Sunday, August 31, 2014

8/31 - Baptisms, Cartes, Audits, Recital, African Philosophy

The missionaries had four convert baptisms this week, three in Douala and one in Bonaberi.  The growth rate in Cameroon is slower than in the Congo, but the Church is still growing fast and struggling to train new leaders.
Elders Bacera & Hatch, Malaiteke Palmata, Njeshu Renate, family, Elder Colindres

Bissua Emerique (baptizee) & Njampou Jean Claude
President Ngueti & Nsonbo Edouard Bayard (baptizee)
We had a nice teaching visit with Jean Marie Su, his wife and Elders Johnson & West.  I finally got a photo of him with the book that brought him the gospel: a 1989 priesthood manual that he bought from a street vendor 9 years ago.  When he saw my badge he recognized the Church and was excited that it is in Cameroon.  He asked me to baptize him next Saturday, because the Lord led him to me.
Jean Marie Su & his first Church book

Sister Coleman discovered that two of our Elders have visas that are about to expire.  We started the process to get them resident cards but were told by our expert, President Bala of the Yaoundé District, that they couldn’t get them because they are Africans.  He said that we could just extend their visas by 3 months.  But I asked anyway and, miraculously, Inspector Eveline said yes, since they are missionaries!  We’re getting to be good friends with her.

We finished the branch audits.  The branches are very willing to fix the things that they have been doing wrong so it is all good.  There didn’t appear to be any theft of funds, which was my biggest worry.

The Dimonds visited from Youndé for some dental work.  They weren’t able to quickly find a good dentist in Yaoundé so they trusted my recommendation.  The work was minor and they were happy.  The dentist even said that he wouldn’t charge them, but they insisted.

Sister Coleman’s first piano recital (in Bonaberi) was a big success.  All 13 of the students scheduled to perform were there early and a new student even got written in at the last minute.  They all did great and the branch was supportive.

Noah invited us to dinner with his “adopted” family.  We had the traditional Cameroonian food: Ndole, fish, miondo (manioc), rice, and boiled plantains.  We had a nice visit.  Coming and going were grandkids, nieces, nephews, and other relatives.  Extended families are always close in Africa.  The little girl speaks English so we taught her "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider."
Noah's "family"

Manioc, Ndole, Rice, & Fish

We celebrated my birthday quietly with cake, ice cream, and a video.  Most of our appointments got cancelled, leaving us with spare time, so we just enjoyed it.

Douala Branch President Nkong told me something that explains a lot about African philosophy.  He said that in western and eastern cultures people are ashamed to be dependent on others.  But in Africa people like to be dependent on others.  That is why they don’t save money or food and they often ask for help.  He said that the Church teachings on self-sufficiency are very important and must be learned by Africans.  Is that possible, I wondered, and he said yes, although it will take  a long time.  He said that after years of practice he is doing pretty well at living within his means and saving, but every so often his African heritage takes over and he catches himself overspending.  He mentioned a time in 2008 when there was some kind of insurrection and all of the stores were closed for a week.  Since most people have no food storage, it was a major hardship.
Highly rated Karim Auto, where I might get my truck fender fixed

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