark road. Bandits nearby. We pray. The engine struggles. Headlights dim. We pray. The engine coughs. It stutters. It dies. We pray. The engine revives. Hallelujah! Two a.m. arrival. We sleep.

Friday 6 a.m. Much to do. Prayers for Bintu. Raised a Muslim. Now our sister. Difficult child delivery. Botched delivery. Forceps break arm. Skull is crushed. Baby born. Baby dies. We comfort Bintu. Tears of pain.

AFM school opening. Our third campus. Guest of honor. Traditional robes. 600-plus students. Waiting list. Happy parents. Most are Muslim. Prayers to Jesus. 180 desks needed. $40 each. Opening speech. Prayer of dedication. Lift Jesus high. His school. His children. His Second Coming.

Lunch. Eat in faith. Not sure what. Bowels are troubled. Meet Mission President. Four-hour talk. School transition. Shared school board. Joint audits. Teacher diplomas. Developing leaders. Bible workers. Planting churches. Which towns? Shared resources. Season of prayer. Friday vespers. Radiant choir. Passionate prayer. Bowel emergency. Dash to yard. Rejoin vespers.

Sabbath morning. Formal church incorporation. Significant growth. Many baptisms. Local leaders. Ordain elders. Ordain deacons. Vote church board. Pews are packed. The choir pulsates. Joy on faces. Prayers ascend. Will I preach? Now, you ask? Yes, right now! I stand. I preach. Baptisms. My best clothes. Dirty water. Slip in slime. Former animist baptized. Ululating joy. Second animist baptized. Hands raised high. Third animist baptized. The crowd sings. Tears of joy, Christus Victor!

What is that? Beyond the crowd. A weeping teen. She loves Jesus. She is Muslim. “Please baptize me!” Short team huddle. Should we baptize? Honor killing likely. We pray. Yes to baptism. Just not today. We will arrange. She nods. Tears of frustration.

Hurried lunch. Drive two hours. Clothes still wet. Five Bible workers. Two evangelistic series. Two new congregations. All ex-Muslims. Meet and greet. Prayers. Impromptu sermon. Prayers for healing. Spirit descends. Peace reigns. Home by ten.

Sunday, 7 a.m. Scorpion by toilet. Oatmeal and juice. Three-hour meeting. Local team. Next steps. Reach new towns. Enter new countries. Guinea Bissau. The Gambia. We lay plans. We pray. Team will split. Many years together. Dangers faced together. Threats overcome. Demons expelled. Churches planted. Brothers in arms. Tears flow.

Visit Brazilian family. Great missionaries. Serve in Croatia? 2019 launch? “Yes,” they say! We plan. We pray.

Hurried lunch. Couscous and peas. Drive to Conakry. Car-busting potholes. We swerve. We roll. We bounce. Seven brutal hours. The Adventist shaking? Conakry airport. A lingering goodbye. Prayer. Hugs. More tears. Missionaries are tired. They carry wounds. Yet press on. In the fight. How I love them!

Airport bathroom. Change of clothes. Flight to Nouakchott. Flight to Paris. Flight to Chicago. Drive home. Wash clothes. Disinfect luggage. Collapse into bed. Tuesday. 5 a.m. Thank you, Lord!

People ask me. Why AFM? Why go? Here’s why. Prayers ascend. Donors sacrifice. Outreach proclaims. Schools are built. Churches planted. Souls are saved. Muslims, animists come. All who may. Satan retreats. Christus Victor!

Listen, dear friend. Harvest is ripe. Laborers are few. So very few. Band of brothers. Sisters, too! All are needed. All can serve. What about you? Pray? Give? Go? Hear my plea. Hear the call. The battle rages. Time is short.