Monday, November 26, 2012

Novemeber 26, 2012

Thanksgiving was pretty fun, in a fashion. I found some instant mashed
potatoes at the supermarché, and Elder Perkins bought pretty much an
entire chicken. It all tasted good. I was happy with it, even if it
was small. Zone conference was the day before, so we decided to
celebrate by writing some thanksgiving messages and photos to the
Presidents wife. She was actually really happy with it, told us it's
the first present she's received since she arrived here. So that ended
up being mega brownie points for us. Best part is, because she
actually has an oven, that could one day actually be cashed for
brownies. Not likely, but you never know.
So the big news is that I'm being transferred! I'm going to be serving
in Doumassesse. Yes, that's in TOGO. I leave Wednesday. I'll be senior
companions with Elder Gnahore, who is from Cote d'Ivoire. He's been
out for about 6 months I believe. I don't know too much about
Doumassesse, but I'm told that that's the branch where the stake center
is being built. So that will be exciting. I don't think we'll use it
every week, but I'll definitely be there when it's dedicated. I'm
surprised I'm leaving Fidjrosse so fast, 3 months isn't much time at
all in one sector. The interesting thing is that Elder Kiputa is
staying to train an Elder who's coming in from France. He's already
been in the branch for six months. I know it will all work out fine.
The only disappointing thing is that I'm going to Togo for what is
supposed to be the hottest part of the year. So it'll be even hotter
now. Yay. On the other hand, I think I'll be in an apartment with
Elder Burkhart again, which will be fun. What is sure, they say
Doumassesse is full of red dirt, you have to wash your clothes a lot
This week a funny thing happened. It's as though the news about the
Mayan doomsday scenario just barely reached Benin. Multiple people
have asked me about it this last week. I'm pretty sure they don't
believe it any more than we do back in the states, but that means that
some people do believe it. That's me, Elder Christensen, preaching the
gospel and breaking down superstition.
We were teaching this older Catholic man about the restoration and we
mentioned the fact that there is a living prophet on the earth today.
He seemed a taken aback by that. He asked in complete seriousness
"really? Does he talk to the pope?" well, maybe every now and then....
Other funny story, apparently Martin Luther King Junior was a prophet.
He had a dream about a white child and a black child, and somehow or
other Obama is the fulfillment of the prophecy. Go figure. Best part,
we were reading 2 Nephi 3 with a member, and she thought the prophecy
was about MLK. In her defense though, her reading skills are still in
development, and she had been sick for most of the week.
Zone conference was fun, got to talk to a lot of people. You can pick
up some interesting subtexts in what the leaders say. And then
sometimes they aren't so subtle. Turns out there have been a couple of
cases of rule breaking lately, oh well.
I've been wearing the two pairs of shoes, trading them out a little
bit. The problem is that it's the rougher pair that is wearing out.
I'm pretty sure that if I switch just over to the other pair, they
won't last for the rest of the mission. Now that I'm going to Togo,
I'm not sure what it's like to buy shoes over there. I'll let you
I haven't gotten any mail in the last two weeks I would say, but I
know that there's at least one thing for me in the mission office. I
should be getting that tomorrow I think.
I'm pretty sure it's a fact of mission life that the week where you
find a lot of people to start teaching, that's your last week in that
area. We found so many more people this last week that could progress.
Looks like that'll be the job for Elder Kiputa and Méjean. I wish them
good luck. We have no more copies of the Book of Mormon here, and
we're starting to run low on brochures even. The situation is probably
even worse in Doumassesse though. We'll see.
I feel like I haven't written that much again, but I'm out of time.
Power has been out all afternoon, we were lucky our cyber has a
generator. All of our clothes are still wet because the fans aren't
working. Oh yeah, I'm actually packing in advance for this transfer.
Last time I just jammed it all in at the last moment. Took me a month
to find everything.
Love you lots,
Elder Christensen

