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, May 6, 2010

Eric's email of April 28th, 2010

Sorry this posting is late.

Afasso! (and then you say "ka bien")

So first off, this email will be kind of difficult, because I am using an English keyboard for some reason. I don't know why this computer has it, but its weird because I got pretty good on the French one. But so first, I want to respond to the question from Mom's email before I forget, about the mailing address. (No PO Box in Pointe Noire, still send packages/letters to Cameroon) If that is what the Willis' suggest, I think that would make sense. One elder here had recently received mail right before I came, that was dated in November. So I would say, the Willis' idea would work fine.

And so I'm glad that Mom and Dad are enjoying Puerto Rico, and actually I know plantains well! They aren't eaten that often here, but in Cameroon I ate them every time with fish and such, and I liked to dip them in pima (a very spicy pepper) sauce. At first I didn't like them, but I soon learned to. And rapelling that waterfall sounds sweet.

Wow, Père ne m'a que demandé deux quèstions! (Wow, Dad only asked me 2 questions!) So for the first one about the Mother's Day call, I don't know exactly yet, but I am pretty sure we will be doing it on Mother's Day, May 9th. And I plan on using the calling card. I will make sure I still have the info, and I'll let you know better next week.

The Zone Conference was awesome actually, and I will proceed to give the detailed review that Dad asked for. So, like I said, here we wake up at 5:30 AM, one hour earlier than normal. And so we woke up and then just got ready to leave, because the Baxters (Senior couple) said we were to leave at 6:30. (So I just stepped away from the computer for 10 minutes because someone came up and said he left his work on this computer. But then he figured out I speak English, no idea how he figured that out, but so I found out he is from Kentucky, and he knows of the Church. So that was random, but cool I thought.) But about zone conference, we got to the airport at 7:00 AM, and our flight left around 8 I think. But when we got to security, Elder Mbuyi and Elder Mafiya weren't let through. They are both from Kinshasa, but the guy didn't like their passport for some reason, even though they had gotten here fine. So we had to figure that out and decided to buy the necessary visa when we return, and got on our flight just before it left. So the flight only took about 40 minutes, just enough time for me to do a 3 star difficulty Sudoku, and then we landed.

When we arrived, there were already 2 people from the Church there with cars to pick us up. Oh, and I forgot to say, we flew to Brazzaville. And we held the zone conference in the stake center of Brazzaville, which was only about a 15 minute drive away from the airport on a bumpy unpaved road. So we get there, and there was about an hour before President and Elder Runland arrived, so we were talking and got to know all the missionaries of Brazzaville. And the conference consisted of the missionaries from Pointe-Noire, Brazzaville, and the assistants to the President. So there were us 6 elders from Pointe-Noire plus the Baxters, and 20 to 25 missionaries from Brazza. In Brazzaville the church is much bigger, they have a stake with 8 wards and 4 branches. In Pointe-Noire there are only 2 branches. But that's a big difference from Cameroon, in all of Cameroon there are 0 wards and 3 branches. Dang.

Anyways, the conference was great, even Elder Runland, who went on a Swedish speaking mission did it in French himself, and he got by. He did need a little help, but I was impressed with it, rather than having a translator. And also his wife did some, also in French. She said she had studied in school but forgot a lot, but she rarely needed our help. She did a lot better with French in school than I did. (Eric hated French in school.) But so we had our conference, and everyone was on a short schedule. The Headlees and Runlands had to leave pretty much immediately to catch the boat to get back to Kinshasa, and we had to leave to catch our flight. Side note, so Brazzaville and Kinshasa are right next to each other, its just the river (Congo) that divides the countries. But I was told if you took an airplane from Brazza to Kinshasa, it would take 15 minutes or less. But by using that ferry system, it took the Headlees and Runlands 2 and a half hours to cross. But one good thing, I caught President right before he left so I could get a missionary handbook in French, which made me happy.

So then we left immediatly for the airport at about 3:30, got there and had the same problem with Elder Mbuyi and Mafiya. Elder Ritchie told me it's because Brazzaville and Kinshasa don't like each other. Anyways, we eventually got past that again, and got to our flight. Another 40 minutes, another 3 star Sudoku puzzle, and we landed in Pointe-Noire at around 4:30. So we landed, and as planned we got the visa things for Mafiya and Mbuyi, and Elder Parsons and Elder Kessler and I talked about 90s music. Then we got their visas in about half an hour, got in the Baxters' truck, and went for ice cream. I got an ice cream cone with chocolate flavor and cheesecake flavor. It was richer than anything I had eaten in a while. Also the power went out twice while we were at the ice cream place. And I think that's about it.

So yeah, that was zone conference. I wrote down a lot of stuff I can't remember now, but the main thing I got from Elder Runland was the importance of having a good attitude. He talked about 2 parts of missionary work: the attitude & the work ethic. And you need to work hard and also have a positive attitude. You need both. If you only have one, or worse neither, good luck. But those 2 characteristics will make life better and missionary work progress well. So I gots to remember that.

Also today we got news that President Headlee is coming on Monday. I don't know exactly why, but that's cool. We didn't have time for interviews but hopefully we will Monday. Also, the beginning of July will be the end of a transfer, about a transfer and a half from now. And at that day, 2 North American missionaries will be going home plus the Baxters, and 20 (twenty) will be coming. So holy cow. And right now in Pointe-Noire there are 3 companionships, 6 elders (4 from the states and 2 from Kinshasa). And President also told the Baxters that he wants to put 12 missionaries in Pointe-Noire at that time. So that will be exciting, but also that means there will be a lot to do, and a lot of new missionaries. So yeah.

I think that's all the exciting news, maybe President will tell us more cool stuff on Monday. Mais, Mom et Dad, jouissez le reste de la voyage au Puerto Rico, et Scott et Jacob et Andrea, ne mourrez pas à l'école. (Mom and Dad, enjoy the rest of your trip to Puerto Rico, and Scott, Jacob and Andrea, don't die in school.)

And also, I am going to write this last thing in french, so that only one person gets upset or mad at a time: Mon appareil de photo a été volé. Pardonnez-moi. Vous pouvez me donner vos idées cette semaine, et nous pouvons mieur discuter cela le jour des mères. (This was to keep mom from getting upset, I guess. My camera was stolen. I'm sorry. You can tell me your ideas next week and we can discuss it on Mother's Day.)

Je vous aime,
- Eric

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