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.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Last Entry-from home on August 28th, 2011

Jacob, Elder Palmer and Andrea at the Charlottesville, VA airport
(Sorry it is blurry, I must have been excited or something!)

Well, this is my last “missionary” entry.  I’m at home right now, its not that weird, except Andrea and Jacob are huge, and there are a lot of screens to look at, like this computer and my cell phone and TVs and stuff.  And these jeans I’m wearing feel kind of weird.
                So, my last week in the mission field was great.  On Monday, we went to Marche Central to shop and tried to get everything done for the whole week like packing and cleaning so that we wouldn’t have to worry about that later.  I think we did a pretty good job.
                Tuesday seemed like a pretty normal day.  Just taught rendezvous and fixed appointments with those people to say goodbye and show them the new missionaries.  Oh, and we also had a perfect day, meaning no rattezvous, or in other terms, no appointments falling through.  We did have a mangezvous at the end of the day, with food prepared by Soeur Charlotte and Soeur Gwet, and it was really good, except for the meat.  It had huge bones, but it was Frere Patrick’s falt because he is the one that chose it.
                Wednesday was good, started out with a rendezvous with Mireille, Paulin’s wife.  She had been sick recently, so we gave her a blessing.  Then we saw Andre, a coordonnee from the Tobe family.  That was a good lesson, because we had 2 members there, and they both shared a sweet testimony about the family, and one had just been back from the temple to be sealed to hers.
                Then there was a young single adults activity, and one of the reasons it was held was to dire aurevoir a Elder Palmer.  There was a games section and a talent show after.  The games included a sack race, arm wrestling, eating contest (that Elder Tingey won), and such things.  Then the talent show basically consisted of lipsyncing to songs, and some dancing.  The real singing I heard was done by Frere Simplice, who is being very well intergrated and integrating himself.  He, I can say, rapped this song about the last jugement.  The chorus was basically “les catholiques attendent ce jour, les presbetyriens attendent ce jour, les muselmans attendent ce jour” etc, with everyone saying “attendant ce jour” together.  He was the best I would say, because he was the only one that sang for real.  And Elder Tingey and I sang the romantic peanut butter & jelly song, and I played guitar.
                Then, the rest of the week basically consisted of saying aurevoir to people.  Wednesday evening, Elder Wagman and I went to see the Longla family, and Frere Jacques.  Then Thursday, after a get together breakfast in Ekounou for the last zone gathering, Elder Wagman and Elder Prince worked together, and I worked with Elder Tingey.  And also Frere Junior of Bastos 2 worked with us.  Thursday we saw the people of Bastos 1 in Messassi and Emana, and the last one was Soeur Therese in Citee Verte.  We had an interesting visit to (a different) Frere Simplice, of the Bastos 1 branch presidency.  There was a somewhat heated discussion in mostly dialect happening, while us 3 at yams and sweet potatoes with a mushroom sauce.  Very interesting, and extremely filling.  Junior said he could understand the conversation, but he didn’t tell us anything. 
Then Friday, it was Elder Hansen and Elder Tingey and I, kind of a lot.  After our morning rung, we left early, because we had to go au village to see Soeur Salome.  Then we went to say goodbye to people in Bastos 2, and also show Elder Hansen his new sector.  Oh, and another interesting fact:  so officially everytime I left a sector on my mission, my companion also got transferred and they sent in 2 new ones.  I was never on the other end of that, but I imagine it wouldn’t be easy.  But Friday included our normal route, with short sweet visits.  Frere Olivier, the recent convert, spent most of the day with us.  He is awesome, and the only difficult thing though is he speaks really fast.  The 2nd to last one was with la famille du Frere Maurice.  They gave us Eru.  I ate a lot.  Too much actually, which would later prove some discomfort during travels.  Then at the end, we had to go see Brother Ndiemboh, the very last visit.  And I cut it close, I had basically enough time to go home and shower and finish pakcing and then go.
And the plane flights were not fun.  But that’s not that important, or interesting.  But, thanks to some tricky maneuvering of Dad, I flew home to Charlottesville last night, because Richmond was shut down due to a hurricane.  (Hurricane Irene-closed down the Richmond airport one hour after Eric left Yaounde. We were on hold with the airlines for 11 hours and 45 minutes before we could change his flight from Philadelphia into Charlottesville.  He beat us there and was the only person in the airport, so our welcome home signs were anti-climatic.)
So, that’s that.  I got released today by President Mullins.  I don’t feel that out of place, but it is kind of confusing thinking and talking about school and just other life things that I have to do this week.  Jacob just called me to food.  So, l’Eglise est vraie.

Je vous aime tous,
-          (Unfortunately the former) Elder Palmer

Saturday, August 27, 2011

LAST EMAIL!!!! Eric's email of August 22, 2011

Darn, we almost got out of doing internet.  The first time we came here the power was out.  So we went home so that I could start doing my bags.  But then the power came back on, then we walked back up the street, and now we have to do internet.
            So, Saturday was an awesome day.  We had Mormon Helping Hands, I think that happened in many countries in Africa on that day.  Here in Yaoundé, we went to Hopital Central to clean up the grounds.  Outside the fence there was loooooooootttttssssssss of tall grass and weeds, and we chopped it down Cameroonian style.  That means with machetes.  I’m not very good at that.  We chopped it all up, and they left it to dry and will burn it later.  At the end the mayor of something came to thank us I think.  We also got to where those yellow jerseys that say “Mormons aux Mains Serviables”.
            After the service project, Elder Wagman and I went home and studied a bit and got the baptism ready.  There were 3 people baptized from our zone.  The wife and daughter of frère Maurice were baptized.  Maurice got there literally right before the actual ordinance, then we took pictures again so he would be in them.  He had come to the service project, and had to rush back home and then come back for the baptism.  The other one baptized was a Frère Christian.  When he first got to Yaoundé, he had basically lost everything, his dad had died and a whole bunch of stuff and had nowhere to stay.  And he is only a 19 year old kid.  I’m not exactly sure what happened, but he somehow found his mom who he had never met since he could remember.  But for some reason he couldn’t stay with her and she couldn’t really help him.  So he found a job and has his own little place somewhere.  And also, when I interviewed him, I realized he also had a legit testimony of the Restored Gospel.  So, it was a good baptism.
            We also got transfer info that day after the baptism.  And, that was weird, and a huge bummer, that my name wasn’t on the list anymore.  And, as has always happened my entire mission, my companion is also transferred then same time that I leave.  We call that getting white washed.  When I left Bonabéri, Elder Lee got transferred.  When I got transferred to a different sector in Pointe-Noire, Elder Parsons left.  When I left Pointe-Noire, Elder Bally left.  And now when I go home, Elder Wagman gets transferred to Ekounou, to work with Elder Prince.  So, for the 16th time, it goes to show that transfers are unpredictable.  The older 3 elders here will be training, and Elder Tingey is becoming zone leader.
            Now, after the baptism it gets really interesting.  A member who is visiting Cameroon, went to take us to see a few family members.  We thought it was going to be quick getting there, and a short visit to let them know that new missionaries next week can come.  Well, there was a lot of traffic, followed by a 20 minute walk, followed by us having to eat some beignets and bananas.  So, the point is that took a lot longer than thought, and we wanted to go visit Maurice’s family that evening.  Then, trying to get out of the quartier, thinking that I knew the way, but didn’t, we ran into a Frère Joseph, a recent convert in Ekounou that I interviewed for his baptism.  I recognized him the second I saw him, and the first thing he said to me was “Elder Palmer, tu me vois dans les problèmes”. (Do you see my problem?)   Another member in Ekounou had had an accident that day, and was in a little hospital right there.  So, we talked for a sec, then went in, and we gave her a blessing.  She was very grateful, and then we continued on our way because it was getting dark.  I don’t know how long Joseph was standing in the road and such.  But Elder Wagman and I thought we were getting lost, but ran right into the person who needed some help.  Pretty cool.
            Then, it was already dark when we found the main road, and since their light isn’t too good at Maurice’s house, we thought it was too late and we’d go by a different day.  But when I called him, he said “Non, on vous attend!”.  (No. Come in) So, we went there, talked about the surprise of Elder Wagman’s transfer, talked about the confirmation that would happen le lendemain, and then gave us some delicious sauce tomate.  So, it was a very long, unorthodox day.  But a very good one.
            So yeah, that’s the highlights of the week.  I had my last district meeting last night.  I was on the lesson, we listened to a talk from the April 2009 General Conference that I had listened to earlier on the iPod about change.  Pretty much everyone in the zone is having a significant change, so it wasn’t completely selfish of me.  Sister Thompson gave me a worm bomb and malaria medicine for when I get home that I have to keep taking for 1 months.  (A worm bomb?????)
            Well, maybe it feels like I’m coming home a little bit more.  We went to do the almost last shopping today.  I started packing, hope to get that done tonight so that I don’t have to worry about it.  So, I guess this is my last mission email.  Unfortunatley I don’t have anything super profound to say.  If I do, its basically that l’Eglise est vraie.
Je vous aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer
To Mom:
(I saw more pictures of the temple trip on the Thompson's blog-)Frère Jacques... there Frère Jacques that I talked about, that got baptized by Elder Tingey and I, didnt go to the temple.  Probably another one.

