Monday, March 13, 2017

Good News

​Hey guys!

Yeah thank you guys so much for the money that you guys sent so I could help out the missionary! He was so grateful and now hell be able to go serve a mission in Ivory Coast so that's going to be awesome for him! And concerning whether you should fly or drive I would definitely say fly because flying is always cool! Oh and thank you so much for the package it is really super awesome! Also the glasses are pretty sweet I really like the tints on them so thank you very much. However I'm pretty sure I've gotten used to African food now because when I started eating the stuff, I got some major diarrhea but I'm going to fight through it! ;) Oh I hope that everything is going well with the wedding and that there wont be any problems for the happy couple ;) That's crazy to think that Miles turns one soon! Uh I don't exactly like that all that much.

So this week was a very good week and we had the opportunity to work really well, however on Tuesday it was a little bit scary. We were in the middle of teaching a lesson later at night and we got a call from our recent convert her name is Natacha and she said that we should come over to see her because she wasn't feeling that well so we finished our lesson and decided to head over. We walked in the house and we saw her just propped up against the couch and the problem was something with her respiratory system because it was super hard for her to breath and she told us that she had a problem in the morning because she was working at a hospital and ended up passing out and woke up in the hospital with needles and stuff already in her arm. Anyway she came home and just slept until we came over and then some other members ended up coming over and we thought it would be a good idea to try and give her a blessing so my companion asked her if we could do it but right as he finished asking she starting going in to some sort of like seizure type thing and it was super hard for her to breath so we had to get her out of the house and onto a moto so she could go to the hospital and we ended up sitting her on a stool outside the house and there were several times where she stopped breathing entirely. While my companion and a member were holding her up. It was super scary because after my companion told me that really she was close to dying several times while he was holding her up and it was pretty simple to see that she was pretty close to dying several times but we were able to keep her awake and get her onto a moto. We followed on foot to the hospital because missionaries can't take the motos and when we saw her at the hospital she wasn't doing much better and some other members came and we waited for maybe a good 30 minutes. Really from what I saw I was rather convinced that she wasn't going to make it but after the wait she was able to sit up and we were able to give her a blessing but after we finished the blessing we left because it was super late. That night, I don't think I've ever prayed so hard for anyone in my entire life because really what I saw made me think she wasn't going to make it, it was probably the most scared I've been as well because I've never seen anything like that. I wish I don't again but the next day she started showing improvement and was able to go home. She had some little attacks throughout the week but nothing like Tuesday and shes doing a lot better now but really it was pretty messed up. I don't think I'll be forgetting that anytime soon but I'm glad shes doing a lot better. But when we were just at her house all I could really do was just kinda sit there and watch and it literally was the worst thing cause I couldn't do anything and I said so many prayers in my heart that day just asking that she could make it. Its an experience I don't think I'll have again anytime soon and really I hope I don't get to see it again because it really was not the funnest thing. However I'm super glad that shes doing a lot better and that things seem to be turning around for her.

Um so that's pretty much what happened during the week and we also had 7 of our investigators show up to church this Sunday which is super cool and we're lining up 3 baptisms for this following week of Frere Amouzou, Chabel, and Laurent. Frere Amouzou is a little crazy and he believes he can heal people with the laying on of hands but hes understood our teachings and has stopped healing people cause we told him the importance of authority and he already is calling the church his church so what could go wrong with baptizing him right??? I still don't know but unless he can't pass the interview we haven't been given a reason that we cant baptize him so that will be somewhat interesting. Chabel is cool! His problem is the law of chastity a little bit because he didn't really know any better before but after he learned it wasn't good hes pretty determined to stop that type of behavior because he really wants to do what's right and so well see how that goes as well! Laurent is pretty normal and he's the brother of the missionary that we gave money to so the family tie is good and hopefully the missionary can get him motivated! Also I went to the beach today so I'll have to send you all some pictures! I didn't go swimming but I got a little bit wet because the waves caught me by surprise but it was a good day! Anyway this was a long email and I hope that you guys have a good week! Also if its been a while since you've read the teachings of Jesus I would recommend that you look at them again cause really they're absolutely amazing. anyway that's it for the week and I hope that you all have a great week!

Monday, March 6, 2017

In Like a Lion

Hey guys!

Yeah sorry, I took some time last time but I'm just glad I was able to get a message sent off! I'm glad that everything is going on the upslope now! and That dad is getting back to his normal! It's weird to think that when I'll see him again he'll be a lot skinnier but if what you say is true it will be the same story for me! Yeah the apartment is a little messy but we just cleaned it today and it's looking pretty good so that's a little better! I'm also glad you're spending some good time with the kids they really are awesome!

So this week went by a little bit differently. We didn't get out to see as many people as at the beginning of the week the temperature was nice and we were able to work fairly well but in the second of the week it got super super hot and it was hard to get a good amount of work in. Because of all the work, we did last week that second half of the week slowed us down quite a bit but we were still able to get a good amount of work in and overall it was a good day. Also, I went to my first wedding!! It wasn't for our investigators but it was for the other companionship and were able to go. The couple is super cool and super ready to be baptized. There a beloved family of Thsileu and Raveneau so we get to see them pretty often. Well, the first thing about it is that it was super different! It's pretty much just in a tiny room and its pretty much no big deal and it was interesting to see the translate the languages because there were a lot of different races in the room. There was a random old lady from Switzerland the investigators from Ivory Coast and Congo. 2 Americans and 1 French person and of course people from Benin. It was just kinda interesting. Also while we were there we went down to a lake and passed a crazy weird village!! It wasn't weird as like Voodoo and stuff like that even though there was a little bit but it was almost like we were in a different country. It was so stinking clean and the whole 20 minutes I was there I wasn't called yovo. It was very very very weird. Hopefully, I can send some pictures so you can see what I'm talking about.

Well, that's pretty much a lot of it. I'm really enjoying teaching and figuring out how to become a better teacher. Sometimes it's kinda hard because teaching here is a little different but its really cool. The French is coming a long a ton easier and I'm able to speak and understand like it's almost nothing. I'm very grateful for that because really it was miserable not being able to speak but now it's all good and my companion is awesome! Also, we had a zone activity. We played soccer and ate food and listened to some Rihanna and some rap so yeah. Never thought I would have a zone activity like that but it happened. Only in Benin but I'm liking my mission even though disobedience is rather high. You just gotta do as much work as possible and be patient. I'm just glad I've had pretty good companions! Anyway, it wasn't all that interesting but that's pretty much it! I love you guys a ton and hope that you have a good week!  OH, and for a package just some nice highlighters! I don't have anymore and marking my scriptures is becoming a little difficult. But thanks for everything you guys do for me and I will talk to you soon! Love you all!

Monday, February 27, 2017

How is Africa?

Whats up guys!

I'm glad that baby Miles is ok and that everyone is getting over all of their various diseases. I'm very grateful I haven't gotten too sick or anything but since I said that well see!

Sorry I'm writing you guys so late because today was kinda crazy because we went into the market today and we couldn't really find what we were looking for so that took a long time and also the bus ride back was filled with traffic so it took a little bit of time but its all good!

So today this week went by so quickly and also we didn't have power for 3 days so we were a little forced to sleep on the roof of our apartment because inside was too hot.... sooooo but yeah I slept with my net and I didn't get bit at all so don't worry about it mom! and I've been steadily taking my doxy lately so it was all good! Also we had fish in the freezer and that started to smell absolutely terrible!

Alright so this week we worked like maniacs! We pretty much disregarded any form of a schedule that we have and we taught every single person that was possible! If they gave us a rendezvous we were always there! And it was so tiring! Sunday I was absolutely beat but today I feel like I could do it all over again! Maybe it doesn't sound that smart but it actually worked super well! When I first got here the sector was pretty much dead due to missionaries that worked there before but me and my awesome companion found a bunch of investigators and were able to set 7 baptism dates throughout last week! They should be done in the next 2 or three weeks depending if they're ready and we had 5 investigators show up to church which is actually pretty good here! We really worked hard and it was nice to see that a lot of it payed off. I know that maybe the style of work we put in I couldn't do it for all my mission but it was nice to have one week of just plain work, no meetings, not many delays, or problems just a week of straight works. I guess you could call it working without wisdom but it was pretty fun! It also made the week pass by so quickly its weird to think I'm already in the fourth week of my new transfer!

And to top it all of we had a baptism this Sunday as well! I'm going to try and send some pictures I just hope that you get them! Also I was also able to read a ton of Jesus the Christ today and its very detailed sometimes a little too detailed but I'm really liking it so far so if you have the time make sure to try and read it! Well that's just what happened this week and its been really good! I'm doing good and I hope everyone there is doing good as well! I love all of you guys!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Quiet Week

Hey guys!

Alright so this week the connection is better but I'm not sure Ill be able to send some pictures because I don't even know how long that would take to send them all. I'm glad to hear that mom is over her sickness and I hope that you can figure everything out with Mason's wedding which was really weird to type because I always figured he'd be at the house just until he was thirty ;)

Alright so let me describe where I am so you know its Cococodji and here the place is a ward and its a very big difference between a Branch and a Ward. In Porto-Novo it kinda felt like we were literally starting a branch and there were a lot of things that didn't work very well at all but here it actually works pretty good! Everyone knows there job pretty well and yeah its nothing like churches back home but its a lot more organized than Porto Novo ever dreamed of being so that's a nice change. Also, its a lot easier to find new investigators as members are actually pretty good at presenting new investigators so that's been a change not having to do as much contacting on the street and doing more teaching. HOWEVER, we walk so much and its ridiculous because this sector is huge and we actually have people who are interested and come to church but they're so far away so we get to walk a good amount!

Alright so my apartment is 4 missionaries with one shower by the way, but the missionaries are Raveneau who's a French man and is pretty much what you think a french man would be like. Elder Larson who came with me and he's super cool and actually has similar interests as me so we can talk about stuff back home pretty well which is awesome!  Then my companion Elder Tshileu who is from Congo and very very very kind and peaceful! He doesn't really talk much but really likes learning English and is very cool! Also there is not one single person has a phone!

I cant say that were perfect but were pretty good! Also the French man is going to be leaving the mission after this transfer but the apartment is good!

Also its kinda crazy because when I came here I felt like I learned some good scriptures to teach with but for a kid who just finished his training Elder Tshileu knows so many more than I do and its crazy! I might be the senior companion but its pretty much him that teaches and its really cool! We teach really well together and that's something that was a little difficult with the other 2. Hypote because I couldn't speak French yet and Agbewoley I didn't get much of a chance but its good to be teaching like we should! We also had a baptism when I came here and we've fixed 3 more for this following week and now we just need to finish up the lessons and it will be good! Elder Tshileu really likes working so its been really nice to get out and work like we should be doing and so far its been good! He's really been a good companion and the apartment is also really good and its been a nice change!

There's just one more thing that I want to add, this week really kinda taught me that I should really look for this best in things even when there is really a lot of difficulties. There's a lot of things that can make you discouraged and that kinda happened this week. I was pretty tired all the time and one day we had 7 lessons planned but only ended up teaching 2 also the fact that there's not much working right in this mission makes me sad almost every time I think about it but its really helped to look for the good things those which I've all listed on this email. I'm pretty motivated right now and I'm looking forward to next week!

I hope that you guys are having a good week and that you'll continue to have a good week! Also when is Masons wedding? Maybe you've sent it to me but I've forgotten! Thank you for all of the support that you guys give me and have a good day!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Be My Valentine

Hey, guys!

If possible I'm going to try and send more but for now, if this is all
you get I just want you to know I'm safe in my new area but the
connection at the cyber is terrible! I love you guys so much and I
hope this gets to you! I'll try and send more but well see how it goes!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Super Bowl Weekend

Hey Guys!

Alright so everything is going pretty well and it turns out that I'm headed out of Porto Novo and going to Cococodji with Elder Larson in the same apartment as well as being a senior companion. So hopefully that will be good! My companion is from Congo and I don't know his name really cause its super hard to pronounce and so when they told me it I didn't understand. I'm still in Porto but head out Tomorrow. It's like the complete opposite side of Benin so it's going to be a little bit of a drive but I'm pretty happy with the work that I put in here but I still wished I could do more. It sounds like all the missionaries are pretty cool over there and I'll also be with an actual French person, so hopefully I'll get to speak French pretty well.

Thanks for the package and I look forward to getting to it and I'm glad you all had a pretty good super bowl weekend. it's kinda weird cause I honestly forgot there was a super bowl until you said that. Yeah, I've been taking my medicine more regularly and the mosquito net I'm using a little bit more but not as much as mom may like. It gets kinda hot when you're under it so that's why but I'll do my best to start using it more and more. Oh and I really miss your French Fries, big guy.

So the transfer for me is actually pretty bitter sweet. So Momma Josiane did end up getting baptized and her whole family and they consistently come to church and they're even inviting others to come as well. They just barely got converted and they're helping out the branch more than a lot of people. With her and her family is where I've felt the spirit the most and it's kinda hard to leave because also she is pregnant and wanted me to bless her baby so that is actually pretty saddening. Also, I have to leave Elder Gosse who really became one of my best friends here on the mission. He has a pretty crazy story and he's just a really awesome kid. However, I am super glad for the opportunity that I've had to start out my mission here. I've learned a lot of things and how to try and deal with things that you may not see in any other mission and it's really helped me shape my objective here and how I should live with someone else of a completely different culture. I really feel like the Branch of Porto-Novo was really kinda getting started so it's kinda sad to leave after seeing a whole bunch of progression but that's what the mission is. It's kinda sad to leave a place with a pretty sure knowledge that you probably won't see it again but things are all good! I'm looking forward to the other things that are going to come my way. I'm just really grateful to have served here with a bunch of amazing people I've met but I'm sure I'll continue to have more crazy adventures.

Anyway, that's kind of all I got for this week. I have some pictures that should be with this so I hope that you like them! I love all you guys and hope that you'll have a good week!

Apartment Elders

MTC Buddies

Great Dinner

Monday, January 30, 2017

Snow on Snow on Snow

Hey guys!

I hope you are all having a good week! So I think I ate a little to many eggs. We eat bread and eggs in the mornings pretty often so I think I just happened to eat a lot more than I should've. But it's all good now and it didn't last too long but it did worry me a bit.

Yeah the plan of salvation is actually a really big topic, if we have enough time to talk to them about it cause sometimes investigators just kind of drop off from the face of the earth. Its usually cause they don't want to see us anymore but its all good. Also with Mamma Josiane there is another problem with her ex boyfriend. So I guess his dad and him like all are a part of the Voodoo religion and usually its not like that big of a deal but these guys seem a little bit crazy. So I guess cause shes expecting a baby the dad and ex-husband, who is the father. have been helping her out a little bit with buying food. They came to her and said that like if she doesn't worship with them and like leave our religion they're going to stop helping her. He said that he like will curse her and stuff so that's the problem were dealing with right now... It really almost sounds like it belongs in a movie to be honest. So far voodoo sounds like its pretty much just a grand old mess. There's not really much we can do we are going to talk to President Morin to see what we can do. We went to her house and blessed it and dedicated it so that was actually really super cool. We gave a blessing to each member of the family and it was a pretty memorable moment so far. The spirit was definitely there and it was just really nice and peaceful.

We also have the transfer coming up so I might be somewhere new or I might be the same old same old. Nous allon voir. I say that quite a bit. Hows the french coming by the way?

I'm really sorry to hear about that. I really hope that everyone is doing ok. That's something that's very difficult to imagine and I don't know how much I can do but really if there's something that's possible I'm more than willing to help. I hope that Whitney will be ok. I haven't lost a friend like that but I can only imagine something like that. I hope that shell be ok. Please let the family know that I'm thinking about them even though I don't know them all that well. I'm glad that you're there for her friend Mamma. You've always been a best friend for me.

If I was to explain all that I've learned it would take me quite a bit of time. This place is so amazing and the people are so happy even when there's sorrows pretty much all around. I could talk about it for a long time but that would be a little too long. I'm grateful for all that you guys have done for me and I couldn't ask for a better family. Love you all and have a good week.

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Bunch of Sickies

Hey Guys!

Alright so today I'm all good! I really just think it was some really bad food poising but its all good now. Pretty much 100 hundred percent!

I hope that everyone gets feeling better and I fixed my memory card so this time you should be getting some photos so yeah! That's crazy to hear about Annie. Personally I don't really know if I know her but anytime something like that happens its pretty sad. I hope everyone the best that are involved.

So this week I don't have any massive stories but just a couple of little ones. So we baptized Mama Sylvia yesterday and it was really good! She really seemed super prepared from the beginning and I really think that what we have will really bring her peace in her life. Really shes had a pretty rough time out here and it would take me so much time to explain it all. We were teaching her and at one point during the lesson I just really felt the spirit super strong. I hope that she felt it too cause I know it was there. Also I feel like as she learns more about the plan salvation that's something that's really going to help her out cause shes had some stuff with happened with a baby she was expecting and that just really touched me.

Also I would really like to express my gratitude to you guys for sending me my Patriarchal blessing. I read it 1 time at the MTC and really almost forgot it was in my bag. and sorry I accidentally sent half of my email. But I pulled it out this morning and was able to read it again and really it just gave me a great sense of peace. It helped me look for the better things especially when really there a lot of things that can be discouraging out here. So if its been a while since you've read your Patriarchal blessing I would highly recommend that you take the time to read it again.

So I'm sorry If you guys don't really know how life is over in Africa cause I haven't really described it in too much detail because really its rather hard. Sometimes I see things here that are just normal for me that are just not normal. I will try to explain something that was pretty funny.We were in the middle of teaching and just from behind us a group of kids just ran passed yelling and smacking each other with sticks. They were all maybe like 4-14 years old, oh and they're all wearing pretty close to nothing. So I turn my head and I just see the baby just jiggling towards the other kids stick hand with the most determined look and a pair of like superman underpants and he was maybe 3 or 4 so that was really adorable and hilarious.

Anyway that's it for me, I hope that everything is going well for you guys! Have a good week and love you all! ​

Monday, January 16, 2017

Winter Blast

Hey guys!

I'm glad to hear that you guys have had a good busy week! That's when the time flies by the fastest! I'm glad to hear that everyone is doing good and that everyone is healthy! I would like to write a longer email however just today I've become sick. Its a little ironic that I was thankful for my health last week and now I'm sick but its whatever. I just wanted to write you guys to let you know that I'm OK but I don't know what the problem is. I'm thinking that it might be some food poising because it reminds me a lot of Logan. I'm sure I'll be getting better shortly even though right now it really kinda sucks. Don't worry I'm not being stubborn and I'm trying to figure out the problem instead of just saying I'll be OK in a day or two. I don't think its malaria, I don't have a fever so that's good but I'll keep you guys updated!

Alright so the momma and her children had the baptism last Sunday. The momma wasn't able to because there was apparently something in her interview that needed to be regulated by someone other than the zone leader. The three others everything went pretty well! I'm sorry I can't write any longer but really I should probably be getting to back to the apartment and start sleeping so yeah. Anyway I love you guys a ton and I hope that you all have a good week!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Need for Photo's

Whats up guys?

So sorry about the photos just sometimes the cyber has a place for them and sometimes they don't and recently its been a little difficult to find a good cyber so really we've been moving around a lot and I haven't been able to upload but I think I'll be able to upload today!

I'm sorry that a lot of you haven't been feeling very well that's not very fun at all. I've actually been very fortunate to have really good health here so far and I just hope that continues. I've never realized what a blessing health actually is so that's been nice.

Good for Mason and Elyse! I look forward to seeing a lot of pictures as well!

So this week we actually tried to talk a little bit to the leaders of the branch to help us out and straighten things out a little bit but there all a little bit stubborn. Because out of the 5 people I've baptized 3 don't really come that much no matter how much we visit them throughout the week and its a little discouraging. We have some investigators who are progressing really well. They are a family of 4 and the mom her name is Sylvia has really had some problems. It seems like she really has attached to the Gospel and that's something I'm really happy about and they seriously come every single Sunday and that's always encouraging.

Sometimes the mission is a little frustrating because there's only so much we can do but there's always good in the week that we can find even in the days that are kinda a tough. That's something I've been reminded of this week. Anyway I love all you guys and I'm going to try and upload my photos now and well see how that goes! Love you guys!

And concerning the letters its possible that we've gotten them but we haven't really been in Cotonou to go pick them up so they next time I'm at the bureau I'll let you guys know! So actually I tried uploading some photos and it looks like there's a little bit of a problem with my memory card. I still have all the pictures on the card but for some reason when I try to upload them to a computer they aren't showing up so until I figure that out I wont get pictures for a while I'm sorry

Haha so there's one time that we were driving to Cotonou and some guy had strapped maybe seven or 8 goats to his motor cycle and when the goats are in distress they just start yelling.  So I'm just chilling in the car and this motor cycle just drives past us with the goats just screaming their heads off! That was pretty awesome!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year

Hey Guys!

I really enjoyed seeing you guys too! I'm really glad that we get to speak 2 times a year too because seeing everyone doing well made me super happy! So Christmas here is a just a little bit more subdued. There's not like a ton of promotion around it people exchange gifts like we do but its not like terribly important and that's just kinda how it is. Its kinda difficult to go all out because like I said before everyone is pretty poor but they do what they can!

So I really like my new companion! Hes from Ghana and hes super cool! He also knows how to make popcorn and he likes to cook it every single day so I'm doing pretty good with him right about now! He also is very direct and its kinda fun to see when someone does something that isn't exactly right because he is just so direct and later he told me that here on the mission you should always speak from your heart so I thought that was pretty cool!

I'm glad that you had a good new years party and that everyone is doing well! So here in Africa new years eve is like a pretty big deal! There was literally people blasting music and wandering about until 5 in the morning! They also had fireworks too so that was awesome! We had a little party with the members but of course we didn't stay out till after midnight but that was still a fun little party.

Haha even though problems are a little bit first world they are still frustrating and I understand your pain. That honestly is like one of the worst things and don't think I'm mocking because that's a real problem.

Ah I miss Brother Johnson sometimes. Sometimes out here we could really use his directness and his strong testimony. Because me I'm a little to scared to direct the branch in what they should do but he would be fantastic at it if he was here. Maybe he could give me some lessons on some leading skills, if so that would be great! So recently I've started reading Jesus the Christ a little bit, and I've only read 4 chapters but really its such a great book. The way he lays out everything is just so simple even when his words sentence structure and grammar is sometimes difficult to follow, he connects a lot of things and its all super cool so I recommend that!

Ahh good old Jeanette Jewkes! I hope that shes doing good and don't worry I've started taking the doxy more and remembering to take it, but the mosquito net not quite but I'll start soon I'm sorry momma! I hope you guys are having a good day and that you'll have a good week! I love all of you guys and hope you stay safe!