Elder Palmer (back row, 6th from left) is serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa mission for
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Eric returned home on August 27th, 2011!!!!!

He was transferred to Yaounde, Cameroon on August 13th, 2010.

Links listed on the left are from the senior couples and Mission President!

Comments in italics are clarifications from Mom.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Eric's email of April 21st, 2011

Well, there's no connection right now, so we decided to type up our email and hopefully later today we’ll be able to send it.
                Yesterday, no wait, Tuesday we went au champ.  We went to help an investigator that we found about a transfer ago.  Actually, she found us.  We were walking to see Soeur Nina at Messassi, and this lady called us over and told us she had a bunch of problems.  She talks a lot.  Her name is Soeur Marie, and her sister Marie-Sylvie is progressing very well.  Marie-Sylvie has been to church 3 times and participated a lot in the Relief Society activity a couple weeks ago.  Soeur Marie has been to church just once.  But she told us she needed un coup de main at her champ, so we went.  And her champ is in a weird spot.  She must have picked it because its close, but it is on a steep hill.  I’ll send pictures of it sometime.  So we went and got there around 7 AM and it was really foggy, and around 8:30 is started pouring rain.  But I prefer the fog and rain rather than heat.  But we worked for about 4 hours, Elder Garner broke 2 hoes, and I only got 1 blister.

Here is the farm.  Once again, it is fuzzy,
but you get the idea.
                Last Saturday we also went au village again to see brother Etienne at Nkol-Ondom.  The elders quorum scheduled an activity chez Etienne that basically was a family home evening.  I think the main purpose was to help Etienne’s wife feel welcomed and try to get her in the church.  Etienne is an awesome member, Sunday School President, but his wife doesn't have really interest in the church yet.  But it was nice to go with some of the members, including Maman Natalie, Souer Mireille, Soeur Therese (the new Relief Society President) and a few other people.
                The new transfer starts tomorrow, and we got the news last weekend, and guess what!  I’m staying!  Guess what else!  So is Elder Tingey!  So we are going to do 4 transfers together.  24 weeks together.  And I will do transfer number 7 in this sector.  36 weeks in this sector.  So I’ve been here since the middle of August ’10 and will be here at least until the beginning of June ’11.  That is basically the whole school year.  But, both the missionaries in Bastos 2, Elder Buck and Elder Garner got transferred, and no one is coming to replace them.  So we decided that Elder Tingey and I would keep just a few of our quarters in Basots 1, and take over Bastos 2.  So its kind of like a transfer, but not really.  Just adding another branch to the progressing investigators we already have.  So we’ll be busy!  Bettter overscheduled than not have enough to do.

I think this shows the Elders in the apartment.
Notice the wall of shoes.
                Oh, duh.  We also had a baptism on Saturday.  In total there were 19 people baptized, so I think that's the biggest one I have been apart of.  Soeur Venessa, who is the niece of Frere Ndzana got baptized.

 Soeur Vanessa and Frere Ndzana

   And Soeur Christine got baptized with just one of her sons, Frere Sebastien.  Her older son, Frere Ignace, was too sick and didn't come.  But then apparently Soeur Christine got sick and couldn't come to church Sunday to get confirmed.  The baptismal font got filled up the day before, and it was pretty cold by the time we did the baptisms, so that might unfortunately be what got her sick again.  And this weekend we are watching general conference, so she will have to get confirmed the next Sunday.  So, prayers for her will help.

Eric holding Aloha (a boy from the orphanage), Sebastien, 
Christine holding Marin, Elder Tingey 