(Do you have ice cream in Cameroon?)  Yes we have ice cream.  Elder Wagman bought some today to splurg since I'm dying.

(Please call us from Brussels)  I think its ok to call, but I'll check with the Thompsons.

This will be the first time I wear my suit since I landed in Douala.

(Do you know if there are any new missionaries coming?)  There are 3 newbs coming to Yaoundé, 2 coming to Douala.

I did my talk, but it was short.  I played for the choir, who sang numeéro 32 in french.  Oui, we had a baptism.

Well... on se voit.

Je t'aime,
- Elder Palmer

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Eric's email of August 15th, 2011-ONLY 1 P-DAY LEFT!!

Frère Maurice vous salue.  (says hello)  We just saw him and his family do to a soirée familiale,(FHE) and while leaving he told us to greet the family.  That was a really fun family night.  We sang some hymns, including Elder Wagman’s favourite, number 199 in French, 307 in English.  (In Our Lovely Deseret) I have that song almost memorized now because Elder Wagman picks it at least every other day.  Anyways, in family night we also had a little lesson on how many great blessings we can get from family night, and played a game which involves stacking matches on a bottle.  I won once.  The family is progressing well, Frère Maurice got a calling as a teacher in Elders’ Quorum (his grandson raised his hand for “any opposed by the same sign”) and his wife and one daughter are getting ready for baptism this weekend.  They gave us sauce d’arachide afterwards, after we had already eaten Ndolé today.  I’m gonna explode.
We’ve also decided that going home from your mission is also like leaving for your mission.  At least Elder Wagman and Tingey and I said that when we left on our mission, it felt like it was never really going to happen, until the day of maybe, or even until after entering the MTC.  I know that’s how I felt before my mission, and that’s how I feel now about going home.
The missionaries also gave talks in Bastos 1 yesterday.  Elder Tingey talked about the Restoration, Elder Wagman talked about how to have an “effective Gospel study”, and Elder Prince gave a talk about obedience.  Mine was based kind of on a talk given in the April 2005 conference called “the worth of souls” by an Elder Hillard or something, and also used one of the stories Mom gave me before my mission about some of our ancestors.  I talked a bit about the story of Thomas McCann (Great-great....grandfather) and his wife and how they found the Church and all that.  I’ll be giving a probably similar talk in Bastos 2 this Sunday.
I scored 2 goals in soccer on Sunday.  I think those are the first goals I scored on my mission.
Elder Wagman is going to tell you about lots of cool stuff that happened.
On Friday we did exchanges, and I worked with Elder Nash, the district leader for Ekounou.  It turned into an interesting day.  We showed up to Jean-Paul’s house, and there was a party!  I think we met every Chadian living in Cameroon at that party.  It was for someone who got their diploma in medicine or something.  Lots of people wanted to take a picture with us, some of them got taken with my camera.  We also somehow got to teach a lesson to Richard, Jean-Paul’s son, and his brother Didier and a couple friends, and we got 2 coordonnées.  So, new finding method of the week, go to parties.
Elder Nash and I also visited a recent convert named Olivier.  I forgot if I told you about him already.  He’s awesome.  Right now he is attending Ekounou I, but we found out a couple weeks ago that he lives in Bastos II since 1 month ago.  He kind of moved without telling people.  But I interviewed Olivier back in May, and that may have been the “easiest” interview I did, meaning that he knew everything and had a real testimony too.  Now he is a branch missionary and works with the missionaries regularly and teaches on Sunday often.  When Elder Nash and I went to see him, he had books all over on the table from the Church, preparing for his lesson on Sunday.  He is the guardian for the apartment of the elders in Ekounou, and he started taking the lessons, because he found a Book of Mormon the missionaries had given to an old guardian, started reading it, then the missionaries saw him reading it and began teaching him.  I think since the first Sunday he came to Church, he hasn’t missed a day.  On Friday, he was almost done with the Doctrine and Covanents, and I bet by now he is finished, which means he has read all the canonized scriptures of the Church already.  He told me in his interview that he first saw the missionaries walking around in Bonabéri, before he came to Yaoundé, and we found out that was when I was in Bonabéri. (Eric's first area)  So, that was an awesome coincidence.  Ok, well I just said that all out of order, but simply, he is definitely changed because of the Gospel and truly lives it every day.
Hmm, what else… well, I can't think of anything else right now.  And I’m going to send this before the computers shut down again, like it happened last week, and the week before or something, so that I don’t lose all I wrote.
Je vous aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer
To Mom
(Do you want me to bring your saxophone back from Utah-Scott would like you to take one of his guitars to him at BYU.)  Yes I would like my saxophone back in Virginia, I was wondering where that was.  And I'll bring out a guitar for Scott if he wants.
 To Dad
I still have some euros that Grandma sent me in the MTC, so I should have cash for travels.

          I didn't see your bribe for Elder Tingey (to run with Eric who is training for the 1/2 marathon) until today, so I'll see what I can do.

Branch members teach institutue.

I'll be bring home souvenirs and things that are important to me, I'll be leaving lots of clothes and junk, especially missionary clothes.  Oh, that reminds me, did you answer my question about the iPod?  If I left the iPod for someone, would that be bad?  Also, a member of Bastos II that is preparing to leave on his mission in October could use a camera.  How important is it that I bring the camera home?  (Sois honnete).  (Be honest)

Yeah, I have no idea what you should be asking me.  Like I said, il ne me semble pas vraiement que je vais rentrer bientot.  (It doesn't seem real that I am going to be coming home soon.)

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Eric's email of August 8th, 2011-ONLY 2 P-DAY'S LEFT!!

Well, as you will read in Elder Wagman's email, at our normal cyber the darn power went out after 15 minutes.  So, I'm not going to rewrite all that I had.  Here is the basic summary.

- Frère Patrice goes to Douala tomorrow for one month to visit the family.  He also plans on introducing his family to the Church and the missionaries.  Today we had a lesson where each person shared a favorite scripture.  I shared Ether 12:27, "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."  Patrice shared the parable of the talents in Matthew 25,(too long to add) and Elder Wagman shared Alma 17:2-3. "Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.  But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God."  I gave him one of the small cantiques.  (French Hymnbook)  Patrice bore an awesome testimony.

