Elder Palmer (back row, 6th from left) is serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa mission for
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Eric returned home on August 27th, 2011!!!!!

He was transferred to Yaounde, Cameroon on August 13th, 2010.

Links listed on the left are from the senior couples and Mission President!

Comments in italics are clarifications from Mom.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Eric's email of December 31st, 2009


Hope everyone is doing great and still enjoying the holidays and break from school and work and stuff. So today is p-day, the only break we get, and we are actually staying the night over at the Willis' again. This is because, they don't want to drive back tonight, because it will be crazy. So we will go back in the morning and still have a regular work day, but yeah, apparently Cameroon parties the New Year pretty good. And I can tell you more, but I am sure there will be plenty of drinking.

Ok, well it is a good thing you didn't buy an Eto'o jersey and try to send it to me, because the person who bought me it for Christmas got 2 Eto'o jerseys for 6000 CFA, which is like $12. And I know you would have spent a lot more. I haven't got my cleats yet, but I am going to do that on a p-day in the near future. But we have a soccer ball, and we got an American football for Christmas, so we plan on playing more sports in the future.

I wish I could wake up without an alarm clock...(That means he is sleeping, even in the heat!)

So, I never got the second package from Grandma and Grandpa. I did get the one with the news section about Real Salt Lake, and that was sweet. But no other package yet. If they do send another one, I would suggest to make sure that no one can feel around and see what is in it, do something like you did with the laminated ensign pages. But for my companions, we all got a paper bag thing from the mission president and his wife, and also all got a bag of beef jerky that one of the Willis daughters brought when they visited, oh and also a big Hershey's chocolate bar. (Christmas Presents)

All well, oh well, same thing.

So the taxis we take are usually pretty cruddy. In the back seats there are rarely seat belts. I actually sat in the front today and there was one. And this morning we actually got in a tiny fender bender, because the person in front of our taxi backed into us. And then naturally everyone else around came over and started talking. And then somebody paid 3000 CFA and we left. In town they had closed off a bunch of the roads and the driver didn't know exactly where we told him to go, so it took half an hour to get there. But simply, these taxis are pretty junky, but as long as they run, they will drive them.

So for bugs, there are ants all over the apartment. They are always crawling on the wall somewhere. There is the occasional cockroach. They said they had a pretty big spider before I got here, but besides that not much. Outside there are obviously some bugs too, but mostly just flies, and some are a bit bigger. But nothing that weird. There are these lizards everywhere, though.

So as you know, we are getting ready for our baptismal service on Saturday. We are planning for 4 people to get baptized. We have done 3 of the 4 interviews, and will be doing the other one tomorrow. But I'll you more about that next week after everything is done.

So yesterday I did something for the first time - we got to teach with the Willis'! They are seriously the best senior missionaries ever. Even though they are the only ones I've known, that is also what everyone else tells me. But we taught this guy William with them. William is an anglophone, who is about 45 years old, and he has his business off the side of Ancienne Route, just the main road in Bonaberi, and we have taught him all the missionary things and more, but he still won't come to church. So we thought bringing the Willis' would be good. But so we walk in his place, and the first thing that Elder Willis said was, "We love God." And if you knew Elder Willis that would probably be funnier. But it was a good lesson. We went over the Plan of Salvation with an emphasis on what we need to do here. But despite that, he didn't say he would be at church yet, so we are still struggling with that.

Also yesterday, Elder Terneiden, my comp, broke the key to our front door. The stupid lock is impossible to turn, and we were trying to lock it for like 10 minutes, then he just tried to do it with his foot and basically kicked the key into 2 pieces. But that's ok. Then we threaded some dental floss from the door handle inside, over the balcony, through the window, and to the door handle on the other side so that it would sort of stay shut. I took a picture so I can send that.

But that's pretty much everything notable from this week. It is weird, we are already over half way through this transfer, and there will probably be a lot of changes in Douala. And I'm really hungry right now because I had no food this morning except for my beef jerky, so that is what I had for breakfast. But there will be good food at the Willis' thankfully.

