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, September 16, 2010

Eric's email of September 16th, 2010

Alright family, I'm starting to write this email again while I wait for the page to load, hopefully I have good luck like last week. But I'll start with the highlight of the week, which was the weekend in Douala.

So Friday morning we left the apartement at 6:30 to arrive at the bus station at 7 AM. Then we took a 4 hour-ish bus ride from Yaoundé to Douala, with no bathroom on the bus, which became a small challenge. But we made it there without incident. Then 8 of the 12 Yaoundé missionaries went to stay in Bonabéri, and the other 4 went in to Bonapriso. And since I served in Bonabéri and Elder Acorda served in Bonapriso, we split up for the weekend. But Friday consisted of a Douala versus Yaoundé American football game. We lost 5 touchdowns to 8, I think. I'm not gonna name any names, but... I only got 3 catches...

But the mission conference was held on Saturday in the Bonabéri church. There were 20 missionaries (12 from Yaoundé, 8 from Douala), the 2 missionary couples (the Thompsons of Yaoundé, and the Nuttals of Douala), President and Sister Headlee, and Elder F. Michael Watson and Sister Watson of the 70. Something pretty interesting about Elder Watson is that before he was a member of the 70, he was the secretary to the 1st Presidency, and he knew and worked with 7 presidents of the Church, from President Monson and the 6 before him.

The main thing that I retained from what Elder Watson taught as, actually came from the Old Testament, if you can believe that. It came from Exodus chapter 13, I think. I might be wrong. But somewhere in there, il y a (there is) a story about when Moses was judging everyone, and basically having PPIs with everyone in the known world. Then Moses' beau-père (father-in-law) asked him why he was doing that, and told him that he cannot do all that himself. The beau-père said that Moses needs to organize everyone, and basically make stakes and wards and quorums and all that and give callings. I think Elder Watson called this the "Moses _______ Syndrome". I forgot, I must consult my notes, but it was actually Exodus 18. Oh, and we also learned that we will not getting any new North American elders until January. And since we lose 3 this month and 4 more in December, that could be a challenge. And right now in January there is only 1 arriving. Things kind of got messed up with the mission being split, a whole bunch got sent at once which made us increase and create more areas, and now we have less and will lose more. So we'll see. I think this transfer could be an interesting one.

But Saturday after our conference, we didn't really have anything planned, so I went with Elder Kesler (who I replaced when I went to Bonabéri, and lived with in Pointe-Noire and also here in Yaoundé) and Grant (who has been a member a year-ish and is the man) to go visit people. We saw most of the members and people we wanted to, and it was really cool. But, it felt like I had only been gone for 3 days, like I had just been in Bonabéri last week. I guess I wasn't even away that long, but it was different with the new church, and also Ancienne Route has been finished. All the construction is done, you can take a taxi all up and down the road, and they even planted grass and trees on the sides, have a bike lane which will probably just become a sidewalk or another place for motos to take short cuts, and even street lights. It looks really nice and green.

And then Sunday everyone from Bonabéri went in town to Bonapriso for church where Elder Watson gave a talk after the Sacrament. Also during that meeting, President Headlee announced than next month there will be a branch in Bonabéri! So that was awesome to hear, I will be excited to hear who gets which callings and such. But Elder Watson bore a strong testimony on the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ, and left them with a blessing found in Alma 7:27. (And now, may the peace of God rest upon you, and upon your houses and lands, and upon your flocks and herds, and all that you possess, your women and your children, according to your faith and good works, from this time forth and forever.  And thus I have spoken.  Amen.)

So those where the highlights from the trip to Douala.  We left Douala at 9 AM and got back around 12:30. But right now, I am happy to be in normal missionary mode. And I'm also happy because it is cooling down. Even though the rain is coming, the temperature is cooler. I would much rather have rain and coolness, rather than heat and burn and sweat. The only problem is that if it rains, then the clouds go away and the sun comes out, its the worst.

So now that we are back in Yaoundé in normal mode, things are going normally, except we had to cancel our baptismal service for this Saturday. This is actually the second one we had to cancel in a row, which means no baptisms in Yaoundé for the month of September, bummer. The problem is that we have progressing investigators and people ready and everything, but we need special interviews done by the mission president. And well, President Headlee is basically in charge of the church in 5 countries, so he isn't in Cameroon too often. This is something he is already looking in to fixing, but it kind of stinks.

(Why do the kids yell "hee-haw at you?) So kids here say "hee-haw", because thats how they think you say hello in chinese. Really it is pronounced "ni hao", but since they don't give a crud, and honestly lots of people are really ignorant, lots of people just say "hee-haw" to anyone that could possibly look remotly at all Asian. (Eric does not look Asian.)  It was also very common in Congo. I think if Elder Sang Lee (another missionary from our ward) was here, that would drive him to the edge of insantiy, because he actually is Asian.

Oh, and yes I got the package from the Headlee's last weekend, too. (His one-year package!)  I already ate my Sour Patch Kids, yum. As for Elder Bally's cantique, (hymnal) I'll have to send that with the Headlee's next time I see them, but I'll be sure to do that. Also, Elder Acorda was very excited about the seasoning packets we got, because he knows how to make more food than me. I'm still limited to peanut sauce and pancakes, so I should probably learn something new, soon.

And speaking of Elder Acorda, he is better-ish. He did get sick again over the weekend, something that he and 3 other elders in Bonapriso got. He literally was sneezing 50 times an hour. I swear I never heard someone sneeze so much. When we got back from Douala he pretty much just slept while I scheduled our week and studied. Not to be a jerk, but I couldn't stand being in our room so I went and studied in the living room because I couldn't handle all his sneezing. But we called Sister Thompson, she told him what to do.  I injected hydrogen peroxide in his ears, and now he is pretty much better, but still a little bit sneezy.

(What’s the difference between “the village” and the city?)  And the village is something very important in Africa. So like you know the 2 biggest cities of Cameroon are Yaoundé (the political capital) and Douala (the economical capital). And there are other fairly large places of note like Bamenda, Boya, Limbé, and Kribi. But from my knowledge those places are nothing like the cities of Yaoundé and Douala. Then besides those places there are countless number of villages, and each person and family has their own village. Some peoples' village is not far from the city, for example Grant lives in Bonabéri, and that is his family's village. Also there is a place Elder Acorda and I go here called Messassi, that is "the village" for some people. But all over Cameroon there are towns, large and small and super tiny, that are "the village". And most of them each have there own pas-toi,(dialect) many are very similar and can communicate with each other, but that explains why there are 200+ languages in Cameroon. And many of them are very primitive.

(For future sports updates, which NFL teams do you care about?)  As for NFL, most of all I care about the Redskins. You can also add Alex Smith & the 49ers if they do anything of note, and Eric Weddle and the Chargers if they do anything of note. But most of all the Redskins.

Transfers are also coming up, maybe even this time next week I'll know what will happen. Pretty darn sure I'll stay, because last 3 transfers I've been in 3 sectors with 3 different companions, but on ne sait jamais. (one never knows)  I hope everyone is enjoying life, even if school is annoying and not the funnest. But if you can believe this, I actually kind of miss school. And not just "college" and having fun and stuff like that, but actually studying and learning science and such things. So be grateful!

Je vous aime,
- Eric

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