President Coleman is my new title! Just when it seemed like we knew what we were doing and things were settling down, the Lord sends us more surprises and new challenges. And, of course, many more blessings.
Our new mission president came and held a zone conference with the missionaries and meetings with the branch leaders. The next morning at 5:30 am as I prepared to drive him to the airport he said, “I’m going to set you apart as my counselor.” What?!!! Then he did so, after which he told me that now I preside at all branch meetings that I attend and have to sit on the stand. No more sitting in the back and coaching quietly as needed. I am to represent him and give direction and training to the branch leaders. After he left I learned that I have to go by the title of President Coleman. Each of the big cities will have a counselor to the mission president.
Photo Front Row: President & Sister Monga, Sister & Elder Coleman
Photo Back Row: Elders Ndonda, West, Colindres, Hatch, Bacera, Waite, Johnson, Roth, Rakotondrabeharison, & Okon
So I have a whole new set of responsibilities and authority. It’s a good thing that the Lord is in charge, because I could never do it without his help. We started with some training of leaders Friday evening, presiding at a baptism Saturday, and more training and presiding Sunday. We both spoke in Sacrament Meeting about our new roles.
Two young men, Felicien & Christ, were baptized in Bonaberi and their brother, Jean Baptist, said that he is next.
|Christ, Felicien, & President Ngueti|
We took Marlese’s daughter, Nina, to the hospital to rest. From what I’ve been told, she had a panic attack, couldn’t breath and fainted on the sidewalk. The kids told her mom, who came and carried her into the house. Someone called Romeo, her cousin-in-law, who arrived about 30 minutes later and found her not breathing and cool to the touch. He thought, this poor mother doesn’t know that her daughter is dead! He anointed her and commanded her spirit to return. Then he gave her mouth-to-mouth breaths and massage and after a few minutes she gasped and started breathing but was very weak. Six hours later they called us. I gave her a blessing and we took her to the hospital where they put her on IV fluids. The next day she returned home, still weak.
Monday was our first piano practice event at Bonaberi, in addition to the Thursday lessons. I counted 15 students who showed up to practice. We hope that by studying 2 days per week they can learn twice as fast. It is fun to hear the kids at piano lessons calling “Seesta Coleman! Seesta Coleman!”
|Vinick, Felicien & Messie|
|Fleur Ida & Rosemary|
|Almost the whole classroom|
While Sister Coleman coached students at the piano practice, I visited a nearby paint boutique owned by a branch member, George. We talked about the different qualities of paint appropriate for Douala weather and I said a prayer for his business.
|George's paint boutique, built in a storage container, with Elders Roth & Waite|
Ruth’s birthday brought a lot of rain and several blessings.
Blessing #1: Success in getting a Carte de Sejour without going to Yaoundé. We went back to the police station to get a Residence Card (Carte de Sejour) for Elder Johnson, bringing the letters they asked for. Then they told us that they required another letter from the Church in Douala. I walked home and wrote one. They wanted 100 cfa for copies, 3,000 cfa for photos, 65,000 cfa for the card, 1,000 cfa for the stamp, and after doing all of this for 2 hours we had to wait 2 days for the signature. The temporary card is good for 18 months, which is more than he has left on his mission, Yay! We are so excited to be able to do this locally from now on. Next time we will know what to bring and do. And by the way, the police station was flooded, so the Elders and Sister Coleman waded through ankle-deep water to get to the office. I stayed back and ran errands until the water receded.
Blessing #2: There was almost no line to pay the electric bill.
Blessing #3: As I was leaving the electric company one of the customers saw my badge and read “Jesus Christ.” I stopped to talk to the 2 young men and told them a little about the Church. They expressed interest in joining the church and said they live near our meetinghouse. I gave them brochures and called the Elders, who chatted with one on the phone and said they will meet with them soon.
Blessing #4: The post office put a small parcel in our P.O. Box, thus avoiding the long wait for customs and the excessive fees & duties.
Blessing #5: We ate at The Mediterranean, a European restaurant, to celebrate Sister Coleman’s birthday. She loved that the restroom there was like an American restroom, with toilet seats, toilet paper, soap, and paper towels. Nevertheless, one of the male customers walked over to the flowerbed in the outdoor dining area and used it, instead, reminding us that this is still Africa.
|Sister Coleman's Birthday Lunch|
We bought some rambutan fruit. They look like hairy strawberries but have a delicious white fruit inside. I tried some other fruit, too, but don’t know what it is called.
|I don't know what this is but it is good|
|Papaya for Breakfast|
|Laurencia, Patruce (back), Elizabeth, Purita, Elvis|