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, May 29, 2010

Eric's email of May 27th, 2010

Alright, so I'm gonna do my question answering for each email, then tell you about my, um, interesting week I had.

First off, yes time definitely does move faster when I'm busy, and it just seems like each transfer I have goes by faster. Like I still feel new to Pointe-Noire, but I've already been here a transfer. Just compared to when I think of my first transfer back in Bonabéri with Elder T, compared to the one I just finished with Elder Parsons, that does not feel like the same amount of time.

(His saxophone teacher, Mr. Gates sent us an email this week.) Yes, I saw the email from Mr. Gates, and I already sent him one. That's lucky that he sent you one, I'll bet he's surprised to hear what I'm doing.

So for that youth class I taught last Sunday, there is a teacher called and such. But I think just every 3rd Sunday or something, they ask a missionary to teach that class. I don't know why, and the manual they gave me is called "Se Preparer pour l'Exaltation", which means "To Prepare Oneself for Exaltation", something like that. And I don't know why I'm using that manual. I felt like I should have been using some primary book, something to get their darn attention. But I think its an all youth class, from 12 and up. But I do know that often the older kids go to a different class so they can actually learn, probably.

Yeah, I still have my little notebook where I write down my (French) words I don't know. And today I actually gave the district meeting lesson, which we do in French, and one other missionary said he could tell I was looking in the dictionary, so I guess its helping. (Do any of the elders in your apartment speak English?) So of the elders here, there are 3 missionaries not from an English speaking place, one speaks pretty good-ish English, and the other 2 not really. So we speak most often French in the apartement. As for Elder Buck, (The new elder who is bringing Eric's camera) he's not here yet. I have been told he will get here tomorrow.

(Are you writing in your journal regularly?) My journal writing is better. I don't write daily because sometimes at night I'm too tired or lazy, but I would say I write a little more often than every other night. But I make sure I don't skip more than 2 nights, because then I might miss too much. But that's still something I can get better on. Also, I try to use good handwriting, but sometimes that doesn't happen, especially if its just before I go to bed. And I've had 4 comps: Elder Wilkins (MTC), Elder Terneiden and Elder Lee (Bonabéri), and now Elder Parsons (Pointe-Noire).

(We sent you a package-but shipped it to Cameroon.) I'll keep an eye out for the package that's coming, but I won't be surprised if I won't get it for a while. I say that, because President says he won't be coming back here until July, and he went to Cameroon at the beginning of the week. So unless he goes to Cameroon again before he comes to Pointe-Noire, I'll have to wait at least 2 months. But as long as it gets here, without stuff getting stolen, that will be good. And yes, I'm taking vitamins, using sunscreen, I got enough contact solution, all that kind of stuff is fine I would say. (Typical mom questions.)

(I am teaching a lesson about becoming a teacher. What helped you prepare to be a teacher?) So, what helped me the most in preparing to teach on my mission... I would say is studying the scriptures, most of all the Book of Mormon. What happens when you do that often, daily preferably, is that you are often reminded of Christ and what he has done for us. And then you learn the teachings and doctrines of the Church, and how it is unique from every other church on the Earth.

(Tell us more about the security at your apartment.) So the security for the house isn't really security, we just have a guy we call a guardien, who waters plants and sweeps up and stuff outside. And he usually comes in the morning around 8:30 and finishes before noon. So its not really security, but maintenance. But the complex in surrounded by a wall, with barbed wired stuff on top. I'll just send some pictures of it when I get a camera, I think that would be the best way to explain it. But its just our building, which are two apartements together, its not a neighborhood liked that. We are in a neighborhood, or a quartier, if tha'ts the same thing, but every house has its own walls around it.

(Tell us about the chapel you meet in.) So the chapel here is really, nice, but soon they are going to run out of space. The chapel probably fits 130, maybe, but each branch is getting filled up nearly to the max each Sunday. Its probably the same size as your chapel, if you do not open up the gym area. But it actually was built so that they could build more as the Church got bigger here. There isn't a gym or basketball hoop yet, but I actually think they do plan on having a cultural hall, even with a basketball hoop, at some point.

Since I've gotten my cleats, I think I've only used them twice, both times in Bonabéri, playing football once and American football. But now there are more missionaries, and so we will be playing soccer more often here, maybe even later today.

So about my flight from Douala, there was something that was very unusual that happened: it was on time. Basically every time before, it late. But both the Willis' and the Baxters were surprised it was on time. I think the name of the airlines was Trans Air Congo, something like that.

Alright, I think that was all the questions. So the first thing, was something I thought about this week, when we got the new elders. Its just about the diversity of the missionaries here, but all with the same purpose to share the Gospel. We have 4 missionaries from USA (all different states), 1 from Canada, 2 from Congo Kinshasa, 1 from the Ivory Coast, and 1 from Zambia. Plus we are all serving here in Congo Brazza, that makes 6 different countries. So that just shows how the Church really is true and the same everywhere. Just something interesting I thought about this week.

This week I also taught another lesson at church. In the branches here they have a class during Sunday school especially for amis de l'église and recent converts, and its usually a missionary or branch missionary who teaches it. And so it was just my turn this past Sunday, I taught on the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was pretty easy, at least compared to the lesson from the previous Sunday.

But one unfortunate thing was this week I got sick. Twice actually, on Friday and yesterday. It was only really that bad yesterday. We ended up staying in all day. But lets just say I weigh less than I did at the beginning of the week This morning I weighed 159.6 lbs, which is basically minus 20 lbs since the end of my MTC stay.

So that's pretty much things here, we also had to move rooms to make everything work with the Baxters leaving and the new missionaries. President also said there will be a new couple coming in July, so we only have to survive one transfer without a senior couple. And at the next transfer, we will be getting 10 new north American missionaires, not 20. But that's still kind of a lot. But it'll be good, lots of new areas opening up or getting split. I hope you guys have a good week, thanks all for writing me and everything you do!

Je vous aime,
- Elder Palmer

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