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, February 17, 2011

Eric's email of February 17, 2011

Its hot today.  I just came from the marché with Elder Garner.  We went and met Sister Thérèse (the won who became the new Relief Society Présidente) to go pick out some fabric, because she is going to make me a couple outfit things.  I think she called them bobos.  (We will want pictures of that!)
This morning, our district also went on a hike.  We were going to go up by Mount Fébé again, but instead we took a different route and found this little quartier that was pretty much the village.  It was nice and peaceful, though.  It makes me want to live in Wyoming when I grow up.  I left my camera so that it wouldn't get stolen at the marché, but I’ll send pictures of it next week.
One of our investigators, Sister Nicoline, is progressing pretty well.  The past few times we have seen her, she has shared her testimony and how she has changed since she has started talking with us.  Yesterday she even said she wanted her shildren to grow up in this church, and that her oldest son who is about 7 I think, makes sure that they pray as a family together every night before sleeping.  And, she also found a job this week.  She has a friend who works somehow with the president of Cameroon or at least in his huge house, and she said that today she would start cooking food there.
And there is one other person that we usually teach with Nicoline.  His name is Josie, Elder Tingey and I taught him once, but he actually lives in the other branch so Elder Tukuafu and Elder Garner teach him at his house.  But he usually shows up to Nicoline’s place when we are there.  He is getting ready for baptism on the 5th of March, but wants to be baptized yesterday.  He watched a movie with the others about John Tanner, who was apparently baptized the same day that he first received the Restored Gospel.  And Josie wanted to know why he couldnt be baptized that day as well, but said he’ll be patient.  And he also helps because sometimes he explains what we say in pigin english if other people don't understand.
I don't have my planner with me, so I’m struggling to think of the things that happenned...  On Monday I believe that the rainy season started.  Right after Elder Tingey and I finished weekly planning, it started raining, hard.  I like rainy season, except for when it rains hard one day, then the next day it doesn't rain, but the sun is out and it is super hot.
Blaise’s family is still doing well, they have started to try to do family scripture study each day.  But we will be pushing their baptism to March, because we had some kind of miscommunication.  2 of the 3 thought the baptism was to be March 18th, not this Friday.  And also, the mother is traveling this weekend, and another family thing will be hapenning on Friday, so they will decide on a day in March.
Wow, it is really hot in the cyber café.  And the darn Disney channel is on in french here, and its distracting/annoying.
The branch also redid the home teaching lists.  They assigned two elders to work with a missionary companioship.  So this Sunday we will going home teaching with someone after church.  Hopefully it will work this time, because it has been almost non-existent in the past.
Well, thats all that is coming to mind right now.  I’m up to Alma 18 now in the Book of Mormon, and I’ve been finding a lot of great missionary things by Alma and Amulek and Ammon.  Especially what they did so that people would listen to them in the first place.
Je vous aime,
-          Elder Eric Palmer
To Mom:
No, I cannot believe that in a year we will be waiting for Scott's call.

(There is an interesting thing happening on Jeopardy right now with a super computer playing the all-time champ.  Do you remember Jeopardy?)  I never really watched Jeopardy.

(Last week you talked abut a movie "District 2."  What is that?)  The District 2 is not like the RM, its a real church movie that is made to go along with Preach My Gospel.

Haven't had a dehydration headache in a long time.  (Good!)

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer
To Dad:
No, there isn't a train network here.  We take taxis everywhere, and if we go from Yaoundé to Douala we take a bus.

I never got to see that Christmas eCard, everytime I tried to open it, the computer said it didn't have the right program thing to show it.  (Jib Jab)

( Is there a large Catholic population in Cameroon? If so, is Mardi Gras celebrated?)  Yes, there are a lot a lot a lot of Catholics here.  I think it was the first Christian church to come here.  But I don't know about Mardi Gras, I don't remember anything happening last year for it.

