This week I had been praying for help with my attitude after some recent frustrations and the Lord sent lots of little blessings. Several people were especially kind, we got to teach investigators, our humanitarian school project was approved, and things seem to be working out. It was a great pick-me-up week.
Two baptisms in the Douala Branch! A branch member, Fotsing Noumbou David, has been trying to get his wife, Towo Rosalie Sidie Nöel, to join and she finally agreed to be baptized along with their son, Njiomeni Dimitri Erwin.
|Elder West, Noumbou, Dimitri, Nöel, & Elder Kabasele|
This week we said good-bye to Elder Johnson, going to Pointe Noire, and hello to Elder Sperry, coming from Pointe Noire. Those were the only Douala transfers. We also picked up two Elders transferring from Brazzaville Tuesday evening and put them on a plane to Yaoundé in the morning. Elders Bakajika and Rakotonindriana. Try saying that 3 times fast.
We had a great “FHE” at the Su’s home. They had 5 investigators, one branch member, and us. When everyone was nearly ready to start, Brother Su asked us to teach the lesson. I was embarrassed to find that we had a shortage of brochures and copies of the Book of Mormon. But we sang, prayed, taught the restoration of the gospel and fielded some great questions. Brother Su told about his conversion and how he received a testimony of the BoM. After praying to know if it is true he had a dream in which he saw the book surrounded by a ring of fire. That told him it is true. All of the investigators seemed to feel the Spirit and wanted to study and find out the truth. Their names are Do, Sylvie, Annie, Eric, and Charles. Charles in an anglephone (English speaker). They all wanted to meet again next week. What a rewarding experience! Annie also came to the RS activity on Saturday. We love these blessings.
Elder & Sister Dimond came to town for some dental work and a special baptismal interview. We loved having them here to chat and discuss some our joys and frustrations. And the sisters squeezed in some fabric shopping at Marché Congo.
|Sisters Coleman and Dimond fabric shopping at Marché Congo|
|Buying trim; Man on right selling blankets & pillows|
During the interview, Brother Noumbou took me on a tour of his son's school.
|Classrooms are small at this school with room for 15-20 kids.|
|Someone said "Take a photo of the teacher" so she got mobbed.|
|Everyone loves to photo bomb. They are so darn cute!|
We hired a young man and his sister (Assoumu Davy & Fleur Ida) who are preparing for missions. They are taking turns spending eight hours per day at our apartment opening the gate for our truck, running errands, washing the car, washing dishes, sweeping, and doing whatever other chores that we have for them. They should be able to earn enough for passports soon and will both be great missionaries.
We have received approval for our humanitarian project, installing toilets, septic tank, faucets, etc at an elementary school! As soon as the funds arrive we can start. We’ve been working on this since about June.
The cops stopped us again and wanted to see all of our documents. One of them pointed out that our registration card is just a photocopy. I agreed and was surprised that he didn’t insist on seeing the original. Then he started listing things that we have to carry. I told him that we have everything required by law. Then he asked about a wheel block wedge. I said that I didn’t think we had one. He said it is a $50 fine. So, I pulled out a list of violations and fines. (I was emailed the list from a guy I met on a plane. – Blessing!) I couldn’t find that violation and neither could he, so he gave up and let us go, but not before asking us for a copy of our list and, of course, to buy him a drink. No and no. We don’t reward police harassment. It is blessing to know our rights and not feel intimidated.
The RS of both branches met on Wed at 7am to go work in an orphanage. By the time everyone met and made their way to the orphanage it was 8am and we had to leave for a meeting at the electric company. But we met the orphanage director, Sœur Therese, and one orphan who was too ill to go to school. The RS and missionaries stayed and worked all morning cleaning and presenting gifts.
|Inside the orphanage grounds|
|RS sisters, one holding the orphan too sick for school|
On Friday we went to the church for a 7am RS activity. They had asked us to show them how to make a cake. At 7:45 we called the RS president because nobody was there. She said that she is coming. We told her to call when she gets there because we are going home. She called an hour later so we went back to the church and got there before she did. They said that next time they will tell us a time 2 hours later than they tell everyone else. We taught cake-making to 4 sisters who were there by 10. It was my simple vanilla “missionary cake” but they loved it.
The technician at the electric company, Francis, is a Christian and when he found out that he was helping to put electricity in a church he vowed to make it happen in spite of the Kafkaesque system. People like that make out day seem brighter. We have him a brochure and he asked for another copy in English. He said, “Now there is one for me and one for my wife.”
Finally, on Friday with the help of some members, the Douala Branch got electricity. Yay!
It was just in time for the big RS birthday party on Saturday. The sisters had met weekly for 2 months and now got together all day on Friday and Saturday preparing food, playing soccer, making ties, cooking, and having a big party with speeches, songs, a skit, a parade, and great food. The parade included all of the women who wore the same dress. I counted at least 23. They made and sold matching ties so I bought one. The branch stove only has one working burner but one sister brought a small propane stove and another brought a charcoal stove so they had 3 big pots cooking. The Cameroonians prepare the best tasting fish in the world. The beef was also delicious. They also served ndole, plantains, manioc, rice, and folere. It was a feast.
|RS making croquettes (dough balls)|
|Frying the croquettes|
|Cooking on charcoal and propane|
|Too cute to resist. Love that hair.|
|The kids wanted to be near Sister Coleman. Drawing on brochures.|
|Fr. Thibauld in traditional outfit including pagne (kilt)|
|Oh no! She's wearing my dress!|
|The parade / fashion show in which everyone looks alike|
One of the visitors told me how his computer career was sabotaged by a jealous family member who worked black magic to prevent any future success. He had worked in Paris for 9 years but came back to Cameroon and is now old and retired. I told him that the true priesthood is more powerful than any black magic and he should find out more about it. Superstitions abound here.
Yannick Njampou has delayed his temple wedding a few months due to visa delays. His fiancée is waiting for him in Virginia.
I try to avoid the appearance of taking photos of people, but this next shot was too good to pass up. I got bold and just whipped out the camera and took it. Nobody seemed to notice.
|Mothers with babies selling peanuts|