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 30, 2010

Eric's email of September 30, 2010

Hey Mom,
I actually saw a couple suggestions that you had, (for the branch mission plan) so I wanted to tell you about them before I forgot.
Actually I'll just respond to all you questions and such.
(We finally have rain in VA-how is it there?)  So the weather is rainy.  Well today it is.  I think Monday through Wednesday it didn't really rain, so it was hot as Hades.  My least favorite time is in the late afternoon when the sun is starting to set, and it hits me at an angle.  Especially when are in this one quartier, Emana, I feel like half of my face is going to burst into flames.
So we have made some progress on our branch mission plan, and today and Saturday we will take time to finish it all up, and present it to President Gwet (Branch President?) on Sunday after church.  But we have decided to print out the branch mission plan in French and English, because Bastos 1 is the bilingual branch, and also create another plan that will include the missionaries' responsibilites, so that this thing will work even when we leave, rather than just fall apart and be a waste of time.  Not this Sunday, but the following one, the missionaries will be giving the talks, presenting the branch mission plan and such.  And then we will make sure to make at least one visit to each member to present the plan to them and answer questions and such.  So it should be finished next week.   I could even email you guys a copy, but that is pretty much our biggest focus right now.
(Is the branch spread far and wide?)  And the branch is kind of spread out but not too much.  There are now 4 branches in Yaoundé, so its not as bad as when there were only 2.  But still, I think members should be able to go actually do home teaching, rather than visit after church for 5 minutes.  At our mission conference in Douala, Sister Watson shared a story about Sister Sitati (wife of Elder Joseph Sitati of the 70, may have spelled it wrong), about how she walked 45 minutes to an appointement, walked back home 45 minutes, then walked back to give the person she visited some rice because she was hungry another 45 minutes, and then walked back home again.  So I know it can be a bit harder, but still.  I don't want to sound frustrated, but there are just some problems that would get resolved if people fulfilled their callings, and didn't discriminate because people are from different tribes.
We didn't do our day of refreshing, because our program got filled up and now we actually have some decent progressing amis de l'église, with our branch mission plan planning sessions.  And as for the service project day, that got postponed, because the day before, the place where we were supposed to do service said they had not yet approved the service project.  What in the world is there to approve!?  We are doing service for you for free...
Anyways, I don't want to sound too frustrated, but lets just say that we have dealt with lots of "incrédules" this week.  But, I am a little bit.
Sorry, I keep forgetting about the Thompsons' email or blog, and they actually left today, and will be gone for a week in Kinshasa with all the missionary couples  for training with President Headlee.  But I wrote it down in a spot where I will remember this time.
Last week, I asked if we will be able to watch general conference live, and my companion just laughed at me.
(When you come home next fall, do you want to play soccer?)  And about being a soccer ref, that would be great, and I think I even said to Elder Acorda earlier this week that I'll need to join an adult soccer league when I get home.  So I would be very interested in those things.
(Remember to wash your hands....)  And right now I am actually washing my hands a lot and often, so don't worry.  Sister Thompson told us that Cholera or however its spelled, has become a problem in Cameroon recently, so we aren't buying fish anymore and she told us to wash our hands so that we don't die.
Ok, I'm going to jump over to Dad's email...
Je t'aime,
- Eric
Well Dad, sorry to dissapoint, but I have not kept up my running very well here.  I did it a few times, but no one really wanted to do it, and the runs were short, so now I'm just doing other little workout stuff in the morning.  But if someone else moves into my apartement who will be willing to do so, I'm going to pick it back up.
(Occasionally, you hear stories about missionaries being invited to extend their missions by a month. Do you know if that’s ever happened in your mission? (I’m not suggesting you need to do that, just curious if you’ve seen it happen.))  I have "heard", as in a rumor, that missionaries have been asked to extend.  And then the missionary turning down the invitation, if thats what you call it.  Actually I do know that the missionary that trained Elder Lee did get extended one month, I don't know if he really got asked.  But I know that it happens.
So, in Cameroon there are currently 5 branches, 4 in Yaoundé and 1 in Douala.  By the end of the year there should be 2 in Douala when they create the Bonabéri Branch.
(This question was from Mark and shows his Bishop mentality-Do you know how tithing is collected and accounted for in Cameroon? I was thinking that they don’t have a computer system in the branches but maybe that’s a bad assumption. Is there anything like a “Bishop’s Storehouse” in the country?)  I don't really have any idea about how tithing happens here.  I think they do have a computer though, and this week Elder Acorda and I talked a bit to President Balla of Bastos 2, and he had 2 laptops in his office.  So I'm pretty sure they do something with their computers to organize tithing and such, at least I hope so.  And I think there is something like a bishop's storehouse thing.
Well I mentioned this to Jacob, but one thing that I really started to miss this week was my saxophone.  I hope you haven't sold it. (It is still in Utah at Grandma and Grandpa Palmer's.)  Acorda and I walked by a pentacastol church, and there was someone inside practicing the sax.
But Elder Acorda and I had 2 notable successes this past week.  The best was that we finally got some more people to attend church on Sunday.  Like I said last transfer was a little frustrating, full of non-progressing amis, but now we have found some new ones and also received a few good coordonnées.  And the other victory was that we did not have to spend extra money on phone credit.  The phone system is basically pay as you go, and we get 5,000 FCFA each week for phone money.  And you can also choose from a good number of plans, we switched and were also just smarter with the phone (not letting anyone call other missionaries to play patty-cake and junk like that), so I didnt have to pull extra money out of my pocket for phone credit for the first time since I got to Yaoundé.
Well I'm glad you guys are getting some rain, Aunt Karen asked me for some this week, but I think it'll be easier if you send her some rain because you are closer so that California doesn't burn down.  So I think school has been in for almost a month now.  After my year mark, which I did not like because it made me "trunky", time has sped up again, if that was even possible.  Not much else to say, just pray that this branch mission plan works out, because its no use to get people in the church who become inactive 4 months later when the elders have been transferred.
Je t'aime,
- Eric

Bonjour Aunt Karen,
Its great to hear from you!  So first of all, I would love to send some rain your way.  Before coming to the internet café, Elder Acorda and I taught a lesson, and right as we finished, the rain started.  And we are too lazy to carry 2 umbrellas.  So even though Elder Acorda is about a foot shorter than me, its still hard to fit 2 under an umbrella.  I know that people here do not like to be out in the rain, but unfortunately I don't think we have much control over it.  But I do like the rain rather than the heat.
Tonight we are going to a members house on the other side of town, and rumor is that we will be eating crocadile and cat meat.  So if that is true, that will probably be the strangest things I have ever eaten.  And there is one animal that is all over the place here that isn't that common in the USA, and that is lizards.  Here and in Congo they are all over.  I don't know what kind of lizard, but they are about half a foot in length maximum, and are literally everywhere.  They don't bother anyone or do anything useful, though.
Well I hope you and the family are enjoying fall in California.  I don't really know how it is there, but I have decided fall is my favorite season.  And I always hear about the fires in California, do those ever get close to your house?  Say hi to everyone for me. I can't believe its going by so fast either, especially after my year mark, its weird.
- Elder Palmer

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