So enjoy the rest of your break and all the new toys you have to play with!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Eric's email of December 17th, 2009


Alright, more stuff and how much it costs, and remember 500 CFA is basically $1:
- Well the lady at this internet café just asked for 500 CFA for a small can of Fanta, but I didn't buy that because I can get a 1/2 liter for 390 at the store later.
-For milk, we buy this can of some kind of concentrated sugar milk substitute, and mix it with water, and it costs usually 1100 CFA

So about the World Cup, I don't really know where Cameroon got put. I have known that they qualified, but that's all I know. And yes, Eto'o is LeBron James here. But its weird, because during the previous Cameroon game for qualifying, the game was not even broadcast for the first half, and I don't really know why.

So for the phone call... I have found out, that I will be calling you guys. It will be on Christmas Eve, sometime after 2 PM Cameroon time. So that is in the morning for you all.

The guy in the Redskins jersey, that is Stanley, and he is a member of the Church. And he wore that shirt when I first met him, then I asked him to wear it again so I could show everyone there is someone with a Redskins jersey here.

That plate of green stuff, it is called "Indolay", and I can guarantee that I spelled it wrong, but that is how you say it. And yeah I liked it, even though there was some piece of meat in there, and its little bones were all mixed in it and kept poking the inside of my mouth, but it was still good.

I only need one mattress on my bed, but the other missionaries put those on my bed while I was in the shower. We had all gotten new mattresses a few weeks ago, so we have 4 mattresses in our living room doing nothing, and for some reason they put them all on my bed one night.

So the Christmas program went pretty well. There was a talk by one of the missionaries, and then Sister Willis gave one. Then, two members read from the scriptures, one in English and one in French. Btw, I don't know if I told you, but there are a lot of anglophones in our branch, so we have Sunday School and some of the talks in English as well as French. But they just read about Jesus' birth and stuff, and the primary sang a song, and so did the branch president's daughter. But it was funny, because someone wrote down the scripture references for the two people to read, accidentally wrote "Matthew 1:1-something" instead of "Matthew 2:1-something", so they read a whole bunch of somebody begat this person verses.

We did buy a Christmas tree, but it is not an evergreen tree, it is a plastic tree. We got it with some lights for 4000 CFA. It is about 4 feet tall, but we put it on a some boxes so it looks better. We also got a star and some other decoration things for 500 CFA, I'll send a picture of it.

So now, we have 3 people preparing to be baptized on January 2nd! I think last time I talked about Phillip, and the father of the Sayé family. And now, Laura, who I've also talked about, wants to get baptized then as well. She has been coming to church ever since Elder T got here a while ago. They told me she was going to her church one day, where her brother is the pastor, but saw the sign for our church, went to it that day, and has been back every week since. Except, she didn't come last week, because she was sick. And also her fan broke. So we, as in I, carried her fan from her place to another member's work, where he fixed it, and also an extra fan from our apartment to her house, and back, this week. And there is no comfortable way to carry a fan. And she lives not very close.

Lets see, what else. Oh, yesterday and the day before we taught 19 lessons. We would have gotten back to back 10 lessons days, except our second to last rendez-vous yesterday didn't work, but that's ok. Oh, and I met the mission president this morning for the first time! His name is President Headlee, as you probably know. But, Dad, I found out something really cool; he served in the Brussels, Belgium mission! So that's sweet, but he served in '69-ish, I told him you served in '81-ish, I think that is correct.

But this morning, he told us some veeeeeeerrrrrrrrryyyy interesting things. First, he says that in July, they are planning to split the mission! I don't know if that means Cameroon will be in a different mission or what, but he said it is physically impossible for him to go everywhere and do all the things with missionaries and members that he needs to do. He also acts as the stake president for the members in the mission. But, he said he had spent the last 5 days in Burundi. Right now, there are no missionaries in Burundi, but there are something like 3,000 people there waiting to be baptized! Apparently, there are a handful of preachers or whatever who have gotten the Book of Mormon, gained a testimony of it and started using it with their congregations, and its just spread. So yeah, that is amazing, he said he is trying to get them Gospel Principles so they can use that, but I would want to be the first missionaries sent there.

President Headlee also said in the next few months in the mission, 10 missionaries will go home, and about 70 new ones will go out, so yeah. Basically, from talking with him for about 15 minutes, the message I got is that the church is growing like crazy in some places in our mission (but not so quickly here). So we are having the real zone conference on Monday morning, so I'll tell you more next time.

But today, we went to this place to buy presents for our secret Santa thing we are doing, and while we were waiting, I played this guy in a game called "Helehe" or something, but it is basically like the game Mancala. Elder T said I was going to lose, but I won, so ha. And the whole time the guy explained it to me in French, and I understood it all, so that was cool too.

