Saturday, July 8, 2017

June 2017 in Cameroon

Dear Family and Friends,

I am late again and wish I had a good excuse like "I slammed my fingers in the car door", but...since I didn't, and have no good excuse...the following is a synopsis of another adventuresome month in Cameroon.

June again testified to us of the reality of a Father in Heaven and His love for us.  Africa is not a place where one particularly wants to visit a hospital, so we try and avoid one if at all possible.  The first of June, Elder Call developed rather an annoying, large infected boil.  I do have a picture, but I will not include  it because of its location.  However as a hint...Elder Call was having difficulty sitting comfortably.  There is a doctor in South Africa that we can contact for advice, so I took a picture of the boil and sent it down to him. He wrote back and said it needed to be lanced and the pus needed to be extracted.  He gave the option of doing it myself, or taking Elder Call to a hospital.  Neither option sounded good to me.

As we pondered over our choices,  Elder Call remembered talking with one of the new missionaries, Elder Tall, who had been transferred to Cameroon.  In their conversation Elder Tall mentioned how he had spent some time working in a hospital. We thought we might give it a chance and we called to ask if by some crazy chance, he had had any experience "operating" on boils.  To our delight, he said he had assisted with many and felt comfortable helping us.  He and his companion stopped by a small shop to purchase some razor blades and were at our door in about one hour.

Elder (doctor) Tall
The boil was worse than he thought and it became necessary to make  a  couple of incisions in order to get the pus to drain.   (Something I could never have done) However, Elder Tall was amazingly competent.  If it were not for his obviously young age, we would have thought he was an experienced doctor of many years.

So again, when we needed some help,  the Lord provided a young, but qualified "doctor".  We also learned afterwards that Elder Tall was not even supposed to be here in Cameroon.  His mission began in Brazzaville and the plans were to keep him there for awhile.  However,  after two failed attempts to renew his visa to the Republic of Congo, he was transferred to Cameroon.  Oh, how the Lord moves in mysterious ways!  Elder Call took a few weeks to heal, but we are happy to say the surgery was a success and Elder Call is back to his normal energetic self.

June was another month of saying "Goodbyes".  There were some Elders who arrived in the mission field in Cameroon instead of first going to Brazzaville, which is the norm. This was due to a time when tensions were high with the United States and the Republic of Congo so they would not allow our missionaries from the States to fly directly to the Republic of Congo.  Thus, they came to Cameroon first....and thus...they were "our" missionaries.  Well, three more of them were transferred to Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.  So sad to see them go.
                         Having our last meal together at an outdoor "mall"

At the airport saying our final "goodbyes".  Elder Zobell, us, Elder Kincaid and Elder Russell

Our other "goodbyes" in June was to our mission president, President and Sister Monga.  They have served hard and tirelessly.  President Monga actually opened up this mission.  One thing he did was to split the companionships between black and white Elders.  Before President Monga, white Elders served together and black Elders served together.  There have been some "struggles" but on a whole we feel it was an inspired move.


The last Zone Conference at our apartment.  I made a going away cake.

                          Our last meeting with President and Sister Monga

Every month we do a lot of training, but the month of June exceeded them all. There was a new district president called in Yaounde, President Nana.  He had been the 1st counselor in the previous district presidency and will do a marvelous job.  There is some "cleaning-up" to do in Yaounde and Pres. Nana is the perfect leader for the job.  Poverty is such a issue in Africa and thus the temptation to abuse welfare money is a problem.  There was even a former branch president who promised an investigator money IF she joined the church.  As I said...he was a "former" branch president.

Anyway, the new district presidency called mostly new auxiliary presidencies.  Thus, they wanted them all to be trained, plus the "old" auxiliaries re-trained.   As a result, we spent almost 2 weeks in Yaounde.

Our training began with training the branch presidents in budgeting.  After we trained them in how, why and where their money comes from, Pres. Nana trained them in how to manage welfare issues.  It was extremely informative and we hope will be successful in eliminating so many financial abuses.

I don't always remember to take pictures at the training meetings, but there are two pictures I would like to share.  As you look at the pictures, try to determine the ages of the leaders.

This is a picture of the district Young Men's presidency.  The four young men in the front row make up the presidency.

This next picture is of the district Young Women's presidency.

I know it is difficult to tell the age of Africans, but the average age of both presidencies is somewhere in the 20ties.  The future of Cameroon is in these wonderful young people.  The challenge is getting them married and raising righteous families.

Speaking of marriages, we were actually privileged to share in a marriage celebration while we were in Yaounde.  On Wednesday, one of our former French teachers, Wesley, called and said she was getting married.  What a tender mercy it was for us to be in Yaounde for the marriage.  While living in Douala, Wesley had gotten engaged to this righteous young man from Yaounde, but her in-active mother was not happy.  She said she needed to finish her schooling and also that she was too young.  The young man, Oscar, would visit and bring gifts, but the mother was firm about her feelings against him.  When Wesley and Oscar went to the uncle to get the list for the bride price, they were handed 4 pages of items to buy.  With the discouragement of the list, and the constant contention at home, Wesley decided to move to Yaounde where she could finish her schooling and be close to Oscar.  Well, they decided being married was cheaper than living separately, so they got married.

Waiting for the arrival of the Mayor.  They were married in a home of one of the branch presidents
It's official, they are legally to get to the temple. 
Congratulating the happy couple 
Elder Call and I were probably the closet family Wesley had at the wedding.  I felt sorry that Wesley's Mom had made it so difficult for her that she was not able to participate in the marriage ceremony of her own daughter.  

Sunday we were asked to give a Young Single Adult Fireside.  Our French, or lack of, makes it difficult to give much of a lecture, so we have to rely heavily on the principles taught in the new "Teaching In The Savior's Way" manual...which is probably a good thing. 

We choose for our theme "Your Future Is As Bright As Your Faith".  We drew a picture of the Plan of Salvation on the white board and gave them a copy also to fill in the blanks, using their scriptures if needed.  

        Filling out the Plan of Salvation in groups of 3 or 4.  

                           Using their sheets to fill in the blanks on the white board.

Elder Call then led them in a discussion using Alma 13:3 which talks about having "exceeding faith and good works" in the pre-mortal life. He related how the same is required in this life in order to reach exaltation.  In other words, their future is as bright as their faith (and good works).  They did it once pre-mortally, they can do it again.

Following the discussion there was a question and answer period which went well.

For an activity, we divided them into 5 teams and played Scripture Charades using stories from the Book of Mormon.

There were some pretty good actors.

Proof of their acting ability, can you name this story in the Book of Mormon?

I would like to end the blog with one last picture of a baptism and a inspirational Cameroonian story.  The young lady kneeling in the front was baptized about 3 years ago; her name is Marianne.  When she was taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ, she believed it with all her heart and wanted to be baptized.  At the time she was living with a man and together they had one child.  Her "boyfriend" told her that if she joined the church, he would take the child and she would never see him/her again.  (I do not know the gender of the child)  She went ahead and was baptized anyway.  Since that time she has been a faithful member and comes to church every week.  She has tried to visit her child, but to no avail...her boyfriend has kept his word.  To support herself in the future, she enrolled and graduated from a local school.  However, her dream now is to serve a mission.  When she told me her dream of serving a mission she had one concern.  She said, "Sister Call, does the church need Sister missionaries?"  My eyes filled with tears as I looked at a this faithful sister and assured her, "Yes, the church indeed needs Sister missionaries"!!  

My testimony is that the world needs missionaries.  There is so much work to be done and so many who would join, if they had the opportunity to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Recently, some of our children asked if we were going to serve another mission.  Though it depends on many things, including good health, our answer has been, "Probably"....because the church also needs senior missionary couples. :)