Sunday, April 26, 2015

4/26/2015 - Baptisms, Branch Division, Temporal Affairs, Building, Piano, Conf.

This week has been about a month long.  So much joy and progress has been packed into it that it is hard to believe that it just started 7 days ago.  I decided that I had better put titles on the paragraphs.

Baptisms are picking up!  Two converts were baptized in the Douala Branch Friday morning: Wos Salomon and Pokam Suzelle Flore.  We held the baptism at our apartment with our newly repaired pool.
I forgot to mention the Bonaberi Branch baptism last week of Benga Epo Benjamin Blaise.  We had to be at the airport and missed it but we were glad to see Benjamin finally join the Church.
Elder Legerski, President Mbenge, Wos Salomon, Flore, Elder Mwehu

I sat down with the brand new Douala branch presidency and we hammered out details of the branch division.  We finally got the application finished and submitted it on Friday.  We proposed making 3 branches out of one and expect to organize a district shortly thereafter.  Now begins the three-month wait for approval.  We are so excited about this!

We hosted the regional facilities manager, Marius Von Mollendorff, and gave him a grand tour of our facilities.  He explained how facilities maintenance is supposed to work, with work orders, accountability, communication, checks and balances.  There is a rational system!  We no longer have to just make a phone call and hope something happens.  Now all of the branch presidents and building people know the system and we have high hopes that this will lead to all of our building problems being resolved in a timely manner.  Our happiness level just went way up!
Marius von Mollendorff with us at Bonaberi

We had our first test of the system by requesting an emergency work order for a projector for General Conference.  Sure enough, we got one the next day, just in time for the scheduled viewing.  We had been waiting for about 2 weeks.

The branches always show General Conference 3 weeks after the event using DVDs that the Church sends.  This time they accidentally came in NTSC format, but I guess the players can handle that these days.  Turnout was good, even on Saturday.  Both branches had snacks between sessions and swept and mopped at the end.  This is the first time we’ve seen that in the Douala Branch for General Conference.  Progress!
Douala Branch watching General Conference

Kids on the front rows - note 4 girls on 2 chairs

A light cleaning after watching Conference on Sunday

Brother Von Mollendorff also said that he didn’t think the container-based building that they were planning for our city would work well, due to the heat and noise.  So he is going to recommend a real brick building for Douala!  That will be wonderful!  It will be simple and basic but designed for LDS services and belonging to us instead of our current method of trying to adapt a house to our needs and dealing with landlord issues.

Vinick (15) and his sister Ivye (about 10) have both completed the beginning piano course.  Vinick was approved by the Harmon Foundation to be given a piano, so we gave it to him Thursday at piano lessons.  Vinick taught the class once when we couldn’t be there.  They are both talented students and it is fun to watch cheerful little Ivye huddled over a keyboard, engrossed in a new piece.  With a piano in their home they could both go far musically.

We had to quit work until the low water pressure issue is resolved.  I researched water pumps and found that everything sold here is among the cheapest models available from China.  TIA.  Though I found 5 or 6 pumps in 4 stores I couldn’t match the deal that Romeo got.  We should soon have it installed and the toilets finally working, though I never had a spare hour this week to visit the site.

As we were saying goodbye to the mission president at the airport I asked him once again if he would consider letting us take the Elders on a P-Day field trip to Limbe.  He said it would be ok!  So, next time you will hear how that went.

Transfer letters came and we are losing 3 of our best Elders to the Congo next week.

I got stopped by a cop who surprised me by only wanting one thing: to make a copy of my list of fines.  I had some shopping to do right where he stopped me so I loaned him the 7-page list and he photocopied it while I shopped.  He was the same cop who stopped me on the other side of town a while ago and tried to bamboozle me until I pulled out the list.  As I drove away there was a group of cops huddled over the copy, apparently planning new ways of threatening the citizenry.  Maybe I shouldn’t have shared the info, but I figure he should have that info anyway and I can always use another friend.

There was a big anti-malaria campaign yesterday with a big march and speeches.  They have a lot of those but malaria just won’t go away.  Who would have guessed.

We decided to give up teaching most classes to focus more on visiting members.  We have completed most of our courses and have had low or no attendance at the two that remained.  Four students showed up for the last Teacher Training class so we taught the last four lessons in one.  We will still teach piano and conducting courses and train leaders.
Our employees cut all this fabric for a humanitarian project.
 It is illegal to take photos of soldiers but this group was running past our apartment and "accidentally" got in my photo of our street.  This is the group I often run and work out with that I call "The Judges."  It was smaller than usual on this day.  Note how they run in the street and cars are just expected to go around.  That is why I like to run with a group.
Military Judiciary employees on a morning run

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