Monday, March 19, 2018


This week has been mostly focused on Serge and his family. We did lots of work and we got all the necessary papers sent in for his marriage. He and his wife were so grateful.

This week we wanted to start teaching Serge's wife, Miriss, because she has not yet been taught. The second counselor in the young women’s presidency, Cicile, said she wanted to come with us and I have a huge testimony of the importance of members in missionary work because everything Cicile said was perfect. She totally connected to Miriss and was able to share her own conversion story to help her with her worries. It is so crazy that we were just random strangers when Serge called us over and after a few weeks and teachings of Jesus Christ Serge has said we have become just as close as brothers to him and we will forever be a part of his family. I did not expect this to happen but I realize these are my brothers and sisters I knew them at one point. It was probably pre-destined that we would come to earth and meet each other. This experience with this family is too great to put into words but I’m so happy for them.

Segre, Miriss and their three kids all came to church together and they met the branch president. I was so happy to see a brand new family all smiling together. It’s a huge miracle and I know God was behind it all.

This week we went out into the sector a lot. We have some weird investigators for sure. One funny thing that I’ve noticed is that certain people watch Spanish or Indian soap operas religiously. If you come at a time they should be watching their soap opera they will chase you away or they will be angry and learn nothing. This happened to us this week with a young woman. She comes out and is like I’m mad at you, you came at the wrong time. I’m like you must have a soap opera and she says yes. Knowing the lesson would be pointless I told her to finish it then come back outside. So, we now have 45 minutes to kill in her back yard. We see a well with the inscription kossi kossi and a date. And we were super confused why they would have a grave stone on the side of a well and we assumed kossi kossi must have fallen in the well. We had some fun thinking up stories how this happened. Then we paid our respects to our good friend and brother kossi kossi. May he rest in peace and may someone do his genealogy.

We woke up today and there is something wrong with Martial’s shower and our room flooded. I took a pic, it’s hard to see but lots of Martial’s stuff got wet. There is no way to close off the water so it’s just kinda still filling up, Yikes, I don’t wanna know what it will look like when I get back.

We had an activity today. The first three zone activity since I got on the mission. It was super great. All the missionaries in Benin got together to play basketball, soccer, and football, eat atcheke and talk. It was great, everyone had a great time.

Martial likes pranks and this week he put a bunch of Gold bond powder in my fan and pranked me really good. I then blasted him with my bottle of that stuff. But, that stuff burns the eyes and throat like crazy. It was intense, but pretty harmless, I think.

I got a couple calls this week form people in Finagnon. I miss that place, it was fun. One of the investigators I taught there just got baptized. He is super cool and he called me up to say hi, he was another prepared person.

Time is coming to an end. It feels like just yesterday I got my son. Since then I’ve done Porto-Novo, Finagnon and now I’m about four and a half months from being home. I’m trying to make the most of my studies and finish strong. I also know my comp has to go to Togo next transfer so I wonder what new change will bring in two weeks.

My AKPAKPA zone tie that I ordered when I was with Segal came (a transfer later)

With Martial in the sector

Our room flooded

kossi kossi RIP

Tri-Zone Activity

Monday, March 12, 2018

Bed sheet curse

I don’t know if I’ve talked about this before. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it, but today it was just too much. So, as you know I do laundry by hand and logically one of the hardest things to wash is bed sheets and because you need to dry them outside on the lines it’s always very dangerous. Every single time I’ve washed my sheets something horrible has happened and I’ve had to wash them again. No matter how great the weather looks, it seems to rain on them. If I’m super lucky on the weather they somehow fall on the ground or like in Porto-Novo I cleaned off all the wires I wanted to hang them on because they were dusty. Then right after that I ran bed sheets, except onto a different dirty line getting them dirty again. Today the wind magically un-did the clips and the sheets fell on the ground and I had to wash them again. So, I am permanently cursed by the laundry Gods and I don’t know why.

