Thursday, July 26, 2012

July 16, 2012

I'm doing great here, never fret. It hasn't been too rainy here this
last week, but it's been nice and windy. You have no idea how amazing
a steady breeze can be. Benin always looks pretty brown. That's just
the color of the dirt. You probably haven't thought about it, but
grass is actually a weed. Only rich people can afford to keep it well
kept. Most people just don't bother with it. Also, the rain floods it
all out a lot. So yeah, there is a lot of dirt here. Also, the
Harmattan blows a lot of sand out of the Sahara on us.
Sorry that you guys are feeling sick out there. I'm glad that I never
really got sick out here. I've been a little bit sneezy lately, but
it's not bad. Glad to hear that Pageant is going well though. I was
really worried that I was going to be distracted by it, but it
actually hasn't been too bad. I'm at the point where things are
starting to speed up, can you believe that next week will be my
six-month mark? The next year is just going to fly. Oh yeah, you
should read to the guys in your cast team Elder Bednar's October 2005
Priesthood session talk "Becoming a Missionary." It's pretty much
everything I would have written to them. Make sure to say hi to Tanner
and Rosie and everyone else I know out there (I'm not actually sure
who all is there, but I wish them luck!)
I played Swedish Twister my first night at BYU, it was pretty fun. No
idea about 3d twister though. I'll have to bring home some games for
you all to play. Marbles, bocce balls, and...... Mancala! Yep,
apparently that originated here. Or at least I see lots of old guys
playing it. That said, there's a scrabble club in my area, so I can't
be too sure.
Speaking of my area, there's some news there. When they pulled the
zone leaders out of our apartment, they added a new companionship to
the branch, so there are now 8 of us in Gbedjromede. Because of that,
they've reorganized the boundaries a little bit. For us, that means
that they chopped out all of the area near the apartment. Which
happened to include a fair number of our investigators and our recent
convert. So we're having to find some more people. And do more
walking. That's okay, I've been gaining weight anyways. Brice is still
in our area, thankfully. He is just so incredible. He has been more
prepared than I could have ever guessed. I'm so excited for his
baptism this Saturday, I'm going to triple check that my camera has a
full charge! and yes, I've been taking more photos. Never fret.
Fun question, is it breaking the sabbath if you help someone to
prepare food that they are going to sell tomorrow? We showed up for a
lesson and they were in the process of shoving....a patte/foufou into
little bags. They let us help for about 20 minutes, then we shared a
little lesson and left. It was fun, something different, and it was
nice to do a little bit of service.
We got back some investigators this week. The last time we'd called,
an angry woman had answered and told us that we were false. We assumed
they were no longer interested. But while walking past their house
they saw us and explained that the phone company had sold the same
phone number out to another person, and that someone else had answered
the phone instead. The family actually is pretty receptive to the
message, and it was the first time in a few weeks that we've been able
to talk to a husband and wife at the same time. I'm excited to see how
much they will be willing to progress.
My flipflops broke this week. But good news is, that's a common
problem here. The American solution is to go buy new shoes. The
African solution is to have people who walk around all day who will
fix your shoes for about 20 cents with some strong thread. So my shoes
are fixed!
While I was moving my stuff over into the zone leaders bedroom, I
found some tshirts that I'd forgotten I'd brought with me. They still
smell like Provo :-) Also, I was sleeping on two mattresses all week.
That was really soft and nice. Unfortunately, they came this morning
and took one of them away, I guess there was a need somewhere else.
I found the African knockoff of oreos this week. They're called
Noreos. Made by the Haansbro company. I laughed really hard about that
one, and they actually were pretty good.
We've been teaching this 15 year old girl named Franciska. Or Jolie,
depending on who is talking to her (lots of people here will go by 2
different names). I've actually run into a few 15 year old girls
lately, it's been weird. It makes me think about Robin. Here's a good
question to pose to the family; what would it take personally for you
to be converted to the gospel if the missionaries knocked on your
door? What can you do to imitate that? I know for me, it would have to
be some exceptional missionaries. One of the things I've learned this
week is that while you can be converted to the Church, you have to
become converted to the Gospel. That's what will keep you active
through the trials. 
Today has been interesting. We went over to Akpakpa to see some recent
converts that Elder Kabongo taught while he was over there. We had a
lunch mangez-vous, 3 bottles of bissap each, and we have a dinner
mangez-vous scheduled in a little bit. Not to mention the fact that we
had a large American style breakfast this morning. Pancake, egg,
sausages, bread (biscuits weren't possible) and gravy. It was
reallllly good. So today is a big eating day, to say the least. Also,
when you eat spaghetti for months, macaroni will taste realllly good.
Also, I'm on the path to conquering my dislike of beans. So mexican
food will be open to me when I get back. I conquered tomatoes a
looooong time ago.
I've been doing a lot of study about obedience and blessings lately.
I'll give you a little scripture chain I'm working on.
1 Nephi 17:3 Through obedience we receive strength
Mosiah 2:21-24, 41 we are already in debt, we obey, the lord blesses
us again. How then can we boast? If we obey and stay, we will have
eternal joy.
2 Nephi 2:25 - men are that they might have joy.
Just some thoughts, it means a lot to me.
Love to you all, have a great rest of pageant.
Elder Christensen
Tell Jacob that he needs to do sunrise Yoga again. Also, if possible,
you should go find Alvin's tomb. I've never seen it, but the maps in
the appendix have it marked.

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