This letter, written by myself on March 20th, 1999, was handed to me today….. The letter was found in my wife’s late mother’s things, who passed in 2011. A letter containing the story about the day Lynn and I died in Côte D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), West Africa.
The Agni told me that according to their wisdom and proverbs I will now have a long life, as a result of my death….
I had almost forgotten we died…. But we did, and I should have known.
“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” – Mark Twain
Life just gets more and more interesting these days in Africa. It seems like we are having many unsuspected surprises the last few months before we head to Canada…..
I have a funny story to tell you. I Died! Yep!
I have been mourned for, cried over, stuck in the ground.
I bit the biscuit ~ pushing daises!
Kicked the bucket!
It happened last Monday, in case you missed the announcement.
When I got home from Abidjan after the four days the boys were in the hospital, there was a live chicken left waiting for me at my place. Jean Luc dropped it off. When he was out to Adjame and Abongoua (150km) on Sunday they were all crying and wailing (Africa!). On Monday they got news that Lynn and I had been killed in a car accident, so they were going off the deep end.
When they saw Jean Luc arrive, they just assumed that he was sent to give the ofﬁcial announcement. But he was not saying anything at all. He could not tell what was up; some people were wailing. but they would not say what was wrong. (Here with the Agni and Attie it is rude to come right out and speak the name of someone who died. They just kind of hang around waiting the receive the announcement.)
Anyway, one of the “Atties” ﬁnally could not handle it, and asked what happened to Andy & Lynn. Jean Luc said, “What are you talking about?”
They said a man had come from Adzope on monday and said there was a bad accident near Adzope. Two white people were killed in the accident, and he said one of them was the missionary and his wife. They said it was Andy – The Big guy (I assume they are talking about my muscles, and not my gut?) The news had gone from Yakasse all over the bush, all the way to the southern Agni and Attie people near M’ basso. Jean Luc told them that Jean Claude ate with me on Tuesday, and that we were alive Thursday when he saw me. So if the news came Monday it is not true; after Thursday, I don’t know.
Anyway, they sent a chicken with Jean Luc in and said, “If Andy is still alive, he has to eat it for his health, and come and tell them he is ok.”
Sooooo, I was suppose to be in Ebilassokro. but Damon will go there alone….. I must go to Adjame and Abongua Sunday morning in my resurrected form, to prove I still exist. Isn’t that a hoot? Well, not- it is kind of sad really. I feel bad for the people down there. The good news is I did not die – Knock on wood! Bad news the people were pretty shaken. Good news is I know someone will miss me when I am gone.
Be sure there will be African rumors now. I will be a “revenon” for a few weeks — a Returning One. Some people will be scared to death when they see me arrive tomorrow, or driving by all those Villages who had the announcement made. It will be an interesting daytomorrow- But I also have been lined up with an Agni parable now. In the rare cases like this ~ when a man was believed to have died for so long, but is still alive – It is a sign he will live along life ‘
Anyway, Jean Luc and Jean Claude were over for FUTU and peanut sauce with hot peppers and smoked ﬁsh last night. We all had a good laugh over it.
Keep praying for the work here, as well as the workers, national or western. We sure have our ups and downs. Funny times, and sad times. Discouragements and Encouragements . But we are never defeated!
I am still searching for someone to miss me. But maybe my hopes are set too high.