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Eric's email of february 10th, 2011

So we are doing internet a bit earlier today because we have some early rendezvous, and we also officially split our sector with Elder Nsimba and Elder Prince.  Before, when we first put in a 2nd companionship in Bastos 1, they didn't really split it, except for 2 quartiers that are far away.  And we found out that we were teaching some people in the same places, so to be more efficient and save transport money we made an official line on our map of Yaoundé to split our sectors.  I don't know why they didn't do that in the first place.  So today I am also with Elder Nsimba, and Elder Tingey is with Elder Prince so we can show each other the amis de l’Eglise that live in quartiers that are getting switched.
                With Blaise, we have been talking a lot about the temple.  He wishes that there was one in Cameroon, but luckily the one in Nigeria isn't that far, so he's already preparing to get his temple recommend next year January.   And also his mother, Victorine, was very happy when she found out she could be baptized for her family members that have passed away without being baptized.
                Saturday we also had the baptismal service for la Souer Marina!  She is the daughter of la Souer Odette who has been coming back to church just this year.  Elder Tingey baptized her, everything went smoothly.  Except when we did her paper, we found out that she wasn't 10 like we had been told, but was only 8, as in within the past 2 months she just turned 8.  So she wasn't counted as a convert baptism, but I’m glad that we weren't preparing a 7 year old for baptism.
                We also had dinner with President and Sister Headlee Saturday night.  He came up that day, and left Sunday at 13h00.  So we just saw him at dinner, which was at this chinese restaurant near our apartement.  And it wasn't like Panda Express, but real, never-before-seen chinese food.  It was mostly good, but there were some weird things.
                Frère Jacques is progressing a lot as well.  Last Sunday he was the star of sacrament meeting.  He blessed the sacrament, got a calling as a teacher in Sunday School, and also bore his testimony.  I especially liked his testimony, because it was short and simple, and said he knows that both the Church and the Book of Mormon are true.
                We also committed the Longla family (Blaise’s family) to start doing daily family prayer and scripture study.  About half of them have been reading the Book of Mormon by themselves, so to get everyone involved we talked about the blessings of reading it together.  I think right now that everyone likes the missionaries and the Church, but not everyone has completely felt from the Spirit that it is the true Church.  And that will start with a testimony of the Book of Mormon, so what better thing to do than read it as a family ?
                With our sector split, we have been able to do a lot less traveling, and on Tuesday we even spent the whole day in Emana and surrounding quartiers.  Emana is seriously the hottest, dustiest place I've ever been, and I thought it was going to be a long, long day, but it actually was a very spiritual and effective one, especially 2 rendezvous.
                The first one was with Sister Nicoline.  We started the lesson with her and her friend, Glory, and within about 10 minutes 5 other people joined us.  And we talked about the apostasy and restoration, because Nicoline had a question about re-baptism, and it almost turned into a train wreck.  Some people where not happy when we said the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only one with the Priesthood.  But then, in an amazing turn of events, Nicoline said we are not here to argue, but bore testimony on how she has been happier and a better Christian ever since she started coming to church and reading the Book of Mormon, and then one other friend, Josie, who is an investigator of the elders in Bastos 2 who was present, explained and bore testimony about the Book of Mormon in pigion english.  Enfin, (finally) we ended up giving out 3 Books of Mormon and every commandment brochure we had, and we still owe some people tomorrow when we go again.  So that was pretty amazing.
                The other really good lesson was with la Soeur Melanie, who came to church for the 2nd time on Sunday, but has been having problems reading the Book of Mormon.  But on Tuesday, she finally read the whole chapter Elder Tingey had given her, and had about 10 questions to ask us.  For her, its been good to see a change, because at first she was very skeptical and unsure about what she said.  But when she asked us all her questions about baptism and such last time, I felt like she has started to trust us more, and more importantly believe the Book of Mormon is true.
                We also had our zone conference yesterday, and we watched clips from « The District 2 ».  I never got to see the first one in the MTC for some reason, so I’ll probably rent it from Blockbuster when I’m home.  But it was really educational and really interesting.  It was educational, mostly because I learned this time about the importance of listening to amis rather than just talking to them, and saw examples of good (and not so good) ways to extend baptism and reading the Book of Mormon commitments.  And it was interesting mainly to see missionaries in the USA and what its like.
                We also got the Liahonas of November, December, and January at zone conference that President had brought up from Kinshasa.  So now 4 months after conference I get to read what happened and what was said, yay!
                And I also got 2 packages last week, one from you guys and one from the Young Women's, and I also got a card from Hayound, so tell everyone thanks for me s’il vous plait.
                Je vous aime,
-          Elder Eric Palmer   
      To   Mom:
(Have you been to Mount Febe before and have you visited the hotel there?) So the first time that I went with Elder Acorda, we spent probably 25 to 30 minutes to walk up there.  But last time we just took a taxi.  And we've never been in the hotel, its expensive  and I don't have anything to do there, but it is definitely the best hotel in town, probably in the country.