- The family of Frère Maurice is doing very well. His wife and one daughter are coming to Church and have a baptismal date for the 20th of this month.  The rest of the family comes to the lessons, but not Church yet.  Frère Maurice and one daughter attend institute.

- Had zone conference on Thursday about Ch.13 of Preach My Gospel.  I learned that being a new convert is like being a new missionary in Cameroon.  So, its not that hard for me anymore to imagine how hard or weird it is for a new convert.  And a new missionary and a new convert need the same 3 things according to President Hinckley to stay, I think.  We also had surprise interviews with Président Jameson via Skype.

- We are working with branch missionaries more that ever, thanks to summer vacation.

- Mormon Helping Hands is supposed to happen here on the 20th.

- Struggling.... I bought trucs(stuff) today.  I've got some cool clothes things for guys.  But, I wasn't sure if an african woman's dress would ever get worn.  If you do want one (Mom) you can tell me and I'll get it, but I wasn't sure if you would.

- L'Eglise est vraie.  (The Church is true)

Je vous aime,
- Elder Palmer
To Mom:
(Scott, Eric's brother, is going to college in 2 weeks and is feeling all grown up.  Did you feel grown up before you started college?)  Yes I felt grown up at college, but probably didn't act like it very much.  Now I feel more grown up, and hope I act a little bit more like it.

(What things did you wish you had taken for the dorms?)  For stuff for the dorm that I forgot that would be nice... no idea.  I only know what a missionary needs.

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer
To Dad:
Ok, just so you know, my running kind of got messed up.  Actually really messed up.  We had an unexpected mid-transfer transfer, where my running partner got put in the other apartment in Yaoundé.  And, everyone else in my apartement right now is being too lazy to go running with me.  I'll probably start running about the apartement building, because I convinced Elder Tingey to come out with me.  Running in circles stinks though, espcially when its not that big.  So, I'll do my best.
Ok, for the quick questions.

1.  I don't have any questions.

2.  you can resend the calling card info if you want, just to be safe.

3.  Yeah, we went souvenir shopping today.  I think the most painful is over.

4.  Yes I'm healthy, just got jipped on the running thing.  Will do with the electronics.

5.  Yeah, and I need to get my drivers liscence renewed.  If its easier that Jacob keeps that cell phone, that works. Just so you know, I've been converted to your provident living, so whatever is cheapest.  (Eric is pretty cheap already, soooo......)

6.  That sample note works for me, I only have 5 minutes left.  Would "missionary work" not be better than "voluntary work" is my only idea.  And maybe "science" is better than "biology", because I don't know if that's exactly what I want to focus on.  But those are just little things.  That example sounds good.  It feels weird to have to try to talk to people about something that's not the Restored Gospel.  I don't have a resumé, but maybe there is one in Mom's folder of my stuff.  But that's a great idea, thanks for helping me get on the ball.  I hope I answered all the questions.

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer

Monday, August 1, 2011

Eric's email of August 1, 2011 (Only 3 p-days left!!!)

Elder Palmer and a convert from Bonaberi-
Eric's first area.  Eric taught him at the 
beginning of his mission.

We just went to the souvenir marché place.  Not my favorite place to go shopping.  I’ll be happy to shop at Walmart and be left alone while I shop, and won’t have to discuss my price of everything.  I didn’t buy that much, but  got some ideas for stuff I’ll probably buy later.  In case I didn’t already ask, if someone has an idea of something cool to get let me know.  Because I don’t have any ideas.
            Oh, and Elder Wagman bought a sword there.
            So for missionary work, things are going really well with Maurice’s family.  We were about to extend the baptismal invitation last time, but some young man who came in at the end asked an unusual question, and we had already been there for a while, and the family decided to answer his question.  But that is our goal this week.  As usual, Maurice’s wife and one of his daughters seem to be the most interested.  Those 3 came to church again this week.  Since it was the 5th Sunday, during the first block the Société de Secours and the Collège des Anciens were combined.  The branch president gave the lesson, which was titled “Fortifier le marriage grace à la foi et le prière”.  Both Maurice and his wife participated and such.  If you didn’t know them, you would think they were both longtime members.  Maurice and his daughter have also started attending institute, where they are studying the Presidents of the Church.
            We also started teaching the wife of Frère Paulin, a recent convert who was baptized in May or something.  I saw her once at his baptism, but hadn’t since her since and wondered why.  But we finally went and taught her one Wednesday.  So, the most awesome thing is, that they are actually like a real couple.  Elder Wagman said they were “cute”, but I don’t like to say that word.  And her husband had actually taught her a lot about the Church already, and she knew Joseph Smith’s story and all that.  The only reason she isn’t coming to Church yet is because of her current job, but she is searching so that by the end of the year she’ll have a job to be able to come to Church on Sunday.  But she said she already knows the Church is true, because her husband changed from being an awesome person to an even more awesome person, and talked about how lucky she is.  So, that’s legit.
            We also had a throwdown about the Word of Wisdom this week.  I don’t like arguing.  Or Bible bashing or whatever you want to call it.  We didn’t really Bible bash that much, but the guy didn’t want to understand, and his member friend who introduced him to us said “écoute, tu ne comprends meme pas ce qu’ils dissent” around 20 times.  It was kind of funny.  He also explained some things in their dialect.
            We also had an educational meeting with a member named Papa François.  He was baptized back in 2008, but some months after his baptism, he got really sick and can hardly walk now, which keeps him from coming to Church.  But, his story on how he found the Church is awesome.  One day when he was entering his house, he saw 2 Elders talking to someone, and he asked them “vous etes les quis?”, or who are you in cameroonian.  Papa François told us that they answered him by saying “nous sommes les mormons”.  Papa François said, “ah, bon… Entrez”.  And they taught him for the first time that day.  Hey said that a few months before, he had bought a CD of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performing Handel’s Messiah.  He remembered the name Mormon, and the rest is history.  So, we will now have a new zone goal: whenever someone asks who we are, we will say “nous sommes les mormons”.
            Thursday we’ll be having zone conference.  President Jameson told me to do it on Ch. 13 of Preach My Gospel.  Elder and Sister Thompson will be teaching some stuff, as well as me, and also Frère Michel Olinga, who finished his mission last year and is now in Ekounou 2’s branch presidency.  And because of  Frère Olinga and another missionary who is francophone, the most part of this conference will be in French.  The only other zone conference I had like that was the one in Brazzaville.
            We had a really good lesson with Frère Patrice, but it wasn’t on anything in the Preach My Gospel lessons.  We talked about Provident Living basically.  I bet if Dad was there, he could have talked for hours.
            We also helped a lady crack nuts open this week.  (Not quite sure....)
            And now my return date seems farther away than it did last transfer.  Its weird.
            Um, I think that’s about it.  The Book of Mormon is true.

Je vous aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer

To Mom
(How many members/families went on the temple trip (for info on the temple trip, look up the Thompson's blog - I will never complain about traffic to the DC temple again!))  I'm not sure how many members, but in Bastos 2 I think 5 families/couples got sealed.

(You can save room in your suitcase home by not bringing missionary supplies home.)  Yeah, I'm not going to bring home that much.  But, remember the iPod mini and speaker Dad got for me?  How important is it that I bring that home?

(Andrea got contacts this week-how old were you when you got contacts?)  I think I was in 8th grade when I got contacts, because I had a jazz band concert just after getting them, and I think I was playing the bari sax.  I don't remember how look it took to get used to them, though.

(Which bedroom do you want to be in when you get home-with Jacob or on your own?)  For the rooms, Andrea is on the top floor, and Jacob is back in our old room, right?  I don't really have a preference, I can move back in with Jacob.

(I broke my Kindle this week-do you know what that is?)  No idea what a Kindle is.  Is my iPod still in tact, though?  (Yes, the iPod is fine, just huge in comparison to the new models.)

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer
To Dad (self explanatory)
I'll take whatever calling someone gives me.

I'll help you install whatever flooring you want.

Yeah, I think I'll be good for cash.  Yes I have me credit cards.

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Eric's email of July 25th, 2011

         Charles (young man from Bastos 2) and Elder Palmer walking 
in Emana village.  Picture by Elder Tingey.

             I’ll be glad to not have on official p-day after my mission.  They are always rushed and give me a headache.  I didn’t have time to go to the marché to go souvenir shopping.  We’re gonna do it next week.  And, if anyone has any ideas of stuff they would want or what I could get, you can tell me.

This is a marché
            So, on Saturday we had a baptism!  Frère Maurice got baptized.  One of his daughters attended his baptism, and then his wife came to Church on Sunday.  But I almost had a heart attack at Church, because Maurice didn’t get there until the opening hymn was being sung.  Afterwards he explained to me, and it turns out that they got in the taxi to come to Church, and while they were in the taxi, they realized they forgot their money.  He said thankfully they had a nice chauffeur, but it still took them a long time to fix that and get to Church.  I was just glad he came to get confirmed.  And, again this Sunday his wife and that daughter came to Church all together!  And we are (finally!) going to their house on Tuesday to meet the whole family.

 Elder Palmer, Maurice's daughter Grace,  
Frère Maurice, Elder Wagman
             Also, lots of members of Bastos 2 went to the temple in Nigeria this week.  The Thompsons went with them, so I bet there will be more pictures and stories on their blog soon.  But the members got home, according to several reports, between 1AM and 4 AM.  And their church starts at 9, but they all came.  From behind the piano, I saw some people laughing during the last talk.  I think its because the branch presidency was falling asleep.  But I just had an awesome feeling during Bastos 2.  I’m very excited for their testimony meeting next week.
            With the new transfer, we also fixed our sectors, so that Elder Wagman and I are only Bastos 2, Elder Tingey and Elder Hansen are only Bastos 1.  Even though they have a lot more people to see, and have a nearly impossible job, it makes our life easier now, and will make theirs easier at some point in the future.  But I will miss those quartiers and some of those people.  I’ll have to visit them before I leave.

Elder Wagman & Elder Palmer
        Having p-day on Monday is different, but kind of nice.  The week still went by really fast, but I couldn’t really tell the difference between Tuesday or Saturday.
            With the new sectors, we have had some time now to find new people.  I’ve realized that here it is really easy to find people and even start teaching them.  But it is really difficult to help them progress.  So, we have already lots of new people, but now the hard part is next.
            We have made progress with Frère Jean-Paul and his huge family.  We have a baptism date with his wife and 2 more of his kids.  And nearly the entire family was at church on Sunday, a total of 12 came.  So yeah, there’s even more than that.
            Um, I’m trying to think of other things… I have another chord to connect my camera, so I’m going to try to send pictures again.  Also, for the marathon training, Elder Hansen and I decided that on my last p-day, since there is a 6 mile run on the program, we are going to wake up and run to the other missionary apartement.  And when we get there they will have breakfast waiting for us.  I’m pretty sure it will be 6 miles.

Je vous aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Eric's email of July 14th 2011

So last p-day’s 4th of July party (that took place on the 7th of July) was nice.  We went to the Thompson's in the evening, and ate Americans’ favorite food: Mexican food!   I also came in half way a game of Quiddler.  I took over for Elder Hansen, who wasn’t enjoying the game very much.  He was already very behind, and there were only 2 hands left, so I still lost miserably.  But I will be expecting to have a Quiddler throw down, especially with Grandma Carlene.
            Then on Saturday we got to meet Président and Soeur Jameson!  Sister Jamerson reminds me of Sister Willis.  Not just because they have similar hairstyles, but their comportement too, which is a good thing.  And I think you’ve read the little biography thing when they got called on a mission, so I won't repeat those details.  We just had a little meeting on Saturday morning from 9 to 11 to get to know them.  I opened it and then bore my testimony and turned the time over to them.  President Jameson told us how when he was on his mission, that when the mission president got changed in the middle of it, some missionaries were wondering what would happen and if things would change and etc.  So, he compared it to when Josué (Joshua) replaced Moses.  Not to put him on the same plane as them or whatever, but we read some verses at the end of Deuteronomy and at the beginning of Josué.  We read the phrase “fortifie-toi” and “prends courage”(be strong and of good courage) about half a dozen time.  Well, I don’t think I’m explaining this as good as President Jameson did, so the point of the story is this: it’s a new era, but don’t freak out and just keep working.  Yeah.
            Also, I got my exit interview.  President Jameson isn’t sure that he will be coming back before I go, so we did it after the meeting on Saturday.  Basically, we talked about how my testimony has grown on my mission, a bit about the Atonement and the Doctrine of Christ, and marriage (oh la vache!). (holy cow)  But not very much about that last one.  He basically told me, that it’s not a race, but also don’t put it off because it’s very important.  And, I got a new temple recommend!  And its in French, so that’s cool.  He also explained to me, that when he was a stake president, he got a letter in the mail, informing him that he would be released in a couple months.  So, with the knowledge that the end was coming, he still had to “sprint across the finish line”, comme on le dit souvent.  (as the saying goes) So, even though I’ve had my release interview, I still got lots of time to do lots of work.
            Also, a funny thing happened to Elder Wagman that Saturday afternoon.  I don’t know if he will share this in his email.  He was a good sport about it though.  We were walking in Manguier, which is a very muddy quartier.  It was after it had rained.  So it was even more muddy and slippery than usual, and at one point, there was a river flowing through the quarter, where there hadn’t been one last time I was there.  The water was going down slowly, but most of the path was covered in water.  But we still wanted to get to our rendezvous on time.  So, Elder Wagman went for it, only seeing pieces of land every once in a while.  What we didn’t know, was that to the left was a very sudden slope.  As Elder Wagman was walking, he stepped a little bit too far to the left, lost his footing, and fell about stomach deep into the muddy water.  So, we got to the next piece of visible dry-ish ground, waited there a little bit, some guy led us a different way to where we wanted to go, then we found our way back to our rendezvous with Frère Patrice (who is doing his final exams at Université de Soie this week), and then he got him some soap to kind of wash his shirt.  So that was a funny and educating experience.
            Bastos 2 has also started up the choir again.  And of course, I’m playing piano.  I don’t know what they are going to do for piano players when I leave.  On Sunday they sang, “Oui, Je Crois en Christ” or “I Believe in Christ” with all 4 parts.  This Sunday we are supposed to sing “Si l’Envie Nous Prend de Blamer” or “Brightly Beams our Father’s Mercy”.  We need to find some easy hymns to do.  Or if you know any hymn arrangements that has an easy singing part, that could help us.  I don’t know how to lead a choir.
            Oh, and we also got transfer news on Monday, and guess what!  No changes in Yaoundé!  So, I’ll be finishing with Elder Wagman, and 9 transfers in Bastos!  But, we will make the complete transition into Bastos 2, and starting from next week, those other quartiers of Bastos 1 we will give to Elder Tingey and Elder Hansen.
            Also, we may or may not have a baptism on Saturday.  Soeur Marie-Sylvie is ready, but we are just waiting for her husband to come and talk to the branch president.  He gave his OK for her to be baptized, but he wants to come talk to one of the responsables first, which is normal.  And Frère Maurice, is the maybe.  President Jameson told us that when he was in Lubumbashi, several times he found that the father would come into the Church, and say that his family would follow him later.  So, he encouraged us as companions to read the Family: Proclamation to the World brochure together (which we finished in our comp study today), and focus more on the family.  So, that is basically the situation with Frère Maurice.  His baptism had been planned for this Saturday, and we didn’t get a rendezvous at his house with his family until this Friday.  So, Elder Thompson basically told us to follow the Spirit.  And, Elder Wagman and I were planning on doing splits that day.  So, its kind of complicated, and we’ll see what happens.
            Last thing I have time to write about, is Frère Jean de Dieu.  He came to Church for the first time on Sunday last weekend, even in a white shirt and tie!  He told us he loved the classes and such.  On Tuesday we talked about the rest of the 1st lesson, he told us about dreams he has had, and the common thing he learns in every dream, is that he should read the Book of Mormon more and more!  So I would say those are good dreams.  He absorbs everything we teach, and accepted the baptismal invitation for August 6th, horray!  He’s the man, because even though he his having family and financial problems, he said “je n’aime pas me plaindre."  (I don't like to complain)  I would say he has a bit of room to complain and be down, but he isn’t.  He told us its even hard to find food sometimes right now, and he has to look for a new place to live, but he smiles and laughs during our rendezvous, and told us he can’t go back because of how marvelous this message he has found is.
Je vous aime,
-         Elder Eric Palmer
p.s.  I have one question, because there is a member here who goes to Angola sometimes.  Where is Elder Leake?  Because I think Angola is in the Mozambique mission.
Oh, and one more thing.  From now one, p-day is Monday.  So the next time Elder Wagman and I will do internet is not this Monday, but the next one.
To Mark:
Yeah, last week I realized I forgot to report on running.  So the week before, we ran on Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday mornings.  This week so far on Monday and Wednesday, and we played a bit of basketball this morning.  We keep missing Tuesday, because Monday my alarm resets because I have to take the "puce" (I have no idea) out of the phone and put in another one to send a text message to the assistants to send in the weekly numbers, and when I put the old one in it resets the alarm and everything, and I forget.  But I had one question.  Are there going to be any hills in this marathon or training?  Because here, we rarely run on flat ground, up and down, up and down.  I hope I don't get shin splints.  At the end there is a big up.  Its hard.  And I think our run right now is a bit over 2 miles.

