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.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Eric's email of Sep 2, 2010

Well, I’m writing this on a word document while I’m waiting for myldsmail to load. Me, Elder Acorda, Elder Kadiata, and Elder Wilkins spent the past half hour going around looking for a place with a connection, this was our 5th one. I probably would have given up if this last one had no connection.

So, I know the first thing I need to write about are the 3 most notable things or events that happened from Pointe-Noire.

1. Getting my stuff stolen. I got stolen from a total of 3 times. First time was my camera out of my backpack when Elder Parsons and I were walking from Fond TieTie to a rendezvous. I just kept my backpack on normally, rather than flipping it around to my front. We walked about 10 or 15 minutes and got where we were supposed to meet the ami de l’église, stopped to buy some peanuts from a callbox lady, and both the little pockets were open. They chose only to steal the camera, and not my little hymn book or anything else. But I was pretty disappointed after that. Then the second one I believe was when I got my badge and cell phone stolen, also at Fond TieTie. Elder Parsons and I were there a little later than usual buying groceries. And as we crossed the round point to get to the buses, some guy bumped me, I thought he was just trying to not get hit by the taxis, then I walk a couple more steps, and the badge and cell phone were gone. (This was only a couple weeks after we had just gotten a new phone because Parsons lost the last one in a taxi.) Then the third a final time, was when I got my triple combination in French lost. One Sunday I left my backpack in church in the hall for a few hours, after I left with Elder Parsons and a branch missionary, my backpack felt a bit light, checked it out and the triple was gone. But from all this, I learned really how unimportant those things are. I did get lucky with the camera getting sent with Elder Buck, and a couple weeks ago Sister Headlee brought me a new triple in French, its nicer than my old one, too. I had been using just one of the normal Book of Mormons we give out. So what I learned there, is that none of those worldly possessions really matter.

2. Getting put with Elder Bally. This was also a big learning experience, because this was the first companionship were we actually disagreed on a number of things and didn't get along all the time. Now when I think about that transfer, its one that I am glad that happened, but I am also glad its over. But by the end I was able to figure out how to make things as least painful as possible and still make an effective missionary companionship. Honestly, if it went on to a second, I don't know what would have happened. But mostly, that transfer I remember funny things Elder Bally did or said, and also what I learned about working with people that don't agree with you very often.

3. So those first 2 I thought of pretty easily earlier in the week, but now I need to think of number 3… alright I think I got one. There was one point when I was with Elder Parsons, and it was the Sunday after a baptismal service. It was a pretty large baptism, but Elder Parsons and I where a little bit disappointed because we didn’t have any one of our amis get baptized. It wasn’t that we were sad because our numbers didn’t look as good, but just more a little let down due to the lack of progression by who we were teaching. And so that Sunday I fasted, mostly just so that Elder Parsons and I would work as effectively as possible and do everything in our power, and be led to those who want and are looking for the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And this experience gave me a real testimony that fasting actually works when you do it correctly. Soon after, Elder Parsons and I were lead to some really solid people, notably Frère Matsinga and his family, Frère Fabrice, and Souer Clarice and her family.

The biggest news among us missionaries in Cameroon right now is the mission conference we will have next week. There will actually be a member of the 70 coming with President and Sister Headlee, Elder Watson (I think). If you look in the Liahona or Ensign or whatever you have of August, they show a map of all the general authorities’ assignments, Cameroon is in number 22. I saw Elder Runland when we went to Brazzaville, and its not Koelliker or whoever, I’m pretty sure its Elder Watson that is coming this time. But for this mission conference, we will all be going down to Douala! And the Thompsons have said that some missionaries will be staying in Bonaberi, so I told Souer Thompson that I already call a spot there. (Eric's previous area.) We will go down the morning of Friday the 10th, and come back up Monday the 13th. So I hope and think I will have some time to see some people in Bonaberi! And Elder Parsons is there, so that will be cool to see him again.

This internet is being slow, and I don't know why, because both the people next to me are getting it to work fine.

