Day 4 -- Plans Will Change

A guarantee for any mission trip, the unexpected becomes the expected

The wooden benches relocated from the simple, white block church building nearby quickly filled with young children, eager to see what the commotion was. Photo by Katie Croft

Editor's Note:  This is the fourth of 10 entries from writer Katie Croft.

Day 4

We were told many times that one thing is certain about mission work: plans will change.

The bus pulled away, leaving us in a large dirt field where we would show the Jesus film that night in Base Aerlenne, a village 30 minutes outside of Garoua in northern Cameroon.

Smooth Sailing Until Problem Arises

The film reel for the Fulfulde language did not come in time, so we would use a DVD on a personal computer. The format would be different, but we just rolled with it.

The wooden benches relocated from the simple, white block church building nearby quickly filled with young children, eager to see what the commotion was. The crowd packed in around the perimeter of the viewing area.

The film started without a hitch, and the crowd audibly interacted with the images they saw.

Three-fourths of the way through the film, a prompt appeared on the screen saying that only 20% of the battery power remained. My heart sank, and I began praying that God would somehow help the battery last.

The film continued on borrowed time.

Team Pushes Ahead Despite Unknown

As Jesus was beaten, the children sitting near me groaned with sadness. A young woman covered her face in anticipation of what was to come. The whole group grimaced as the nails were driven into Christ's wrists are shown.

Then our leader stopped the film for a short gospel presentation that takes extra time because every word needs to be translated from French into Fulfulde, the tribal language.

Finally, I saw a red light showing on the computer keyboard indicating that a power source had been found. The computer now was charging.

Overwhelming Response Overshadows Challenges

The gospel presentation neared its end, and the pastor offered a time where people could join him and indicate a decision to follow Christ. I was overwhelmed by the response.

Of the 315 people at the showing, 156 men, women and children went forward.

The pastor arranged for a follow-up meeting to be held on Tuesday at the simple, white church and sent them back to their seats to watch the miraculous conclusion.
 
As I sit here journaling by movie light, I wonder, Did they understand?  I believe God is able to move in powerful and dramatic ways, but I find a hint of skepticism in my thinking.

Only God knows their hearts and mine.

Hopeful Sign of Lasting Change

Later, as we packed our things into the bus, Sorel, a sweet little girl whom I had befriended, approached me with a bright smile. In her sweet, soft voice she told me, in English, that she would be coming back on Tuesday.

Plans will change.

I wonder what other lessons God will have for me over the next few days.