Monday, May 2, 2016

New Bell Branch

Monday May 2 2016

Church is great. The people in the branch (New Bell Branch) are nice and patient with my French. The building is quite far and that seems to be what makes the most people inactive in our branch, as far as I can tell. We are teaching a fair few poeple. There is Sœur Anita, Sœur Ngando, Frère Ylla (recent convert), Frère Guy and others we don't teach as frequently. I still haven't taken many pictures, sorry, so I don't have any of my sunburn, though that is tanning pretty nicely. The Pixar character is Russell from up. The walking isn't as bad as I expected, so that is nice. It has also cooled down a bit since we are in the rainy season. Fast Sunday was hard and by 6:30 PM I just really needed water so I ended my fast then, drank a bunch of water and felt bloated. I'll take more pictures this week so I can send them to you, can't wait to see you Mother's Day!

I fear no man!
Je t'aime
Elder Russell

"No! Regarde! Rouge!"

Monday April 25 2016

Okay, let us see here.
It is very hot here but it is odd because sometimes you are walking and you do not feel hot, but it is still hot. Douala is also apparently the hottest part of the mission. It feels like you are in a big city like Seattle because there are cars and taxis almost everywhere. The only way you know you're not is because it looks nothing like that. There are also these big stores where it is very fancy inside and aside from the gas stations are most like the stores at home, except more fancy than those too, so there is a large discrepancy between stores here. Also one moment you're walking in somewhere pretty nice and the next moment you see all these huts made up of so many different materials. Almost all the roofs are metal.

There are lots of different foods here but also lots of familiar ones. You could eat a lot like you could at home here. The weirdest thing I've had so far is some kind of plant wrapped in a leaf and that was pretty bland. They do eat a lot of fish here and it is very cheap so that makes me happy. There is this chocolate milk powder that you put in water (which would make it chocolate water) and it tastes okay. The pineapples are so delicious here and I thought the pineapples at home were good.

My companion is Elder Izere (pronounced eezelé) from Burundi (Bulundi). He is fun. We don't usually teach many people and we get a lot of contacts. We've taught three progressing investigators, two contacts and one recent convert. We've taught Sœur Anita twice and she understands the concepts very well at least, though she doesn't come to sacrament meeting because she works on Sunday. There is also Sœur Ngando who works in a tiny corner stall just by our apartment and another Sœur I don't remember the name of nor do I remember the name of the recent convert. We use the Bible a lot when we teach, but Elder Izere does remember to emphasize the importance of the Book of Mormon, though I hope to start using the Book of Mormon more. Lots of people said that was something they did often here and I know one Church authority person said we should be using the Book of Mormon more, but I'm glad he doesn't solely rely on the Bible like it was said some people do.

I've had some random ladies ask me if I want to marry them so... yeah, that happens. I also get called "blanc" by kids and teenagers and I just roll with it or (since I'm sunburned) say "No! Regarde! Rouge!"

Bonjour! Douala Cameroon

Update From Elder Russell's Mom:
Elder Russell arrived in Cameroon Tuesday April 19th. He had a 5 hour layover in France where He was able to call us late Monday (April 18th) night. It was wonderful to hear his happy, nervous and excited voice.

Here is an email received from his Mission President:

We are happy inform you that Elder Russell, arrived safely in the Republic of Congo Brazzaville Mission since last Tuesday through the Republic of Cameroon. He seems well prepared and ready to serve the Lord and has a great desire to improve his French and teach the Gospel to the People of Africa. He first assignment is in Douala, in  Republic of Cameroon.

He will be e-mailing you every Monday since this is the Preparation day in the Mission, but there could be some Monday when you will not receive his email, be Patient it could be the lack of Electricity or the Internet is missing that is the reality in Africa, he will still have to email you on other chance. He has instructed him not to miss the opportunity to communicate with you every Monday.

Sister Monga and myself, both we are so happy to have your son with us in this mission and we are looking forward to work together and communicate with you whenever it will be necessary.

With regards
President and Sister Monga

Au Revoir Provo!

Elder Russell had his MTC zone friends ship a package home with things he felt he would not need in Africa. They tucked in this little note for him on a paper plate:

Front "Elder Russell Real life Wilderness Explorer"

Back "Elder Russell Came in like a wrecking ball ready to preach the gospel with many achievements under his belt. With his very own original language, vast knowledge of all things Tolkien and the best impersonation of our favorite Pixar character, this elder sure is ready to take on the world. Keep on laughing, but remember to breathe!"