November 19, 2012

Hello Everyone!
My keyboard is having some problems, so I'm not going to be able to
write too much.
The mission is going, that is sure. We're still teaching a fair bit,
the main problem has been finding people who will progress. There
are so many people that need the gospel here, but don't know it.
Others know it, but can't come and take for various reasons. On the
other hand, we got the news that the search is officially on for a
building for a branch in Aibatin. Of course, that would be a group
first, and that could take months to find a building, but the wheels
are officially moving. Not sure if I'll still be here or not. Not sure
if I want to be or not. I'm told that starting a group is exciting,
but sooooooo much work. Calls for transfers will come this Sunday. Its
pretty much guaranteed that Elder Kiputa and I will be splitting up
somehow. I'd heard a rumor that I would be going into the mission
office, but that appears to be squashed, at least for the moment. I'm
pretty sure I'll become a senior companion next week, but I have no
idea where that will be. We are being told this transfer will be
very big. It has to be, with missionaries going home and 8-9 new
ones coming in. Oh yeah, the work is maybe going to slow down a
whole bunch  this next week. We've run out of copies of the Book of
Mormon to give to people, and some of the brochures too. There's no
way to know when the new books will be coming in. Could be tomorrow,
could be a month. I'm hoping it's closer to the former.
Thank you for the run down of people who got calls, it's always nice
to hear who's going where. Even if I wasn't ever huge friends with
them, it's still nice to know where they'll be when I get back. If you
find out for anyone else, make sure to let me know.
Yesterday we had a conference for the Cotonou district. This time
though, it was just held in one of the branch buildings. It was
packed, and there were no seats left over for the missionaries. So we
didn't really get to hear it, we had to flee outside.
You know, there were days when I thought that my circumstances were
hard, but at least I'm not Elder Ritchie. He's just about to finish
his training time, and he just lost the other American in his
apartment, so now it's just him and 3 Congolais. He wont be speaking
much English for the next 4 months, we'll say that at least. He'll
probably come out speaking pretty decent lingala though. I'm glad I've
never had to do that, but since almost every single apartment in the
mission is down to just 4 missionaries, it's almost certain that at
some point I'll be the only American in my apartment.
 So you want to know how much my taste buds have changed? The last few
days I've been craving beans and eggs. Thinking that means I need more
protein in my diet, but that never would have happened before the
mission. Side note, we've found a source of pretty reliable beef, so
that's started back into the diet a little (it's too expensive to do
too much). You have no idea how good beef tastes until you go about 5
months without.
Not really sure what I'll be doing for thanksgiving, thinking about
making mashed potatoes.
I'm wondering if the debit card popped out of the envelope like sd
cards sometimes do. I sent my usb drive back with Elder Bush, you
should be getting it in the next day or two. Yes I got the emailed
photos without problem. I'd like getting more, at least as long as I'm
using this cyber.
So we've been accidentally tripping the circuit breaker for a while
now, ironing is a problem. They finally sent someone in to look at it,
and they told us our current is just too low. We can only run the iron
and the fans at the same time if we unplug the fridge. All three at
once is just more current than we get. Oh well. At least we aren't
having water or power outages for the moment.
While we were at the district conference we ran into an American
family. He had served his mission in Cote D'Ivoire, and she's doing
something in the region with a Fulbright scholarship. So there you go.
Turns out sometimes you can come back. Don't know if I will be able to
It's funny to hear that it warmed back up back at home, it never even
cooled down here.
I'm starting a project to read all of the standard works in French,
I'm assuming I'll learn a lot of new vocabulary in Deuteronomy and
Leviticus. We'll see, I've already read pretty much the entire Book of
Mormon in French, but not from start to finish.
Sorry, this week's letter was super short, I'll make sure to pick a
different computer next time.
Love you all lots, and I'm thankful for all your letters,
Elder Christensen
No seriously, love you
PS So are you excited to be out of Primary mom? or does it just make
you feel old?