Je n' ai mange aucun moule ici.  Je crois qu'ils existent, la plupart de la nourriture européenne est ici, mais nous n'en mangeons pas.

Last words of wisdom... did I already say read the Book of Mormon a lot?

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer
To Anne:
(It is Youth conference this weekend-next year will probably be Trek-do you want to help?)  VERY YES!!!! I would want to help with trek next year.  I was actually talking about that with the others here the other day.

(What is the translation of song "Se Pa Pou Dat)  I have no idea what that song is about, its not in French.  (It is his favorite Cameroonian pop song)
That scripture would be like Cameroon, just leaving out a few other details.  (Mosiah 18-waters of Mormon)

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Eric's email of July 7th, 2011

If time goes by this fast after my mission too, I’ll be a grandpa in the rest home in no time.
            Had another pretty good week.  We now have 3 baptismal candidates.  The first one is Soeur Marie-Sylvie.  She’s the one that I thought has been ready for baptism for at least a month.  But like she said, she would tell us when she would be ready for baptism.  She’s getting ready for the 16th of July.  Elder Tingey is going to interview her on Sunday.  She is basically, legit.  And she is turning into a coordonnée machine.  Oh, and yesterday morning we also helped her wash oranges that she sells.  Interesting fact, she buys oranges that come from Nigeria, because a huge bag of them is 13000 francs, whereas the same huge bag of oranges from Cameroon are 20000 francs.  Allegedly, the oranges they grow in Cameroon are grown in some kind of fancy pants way.
            The other one getting ready for the 16th of July is Frère Morris.  He is a reading machine.  He has gotten through Jacob 5 now, not an easy one.  We are still working on getting to his house, but he said that his kids are going to start coming to Church.  And now I am very convinced that he has a legit testimony of the Restoration, to go along with his in depth understanding of everything we have taught him.
            The other one is Frère Remi.  He has a date for the 6th of August.  But, Elder Wagman and I haven’t even taught him yet.  He is the younger brother of Sister Bala, of Bastos 2.  He has been coming for about a month now, but he lived really far away, at a place called Nkol-Bisson.  Elder Tingey and Hansen have taught him a few times, and they taught him again on Sunday after church.  So they set a baptismal date with him, but found out that he is know living with the Bala family, which is in our sector.  We are going to see him of Saturday.  So I’ll tell you more about him next time.
            This evening we are all going over to the Thompsons for a 4th of July party thing.  Elder Tingey also thinks we are going to get transfer news, but I don’t think so.  I seriously can’t believe how fast this transfer went.  Oh, and also if I can’t still get this computer to send pictures, I’ll send some chez les Thompson. (No pictures)
            And on Saturday morning at 9 AM, we have having a short meeting with the new Président and Soeur Jameson!  And also, Elder Thompson has also informed me that I will also get my release interview this weekend, because right now President Jameson doesn’t plan on coming back before I go.  That was a surprise.  So I’ll also tell you about that next week.
            Elder Wagman and I will be going on splits again tomorrow.  One of us will work with Pierre Bissalla again, and the other will work with Brice Makanda.  And Bastos 2 has also started up choir again.  So in order for us to be able to be there for that, I got them to do splits with us once a week.  I think it is a fair trade.  I’m playing the piano of course.
            Elder Wagman and I have also narrowed down our teaching pool a little bit.  Just because our sector was so big and we had too many people to handle, we had to make some decisions.  So we have more focus now on those people who are progressing more than others.  Our new ami de l’Eglise Hervé came to church on Sunday, as well as Frère Victore, coordonnée from Frère Jean-Paul.  Oh, and we also noticed something really weird.  So our sector right now covers Bastos 2 and part of Bastos 1.  In Bastos 2, we have 8 investigators that our male, and zero that are women (except for a couple, but we haven’t seen them recently because they don’t really seem to care).  In Bastos 1, we have 9 investigators that are female, and 2 legitimate male investigators.  So the point is, it seems like in Bastos 2 we only teach men, in Bastos 1 we only teach women.  I don’t know why, but I thought that was interesting.
            Well that’s about it.  Oh, and I heard Elder Wilkins, (Eric's MTC Companion) who is in Pointe-Noire, finally got his flight plans.
Je vous aime bien,
- Elder Eric Palmer
(Our stake youth conference is next week and we are having a missionary theme.  Mark asked Eric what the youth need to know before their mission)  Yeah, Mom told me about that mission president thing.  The best thing I would tell them, is to read the whole Book of Mormon before their mission, and to study Preach My Gospel.  It would stink to do missionary work without the Book of Mormon.

(Mark wanted ti wish the Thompson's a "Happy Canada Day" and to find out if they watch one of our favorite TV shows from Canada, Corner Gas?)  I didn't see your Canada email til now.  But Elder Thompson asked me on Sunday (jokingly... I think...), "What's wrong with your dad?"  Basically, he was surprised that you watch Corner Gas.  So, that might answer your question.

Yes, we are to study our foreign language if we have one every day of our mission jusqu'à la fin. (To the end.)  And yes, I think I have improved from 6 months ago.  Recently, because I spent a day with Elder Thompson, I think I'm sounding better too.  He told me that the main improvement I could make is pronouncing "u", and make sure it doesn't sound like "ou".  He told me also that there is barely a difference between "u" and the "u" with a teepee accent.  I don't feel like figuring out how to type that letter right now.

