So, where to begin? This week started out with a fun soccer activity with President Goury. And after Monday we hit the pavement, or really the dusty streets. I worked for so long one day I got sun burnt, which is weird because of the tan I built up from a year in the sun. But just the amount of time I spent in that heat burnt my face, it was crazy.
Now that I’m finally working hard for the first time in a long time on my mission I’m having loads of spiritual experiences, having the chance to really testify as a missionary, and finding people who just in a week and a half start believing in our message.
For example last week I just decided to give a brochure to a mom, she was nice and we stopped by the next day, we sat on the dusty floor of her food stand as she sat on a trash bag. I felt impressed to talk about eternal families, she then started crying as she explained her worries for one of her daughters who was making wrong choices and refused to come home. We told her about free agency but also about prayer and scripture study. The next time we saw her she expressed her gratitude for teaching her about prayer and praying for her because a day after we left her daughter called and said she was coming home; just amazing stuff.
This Wednesday Elder Nash from the 70 came to bless this mission with some revelation from God, it was the most spiritual conference I had on the mission probably because I’m now doing things in the Lord’s way. The conference was all day long and talked a lot about obedience, and I was totally edified, even though many of the missionaries here rejected what he said. Me and my companion took it to heart and are even more firm in our commitment to work.
Often times it is hard to go out into the sector when there is no one to see, or to stay out after a bunch of appointments fall through. However there are blessings that come from continually trying to preach the gospel and approaching people. Little did we know as we were exploring the sector and walking down many streets in the blazing sun we passed by tons of members. Sometimes they were in taxis and they passed us or were in their homes and saw us pass. I don’t know many members houses so I didn’t know to stop and knock and say hi. However when we arrived at church on Sunday everyone was happy to see us, giving us contacts, and asking for a day to come work with us in the sector. So it is true following the rules gains member confidence.
Now for a funny story, I was walking down the street and saw a mama selling scones, so I stopped to buy a few then I saw that where the mama put the burnt crumbs left over from the scones on the ground there was a little girl picking up the pieces and eating the nasty, sandy, burnt scone bits. She was dirty and her clothes were torn. I heard Boyd K. Packer in my head with his talk “And a Little Child Shall Lead Them” and I gave the little girl a scone that she grabbed up quickly and took off running more animal like than child. There are lots of kids like that here I don’t know if they have homes and families or not. Now you might be thinking that’s not funny that’s sad. Well what happened as we continued walking a signal must have been sent out among the children street rats, and about three or four more boys dressed in dirty, ripped clothes started following us, wanting scones too. I couldn’t give them all one, there were too many kids, and I didn’t want more to appear and follow us home so I told them the scones were all gone, and to go home. Then the leader boy hissed at me and at his signal all the boys started attacking me. They weren’t very old but there were a few of them. I bet it was quite a funny sight to see, a white guy in shirt and tie getting beat up by a bunch of 5 or 6 year old kids. They were so dirty my white shirt had tons of brown marks all over and my son (Kouadio) thought this was the funniest thing ever and couldn’t help get the kids off of me because he was laughing to hard. They were punching me with all their force but they were too little so it didn’t hurt. People in the street started gathering around and helped pull the kids off of me and chase them away, and my son wipes the tears from his eyes from laughing so hard, saying he is going to see everything in his mission.
For the friendly food war me and my son took turns cooking amazing meals for each other. He cooked native Ivorian dishes and I cooked US dishes, with other mixes of good food in-between. We ate super well, below are pictures of some of just the few things we ate this week. Food was my biggest problem before, it’s still not perfect because it’s not like home, but it’s so much better.