  Eric meditating upon scripture on Mount Fébé

(How are all the new elders-have any of them served in Younde before?)  The new missionaries are doing good, its all their first time in Yaoundé.  Elder Prince, the brand spankin' new missionary, was glad when he found that we live in an apartement and not a shack.

(With all of your translating, how is your French?  Is Cameroon French different than Congo French?)  I think my French is getting better, including my accent.  I don't know if I said this already, but one time a taxi man said I sound like a black man when I speak French, not a French person.  So at least its not an American accent.  Cameroonian French is different than Congo French, partly because they say "ça" a whole lot, while French people and even Congo people don't say it as much.  The only Canadian elder I knew that knew anything about French before his mission was Elder Ternieden, but he didn't say it was too different.

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer

     To Dad
     (What’s the record for a missionary staying in one area?)  So to answer the transfer question, 4 transfers is a long time, especially from what I have heard about missionaries in other missions.  But here I know 2 missionaries who recently went home, and they both did 8 transfers in 1 sector.  So 8 times 6 weeks = 48 weeks.  Holy cow, that is pretty much 1 year.  I'm going to do at least 5 transfers times 6 weeks = 30 weeks, which is over half a year, which is long enough.

(I haven’t asked about weather in awhile… what’s it like these days? North of the equator, so it is “winter,” correct?)  Right now it is starting rainy season.  People told me that would start in March, but it came early this year I guess.  I like rainy season, especially the beginning, because it doesn't rain constantly, but it is a lot cooler in general.  That whole winer/fall/spring/summer doesn't exist here.

(Update me on the pair of shoes that hadn’t ever been shined… is that still the case? If so, are they even wearable at this point?)  So I actually have shined those pair of shoes twice now myself, and they are very wearable.

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer

Friday, February 4, 2011

Eric's email of February 3rd, 2011

Well, we just got back from Mount Fébé.  We went up there before Elder Hancock and Elder Kapelé left, and tomorrow Elder Lamb and Elder Hansen will leave Yaoundé too.  Replacing them respectively will be Elder Garner, Elder Kabwika, Elder Prince (brand new !) and Elder Larsen.

