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.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Eric's email of February 25th, 2010

Wow Jacob, you are turning into a basketball Jones, who plays well in crunch time. Make sure you record your highlights when they show them on Sportscenter. And Andrea, sorry your perfect season is over, but that's how most (or all) of my teams were, barely trying to get a few wins. Next time you should do a 360 dunk, Andrea, that should help. And Scott, Dad told me to ask you about your School of Rock dealio, so, dis-moi! (Tell me)

Yeah, last week I didnt get any time to send pictures, we had a special-ish district meeting with the zone leaders who came down from Yaoundé. But I'll do it this week.

Haven't gotten cleats yet, I was going to go today, but we ended up making a rendez-vous with this inactive member named Moise, who lives out in Bonabéri but works in town in Bonapriso. And since we are in Bonapriso today Elder Lee and I are going to go visit him with the Willis'. He's been a member since '07 or something like that, and apparently he was one of the biggest reasons the church got moved to Bonabéri, but he went inactive quickly. So hopefully it will go good, we just want to get to know him and find out his conversion story.

So let me see what questions I forgot to answer to Dad... Yes, I am writing in my journal, even though I don't like it. Sometimes its hard, because I get home and I have to help make dinner and do the area book and close our day and take a shower, and somehow write in my journal. But its going pretty good, and I very well could use another one, so that would be something good to send, thanks.

Alright, so about the Bonabéri activity-we got 63 people there, which is far more than ever come to church. Our record for church is only 46. We watched this movie called "Our Heavenly Father's Plan", a few people gave some testimonies, and we sang some songs, and Sister Willis made refreshments for after. The movie was made like 20 or so years ago.

Also this week we have set 4 baptismal dates! After almost a whole transfer with none. There are 4 people preparing to be baptized the 1st Saturday of April: Emmanuel, Ebanezar, Fred, and Omega. And I'll talk a little bit about these beautiful people.

So first is Emmanuel. Emmanuel is an anglophone who works on Ancienne Route (one of the 2 main roads in Bonabéri) and sells soya. And soya means meat on a stick. So he's a soya man. He also works next to a member of the church named Tumasang. And what happened with Emmanuel is that the missionary who I replaced here would just invite Emmanuel to church every week whenever they would go see Tumasang. And he never came, just saying there was "toooooo much sun" or "tooooo much rain" or "toooooooo much heat" or "toooooo much tired". But then one week he finally came, to our surprise, and said he liked it. And he came the following week, and bore his testimony! That was back in January, and he has been pretty consistent-ish with church since, and now with our goal for April we think he will come each week and read in his Book of Mormon. He is married also and has 2 kids, but right now his wife and one kid live back in the village. So we will also plan for his son here, Nelson, to get baptized.

Next, Ebanezar, whose name I don't really know how to spell. But often times we just call him Eb. Eb, is 78. Elder Lee told me he is by far the oldest person he has ever taught. And one day back when I was with Elder Ternieden we just met Eb en route one day, invited him to church, and he has come every week except one since. And he has super bad eyes, so he can barely read his Book of Mormon, but he is currently working his way through Alma 32 right now. Oh, and he is a Francophone.

Next is Fred. His real African name is Akama, but he told us to call him Fred, I don't know why. But he is hilarious. He lives with Omega, who I will talk about next. Fred always wears a cool hat. Another anglophone, actually wasn't even in our progressing investigators section, but since he gets taught with Omega, he was just at the right rendez-vous at the right time. So there will be a bit of work to do, but its sweet.

Lastly for now, Omega. Omega is 17, a francophone who speaks English well because he went to English school. He is the nephew of this guy Robert, who is the friend of Totto who is a member. And we also want Robert to prepare for baptism in April. But Omega is the man. He is still in secondary school, but he wants to do computer science for his job when he grows up. And basically he is the man, just because he gets everything and keeps his commitments.

So that's that for now, 2 of those are "families", with Emmanuel and his son Nelson, and Robert/Omega/Fred/Seignor (who is Robert's son who is 7 years old only). So it was a really great week, or at least since Monday. But its also like rainy season has started early, Saturday Sunday and Monday night, and knocked out the power each time. The biggest bummer about the power going out is no fridge, which means no cold drinks, which stinks. And no fans. But its not that bad, and its never out for more than a day.

So now I will share the spiritual thought. So last night we saw Sheila, Shilah, and Sheila, or Shilahs 1, 2, and 3. And we hadn't seen them forever. But we went to her place with "The Restoration" DVD. So we watched that, after Sheila 1 went and found a DVD player that worked. And basically that movie is awesome, because no matter where you are or who you are watching it with, you can feel the Spirit. It was only the first time I've watched that at an investigator's house, but I've decided we should do that once a week, for our sake. That way, even if we are having a crappy day and stuff, we can watch that and be happy again. And also, its really good for the investigators because its easy to understand Joseph Smith's story from it.

Well that is that, as some anglohpones say. Oh and this week was transfers again already, and I'm still here. Which I'm happy about, but transfers always keep things exciting. Anyways, I hope it snows enough for the kids to get another snow day. And you can also send some snow with the Willis' daughter if you want.

Je vous aime bien,
- Eric

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Je jure aux singes


Sorry last weeks email was short and probably boring. But things here are still going well. I'm glad to hear peeps are doing well in Virginia. I'm sorry to Scott Jacob and Andrea that they had to got back to school, but that's not too horrible, I hope. And thanks Dad for the false alarm on Utah score update, I thought you were going to tell me Utah beat BYU, but that's still pretty good news. (Utes beat UNLV.)

So tonight at the Willis' I'll get a photo with them and also send some Kribi photos. And I'll also try to explain the old ones there, I forgot what pictures I sent exactly. And Dad, I don't think you would lose any weight with the Cameroonian diet I am on. But I do do exercises every morning except Sunday. Me and Elder Lee, after playing basketball decided we were too out of shape, so we decided to run 3 times a week, but that didn't last very long because we just got ridiculously tired, and I don't care enough. But I have been working out with weights and junk for the past 2 or more months. So I don't think I'm completely weaksauce anymore.

Oh, and before I forget, I need someone to send me my church membership number, because the missionary email thing is doing some upgrade with google, and I need that number. It would be really good if you got that to me today so I can finish that registering deal tonight. And that is why I haven't been able to send letters to Sang, and now Spencer too.

So at Kribi itself, we didn't have a whole lot of time. But there were 5 of us elders and the Willis'. So the Willis' just relaxed in the car with AC or in the shade, while we went on the beach for a while. Me and Elder Landress threw the football around for a while, and the others spent forever taking wimpy pictures.

Then we walked down the shore to this sweet waterfall and took pictures there, and told like 3 different people we didn't want a tour or any beer.

Also saw some people bathing there, and some old European in a speedo, from a distance thankfully. Then we went over to this hotel place and had lunch. It was really empty. We met the owner lady, she is from Switzerland but she spoke English still. And I had some delicious shrimp meal, I think it was called "Cravette de sauce pinquante de l'anana", (Crevettes aux sauce piquante de l'ananas) Dad should be able to figure that out. (shrimp in spicy pineapple sauce) And then we just chilled on the beach for a little bit, and we had to head back before it was too late. Unfortunately we didn't have too much time with getting stopped and stuff, but it was still good. Oh, and I have gotten stopped one other time with the Willis', on Thanksgiving when we were going to play football, and also one time in a taxi. But if you've got your papers, they can't do anything. And also one time we got stopped by some people in another taxi faking being cops. And when they saw we were legit, they just got in their car a drove off.(Explaining times when he was stopped by police.)

But as for l'oeuvre missionaire, things are moving a bit. This Saturday is the first activity in Bonabéri ever to be planned by the members, rather than the missionaries. And the theme is the Plan of Salvation. They are planning on watching a Plan of Salvation movie, some members explain/bear testimony, and there will be refreshments. Hopefully, it will be a success. We'll see.

But not much time, I'll go right into my spiritual thought of the week. So, with our new program and such, we need to be more effective when we teach, and not waste time with lessons that ain't doin' nothin'. So Tuesday this week, we had a full day and taught 8 lessons. And we had several so-so, not that great lessons. And my comp, Elder Lee, said he really didn't like some of the last lessons, especially one where the lady wasn't really understanding the pre-earth life. I didn't think it was bad, its just wasn't that good. But then lastly we had a lesson with Laura, who was just baptized in January. We had a lesson on missionary work, she also talked about the blessings she has seen since her baptism, we sang a song before we closed, and the Spirit was there. And that's what I decided was the huge difference, the Spirit being there. I didn't really feel anything that great during some of the other lessons during the day, but in the lesson with Laura that was probably the main difference why it was so much better. So I decided, I just gotta pay attention to the Spirit better, and that will help us work more efficiently.

