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, August 5, 2010

Eric's email of August 5th, 2010

Alright, so first thing before I forget, is that a few weeks ago I asked about the brother of Elder Lamm, who is a new missionary here. Elder Lamm's brother goes to VCU and is a dental student, is married with 3 kids, probably in his 4th year, and his name is Brent Lamm. So he's probably somewhere out there in our ward or Gayton. Dad can check that.

Alright, quick questions:

So if I'm getting a 526 FCFA to American $$$, that is a lot better rate than what I can get with my cash. The best I found was 450 to the dollar. So, I'll probably do that from now on if I need some moola. They didn't with hold anything, I got the whole 20,000.

(Do you need to replace the white shirts and/or gray pants?) I don't think I'll need to replace the shirts or pants right now. If I lose and/or destroy anymore clothes, then maybe I might have to find something, and I should be able to find them here. But if I make these shirts and pants and everything last to the end, that'll be fine. And I think I will be able to.

(Do you have addresses for your apartments? Not for mailing things, but so that I can try to find your apartment on Google maps or some other mapping website.) Addresses for the apartements? Ha, il n'y en a pas. (They don't exist) At least nothing close to like it is in the US. Usually there is a number outside of each house or apartement thing, but I don't know the names of any roads or anything like that. And actually we are not moved into our new apartement yet, I'll tell you about that in a sec. But where we will be moving is in a neighborhood called "Lussala". I don't know if I spelled it right, but that's how it sounds. So its somewhere in Lussala, Pointe-Noire. If you happen to find "Fond Tie-Tie" on google world or whatever, its close to there.

So now I'll explain this whole apartement thing. At the end of last transfer, there were 10 missionaries living in basically a double apartement. And at the new transfer, it became 12 missionaries plus the Gates in Pointe-Noire, but 4 moved into a new apartement. So then we had 10 again in this double apartement. But this transfer they found 2 other new apartements. But 1 is still not ready today. The one that is still not ready, they thought it was going to take a long time, so Elder Bally and I were going to go to a new apartement that was ready, because it was closer to our sector, and then in a couple months move again. But now, that other one is supposed to be done soon. So 4 other elders moved to that new apartement that was ready, and Elder Bally and I are staying with Elder Lee and Elder Lamm and the Gates', and we evacuated half of the double apartement, so we only have one side now. And now, we are going to move to our new apartement in Lussala before the end of this transfer, hopefully. There is about a week and a half left in this transfer. And Elder Bally and I actually ran into the guy who is in charge of that apartement. He says everything should be done next week down there, except the wall they are supposed to put up that will separate our apartement from the neighboring one that is kind of connected. He told us it is hard to find cement, I don't know how true that is. So yeah, if all goes according to plan, we 4 should head out there soon. And we also want to find a different apartement for the Gates as well. So that's that right now.

(You mentioned that milk can be bought but it’s expensive and “different.” By any chance is it sterilized milk that comes in a box?) So as for milk, right now I use powdered milk if I drink it. If found this brand called Kerrygolds, and its the best of the powder milks. Doesn't clump, tastes ok. Not much more you can ask for here. There is also instant milk like that, but in goopy sugar concentrate form. I don't really like that one. But you can also buy actual milk, well I think its actual milk, at the real grocery stores. I actually plan on doing that tonight, because last week Sister Gates made us brownies and she gave us a little bit of that milk with it, and it was so much better than my powder milk. There probably is sterilized milk that comes in a box, but I've never had it. And Dad, I almost bought Nutella last week, but then I realized I didn't even have enough money on me to pay for the Nutella. And peanut butter is darn expensive here. I can't wait to go to Walmart again one day.

(Has "Divine" called you again?) Ha, so first off about the "Divine" that was calling. She hasn't called back ever since she talked to Elder Lee. So no worries there, haha.

(Grandpa Bob did not think the picture of rice and fries looked very appetizing.) So about the fries and rice mixture, I don't really know why we did that. The best reason I can give, is because then it is easier to eat. It was pretty good though, maybe Grandpa Bob could try that dish. Peanut sauce is still going well, I actually had left the meal group I was in with Elder Lee and Elder Lamm, because we thought that we were moving to different apartements. So last week I had bought food just for myself, and to make life easy, I had made a lot of peanut sauce and heated up in our microwave at the end of the day. So, I've eaten a lot of peanut sauce recently. But now that Elders Lee and Lamm and I are staying together, I'm back in their group. But I can't think of any new dishes I've had lately, I haven't actually had a "mangez-vous" in a long time either. I should fix that.

I don't think mangez-vous is a real word, but I'll tell you what it means to missionaries. So normally we say rendezvous, but if you have an appointement where you are going to eat food, it is a mangez-vous. And that word got created because "manger" means "to eat". So its just a rendezvous where you get fed.

So in Elder Bally and mine's sector, missionary work seems to be doing a bit better as of late. This weekend there will be a baptism, and we have 3 people who should get baptized. There are also a few others who are ready, but they need to wait for President Headlee to come first, because unfortunately a lot of people need that special interview deal.

But yesterday Elder Bally and I had a really good rendezvous with one amie de l'église, la Souer Grace. There are sooooo many Graces, both male and female, in this country that it is not even funny. But we have been teaching Grace for a little over 2 weeks now I think, and she came to church for the first time this past Sunday. But I usually enjoy her rendezvous for 2 reasons: one is because I can tell she is really sincere and wants to know where the truth is, and the other reason is because she usually asks us questions that I find humorous. But anyways, we saw her yesterday, and she told us about a dream she had the night before. In this dream, I don't know where she was, but there was this guy that came up and talked to her. And this guy was like a giant, because she said she never looked up so see his face, but he was just huge. But she asked him where she should go to church, and the giant guy replied by saying she should stay at the church she went to the past Sunday. Also, this giant guy read her a verse from the Book of Mormon. But she says she forgot what the verse talked about, or the reference. The only thing she remembers is that is was from the book of Nephi. So hopefully she finds that verse one day. And most of all I hope she realizes that dream was an answer to her prayers. This is just another example of how people and cultures that give more credit to their dreams and take them seriously, seem to receive items of significance through dreams. I hope that last sentence made sense.

Also today we had a lesson that was not in French. Elder Bally and I had a first rendezvous with someone, started talking, and we recognized that he didn't speak French too well. Then Elder Bally just went into Lingala, which is one of the 4 national languages here. He knows it, because he spent 6 months in Kinshasa, and all they speak there pretty much is Lingala. I was able to follow the lesson though, because they mix in French words.

So that's about that right now. We also played basketball again this morning. I still am not playing very well. I hope we play soccer soon, because I'm better at that. I hope everyone at home enjoys these last weeks of summer, that was the fastest summer ever. Scott, Jacob, and Andrea, don't be in denial. (about school)

Je vous aime,
- Eric

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