Some weeks on a
mission are exciting. Some are long and tiring. Some go fast. And some are
extremely boring! This week was possibly one of the most boring weeks of the
mission. Nothing wrong with that, it’s all part of the work but just nothing of
note to report on. We were all thrown off with the crazy Monday schedule maybe.
We still had a lot of work to do and had some good teaching appointments.
have a baptism coming up this week. His name is Emerique and he has been
studying with the missionaries for about 8 months. It’s always exciting to
baptize people that have been stuck in an “ami” stage for a long time. Teaching
him is interesting, obviously I’m a bold teacher (like telling people to their
faces that this is the only true church) and Emerique has a lot of questions
and doubts. So usually he doesn’t like things I say at first, but he always
goes and prays and studies it out, and later all is well. But despite all that,
we are still really good friends. That’s one of the funniest parts of teaching
– becoming friends with people who actually care about the message. Then it
just becomes fun to visit them. Well, if all goes well we will have a baptism
Saturday. Also it’ll be Elder West’s first baptism in the field, so also extra
special for him.
So this week it seems like home life was more exciting for
y’all. I was really surprised to hear about Kaleb’s choice to graduate early.
That’s awesome, and that sounds like it’ll be good for you. Make sure to talk
to the counselors to get it all finalized. It’s crazy but if you’re graduating
early that means you only have 4 more months of high school! In mission time, that’s super fast. Well, best
of luck this year Kaleb!
Seminary sounds like it’ll be a blast for Maya. Docterine and Covenants
is a fun year. I definitely wish I could remember all the church history we
talked about. That knowledge is always really good to have on hand. Like Elder
Walker said in conference, if everyone knew the history of the church and the
story of the pioneers, members would be extra strong in the Gospel. As for the
French class, I’m so pumped to talk to you in French! I’ve joked with the other
missionaries that you’re going to be my French buddy when I get home. haha. Fun
fact about French is that we steal a lot of English words from it. So if you’re
like missionaries, your mind will be blown when you make those connections.
Study hard this year, its super fun being able to speak another language.
A general authority (a seventy) is coming to visit us in two
weeks, Elder Hamilton. So that’ll be exciting to meet him.
Thanks for all the birthday wishes! It was nice to read
something from each of you. But this Friday, if I’m not mistaken, there is
another Birthday. GABBIE’S! Happy 16th birthday! Not to scare you but now you
can go on dates (and drive but that’s a lesser thing. haha). Have an awesome
party and a rockin' day, love ya!
For the last week of being a teenager, I actually worked really
hard. Tuesday Elder West and I just killed it in the sector. 7 lessons our
first day. To explain, 7 is basically maxing out the schedule, so that was
pretty exhausting. If I remember well, I belly flopped onto a mattress in the
living room when we got home.
Wednesday, I gave myself a hair-cut. And it’s official, I’m
basically a professional! And honestly the rest of the week was just working as
normal. Bouffing chocolate pancakes, making endless Alfredo noodles, and being
young men around the apartment.
Later on in the week Elder West got sick with a flu bug. So we
stayed home and got him feeling better – I’m sure Pizza Friday helped cure him.
haha. And speaking of sicknesses – Ebola. So right after I went home Monday we
got a call from the senior couple and they warned us about it. Secretly, us
missionaries have been hoping we get shipped out and go to South Africa or
France. JK, but we are told to not touch animals or infected people, also not
to eat bat, monkey, or pork. I think we’re good though. No need to worry.
For French study, I created a new game. It’s team poem writing.
Basically each missionary adds 1 line to a group poem and you see where it
goes. So far we have 2. “mon ami, ma sami” and “laissez mes legos”.So the goofiness of the apartment continues.
Also this week I had another sad missionary story. An investigator
- Amos, was taken to the hospital after having been found unconscious in is
room. Apparently he had hyper-tension, which may have caused problems. But
Saturday we get a call from a member letting us know about his state and
wondering if we could come visit him. So we did, and after wondering around the
hospital complex for 20 minutes, we stumbled across his room. I think both West
and I were freaked out. He was hooked up to breathing tubes and was shaking a
lot. So we gave him a blessing and left. Sadly, on Sunday the member came up to us in
church and said Amos died. I didn’t really know him that well, but the saddest
part is we dropped him 2 weeks ago because he refused to keep commandments.