ENREGISTRE MES COURS LE ONZE JUILLET!!!!!!! (Eric is reminding his father to register Eric for fall classes.)   I'm not sure if that is the most correct word.

Oh, and I also found out the name and artist of 1 of my 2 favorite African songs.  The artist is named "Alain Cave", and his song is called something like "Se Pa Pou Dat".  They guy who wrote it said he wasn't completely sure on the song name.  But you can look that up if you want.  He is a Cameroonian.  (We cannot figure out what this song means.)

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer
(Have you heard from Spencer in New Zealand?  What are his plans after his mission?)  I haven't heard from Elder Aldridge in a while, he stopped emailing me cuz he said it was the mission rule.  I did send him a letter in the mail a couple of months ago, I hope it got to him.  I don't know how many letters have been sent from Cameroon to New Zealand.  So I don't know anything about him right now.

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Eric's Email of June 30, 2011

Well, if I can't get my darn camera to get pictures on this computer this time, I don't know what to do.  I plugged the camera in with a USB thing and its not recognizing.

So, you may have gotten an email from the Thompson's yesterday.  So, I type my email 1 and a half times, the computers died on us twice, and eventually couldn't even stay on for more than 2 seconds.  Basically, I was in the process of telling you about Tuesday, which was one of the most unique days of my mission.  Elder Thompson was my comp that day because Elder Wagman was malade. (sick)  It was sweet, because I got driven around all day.

I think we had a total of 7 rendezvous that day.  2 members were very ravi-ed to have Elder Thompson in their home.  A new person showed up to the church, and it was basically a perfect lesson that they should've filmed for "The District" movies.  Too bad most of my lessons are like that.  Also had some not good lessons that day, including one with a former catholic who turned not-christian and didn't want to listen.  One of those wanting to die moments.  Um, Elder Thompson has an awesome accent.

Like you know, the Headlees went home.  We are now under the jurisdiction of the Jamesons.  I think we are supposed to see them next weekend.  Oh, and Elder Acorda (previous companion) goes home soon, but hopefully we'll go down to Douala for President Jameson, and I could see him before he goes home, as well and Elder Mbuyi (know him from Pointe-Noire) and people in Douala one more time.

Um, what else can I tell you really quick.  So today was good.  Recently we've been getting Bonabéri style numbers.  Not quite as much as there, that means lots of lessons.  But we are getting more recently.  We saw recent convert, Soeur Nina today.  She is getting ready to teach the lesson to la Societé de Secours on Sunday, her first time to do her calling as a teacher.  And its ironic, because her lesson is in the book "La Sainte des Derniers Jours", Ch. 33, which is called "Se Préparer à Enseigner".  So the first thing she will teach is how to prepare to teach.  Weird.

Oh, and just so Dad knows, Elder Hansen and I have been running.  (In training for the 1/2 marathon) We went every day since Monday except Thursday.  Elder Hansen guesses that it could be 2 miles.  And we added a little bit on the end, so I think that is a safe guess.  Today, I actually didn't want to die at the end, which was nice.  Elder Hansen did cross country in high school, and he said he never ran the length of a half marathon.  Hmmm.

Well, that's about it.  I've never had Na'an (Indian bread-we love it at home) according to my knowledge.  I'll keep trying with pictures, sorry.  (Do you have enough contacts/solution for the rest of your mission?)  Contacts and all that will be fine.  Did we buy my 6 months extra of contacts, because I'm going to have a whole box of each left over?  (Do you remember the flash flood in Star Vally-it is very wet there again this year) Yes I remember that flash flood.  That was a long time ago.  Are you sure I was only 6.  When did they move into that cabin, because I still remember the mushroom cabin. (Island Park, Id)  Oh, and the  baptism will be on the 16th instead of the 2nd, we are planning on having Marie-Sylvie and Maurice.

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer

Friday, June 24, 2011

Eric's Email of June 23, 2011

Alright, I just barely took a picture with Elder Wagman, so I’ll send the picture maintenant là. (Now.  But he didn't send it.)
            So we just had a good lesson with a Soeur.  Some of her problems or grudges she had again some people I think have been solved, and she isn’t sick right now, so she’s happy and didn’t chew me out too much today.  I think, basically we just need to have to most spiritually possible lessons for a while.  Apparently last week the Relief Society President Soeur Therèse, and Soeur Patricia visited her, and after a long visit, the sister was happy, and she said one day she would be baptized in the Church.  And, Preach My Gospel says to have spiritual lessons, talk and testify about the Restoration beaucoup.  So, I think that’s what we are gonna do.
            We also saw Soeur Christine and her 3 sons before her today.  They are fine, and especially her oldest son, Ignace, seems to be liking Church a lot.  Even a Sunday when Christine didn’t come, Ignace came by himself.  He has been ordained a deacon, wears his shirt and tie to Church, and found a bag for his Book of Mormon.  So that’s cool.
            We also had our last zone conference with President and Sister Headlee.  In less than 2 weeks they should be chez eux.  (Home)  It was a really good zone conference.  President Headlee got a DVD of a talk that Elder Holland gave somewhat recently at the MTC.  My favorite thing is how he applied the last chapter of John to us.  How, after Christ was resurrected and all this stuff, the apostles didn’t really know what to do, and then Peter who was basically chief, said “let’s go fishing”.  So they went fishing all night, didn’t get anything, then a man on the shore yelled out and said to cast their net to the right side I think, and they did, and they caught so many fish they couldn’t pull it in.  Then one of the apostles said, “It’s Him”.  Then Peter jumped over board and swam to the shore to get to Jesus.  Then, Jesus basically told him, that he can’t go back.  Peter can't go back to fishing.  And that’s when Peter became, well, converted I can say.  And so, Elder Holland basically told us all, missionaries, that after our mission, that we can’t go back to fishing.  So, that’s what stuck with me from zone conference.