The Bastos District before the last transfer

Also, Elder Tingey and I are the only companionship staying together on our side of the mission, out of 13 companionships.
This past week we spent a lot of time with Marina, the 10 year old who will be baptized this weekend.  I like teaching kids, because the lessons are super simple, and they usually understand pretty easily.  Or at least that's what they say to us.
Saturday we played soccer again, and we went with Blaise.  I got put in goal, and I stink at goalie.  One person knocked it over my head from half field because I came out a little bit.  But at least since I am so horrible in goal, they don't put me in anymore.
Speaking of Blaise, he also gave us a coordonnée of one of his friends who lives in Madrid, Spain.  So if Elder Pericle (a member from our ward serving in Madrid, Spain) gets a Cameroonian coordonnée, that's probably him !
And sorry, I forgot my camera, so I won't be able to send photos, but next week I will have a lot to send.
Elder Tingey and I have also continued with Blaise’s family, and on Monday we set a baptismal date for 3 of his younger siblings.  His parents and one other sister are going to take a bit more time, but are getting ready probably for sometime in March.  So the good thing is that the whole family is committed to being baptized, which will give them the greatest chance to progress towards the temple and all the blessings of the Restored Gospel together.
I also got out of translating in Sacrament meeting, and the other missionaries split it between themselves, and I just played the piano.  But I did end up translating for Sunday School.  It was the 5th Sunday, so the branch presidency taught everyone, anglophones and francophones.  So I was translating from French to English, and vice versa.  It kind of messed with my head.
We also helped the Thompsons’ (senior couple) move into their new apartement.  I didn't even know they were moving until they said they wanted our help last weekend.  So now, since I’ve been in Cameroon, all the missionary apartements, including the senior couples’, have changed except for the missionary apartement on the other side of Yaoundé and the couple apartement in Douala.  I don't like to move a lot.
Elder Tingey and I also had a nice surprise on Tuesday.  We went back to see a lady we contacted about a month ago named Soeur Catherine.  We hadn't been able to see her regularly because she was out of town and was also sick.  But Tuesday was the first time we saw her for probably more than 2 weeks, and we asked her how her Book of Mormon reading was coming, and she said she loved it !  She talked about Nephi and Mosiah and Moroni, and pretty much read the whole thing!  She says she studies it with her Bible and everything.
I’ve also learned that I say one phrase in french a lot : « c’est bien ».  Its just like saying « alright » or « okay », I don't really know how to explain it, but I just say it without thinking.  But I noticed this, because Soeur Melanie pointed it out.  She said to me, « tout est bien chez toi ».  Even when she told me how she still isn't really interested in the Book of Mormon, I said « c’est bien » just as a reaction or whatever.  Its not bien that she isn't interested in the Book of Mormon, but I just said it.  That was the first time she pointed it out.  I’ve realized its hard for me not to say it.
Elder Tingey also played 15 holes of golf today with Elder Hancock, and Tim from the American embassy, this morning.  I was too lazy/tired, and I’m not good anyways at golf.  I can do that at home, so I'd rather rest on p-day.
Also, for the je-ne-sais-combien-th time, (I don't know how many-th time) the Book of Mormon is the best.  I’m at the beginning of Alma now, and I’m finding stuff that I never knew existed in it.  And I also just finished the Part A of « Devoirs et Bénédictions de la Pretrise », (Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood) learned a lot there too.
Je vous aime tous,
-          Elder Eric Palmer
To Mom:
(Do your ankles still crack when you walk?)
My ankles don't crack when I walk anymore, I think, but I can still crack them at will.
(Have you heard about the protests in Tunisia and Egypt?)
I heard about something crazy going on in Egypt, but didn't know anything about it.
(Did you get the package yet?)
Haven't got the package yet.  I assume you sent it to Douala, so I'll either get it this weekend when the missionaries and the Headlees come up, or will have to wait a bit.

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer
Hey Dad,

Was their lots of participation or precipitation in that storm?
(Mark was on a late flight home from Houston, dodging the big storm and typed " I was watching New Orleans weather because a big storm was headed their way but temperatures were supposed to be in the mid-sixties to seventy but with lots of participation.")
Send me a picture of Andrea in that hat.  Where did she get it?
(Andrea in her "raccoon" hat-she wears it everywhere!)

Well I don't know why you thought I was getting transferred.  Still in the Bastos 1 branch in Yaoundé with Elder Tingey, starting transfer #5 here.  Sorry for no exciting news there.
(How does the church's welfare program work in Cameroon?  (Can you tell Mark was the bishop?))
I don't really have any idea how it works here for the welfare program.  I assume it has something to do with paying tithing.

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer