It was a great comfort to the apostle Paul to get books and personal things brought to him when he was in prison in Rome. It is still a great comfort to the saints in Cameroon to receive books and other things from here in the US. The problem has been that we have been sending packages by the mail, and they have never arrived. Even the gospel tracts were not arriving!
Finally the director of the seminary in Cameroon, Olama, wrote me a few months ago: “I gather that you have the good will to help our school but packages never arrive and are detoured by the Post Office. Is it possible to put everything in a container that you can send and have gotten out of customs in good order here?”
Some years ago we had sent two large containers to Cameroon back when we were missionaries there. We had not thought about sending less than a full container by ship. The old missionaries had sent barrels, but now the smaller quantities are loaded on pallets. I found a missionary shipping agency, “Straightway Inc.”, that we had used in the past to help us this time.
Books -The seminary director went on: “There is a great possibility to get stuffs from the port. My idea is to build a library with the books we have here and the others you will send…So you can put in the container everything you think can be useful for the school. Maybe this can help to get a master degree in our school in the future or at least a good bachelor program. May God help and bless you to realize this great project for His glory.”
First items loaded on the pallet were theological books in English. English is one of the two national languages of Cameroon. Olama sent me a list of books he was particularly seeking, such as: Theology, Hermeneutics, Homiletics, original languages, and Ethics. We did not send very many devotional books as they are looking for books on specific topics, especially polemics against error. We did send quite a few commentaries.
We gathered together books and other items that we had saved up for years. The books that Olama talked about already having were ones we had shipped over there in our two previous big containers. The books we send over there have to be bug and mold resistant, especially paperbacks and no antique cloth hardbacks.
Tracts -The second biggest item on the pallet were tracts. We had a special printing of 10,000 Chick Tracts done in French. With a special printing we can get a title that is not normally in stock but that we found can work very well in Cameroon. We even had the church name printed on the
back, free of charge. We also sent about 1,000 miscellaneous French tracts and 1,000 tracts in English, and some even in Spanish as there is a Spanish colony (Equatorial Guinea) right next door to where the church is located in southern Cameroon.
Other Items – We also shipped an assortment of other things such as: Christian and family DVDs, cassette tape recorders and tapes, two video projectors, an overhead projector, DVD player, a few items of clothing and coats, pots and pans, small keyboards, toys, etc.
December 23 – We sent off the pallet right before Christmas because our son Matthew would be visiting and had offered to help take the pallet up to the port in Philadelphia. He ended up being very helpful. We loaded it box by box on the pallet on the back of his pickup truck. There were 37 large boxes altogether. After having lifted most of them onto the truck, Matthew estimated that the total weight was about 1,500 lbs. It was good he had a Super Duty pickup.
Where Matthew came in really handy was with shrink wrapping the pallet. He had had experience at the hospital loading dock, whereas Ken had had zero experience and would have made a mess of it. We had a 1,000’ roll of wrap, and we used it all up on the pallet.
When they were mailed, the packages we previously sent came to about $10 per pound. This pallet was a great bargain at about $1,000 for 1,500 pounds (about .67 per pound). Now we have to pray that Olama will not have any problems getting the pallet through customs. He thinks he will not, and we pray that will be the case.
At Home – We are still preaching two or three times a month locally, as well as going door to door with tracts. We marched with the Marcus Hook church in the local Veterans Day Parade and gave out many tracts. In March we will be sending out our next journal to Brazil.
Finally, you see we have enclosed a picture of Leah on the trampoline. We traveled down to NC for Thanksgiving and she and her family came up for Christmas. She is doing fine, but we ask that you continue to pray her treatment will be effective. Also, Luke’s operation has been postponed for a while.
In His Service,
Ken and Ira Olson