             We also have a baptismal date for Frère Morris still for July 2nd.  And Elder Wagman corrected me and said that its spelled Maurice in French, but I still like Morris.  I think I talked about him last week.  Out of all the people I’ve met and taught, he is one of the best who have understood the Restoration.  I also believe now that he is receiving a testimony of that, because of the way he talks about it.  But especially about the restoration of the Priesthood.  And he is now in the book of Jacob.
            We also went au-champ-ing again this week.  But it was kind of weird, it was an ami de l’église who lives just behind in the Church.  So we were still in town in the quarter, but there was this random piece of place where they made a champ.  But, it was the same as any other time spent au champ.  I’m grateful for lawn mowers. 
            We have another new good investigator named Frère Pascal.  I like his French.  He has spent time in many European countries, so I guess that’s what influenced the way he talks.  Last Sunday we saw him on the road after Church.  He said he was going to come to Church, but then he didn’t.  Il nous a dit, “J’étais Presque empeché”.  (He said, "I was almost prevented")  I wondered why if he was just “presque” empeché-ed, why didn’t he come?  Yesterday we asked him again, he said the “il meurt d’envie”(he was dying of envy) to come.  If you heard his voice, it probably would be as amusing to you as it is to me.  I imagine that is what a French mob boss would sound like.  And, he is also progressing nicely.
            On Tuesday we also did a split.  Elder Wagman worked with Pierre Bissalla, a 17 year old convert of about 3 or so years.  He is a branch missionary, and knows how to explain the Restoration really well.  I worked with his older brother, Jean Bissalla, whose 19 and Elder Wilkins baptized about 6 months ago.  He doesn’t know as much as Pierre yet, but he has a really good testimony he shares about his family.  And then around 4 o’clock, Jean had to leave, but thankfully our 3 30 rendezvous was with Frère Martial, another member.  So he replaced Jean as my companion for the rest of the day.  Martial is also the man, and gave us about 4 coordonnées since last Monday.  He is also apparently engaged to a member of the Church from Angola, and they plan on getting married in the temple sometime soon.
            So, c’est ça.  And Elder WAgman and I are on diner tonight, so I got to send this and get out of here.
Je vous aime,
            - Elder Eric Palmer
To Mom:
Well, Mom, somebody built this stupid computer dumb, and my thumb drive can't fit into the slot, because the hardware was built dumb.  So, I'll finish emails here and see if there is a different kind of computer in this darn cyber.  (No pictures)
(Do you walk or take taxis more?  Do the taxis ever brake down?)  Here in Yaoundé we take more taxis than any other sector I've seen.  They have never broken down for me.
(Did you get to Morris' house yet?)  We haven't met Morris at his house or with his family yet.  But he wants to be baptized, so we are making progress, and either us or some branch leaders will get to his house soon I believe.
Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer
To Dad:
Answer to question number 1 about CNU.  Nope, no thought at all.  (School in Newport News)
(Are you serious about training for the half marathon?)  OK, for the half-marathon, I'm in.  I'll plan on starting to do our running again next week, Monday Wednesday and Friday.  I'm now living with Elder Hansen, Elder Tingey's companion.  He did cross country in high school, and Elder Buck once went on a run with him, and told me he wanted to die.  So, I bet Elder Hansen will be willing to do that with me.
(Have you heard about the Book of Mormon musical in NYC?  You may get questions about it on your flight home)  And about the 3rd question, no I don't care at all.  Yes, Grandpa Jerry mentioned one time, so I knew about.  Simplement, je n'en ai rien à dire.  (Simply, I have nothing to say)
Oh, and Scott didn't email, and I wanted to know what reading water meters means.  (Scott's great summer job)
Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Eric's email of June 17th, 2011

Ma vie, oh ma vie.  (My life, oh my life)

                So , I understand that you have my flight plans.  That's weird.
                Elder Wagman and I are still doing good, still very busy.  But I think we are soon going to do an overhaul of our sector, if that is the right word.  We just need to change a few things in our program, and a few people we see in order to work more efficiently.
                Yesterday we did exchanges, I went and worked in Ekounou with Elder Nash, the District Leader out there.  It was my first time to work out there.  It was a pretty good day.  When it rains out there, it gets very muddy.  And I thought some of my sector was far away, but then Elder Nash took me to this quartier called Tropicana.  I have no idea how far off the map we were.  I thought Elder Wagman and I had some far away quartiers, but I’m pretty sure they beat us.  And there is another one even farther where some members live.  And also, it started raining like a monster a little bit before we were getting ready to leave.  We ended up not getting out of there until 6:30, missed our 6 o'clock rendezvous.  Took us at least half an hour to get a taxi to take us, then there was traffic, then we finally got out and had to walk about 15 more minutes home, and got back around 8 30.  Maybe its because we sat in traffic for so long, but I’m still amazed how far away that place was.
                Also, I had to save Elder Nash from getting kissed by some lady.  We were walking to our 1st rendezvous, and some lady shoved us en route and asked where we are going.  I’m not an expert, but I’m pretty sure she was under the influence of something.  So, we told her we had to go, then she said something that basically meant, “ok, but a kiss first”.  Then she went in for Elder Nash, and almost got him, but then I kind of grabbed her on the arm, Elder Nash started going.  Then she tried to get me, I walked away and she hit me on the back a few times, but thankfully we got away without any smooches.  That would be awkward to have an interview with President Headlee 2 days after a some random lady kissed us.
                Speaking of President, he should now be in Yaoundé.  He missed his 7 AM bus in Douala, but was supposed to leave at 12.  We are getting our last interviews and zone conference from President and Sister Headlee tomorrow, because in July we get the new President and Sister Jameson!  And today Elder Thompson told me that President Jameson is already scheduled to come here on July 9th, before this transfer ends.  2 visits from mission presidents in 1 transfer, hurray!
                Elder Wagman and I also fixed 2 baptismal dates this week!  Well, maybe 1 and 2/3.  The first was Frère Morris.  He got started with Elders Buck and Garner.  So we have learned a lot more about his life in the past few rendezvous.  He lives with his wife and 6 children, but we haven’t met any of them yet because he only likes to see us at the Church.  Before Morris was married, he lived in the United States, I forgot exactly where.  But after a few years, he went home to Cameroon for some reason, but he was very well off.  Then, I believe within the last 5-ish years, he pretty much lost everything.  He was living in Douala in a nice house, even had 2 cars.  But for some reason he lost pretty much everything, sold one car, the other got stolen, sold his house and lost his other belongings and had to move to Yaoundé, and now he is living in very humble conditions.  But, he doesn’t complain.  He reads the Book of Mormon a lot, is now about to start the book of Jacob.  He has been in a lot of churches, most recently in Douala was in a church called “le Combat Spirituel”, and said he has been baptized many times.  So he easily accepted the first invitation to get baptized.  But recently we have talked about the Priesthood and Apostasy and Restoration and now he understands a lot.  There was even another person we were teaching on Tuesday while we were waiting for him, and when Morris came, he started answering his questions perfectly.  So, now he understands a lot, especially the importance of the Priesthood.  He still doesn’t want us to come to his house yet, mainly I think because it’s a very humble home, and we are American, I’m not sure.  But, je crois que ça va aller.  (I believe we will go there.)
                The other one is Soeur Marie-Sylvie, whom I believe I have spoken much about.  She is ready for baptism.  She is more ready than some of the people that are already baptized.  But Elder Tingey and Elder Wagman saw her yesterday when I was in Ekounou.  Elder Wagman said they didn’t do a lot of talking, but they read the last 2 paragraphs of the introduction to the Book of Mormon.  He said that Marie-Sylvie did most of the talking, I’m not sure about what.  But they got to the subject of baptism, and invited her to be baptized on July 3rd (when they should have said July 2nd, but we’ll fix that later).  From what I’ve understood, she accepted, but then at the end said “je vais vous dire si je serai prête”.  (I will tell you when I am ready.) She is ready!
                Oh, and I forgot if I told you, but Soeur Nina, the recent convert and daughter of Salomé, got a calling 2 Sundays ago as a teacher in the Relief Society.
                And last Sunday the missionaries gave talks in Bastos 1.  Mine was based on the “Lift where you stand” talk by Uchtdorf from 2008, with something I found in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, in chapter 27 that I found, that I thought was important for our branch.  And since Elder Nsimba is gone, I replaced him as the last speaker when the missionaries talk, which means I have the most time.  I still had 25 minutes when it got to me, so I bet that was the longest talk I ever gave.
                And Sunday after Church, we went around with an old missionary from here that came back to do some kind of hunting thing in the south of Cameroon.  He was known as Elder Ward, so I guess I should address him now as Brother Ward.  We went to visit some of the old people he taught in Bastos 2.  His French is still pretty good.  I hope I’ll do that one day.  (I know Dad wants to do it with him!!!)
Je vous aime,
-Elder Eric Palmer
To Mark:
Yeah, 2 nights ago when Elder Thompson was taking me out to Ekounou he got a call from President Headlee, and I talked to him and he told me about my flight plans.  So yes, I've decided that I'll go home at the normal time, and yeah, I wanted to ask if there would be a way to get with Scott in early September.

And for the JSarge classes, yes, sign me up for those that we talked about.

