Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Brochure Barrage and Providential Potholes

We heard last month about the little spot the church put out "He is the Gift" and wondered how we could do anything with it here in Cameroon.  We've tried getting it on national TV here, but we don't think that will happen.  (A member has a good contact there, and we think they're going to show "Joy to the World" on Tuesday, though.  That's a good start!)  We decided one thing we could do was to show it on our TV outside the walls that surround our two buildings.  It took a $56 extension cord, a 2'x4' piece of plywood, a couple of tablecloths, a jump drive with ten copies of the video clip (and the one from YouTube with David Archuletta and Jon Schmidt) and lots of brochures!

When we first heard about our apartment, we heard we wouldn't need to order many brochures.   The couple we replaced received an order of brochures that somehow got mixed up in numbers.  We have boxes and boxes of brochures throughout the house.  There are boxes under beds, in closets, in the hall, along a wall in our bedroom, in the living room, in the elders' apartments.  Lots of boxes, and each one has about 400 brochures in it.  The boxes have come in handy--supports for our big dining table when we have everyone over and now the hearth for our fireplace.  We really don't need that many brochures in our house, so we thought we might as well have them in the hands of people here in Yaounde as sitting in boxes in our apartment.

Monday and Tuesday morning we spent hours stamping the phone numbers of the missionaries and times of church for both buildings on the backs of brochures-"The Restoration", "The Plan of Salvation", and "The Gospel of Jesus Christ", along with "The Family--a Proclamation to the World".  We were all set by about noon on Tuesday.

We started out at the building closest to us.  There are some schools across the street, and a lot of foot traffic, so we figured it would be a good place to show the little video clips on the TV and hand brochures out to those walking past.  Very few people actually stopped to watch the video--they were on their way home and were hungry was the explanation one of the members who helped us give out brochures gave us.  It was noisy there and hard to hear, and the TV didn't show up really well in the daylight, but people definitely saw something was going on, and we were able to give out hundreds of brochures.  We had a pretty good chat with one young man--the missionaries just happened to be there after we'd talked and they set up a rendezvous for later on in the week.  The member who was there with us was awesome.  He really was able to communicate to people and they felt the Spirit.  We probably got five or six contacts that day and felt pretty good about our efforts.  The people were very happy to receive something that was free.  We had very few not accept them.   After getting back to the apartment each night, we spent hours stamping more brochures for the next day.

Wednesday and Thursday we went to the other building.  The road it's on is narrow, and very busy.  It's also just next door to a school, and across from another one.  Lots and lots of people come up it, but there's a lot more traffic as well.  I've cussed the big potholes just in front of our building until this week.  They're definitely "providential potholes"!  Cars have to slow way down to keep from tearing their cars apart when they go through them.  As they did, Anne and eight to ten kids and a couple of missionaries from time to time handed out brochures.  The people were very friendly, for the most part, and if they didn't get enough brochures when they went through the potholes, they had another chance 20 yards down the road with someone else who was waiting to hand them what they needed.  There was a great enthusiasm among the kids--which started with Sister Dimond!  She really set the tone and we gave out even more brochures than we had at the first building.  One of the branch presidents saw us on Friday and said several people had been to the church asking for Books of Mormon!  
Sister Dimond in front of the potholes.
Members passing out brochures on the other side of the street.  The blue shirt/skirt is the uniform of one of the high schools nearby.
Sister Dimond and a man from Liberia who stopped to chat--in English!

Videos played on the TV in the back of our van--at least some of the members enjoyed them!
Many people walk everywhere here.
Kids lined up along the road above the church, flagging down passing cars--especially taxis!
Here's a view of just how deep the potholes are.  Now we've had our activity, we hope they get fixed soon!
Friday we were back at the first building.  A different member was there helping that afternoon.  He got another half-dozen or more phone numbers.  We got several, including one of a pastor.  He called yesterday and said he'd like to talk to us, after he's read the brochures to see what our doctrines are.  That should be interesting!  It was a lot calmer atmosphere at the second building, but we still were able to hand out many hundreds of brochures.  One fun experience happened with one of the participants in an Olympics event they've got going on right now.  He's 17 and was interested in our beliefs, so we sat down for about 20 minutes and got to teach him a very brief discussion about the restoration.  We took his phone number and we'll share that with the couple in Douala, where he lives.  He seemed like a very nice young man.  It will be interesting to see if any results come because of this week.  There are a lot of people who at least know where the church is and possibly something about our beliefs.

