May 5, 2014

04-14-14 What A Week!

To start the week, Africa has been getting pounded with rain and insane lightning storms. That’s provided some nice cool weather that is rare. In fact some nights I slept in jeans and a sweater to keep warm. So true, you can be cold in Africa.

Running through the week, Elder Kampoy will be staying another transfer with me in the same place. Which both of us are okay with! This week he has continued to teach me Swahili and he also taught me how to make fufu. Basically flour and water….in reality not basically….that’s all it is. But it comes out in solid balls that are used as a filler food. I will have to make it at home sometime – it’s actually not that bad.

Saturday was a very good day, surprisingly. Our activity was awfully planned Saturday morning. Kampoy and I were pretty worried and frustrated. To add to the stress, our Ward Mission Leader told us before our baptism that the branch president had expressed zero confidence in us, and actually was ragging on us in their branch council!  The whole day we were seriously on edge - to make things worse other branches put on activities that took the youth's attendance. So scared because a lack of an activity and lack of potential attendance, we went into it shooting from the hip.

Now the good part of the story! We had planned to do a Q and A for investigators as well as play kickball. Activity started at 5pm with 20 investigators. Kampoy and I decided to do a Q and A for members. An opportunity to ask any question on any subject to missionaries. Things started slow, but after 10 minutes questions were posed and we spent a bunch of time talking about revelation. Perfect because we have been having problems with members understanding "receiving" revelation for the branch president and others. The activity became a perfect opportunity to correct and clarify everyone. (strangely, those that came are those that have caused problems) In the end, 30 people attended and we had gained massive respect from leaders. I don’t think for one minute that what happened was merely coincidental! The day after, we were invited to give talks in sacrament for a later date and the presidency talked high of us in church meetings!

That same day we had a baptism for Daniel and Desmond. Concerning them, I'll tell you how they found the church. Daniel had been talking with his dad one day. After a few hours he asked his dad, "I need a bible, can you find me a bible?". Daniel's father simply disregarded the request. The next day, missionaries gave Daniel's father a brochure. The dad, mockingly, gave the brochure to Daniel and said, "You want a bible? Start here, with this!" Daniel loved the brochure and immediately called us. As he says, missionaries were there at his house (Hunt and I) 20 minutes later : )  Daniel was prepared and accepted and changed immediately. He later brought Desmond, his cousin, saying, "You are always dragging me to church, this time I’ taking you.  "Two months later these two are baptized. How awesome!

Also, it’s apparently Easter this week. I know that because I have been seeing some celebrations around the place. Example - Sunday was Palm Sunday. The day Jesus rode into Jerusalem and everyone threw down palm leaves. Sunday morning every African had a palm leave and had a parade through a part of the city (running right in front of our church ironically). To give you some more description, in the taxi on the way to church we got stuck in traffic. Literally the whole road was flooded with people. Thousands upon thousands. People who forgot to bring leaves bought them from vendors on the side of the road - reminded me of the merchants selling in the temple in Jesus' time. It was interesting to see this tradition in their culture.

In other news! Regine and Beldin got permission to be baptized!!! This week again we will have a baptism. I was so happy when they came up to me after sacrament and told me the news Such a full week of work!. After this week, we gained the respect of leaders, added to the church amazing members, and made plans for another baptism!

Today, I forgot, we haven’t had water for a week. So today, we took 3, 200 Liter trash cans to the church and filled them up. The district president (stake president) brought a truck to help us transport them - awesome! One problem...we live on the third floor of an apartment building - merde! We unloaded the cans outside and then it was up to us to move these cans into the apartment. Pause….1 liter of water is 2.2 pounds. Each can weighed nearly 400 pounds! Not to add we had played football and Frisbee this morning. Now again, for the happy part. Kampoy and I got one up to the apartment only to return and find the guards helping bring another up the stairs.

It was honestly surprising to see that. I expected people to gather and laugh, I mean there was already a group doing that very thing just like when we pushed the whell barrow. Not to mention since I am white, I usually get the racist treatment. My heart was softened today by these guards. Sadly, I later went outside to mop the stairs that we had dirtied with spilling water, only to get a snide comment. Some guy walked by and said "hey boss, I’m looking for work maybe I can come work for you over there hahaha". Overall, like I said, I appreciate the service from those guards.

That was my week entirely, I think. We learned our new mission president will be an African from Lumubashi, DRC. Sadly, President Cook will no longer be coming to Yaounde, so I won’t get to talk to him - I guess it'll have to be over email. I’m feeling fine. Happy as ever.

I love you all and hope this week goes well - finish school strong!