Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hard but Good Week (and pictures!)

August 8 2016

This week was a hard week. But a good one. We got a lot of contacts, a lot of whom don't pick up, say they are not interested or don't keep rendez-vous. Also a lot of our investigators we already had didn't keep their rendez-vous. And we invited someone to be baptized but her mom won't let her, one of our older investigators still hasn't prayed to know if the scriptures are true and seems to want to see the words, "The Book of Mormon" and "Joseph Smith" written in the Bible in order to say he believes. Whew. There was a lot of rain this week. My feet got wet. Néanmoins! (nevertheless) The Lord is always there to comfort me, and I will continue to serve him and improve myself.

People always say, "Bonjour cher frères et sœurs!" at the beginning of meetings and talks here, so that is similar to that ward there (in Atlanta). I also spilled cubes of sugar in the supermarket today. Oops. We asked a lady what to do and she said it was fine, just put the sugar back (or something along those lines) Fun times. We bought emergency supplies because it had been neglected and everything was expired. That was with the Calls. We made Schwarma and ice cream. Yum. Sr S came to Church again, finally! Though it turns out Sunday is her only day off, so that is something that makes it hard for her.

Yep, crazy week!

Je vous aime tous!
Nous ne craignons personne!
Elder Russell

Me in Sr S's shop

Some small souvenirs I bought

Sunday, August 14, 2016

ça va aller

August 1 2016

Okay, this week a little disappointing in terms of lessons given and investigators found, but ça va aller! We did talk about how we, the missionaries, could help the branch. We talked about visiting members, which was something I wanted to do anyways, and coordinating that with the Elder's Quorum President, who happens to be our barber, so that shouldn't be hard. The Branch President wasn't there but it was still a good Sunday anyways. One less active who had stopped coming to Church before we came here has been to Church a lot recently, so I hope that helps him. 

We played football at Bonaberi again this week and this time we were the ones late, an interesting change. We bought some food at the market there, which is much less stressful than going to the market in the city proper because that market there is huge, confusing, smelly and cramped. I also see that French is starting to affect my English grammar. Ever since Elder Izere found out that I was the President of the Deacon's or Teacher's Quorum (I never remember which) he has been calling me "President". Yep.

Sr S, Sr P, Sr R, Fr B and others still haven't come to Church/come to Church again. Sr S is eager to learn but she needs something to help her understand why this Church is so important. We also have a nice investigator named Sr AB, who hasn't quite comprehended that our Church is different from her Church and that we WANT her to ask questions. At least I do. Keep praying for these people and for the members, particularly the less actives, here, so that they may find the means to come to Church.

It sounds like you guys have had a fun week! (Responding to comments about the power of our minds) Honestly the mind has an amazing amount of power over the body. Just thinking about stress leaving the body helps that stress diminish. Wow. Also I love in French how the words for spirit and mind are the same: Esprit. Makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

(Responding to various questions) Football is nice, though going to Bonaberis still eats up tons of the day. We go to an internet cafe to send emails. Normally we eat dinner at home. Eating meals with members or investigators tends to be a very sudden thing. You go in and they say, "I'm preparing food! Stay and eat!" That is how that normally goes. The members are nice and I hope we will start working with them more, that will be great. Our investigators go slowly. People really do have difficulties going to Church, even when they have a car. Also lots of people want to talk about the Gospel but when it comes to an actual change... not so much. ça va aller. Tell Uncle Randy and family that I love them!

Don't forgot to tell yourself that "You fear no man!" every morning. Like Mom and I said, the mind is a powerful tool. Then you will not be ashamed or timid, especially when relying on the Lord.

note: ça va aller means "it will come" though word for word it is "it is going to go"

Je vous aime!
Je ne crains personne! Vous ne craignez personne!
Elder Russell


Or maybe this computer is going to hate me and not let me attach my images. Dang it computer.

Tithing helps the nation

July 25 2016

I think I'll start with what happened this week rather than responding, change up the style a bit! (Though that will respond to some questions)

So the first thing that comes to my head immediately is that on Saturday I was super tired. This is because only one lesson actually happened and we ended up trying to contact the rest of the day, which wasn't very successful. So we got home, I ate some bread and then went to bed. Fortunately, I slept well and was able to work hard Sunday.