So, like I told you, there are areas in this mission where the church is growing like crazy. Apparently there was a branch that organized itself down in Point-Noire because there were a lot of people who wanted one, even though they had no Priesthood leaders or anything. But here, not so much like that. As I've said, we get a whole lot of teaching appointments, but its hard to get people to come to church. There are people who say they like what we talk about, they think the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith was a prophet, but they still stay at their whatever protestant church.

But even with some frustrating things, its great, even though it just gets hotter and hotter. It sounds like you guys are doing well and having fun getting ready for Christmas. Scott, Jacob, and Andrea, you are out of school for winter now if I'm not mistaken. Today I got a bunch of letters sent by Bro. Osmond, I assume from kids in Sunday School. And I also got a letter thing from Grandma and Grandpa Palmer, but not the package from you yet. But I'm looking forward to calling you guys, and enjoy the break from work and school and things!

Je vous aime,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Eric's email of December 10th, 2009

The questions:

So first off, I did not get "punked" by my companion. I went into it assuming it was going to be something weird. And I don't know why it is called Congo meat...(this is in response to the previous week's email and mystery meat on a stick)

Yeah, I use my electricity converter for the wolverine thing and my iPod.

Ok, I'll try to think of some prices to share. And when I do this, that 500 CFA is basically $1.
- So for taxis, standard rate anywhere (or "place", in français) is 200 CFA
- I just bought a half liter Sprite for 390 CFA
- it costs 890 CFA for those "la vache qui rit", 8 portion size. i'm pretty sure Dad knows what those are. (These are little cheeses)
- my haircut cost 500 CFA

So the weather is really hot, and I can't tell if it is less humid. But honestly I think its more humid, just because I'm outside all the time and sweating. And February will be the hottest.

And I don't know anything about the Christmas phone call yet, but I'm pretty sure I call home. But I'll find out and let you know.

And yes we have a cell phone. But they work different here. The system they run on, they call it credit, which is basically pay as you go, so Dad would like it. But you can do it by the second or by the minutes, we do it by the second, so we are always trying to keep the calls as short as possible. And you can also "beep" others if you don't want to use your credit, or you are out, and have them call you back. Other people usually do that to us.

So about Christmas. It is pretty much the same, I haven't noticed anything that different. They do have decorations, there have been some put up in different parts of Douala. And yesterday we saw little Christmas trees for 3000 CFA, so we are probably going to buy one for our apartment tomorrow. And yes, Santa exists but I don't know if he is the exact same as he is to us. And in French he is called "Papa Noél". And this Sunday is the Christmas program at church, so I will let you all know how that goes.

So there are a lot of the same fruits and veggies, we use tomatoes and onions and carrots a lot. We also get pineapples every so often, and those are delicious. I can't think of any different things that we use in our apartment that are weird or different.

So about the last week, we had a really great fast and testimony meeting on Sunday. The classes and everything were just normal. Last time only 3 or 4 people were able to get up, because they told looooooonnnnggg stories. But this time, I think almost a dozen people got up, none were too long. This one member, who hadn't come for about 4 weeks because he was traveling or sick or whatever, got up and just told how he could see a difference between when he did and didn't go to church and how the church has blessed him. But the most amazing and surprising one, was by this ami de l'église named Emmanual. He works next to a recent convert that we see a couple times a week, but we had never taught him before. Before I got here, they would just go by and talk to him for a little bit and invite him to church. And usually he would say it is too hot or too much sun or too much dust or things like that. But, he finally came 2 Sundays ago for the first time, and then on fast Sunday he got up to talk! And he talked about how he had a dream where he saw the missionaries, so he decided he would come, because maybe this church was good. And he went on to say how he felt good at this church, and he said he felt this was the true church of Jesus Christ. So yeah, that was awesome. And so of course, we have just started teaching him.

But I'll talk a little about the people who have baptism dates, or are pretty close.

So first I'll talk about Phillip. Phillip, is a friend of Andrew, who is a recent convert. Now Phillip had a baptismal date before I got here. But, right before I got here, Phillip disappeared for about a month, and missed his scheduled date! So didn't think much of it. But then he showed up 2 or 3 weeks ago, and said he had been away, because he was sick. He went somewhere to get treatment, then got stuck there because he didn't have the money to get back to Douala for a while. And apparently, this had happened before, where he disappeared before his baptism. He told us how whenever his baptism started coming up, he would feel sick, and his stomach would hurt, and so he'd go to this place to get treatment. But so now he's back, he is preparing for January 2nd to get baptized. And we've talked about how there are always problems and things that can try to stop you from doing what is right, and that if he toughs it out and is baptized, and continues with the Gospel, he will be blessed. But things are looking good for him, and we are hoping his friend Andrew will be the one to baptize him.

