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, July 3, 2010

Eric's email of July 1, 2010

Hey, whats up?

(Do you know anyting about transfers?) So yeah, I've got transfer news. I'm staying in Pointe-Noire, but I'm changing sectors. Actually, I'm just going back to part that used to be in my sector my first transfer here, but we split it and gave it to a new companionship. But now I'll just be going on the other side of the grand avenue, and I'll have a new companion. His name is Elder Bally, he's from the Ivory Coast. He's already been in Pointe-Noire for a transfer, so I kind of know him, he's cool. The only potential issue, is that his French is hard to understand sometimes. I've heard that Ivory Coast French is different anyways, but that Elder Bally's accent is pretty heavy. But I bet I'll get used to it. And those transfers are in effect tomorrow. (Is your new companion in a past picture?) Yeah, I think I remember the picture, it is indoors, right? If it is that one, he is the African elder to the left of me. (See June 22nd posting.)

Alright, I'm gonna make a phone call real quick and get the mailing address for here:

Elder Eric Palmer
Eglise de Jésus-Christ des Saints des Derniers Jours
P.O. Box 1052
Pointe-Noire, Republique du Congo

So there you go. And I would probably follow the same rules for packages you would send to Douala, nothing too big. And make sure the name of the Church is on anything.

(Do you get The New Era? There is an article in June's edition about a soccer team.) No, we do not get the New Era, I don't think that is in French. I think the Liahona is the only thing translated into all these languages. But now inside the Liahona they have sections like the Friend and the New Era. But we pretty much only get the General Conference Liahonas, and they come a couple months late. So you can send me that article if you want, Mom.

(Mark's email)

So Congo, and pretty much anyone in Africa, is supporting Ghana. They will give you trash talk like they play on the Ghana national team themselves. Not everyone, but some people. I was hoping the USA would beat Ghana, so that no one could make fun of us, but that didn't happen, unfortunately. But if people here can cheer for anyone from Africa like that, I guess the American continent still has (or did have at least) Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina.

What is the weather like these days? And is it much different than what is going on in Cameroon? Does being on the other side of the equator make much of a difference?)The weather is actually kind of nice here. In the mornings when we run, its actually cold. Cold that I even want to wear a jacket sometimes. I might buy a light jacket sometime soon, by the way. Right now its cooler than Douala, but Yaoundé can still get cooler. I think mainly the other side of the equator just switches rainy season and dry season. Here its dry season, up in Cameroon its rainy season. (Speaking of other side of the equator, what direction does the water swirl when it goes down the drain? Clockwise or counter clockwise?) And I checked that water swirling thing, and I thought it was going to spin the other way. If you tell me in the next email what direction it spins up there, I'll check. One time I checked that by flushing the toilet, but it just looked like it flushed straight down to me.

(What side of the road do people drive on? I assume right… and that it’s the same across Africa.) In Africa, almost everyone drives on the right side of the road, like here in Congo and in Cameroon. But South Africa drives on the left, because England settled them, I guess, and I think Madagascar drives on the left. Might be others, but the most part is the right side of the road.

What are the three most common brands/models of cars in the Congo? Any makes that we wouldn’t recognize here in the states? Ah, Dad, you are asking car questions, and I have little to no knowledge on that. I do know that the taxis are all Toyota Corolla. Not the exact same as the scooter at home, (the teenager mobile) but they all say Toyota Corolla on them. I asked Elder Ritchie who is sitting next to me, and he says Toyota is the most common. One time I saw a Ford I think. But I haven't seen any brands that I've never heard of. Maybe some of the models are different, but I think all the brands here se trouvent aux Etats-Unis.

So biggest news is about the baptism from Saturday. Elder Parsons and I had 4 amis de l'église get baptized: Frère Matsinga, Frère Fabrice, Souer Berline, and Frère Boris. We were expecting two other people, but they were out of town for the weekend, because of a funeral, so hopefully they'll be there for the next service. But these new converts are going to be really strong members, I think. First off, Frère Matsinga could seriously be like Elders Quorum President if they needed him. Frère Fabrice is also just someone we found on the road one day who asked us who we were, and was pretty much already prepared by the Lord to change his life and keep all the commandments. I believe I have already recounted his story of smoking 10 times a day to nothing in 2 weeks. Those 2, Frère Matsinga and Frère Fabrice just need to lead their families into the church now. Since they are the cheifs of the family, they can help us talk to the whole family and lead them to church and stuff. Souer Berline is a yong womens age girl, who doesn't have a whole lot of facts and info from the Bible, but I think she basically just felt the Spirit at church and received a confirmation to her prayers that the Church is true. And then she followed it. It also helped that she has cousins and a grandma who are members of the church. And then Frère Boris, he's one who took some time and some exhorting to get his life in order, but it finally happened. We actually lost contact with him a couple months ago, but about 4 weeks ago, I saw him while we were in a taxi, he saw us, and I yelled out to him to be at church. He's been back at church ever since, he actually made a bunch of changes by himself since we lost contact, and we progressed smoothly to his baptism thankfully. The best thing all they can do now is be examples for their families.

Also for the baptism, the pump wasn't working. We had to fill up the indoor font by buckets. When we finally got more missionaries and people there to help us it wasn't bad, but at first things looked not so good. It would've been cool to have a beach baptism, maybe one day. But we got the font filled up even though we started about an hour late, then we had English class immediately after. This week I taught in English class numbers and date and time.

Well, I'll be a little bit sad to leave this sector. But the blessing is that I will see all the people who progress and that I like the best at church each Sunday at least. We have another family who is progressing nicely, and on Tuesday the father, Falvin, asked us "Qu'est-ce qu'on doit faire pour se faire baptiser?" That's always a question I like to be asked.

I also learned a couple good life skills this week. I learned how to make pancakes, and I learned how to make peanut sauce. For the pancakes I also learned how to make syrup, but its too runny (I don't know if Mom would have any idea how to made syrup more thick maybe?) And peanut sauce is a very African something. You buy this stuff that is basically peanut butter without sugar, and just make it like tomato sauce. Its really good just on rice. Oh, and Dad if you still know that African food store, you can go there and ask if they have stuff for peanut sauce. And one other thing that would be interesting if they had, is called "manioc". Not sure on spelling. But I don't know of a real African meal without manioc.

Well I hope you lucky dogs enjoy this family vacation dealio. I wish I could be there, and eat Oreos off my forehead. (Minute to Win It game with cousins) But thanks for all you do for me, and pray that I will receive the gift of interpretation of tongues.

Je vous aime,
- Eric

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