Friday, September 30, 2016

Heading to Africa

This is my Last E-mail day in the United States, that is insane. And I know I am for sure leaving because I got my flight plans! They are different than everyone else going to Benin except for my two companions and Elder Dorsey from the other district. But our flights are so much better than everyone else's! We leave the MTC at 11:00ish in the morning on Tuesday the 4th while everyone else leaves the MTC at 8ish in the morning. They all go to Chicago and then to Paris and we, the four of us, have a direct flight from Salt Lake to Paris, so they leave three hours before us and we beat them to Paris by five minutes, then we all take the same flight to Cotonou. It is over 20 hours of travel. I sure hope this time I don't get switched to a different place again. But I really have loved the Provo MTC, I might have died in Ghana.

The MTC general conference choir is so cool. I absolutely love the practices and our two directors. It was really serious but really spiritual. In these last few practices when I have been singing my favorite song were doing, Joseph Smith's First Prayer, I have had two experiences where when I was just listening to the song as we sang and I felt a warm kind of chills and a teared up and the spirit witnessed to me that the first vision of Joseph Smith was true and now on Saturday I can share that same experience with millions of people, I am so excited. If you are curious, if you are looking at the choir, like the director, I am on the far right section in the middle ish. This week was kind of weird I had the last lessons with my 2 MTC investigators, it is weird how if you do roll play right, even though these two people were my teachers, it felt like I was teaching someone different, I guess that's the point. But there were many times when it was real and the lessons we taught and the emotions had were real. It was so sad to say goodbye to these fake people because all we did every day was think about their needs, prepare to teach them, and teach them. I cant imagine how hard it will be to say goodbye to the real investigators in Africa.

A cool thing happend this week the devotional on Tuesday was given by Elder Schwitzer! He was the 70 who came to my stake for this last stake conference in June where I was asked to speak at the adult session. He talked to me in June and said I will be a great missionary, I dont know if he was right, but it was really cool to see him now that I am a missionary.

I dont know if I ever told you about Patricia or TRC before, but TRC is a thing we do every week where we go and teach a volunteer member a lesson in French. They are usually RM's, but we have taught old ladies too. This is not roll play this is practicing teaching a real person and practicing French. There is also two weeks of Skype TRC where we get to skype somone who speaks French, usually somone in France and teach them a lesson over the computer, a very useful exercise for us going to Africa. Our first skype lesson was bad. We got assigned a old french lady who lives in Paris named Patricia. the connection was horrible we couldn't hear anything she said, It was so bad I had to put my face out of the screen and cry laugh as she told us a 2 minute long story and all we heard was " ba da ................ sa...... and the missionaries were super cute and..........d.........aeee......................and I love base ball.......a...........................de................a......" and by the way she only spoke English to us because she thought our French was not great and every time we said anything she would correct us and show us how to say it right. It was bad. We walked away feeling very discouraged. The next week we had another skype TRC and determined to make it better we prayed long and hard about what to teach and asked for help to be assigned the right person for our message and I thought maybe teaching something out of the Joseph Smith history would be good, because I had been having such great experences at choir with that song. We all prayed and thought it was a good idea and we went into TRC and got assigned Patricia again! So before we called her Elder Segal prayed
fervently please please help us. And then we called and wow, I can not describe to you how much that lesson changed my idea of missionary work. Everything about that lesson was different, the connection was great. she still spoke English and corrected our French, she was the same person but during the opening prayer, her phone rang and and it was her mom. After she hung up she told us how her mother was sick and had dementia and was losing her mind and Patrica was so sad that this person whose body was her mom was not her mom anymore because she gave up fighting, she showed us an old picture of her mom showing us how she remembered her looking. We just went with our lesson which was using the example of Joseph Smith to prepare to receive personal revelation at general confrence and she told us after we were
done and had born testimony in an unforgetable language that she said "I know the Lord is with you" because the scripture and lesson were exacly what she needed to find out what to do with her mom she was so amazed. And it was sad having to say goodbye and go to Africa she said when we watch President Eyring's talk in confrence we should think of her because she will be thinking of us. She says she is so excited to see us all in this life, or if not in the life to come and boy was that lesson a booster for me and my companions and I know I had nothing to do with it, it was the Lord using his childen to teach each other. She taught me more in those two 20 minute lessons than I could imagine and the Lord, though us taugh her, it was amazing.


My favorite painting here
 
Cliché map pointing picture 
A really funny sign for a broken toilet
 
Abbott took this pic, he was trying to be artsy 
Me and Abbott
"The Benin Boys"
16 all going to Benin, Cotonou Mission (+ Elder Juganikloo going to Madagascar)