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!