Monday, April 24, 2017

Busy Superstition

Oh yeah, so this week I didn’t get sick! So already an amazing week so if any one was worried about me it’s all good I’m no longer sick. It’s just the normal day to day trials that are left. I had a pretty busy week teaching people and finding new investigators, my sector is really far away from the church so people have to use a lot of faith to come to church every week but while I was back with Raveneau we were up to 9 investigators that came to church in a week but just like that something happened and the third week Mayani was here we had not a single investigator at church, not one. Which was weird because there were some investigators that were so loyal they were treated as full time members they just weren’t baptized because of marriage problems, which is a huge deal here and it’s complicated and I wont explain all that in this email. Any way the problem was no one was coming to church and we didn’t know why.... well then we figured it out.

The culprit was yet again voodoo, weather you practice or not voodoo is real and people here are incredibly superstitious, especially in my sector where voodoo is rampant. And I think I already said this but like Benin is to voodoo as Utah is to Mormons. Like Salt Lake City has the big temple. That place where we put snakes on our shoulders is one of the big voodoo temples for the whole world, so yeah just keep in mind this country is the voodoo king.

I forgot if I put it in my last email but the president of the relief society in the ward of Cocococdji died a few weeks ago leaving behind a husband and three kids the youngest of which was a few weeks old. It was a very sad moment, but because all the investigators knew her so well and the church is still new to them they thought the church was cursed and they won’t come back... so that’s just great. Slowly we can try to re-explain to them the plan of salvation and stuff but it will be really hard to get them back because she is the fourth member to die in like four months. I don’t think the church is cursed but lots of people do.

There are also more and more inactive in our ward for one reason or another, Cococodji is the best ward in Benin yet really there are some big problems which is kind of sad, but I’m not losing hope and little by little were doing our best to touch lives and bring in those sheep that are beginning to stray, but there are many.

I also had a lesson where I really felt the spirt this week. Sure you would think as a missionary that should be normal but, here there are like no quiet places, a million distractions for the investigators idk it’s rare to really feel the spirit in a lesson, sadly but it’s just normal. However, we taught this investigator at the church building and wow, quiet really makes a difference. Every other church makes tons of noise when they want to pray it sounds more like they are dying rather than praying but really the great prophet Elijah was right when he said

"And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice."

The spirit doesn’t like lots of noise, but its a really noisy country, so we make do.

In other news I bought a watermelon because I was so sick of the same tastes in my mouth all the time, and now I have a firm testimony that genetically modified foods are a gift from God because the disappointment I felt from eating that thing they said was a watermelon was too great to bear, it was small it had more seeds than fruit and it all tasted as if it was that nasty watermelon close to the rind. So yeah, it was not the greatest experience, but pineapples here still beat America’s every time so it’s not all in vain. Love you all!

I bought a watermelon
It didn't taste as good as it looked 
Ellison, me, Ny
8 months baby!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Food poisoning and forgetting Easter

Yeah so this week sucked. It’s not that I have a bad attitude, I promise but it’s just fact. However even in the worst moments there are always blessings. We had a plumber come to the apartment and fix everything. I got to take my first shower in a month. I got to flush the toilet for the first time in 2 months and I got to drink filtered water for the first time in a week. However, this week I also threw up for the first time in five years. And I got sick, really sick. I guess I ate some bad eggs. Yeah I won’t give you all the details, but basically now I’m super hungry all the time but I have lost my appetite. And eating those bad eggs was about all I did to celebrate Easter because this country did absolutely nothing different. However, it’s all good I’m feeling better now. I should be ready to go out into the sector again this week, sorry there is not a ton of new news but I’m alive don’t worry too much about me.

Laying in my "sick bed"

The Cococodji version of the first presidency

The following pictures are before I got sick. Having fun with Ellison and Ny.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Everything is broken

I have little to no time this week to send things because at any moment a plumber could come to our apartment to fix everything that needs fixing, which is about everything in the apartment. There is just one toilet and one shower for the four or us. The shower has been broken for three weeks, the toilet for months. Just two days ago Ellison went to turn on the facet in the kitchen and tore the entire sink out the wall, water busted out the wall forever and flooded the kitchen until we could get the water shut off in the apartment. So, it’s important we get all that fixed.

I was sick for the first part of this week. And when you don’t work in Hevie on Wednesday nothing gets done. In in my sector, Hevie, you can get so much work done on Wednesday, I can’t believe it. Any way so yeah that was kind of my week not very productive sadly. It’s good I have two years so that I can work super hard another week to balance it out. But don’t worry I’m totally healthy now. I just got sick because I carried too much weight on my head, I was trying to go too African too fast and I got sick. I didn’t know it was possible to get sick form carrying stuff on your head but it’s a real deal, my neck still hurts a little it’s all good.

Also for an activity we went to Ouida again to touch the snakes so that’s why all the pictures.

Trying to jerry-rig something in the broken bathroom to get some type of filtered water

The shape is Benin

This is considered the door of no return for slaves

Monument celebrating Benin


Monday, April 3, 2017


Well this was a week full of craziness, but every week here is, so you could say it was a pretty normal week. When it gets really hot in my sleep I’ve been known to talk in French, or so people have been telling me. And this last week was a hot one so I did a lot of talking, I guess. It was really funny the things I said. Elder Ny has these phrases that he says all the time and we have all picked up on them and started saying them all the time, because we have a super tight district. Anyway I guess those phrases have entered into my sleep.

Every missionary has their “thing”, it’s hard to explain it, but from each companion you find what point of missionary work they like the best and what they are the best at doing. And for Mayani it is visiting members. Before I thought visiting the members was kind of a waste of time, if we don’t get contacts or have a reason for going, but my eyes have been opened. Mayani says it is his goal to see all the members in the ward that live in our sector, and I didn’t know how that would help but I followed him. But there is one thing, my sector is massive, incredibly massive, it would take years to visit all the parts but the first member on our list to visit was the bishop, and the bishop lives faraway. Super, super far away, but you know this mission there are no cars for missionaries so it was a whole day of walking, just to get to his house and back. I don’t know how many of miles but I know I was so wiped after going all the way out there. When we arrive at his house the bishop was so surprised to see missionaries because it has been two years since missionaries came to his house! Two years! And immediately this guy loved us because we made such an effort and I didn’t know this but we found out the bishop lost trust in missionaries because of the bad ones that have been in his ward for so long but for the first time in forever he came to our coordination meeting he is helping us with contacts he is coming to baptisms. We changed the bishop for the good and it was just because we paid him a visit, there is power in kindness people, lots of power.

This week was a happy week because we had a baptism that was long, long, awaited, The Mi____!!!! I’m so happy for them. The dad and the mom got baptized this Saturday sure the water has been cut in this whole city for a while and we had to fill up the baptismal font by getting water from the well filling up buckets putting them on our head and walking back to the ward building and filling up the font. It took many hours and we didn’t get to eat that day, but hey it was all worth it for the salvation of souls. Really I can’t say how happy I am.

Now we just have to teach their two sons, they are very smart and very firm in there beliefs and ask tons of really intelligent questions but it’s good. One day when they are converted they will be the strongest of members.

We did other things this week, I wish I could have seen conference but missionaries are not allowed to watch in this mission, we only got one session we could go to at the stake center but we had to pay our own transport to go. It was a little sad but its normal for this mission. And I’m also a little sick right now with a fever and headaches, but it’s not too bad so don’t worry about it.

The Mi___ get baptized

Eating a huge stack of pancakes