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.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Eric's email of May 13, 2010

So from Jacob's email, I understood almost everything, except the last sentence didn't make sense to me. So besides a few grammar errors, that was actually an ok translation.

So responses to (not so) quick questions from Dad:

So the church organization in Pointe-Noire: Here there are only 2 branches. I don't think we are part of any stake or district or anything, just the Pointe-Noire branch and the Aéroport branch. There are 3 missionary companionships, and Elder Parsons and I are the one that work in some of both. But today during district meeting, we actually spent time looking at the map and dividing the city in 6 secteurs. So it looks like that will happen and the end of next transfer, 3 companionships in each branch. And President has also said he is going to put another branch here soon, and also find another building or two. So things will start to grow a lot faster, from all that. I would say there are between 100 to 120 people that show up to each branch Sunday.

(Mark asked if they speak French French or African French.) So Congolese French, just uses France French. Also the same with Cameroon. We just say numbers in the normal France french way. But something I've kinda heard more about, is that France is still kinda in control of the french speaking African countries down here. Apparently the English speaking and Portuguese speaking countries of Africa are able to develop better and stuff, because England and Portugal and all those countries are out, completely. But from what I've heard, from many sources, is that France still influences a lot of stuff in Congo, and take a lot of the profit of things from these countries. Which explains a bit why Congo and other french speaking African countries are behind the others. That's just what some Congolese people and other missionaries told me.

Anyways, so about the camera. We actually didn't have time to go anywhere today, because we had to spend time getting a new phone. It fell out of Elder Parsons' pocket when we were getting out of a taxi. That was Tuesday, so Wednesday we went to the MTN (the big phone company here) store to get a new phone and our old number. But the line was over a 3 hour wait yesterday. We went today again, and got lucky because its some holiday that I forgot the name of, so there weren't very many people there. But to answer the question, no I didn't look at cameras.

(What is the weather like?)
Right now in Pointe-Noire it is dry season. Here it is opposite of Cameroon, I think because we are on the other side of the equator. But dry season here isn't as harsh as in Douala. Here there is often a nice breeze and its just not as hot, thankfully. But I left Douala at the end of its dry season, and got to Pointe-Noire for the beginning of its dry season. And I'm told that dry season is much better here than rainy season, because during rainy season it is also hot and muggy.

Unfortunately, I cannot get the pamplemousse soda here. That was a brand called "Top", who had topamplemousse, topgrenadine, topanana and stuff. But that's a Cameroon brand, done by "les Brasseries du Cameroon". But here they still have Coca Cola, Sprite, and Fanta, so its fine. They do have more Fanta flavors here though, like strawberry, citron, and grenadine. I really like the strawberry one. One time I did see a few Mountain Dews in a boutique somewhere. Oh, and I forgot to tell Dad this. A couple p-days ago, in a "Park 'n' Shop", one of the two real kinda grocery stores, I found Perrier. And I got one. Still don't like it. Guess I'm still not old enough to like soda water.

So there's the questions. Lets see, what has happened since I talked to you all on the phone... On Mardi (Tuesdays) we did set a baptismal date with the mom and dad of a family. They are called Ruston and Ordre. Ruston, the father, we just saw on the road at the Poudrierre one day with his friend. Elder Parsons and I had no rendezvous scheduled, so we were looking, and they let us share our message with them. Ruston's wife Ordre, and about 4 other people ended up joining us. And that was about 2 and a half weeks ago. Then 2 Sundays ago, they came to church, I didn't see them there, because I was busy doing something else, but Elder Parsons saw and talked to them, but didn't recognize them exactly. But he did set up a rendezvous, and later that evening had an epiphany and remembered. So we taught them all about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon and last week, they came to church again. And the past Sunday their branch watched a session of conference, and they both liked it, especially Ordre. But last week Souer Ordre had asked us "qu'est-ce que nous devons faire pour etre sauvé?". (What must we do to be saved?) Good question. So we started teaching the Gospel, taught faith and repentance at the end of last week. Then on Tuesday we talked about baptism. They both had many questions already about it. Talked about the restoration of the Priesthood and such, we had left them 2 Nephi 31 to read. And so at the end of the lesson we set a date for the 5th of June, yay! So they are awesome. The only problem, is that they are not actually married, which is a common thing here. The process to get married traditionally is complicated and expensive, and its not good to the family to skip traditional marriage and get civilly married. But the church (thanks to modern revelation, I assume) has said people in this situation can get baptized if the traditional marriage process has been started. And to do that, they have to do "la premiere presentation". This includes some food and drinks, unfortunately a good amount of wine, and things that the husband must present to the family of the wife. But once this first presentation has been done, the Church has said they can become members. So we will have to make sure Ruston and Ordre get going on that.

One other cool story. There is this one ami de l'église named Dieudonné Matinga. He is a cordonnée from some member, and he also has been at church the past 2 weeks. He already has a really strong testimony, kind of amazingly. But also on Tuesday, we had a lesson with him, just our second time, but we brought a Book of Mormon for him. And after we had explained the Book of Mormon, he told us about this dream he had had. Its a reoccurring dream every so often since '87, he said. And in the dream, and voice or person or something tells him to "read in the Gospel of Jesus", chapter 10 verse 16. The first time he had this dream, he woke up, and didn't really know what to do. He thought to read somewhere in the New Testament, but didn't know where. But then he had a friend, who told him, "well, which apostle was the beloved apostle of Christ?" or something like that. But that would be, John. So John, 10:16. That is the verse about "I have sheep not of this fold, but that will hear my voice", something like that. And so when Dieudonné told us in John, me and Elder Parsons looked at each other, because we knew. So after he was done explaining, we told him the real meaning of that verse, and read in 3 Nephi 15:21-24, where Christ explains exactly what he meant in John 10:16. So that was pretty amazing. And Frere Matinga was pretty excited about the Book of Mormon.

Well, I hope this week goes well for everyone. Oh, and one thing I forgot: so the Willis' leave at the end of the month, and so do the Baxters. From what I know, there will be another couple in Douala, but not here in Pointe-Noire. So that'll be a little bit of a bummer. So yeah, just wanted to mention that before I forgot. Enjoy the week, and thanks again for the emails, I really appreciate them. And I expect one from Andrea next week, because even Scott wrote me today, ha.

Je vous aime,
- Eric

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