The other person with a definite baptism date right now is the father of the Sayé family, Aaron, on January 2nd also. He has been at church the past 4 weeks, he knows a couple people there, so things are going well for him. He and his 12 year old son, Wilford, have been 3 times, and after the first time I was a bit worried, because we have no youth program, and I thought he might bet bored in primary. But I've seen him having fun the past couple weeks, so that is great, and he might get baptized in January as well. But his wife and 2 daughters have not yet come to church. The wife usually says she would've if she wasn't too tired to, but we are just working to get them to read and pray as a family, and even try doing family home evenings together. But they are a really nice family.

And there is another person who is ready for baptism, her name is Laura, or Mama Laura. I don't know if I said this already, but older folks, you can call Mama or Papa here. But she has been coming to church for 5 months every week, has had all the lessons, and we have trouble thinking of what to teach her when we visit because she has had so much. But she was going to be baptized in November, but decided to wait and is still praying and things for when she wants to. But we think the main issue is that her kids, who don't live with her, or even in Douala, have some issues with her joining the church. But she says she will be baptized, and her church attendance has been perfect, so I'm not worried.

But that's about all the notable stuff I can think of. But have fun getting ready for Christmas, thanks for the envelope in advance, and I love you all!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Eric's email of December 3rd, 2009

Dang, 100 days already! That's weird, and we are getting a new missionary a week from today so I won't be the newest already. But anyways, the questions:

So our Thanksgiving went really good I thought. We played football (yes, with an actual American Nerf football) on this dirt field in the middle of the highway entrance. It was just 4 on 4, cuz there are only 8 in the whole city. And the other team won, because we played cruddy, but all well. We need to play soccer soon on a p-day. But then after we went back to the Willis', showered, and had a Thanksgiving dinner that was actually pretty good. Some of the Willis' children who come to visit them brought stuff from the States. The turkey was the only thing that wasn't that good, and I missed yams. But besides that it was really good.

So we have an electric piano in our apartment that one of the missionaries carries to the church each Sunday. And its actually in a member's house, like a real house with 2 floors. But we always sing the same darn cantique each week in sacrament, but I can't remember the name of it. But this week we moved sacrament meeting to downstairs in the bigger living room, rather than on the 2nd floor/the balcony. Up there it is windy or stormy, it's not good. But I haven't played the piano yet because there's the one missionary whose been doing it. But I bet I will eventually on my mission. I know the church in town, where they actually have a building, has an electric piano there that just stays there, so I'm pretty sure each branch has one.

The sports updates are fine like they are, they aren't distracting me. But this week I actually found out the score of the BYU-Utah game because my companion knew I wanted to know. So at church he told Elder Willis to find it, then he told me at the end of the day Sunday. All well.

I almost always wear contacts, but today I'm wearing my glasses, actually. But the problem with the glasses is that when I sweat (which is always), it drips onto the glasses and they slide off, and it just doesn't work. But I usually wear glasses on p-day just because I'm not doing anything that will make me sweat.

So yeah, sorry I haven't sent any pictures yet. But today I finally remembered to bring the thing so I can plug my card into the computer at the Willis' tonight. So tonight I will send home some pictures for you guys. And the haircut isn't that funky, its just a buzz, and my little widow's peak has pretty much already grown back. But yes, I will send those today.

So my exchange with the zone leader went really well. And the best things happened actually, when we had an appointment fall through and decided to go find new people. So the first building we rang, was of a Muslim family who was getting together because last Friday was a Muslim holiday called "Feast of the Rams" or something like that. So we went in, saw they were all getting ready for a party and decided we didn't want to bother them now. So we wished them "bon fete" and left. But then one of the younger girls came back and told us we were invited inside. So we went in and talked with their family for a little bit. And they gave us fulery (I don't know how to spell it, but its this purple drink that's pretty good, but takes some getting used to) and these bread ball things that I forgot the name of.

Then after that, we rang the bell for the building next door, and got invited in again. And when we walked through the gate, this old lady said, "are you Mormons?" And that is weird, because no one calls us Mormons. But we went in and talked with her, and she told us she lived in Salt Lake City for 2 years, had just recently returned and was planning to go back sometime. She also has 2 sons in Salt Lake City now, and other kids in other places. And she also had lessons with missionaries there. But so we re-taught her the first lesson and are going back tomorrow.

Oh yeah, we had another 10 teaching appointment day yesterday. I'm just lucky to be in an area where that happens. Others have told me Bonaberi is the highest teaching area in the mission. And things are going well with a good number of our amis, we have 3 right now with a baptismal date, potentially a family of 4, and a couple others who are coming along well also.

So this week, I ate something that you will probably think is gross. But I will start by explaining some things. So here there is something called "soya". And basically, soya is just any kind of meat on a stick. And so we get it so often, and sometime we even go to someone we call "soya man" at night and grab a sandwich filled with soya meat for dinner, and it is delish.

But a couple nights ago, we were walking and this one kid was carrying soya around in a bucket, and my companion suggested I get some. So I bought one for 100 CFA (which is about 20 cents btw) and I ate it, but I didn't know what it was. It was a little spicy, but I liked it. And my companion told me it is called "congo meat". And then when we got somewhere where there was light, we saw that it was snails. But, I still finished it and it was pretty good, like I said. So yeah, I ate snails off a stick this week.

We also learned about transfers this week, and one elder in our apartment, Elder Lisowski, is getting transferred to Yaounde. And he has been in Bonaberi ever since he left the MTC, which has been over 10 months, dang. But we are also getting a brand new missionary as his replacement, so all the companionships in Douala will have trainers and trainees.

So last night we were teaching Shilah, who is an anglophone. But what's funny about everytime we go to see her, her daughter is outside, sees us, and yells "white people!" Oh, and her name is Precious. But Shilah has had pretty much all the lessons, and has come to church twice. But last night we asked her if she has prayed if the church is true, and she said yeah. And then I asked her to pray about baptism, and she said she would, so that is great.

But I think that's about it for now, but I will make sure to send pictures tonight. But things are going well, even though it is still hot as crud. And they've told me February is the hottest and dryest. So I might die then, but we'll see. Oh, and I'm going to try to send an email to the Dejeu family today also, and in French. I hope you all are still doing well, and have fun getting ready for Christmas!


Eric's email of November 26th, 2009

So yeah, I've already been on my mission for three months, geez, and in Cameroon for nearly one month. Its already going by kinda fast, and others have told me it just starts going faster the longer you're here. Sometimes I think to myself, "just make it to the next p-day..." and then I get there and I don't even know what happened. But things are going well, its just starting the dry season so its supposed to just get hotter and hotter, while it gets colder and colder there. But I'm going to go through and answer the questions now before I forget:

So, it's weird, because I can remember the MTC and it still feels like I wasn't there that long ago. But also it feels like I've just been in Cameroon forever, and I don't feel different or anything like "wow, I'm in Africa", or things like that. But it is weird to just think how far away I am, like pretty much on the other side of the world. Sometimes when I go to bed or wake up, and look at my clock, its weird to think what time of day it is there, and what you guys are probably doing at that time. And no, I really can't imagine cold rain or orange leaves.

So thank goodness Thanksgiving is on p-day! Right after we finish with emails, we are going to go play football! It will be 4 on 4, because we have four elders from Bonaberi (where I am) and four in town in Bonapariso. But then we will have dinner at the Willis' tonight, just like every p-day. And I assume we will have some Thanksgiving-ish type foods.

So my French is coming along pretty good, I think. I kinda had a mini-apiphany (probably spelled that horribly, sorry) about some verb conjugation stuff this week. Lik I could never remember how to say "appeared", like appeared in a vision, and what the auxiliary verb and stuff is. But then, I dunno why, but I just understood it, that it should be "ils sont apparu" , like for the first vision. Its weird because "ils sont apparu" literally means "they have appeared", which makes more sense to me as an anglophone.

So at night, year its pretty hot. But thankfully we each have a fan, so I don't die. I just turn it on and put it right in front of my face, and sleep with no covers and its fine. Yes, I've been using sunscreen on my face every day, and I haven't gotten sunburnt at all yet, which is probably a surprise to you. And yeah I got a haircut last week sometime, and its super short. But there is this one church member who cuts hair for his job, se we just go to him. He just buzzes us, but then he also squares off your hairline all African style, so he cut off my little widow's peak triangle. Now its starting to grow back and it looks a little weird, but whatever.

But its great to hear that everyone is helping with Thanksgiving dinner, and I hope you guys enjoy the turkey bowl, lucky. And the real Thanksgiving food. I want yams, you could send me some if you want.

So, about my week, the highlight was probably that there were a record number of people at church on Sunday, of 46! There were people almost falling off the back stairs because we had to go find extra chairs and fit them up on the second floor where we hold church.

Also, we set a baptism date for this one family (we call them the Saye family). They are preparing for baptism on January 2nd.

We also are teaching this one group/family of 4 people, consisting of Shilah 1, Shilah 2, Harrison (Shilah 2's brother) and Festus (Shilah 1's husband). But they all came to church last week and said they liked it.

So last week, we got 40 lessons! I know it is not about numbers, but we just thought that was good. Also one Friday we got 10 lessons in one day, so that helped. We started an hour early to teach this one lady because she worked the whole rest of the day til after we finish. And at the end of the day, we stopped by to just say hi to a member and his friend who we gave a brochure, but then we ended up doing a lesson. It was a long, but rewarding day.

Well those are about all the highlights from this past week. Tomorrow we are going on exchanges because people need baptism interviews, so I'll be with the zone leader, scary! Not really, my companion just told me to not do anything stupid. But yeah, I hope you all enjoy Thanksgiving and the turkey bowl and watch some football for me!

Je vous aime,

p.s. On Saturday...Go Utes!

Eric's email of November 19th, 2009

Ok, so question responses first off:

Yes, of course I take my malaria medicine everyday.

I wear shoes pretty much every day, but sometimes I do wear the sandals if its a shorter day or something like that. But the brown shoes especially are very comfortable. But there aren't any clothes I wish I had, except maybe some soccer cleats.

So every two weeks we get 40,000 francs, which is about $80. But its not too hard to budget, I have a bit left over from last time.

Yes we are living in an apartment, but I don't think we have a landlord. If we do I've never seen him. But we get along with everyone in the building, but we barely ever see people, cuz we leave after most leave for work, and get back after them, too.

And yes, I've talked about Corner Gas (a TV show) with them (the Canadian Elders), but no one else has watched it as much as us. But they do know what it is.

Yeah, we are really lucky to be able to teach so much. Our goal is to get 40 lessons a week. Last week we came close with 37 or something, but we haven't quite gotten it yet.

So I guess I'll tell you about some of the people we are teaching specifically:

Right now we are teaching this one family called the Sahi/Saye (something like that) family. And right now only the 2 parents listen each time. But they are awesome, and basically asked us what they need to do to get baptized. All we need to do is finish teaching all the commandments, but they haven't been to church yet, because the dad messed up his knee playing soccer so its hard for him to do anything, especially walk to church. But this week the Willis' are coming to our church, so we are going to try to get then to pick up the family and drive them to church.

We are also teaching this older lady named Priso. We have also taught her all the stuff except the commandments, and she likes what we say and even sends her kids to the English class every Saturday, so I guess she trusts us somewhat. And she has been to church the past 3 weeks as well. But she is still praying to see if the Book of Mormon is true, but things are going well with her. Oh, and she gave me my Douala name, "Belle" (probably not spelled right). I don't really know why, but he was some Doualan prince guy. And her nephew is the branch missionary, and apparently he told a bunch of people that my name is Belle, so I get called that a lot now.

And so the branch missionary is named Grant, and he is the man. They told me when they were teaching him it took him a long time to finally get baptized and fix some issues, but now he is awesome. He works with us usually twice a week, once with each companionship. And he is 25 years old, and they gave him a "Preach My Gospel" and he says he wants to go on a mission! And last Saturday morning, me and Elder Lisowski went to play soccer with him and a bunch of his friends. We only played one 15 minute game, but it was still awesome. People play here way more physically, and they have great footwork. But sometimes they still get too fancy and such, so as long as you stay in front of them and don't give in to their fakes, and play physical as well, you do well. We are going to play again next week, and we should be able to play more.

Oh, and Dad! The other day when we were waiting for a taxi to go to the hospital, some guy came up to us and started speaking to us in English. And it wasn't African English, it was more normal English. But he is a member of the church, for about 3 years now, but he lives in Belgium! I don't know where, but I just thought that was cool. He is just visiting Douala for about 3 weeks.

