Feb 14, 2014

02-10-14 Broken Heart, Contrite Spirit, and Ripped Pants – What a Combination!

To answer the questions, the food is apparently the best thing ever in Cameroon, but I have yet to try any of it. Members usually don’t feed us unless it’s a special occasion. We get sodas and small stuff regularly but not constantly, because it’s not like America.  I have had to learn how to cook more. This is the first apartment where I’m the main chef.  My cooking is not the best in honesty but it gets us by. 

To explain the title of this email, I have a humorous story.  This week we were asked to give service.  A member wanted me and Elder Hunt to help him move (my first thought was, why the heck is every service opportunity in my life a church move?!) Being an expert in this field of work, we gladly accepted. I insisted to Elder Hunt that we go in shorts and t-shirts. But he wasn’t too keen on that idea - so ties and slacks it was. We arrived and it was the father, two members and us. The father had a friend who came with a big truck, but the guys driving the truck didn’t even help load or unload!  So with that as a back drop - I went head first into the work and got my clothes all dirty. In the first twenty minutes however, I bent down to lift up a couch, and in the process of bending.....RIP!!!  Right down the middle of my slacks. So for the rest of the 2 hours I worked with a massive hole in my pants.  I guess if I was going to lose a pair of pants - service wasn’t a bad way to lose them.

Working with Elder Hunt has been a good experience and we’re getting along fine. This week was a little slow in overall excitement.  Hopefully next week will be a little more exciting. We are meeting with our mission president this weekend, Sat – Mon.  So I’ll do emailing and such next Tuesday - just so you aren’t worried.

That was such a funny story about Kaleb sitting in the back of a cop car cuffed for 2 hours! Glad it was a mis-identification!  I think that’ll be an awesome story to tell your future family. I shared parts of it with my companion who thought it was interesting. Well, Kaleb, officially getting in more trouble with the law than any of us ever before. haha.  If you have to get a job - I suggest lifeguard. That’s probably what I’ll do as a summer job when I return.  But semi-pro skater wouldn’t be a bad dream to chase either - maybe it’ll be me living in your basement in a few years.  haha. Tell Gage that I saw the photos and think they are “sick”.  Reading that story definitely made me miss being in our family where literally anything can, and does, happen. 

02-03-14 Marche Talk

Happy Birthday Mom!!!! I definitely didn’t forget, and it’s actually
written in my planner. I hope the celebration was/is going great.
Thanks for raising us and doing your very best. Looking back I now see how hard you really worked and see all the rewards of that effort.  Thanks for the advice on life - always appreciated. Love you bunches!

Update on Cameroon: the new sector is much different. First, the
elevation and hills in Yaounde are insane, I was running out of breath the first few days it was so crazy. Also Hunt, is turning out to be a super nice guy, but it’s an interesting companionship. He is much more “green” and still so innocent missionary-wise.  I’ve been trying to let him led as best I can, and for the most part he does a fine job. The French is a little rough but he is fearless in talking. I think it will take some time to iron out quirks but it will come!

The Cameroonian people are much less intense than Congo. They don’t yell racist comments, or shout vulgar things. They all live in extremely nice apartments (nice for America even). And as you predicted, less interested in religion. They all go to churches but the lack of real commitment is still there (at least with this
church). I’ve had some fun experiences already. One night I bought bananas. I bought $2 and the lady gave me the whole dish of bananas basically. Things here are cheap, cheap, cheap. I also spent all day in a Marche (market) and had some fun bartering!  I am dang good at negotiating - let me tell you!  I got everything at the prices I wanted. I AM ADDICTED TO MARCHE SHOPPING IN AFRICA haha.  Also I have learned how to make friends in the town. So now we have: Johnson (the hat seller), Monic (suit seller), Gee (egg roll seller), Chichi (bread guy), Blaze (2nd suit seller), and Christine (vegetable lady) who know us by name and give us sweet discounts!  Yeah Baby!  So that’s sort of an in-depth look at my last week in this country. It’s been a blast.

Lundberg, simply told me, very harshly, that I had no idea what it was like to live in difficulty, to have financial or family problems, and so I needed to be more compassionate to others. (he hadn’t pieced together my family life yet or my personal history)  So naturally, I got extremely upset and gave up on being even remotely buddies. But as I said, with time we worked it out and we ended as good friends and I wish him the best. :)  Even missionaries say things wrong sometimes – I’ve had plenty of those moments.

Kaleb! Give the new bishop a run for his money. There are some crazy questions people have, including missionaries, but every question has an answer in the Book of Mormon. So, have at it, but make sure you search the right books.  Let me know how it goes.

Maya! Future missionary!  I’m glad you liked hanging out with the sister missionaries - teaching is a blast - prepare well now for that future name tag.

I really hope the rest of y'all are doing well. Hopefully everything
is working together for you’re good!  I love you abundantly and wish the best this week.

PS - I think the sun is burning away some of my hair! NO!!!  Good thing there will be a resurrection and I can get my hair back. 

01-27-14 So Glad to Make it to Cameroon

Sorry I didn’t get to respond to your questions last week, like I said the internet in Africa was terrible. But this week I’ll be giving
you a full update. 

To begin with Elder Lundberg.  Me and him are still best buds in
honesty. He is my favorite companion and I think it is the same on his side. We simply had some tension between us for a while. He said some things about my life that I didn’t appreciate and on top of that, I was so bored with Africa that all of it upset me more. But in the end we worked things out and we are buds. I learned a lot from him. Mostly I learned that it’s okay to be relaxed about missionary work. It’s okay to just talk with investigators about their lives and their normal interests instead of just teach, teach, teach. I learned that being overly concerned about your salvation, is actually bad in large degrees. I think you all will be surprised at how much Lundberg helped me change for the better.

But now things have changed! I am in high class Africa!  Literally, we live in a neighborhood where the houses are bigger and nicer than our apartment. Cameroonians are rich. It’s extremely hilly as well.  The streets are as steep as the ones in San Francisco.  The weather is cooler, so good break from the Congo. I think I’m going to like it here.

My new companion is younger than me and I’m only his second companion (making me his "mom".) To explain, in missionary generations, the first companion is dad, second mom, and if you have the same first comp as another person you are their brother) His name is Elder Hunt. He comes from Utah and has been here for 4 transfers. Teaching with him is going to be a process - he likes to prove things with the bible, whereas I have learned that that usually never works. He still has that greenie fire in him and is super pumped to baptize. So in this relationship I’m the “squid ward” (Sponge Bob Reference). haha.  He is extremely scared to break rules and so I am going to try and mellow him out a bit. It seems like the Congo was full of black sheep missionaries, whereas, Yaounde is a bunch of straight laced missionaries! (I’ll let you know how my work goes with him though).

The missionary stories you guys are sending me sound absolutely
awesome.  I know I might not respond to them sometimes but I read them and am impressed and like to know about the awesome work over there. 

I definitely will try to play piano at the church if I ever get the
chance. I think that would help. I think I am ready to keep going to
the end, Africa can get boring, but I am learning to cope with it. If
you can tell everyone at home I read their emails (Nani’s, Dad’s, and Friends)

BTW - Me and a college friend serving in Brazil, have decided that in 2016 we are going to go to the Rio Olympics. Get passports and y'all are welcome to come along. :)