Literally so close to baptism, and had he kept the commandments for even 2
months things could have been so different for him. I guess it put a very
tangible feeling to Alma’s words, “for this life is a time for men to prepare
to meet God.”
As of this weekend as well, our water is out! Apparently the
pump that gets water to the apartments burned itself out. So this morning we
did all our cleaning and showing with buckets. We had to go to the ground level
and fill them up. (We live on the 3rd floor of an apartment building). Just
more fun African adventures!
In honesty, my last week as a teenager wasn’t that crazy as
maybe I expected but, I learned a lot. Time is going by super quick as well! I remember 1 year ago being at church
confirming my first convert! Well next
year who knows what I’ll be doing.
PS – The word “bouffing” comes from a French verb which
basically means to eat like crazy.
To start I’ll answer your questions. As for the Ebola breakout, I’ve heard nothing.
In Cameroon the only big news are the terrorist’s attacks in Nigeria –Boko
Haram. But I’ll keep my eye out; I mean I’d like to be coming home in 9 months
as opposed to dying out here. As for the
sacrament bread situation, it’s not that big of a deal, some missionaries said
they ate it in their wards back home, but it’s still wrong. After the bread has
been blessed it’s become something sacred or sanctified, and it serves a
purpose to purify spiritually.To eat
the bread, after it’s been blessed, as a snack, destroys the significance of a
sacrament. Kinda like how we don’t talk
about temple ordinances outside the temple – it’s sacred and needs to be
treated as such.
As for home life, I’m sure girl’s camp
will be a blast for the girls. I’m bummed I’m going to miss the week long after
camp, of singing of girl camp songs around the house.Senior year for Kaleb! Best year of school
ever. Dude that means you have to apply for college this winter. Where and what
are you thinking about studying? We could always hit up BYU together!
My birthday is in 7 days! Kinda freaky, I’ll no longer be a teenager! Well I’ll let you know how I celebrate.
Gabbie’s is on the 15th as well, everyone is getting old haha.
This week in the mission field. West
and I just kicked butt. I think both of us were kind of down on how hard of a
week we had, so we decided to change that. I instituted what I call “sit-down
lessons”, which means doing an on the spot lesson if people have time.
Basically instead of giving out brochures we get into the houses and teach. At
first West didn’t like this method – made him feel like a Temoins (Jehovah
witnesses). But it worked so well! 20
lessons and 14 new investigators! This
week we want to break 20, and week after we’ll try and break personal records -
30 lessons. I’ll let you know how it
During our sit-downs we found 2 sweet
families. One turned out to not be too interested, as we learned yesterday. But
the other is awesome too. The craziest part is that their daughter is visiting
from London with her children and they already know the church. They visited
the temple over there and have read The Book of Mormon. They will be coming to
church this week and who knows from there!
This week, we also ushered for a fancy
conference the church put on. The church apparently wants local leaders to find
humanitarian work in their own countries and unite with the leaders to fix the
problem. So the Cameroonian Public Affairs Representative decided to join the
cause of eliminating plastic waste in Cameroon. Saturday the church held a
conference with some local leaders and explained the problem. It was fun to
usher and just hang around with other missionaries– now don’t get your
imagination going too much! It’s not
like the president of Cameroon was there or military generals. Just upper
middle class people. The actual presentation was kind of a snooze fest.
In all honesty that’s all we did this
week worth noting. The work is going well, just always teaching which is fun
and makes the time go faster. Ohh also, our water heater broke so West and I
lost a day of teaching because we had to stay home and get it fixed.
PS.The title of the email is a super funny quote from the missionary
training videos. Me and Bacera have been quoting them all week.
This week went by so fast! Can’t believe it’s already Monday again. In
honesty, the work so far is going slow. 11 lessons this week and 3 people at
church. It seems like we may have a 7 weeks of drought before a 7 weeks of
plenty. But we are keeping a positive attitude through it all – which makes it
easy. This week started off with some shopping in the marchés, which is my
favorite thing as you may remember. It was fun going with the two youngest
missionaries (West and Bacera). After that activity the fun started for the
Tuesday West and I got home and set up all our mattresses into
thick landing pads in the living room. This is a good time to stop and explain
that all of us sleep in the living rooms on foam mattresses. The living room is
the only air conditioned room in the apartment – so 6 mattresses are just
always on hand out there. Our Tuesday night fun started with hand stands and
flips but then transformed into parkour! We set up a chair and practiced
hurling ourselves over the thing. haha. In fact we got so good we could do a
running flip over the chair/couch with no hands! Super fun night!