So things are starting to pick up a little bit for Elder Acorda and me, but very slowly. The thing that is bugging me the most is the number of amis at church each week we have, which then effects the number of progressing amis. Coming from Pointe Noire where we have 2 (nearly) fully functioning branches with a nice LDS chapel and all that. But in comp study Elder Acorda and I read something that really hit me in chapter 9 about the importance of members, which is something that I think gets overlooked often. There is a story in there about a missionary who got transferred to a ward that had been struggling in missionary work and baptisms for a while, due to the lack of missionary efforts and other things. But this missionary decided they needed to gain the confidence of members, so he started with the bishops and then the other members. They also talked with everyone possible when they weren’t with members. When the members saw the efforts they put in and that they were willing to serve them, they trusted them and presented them to many of their friends, and said that many baptisms followed. So, I saw that Elder Acorda and I weren’t really doing that, besides a couple members we saw often. So that’s my new big goal. Our branch president is named President Gwet, and hopefully this Sunday evening after church Acorda and I, and the other 2 missionaries of our branch Elder Kesler and Elder Lamb, will be able to go over to President Gwets’, and from there we will do that with as many members as possible. We are still thinking about exactly how we will serve them and what we will teach members, but yeah. Elder Kesler suggested today to make a cake.

Alright, I might be sending this in FastMail, because myldsmail is being a pain. So that means I might not be able to read any of your emails or answer any of your questions, sorry.

Yesterday was kind of a bummer. After we had our district meeting (in which I gave the lesson. I took it from an article that Elder Ballard had in the July Liahona called “Fair connaitre l’Evangile avec assurance”, you should read it if you haven’t), and then we left. We had a good rendezvous with Frère Alexandre on the Plan of Salvation. He's a good ami, but I hope he comes to church this week because he lives really close, we just gave him his Book of Mormon, and I want people to start keeping their commitments because that makes me happy. Anyways, Elder Acorda was pretty much sneezing and sniffling the whole time. He wanted to go to at least our next rendezvous, but I convinced him to go back to the apartment and sleep, because that rendezvous was with a family, and if he got their kids sick they wouldn’t have enough money to take care of them well. So I basically learned how boring it is to sit in your apartment as a missionary and not have much to do. I cleaned the kitchen (what???) and listened to about 3 hours of conference. Then I finished the August Liahona and marked some scriptures. Its was nice to get in a big fat nice study like that, but it was boring. I hope I never have to do that again. And especially after recently having my year mark, I realize I don’t have a lot of time to be a full time missionary, which is another motivation to never be lazy and do as much as possible.

Oh, there might be some hope! I switched from Explorer to Mozilla, and it finally loaded the login screen, so we will see if this one displays myldsmail.

Well, one thing I have become “trunky” for this week is the temple. If you don’t know what trunky means, you can ask cousin Dave. But after reading some Liahona articles and such, I’ve really missed going to the temple. Its another one of those things that is such a huge blessing, but you don’t realize how important it is until you can't go to it for 22 months. But now, going to the temple is something I actually want to do often, rather than just some place we go to once or twice a year as a youth that is kind of fun. Its was good before, but now its one of the biggest things I’ll be looking forward to when I get home.

Alright, I finally just got myldsmail up! I’ll respond to your questions and then send it away!

First off, Dad, I thought you would know what a coordonnée is. But English speaking missionaries call them referrals, however you spell it.

I’ll get the Thompsons’ email this week, and unless I saw otherwise, I’m pretty sure the mailing address to use here is the same one for Douala.

Also Mom, that was Elder Wilkins, not WilkinsON. There is a different missionary named Elder Wilkinson down in Douala, just for reference.

No, I haven’t played very much soccer since Bonaberi, honestly. But next week during the mission conference, I heard the missionaries in Douala want to play some sports, so I’ll be pulling for futbol.

Well, before today I thought Yaoundé was the best. But now that finally myldsmail loaded I’ll save money. In Pointe-Noire I was paying 2000, but here I'm only paying 600.

(When you say you were out of money last week, is that because the area is so big and you need to travel so much? Or was there another reason?) And on the cash situation, I actually already gave my self a little boost last week, but no worries there. It just helped me learn to budget well.

Alright, well I better try to send this off before the internet dies or if it takes a long time. I love you all, sorry though for the kids because they have to go back to school, but happy for Mom because, well, that of course makes Mom happy.

Je vous aime,

- Eric

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