I am late, late, late, but I figured I best begin or I will never get this blog done. We had a saying in our family that went like this: "Repentance is like shaving...the longer you put it off, the harder it is to do." That probably applies to writing blogs. I decided I might be getting "blog fatigue". I have now been writing a blog for 3 years. We might serve another mission, but not sure about writing a blog. The plus with a blog is that it can be made into a book later...so I will see. :)
I began my last blog by saying that I hoped we would be in a completed New Bell Branch building by the next blog. Well, I put off the blog hoping to be able to say those words, but my hope was in vain. The building is completed, but we are having other problems with hooking up the electricity, getting our own water line and getting the furniture ordered and sent. However, on the bright side, the Area Presidency granted my request to have air conditioners. So, IF we ever move in, we will worship in comfort.
April was the month of weddings. There were two weddings we attended in April.
The first one took place at one of the branch buildings. The branch president married them and afterwards asked if there were any objections. Well it is a good thing they were already married, for the mother of the groom had some pretty loud objections. I never thought those type of things really happened. However, it did explain the dire look on the groom's face when he entered the room; I suppose he knew what his mother was going to do. As she finished her "speech" and sat down, the tension in the room was like a dense fog.
The other wedding was less dramatic but quite significant.
I want to share just a couple of random photos I took in April. One day we went to see the new apartment of our investigator, Suzy. As I turned the corner, there was this mother giving her son a typical "bucket bath". (The adults bathe this way also). He was standing in the bucket and she had lathered his dark, little body in soap until he was covered in sudsy, white bubbles. Unfortunately, I asked to take a picture after she had begun pouring water over him to wash off the soap.
This next picture is a friend named Elvira. I met her at the beginning of our mission on the train home from Yaounde. We talked and learned we lived close to one another. We ended up taking her home and then invited her to dinner. She said she would reciprocate, but then we left for Brazzaville. One morning while we were walking, a car pulled up next to us and it was Elvira. She told us she had also been gone for several months and still wanted to invite us to dinner. So we went to her apartment and had a lovely dinner. I think she spent all day cooking. She wouldn't allow me in the kitchen but kept disappearing behind a door and bringing out more food.
When we went to Elvira's apartment, Elder Call and I were hoping she might be interested in learning more about the church. We had shared some things with her when she came to dinner. However, we learned that she had just been "called" as an "Elder" in her church and is now very involved helping the pastor each Sunday. Maybe another time.
April was spent doing a lot of training. We have trained in every auxiliary plus training in the new "Teaching In the Savior's Way" Sunday School program, role of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood's, how to order supplies, how to do a budget and whatever else they need. We have truly been prepared for all these training meetings and they would not be difficult if those who came to the training spoke English...but they do not. I, more than Elder Call, try to write much of my training in French. I don't necessarily stick to what I have written, but it helps me get an idea of what to say. At one of the trainings I did in Yaounde, I said something in French and then looked at our dear translator to see if he would add something. He simply said, "They understand you". I do not contribute their understanding of my French to my ability to speak French, but to their faith and ability to understand my poor French by the Spirit.
Besides training in Yaounde and other branches in Douala, we give a training each Tuesday night in the Bonaberi Branch. The branch president, Leonel Yamefo, is a new, young leader and desires to do everything correctly. We were actually instrumental in his marriage because we convinced him to talk to his fiancee about not paying the bride price. Then shortly after their marriage, he was made the branch president. Anyway, we do many training meetings, but I never take a picture. Well, in April, I finally did take one picture after the training was completed. Elder Call did a training on the duties of the Melchizedek Priesthood. It was excellent as usual!
As I have mentioned before, we have a couple of young sisters who come over to try and help us with our French. Several weeks ago we learned one of them, Wesley, had accepted a proposal of marriage. Her fiancee lives in Yaounde and they met and "courted" on Facebook.
When we learned that he was coming to Douala, we of course had to have them to dinner and meet him so we could give our approval. It did not take long before we realized what a fine young man he was and that we approved of his marriage to our dear Wesley.
There are many God fearing people here in Cameroon that are willing to learn about the church, but then when it comes to committing to baptism, they are unwilling to take that step. So the work here is not easy, but it is going forth.
There was a zone conference in April, and though I had planned on having lunch at our apartment, Pres. Monga wanted to take the missionaries to a restaurant....so we did Chinese.
I was going to also include the month of May, but then decided one month was enough. The next blog will be quick in coming, but if I apply our family saying about shaving and repentance, it may spur me on.
I also can not end without bearing my witness of the truthfulness of this work. We see almost daily miracles happening in our lives. God loves us, He loves His missionaries, and He loves the people here in Cameroon.