Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 14, 2012

Skyping with Ethan

Hi Everyone,

It was really nice to get to talk to all of you yesterday, sorry I couldn't share everything. Don't worry, there will be time when I get back. I actually haven't been to the hospital yet, Elder Bukasa the district leader spent the night there with him. He should be done with his surgery by now though, so that's good. For people not in the know, my companion spent the night at the hospital to prep for his knee surgery this morning. He's had to go in to the hospital every morning for the last week, which has kind of been a cramp on the work. It turns out companionship study really is useful and stuff.

Laundry is not actually that bad. I do more than most people because I'm not really comfortable wearing the same shirt three or four days in a row. It definitely keeps my shirts cleaner than some of the other missionaries, but I just have to do a little bit more. I don't know, maybe that will change. It is a nice time to just sit and think about things though. About the plunger. I left it in the MTC. Sorry mom, but the whole point of using a plunger is that it is big and agitates the water. You sent me with a sink plunger. The soap doesn't bother my hands, but I haven't gotten down the knack of washing without scraping my knuckles, so I've been using a brush scrubber thing. It works pretty well so far.

I shouldn't have to dump water out of my shoes that often, never worry. That only happens when we are caught in the rain. If there are just puddles in the road we can walk around them. And the rain most often comes when we are back at the apartment either in the morning or for lunch. The bigger issue is that my shoes will wear out at some point, unless I end up in the bureau or as an assistant for long periods of time. Which is possible, but not likely.

Don't worry about sending a conference edition of the ensign, we should be getting one in a few weeks. It'll be nice to read the priesthood session talks in English, we watched them in French. I could understand what was being said, but translating for two hours like that takes a lot of mental energy.

I would take a picture of the cyber (where I e-mail from) for you, but I sent my camera to the hospital with Elder Ntengo and Bukasa. By the way, there might be some scary pictures on the card when you get it. Just a heads up. I'll see about getting them transferred off before I send it.

So, news for the last week
Well, like I said, we had a baptism, which I got to perform. It took two tries, but whatever. It turns out that a lot of people here have never actually been submerged in water before. Usually, standing bodies of water are kind of gross around here. So actually being immersed is sometimes a shocker for some people. The next day, I was playing the piano for sacrament meeting, and from where she was sitting, I couldn't see her. So I thought that we were going to be 0 for 2 on getting people confirmed the next day. Luckily, she was there and did get confirmed. Also, she's only 3 days younger than I am, that was a little bizarre to realize.

I wanted to share a cool experience that I had this last week. We went over to a member's house because they asked us to come over. When we got there, she didn't really have any specific needs that she wanted addressed, but just wanted to read the scriptures and talk a little bit. My companion wasn't really sure how to handle that, so we ended up more or less opening randomly to Doctrine and Covenants 8. As I read, the Spirit hit me really strong. I talked a bit about what some of the promises and principles of the section are, and I could tell that the investigator was feeling the Spirit too. That was honestly one of the best moments of my mission so far. When you see that people are feeling the Spirit too, there isn't really anything else like it.

I also learned an important cultural principle this week. If you eat fast, they think that you are really hungry and give you more. In this case it worked, since I was really hungry, but it was good to be reminded of that before I accidentally did it when I wasn't hungry. Slow and steady wins the race.

Also, apparently they are hugely slowing down the rate of transfers in the mission. To the point that I may have only 4 or 5 areas that I serve in, and not too many more companions. I've heard multiple times of missionaries staying in the same area for up to 8 months.

Yesterday I got to see the meeting that will kickstart home teaching in our branch. I think that there technically has been home teaching before now, but it has been incredibly disorganized. So the first step is to organize, and then we will start actually pushing to get it done. I use a collective we there, but the missionaries aren't really involved with it. We were just at the meeting as translators.

I got to go to a 'supermarket' last week, it was interesting. The variety of what was and wasn't available was pretty..... eclectic. That's pretty much the only way to describe it.

I'm no longer the new guy, officially. The new Elders from Provo came in this last week. Like my group, only one stayed in Benin and the rest went to Togo. I haven't seen the one who stayed yet, he's on the other side of the City.
Oh yeah, dinner last night after the call turned out to be pancakes and banana bread muffins. I'm going to be so disappointed when the senior couple leaves next month. Oh well.

I've been asked by a few people what kind of animals I've seen. Well, the answer is, not a whole lot. Cats, dogs, chickens, goats, birds, lots of lizards, dragonflies, general bugs and birds. There's apparently the occasional monkey as a pet, but I haven't seen one yet. Wait, I did see cows a few days ago lounging in the middle of the roundabout by the chapel. That was bizarre.

Fun fact, my life turned upside down this last week. There's a homeless crazy guy who hangs out in front of our chapel all the time. This week I found out he's actually not homeless, just super crazy. So there you go.
Anyway, time to go.
Je t'embrasse,
Elder Ethan Christensen

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