I want to write out a funny conversation we had with a lady we had an appointment with. We go to her house, knock on the door, a kid answers saying she is not there. We find a little cement spot outside her house to sit to plan a replacement when she calls. Here is how the call went:

“M” is Martial “I” is investigator

M. hello
I. hello did you pass by my house?
M. yes
I. Am I there?
M. I don’t know, are you there?
I. No, I’m not there
M. okay
I. But I’m coming back soon
M. Well, we’re still at your house, we could wait for you
I. No, it’s okay I’m not coming back soon

I talked a little bit about Frere Serge last week. The guy who came to church for the first time and bore his testimony. Well, we taught him more this week and I’ve never found someone more prepared for the gospel, he is fantastic. I feel the spirit so strong every time we teach him. He testifies how he has found his long-lost family and how he has found the gospel he has been searching to bring his family into. The coolest thing is we taught him about chastity because no one here is married legally and the church is holding a collective marriage at the Stake Center in two weeks to help make the civil marriage cheap because it is super expensive. We got him signed up for it and he was so thankful to have been given a chance to start living this commandment he knows God wants him to be living. He has wanted to get married but has never had the chance. But we’re giving it to him and he is so happy. He has finally found the true Christ and His church. He thanks us all the time. So, after the marriage we will baptize him, his wife and his two oldest kids. He has three kids but the youngest is not old enough. I’m so happy I got to be an instrument in God's hands because there was nothing I did. Really, this one was someone God had really prepared.

Quinn Dawson wrote in his weekly email, while serving in Sweden, that he doesn’t say it enough but he loves being a missionary. I thought about that because I don’t think I’ve ever really said that because my mission experience has been the hardest and there was also a bunch of really crappy things that happened this week but seeing Serge and the other little blessings of being here. So, there is a first time for everything. I do love being a missionary.

The dirty sheets

Taxi Ride: Ellison, Bein Aime, Martial, Me

Weird bruise on my nose

Monday, March 5, 2018

You don't win friends with salad

I have never liked salad, seems like animal food and, “you don’t win friends with salad”.

However, salads here in Benin are some good stuff. It’s usually ten percent lettuce then a bunch of random things on top. Always a lot of spaghetti, dressing, fried bananas, potatoes, carrots, peas, all cut up. Sometimes fries, hard boiled eggs are always a part of it and often served with a side of turkey wing and bread. Just a funny thing you probably didn’t know. So here I can definitely have salads.

We had a cool experience this week. We were walking down the street and a little girl ran up to us asking us to follow her. She was sent by this man. He thought we were Jehovah Witness, as everyone does. We give him a brochure and fixed a time to go see him. He seemed somewhat interested in our first lesson and talked a lot. We didn’t know what to think but on Saturday we went back to teach him we taught about the Book of Mormon, gave him one, and invited him to come to church the next day. Sunday rolls around and he was there ten minutes early to church and it was a shock because rarely does anyone come to church on their first try. It was fast and testimony meeting and in the middle, he stands up and says he is new, this is his first time, but he knows that he has finally found the true church of Christ. So that was awesome. We will fix a baptism date with him, he seems awesome.

Not much else happened this week. We had zone conference which went over pretty well, president liked it. I got to see a baptism at Cococodji which was cool because everyone over there loves me. I’m feeling at home now the apartment is clean.

I am in my last 6 months of the mission so if the mission was high school I’m in my senior year and because I had no pics for the week I decided to do my senior mission pictures, I hope you enjoy.

Senior Mission Photo Shoot

I am learning guitar for "Don Carlos Smith" band

Monday, February 26, 2018

Skeleton in the closet

Not gunna lie I think my golden birthday was the worst one ever. It’s true I can’t remember some, but this Tuesday was not ideal. I woke up to get packed to go to my new sector and sadly all my clothes I had washed on Monday night had not quite dried overnight and were all still wet. So, I had to pack them wet and wear wet clothes to the transfer. There was also no power and little water, so ironing stuff and showering were no goes. Then I got transferred. When Martial and I walked into the apartment that we were supposed to live in we were appalled. We then spent the whole week cleaning it. It looked as if no one had lived in it for years. So much dust and trash and weird smells. We could not go out in the sector because we were forced to clean everything.