This week we had a big open house which was decent, probably the
best way to describe it. There were about 50 people there and among them was a
pastor of another church. He really wasn’t open to anything we were saying or
showing. All was well until the Q and A session. Then we just lost control of
this pastor. All the missionaries just left the room and left it to the
leaders. Obviously, even with this failure of an activity, it’s still the Lords
church, so it’s not like a critical blow to the branch. Maybe that’s something
I learned this week – don’t criticize the church! (or its activities) Sure
things go wrong or not up to par but that doesn’t mean the church is a false.
The church is run by just a bunch of normal people doing their best, so chill
out if something isn’t perfect –that’s something we try and teach members in
the branches here.
Something that should be perfect in the church though are the
ordinances (baptism, confirmation, sacrament). And this Sunday, West and I had to correct
some false practices. It’s not abnormal to have primary children eat the
sacrament bread after church – but I finally had enough and put an end to it.
After church I guarded the left-over bread from little kids.Then we explained the proper way to the
leaders and priests. So things should
change! I realized that the church here
is like the church in 1830s. It’s
totally new and things still need to be standardized (like this example). The
church members aren’t evil apostates – just new converts. Literally almost
everyone is a convert. I think I’ve met 1 second generation young woman. 1! In church the members often say things like
“when the missionaries taught you, they said…”. Never realized it but in
America we don’t really say that, it’s more like “in primary…”. So the work
continues and we are doing are best!
This week felt so long and the work is kind of slow. It's just a
new sector and we’re trying to find quality Amis (People in French). So that takes some digging - but we've got 3 or
4 serious amis we’re working with. District Leader duties are keeping us busy
This week, to celebrate my 14th month mark I spent the morning
in the immigration office! My 6 month Cameroon
visa expires today so I needed to get a "Carte de ces Jours", (Cameroon’s
version of a green card). It was raining super hard and the court yard of the
office was flooded. More problematic was that the office we needed wasn’t by
the entrance. So Elder West and I went "tomb-raider"
"uncharted" status and climbed on the ledge of a building and
advanced towards the office. At one point we jumped from ledge to ledge and
made it into the office without getting wet! Did I mention the whole Cameroonian police
department was watching us? Surely they
were intimidated. haha. Then began the
fun when I had to figure out the whole immigration system of Cameroon. Some
sassy police officer was giving me trouble - so I did what I've learned to do
best - fight sass with sass! Three hours
later I had my green card. At one point the police officer gave what I think
was a compliment, "This American speaks French really well, but he keeps
bugging me.". So now I’m legal until 2025.
Also you know how in every city I've critically wounded myself
(flashback: congo - parking sign, Youande - sewer ditch) well I got close
again. I hulk stomped a wooden board covering a sewer ditch. No injury though! Just really funny and embarrassing. Also I
broke up a girl fight, they were only 7 but if we do a standard conversion
that's like a 14 year old American. haha :)
Met our new mission president! He's nice but obviously scared to
work with us Americans. Also crazy thing he told us - we can watch Disney
movies in French on Mondays!!! Straight from his mouth - no joke. So yeah, nice
On Wednesday I bought a ream of white paper. So I’m currently
making a risk board for us to play, but more importantly, we started a paper
airplane contests! We live on the third floor of the building facing the
street. So every night we build our planes and launch them across the street.
Our goal is the roof of the adjacent building. haha. Elder Bacera has gotten
the furthest thus far. Funniest thing ever - and if any fall in our buildings
barriers we pick them up. Responsible and fun!
That's all the news and stories from the week. Not much is
changing and we’re trying to kick start the sector. West and I are having a
blast. Ohh. I started family history. Idk about America but in Africa they
created a small booklet called "My Family". It’s basically a pedigree
chart but put into a new interesting form. So I started it and have been
filling it in. In fact I’m going onto myfamilysearch.org
after to get some info. So please, if you have info about the family, feel free
to send it to me :) But I can now definitely testify about family history work
with you guys. It’s so exciting and increases your love for your family! Keep
up the work on that home front and see if you can get some of those booklets
from the missionaries.