Monday, July 31, 2017

Salty Water Drinking Mormons

Okay let me tell you some things about Togo. The water is salty, I’m not sure why or where it comes from but even if you filter it or do what ever it’s just salty. What can you do? There are a lot more people here that know the church than in Benin. Instead of getting "are you Jehovah Witnesses" like we did all the time in Benin, we get a lot of "are you the Mormons?" So I don’t like that. I liked the clean slate I got in Benin. There are a lot less motos and a lot more taxis.

The language here is similar to Fon but just different that I don’t understand anything. Just when I was starting to understand a little here and a little there they change countries on me.

It does feel like I’ve restarted my mission in Benin I was at least oriented, now I couldn’t tell you where I am, but that will come with the time.

I have feared for my life a few more times here than in Benin. It was a normal sight to see parents beat kids and people get in fights. But just the things I’ve seen people use to do those things here, a drunk dad using a super thick stick on his like infant child who did nothing. The dad was just drunk and a woman and a man using big rocks to fight instead of fists. So seeing those two things was very scary.

I really like the branch here it reminds me of my home ward there are lots of people joking and some fun personalities. There are a lot of return missionaries and people who really understand what the church is supposed to be which I never found in abundance in Benin.

The branch is going crazy for the visit of the apostle who is coming in a week, Elder Renlund, so that is cool. It’s the first time an apostle will come to Togo and Benin since the mission opened, so for seven years or so.

The transfer took all week so we didn’t get a lot done this week.

And I got the chance of living in the worst apartment in Togo. The outside is alright and the placement is cool just the rooms are too small for two people to have beds in and they are not ventilated so they are super hot, but it’s only for a time.

I don’t have many cool stories but it’s just me and Kadima in this big house kinda lonely, but now is the beginning of my Togo adventures...
Packed up leaving Benin for Togo with my Togo tie

Seeing my dad, Mukendi, in Togo right after I arrived

My new companion, Kadima

The mattress I slept on my first night in Togo

My new mini room

The teeny tiny bathroom in my new apartment

Adidogome kitchen

Adidogome apartment

The courtyard in Adidogome. Yes, that is a vodka bottle. They sell oil and snacks in old vodka bottles - recycling is big in Togo

Laundry in the courtyard in Adidogome

"Tree of Remembrance" where missionaries who have lived there carve their name

My dad, Mukendi lived here

Roof of apartment in Adidogome



Monday, July 24, 2017

I will take my transfer TO GO please

Well last thing is first, because this last Saturday were transfers and I’m leaving Cococodji and leaving Benin and I’m heading to Togo to see another country and help more people. I’m going to kill yet another missionary, another Congolese who is on his last six weeks. I hope I will learn a lot from his old missionary wisdom.

This week was actually pretty fun I have pictures below of operation water balloon where I filled up a bunch of water balloons I got in a package from Kenzi and gave them to random kids below our apartment. Ellison stood on the roof and documented this interesting psychological test on what little Benin kids would do with plastic balloons filled with water. (If you can’t tell from the pictures they didn’t fight with them, they all just held them and stared at them in wonder.)

I also had two baptisms this week and I saw something amazing happen with one of my candidates. So my last baptism with Mayani was the sister Ju__ who was super cool and so we started teaching her little sister to see if she wanted to progress like her big sister. It turns out she saw the effect going to our church had on her sister and how it helped her sister be happy so she accepted a baptism date.

As we continued to teach her we found that she had a really hard time paying attention. She wouldn’t answer questions and it was like she didn’t take seriously what we were trying to do, but rain or shine she was at church every week and was always ready to be taught so we kept teaching her. The 20th came up three days before her date and we had finished everything so we were going to the mandatory pre-interview and we were sure we were going to have to push back her baptism because she didn’t understand. But as we started talking to her and asking her questions it was as if she had completely changed. It was as if every lesson she had kept everything we taught when just the day before she couldn’t remember anything. She shared her need to change and be baptized we were so sure she was ready we sent her to her interview she passed and was baptized. It just shows that really the missionaries don’t prepare people but it is the Lord that prepares people.

Also, the other young guy his parents refused his baptism that same day and then a miracle happened. Someone called his dad and he accepted and was able to get baptized anyway. There was a point in the week I thought I wouldn’t be able to baptize anyone, but they both came around in the end.

I also ate more rabbit this week that was fun. I don’t really know what else I did this week. I bought a piano and took some fun pics I hope you enjoy and I’ve done 11 months of this madness only 13 left to go.


I had a friend in Hevie make me hats and ties out of cool fabric

Me and Ellison

My district in African clothes

Operation Water Balloon

I bought a keyboard

My last baptism in Hevie

Monday, July 17, 2017

Chicken?

This week was a pretty normal week with Hypote which means we went to the hospital a lot which is not a huge deal. I really just want him to get healthy again.

On Wednesday Elder Ny cooked some food. I though I got my normal chicken, tomato sauce and rice and sat down to eat. I bit into the chicken and wow it was super good, like way better than normal. I ate the rest of the meal and went on with my day. That night I thanked Ny for the chicken, it was super good and he told me that that wasn’t chicken it was rabbit. It was the first time I’ve eaten rabbit, but it was great. Anyone who has had rabbit before knows it’s good stuff.

One day on our way to the hospital I saw a full out fistfight between two guys on motos. They both got off the motos and went at it. They were swinging, they fell on the ground choking each other. It was nuts but it didn’t really surprise me. I know these things happen every day. But I wonder why they were so mad.

We went to Weme again and are now super popular over in that weird place because we have not only walked all the way out there to see them once, but we came back the next week. Now the mama I’ve seen a ton of times at church now likes me and has learned my name which is great!

I guess this is the time I talk about gari. Gari is a staple food here in Benin its wiki page I could only find in French and it’s like a weird form of chipped flower type stuff made from manyoke. It’s kind of sour and people love this stuff here. You can find it anywhere, any time. It’s a snack they make it into everything. Me and Ellilson have grown to appreciate this food and have eaten it a lot with sugar milk and water in the mornings and are teased about being from Benin. On one of our trips back from the hospital the wheel came off our taxi so we waited as these guys fixed the tire and the sealant they used to help the tire stick to the metal part in the middle they used a gari paste. It was super funny to see how this food is so idolized in this country enough to use it when it probably shouldn’t be used. In America you use duct tape to fix everything, here its gari.

Other than that, I have meet some pretty amazing people here. If everything goes as planned, which it almost never does, but if it does we will have two baptisms this Saturday. A young man named El__ and a sister named La__ they both come to church all the time and El__ is just super cool a young guy who came up to us one day and asked to be baptized. He works hard to understand and prepare to be baptized the work is not easy here but sometimes these miracles can happen.

This morning we had an activity with president Goury we all, including him, played soccer. The first activity of my mission with more than one zone it was super fun. I didn’t play soccer, but I watched and I talked to my good buddy Dorsey who just got back from the US after his medical problems. It was so great to see that guy again.

Mosquito bite on the eye lid

My and Hypote eating in Weme

With my buddy

Soccer with President Goury

Dorsey is back!

T-Shirt logo



Monday, July 10, 2017

If you could hie to Weme

This week was exciting lots of stuff happened we had a meeting with our new president and his wife. He seems really cool his wife doesn’t speak French yet but she is learning like all of us had to.

I had a super cool reunion with my two MTC companions Segal and Linderman because they are the two drivers to the assistants, which is cool. I’m still nothing in the mission but that’s how I like it.

Apparently fourth of July happened, who knew?

I went to the hospital every day this week for my companions back, it really hurts him sometimes. It is kind of annoying to go back and forth from here to the hospital because we are so far away and the road construction here is so bad if it rains all the roads turn to lakes. As we were driving to the hospital one day we went through one of these lakes and the car got flooded like both the engine got flooded and the actual car, so we had to pay people to push us and stuff. And when Cococodji floods Hevie turns into a mud pool, so the only road to get to my sector is so muddy no cars or motos can pass without getting stuck. I walked through that mud mid way up my calf but still three of my investigators walked through that stuff to come to church, so that was really cool.

There is a place in Hevie called Weme and there are a few members out there and lots of investigators but when I worked with the old missionaries they never wanted to go there because it is so far away but I always wanted to go so we made a plan for Thursday. There are some investigators that have come to church for a while that are just waiting for missionaries to teach them and baptize them because they are already taught and prepared by the members. So rain or snow we had to go, and it was raining hard, but we took the hour and forty five minute walk to Weme in the pouring rain. But it was cool its super villagy out there and there are tons of corn fields.

I have been waiting for my day to see a dead guy because I knew it was coming. In this place it just happens, and this week was my week, There was a dead guy all cut up and bruised on the side of the street we passed in a car after our meeting with the new pres. He had just stolen something, got caught by the vigilantly justice, and was murdered and we saw the after math. That was my fourth of July.

Also here there is a weird thing that if a white person does anything it becomes funny, even if it’s a normal thing. Haha a white guy is walking, a white guy is eating corn, a white guy is in a car, a white guy is walking with us in the mud, a white guy is buying something. Everything I do people laugh like it is the funniest thing and mock me in their language. But it doesn’t bug me that much because they insult me in a language I cant understand.

Yeah, that was my week. It was a good week.


Walking in the rain

Muddy shoes

The flooded car
On the way to Weme

Making Pat

Reunion with Segal and Linderman!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Bacon

Sorry I have no connection or time this week to talk about everything but I can give you some highlights.

We got a new mission president. I will see him on Tuesday it’s a big change but has had no immediate effects on the daily suffering I go through. I’m kidding it’s not that bad.

I ate my first piece of bacon in 10 months, Ellison’s mom sent him some and he shared two pieces with me. I have pics I’ll send next week.

Me and my companion taught a lady who kept all the money she had in a book of Mormon we gave her daughter because she wants to get more, the Beniois are super superstitious.

Elder Hypote has super old back bones for some reason and it pains him to sit down and to lie down. I never have heard him complain and the doctor told him to rest a lot but we keep going out to the sector. I hope he will be blessed for this because I don’t want him to die.

Yeah, I have some fun pictures but I’ll send those when I can with a few mores stories.

Sorry it’s short but I’m so blessed I got at least this much sent.




[Pictures added later when connection improved]

Bacon for the first time in Africa
Teaching
Banana anyone?
Survivor themed package
Hypote made me a burger!