However, a good thing about my birthday; I got a bunch of movie quotes to read and guess the movies they were from. Basically everyone I know wrote one so thank you all for that gift.

We threw away so much stuff in our apartment purge. We found many weird pots, we found Santa pants, old clothes. We put our trash down stairs because that’s where the trash guys come in and take it away. Then on Saturday we went out to buy some rice from a mama across the street who also owns a little shop on the side. Then weirdly enough I looked close at the paper lining her table and it was ripped up sheets of preach my gospel. The pots, the Santa pants and many other things we had thrown away were now on sale in her store, coincidence? I think not.

Martial likes musical things and we set up my piano and he brought his guitar and we have jam sessions. He has named the band “Don Carlos Smith” after the coolest sounding name of Joseph Smiths brothers.

Martial is a great guy. It’s a little hard white washing the sector, but on our first day we fixed two baptism dates and the branch seems cool enough. Things are finally clean.

Weird things we found while cleaning:
Lizard Skeleton
This random drawing

It's hard to tell, but things were really dirty.
The finished product

Me with Elder Martial "Don Carlos Smith" band

Monday, February 19, 2018

Good days larson elder...

First, I want to type out letter for letter a text I got form that schizophrenic guy we met:

Good days larson elder great

to yours 3 brothers this numbers

no for me is this my girlfriend







NORTH is very no be have pollution

air fresh thank yo

Definitely the best text I have ever received in my life.

So, the worst days for me with the worms were after I took the medicine. Tuesday and Wednesday I was super sick. I guess the worms did not like being killed so they took me down with them. I was really feeling bad, but we had some things to do on Wednesday so I asked for a priesthood blessing and from the moment I had the blessing the pain went away and I'm feeling better. So, I chalk that up to a miracle.

This week I got to see my converts. I visited Sr. Ju__, the one who couldn't speak French, but after her baptism she could. It was awesome. She had just moved from Ouida, where the church is not found, back home so she can become active again. I’m so happy for that. I saw the Mik___ who are doing so many great things. They are saving money to go to the temple this year to be sealed. Papa Mik__ has told all his brothers and cousins and family in Congo to join the church and is constantly inviting amis and through the efforts of papa and mama over 15 people have been baptized in the church. Really these two are the best converts ever and the Lord did it all. These people were prepared by the Lord, I was just the instrument, and boy does it feel good to be that instrument.

Another blessing is an investigator, he is a contact from a member. Ever since we taught him about the restoration, he has not missed church, an activity, or institute. He reads the Book of Mormon every day. He was very touched by Joseph Smith’s testimony in the beginning and is going to be baptized in March. Segal and I had some good lessons with him where the spirit was really strong. We had one moment where I pulled out a scripture that came to my head and Segal was about to share the same scripture, so we knew we were doing the right thing. This is a really good investigator, sad I have to leave him.

So, the transfer happened. I’m going to leave again after having only done a transfer here in Finagnon. I’m going to Cocotome to be a zone leader with Elder Martial a half Haitian half Asian black American. He is a super positive guy, so this should be really fun, I’m excited. Sad to leave Segal, but still excited.

There is this one lady in our sector, no matter when we pass by, she has to stop whatever she is doing and show us her brand new baby girl (who has pretty light skin). Why she does this I’m not sure. Even if the baby is sleeping she runs in and grabs her to show us and we do nothing but look at her, say thanks and try to get out of there because it's so weird.

We had a good week. It was sad to say good bye to Finagnon. There are a lot of good people here many were sad I am leaving so fast. I made some good friends in the ward. We took pics and they made us dinner so we chilled with them all that night. I shared some pixi stix I got in a package with them and they all thought it was the best thing ever. The littlest kid called it his favorite chocolate, don't know why, but was very funny.

So, a new adventure awaits.

I am going to miss Segal

Good bye, Finagnon

The Last Supper in Finagnon

Ouida Snake Activity

The door of no return

Driving to zone activity

Saw this on our drive. It is called "The Deformed Child"

Food after the activity