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, October 29, 2010

Eric's email of October 28th, 2010

So I'm going to write again my highlights of the week and then respond to your questions in your emails.

First thing from the week is that last p-day in the evening, me and Elders Kesler, Lamb, and Hancock went to play basketball at the USA embassy.  Elder Hancock said someone told him that we could get in with our US Passports.  Well, that turned out to not be true.  We went around 4:30, and the guy behind the window said we could come in at 5.  We sat on a bench until 5, went back, the guy called someone, and told us we couldn't come in today, but that there would be a Halloween party on the 30th that we could come to.  The funny thing, is that we got kept out of our own embassy by a Cameroonian.  Ironic.  Today we are going to try to play basketball again, at the American School.  I hope it works this time.

Also on Tuesday I went on a split with Elder Kesler, our district leader so he could do a baptismal interview for us.  But we did have one notable lesson, with an ami named Dennis.  Acorda and I found him about 3 weeks ago.  He came to church his first Sunday but hadn't been back since.  Dennis' thing is, that he doesn't really get why he needs to know that the Book of Mormon is true.  So Kesler and I spent at least 20 minutes talking about Moroni 10:3-5 and the last 2 paragraphs of the Introduction.  He didn't get the difference between "je pense que..." and "je sais que...".  And so, to show him the consequences (if I can call it that) of knowing that the Book of Mormon is true, we read 3 Nephi 27:19-21, and I invited him to be baptized.  He accepted easily, but I know he does not understand yet the importance of 1 true church, because he still goes to his other church during the week.  But technically, he has a baptismal date for the 20th of November.  But something cool happened, because he walked with us after the lesson, and no one talked.  It might have been a little awkward, but right after that awkward silence, he said, "Le Livre de Mormon est la parole de l'Eternel".  So maybe something miraculous happened, we'll see.

At the end of that day Kesler did his interview with Douglas, who should now be a go for the 6th of November.  His step-dad, who found the church 20-ish years ago in DC will baptize him.  Douglas is blessed because he has some family members that are already strong in the church.  But during the interview, I got to talk to his grandpa, also named Douglas.  Mostly he talked to me again about how he believes in the Plan of Salvation more than his own church's doctrine.

This weekend we will also be watching all of General Conference on Saturday and Sunday!  And in our building they should be showing it in French and English, for our anglophones.  I hope I'll get to watch in English, because its better than listening to a translator.

I also started running again this week!  I convinced Elder Kesler to go with me, and we run to this place called Round Point Bastos, take a short walk to breathe, and then run back.  I think it takes about 30 minutes.  Its not as far as I was running in Congo, but I'm just glad I finally got someone to run with me again.  Elder Kesler said he would only do it if we could still get back in the morning for apartement prayer at 6:35, so we wake up early Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  We've only done it 2 times so far, but I think the 2nd time is always the hardest.  I feel a lot less sore than I did after Tuesday.

Also Elder Acorda and I had a really good lesson last Friday or Saturday with la Soeur Hélene Tchobang.  She is really involved with her current church, and also thinks that a lot of the people in the world today are involved in cults and sects and such, and always complains to us how "la peau blanche" brought Freemasonry to Cameroon.  Anyways, we can also tell that she is someone really looking for the truth, and during our second rendezvous while talking about the apostasy or something, she told us that the Bible doesn't have everything.  That surprised me a lot.  I don't know if I have heard even 5 people say that before.  So, she was very interested when we talked about the Book of Mormon.  She plans on coming to watch General Conference this Saturday.  And she also speaks Douala!  So I can use a few of the words from what I learned when I lived in Bonabéri.

I hope everyone enjoys Halloween this weekend, and I want to hear what everyone is going to dress as.  Just so you know, the picture in the family calendar of Jacob and Dad as Luigi and Mario is one of my favorite Halloween pictures ever.  Especially because Dad is making the face when Mario dies in a Super Mario World.

Je vous aime,
- Eric

Hey Mom,

(See pictures on October 21st post )So when Kesler and I put on those shirts, we realized why so many people in Africa look jacked.  Turns out they are just wearing tiny shirts, and unfortunetly there are no Ding Dongs and such...(I made a comment about no Ding Dongs, no obesity problem....)

(You should work to get back to just Mormon-time-10 minutes late.)  So that you can get an understanding of how late people are here, this weekend we will be watching Conference, and the branches announced that it would start at 9 AM.  But then the Thompsons, the senior couple, told us it will really start at 10 AM.  So african time is worse than Mormon time.

(When is the next transfer?)  So actually this time next week, we should have transfer news.  It should take place on the 8th of November, but they usually will tell us before the last pday, so that we don't buy a bunch of food that we can't take with us.

Well, I just saw that I started everyone on of those paragraphs with "so", donc (so) I'm not going to do it this time.  (Why are you the bad missionary in "good missionary/bad missionary?)  But I'm not going to be literally a "bad" missionary, but I'm just not going to let people get away with it if they don't keep there commitments.  And Elder Acorda is way too nice to be the bad missionary, so we had no choice.

(What hymn is "Souviens-Toi?)  So "Souviens-Toi" is a hymn that is only in the French hymn book on page 179.  Every French missionary learns that one and sings it a billion times in the MTC.  And the story behind it is pretty cool.  Briefly, when the french members were making their hymn book, one lady on the commitee had a dream, and in this dream she received the lyrics to this hymn, and woke up and wrote them down.  Then they put it to some tune written by Antonin Dvorak, and they got the ok to put it in the french hymn book.  Thats about all the info I can give you, though.

(Are there any pending elections in Cameroon?  I have heard of some in other African missions and the missionaries are transferred to the mission home until after the elections.)  Elder Acorda told me that sometime early next year, 2011, there should be an election, he thinks.  I don't know what will happen.

Je t'aime,
- Eric

(Dad's email:)

Ah, first of thanks for the blog post, but I doubt I'll have time to read it right now, so I'll answer your questions first and look later, sorry.  ( Vai Sikahema's blog of mission experiences.)

(Are the cent-cent buses city/government buses or are these just private people making a living by driving people around? How big are these vehicles?)  So the cent-cents, I don't think they are really city sanctioned or anything.  For taxis you are supposed to have some kind of license, almost all the legal taxis, which are yellow, have those.  I don't know about buses, and there are some people who just get a car and start taxiing people.  And here there is one BIG bus, that you only have to pay normally 150, rather than the normal 200, that gets packed like a can of sardines.  But I don't really know how many are legit and aren't.  I try to not take illegal taxis, though.

If you are going to send me a recipe, send one for...I can't think of anything, and I'm panicking because I'm running out of time.

(What did you do for Elder Acorda in return for the shoe shine?)  Gosh, I don't know if I've done anything for Acorda yet for the shoe shine.  Why are you guilt tripping me into doing things?

(So when you ran out of time on the computer last week was that a money issue or did you need to run to some other P-Day activity or have you just made a choice that you need to spend less time on emails so as to maintain your focus on missionary work? In either case, for the many emails you send, you might want to try writing one generic email that you can cut-and-paste and send to multiple people, perhaps with a few individual tweaks to make them personal. (Or maybe you already do that.))
  So we reduced or email time for 2 reasons that you said, to stay more focused on p-day, and to have more time to do other stuff.

(Are there any stories about the Willis’ or other senior couples that would be good for me to share in my High Councilor talk? Inspirational or even humorous anecdotes?)
  So, what kind of stories are you looking for exactly for you talks?  I can't really think of any right now.

Je t'aime,
- Eric

ps, Scott is grounded again!  no email!  (Scott has been sending emails to the wrong address.)

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