(What are you bringing home?)  For what I'm bringing home, I have no idea yet.  I do need to do some more souvenir shopping, but I haven't thought a lot about it yet.  I do have 2 more booboos that I know that I'll be bringing home that I am waiting for Soeur Therèse to finish.  Is there anything that anyone wants?  Even ask the Dajeu family if there is something Cameroonian that they can't get that I could bring home.  Especially anything that concerns Cameroonian food.

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer
To Anne
(Pictures?)  So, in advance I will have to apologize.  I don't really have any excuse, but I just don't have my camera.  I already wrote it in very big letters for next Thursday.

Yes, I still have vitamins and take them nearly every day.

(Why do people walk around with their chickens?  Are they going to the butcher or are they worried that someone will steal them if they leave them at home?)  As for chickens and such, I have no idea.  There are some things that happen in this country, and I have no idea how or why.

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Eric's email of June 9th, 2011

Well, Elder Wagman (new companion) and I were just au village.  We got a rattezvous (rendezvous that fell through), had a good chunk of time and decided to go see an investigator we hadn’t seen in a while.  Her name is Soeur Marie-Susanne, she was a coordonnée from Soeur Marie-Sylvie.  She loves the Church, and has apparently had visions that the Church is true and that she needs go get baptized there.  But she has some weird ideas, today we spent our whole time explaining the nature of our Heavenly Father.  Also on the taxi ride out, while I was on the phone with Soeur Thompson, a weirdy guy kept buggin’ Elder Wagman for some money so he could get some palm wine.  That stuff looks gross.
            So the transfer happened last Friday, but not without some confusion.  We sent 3 elders down to Douala on Thursday, and expected to get 3 that same day.  But in the afternoon, the Thompsons told us that the Douala elders wouldn’t be coming up until the next day, due to some miscommunication.  So I stayed with Elder Tingey and Elder Prince for that day.  The new ones were supposed to arrive Friday between 1 and 2, so I arranged my program, planned to teach a lesson before with Elder Thompson, get Elder Wagman and the others, then finish the day I had planned.  I should have known that something would go wrong.  Elder Wagman and co. were supposed to leave Douala at 9AM, but didn’t leave until 12:15PM.  Also, my rendezvous Elder Thompson and I had at the church turned out to be a rattezvous.  It seems that the only transfer that happens without a problem, is a transfer where no one gets moved.
            So about Elder Wagman.  He is from Athens, Georgia.  But he lived in a whole bunch of places because his dad worked in the Air Force, but then retired and moved to their homeland of Georgia and got a job at the University of Georgia.  I also learned that they have some foster children, and have taken care of many children since Elder Wagman was born.  We were in Pointe-Noire together for 1 transfer, but he lived in a different apartement so we didn’t talk too much.  He started his mission with Elder Tingey, when we got 10 missionaries in 1 transfer.  He just did 3 transfers in Bonabéri, so he told me a bit about whats happening down there.  (Eric's first area)  From what he told me, it looks like almost all of the people that were baptized when I was there are still active, and Frère Léonel (baptized my second weekend there) has the Melchezidek Priesthood.
            We had a baptism last weekend as well.  Soeur Melanie, she was pretty much taught everything before Elder Tingey and I took over.  She's the one that traveled and we lost contact for almost a month, but came back and immediately asked us about baptism.  She actually came to the last baptism in May, thinking she was going to get baptiszd.  Unfortunately she hadn’t done her interview yet.  But she was baptized and confirmed last weekend.  I blew it and didn’t tell her at the service before she left, so we had to go find her after the service on Saturday, because she had always been attending Bastos 1, but she lives in Bastos 2.  We went right after the baptism, she wasn’t there.  We went and taught the rest of our rendezvous, then came back at the end of the day, thankfully found her there, and explained to her why she should come to Bastos 2.  It ended up being an expensive error.  Then we saw her on Tuesday, and her main problem is she is looking for a new job.  He current one doesn’t pay well and just isn’t a good job, and Monday and Tuesday all day she wasn’t able to get her merchandise.  So Elder Wagman and I taught about la loi de la dîme. (the law of tithing) I hope she understood, because we drilled the blessings of that commandment into her head. In Gospel Principles in the tithing section, there is a quote by President Hinckley, which is my favourite thing to read and teach about tithing.
              We have been informed that President and Sister Headlee will be here next weekend for the last time.  Man, I can't believe they are almost done.  Zone conference will be on the 17th.  I hope they get that darn Bonabéri branch organized.
            Elder Thompsons told me he emailed Dad, right?  He told me that the mission office people say that my release date is August 31st(release date still being discussed)
            Yesterday Elder Wagman and I also had a cruddy situation turn into a good, a really good experience.  We just had had a rendezvous with an investigator, that basically, she chastised us and the Church and I didn’t even know how to answer, and I thought for a moment that was going to be the last time we stepped foot in her house.  Enfin, (however) we will go back, but I was frustrated and dépassé-ed. I think he means depressed)  Then we were supposed to get to church for our missionary coordination meeting, but on the way our DMB called and cancelled.  We had a rendezvous fixed after, but we still had an hour of time, and we literally had no one else to see in the quarter we were in, or anywhere close.  So, Elder Wagman suggested we do what a missionary does when there is nothing left, contacting.  I hadn’t done that in a while since Elder Tingey and I had been so booked, and I was still frustrated from the last rendezvous.  But we went and started contacted, and something amazing happened.  No, we didn’t find a golden investigator, we didn’t even get invited into anyone's house.  But I remember after the second house we rang the door of, I felt a lot better.  I don’t exactly know why, because contacting isn’t always the most exciting or rewarding thing we do.  But after our second house, we had had a conversation briefly about the Restoration, and the lady told me to go read some Bible scriptures when I got home, specifically Revelation 12:7 and the following verses, and 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
            Ok, well Elder Thompson just called me, and he got an email from Sister Headlee saying that my release date is August 26th, and that they have me flying home to Richmond, Virginia.  Je vais voir ce que vous m’avez écrit, d’abord. (I am going to see what you wrote to me, first.)
Je vous aime bien,
-         Elder Eric Palmer
 To Mom:
(Did you do anything special for your birthday-a treat perhaps?)  Um, for my birthday, I think the only extra was that I got Elder Wagman to buy a Sprite with our money.  And that happens from time to time, but this time I could justify it.

But these past 2 birthdays were probably the most uneventful birthdays ever.  Except Elder Tingey and Hansen bought pizza from Pizza Roma, the only pizza place in Yaoundé.  Its pretty good, kind of thin, though.  And today, Elder Tingey bought me a SpongeBob pen that lights up when you write at the supermarché.

(Did you get the package?)  Yes, I got the package.  And I think right now, I have more normal shirts that I would even need in normal life.  With all the shirts that have been sent to me, and some jerseys that I accumulated on my mission, I think I have about 20 normal shirts right now.  Too much.  But thank you for the VCU shirt, (final four) Elder Tingey was jealous.

(Does Elder Wagman speak French with a Georgia accent?)  If I remember correctly, I don't think Elder Wagman has a Georgia accent.  Things are good with him, I'm learning a lot.  It amazes me that I can always learn something new or do something a little different.  Elder Tingey and I were together forever I realized, so its weird to be with someone with a different personality.

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer
To Mark: 
In Cameroon, there probably is a drinking age, but no one enforces it.  Or there is none at all.  There are probably a lot of laws I don't know, by they aren't well enforced.

As for age in the branch, I was thinking about that the other day.  In Bastos one, I wouldn't be surprised if all the members of the branch presidency are older than you, I know at least 2 are.  The other branch seems to be a bit younger.  It seems people here die younger, or the ones that don't get old as can be.  (hmmmm, I wonder how old that is?)
Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer