Sunday, September 7, 2014

9/7 - Baptizing, Visiting G.A., Branch Members

I baptized Jean Marie Su on Saturday and confirmed him on Sunday.  He bore his testimony in church about the miracle of how the Lord led him to me.  The morning of the day that he met me he had been reading the priesthood manual that he bought from a street vendor and wondering when the Church would come to Cameroon.  When he saw me and we started talking it was as if we had been friends forever.  He’s going to be a great addition to the branch.  His wife isn’t ready to join but she brought a friend to church today.

Elder West, Elder Coleman, Jean Marie Su, Elder Johnson

The baptism almost didn’t happen because nobody could figure out how to fill the font.  I finally followed the pipes and found a secret valve in a back room.  I don’t know why nobody knew about it.  The baptism was 2 hours late and in about 18 inches of water.

Elder Kevin S. Hamilton of the 2nd Quorum of Seventy, and counselor to the Africa Southeast Area president came to tour the mission.  He taught some great things and straightened us out in a few areas.  (New rule: no sandals.  New enforcement of old rule: no backpacks.)  His training of the missionaries and branch leaders was inspired and will really make a difference.  The branch leaders are talking about getting better organized, the Facilities Manager is coming tomorrow for a meeting with the branch council, and the missionaries have all switched to shoulder bags.
Zone Conference with Elder Hamilton

The Zone Performing for Elder Hamilton

We had to hire a car (& driver) large enough to carry all three couples during Elder Hamilton’s visit because our pickup wasn’t big enough.  At one point the battery in the rented car died so the general authority and the mission president got behind and pushed the car to start it.  I wish that I had a photo of that.

One of my burning questions for Elder Hamilton:  When can we open some of the other cities to missionary work?  Answer:  Not for a long time.  The Church doesn’t have the resources to go everywhere so we go where we can be the most productive and efficient.  Right now that is in the big cities that already have established branches.  There are many cities that have large groups of Church members but no branches.  For now, they can get together and worship as an unofficial group, but the cost of the infrastructure of establishing branches everywhere is prohibitive.  It is hard to tell people to be patient, but fortunately the Lord has revealed detailed instructions on how to worship when there is no Church unit nearby, and they are in “The Family Guidebook”.

Elder Okon, our Nigerian, required a Carte Consulaire (Carte de Sejour) to get his residence card, so we had to find the Nigerian Consulate.  We drove all over and asked several people before finding someone who really knew where it was.  He jumped in our car and directed us.  Our success at getting residence cards for the African Elders might result in those in Yaoundé coming here to get them.  Rules are interpreted differently in different cities and they haven’t been able to get them there.  I asked our police inspector and she said that they were welcome to get them here.  

On Thursday we visited some less-actives with our new Branch Mission Leader, Yannick Njampou, just back from his mission.  The families live in Cité Sikh which is a neighborhood that looks like a step back in time.  Simple cinderblock homes, banana trees everywhere, footbridges over the creek, narrow, winding foot paths between the homes, wells with buckets on ropes, women cooking on wood fires, children and friendly people everywhere.  Just a mile from the center of town but another world.  We had nice visits and one of the families came to church.
Cité Sikh

Entry Bridge to Cité Sikh

Ngo Bappa Noel with relatives & Njampou Yannick

Patricia Ntone & brother (traditional African outfit)

So many people complain about not having money for taxis to come to church that we walked to church today.  It is over two miles each way.  If we can inspire just one person to come when they are broke it will be worth it.

The video is of a crosswalk sign.  Did your mother say to walk across the street?  They don't say that here.  Maybe "run for your life."

My new filling (4 months old) fell out while flossing, so I had to go back to the dentist to get it replaced.  Again, no shots or pain, but he worked a bit harder preparing the surface and said it would stay in this time.  $40.
A Cute French Pastry

When you see this, you pull over and wait.

This Guy Should be Supporting a Baptismal Font

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