But yeah, that's about everything I can think of from this week. I hope everyone is doing well in school and such. Its weird to think its November, because it is so dang hot it seems like its always summer.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Eric's email of November 12th, 2009

Well, I think I'll just start out by answering all the question I can find. I'll start taking more pictures so that you guys can see what things are like here. It is interesting.

So I don't know exactly the activity rates or anything, but I have heard about times where its hard to keep some members active. So I'll let you know, but I feel like the 3 that just got baptized are really solid. One even brought that up yesterday when we went to see him; how he was concerned how he might lose that drive to keep reading and going to church all the time. So we just gotta make sure they get a calling and have something to do at church.

So for email stuff, we can get on any website we want, and some missionaries get on facebook or their own email thing, like gmail. But I've decided I'm not gonna use facebook cuz it would be too distracting. But yes, I'm sure I could get on any site I want.

So for food, we eat lots of rice and beans, lots of egggs, and lots of spaghetti. Sometimes we make sautees. Every Sunday night one of the companionships is in charge of dinner, and both times so far it has been some kind of rice and beans thing. But a few times we have gone out. There is this avocado plate thing that is really good, and last night we went and got fish, with the head and everything still on. And you eat it by starting at the tail, on one side, and just pull the meat off and it usually comes off pretty easily, but sometimes you get bones. And then you flip it over and eat the other side like that. And you can eat the head, but I didn't feel like it. And there is this meat thing called soya, and one night we got a soya (I don't think I'm spelling it right) sandwich deal, and it was really good, but huge. I have a picture of it, I'll send it sometime. But they also have Coca Cola and Fanta, and this soda called d'jino that is my faovite. And this banana and pomplemousse soda. But nothing has really been the worst so far, but my favorite was probably the fish.

Well, it is supposed to be the dry season right now, but its not. 2 nights ago it was pretty bad, and I was getting hit in the face by the rain though the window, so I woke up and shut it. And the other 3 missionaries went outside and got all our clothes, but I was too tired to, and didn't care that much. And today it was raining pretty good until about an hour ago. So it is the dry season, allegedly, but not really. Oh, and it is dang hot, I sweat all day long.

The baptism went really well. I was one of the witnesses. At the church in town in Douala, where they actually have a church building, they have a font for the baptisms. And their church is pretty nice, they have fans all over the place. But in Bonaberi, we just have church at one of the member's house on the second floor. And one of the classes is outside on the balcony, and it started to storm and the curtains and stuff kept falling over until we just left them down. The chalkboard fell over twice, so it was kind of exciting.

So for laundry, we have a washing machine at our apartment, but no dryer. But the washing machine takes like ? hours to go through the shortest cycle, but we can do laundry all throughout the week. And then we just hang stuff out on the balcony to dry, and it will dry overnight, unless it rains.

Most Cameroonians are cool, a lot of the little kids yell "le blanc" or "white man". Yesterday, one of our investigators' kid (named Precious), saw me and my companion and said "white people!", gave us a hug, and took our hands and brought us inside. It was cool. But yes, it is hard to understand French, but I can usually talk about something gospel related if I know what we are talking about.

So I hope I answered all the questions. This was a good week I guess. I don't really know yet, cuz I've only had 2 weeks. But it is usually hardest when we first go out, from 11AM around 2 or 3 cuz it is way too hot, and bright, and humid, and I'm sweating like a pig. But after that I begin to enjoy it more, I don't know why exactly. About the taxis, they are crazy. Everyone here just tries to get where they are going as fast as possible. Lanes do not really exist, and everyone is always honking. The taxi we took today stalled out like 4 times, and he almost couldn't get his car to start in the middle of the intersection. I was impressed he was getting around with that car. But it's also way cheap, we get from Bonaberi to Bonapriso in about 15-20 minutes for something like $4, 2000 francs.

We have been visiting this person who got taught by the missionaries a couple weeks before I got here. He is in the hospital because he drive a moto (like a motorcycle taxi deal) and his foot got hit ba a car going the other way. His name is Godlove, and he is an anglophone, but when he starts talking fast it is a bit hard to understand him. We have visited him twice, and we will see him again on Friday.

We have had water pretty much every day the past week except on night, so its been pretty good. I usually take a shower as soon as I can when we get back, and one in the morning. Oh, and I expect all my shirts and pants to be disgusting by the end of my mission.

But that is pretty much everything going on right now. I'm glad everyone is doing well and it was good to hear from everyone. And I hope the Jazz improve....K, well thanks for all the thoughts and prayers, I love you guys!


Eric's email of November 5th, 2009

Well, Africa is way better than the MTC, even though it is a lot more work and I sweat a whole lot more. Except this computer I'm on right now is really slow. There are two areas in Douala: Bonaberi (where I am) and Bonapriso (where the Willis' live). So my companion is named Elder Ternieden, and he is from Canada. He has been out for 15 months or something like that. And we get along and everything, not much to talk about there. We live with two other missionaries, Elder Lisowski (from Canada also) and Elder Price (from Utah). And the 4 of us live in an apartment that almost never gets water. I've only taken 2 real showers since I got here, and the other days we pump our water and pour water on ourselves with old bottles. But its not really bad at all, except for a couple times when the power goes out too, but whatever. But I'm going to have to do some laundry by hand soon because I'm running low on pretty much everything.

So the coolest thing is that there is already a baptismal service this week on Saturday. There a re 3 people from our area who are getting baptized: Leonelle, Jewls, and Florent. So yeah, a lot of people are wanting to hear our message. So far at least, my days have been just filled up with teaching appointments, and we never have much time set apart for finding people because we are too busy. But it is probably something like 40 percent English and 60 percent French people we teach. So yeah, my head isn't hurting yet from all the French, probably because I get a break in English every once in awhile. But, it's way hard to understand the French here compared to the MTC. And it took me a couple days to get used to the English, too.

So on p-days we go to this internet cafe and get about an hour and 15 minutes to email. And we start our emails between 9:30 and 10:00 in the morning. But before that we clean our apartment in the morning because it gets pretty dirty. Today I got to clean and mop the living room area. After email we go into town in a taxi to buy food because there aren't that many good places here in Bonaberi to buy food. Then we go to the Willis' for a bit and relax, eat dinner, and have district meeting. Then Elder Willis drives us back to Bonaberi.

My first Sunday was pretty good. We have church in this lady's house on the top floor. And it goes from 9 to 12. There is also English from 10 to 12. And this is actually just an extension of the same branch in Bonapriso, they have this "group" here because it was too far for people to travel.

Ok, so here is my schedule on a regular day:

-wake up at 6:30, and get ready and stuff until 8:00
-personal study until 9
-companion study until 10
-language study until 11
-then we go out and teach and stuff until 7 or 8 at night. We usually don't take time for lunch, but sometimes we stop in between appointments and get a drink or something.
-then we come back and close for the day and eat and talk and go to bed

So, there is my normal day. And Grant, the branch missionary was talking to me in French about something I couldn't understand while I was writing that. He only speaks French, except the missionaries have taught him a few English phrases like "cut the cheese" and important stuff like that.

Well, this computer is way slow, and I only have 20 minutes so I'm going to try to write to Spencer and Sang now. But I love you all and hope you're doing well.


Eric's email of October 29th, 2009

So, I haven't even met my comp yet, because we got to Douala too late so I just slept at the area senior companion's house. And they have AC and a huge bed and I slept til 7h30 and no one said boo. And then Souer Willis made the best breakfast I've had since being a missionary with eggs and potatoes and ham or something. But the area I'm going to is 30 to 40 minutes away called Bonaberi. And out of the three cities in my mission, this one is the most ghetto and I'm going to the most ghetto part, so that is legit. They told me they have no water in their apartment 4 days of the week, and there is no AC so we all sleep under mosquito nets and open all the windows. But they also said there are a good number of Nigerians who speak English, and I don't know if that is a good or a bad thing yet. Oh, and also the traffic here is crazy and there's a bunch of bike taxi guys. So pretty much, its the best.

But I'll tell you some actual cool stuff next week when I've actually been a missionary here.


p.s. watch what happens when I type the English alphabet on this French keyboard:


Eric arrives in Cameroon

First Cameroon contact!

On Wed, 28 Oct 2009 14:23:51 -0700 (PDT), "Brent Willis"  said:
...and I'm in Douala! My plane landed about 2 hours ago, and we and Elder Wilkins got our luggage and picked up by the Willis' and a few other missionaries. I'm staying at the Willis' apartment tonight because my area is 30-45 minutes away. But yeah, it's pretty much awesome here and really humid, and I'll tell you more later.