The other thing is that we had Zone Conference! Elder Ellis, a Seventy or an Area Seventy, visited us. The biggest thing that stuck in my mind is what he said about tithing. He asked what difficulties Douala was happening and the lack of buildings was mentioned. He talked about tithing, as that is what is used to pay for buildings. What I learned is that tithing has more blessings than just opening the windows of Heaven. In Malachi it talks about also, in short, how it helps the nation. Elder Ellis ended it by saying, "Wouldn't it be nice if there were more jobs in Cameroun?". I never realized that about tithing before.

Fr B still hasn't come to Church, though he is improving with Smoking. Sr S and Sr R also still have problems coming to Church. Sr P doesn't seem to have received her answer yet, but we taught her from the Premortal life to the Fall of Adam and Eve and she took it in very easily and gave her own insights as well. We also taught Sr S the same lesson and she received it very easily also. We played Football (Soccer) again this week at Bonaberi, but we left on time this time, so we actually have the time to do everything... time. Transfers are next month, 20 somethingth if I'm counting correctly.

May Brother Campbell find joy in the paradise of the spirit world, and bring many more souls to a knowledge of the Gospel.

I have been drinking more water, like at the beginning, by taking 1.5 liters into the sector. Very effective.

Je vous aime tous! Beaucoup beaucoup!
Je ne crains personne et vous ne craignez personne!
Portez-vous bien

Elder Russell

Camera died. No pictures again :-(

July 18 2016

Okay, first things first, I don't have any pictures because the camera completely died. Fun times! Looks like I'll have to get a new camera. Thanks for the encouragement and I say the same to you. (Rich wrote: Our elders quorum lesson was on Howard W. Hunter from the Teachings from the Presidents of the church manual lesson 11.  The part I like the most was:“True greatness [comes from] the thousands of little deeds and tasks of service and sacrifice that constitute the giving, or losing, of one’s life for others and for the Lord.” and "The end result may not always be clearly visible, but it seems that it always requires regular, consistent, small, and sometimes ordinary and mundane steps over a long period of time.")

For P-day we went to Bonaberi and played football... soccer. I don't actually like going down to Bonaberi because we are always there for longer than intended and it leaves no time to do the other stuff we need to do in the day. Also I didn't really play because I accidently dehydrated myself Sunday, though I'm doing better now. I drank lots of water after that. Though that was at the end of the day that the effects of dehydration kicked in, so that was a good thing.

To get to places we either walk or take a taxi. For Church, especially since it is particularly far, we also take a taxi. Sometimes that is annoying because the taxi drivers will charge anywhere from 500 to 1000 francs, so when they try to charge more it ends up being a negotiating session because you know that you can get a ride for less. When I say sector that means our proselyting area, which I'm pretty sure are the Branch boundaries also. I'm pretty sure that most government buildings we are not allowed to take pictures of, other than that not sure. (Responding to the question "When you were sick, you read the WHOLE misson library? How long were you sick?) I was only sick for one day but you know how much of a voracious reader I am. Plus I had already read Jesus the Christ, so I finished the other books then.

Frère B is going okay. We've talked to him a lot about the Word of Wisdom and gambling, as those are the two things he really has problems with. Fr G also the WoW. We finally were able to contact and teach Sr P! She was having lots of doubts about the truthfulness of the Bible and... really the basic problem was finding truth. So we talked about prayer and the Holy Ghost. I love that message so much because that is how they really know. It isn't by listening to us but by reading the scriptures, meditating about them and then asking God. She was very comforted by the fact that Elder Izere was Catholic before joining the Church. Well I guess she was comforted that he wasn't already LDS when he asked for his answer. That was a powerful lesson.
Sr S still has problems coming to Church, but we keep praying for her. We haven't been able to really contact Sr J and every appointment falls through :-( Fr E and family are going well, though it is sometimes hard to see them as they live further away.

Je vous tous aime
Je ne crains personne!
Elder Russell

Vous êtes vous

July 11 2016

…sorry about the (lack of) pictures. A lot of the time I just don't know what to take pictures of, especially since it says don't look like a tourist in the missionary handbook and there are buildings that I cannot take pictures of, but I can at least take more in the apartment. Also my camera was being a bit wacky but I fixed that.
(In response to a question about what birds He has seen) I have mostly seen little brown birds with red eyes, though some people have had parakeets for sale. Also bats will fly over our apartment from time to time.
The lessons are going pretty slowly, though there are some investigators who I think will be progressing well soon. Some investigators we haven't been able to get a hold of (which makes sense since I found it is vacation time here, like at home, not sure how long it lasts here though) so, yeah. I Also got sick on Saturday, so that wasn't fun. I stayed in the apartment with Elder ZoBell (Elder Izere had to go do a baptismal interview) and read the whole mission library. I am better now, so that's good. It is also transfers. Elder Kadima got transferred to Gabon and we now have Elder Nkashama (I think that is his name) who will now be training Elder Kincaid. Elder Izere is Zone leader (and not happy about it) and I can't remember who is District leader. Other than that our District is the same. People I'd like you to specifically pray for are Sœur P (haven't been able to get ahold of her, and we know from Sœurs R and D she is still in town), Frère B (Word of Wisdom), Frère G (Word of Wisdom also), Sœur S (Sabbath Day, she usually can make it to Sacrament but normally cannot stay), Fr E and family (new investigators) and Sœur J (appointments now always fall through).