                I also went to another new quarter, the one after Messassi.  Its called Olembe.  Its nice and calm like Messassi, even a little bit more.  There is one more quarter after Olembe, I forgot its name, but after that quarter you are officially outside of Yaounde boundaries.  But, the people we see out in Messassi and Olembe come to church nearly every week, and there are a couple members that live at Obala, which is very much outside of Yaounde, but the pay 500 francs each way each Sunday to come to church.  Ca m’encourage.
                Well, I’m trying to think if there is anything notable...  As usual, the Book of Mormon is awesome.  Today I just read 3 Nephi 11, and I’m really excited to read these following chapters because this time around I'm understanding a lot better than ever, and so I bet I'll learn some pretty cool stuff.
                Well, I heard that the internet is back, so I’m gonna give this a try.
Je vous aime,
-          Elder Eric Palmer
      (We pulled the lawnmower out this week.  Are you excited to come home and mow the lawn again?)  Actually yes I will be excited to mow the lawn and do yard work and such.  This morning we actually did a power clean of our apartment, and it made me want to do something like clean the garage Saturday morning and listen to Car Talk.

      Anyways, Christine has 3 sons: Ignace (12), Sebastien, (9), Martin (3 months-ish)
(     Our ward is participating in a service project on the James River at the end of April and we get to wear the yellow t-shirts.  Do you have a yellow t-shirt?)  For the yellow shirts the Church sends, I've never got those, but they did get them in Pointe-Noire for their service project right after I left, so Elder Tingey has one.  We were supposed to do one here, but it was postponed a few times then just canceled.  Somebody never signed something in order for us to get permission to give the free service.  I don't get what goes on sometimes.

(     Did you get the package yet?  I want to know if the Reeses made it or if they are melted.)  And I fully expect to get the package on Monday, because a missionary will come up here on the bus from Douala due to transfers.  So next week I'll tell you about the Reeses.

     Je  t'aime,
-    Elder Eric Palmer

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Eric's email of April 14th, 2011

              Well being zone leader keeps you busy.  Yesterday we had zone conference, and the past week I spent pretty much all my study time and such planning for that.  Our lesson was on the Role of the Holy Ghost in Conversion.  I had gotten this lesson plan that I think came with the new District 2 DVDs, and it had a bunch of scriptures and Preach My Gospel passages.  I decided to split it up and each person in the zone had a scripture and a question to answer.  But I didn't really realize how it all fit together until we actually learned it during the zone conference.  I realized the first piece talked about what we need to do as missionaries to qualify for the Spirit, the second part was what the Spirit can do in lessons and in the conversion process, and the last part was what a person must do and feel to be converted.  And the last part we learned with Alma 32:26-37, and this time I understood a lot better the what one must « feel » part.
                And I’ve also spent a lot of time doing baptismal interviews this week.  At this rate this will be the largest baptism of my mission, I think.  I spent 10 hours at the Church again on Sunday.  Ça fatigue.  (So tiring)  Tuesday we went out to Ekounou to do interviews for Elder Kabwika and Elder Waite.  And today I’ll be finishing up the last couple interviews with Elder Nsimba.
                We also have been informed that on Saturday we will receive any transfer info, and that it will take place on the 22nd of this month.  Elder Tingey keeps predicting that we will go on number 4 together.
                So for this weekend Elder Tingey and I have 4 candidates for baptism.  1 is the neice of Frère Ndzana, Soeur Venessa, who is 12 years old.  Her uncle started coming back last general conference when Elder Tingey and I just called him to invite him, and then his niece started coming with him.  So I think its nice to get more members of a family in the Church.
                Our other 3 candidates are Soeur Christine and her 3 children.  This one I’m am really excited for, because like I’ve said, things haven't been easy for her since I’ve known her, with her mother passing away and having her new baby.  She first talked with the missionaries a few weeks before I got to Yaoundé, so she's been an investigator a long time.  But she has already been well integrated, she helped out with the Relief Society party last weekend, she has visiting teachers that visit her.  So everything has been put in place, and I’m hoping like crazy that it happens this time.
                We also received an amazing new investigator from Maman Natalie, the old Relief Society president.  We taught her the first time Monday afternoon, her name is Soeur Fridoline.  We taught about the Restoration and a bit of the Book of Mormon.  Maman Natalie was also with us, and she bore her testimony a lot.  Soeur Fridoline was first impressed when Maman Natalie showed her 1 Corinthians 15:29, because she had never heard of that or ever heard it taught.  So when explained that a bit, Maman Natalie shared about her wonderful experience at the temple.  We also read 1 Peter 3:18-19 and James 5:14-15, and was very impressed by all these things in the Bible that she had never understood or even heard of before.  So I learned that sometimes it is effective to use the Bible to show the things that the complete knowledge has been restored of, but references to them are sitting right under their nose!  We saw her again Tuesday, and we asked her if she prayed, and she said yes and she got an answer!  She’s planning on coming the church on Sunday, and well see her again tomorrow.
                Yesterday Elder Tingey and I also had a ground breaking lesson with Daniel, dad of the Longla family.  It had been brought to our attention that he may have a Word of Wisdom issue still.  So we reviewed it, and he said that alcohol was no problem, but that the big one to overcome now is coffee !  I wondered how in the world that could be.  But he said often at his job, their boss offers them some coffee when they work late.  I think we spent almost 30 minutes talking about coffee.  He didn't understand why just one spoonful mixed in with milk once a week at the jobsite was a problem.  He didn't think it was possible to deny that offer from his employer.  We talked about 2 other members we know who work for the same society.  We tried everything, especially the temple, but he wasn't budging.  Even nesquik.  But thankfully 2 of his kids were there : Melkior and Queentine.  Eventually they just asked/begged him to just try.  And with a few more words and a bit of silence, he accepted.  I think if his kids weren't there, we would have had no chance.
                Alright, well I got to hurry and finish up because we had a busy p-day.  We went to the gorilla park again today, so I’ll try to send some photos that Elder Tingey took.  And then we got to go finish baptismal interviews and go shopping.
Je vous aime,
-          Elder Eric Palmer
      Picture of the Zone at the Gorilla Park
Too bad it is fuzzy
      To Mom:

      I don't think there is nearly as much pollen here as in Virginia.  I never wake up to see cars covered in it.

(We are removing the swingset in the backyard and I asked Eric what we should put in its place.)  Since its not big enough for a basketball (court), I'll have to think about it more.

I forgot to say this I think, but one of Elder Tingeys friends is in the Richmond, Virginia mission.  His name is Elder Fergeson, so watch out for him.

Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer

Friday, April 8, 2011

Eric's email of April 7th, 2011

                Elder Tingey and I just got done with our first rendezvous of they day with Frère Celestin.  It was only our second time teaching him.  In our first lesson we talked about the Restoration, and he accepted the invitation of “lorsque vous arrivez a la connaissance de le veracite de ce message, vous ferez-vous baptiser....?”, (when you come to a knowledge of the truth of this message, will you be baptized?)  but he put the accent on the “as he comes to a knowledge...”.  Today we watched the Restoration DVD with him.  He wanted to rip it onto his computer, but we told him there is a copyright.
                Ok, this might have lots of typos, because I’ve gotten used to the French keyboard.  But this one is English/Arabic, so I’m getting kind of confused.
                Daniel Ndiemboh is progressing very well.  He came to church the first time of Sunday.  He pulled up on his motorcycle with 2 of his daughters on back.  But the best thing was that he shared a testimony in Sacrament meeting!  After the first person he got up, introduced himself, and talked about what he had received from the missionaries at his house.  He also spoke of one time when Elder Tingey and I gave him a blessing for his back pains, and by the end of the lesson he was pretty much healed.  And he said that he wishes to come back and stay in this church, and that his family does the same.  I would say, that is a good sign of progression.  We will see him tonight, and we hope to set a baptismal date with him.
                There will also be a party for the Relief Society this Saturday, with all 4 branches of Yaounde.  We have invited all of our amis de l’Eglise, and we are expecting a very large turnout.  More people seem to want to come to the party on Saturday than to Church on Sunday.
                We have also had a change in the branch here.  We used to be doing translation and such during Sacrament meetings, and there used to be separate English and French Relief Society and Elders’ Quorum.  But we discussed it a bit at the last zone conference, and President Headlee officially told our branch to stop separating those classes, and no more translation during sacrament meeting.  But they still have English Sunday School.  And the translation was becoming bothersome, 2 Sundays ago they cut out a whole talk and 1 hymn because all the time was gone already.
                Soeur Christine and her 2 children are getting closer to their batpism on the 16th.  Elder Nsimba will do their interviews tomorrow.  I pray like crazy that they make it this time.  And the niece of Frere Ndzana is also getting ready to get baptized the 16th.
Tonight we also plan on having the best lesson ever with the Longla family.  We have confirmed that the entire family will be home, and we are going to talk about the temple and eternal families.  The father has already asked if he can change his religion to this church, we know that the mom loves what she already knows about the temple, and the oldest daughter said she will be baptised after her exams, which have her go to church even on the weekends.  So we plan on getting the entire family engaged together, so that they can receive the eternal family blessings of the temple.  And that would help us get future anglophone leaders in Yaounde!
                We also watched the Saturday morning session and Priesthood session last weekend.  The connection was good so we got video.  So where in the world is Meridien, Idaho?  (New temple announced for Meridian, which is a burb of Boise.)  And also, are there any plans to ever get a temple in Richmond, or anywhere in Virginia?  We also saw one of the very recently returned missionaries singing in the choir in the Priesthood session, Elder Wilkinson.
                Also later today, Elder Tingey and I are going to go try to play basketball at le palais du sport that the chinese built here.  Many people have told us that the outdoor stuff is free.  Too bad I’m horrible at basketball now, Scott and Jacob are going to spank me when I get back.
Je vous aime,
-           Elder Eric Palmer
      Mark emailed Eric that he (Mark) needed to brush up on his French for his upcoming trip with Jacob next week, so Eric is "helping" him by writing to him in French:
      (Mark told Eric that next week he and Jacob will be getting up at the same time as Eric because they will be in the same time zone)
      Vous allez vous lever a 6h30 aussi? (You are going to wake up at 6:30 too?)

Je ne vais ecrire qu'en francais pour t'aider.  Et je vais employer le passe simple.  (I will write in French to help you.  And I will use "passe simple" - a complicated verb tense.)

Le Cameroun and le Congo Brazza furent colonizés par la France, alors on dit quatre-vingt-dix ici.  Mais a Kinshasa on dit nonant et telles choses.  Et tu me le demandas deja.  (Cameroon and Congo Brazza were colonized by France, so they say four-twenty-ten (to say the number 90).  But Kinshasa says ninety.  And you have asked me this question before.)

Oui, j'aimerais etre entraineur pour l'equipe de Jacob.  Mais ne dit-il pas qu'il ne veut plus jouer au foot?  (Yes, I would help coach Jacob.  But I thought he didn't want to play soccer.)

Nous recommencames a faire la course trois fois par semaine.  Maintenat nous faisons un mile ( je ne le connais pas en francais) et demi.  J'y serai pret.  Mais le marathon se fera en mars?  Serai-j'en Virginie?  (We started running again three times a week.  Right now we go 1 1/2 miles.  I will be ready.  (To run the 1/2 marathon with Mark in the fall.)  But isn't the marathon in March?  Will I still be in Virginia?)

Je vais reflechir a ce que je voudrais pour mon anniversaire.  (I will think about what I want for my birthday.)

Well, I probably complicated that french too much and made some errors, so bonne chance.
      Ok, I'll be ready for that, but I'll have to just gradually increase the distance.  And how do you prevent side aches?

And I just looked at the blog, and I thought it was funny that everyone else in that main picture has gone home or been transferred except me.
Je t'aime,
- Elder Eric Palmer

To Mom:

Alright, I don't know if Scott just doesn't write, or has Dad's "insanity" syndrome (doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results), because I got no email from him, neither Jacob this week.  If he sent it to my fastmail again, I don't even know what to say then.

That question was in English, by the Longla children. (What is our faith and abundant life in a pluralistic world?)

They package has not yet arrived chez moi, and I don't have my camera this week, I'll bring it next time.

Also, do you want me to call on Mother's Day on Sunday evening again?

Je t'aime,
- Elder Palmer