Well that's that, that's all I'll write for now but will send some pictures of Kribi tonight. The internet is being slow today so I want to try to email some amis. Also if you can send an email of this to Sang and Spencer, that would be good, because I can't contact them until my internet is upgraded too. Hope this week goes well, even though the kids got to go to school.

Je vous aime bien,
- Eric

Monday, February 15, 2010

Eric's email of February 13th, 2010

Hey everyone,
Sorry I didn't email on Thursday. The reason for that is because I wasn't in Douala for p-day. Four other missionaries and I went to this place called Kribi! Kribi is about 2 hours away, and it is this beautiful beach area. Next week I will send pictures of it. (That is it to the right and below.) Also right now I am typing on an English keyboard, but it is set for French, so if there are spelling errors, that is what I blame it on. But I'm pretty much used to the french keyboard by now anyways.

So also I don't have barely any time, so I'll answer more questions and such next week. But things here are good, and today was actually great, because it wasn't ridiculously hot. Its rained a little, there were clouds all day, and I barely was sweating. So hopefully rainy season will come soon, because it is a lot more bearable than dry season, I think.

Well with the time I have remaining I will share my spiritual thought of the week. So, on Thursday on the drive out to Kribi, we ran into a little trouble. We got stopped on the highway, and some army guy asked for all the Willis' papers and our papers. And it took about 20 or more minutes. And the Willis' resident papers had literally just expired 2 days before, but luckily the guy didn't notice. But we could have been in trouble there. So that was a pain. Then we also had to drive back 15 to a gas station so Elder Willis could stand up cuz his leg was falling asleep. It wasn't a fun ride, and we didn't have that much time actually at Kribi. So after, we started to drive away, and Elder Willis stopped in the road soon after and asked one of us to give a prayer. And the drive on the way home was fine. We did stop at the gas station again, and I got a Topomplamousse, which is basically Squirt, and a thing of Pringles. But there were not problems. So basically, the moral of the story, was make sure you pray, and chances are things will go better.

In closing, thank you for the emails everyone. I especially enjoyed Jacob's Superbowl recap, and Andrea's bus story. And Scott, thanks for finally emailing me to the correct address. I promise next weeks email will be better. And I'll send the airplane tickets Thursday, Dad.

Je vous aime bien,


Friday, February 12, 2010

February 11, 2010

No email today.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Eric's email of February 5th, 2010

Je manque "Car Talk", et personne ici le connais. (I miss "Car Talk" and no one here knows what "Car Talk" is.)

Geez, over 16 inches of snow? I don't even really know what that means anymore. But earlier this week our water heater went out, so I had to take cold showers. And it was the first time I actually really felt cold in over 3 months, so that was cool. I will probably take cold showers more often.

But I bet all the kids loved having school off, but if you all went back to school today, I'm sure Mom was very happy. But yeah, things are starting to go better with the work here in Bonabéri and with some of the members. But none of the members play the piano, as far as we know. But there is one guy who is the chorister, and one other elder is teaching him piano after church on Sundays. And I'll probably take that responsibility soon because the missionary doing it now, Elder Price, will probably get transferred we think. And as far as the building, not really any luck so far. The other companionship in Bonabéri said they saw a possibility, but I dunno.

So about Grandma Ralphene, that's kind of sad, but not really. (Grandma passed away on January 30th, 2010) Its just great to have knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, and that death is definitely not the end of existence. But on Tuesday Elder Lee and I went to a "deuil" or something like that, which is a funeral. And they are quite different, they have the body in the casket inside, then out front they have music playing and a whole bunch of chairs for people to sit. And in the room around the body, there are usually some people crying or mourning very vocally, its different. But it doesn't bother me or anything, but its just a good chance to see how they do that here, and also makes you realize they need to have the message of God's plan shared with them.