It's great to be part of such an uplifting, positive church, with wonderful members.  

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Cheer! A fireplace here????

One of Anne's latest (and greatest!) creations came as we started getting ready for Christmas.  How do you bring a piece of U.S. Christmas to a tropical African country?  You get a fireplace, of course!

Anne's creative juices flowed as she pulled together all available resources-- Books of Mormon boxes, brochure boxes, contact paper (she'd had her eyes open for the contact paper for some time: a brick pattern and marble pattern), a nativity set, tinsel, LED lights, bamboo place mats, cardboard, markers, tinsel, plasti-tac, existing decorations.

After a couple of modifications, here's what she made.
First, lay the foundation and get the big picture.

 

Cover boxes with contact paper.




Add a black backdrop to make the fire glow!
Never happier than when she's creating!

Place vertical walls to support mantle.




Recycle another piano box for the mantle.

Marble mantle, stockings hung with care, and lots of careful patching of brickwork.


A bit of tinsel to highlight our African nativity set.


Voilà!



video

Merry Christmas to all!!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

An appetizer????

This will be very short.....

We tried to find one of the recommended restaurants the other night.  It was closed.  As we drove down the street, we saw a sign for another one that the previous couple liked.  We tried it.  The meal was really good.  The appetizer wasn't exactly....appetizing!

Anne ate one of the little fish. Dave at the rest, heads, tails and all.  They tasted like, hmmmm....deep fried fish!


Thanksgiving!

Can't believe Thanksgiving has already come and gone, and we're just a week and a half away from Christmas!!

For Thanksgiving, Anne spent all day cooking.  Dave spent all day doing dishes.  The elders spent all day working up a good appetite.  (Actually, one of the sets had a dinner appointment earlier, so they weren't terribly hungry, but they still ate well.)

Thanksgiving preparations started many weeks before the big day. We hadn't seen turkeys in the stores, and one of the elders, Elder Brockbank, really wanted to get a live turkey and prepare it--like his brother had done on his mission to the Philippines.  Anne worked with one of the members, Olivier, who found one for us.  He said it was a nice big one, and he hoped we could get it for $70.  When Anne got there and saw the bird, it was a bit of a disappointment--not a good sign when the breast bone is poking out through the feathers.
Plucking complete!  (Elder Bacera figured out why there is a loop on the back of dress shirts.)

Cutting out shapes of pie crust for our pie bar.

One skinny turkey (before implants)!

Who knew those mammo skills would come in handy.

A much "fuller"bird!

Table is constructed and ready for a feast.

Thanksgiving dinner 2014.  Olivier, E. Beutler, E. Bacera, E. Waite, E. VanAusdal, E. Kabenga,
E. Wright, E. Nzema.

On Tuesday, Anne and Olivier bought the turkey and brought it home with its legs tied up, in the back of the van.  It didn't put up any fuss at all.  The elders were excited for the big event, and came to the house to slaughter it and pluck it.  Jeff Gibb, a Canadian member who had killed turkeys before came over to oversee the work.  Elder Brockbank and Elder Beutler volunteered for the slaughter stage.  A dull machete doesn't make for the quickest kill, but it eventually worked.  A dip in hot water after having cleaned it out, and the plucking began.  Once all the feathers were off, it was evident the breast bone poked out because there just wasn't much meat on the breast.  Anne, ever one to solve a good challenge, bought a couple of very nice chicken breasts and implanted them before we cooked it.
E. Beutler, E. Bacera, E. Waite, E. VanAusdal, E. Kabenga, E. Wright, E. Nzema, E. Tshibanda, Jeff Gibb
E. Wright, E. Nzema, E. Tshibanda, Jeff Gibb
Olivier, E. Beutler, E. Bacera, E. Waite, E. Vanausdal
E. Tucker (Standing), E. Brockbank and Sister Dimond finally in line.

