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, January 14, 2010

Eric's two emails of January 14th, 2010

I will be there unfailingly...

...and then he didn't show up. That is what one of our amis de l'église, who is an anglophone said to us about church last week, but then he wasn't there. And so for this week, he said, "I will be there live." So we'll see, but anglophones say funny things.

So sorry about the short email about from last week, so I'll try to make this one better. And as far as that humidity or temperature difference, honestly I can't tell, its just always hot, and being able to shower at the end of the day is the best feeling ever.

That's great to hear about everyone's basketball games (except Scott's). I want to see that video of Jacob, and then when I get back I'll see Andrea beastin' up church ball.

So the folks in Cameroon and America... Almost everyone here loves Barack Obama. There is this thing called the American lottery, to get a visa or something so you can move to the United States. And lots of people play it, and its kind of frustrating when you go to a rendez-vous with someone, and they ask if we can help them with the American lottery. And the Canadian lottery is also very popular.

So Cameroonian New Year, I don't know exactly what went on. But I would say that a lot of people went somewhere to drink, and dance, and probably said "Bonne Année" or "Happy happy happy happy...". The anglophones just say happy a bunch of times, instead of saying happy new year. But I don't really know exactly what events there were, but other missionaries have told me that people will say bonne année well into February.

I haven't gotten the package from Grandma and Grandpa yet. I am willing to bet that someone else has it, especially if it said "shirt" on the package, and especially if they found it was a football jersey. So, that's why its best to just write "missionary supplies", but that's ok. And I will send the airstubs next week, because we give stuff to Sister Willis to send in the mail, but the Willis' and the couple in Yaoundé went to the north of Cameroon for the week, so they aren't here today. (Later in the day Carlene called to say she had received an email from Eric indicating he had in fact received the package. It had a SLC REAL soccer jersey in it.)

And also no, I haven't gotten my cleats yet, because the Willis' are the ones who exchange money for us, and again they have "voyaged" (people always say they have voyaged to their village here).

Ok, lets see, what could I write about...oh, so last night we found out about transfers! And I will be getting a new companion. But its kind of interesting, because President Headlee just did a switch between two companionships here in Douala. And I will be with Elder Lee, who has been with Elder Wilkins (Elder Wilkins was my MTC companion). And now Elder Wilkins will be with my companion, Elder Ternieden. So they are just doing a switch like that, and we will still see each other on p-days. But now the interesting things is that we are waiting to see who will be zone leader and district leader, because the zone leader is getting transferred to Yaoundé.

Its weird to think that I've already been here 2 transfers, and that I will officially not be getting trained anymore, and am now upgraded to junior companion!

Oh, and I forgot if I mentioned this last week, but we have made some new goals for 2010 for the missionary work in Douala. At the last district meeting, the zone leader proposed 192 baptisms in Douala for this year, which is an average of 12 families of 4 per companionship. We have also decided to put a huge emphasis on families now, because the family is the foundation of the church. And right now, we pretty much have mostly single people in the church, at least here in Bonaberi. But that might seem like a lot because this last year I think they had something between 60 and 70. But, the (former) zone leader, Elder Wiggington and Elder Lee calculated this. And here is the formula (I bet Dad will like this):

(1/5 contacts) x (1/3 rendez-vous') x (1/2 progressing) = 1/30 baptism

So, that formula means 1 in every 5 contacts leads to a rendez-vous, and 1 in every 3 rendez-vous' leads to 1 person progressing, which means 1 in every 30 contacts leads to a baptism. And these 2 elders did this from what they noticed and their experience, and they also said these are very conservative estimates. And now, they also showed us the formula for how many family contacts we need each day:

(1 baptism/30 contacts) x (12/12) = 12 baptisms/360 families contacted

Basically, if we contact 1 family each day, this should work out. Its actually gone pretty well so far. We have dropped a few investigators who haven't come to church and weren't really progressing, and that gives us time to look for families and then teach them in our schedules. And we actually did door knocking for the first time on my mission yesterday. And it was pretty intense, because you get real nervous when you see the person walking to the door, but once I just start talking its usually fine.

So yeah, that's our new plan for Douala. One other interesting thing. That is, that it stinks trying to do missionary work during football games, especially when Cameroon is playing! Yesterday we got 2 "rattez-vous'" in a row because they would rather watch the match. But I can't really blame them, because I would be the same way. But we are going to have to try to find ways to be productive during Cameroon's games, and it is only the Nation Cup for Africa. I can only imagine what the World Cup will be like. But something that might be good from these games, is that if Cameroon looses, people will come to church. Yesterday, Cameroon lost 1-0 to Gabon, and we heard some people say stuff like, "God wanted Gabon to win, so they won." Things like that (which is not true), but it could get people to come to church.

So yeah, that's pretty much what is happening here. And with this new finding family focus thing, our numbers have gone down a little bit, but I actually think we are being more productive, and not staying with some people who probably just invite us back to talk. But I hope you all are enjoying 2010 so far, and enjoy watching the NFL playoffs...lucky...

Je vous aime,

Oh yeah, one more thing I wanted to add. So I thought I would tell you some of the ways they say hello, and how are you and stuff. Dad will probably find some of this French strange.

- So of course, you have the normal "bonjour", "bonsoir", and "salut".

- Pretty much no one says the whole "comment ça va?" Maybe they will just say "ça va", but usually they say "C'est comment?" or just "Comment?" And they do that in English too, sometimes instead of saying "how are you", they just say "how".

- Then there is "on dit quoi". This is basically, "whats up".

- I'll also give you some of the Douala I can remember. So the equivalent of bonjour in Douala is "owindolay". Now I am sure that is spelled horribly, but that is how it sounds. And then to reply, you say "nowindolay buam". Or, you can just say "Ay", which is like oui or yes. I have found that if I reply to pretty much any question I get asked in Douala, if I say "ay", that works.

- To say merci in Douala, you would say "na soum", something like that. And to say, demain or tomorrow, it is "kialay".

So yeah, I just thought you would find that interesting. And you will probably read this when you wake up this morning, so I will say good morning in Douala, but I don't know how.

Je vous aime,

1 comment:

  1. Hi Eric,
    It was very interesting to read your blog! You have a good attitude about everything--and unbelievable about the food!
    Keep up the good work! I still remember the missionaries coming to teach me the gospel--and I am so thankful for their service!