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.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Eric's email of March 25th, 2019

(Once again we have two emails put together-the first to Anne, the second to Mark.)

So yeah, I'm gonna respond to all of your questions here Mom, then do Dad's and write some other stuff.

Yeah, last week I sent an email to Bro. Dajeu and told him about the new building we have found.

(We found out this week that some newly called DRC missionaries had been reaasigned.) And yeah, I remember you told me about those kids that got their call the DRC. And I remember the last zone conference Pres Headlee said there were too many kids getting called here, and told them he can't fit them all here, so I knew some kids were going to get reassigned. All well, I guess, Uganda sounds pretty cool too.

(The Gladys Knight Saints United Choir gave a fireside here in Richmond.) And I know who Gladys Knight is, Mom. But that's really cool - I'm glad that that was a success, and I'm glad that will give the missionaries there a lot of work to do.

And finally, for this email, I got the package this week! We had another Christmas in our apartment Sunday night, because we decided not to open them until after the day was over. But thanks for all that stuff, the stain remover will be very useful, but I still think by the end of my mission my shirts will be just completely disgusting. But thanks a lot again for that stuff, the pictures were also great, too. Everyone said Jacob looks like me a lot, so, sorry Jacob. And Andrea looks like a street-baller in that YMCA picture. And my comp, Elder Lee, said Scott always looks so happy.

Alright, I'll finish this stuff on the email to Dad.

Je vous aime,
- Eric

Alright, so let me go look at what questions I gotta answer...

(Patoa is a term for dialect-Eric is sharing the English patoa with the investogaros ie- "cool" etc.) So I am not disputing the info you found on the internet, but "patoa" is how the people here told me how to spell it. First I thought it was spelled "partoi" or something, but in English class we taught a little bit of "American Patoa", and they told me to spell it like that. So, just saying. And Dad, my companion Elder Lee says you are a jerk because you ate ice cream, and we didn't. Not really, but sorta. (Mark had just advised Eric to watch what he eats on his mission to avoid gaining weight, but then informed Eric he had just eaten some ice-cream.)

So first of all, the answer to that question I sent, is... C! Yes, C is the correct answer, have fun with that.

Fufu corn is cous-cous made from corn, and thats it. But my companion just informed me that it is different from the European cous-cous stuff. And I haven't even eaten it that much, only 2 or 3 times ever. But that amie de l'église called me fat again this week, along with another one. So last night at diner I asked Grant, the branch missionary if I am fat, and he said no. So I told him all our investigators tell me I am, and he says I am just fat compared to all the other missionaries in Bonabéri. But its probably just because I'm the only one that works out in the mornings, so I'm just more buff.

So for the new building, we still haven't started cleaning it, because the owner is still finishing up a few things. We wanted to be in there for church on April 4th, but its looking more like April 11th now. But first part of April we will be in the new place. And it is only about a 5 minute walk, on the same road as our old apartment even. So that's only a 10 minute walk maximum, even if you are walking African speed. And to transport our stuff, we will just carry it or load it in the back of the Willis-mobile.

And yes, the new building will definetely help to get a branch here in Bonabéri. Pres told me in a few months or so there should be a branch here. In that old building, it would have been impossible to organize a branch there, there just aren't the necessary facilities I guess you would say. So finding this new building may have been the most important step in getting a branch organized in Bonabéri.

So this past week was good, especially Sunday at church, because we had 8 amis de l'église at church! Which is really good compared to some recent numbers. We are also getting 3-4 people ready for baptism April 3rd: Eb, Emmanual, and Fred. We were planning also one Omega as well, but he is only 17 so we need a letter from his mom. And we finally met her on Tuesday night, and she is fine and happy that her son is at church and such, but doesn't think her son needs to be baptized again. We tried to explain it briefly, but it wasn't the right setting, so she lives in town in Bonapriso, and we are sending her phone number to the missionaries there. So it looks as if Omega will have to wait, but that's ok. But this week we got all those people ready and talked about the interview, so tomorrow I will be with one of the zone leaders from in town who will come out to do their interviews, so yeah.

Also on Saturday we are having an activity, called "Bonabéri Olympics". And this is something just organized by us the missionaries, to show members a church activity that is fun and not just like a missionary discussion. So I'll talk more about that next week, but we are going to have games like tug of war and such. When we tell people, they always ask if we are going to play football, and we have to tell them no. So I hope people show up even though we aren't playing football, we'll see.

Also Tuesday night Elder Lee and I had a really unique experience. One of our amis, Robert, works at the airport, and he was rewarded with a medal for working there for so many years. So Tuesday evening at 4:30 there was a reception at his house. We were a little late according to when Robert told us to be there, but we were able to relearn the principal of Africa time. We didn't start really anything until nearly 6:00. We ended up rescheduling the remaining 2 rendezvous we had planned. But we went, and Fred (who is getting ready for baptism), sat us down at a table, and we just sat there waiting for a while, and then there were some speeches in Douala (their patoa), and some lady at our table was kinda translating. And Totto, who is a member of the church, gave the last speech and the prayer in Douala, so that was cool. Then we ate a whole bunch of African food, and we had Fred as our cultural expert to help us not mess anything up. We also taught Fred a good amount of American Patoa that evening. Again, we observed that Cameroonians love their alcoholic beverages, and some kept asking us why we don't drink and such. Only one lady was annoying, and said we need to drink so we can tell people we've actually been to Cameroon. I don't know. But the point of all this is, that Cameroonians like to have receptions with lots of drinks and speeches in their patoas. So it was pretty cool.

But that's about it, I am still anticipating rainy season when it is much cooler. Yesterday Elder Lee told me that he had never seen me sweat so much, because we were at a family's house that was not well ventilated, and I had to make sure I didn't transpire (french for sweat) on my Book of Mormon. Tell Scott that he is grounded again for not writing. Thanks again for the package and stuff, and Dad, ne meurs pas au 10k.

Je vouse aime,
- Eric

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Eric's email of March 18th, 2010

This week we received two emails-one for Mark and one for Anne. The first 5 paragraphs answer questions from Mark. The rest is the email sent to Anne.

Alright, here Dad I'm gonna answer all your questions then I'll answer all Mom's on an email to her and tell you guys about other stuff then.

(Do you have pictures of the new building?)
So yes, I got the note about taking pictures, and we just got the keys to the new building about 2 or 3 hours ago. So we will start cleaning this week, but I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures.

(Do you have Nutella?)
The chocolate stuff that we use is called Tartina. But I've also seen that Nutella stuff here too, but we just get Tartina because its cheapest but still really good. I think it says "paté à chocolat" or something like that on the Tartina containers.

Yeah, we can go places to buy white shirts and such. Today I was actually going to go to marché centrale, but we don't have time now because Elder Lee and I went with the Willis' to finish the deal and get the keys(to the new church building). But that would be the best place to get it, even though that place is a "goat rodeo", as Elder Willis says. (A goat rodeo must mean it is very chaotic.)

Each week, we take a taxi into town every Thursday morning to do emails and shopping and such, which costs us 2000 CFA. And then 2 or 3 times a week we take a taxi to and from this place called "Mount Paragon", which is just kinda a long walk, and we get that for "cent-cent", which means 100 CFA for each place. But that's about it. I hear they (Elders in Bonapriso) take them more often in town because their area is bigger. Oh, and I saw today at the bank that $1 is about equal to 455 CFA right now. We were at the bank with the Willis' to get the money for the apartment.

Alright Mom, I'll do my best to answer all the questions this week.

So like I said in the email to Dad, we just finally got the keys today, (to the new building) so we have not yet started cleaning. But the guy we are renting from is named Samuel, and he joined the church in France, but moved back to Cameroon 12 years ago and the church was only in Yaounde. He also left his Book of Mormon and everything in Paris when he moved. But I think he will start coming to church when we get in the new building. Today he asked me about a little blue reference book that he says all the missionaries had, but I don't have it. But he also asked about a Book of Mormon, so we'll see.

And I think the members are excited kind of. Not many have seen the new place yet, but they are happy. And we will actually also be living there. Its big enough so that the missionaries will just live in a few back rooms, so that will be a wonderful blessing as well. (I asked if the keyboard could stay in the new building-the missionaries had been carrying it back and forth) So yeah, the keyboard will just be there always. And yeah, I'll still be playing the piano each week, usually the same dozen songs. And the only song I've heard a notable improvement on is page 79, which is "Secret Prayer" in English I think. We sing that song nearly every darn week.

(Eric said he has eaten Miombo-a type of rubber)
And so that rubbery stuff I talked about, its not that hard to eat and it doesn't taste bad. And yeah you swallow it. People eat it a lot because its cheap as free but still fills you. Elder Lee likes it a lot, but I take plantains or something rather than that "Miombo" stuff. Also you dip it in pima, which is a super spicy pepper that I like. So no matter what people give me I'll eat it with pima.

(Will you get General Conference?) So for General Conference, we don't get it here. Its not broadcasting at any of the buildings or anything either. We just go to church like normal, and everyone waits for the Liahona to come. But they do have some DVDs of older conferences that they show sometimes at the church in Bonapriso. Oh, and at our new building in Bonabéri, there will be a TV so we can show movies and such.

Alright, I think I got them all. Tell Scott and Jacob and Andrea that they are grounded for not writing me this week. But that past week went well, I think. Nothing too amazing happened, but it was great. We have 3 people getting ready for baptism in April, and will have their interviews next Friday, and it might be 4, we'll see. But yesterday was a fun day, because we did an exchange, and I finally got to go on an exchange outside of my area for the first time ever! I worked with Elder Roldan in the nouvelle route (versus ancienne route, which is mine). And it also rained yesterday until noon, but not too hard, and it stayed cool for the rest of the day. I barely was sweating at all, which was awesome, and it was the first day I actually used my umbrella. And yesterday Elder Lee and Elder Price told me one of our investigators called me fat, when I wasn't there. She said to them, "Elder Palmer is fat, because he likes to eat fufu corn". So yeah, I'm fat.

Elder Lee and I have also commenced a new first lesson tactic this week. We did this because explaining everything in the first lesson to people here often takes too much time, and we weren't getting the most important parts to be the focus. So, now we have started having our first lesson on the Book of Mormon and prayer, and that's it. This lets us present immediately something unique about our message right from the start so that they will be more interested. And the very first time we did this was Monday. We were also working with Grant, who is our branch missionary/the man. And so we got raté-ed, (ditched, as in our appointment ditched us) and just went looking from some new peeps. And so we just walked down the street a bit, walked up to this family's house, presented ourselves, and they brought us chairs (btw, contacting is just too easy here. I don't know if its because we are white or because people here are more open to this kind of stuff, but its too easy sometimes). Anyways, the family name is the Elombo family, and we taught the mom and two of her kids. So we said a prayer, and we just started talking about the Book of Mormon. I don't think we even said the word apostasy, or restoration, or Joseph Smith even, but it was a great lesson. We left them a Restoration brochure, and we will go back on Sunday. That was the most effective one I think, and we've done it a few times now and I like it. And it didn't hurt that Grant already new the family a bit. Also I've seen a great help when we work with members especially Grant, who is "le chef du quartier".

And now the spiritual experience of the week, is brought to you by our ami de l'église, Fred. Fred is one of those getting ready for baptism here in April. And at first, the only reason we were really seeing Fred is because he lives with Robert (who is getting ready for baptism in May). We talked with Fred usually when Robert wasn't there, just as a backup. But he started coming to church with Robert, and even when no one else from his house came he was still there. So we actually started teaching him, and one night we were teaching him and Omega together, and we were planning on asking Omega to get baptized, and so since Fred was there we asked him too. And he said yes, first, without even hesitating. And at the next rendezvous, he said, in his anglophone accent "I don't know really why I said yeah, but I just think it is the will of God for me." Something like that. And so he actually started taking our lessons seriously, one time he even told us we need to come more often to prepare him for baptism. And last night he even called Elder Lee to see what chapter he was supposed to read in the Book of Mormon, because he forgot. So it has been awesome to see Fred go from a funny anglophone who made us laugh, to someone who has a real testimony now and is preparing himself well for baptism soon. And he is still funny, we teach him American "patoa". Patoa is one's native language, like there are over 200 African patoas here in Cameroon. And we have taught Fred "What's up?" and "Peace out".

So yeah, that is that. I think we are getting closer to rainy season, which is good. I think I will like that a lot more rather than the heat and dryness all the time. Today its really hot though, which happens a day after rain and then the darn sun is out. Oh, and one other exciting thing we will do on Saturday, is go play basketball at the American school in town!!! The missionaries used to play basketball in Yaoundé at the American embassy, and on of them got a hookup and now we can get in the American school and go play indoors on their hardwood court! But things are good, oh and thank the Hickey's for the letter I got from them last week.

Je vous aime,
- Eric

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Eric's email of March 11th, 2010

Hey family,
I hope the email and internet everything will work fine this week. So, this week, especially yesterday, was AWESOME! And we also had zone conference this week. So I'll start by answering Dad's questions then talk about yesterday's awesome day.

(Do you have enough money?) Money is fine, no problems there. I actually have extra from the soutien (support) they give me that I gotta give back later today, so there are no problems there. And I was going to go buy my cleats today, but it is too rainy and we spent too much time playing football and rugby this morning.

My companion, Elder Lee, has just informed me that there is no daylight savings here.

I don't know the next Cameroonian holiday, but there was one on March 8th: International Women's Day. So its not just for Cameroon, but here the women with enough money buy an African dress and in the evening go party. But all day we could go around and say "bon fete" and everyone was happy.

My French is going very well I think. I don't want to brag or things like that of course, and obviously I still have a lot I can improve, but I understand pretty much everything people say and most often don't have any problems expressing what I want to. Especially during lessons with people, I find it to be the easiest there, because I talk about those things all the time, and because those are the things that are most important.

So now, Wednesday. The first great thing, is that we found a new building for the church in Bonabéri!!! I told you this at the beginning I think, but right now we are at a member's house, which is getting much too small and there is just too much noise there. But we've been really looking for a new place since before last zone conference, and on Saturday Elder Lee and I found a "grand apartement en etage", which is exactly what we had talked about. We sent the phone number to the Willis' that night, (Senior missionary couple who work with the Elders) and President and Sister Headlee went down there on Wednesday in the morning and they basically made the deal and got the keys to the place last night. And the other funny thing is that the guy who owns it is a member of the Church, who joined in France! I barely met him, but apparently he didn't know the church was here and hasn't been in a while. So that was random. But we've got to do some cleaning and fixing up before we get there, but in 2 or 3 Sundays we plan on being there.

The other sweet thing that happened Wednesday is we set a baptismal date for Robert. He has been taught since November, and has said one day he will be a member of the Church, but for some reason was not too worried about getting baptized. But we finally got him Wednesday, and he is preparing for baptism in May. And his nephew, Omega, and friend, Fred, who live with him are getting baptized in April. But that was great to finally get set.

Also, Tuesday was Zone Conference! Those are always awesome, because President Headlee is the man. There were lots of good things that I can't remember too well, but I wrote them down in my study journal so I can remember them later. But I remember the main point of President Headlee's lesson was about plain and precious truths, and how they are related to the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. And specifically he talked about prayer, and how in the Bible, it is extremely difficult to find all the "qualifications" to get an answer from prayer, but all the doctrine and knowledge was restored, thank goodness. Oh, and also all the elders from Yaoundé came down, so I got to see Elder Ternieden (Eric's first companion) who got transferred back up there, and now I think I've officially met all the missionaries for Cameroon. There is one, named Elder Hunter, who went to Woods Cross High, (Utah, where our family used to live and Eric would have attended this high school had we stayed) so that was cool to meet someone from where we used to live. We talked about "Classic Skating" and such. (Classic Skating was a skating rink in Bountiful Utah where Eric and his friends liked to hang out-they were in elementary school.)

And so my official spiritual thought of the week is brought to you by our wonderful ami de l'église, Emmanuel. Emmanuel is an anglophone preparing for baptism in April, and we finished teaching him the Gospel of Jesus Christ on Monday. And at the end of the lesson, Elder Lee asked him, "Why do you want to be baptized?" And he said, simply, "Because I want to be blessed, and so my family can be happy together." Something like that, but it was super simple, but probably the greatest response to that kind of question I have ever heard.

So that's about that. This week we will start cleaning the new church building, and hopefully not melt to death. We are also planning a missionary activity for Bonabéri at the end of this month. We are going to do branch Olympics, like tug of war, 3 legged race, things like that, and the theme will be unity. But I hope things continue to go well. Jacob good luck with the band concerts coming up. Andrea stop growing so fast. Scott don't die at school. Mom keep running the house so well, and Dad ne meurs pas au Ukrop's 10K. (Don't hurt yourself at the Ukrop's 10K)

Je vous aime bien,
- Eric

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Eric's email of March 4th, 2010

Eric sent this picture a few weeks ago. The caption on the wall is
"Holiness to the Lord" Zechariah 14:20

Hello everyone,

Alright, so I'll start with answering questions... So Dad, what questions of Mom's did I not answer? Oh, and no I don’t recognize any of those names you told me about Mom, but that’s cool about those guys’mission calls. (Two SUU students are going to African missions-one to DRC!)

For my last 3 meals, starting this morning, my comp and I stopped at a boutique and got chocolate gateaux. Which is basically some bread thing with this chocolate spread, (we think it is Nutella-how deprived is Eric that he doesn't know what Nutella is?) and we get 2 for 300 CFA, which is 60 to 70 cents. Then last night at the end of the day, we met up with the other two missionaries and had "poisson brisé", which is grilled fish that you peel apart and eat with your hands. That costs 600 CFA, then I got 200 CFA of plantains which are just kinda like bananas but have the texture of potatoes and are really good, and 200 CFA of Miondo (that's how Elder Price told me to spell it), which is basically just rubber that you can eat. I doubt there is any nutritional value at all in that. And also I had a Topomplemousse with that. And then yesterday for breakfast, I made scrambled eggs and potatoes with ketchup, yum.

No, I did not get my cleats yet, and I stinkin' forgot my money again to get it transferred to CFA...I'll get them soon...(These cleats were supposed to be his Christmas present-and now it is March!?!)

Well I've only played soccer once, and that was a while ago in my 1st transfer, Elder Lisowski and I went to play one Saturday morning with a member named Grant. And it was ok, but we never went back because no one else ever wanted to go again, lazys. But since then, the last p-day of the week of zone conference I played basketball with Elder Terneiden, Elder Lee, Elder Landress, and Grant and Florent (2 members). And it was pretty good, except I didn't really eat a breakfast because I was out of food and we didn't bring enough water. But we are planning to play something next p-day because this Tuesday is zone conference so one p-day we have more time because there is no district meeting.

(Mark asked how old is the oldest member in Bonberi?) So right now I can't tell you, but in April the oldest member will be Ebanezar, who I talked about a little bit last week. He's 78, so he says, and he is getting baptized on the first Saturday of April. But, who has been a member the longest... I think I would have to guess Nanné Stevens, because he knows the Dajeus and was Bro. Dajeus' hometeaching companion. Right now he is a Sunday school teacher, and he's the man. (The Dajeus are members from Cameroon who now live in our stake.)

So I think I got all the questions, if not ask me them again next week, and so I apologize because I probably did miss something. But this week was ok, except I'm pretty sure it is the hottest week of my life, and Elder Lee has said the same thing. Especially Monday, I thought I was going to die. But (thankfully) we had to come back at 1:30 to do weekly planning and meet someone from the Branch presidency who is also the guy who fixes our apartment when it gets messed up. The shower head in my bathroom was leaking a little bit, so Elder Lee tried to wrap something around it to stop it some, and then it just kinda exploded somehow, so we had to turn the water off for a couple days. And so we also got a break from the sun. I'm a little bit sunburned right now.

Also last Sunday church got changed from 3 hours to 2, for the time being. This is because in Bonabéri we are still a group, so actually we don't exist. But the problem was that nearly everyone showed up late. Elder Lee announced to everyone to be there 15 minutes early next week, so we'll see.

Oh, and so before I forget, Mom, yes I got some packages. I got one from the Innsbrook YW, I got a family calendar from Aunt LeeAnn, I got a card thing from the Bertonneau's, and I think there is one other I cannot remember right now. But thank everyone for those. I did get my Christmas package from Grandma and Grandpa, and I just got another card from them today.

So one other notable thing this week, is me and Elder Lee have found our new favorite people to teach. One day we just contacted this guy named Princely, and at least I didn't think much of it. So we went to our first rendez-vous with him and his brother Chris, it was pretty good. They are anglophones btw. Then later we came back a few times, and on the 2nd rendez-vous, Chris told us he received an answer that our message is true. So we've gone back, just finished Plan of Salvation, and Chris came to church last week. But also in our lessons their cousin Blandine, who is a francophone, sits in. And she is actually starting to take interest now that we gave her a Livre de Mormon, rather than just sitting in to learn English. And also they live with their grand-mére, who is awesome. I don't know how old she is, but she only speaks pigeon and is always saying random stuff during the lesson, but she is a sweet old lady who we can't communicate with. And so these lessons are good, and also they are hilarious. Yesterday we taught just Princely and Blandine, and we spent 40 minutes explaining the Spirit World to Princely. I told him, "Princely, when we die our spirit doesn't immediately go back to Heavenly Father." And then he said, "What!? How can you say that? Elder Lee, is this true?" And then we read a verse, but then it took forever for him to understand the difference between Paradise and Prison in the spirit world. He also got kinda mad when he saw how the French Book of Mormon is bigger than the English one. I told him "its the same thing, Princely, just in French and the writing is bigger". Then he said, "this is an injustice!" One would appreciate it more if they were there actually, but its always fun.

So the spiritual thought... is from Andrew, who is a member. And basically, he told us his awesome testimony. He didn't like where he was going with his former church. So later he found the missionaries, and at first wasn't that into it. Other people around him told him that the missionaries were not there for the Gospel, but to do crazy stuff. But Andrew said he prayed very hard for a long time, and got an answer. And so even when there were other people around him telling him stuff, he stuck with the answer he got from God, and he is the man. Also he is one of the few people who did all his home teaching in the first month of home teaching in Bonabéri, and last Sunday he taught a lesson and gave a talk. Stud.

Oh, and one other thing about Eb. We taught him la Parole de Sagess (Word of Wisdom) on Tuesday, and he got a little confused. On the board we wrote the things you do not take: l'alcool, le tabac, les drogues, le café, et le thé. But he got a little confused, and said how he understands a little bit of coffee and tea can be good, but he didn't understand why he should smoke and drink and take drugs. So, we explained to him these are the things NOT for the body. Eb is the man, though.

Well enjoy the nice weather and the Jazz/Wizards game. And enjoy the 10k for those who run it, Dad don't pull anything.

Je vous aime,
- Eric