We had turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, carrots, green beans, home made stuffing, raspberry Jello (which was partly Jello, partly home made gelatin so there would be enough for all).  For dessert, the elders brought a delicious apple pie (thanks to Elder Wright), and Anne made leaf-shaped cut-outs of pie crust that we put different pie fillings on.  (It's a great tradition--you don't end up with a bunch of soggy pies the day after the big feast!)  We had banana cream, coconut cream and chocolate.  The whole dinner was delicious!  The preparations were something the elders will never forget!

Every day we're here we see so many things that people here endure--just their way of life--and we take so much for granted.  Seeing people carrying their water home in buckets, bottles, from the neighborhood tap; watching people pushing heavy loads up steep roads on a cart that can barely handle it; so many people limping with defects in their legs and feet; so many who do so much with so little.  It's impressive.  I feel so spoiled, both here and in America.  When you see what people need to live, and still can be happy, it's eye-opening.  We are so blessed, by our loving Heavenly Father.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Big Shake-Up (No, not an earthquake...Transfers!)

November 11 was a very bitter-sweet day for us.  We knew we were going to have some transfers, but we had no idea just how many companionships would be affected!

The elders get together every other week on P-day to play some basketball or soccer.  They play at the exercise park up the street from our apartment.  (That's about the only place we take people--on our way to the dedication site.)  We met together for breakfast, and to open transfer letters.  It's so wonderful just to be with them--they have such a spirit about them, even on P-day!

Elder Leavitt has served his entire mission in Cameroon.  He was getting a bit disappointed that he wouldn't get to see any other countries.  (He's definitely an adventurous type!  He loves to tease Sister Monga that he wants to be sure to eat some monkey--something strictly forbidden, while he's in Africa.  He knows how to push her button!)  We were very sad to see him be transferred to Brazzaville, but excited that he'll be an assistant to the president!  He's an exemplary elder, and will do great there!  (We're sure he'll be dying when he can't be out working with people, but it will be good for all of us to have him there.)

Elder Niyonkuru was also transferred to Brazzaville.  He's a quiet elder, the only member of his family, but one we'll miss terribly.  He has a smile and a twinkle in his eye that can't help but make you feel you're in the presence of someone very special.

All of the other elders remained in Yaounde (thankfully!)  The only companionship that wasn't changed was Elder Wright and Elder Bacera.  Elder Bacera came from Douala not long ago, so that wasn't a huge surprise.  Elder VanAusdal took Elder Leavitt's place as district leader in Ekounou.
L-R Elders Leavitt, Wright, Waite, Bacera, Brockbank, Beutler  
L-R E. Wright, Waite, Niyonkuru, Nzema, Leavitt, VanAusdal, Beutler, Bacera

L-R E. VanAusdal, Beutler, Brockbank, Leavitt, Sis. Dimond

E. Wright, Bacera, Waite, Niyonkuru, Nzema

E. Leavitt, Bacera, Niyonkuru

E. Brockbank and Waite

E. Niyonkuru, Sis. Clayton, Sis. Dimond

E. Tucker, E. VanAusdal

E. Beutler

E. Wright and E. Bacera (Only unchanged secteur)


E. Kabenga arrived to be E. Beutler's new companion
E. Tshibanda arrived as E. Nzema's new companion
We love all these elders, those who have moved on, and those we have just received!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Our favorite place to walk....not run--the exercise park!

In less than ten minutes from our apartment, we can be at a park the government has constructed and maintains for exercise for its citizens.  There is a 2 kilometer paved walking path, with twenty or so stations along the course where you're encouraged to do sit-ups, pull-ups, stairs, jumping, stretching, etc.  We're feeling very accomplished when we take a nice leisurely walk around the beautiful path.  It's all fenced, with a guard at the gate and occasionally one in a look-out tower.  It's quiet, peaceful, and as you'll see, full of beautiful creations.  Wish you were here--we'd definitely take you here!
Banana and mango trees are all along the route.



Anyone seeing this think of Tarzan?








Almost all of the water you see here is brown.  It's still pretty, just different than a crystal clear mountain lake.

Anne and the Colemans--the other senior couple in Cameroon (They're in Douala, a four hour bus ride away.)

These ferns are incredible--you touch them and they fold up like a Venus fly-trap.