Sunday, April 20, 2014

4/20 - Dentist, Transfers, President Kola, Moodys, Keyboards, Easter

This week has been crazy busy.  I haven’t even had time to run or have companion study for several mornings.  In between several trips to the airport and bus depot, making meals, piano classes, and copying materials, we had to shop several times, see the dentist, pay bills, get to the post office, host a zone meeting, and a myriad of other duties and errands.  And nothing ever seems to go exactly according to plan.
Copy Center & Office Supplies (yes, that's the whole store)
Monday morning at 6:45 I went out and found water flowing down the stairs from the apartment above us.  They had left their kitchen faucet on and departed.  Since there is no water pressure at night they didn’t realize it.  When the water came on in the morning it flooded their apartment.  By the time our concierge called them and they came home and turned it off water was coming under our door and partly flooding our kitchen.  There is never a dull day here.

I mentioned before that I lost a filling.  We have been told to avoid African dentists, but if necessary we should fly to South Africa where the care is equal to that in America.  But it was such a small filling.  So, I asked around and got a few referrals.  The local clinic suggested that I go to a dentist in a hospital.  When pressed they referred me to a nearby dentist’s office.  I drove by on Sunday and it looked ok.  A young Elder informed me that a branch president in Yaounde is a dentist, so I started making plans to go there.  But I didn’t really want to wait an extra week.  Then I went through some old medical records in our apartment and found that an Elder went to a dentist 2 years ago and was happy with him.  So I called, made an appointment, took a tour, and got my filling there.  ($60)
Elder Coleman Getting a Filling
The office seemed to be sterile, modern, and well equipped.  The dentist seemed competent and I’m happy with my filling.  So, for minor dental work it isn’t necessary to leave the country to get good care.  That’s a relief.

Tuesday was supposed to be transfer day.  We took Elder Ngalamulume to the airport and waited.  Nobody showed up at the airline counter to check him in for his 10 am flight.  Finally they announced on the P.A. system that his flight was cancelled.  Ha Ha … just kidding, they don’t use a P.A. system.  They don't even have a TV monitor for departing flights.  And they couldn't be bothered to send someone to tell all the passengers in line that the flight was cancelled.  But we overheard some other passengers talking about it and checked with the airline office and found that indeed that flight was cancelled.  They took my number and promised to call with more info.  So, we went home and waited but they never called.  I emailed the mission home and they said that they would get him another flight but we will have to send his passport to Yaounde to get a transit visa so he can fly to Republic of Congo and take a boat to DR Congo.  That is so he won’t have to wait a week for the next direct flight.  But the transit visa will take almost a week.  TIA (This is Africa.)

His replacement, Elder Ndonda, was supposed to arrive Tuesday but came Wednesday instead.  He's a gung-ho missionary from DR Congo with a lot of experience and a great attitude.
Elder Ndonda
President K. Tusey Kola of the mission presidency arrived Wednesday in transit to Younde.  We found a decent hotel for him and shuttled him around.  He is a former Area Authority Seventy, the first from the Congo.

On Friday I picked him up at the bus station where President Nkong was waiting with Elder Nyom for Sister Ngono (both new missionaries from Cameroon.)  They needed to get to the airport fast so I gave them all a ride.  At the airport we found that their flight to the Ghana MTC didn’t exist and Gambia Bird Airlines doesn’t even serve Cameroon.  And yet the airline sold them tickets.  TIA.  So we took them all to our home for lunch while waiting for President Bala to make new arrangements.  Since the new missionaries’ yellow fever cards had been lost in the visa process they bought replacement cards at the airport ($15, no shots required).  The next morning they took a new flight on a different airline.
President Nkong, Sister Ngono, President Kola, & Elder Nyom
Elder Hunt finally got permission to enter Gabon!  He and another missionary will resume the work there where people are clamoring to get baptized.  When some missionaries who were there went home and officials didn’t want to let new ones in without a bribe, the work came to a halt.  The country was opened in January and the first baptism brought 21 new members.  But we can’t baptize without teaching.

Gabon also had a change of the senior couple.  The old Moody couple left and a new Moody couple took their place (cousins.)  The old Moody couple went to serve their last month in Yaounde, stopping to visit us on the way.  Yes, he is “that” Michael Moody who organized our hymnal and wrote the tune to “Testimony”, hymn #137.

Our piano keyboards arrived!  They had been held up in customs for a month before we found out.  We explained our use and gave the official a brochure and he decided not to charge us duties since it is for the church.  It could have been over $500, since they are allowed to charge up to 100% duties, depending on their whims.  We were relieved.  But the process took over an hour, and traffic was terrible, making us late for piano class.  Eleven people showed up this time at Douala and 17 at Bonaberi.  Fortunately, Elder & Sister Moody helped teach the Bonaberi class, and the keyboards were a hit.
Piano Class in Bonaberi & the Moodys

Our zone leaders had a zone training meeting in our home, so we served lunch.  Their new goal is to visit the members and foster love and unity in the branches.  For those interested in the food we eat, here is what we served for a light lunch:
Pizzas with pineapple, bacon, sausage, & Emmenthal cheese.  For sauce I used a Balsamic tomato sauce they sell here.
Salad (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers)
Banana bread
Sprite & Fanta
Elders Ngalamulume, Nyom, Leavitt, West, Beutler, & Baker

Elders Brockbank, Hunt, Ntambwe, & Okon & Sister Coleman
At choir practice Saturday we couldn’t get the door unlocked to get into the chapel.  So Sister Coleman played a recorder and we rehearsed in the courtyard in front of the church.  After about 2.5 hours and a closing prayer we left but the rest of the group stayed to hang out as darkness fell.  The members here know how to have fun together and often are found just hanging out at the meetinghouse talking and laughing.
Douala Branch Choir
For Easter, Sister Coleman made baskets out of paper plates, filled them with homemade cookies and a tiny cake and an egg and delivered them to the missionaries.  Actual American-style Easter items are available in the store here priced somewhere between sky-high and astronomical, so we got creative.
Some of the Missionaries with Easter Baskets
Our Easter church services included a few extra musical numbers.  There are no Easter eggs or baskets in the Cameroon culture, so Easter might include a special church service and a special meal, but that is all.

Where we Usually Buy Fruit & Veggies

Packed Mini-Bus with Passenger Standing on Bumper
Packed Mini-Bus (a common sight) Passing on Sidewalk


  1. It sounds like you are having great experiences and that you are contributing much to the work in

    Cameroon. Your neighbors ask about you, so we thought we'd get caught up on your mission. We enjoy living in your house. Carry on.

    1. Life here is so unpredictable that we have to count on the Lord to make things happen. And he does.

      We check your blog, too. It sounds like you're enjoying your mission, too. Say hi to our neighbors from us.