Question: How many 55-gallon drums can you carry on a small motor-tricycle? Answer: See photo below.
We got a call to go teach a couple (Edimo Mikondo Theodore & Odile) in Japoma. Here’s their miraculous story. They belonged to a church called the Celestial something-or-other. He built a big chapel next to his house and the congregation held services there. Then he determined that the church was wrong. He said that they drew near to God with their lips but their hearts were far from him (but in French.) So he evicted the church and started searching for the true church. He searched all over west Africa in various countries but didn’t find it. He and his wife resigned themselves to worshiping together at home until God shows them the way. After 3 years they decided to fast for 3 days. (That is 3 one-day fasts with a meal each evening.) On the third day a cousin called him to come and help her daughter in Bonaberi (which is across the river.) While walking down a street near his cousin’s home he was passing our branch building, saw the sign, and found himself drawn inside. He met the branch president and some missionaries and got some brochures. They also told him how to find the Douala Branch, which is closer. After studying the brochures he was visited by an angel who told him that this is the right church! He sent his wife to find the Douala Branch and was given a BoM and our phone number. So she called us, we met her at the church, drove to her home and taught them the restoration.
We made an appointment to come again the following Tuesday. He offered to give all of his property to the Church so we could hold services in his chapel and gave us a copy of the title deed. I explained that the only way they could join the Church at this time is if they can come to services at the branch at least twice per month. He promised to come every week, even though that will cost them about $6/week if they bring their 9-year-old daughter. Sure enough, they were there early on Sunday. I asked if we could change our appointment and he said no, because he has invited his entire neighborhood to hear us preach. Tuesday could be very interesting. Odile has a piano and wants to learn to play so she showed up for piano class on Wednesday.
|With Edimo & Odile|
|Edimo's Chapel that he offered to give us|
|A View of Edimo's Suburban Neighborhood|
Easy transfer week. Elder Bacera was transferred to Yaoundé (by bus) and Elders Okon and West switched apartments and companions. Nobody entered Cameroon, possibly due to visa difficulties in the new mission office. The exciting news is that we are getting the two new Elders that are now in the MTC, when they arrive on Oct 28. Elder West will train Elder Legerski & Elder Rakotondrabeharison will train Elder Larsen.
|Elders Roth, Waite, Rakotondrabeharison, & Okon on Transfer Day|
We ventured again into Marché Central, the biggest street market in town, spent 3 hours, and made it out without problems. We wanted to patronize Marianne’s new boutique and Sister Coleman needed a pedicure. So, while Marianne gave her a pedicure, hand treatment, and facial I walked around talking to people, giving away brochures and having interesting discussions. One guy told me “You’re African and I’m American.” When I asked him how that is possible since I don’t have a tribe or village he said that it is all just skin color. Huh? Anyway, that is the first time that someone told me that I was African.
|Pedicure by Marianne|
|Facial by Marianne|
An older gentleman (M. Mévieu) came up close and said bonjour. I offered him my hand but he refused, saying that is improper to offer your hand to your superior, meaning in age. I asked his age and found that we were born in the same year but I am older. He wouldn’t believe it without proof, but after checking my driver’s license he became my best friend and made an appointment to for us to come and teach him the gospel. He showed me his store and I was delighted to find Shasta root beer. That night I had my first root beer float since coming here.
|Me and my Twin, Mévieu|
We went with the missionaries to visit Simon & Ange. They had the talk between their families, got permission to be together, moved in together, and are saving up for the dote (bride price) so they can have a civil marriage. Until they get legally married they have problems with worthiness in the Church. We are going to try to get the branch president to help them negotiate permission to marry now and pay the dote later. This is such an evil tradition and will probably take a generation before parents start yielding to common sense on this issue.
|Elders West & Rakotondrabeharison Waiting Outside Simon & Ange's Front Door|
We served dinner and the Priesthood Session of General Conference at our apartment for the missionaries. That was fun. We have such a great group of Elders. I told them about some of the large group baptisms that I read about in the DR Congo and they asked how they could do that. I asked them how hard it is to find people to teach. They said that it is really easy but they are teaching so many people now that they don't have time to find new ones. Then we talked about maybe moving the investigator class in Bonaberi outside because the classroom is always packed. I love these kinds of problems! Africa is a great place to be a missionary.
|Elders Hatch, Johnson, Colindres, & Okon riding home in the truck|
|30 55-Gallon Drums on a Tricycle|
|The machete is the most common tool here.|