I've heard about the earthquakes in Haiti. Some people thought it was there in the states, but whatever. Grandma Carlene told me last week about her shoe drive, and the Hutchings actually sent me a picture of it. Btw, I'm going to send pictures from the Willis' tonight. (Grandma Carlene collected over 600 pair of shoes to send to Haiti through "Soles for Souls".)

Ok, and to address Sang's concern, I send him an email every darn week. Tell Sang I am getting his emails, but none of mine are going through for some reason. But if you want you can just forward my email to Sang as well until his problem gets fixed.

So I will say, no, definitely not the good time of year for weather here. And I don't know if there is a good time. Its probably better in other parts of Cameroon, where it isn't so darn hot during the dry season, but its kinda ridiculous how hot it is. My shirts are becoming discolored. But I hear it is much nicer in Yaoundé and other places, as far as the weather.

So the group in Bonabéri is officially part of the Douala branch. In Douala there is only 1 branch and 1 building right now, but the church has already purchased land for another building somewhere else in town in Douala, and like I said we are looking for somewhere in Bonabéri still. But with our goal for finding families and 192 baptisms and such, President Headlee said that will be enough to create 2 more branches here, which he says he wants to do this here. He also said he is planning on organizing a district in Yaoundé. Right now there are 2 branches there. There used to be an English branch, but that got dissolved. He said there will be some reorganizing taking place and in July he wants to start with the district and more branches and stuff.

So in our group, I believe there are... 4 dédenteurs de la Pretrise Melchisadek, I think. I can only name 3 right now, but we are pretty sure there are 4. One other person went to have an interview with President Headlee for the Melchizedek Priesthood, but he has to get all the way married first. Since the marriage system is different, (and actually kinda dumb, I think), if someone just starts the process for the traditional marriage and has the intention to complete it, the church considers them married, and they can be baptized and have the Aaronic Priesthood. But for the Melchizedek Priesthood, they have to be all the way married, so yeah. But the traditional marriage includes giving the family of the wife a bunch of food and drinks and stuff, and you can't just go and get civilly married, because then their family will get ticked off. So that is an issue here.

Ok, so for the Willis', they have been in Douala for a bit over a year now, and they are going home in June. And there used to be a senior couple in Yaoundé, but they just went home this week. So normally the Willis' are always in Douala, but now that there is not senior couple in Yaoundé, they are going to visit there every so often, I think a couple times a month, and they are up there today. They go to check on the elders and pay bills and stuff like that. But they did finally find a replacement for the couple in Yaoundé, but I don't know when they will come. And they haven't found anyone for Douala yet, and the Willis' actually said they are considering extending their mission a little bit. The Willis' are awesome.

Since the Willis' aren't here today, I can't leave anything with Sister Willis to mail, but I'm going to take pictures of the tickets and send them tonight. And no, I haven't bought the cleats yet because things have been busy here and I don't want to bug the Willis' with exchanging money for me, but I'm planning on doing it this month. But I will send the ticket stuff tonight, for reals.

So I think I covered all the questions. And now I am going to share my spiritual experience of the week. Because, in the white handbook, we read that we should share these with the people we write, and I realized and I haven't done the best job with that. So lets see, what should I share... I think I'll talk about our opportunities to give Priesthood blessings the last couple days. So on Tuesday, we went to our appointment with Phillip (the guy I baptized) and Andrew. And Phillip had a huge bandage on his said. He said at work, he got hit in the head with a panel thing, (he works at the docks). Somebody was carrying one around the corner, and knocked him in the head. And it also turned out that that employee with the panel was trying to steal it, so he got caught thanks to Phillip's head. And then Andrew said, "God put you there to stop that thief, but you did not do it like a normal somebody." He was sent to the hospital, they stopped his bleeding, and he is doing better. But we also gave him a blessing, and also last night we gave a blessing to this other lady because she was sick and had a headache, and she also said she was stressed. But just what I've noticed is people's willingness to get blessings, because they are humble. When we asked her if she wanted a blessing, she said "Who in the world can reject blessings from God?" So yeah. Even though some people here have trouble understanding some things, they are always willing to have God's help, and hopefully these opportunities will help people truly see that the Priesthood has been restored in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

So yeah, that's the week pretty much. Its hot, and its supposed to stay hot til the middle of March, when the rains come back. I'll send more stuff tonight, and I'm sorry to Andrea, Jacob, and Scott, if you had to go back to school today.

Je vous aime,