As I waited outside one of the local morgues in Yaoundé for the levée du corps (removal of the body) to take to the church for the memorial service, I was amazed at the number of people that were there during the work day. A Cameroonian co-worker’s wife, Mary, had gone home to be with Jesus. I found it hard to imagine hundreds of people standing outside in the States waiting with you for a loved one’s body to be released. Along with all the vendors who walked by offering to sell nuts, tissues, a piece of gum or even an egg sandwich.
There were easily three times more people there then who came to the actual church service. We waited about an hour and a half and then they carried her coffin to the car that would transport her to the church. I didn’t go to the final burial, but there were even more that attended; it was 10 hours away from where I live. They drove all night to get there to bury the body the next day.
But while I was waiting, a co-worker had brought a new Oku New Testament from the dedication two weeks ago in Oku to present to my friend who just lost his wife since he was not able to attend the dedication in his mother tongue. So she was waiting to present it to him and there were many other Oku people around so she thought she would ask someone to read the new Oku New Testament but the woman sitting beside her had never learned to read in Oku, her mother tongue, but as we sat under the overhang outside the mortuary she had her first literacy lesson in Oku. She starting reading in 1 Corinthians 15:20 and also Revelation 7:17. The Oku woman said that “Reading this took away my tears.”