Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 16, 2012

Hi Everyone,
Things have been going pretty well this week. Not in the least because
we got to baptize an investigator. Of course, he wasn't confirmed a
member because he was late to church, but hey, what can you do? His
nickname is Prince (pronounced Prance, yay french), I can't pronounce
his real name. I don't think that I'm actually going to get the chance
to get in the water and baptize someone while I'm getting trained, my
trainer doesn't believe in there being lots of people doing the
baptizing. He just hands it off to another missionary who is already
baptizing. Oh well, I'll have opportunities later.
As far as emailing goes, it has kind of been left to us to decide what
to do. The goal behind contacting people back home is to stay updated
and show the miracles of missionary work for both the missionary and
the family, and not to distract/bog down the missionary with thoughts
of home. So I'm going to play it by heart for a little while and try
and find the balance. So if I don't email you back for a little while,
be patient.
Health wise, things have been going much much better this week. I've
been drinking a lot more water, which has helped a lot. I drink about
3-4 liters a day, which probably still isn't quite enough. I've also
gotten some bread back into my diet, which has been nice. The bread
here is absolutely delicious. It also has zero preservatives, so it
can go moldy in 3 days. Also, I found the fried peanut butter I saw on
the internet. It wasn't in rings, but it was still pretty cool. Tasted
exactly like a peanut piled up with peppers. One of the spiciest
things I've eaten. And about 1 cent a pop.
In other health news, I had the chance to weigh myself today. I'm the
same weight from when I left the MTC, so I seem to have made a decent
transition. Of course, I did hear that I may have actually lost a few
pounds and then made it back with water weight. I guess we'll see.
Also, apparently my hair is long enough that I have a legitimate
potential to get head lice. I just don't want to give it up because I
won't be able to get it back for the rest of my mission. Also, it
fascinates the African children here.
Also, I use the word also a lot in this email. But my sleep is
improving. I'm still waking up a fair bit at night, but I have so much
more energy now. Probably a part of being more hydrated. Also, thanks
to the Doxy, all my acne has cleared up except for some on my face,
and even that is doing a little better now that I'm handling the
sweating better (the washable handkerchiefs are a lifesaver! So much
As far as real mail goes, I've gotten a letter! There was a sister
from Ghana in the MTC who was going to Cote D'Ivoire (and no, we don't
know why she wasn't sent to the MTC in Ghana). Apparently there is
some sort of pouch system between our two missions, because I got a
little note from her. It was cool to actually get some real mail.
Especially since this mission is no longer a Dear Elder pouch mission,
I think my real mail is going to be a little slim from here on out. On
the other hand, if you do send me a written letter, I promise to do my
best to send a response. It might just take 4 months, I don't know
right now.
Weather here has really been pretty decent since I arrived. It's
started getting the tiniest bit wet, we're heading into the rainy
season in a few weeks. Now when I say the tiniest bit wet, I mean it
rained like a real downpour from Pageant, nothing you could possibly
see in Utah. A storm did pass by us this morning, we could see it. And
hear it, the first time I heard thunder here, I thought a building had
just collapsed. It can literally go for 30 seconds or more.
The work here progresses. I'm becoming more involved in lessons
slowly, I'm getting to the point where I feel I could, I'm just not
sure what to say. I had the same problem in the MTC for a while. The
trick is just going to be to open my mouth and start talking. Good
thing I'm good at talking.
Fun story, we had a bible bash the other day. That in and of itself
isn't all that fun, but when we got there, I realized that it was the
wrong house. We accidentally blew off our actual appointment to have a
bible bash. Oops.
I got to play the piano for sacrament meeting today. That was
interesting. I'm a little more rusty than I thought. Also, I had to
basically sight read a hymn, I think it's number 124 in English. They
sing hymns a little differently around here, I'll have to demonstrate
when I get back. Also, I've been reading through the lyrics of a lot
of the hymns in French, and they are really quite beautiful. I need to
go back and compare them to the English versions. God Be With You Till
We Meet Again in particular I like so much more than in English.
Okay, it's good to know that my visa card isn't going to work at an
ATM. There are banks I can do money transfers at, but at the moment I
don't trust my French enough to go do that. I wasn't really planning
to use it until the end of my mission anyways to buy souvenirs. Don't
worry too much about my funds; I did the math, and I'm pretty sure
that we as missionaries get more than the GDP per capita here, on top
of free housing and utilities. So we're pretty rich. Plus, rice is
suuuuper cheap.
I was thinking about the email I sent last week, and I realized that
this mission is a lot like the Hill Cumorah Pageant. The best stories
are the miserable parts, and then people ask you if you actually like
it, and you say "Of course! I want to go back so bad!" Know that there
is really no place I'd rather be right now than here, I know that this
is where the Lord wants me to be.
Love to you all,
Elder Ethan Christensen

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