Happy Eternal Family Anniversary!

Memorable this week... wow. I learned a lot reading the missionary library. I love "Our Search for Happiness" by M. Russell Ballard. That is a great resource for understanding the doctrine, both for members and non-members. Two messages have stuck out to me this week: the wonderful blessings of the Atonement and the joy we can have in eternal families (would you look at that!) I am so glad we have such a wonderful, loving, Heavenly Father that He made a plan so that we can become like him and have everlasting joy in families. Culturally, or linguistically, I learned that for the tribe of the Bamileke (Bah-mee-lay-kay) Bonjour is "Uzio" (Oo-zee-oh) and that in Kurundi (the native tongue of Burundi) Merci is "Mwaramutse" (Mwar-ah-moo-tzay). Fun times! The best part of my week was learning that we are probably going to have a district soon as the combined sectors of Douala are big enough for a district now, so we will also probably get a new building. Also I had a really good night’s sleep last night, so that was nice. It was sad saying goodbye to Elder Kadima but I'm sure he will do well in Gabon. I've laughed a lot at Elder Izere calling me "President Russell" and others calling me "M. Russell Ballard" or "Russell M. Nelson" Ah, so silly. Also I say "Vous êtes vous" (You are you) a lot and we laugh about that. Overall I feel great. I love it here right now and I am excited to continue to grow and learn and serve the Lord better.

Je t'aime
Je ne crains personne!
Elder Russell

I will send pictures next week!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Happy Independence Day! (and family reunion via email)

July 4 2016

We actually made cheese quesadillas one time. They were good (but cheese is expensive). Elder Kincaid made potatoes which was pretty easy. (He) is pretty on top of finding recipes from his mom. We are going to eat hamburgers tonight for the fourth of July. Yum!
This week was very slow. We had a lot of Ratévous (appointments fall through) and our sector is so small that we tend to get a lot of contacts for the two other sectors in our district. The best part of my week was that one of our contacts came to Church without first having a lesson. Also Sœur Anita came this week. We have been teaching a less active member, Sœur Rosaline, and she commited to come to Church. Unfortunately she often works late so getting up early is hard for her, so she didn't make it this week. The members have started looking for a building that they could use closer to everyone, so that is cool.


(Rachael commented: I'm getting almost as tan as you, hahahaha, just kidding I don't think I could ever get that tan.)

Yeah, I think I'll be as dark as a Malagase (Madagascar) at the end of my mission, though they are not as dark as other Africans.


(Aunt Sarah commented: I am interviewing all the family and asking them these same questions. Be detailed and specific
It is your birthday dinner, what do you want to eat? It can be anything.
What would you choose for your birthday cake? Flavor, icing, decorations?
What would you choose for ice cream?
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
You walk into a candy store and it has every imaginable candy and sweets in it. You can have something free, what do you choose?)

1. I would have clam chowder in a sourdough breadbowl
2. My birthday cake would be chocolate with vanilla ice cream in the middle. there would be a creamy chocolate topping with a light coating of blue frosting saying "Happy numberth Birthday!"
3. I would choose vanilla chocolate ice cream.
4. If I could be any animal I would be... a dragon, because dragons are cool (I'd be a giant, flying, lizard, that is pretty cool). Now, if it has to be a real animal... a narwhal, because then I'm a water unicorn.
5. I'd take... some dark chocolate. But not too dark. It tastes good.


(Replying to Grandma)
Thank you for your love and support grandma. I miss you too but it will only be for a small time. And in that small time I have much work to do.


I love you all! Happy birthday to Chris and Maggie. I miss you all. Continue to learn and to grow and trust in the Lord.
Je ne crains (that is the correct spelling) personne!
Je t'aime!

Elder Russell

Sending love to Elder Russell from siblings and cousins