The month started with transfers. The word for transfer in French is "mutation", which is fitting. A "mutation" can be a good thing and a bad thing. When transfers come, the good thing is that we get new missionaries to love; but the bad thing is we have to say "good-bye" to others that we already love.
Missionaries are much like our own children...they are the joy of our life, but they also "provide" opportunities for extra work. The month of June was a month of broken "things". First, the missionaries broke their couch and Elder Call (with the help of the missionaries) had to fix that. Then they broke one of their chairs. The chair was metal, so we had to take it to a welder.
You notice the lack of safety precautions used. I was the one to remind the young man to put on his glasses. Well, while we were waiting for the chair to be repaired, Elder Call noticed a man close by who was weeding. Many may know that Elder Call has followed in the footsteps of his father and has become quite the gardener, which requires removing weeds. He stood and watched the man cutting out the weeds, and the urge to weed overcame him. He asked to borrow the man's tool. The tool used here for farming and weeding is one of ancient date and requires the farmer to bend over considerably. A back-breaking task indeed! After only a short time, Elder Call's desire for weeding was satisfied.
Baptisms occur here regularly and it is almost impossible to include all of them. However, I do want to tell about Anita. Anita is 17 years old, but will be 18 in November. She had been investigating the church for about 1 year. Her mother was very opposed to Anita joining the church, but finally Anita decided she could make her own decision about which church to join, and she decided to be baptized. I met Anita at a baptism. She came to see a baptism because she is terrified of water, and wanted to see a baptism beforehand. I spoke with her and told her I would attend her baptism and then afterwards we would celebrate her courage.
Anita with the others who were baptized on the same day.
Anita just before her baptism. The other girls are the branch presidents's daughters.
Outside the ice cream store where we took Anita to celebrate her baptism.
In June we invited our friend, Suzy and her son and grand daughter to church with us. Afterwards, we came to our apartment for dinner. Suzy and the children enjoyed church. However, she has only attended church once since then. When she learned we were not always going to be attending the same branch as she was attending, I think she was disappointed. We love doing missionary work in Africa, but it is very hard for us to be "the fellow shippers" because we attend different branches. Suzy is still taking the missionary discussions and we will keep being her friend. We hope some day she will decide to join the church.
After church with Suzy and her granddaughter who is 10 years old, and her son who is 8 years old. Her granddaughter is currently living with her because her daughter is taking care of her mother. Got all those connections? :)
The pictures I am sending this time, may look like all we do is eat! We were invited to eat at the home of Irene and Romeo Dim who are members of the Douala Branch; in fact, Sister Dim is the Relief Society president.
Eating at the Dim's home
The food was delicious The conversation was delightful, but took an unexpected turn, the result of which we are now teaching a Temple Preparation Class in the Douala Branch. Sunday was our first time teaching the class. With the little French we know, it was OK. Fortunately, Elder Call and I use the now new "Teaching In The Savior's Way" method of teaching which emphasizes a lot of discussion and the class members teaching. If we had to lecture in French, the class would have been the shortest class in the history of the church. Also, as explained before, we attend different branches each week, making our teaching very sporadic. The Branch president "fills in" for us when we can not be there.
During the month of June we spent one week in Yaounde, which is the capital city of Cameroon. Since the other senior couple have now gone home, we are now assigned to take care of both cities and both sets of missionaries. There are 14 missionaries in Yaounde.
Yaounde is a little different than Douala. It is inland from Douala and in the mountains. This makes the streets quite hilly and the temperature cooler. Cameroon is interesting in the fact that there are many nurseries by the side of the road. Douala has several road side nurseries, but the nurseries in Yaounde are breath-taking. Here is a sample.
We paid bills (which have to be paid in person and with cash), took care of some missionary concerns, attended a baptism, gave two budget training meetings, and cleaned the apartment for the arrival of Elder Ellis who is a member of the Area Presidency whose office is located in Johannesburg. The apartment is quite a lovely one. We thought we would include a picture as a possible enticement to any who might like to come on a mission to Cameroon...and specifically to Yaounde.
I believe one of the greatest joys we experienced in Yaounde was going to church and seeing the young man who used to "walk" to church on his hands, who is now in a wheel chair. The first time we went to Yaounde, we were introduced to this young man. When we came back to Douala, I couldn't help think of the many we knew in Ghana who had received wheel chairs and wondered if this young man could qualify. We pursued finding out what the process would be to get a wheel chair in Cameroon. To our great pleasure, a wheel chair was purchased. I would have loved to have gotten his picture, but I felt a bit awkward asking for it.
We returned to Douala to find some uninvited and unwanted visitors had moved in during our absence. In French the word is "souris" in English, the word is "mice". We had a suspicion just before we left for Yaounde, but there was no doubt by the time we got home. I believe those who make up stories about mice being cute and adorable creatures, have never had to live with them. We are now in the process of finding new homes for them...some may be "eternal homes".
Our days continue to be full of adventure...both physical and spiritual. God is in this work and we see His hand daily in our lives and in His Kingdom in Cameroon.