This has been a very busy week full of new experiences, progress, hope, and blessings.
Sister Coleman made Easter Baskets for all of our missionaries and filled them with candy from America. The Africans thought the Easter Bunny story curious but were happy with the candy. The branches scarcely mentioned Easter in church, but a lot of people had family get-togethers. We invited all of the missionaries over for Easter Dinner and to watch the Priesthood session of General Conference. English in one room and French in another. We love these parties.
|Homemade Easter Basket|
|The Easter Bunny Came with Baskets and Peeps!|
|Each Elder got a Basket|
|Elders Kabasele, West, Larson, & Mwehu|
The new Douala Branch leaders seem eager to fix the inherited problems and make things right. We helped them organize the president’s office, search for missing manuals and other necessary items, sweep, and mop. They listen to our suggestions and seek training. Good things are happening here and less-active members are getting the word and returning.
Piano lessons are restarted in the Douala Branch, now that we have electricity, and we had 11 students the first day. That was our best turnout ever in that branch and it was just via word of mouth. We’ll start announcing it and see what happens. I think the new building and new location is revitalizing the branch.
The Temporal Affairs guy came from Yaoundé to help with keys and other necessities. He made a big list of all the things that the branch needs. He met with the electric company and learned that it will cost about $700 to get connected, even though all of the wires are in place. But after two days in town he left without doing anything because his credit card was rejected when he tried to buy stuff. TIA. Later he sent some money to buy a chalkboard and he sent a repairman who fixed one of the air conditioners. That’s progress.
We taught a new investigator, Daniel, at the Su’s home on Monday. He seems really ready for the gospel but he lives about 20 km away, so that could be an impediment to baptism. We don’t baptize people who live too far away to attend church at least half of the time. We’ll see. Living arrangements change often here.
The Su’s house almost burned down on Wednesday. They were gone when their TV exploded and the draperies caught fire. Fortunately, the neighbors broke the door open and put out the fire. We went over with the young missionaries the next day and spent a few hours cleaning soot and ash from the ceiling, walls, floor, furniture, and everything else. I taught the Africans the magic of American duct tape by taping broomsticks on the broom handles to reach the ceiling.
|TV that exploded and burned draperies|
|Elder West, Davy, Elders Legerski, Mwehu, & Kabaseli, & Frère Su|
|Elders West & Legerski have sooty faces. On Elder Mwehu it doesn't show.|
We learned that even though Brother Su is a successful lawyer and has a relatively nice house and full-time housekeeper he has no indoor plumbing. He had to fetch water in jugs so we could mop his floor. That's normal life here.
We visited the Noumbou family. The mother, Noel, was baptized 2 weeks ago and had a baby last Monday. She told us about being 2 weeks overdue, going for a checkup and being told by the doctor that she shouldn’t go home. They induced her and kept her 2 days after the birth. The total bill was about $60 (37k cfa) and the hospital guards wouldn’t let her leave until she proved that she had paid. She said that if she didn’t pay they would make her stay, like a prisoner, and add $4 (2.5k cfa) per day.
|Four-day-old Noumbou Gabriel Garencha|
Our Teacher Training class had 5 students, although most of the class time there were only 2. The marriage class had zero couples so we cancelled it again. Our movie night was pre-empted by a regional visitor, so it will be delayed a week.
We got approval to start spending money on our humanitarian project! We will meet with the Parents’ Association on Monday, make plans, and set a start date. We last met with them about 6 months ago and I think they gave up on us, but now here we come again.
An investigator asked us about a scripture in Ecclesiastes 4:11 that says when two are together “they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?” “What does that mean,” she asked. I explained that in Israel it is sometimes cold and people get cold. It is not like Africa where everyone is always warm. Then she understood. TIA
After the Sunday meeting block I taught a special class on the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood to help Bonaberi members prepare for the Melchizedek Priesthood. I told the class that I feel that the Lord has been renewing my body according to his promised blessing. In America, one mosquito bite drives me crazy for a week. Here I am occasionally surrounded by mosquitoes but am seldom bothered. If I notice a bite I am able to ignore it and it is gone in a day or two. That amazes me.
|Ndakoti Intersection on a quiet day|