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 23, 2010

Eric's Email of September 23, 2010

Hallo famille,

So first off last night we got transfers and, well, I'm just stayin put, so is Elder Acorda.  But since we lose 3 elders at the end of this transfer, some areas got joined in to others.  But the best news I got today now, is that Bonabéri will become a branch in late October or early December! (Eric's first area!)

So first off I want to make sure to answer all questions. (Are the socks we sent comfy?)  So yes those socks you sent are very nice and very comfortable.  And do keep my feet dryer.  But they don't match that well, but that's no problem to me.

(Do you wear your sandals?)  Yeah, I wear my sandals usually on p-day, or if we are leaving the apartement on a quick errand. (What was the most useful thing you took with you?)   But the most useful thing that I brought would have to be... this is hard.  I am going to say my iPod, because now I have learned to actually like church music.  And just so you know, a couple zone conferences ago President Headlee said to only listen to church music exclusively, because of some other stuff he may have heard in a missionary apartement, so I don't listen to my jazz music or anything anymore.  But, I say my iPod, because its just relaxing I guess.

(What have you made with the seasoning packets?)  Elder Acorda has not yet prepared anything with my seasoning packets, I'll have to remind him to use them.

(What do you hear from Spencer?)  Spencer, now known as Elder Aldridge, is good from what I know.  I think he is a district leader, but I didn't get an email from him this week...boo-hoo...

And that's great about the soon the be Elder Leake! (Missionary from our ward, farewell this Sunday, leaving for MTC)  If you want you could send me a picture with all our plaques up when that happens. (We will have 7 missionaries from our ward!!!!)   And as for my blog picture, I don't have my camera this week, but I'll send you that next week.

Alright, I'm going to jump over to Dad's email now to get his questions.
D'accord, yes I'm north of the equator.  But for us here in Yaoundé, it is getting very rainy.  The rainy season was supposed have already been started a couple weeks ago, but now I think it is getting into full force.  Must bring umbrella each day, my pants get muddy, and I must walk weird because my heal always hits the bottom of my pants.  But I prefer the rain over the heat any day.  I'm sorry it is so hot there.
(Out of all the North Americans (and Euros) in your mission, how many have you met?  Worked with?  Been companions with?  Do you know how many total missionaries there are in the mission now that the mission has been split?)  So in this mission, after 3 go home at the end of this transfer, there will be 23 North American missionaries.  There are no missionaries from Europe here, probably because lots of these countries don't like French people.  The other day Elder Acorda and I were teaching, and some punk came up to us and asked where we were from and stuff in a not very nice manner, and when he made sure we weren't French, he was fine.  He said he was just joking, but still, I don't think Europeans, mainly French people, are the most liked people here.  But I have actually now met all 23 of those missionaries, but have only served with 2 of them that are left: Elder Acorda currently and Elder Parsons.  Elder Ternieden went home last transfer, Elder Lee goes home very soon, and the other is Elder Bally who is from Ivory Coast.  As far as just worked with, as in done a split or something, there are 3 others.  Oh, and I forgot to also say Elder Wilkins, my MTC companion.  So technically I've been companions with 3.

Wow, I think I got all the questions, not too many this week.  So things for Elder Acorda and me are going ok.  We have on person, Frère Franklin who will have his baptism interview tonight, and then he just has to wait for President to come.  I don't know how much I've already talked about him, but Franklin started talking with the missionaries right before I got here, and he had recently come to Cameroon from Bangui, in the Central African Republic.  And as far as his progression, it has been pretty smooth, early on he gained a testimony.  But right now his problem is that he has some friends from work or at his embassy that tell him stuff about the Church.  And also he doesn't have the best job, and lives in very, very humble circumstances with 2 other friends from Bangui.  But he has always been patient and keeps his commitments, and I know he'll be blessed for it, especially when his baptism finally goes through.

There is one other amie de l'église, Souer Christine.  Right now has got to be a rough time for her, because her mother just passed away from diabetic problems.  Surprisingly she seems to be coping well, and was even smiling and such when we saw her the next day.  She is also progressing very well, and she will also be ready for all her baptismal stuff.  I hope she gains a good understanding of the Plan of Salvation and what she can do to see her mother again.  And she also brings her 2 kids to church, and one already asks to be baptized, so I hope that they join the Church together.

But besides that, honestly this transfer has been filled with not-progressing investigators.  After the new transfer Elder Acorda and I plan on having a "day of refreshing", that President Headlee explained to us back when I was in Bonabéri with Elder Lee.  We did it, and basically you don't take a backpack, maybe one elder takes a small bag with brochures, and you go around, do lots of searching, explore the sector a little bit, and he also suggested to buy a soda or something.  And since our current pool isn't doing much, I think that will help.

And what I hope will help even more, is the activity and also the branch mission plan we are working on.  Elder Acorda and I, plus Elder Kesler and Elder Lamb, who are the missionaries in Bastos 1, spent some good time this morning talking about a branch mission plan.  We will present this tomorrow to our branch mission leader, but we want to focus on integrating amis and new converts with the 3 essentials that President Hinckley taught: a friend, a calling, and to be nourished by the Word.  Mainly we need to work on the friend part, because that doesn't happen often enough. To help with that, we want to do some activities that aren't that hard to do, but that are just fun, like show a movie, or something like the Bonabéri Olympics, because every darn lesson doesn't need to be like a missionary lesson.  Also we want to increase the branch's efforts to reach out to non-practicing members.  But, if anyone has any good ideas about what makes up a good branch mission plan, or what kind of fun activities we can do, I will be happy to hear them.

Also tonight we are going over to the Thompsons' for diner, which is good first off because that saves me from paying for a diner.  Each 2 weeks we received our "soutien", which is our money, and I split mine up into 20,000 CFA each week.  And ever since I've been in Yaoundé, this is the first time where I have not had to dip into the 2nd week's money early.  But also it will be good just to be with all of the missionaries of Yaoundé, because I don't get to see half of them very often.

(There was a "Helping Hands" Day in W. Africa on the church website.  Did the members in Yaounde participate?)  Oh, and about the service stuff you have been hearing about, here in Yaoundé we will be doing ours this Saturday.  At 8 AM we will meet at the church and go somewhere to do some kind of service.  I don't know why, but they haven't told us exactly what we will be doing, just to bring tools like machetés.  So I'll let you know how that goes.

I hope everyone will be able to support the heat that y'all are having.  (20 degrees above normal, no rain.)  I hope next fall that it won't be like that, because I will looking forward to a nice, cool autumn season.

Je vouse aime, BEAUCOUP,
- Eric

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