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,