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 12, 2012

Hi Everyone,
Wow, that's a lot of snow. I think we got that much water in rain this
morning, but I wouldn't mind the snow. It hasn't really sunk in how
weird it is that the weather isn't going to cool down. Maybe once it's
Christmas and still 85 degrees I'll get it.
I actually did get a little sick this week. I came down with a 24 hr.
fever, nothing major. Really obnoxious though, we had a couple of
important rendez-vous that day. I'm feeling a lot better now, no
That is so awesome for Jacob. NYC Chinatown. I knew he was going
Chinese speaking, but I wasn't expecting New York. Lucky guy. It'll be
a different mission than mine, that's for sure. He'll do well though,
I have no doubt about it. 2 months isn't much time to prepare though,
have fun!
So funny story about the Christmas package. I noticed a few days ago
that there were bugs going in and out, and I said uh oh, that means
something is open in there. Turns out what happened is something bit
its way in while the box was sitting at the post office. Got into the
sock for my companion and found the lifesavers. The box was bitten
into and 3 of the lifesaver rolls were missing. I didn't have to go
through human customs, but rat customs always takes their fee,
apparently. Nothing else seems to have been touched though, as far as
I could tell. But I had to take out the rest of the life savers and
the candy canes and put them in a plastic baggy.
This week we ate out a lot at members houses. Which means I ate a lot
of spicy food this week. SPICY. I'll leave it at that. Also, one of
the only thinks I can't eat or drink here is the drink they make with
ginger. The kick at the end is way too strong.
This week we had a missionary activity at the branch. One of those
foot in the door, talk a little bit about Joseph Smith kind of things.
Brother Van Duyse (the Canadian) was talking about the build up to
Joseph Smith, he and I got into a tiny debate about some dates in
American history. Silly Canadian man. That activity ended up being
suuuper long. And walking back at the end we got accosted by some
drunk people. That was fun, they thought we were Jehovah's Witnesses
because I'm American, then when they learned we weren't they decided I
was actually Canadian. Because apparently Americans can not be
Jehovahs Witnesses, or something. The whole thing made me laugh.
Investigators are doing pretty well. The work is still going a little
bit slow with all the stuff going on. My companion had to go to a
leadership training meeting, which means that he will either be
training or district leader with this next transfer. He does not want
to train again. Training is hard here, we'll leave it at that. Elder
Kiputa is feeling a bit better, but he's still having problems. Went
back in to the hospital for another check up, apparently the infection
he had a month and a half ago came from his athletes foot we didn't
know he had. Also, he's got some sort of ball forming in his pelvic
region, kind of like the one they cut out of my first companion's
knee. For some reason President keeps giving me the companions with
things in them. None of it is really bad, but I can tell that it all
added together over the weeks is starting to get to him. No one likes
to be sick for a long time.
As far as teaching in church, I haven't had to do it yet. The
missionaries haven't even been giving talks until just recently. There
are enough members that know what they're doing here to get most
things done. Also being Junior companion helps.
Had to go into immigration this morning to renew my visa for the third
time. Cut it close this round, it was going to expire on Wednesday.
I've got that done now.
Tonight all the missionaries are gathering in Gbedjromede to watch
priesthood session. Hard to believe it's been six months already since
the last one. I remember how new everything still was last time.
No, the letter with the debit card still hasn't come. I'm wondering if
maybe it got lost in the mail system? What kind of envelope did you
use? Maybe it's like putting an SD card in a regular envelope.
It's actually just one of my shoes that is starting to wear out a bit.
And looking at that, I don't think it's actually as bad as I first
thought. I'm pretty sure I'll have to get a new pair at some point in
my mission, but that might not be as pressing as I thought it was. I
think I should be able to replace them here, I'll start asking around
about that. If not, I'll let you know.
I'm going to send home the USB drive with my photos with Elder Bush,
he leaves this Friday. That is, assuming he accepts, I haven't
actually talked to him about it yet. I don't imagine he'll refuse
So we showed up late to an eating appointment at a members house, and
when we got there, they had found some church film on tv. Its the one
about the kid who has the modern day Alma the Younger experience. No
idea what it was doing on African TV. The world is a small place
though, media is a powerful tool.
Alright, Love you all,
Elder Christensen

November 5, 2012

Hi everyone,

Wow, that'll be exciting to see where Jacob ends up going, good luck
with the nerves this week! Luckily I've got lots of things to distract

So in good news, I got both the packages this week! Both were unopened
by customs as far as I can tell. Now we will just have to see if I can
resist the temptation of my christmas presents for the next two
months. Hopefully I will be strong enough. The letter with the photos
and debit card are still not there though. So thank you for putting a
few photos in the one package. Its been a long time since I've seen
photos. I'll always accept more.

Speaking of photos, something crazy happened. I was looking at my
photos on my memory card, and I noticed that the number had photos had
changed. Somehow almost 400 photos got erased off of my memory card.
Thank heavens for usb flash drive back up. I still lost about 10-15
photos, butI'm not even sure which photos they were, so I'm assuming
that they can't be that important.

My companion got sick this week. He actually threw up a little on our
way to coordination meeting, and was just generally having a miserable
time. So we went in to get him looked at. I still don't understand
everything, but he had to take 8 pills a day and rub two creams on the
back of his head. And it was a french lady who proscribed it all, so
it's not like it was some crazy voodoo stuff. If I did hear right, he
has an umbilical hernia. Or something. Was not at all aware that that
was possible. But him being sick ran a number on our missionary work
this week. It's hard to plan an illness, but they have to come sooner
or later to everyone. He's already doing a lot better though, and I'm
thinking that this week we should be getting back to normal.

The power went out for a couple of hours tuesday night, all of our
fans stopped working. It was death. Makes me a lot more grateful for
the things that I have.

Halloween was a decent flop this year. I ate some of the candy from
the package, and that was pretty much it. Oh yeah, I also put my jeans
on for about 10 minutes just to wear them. It was weird.

This week what with the end of the month and all, everyone ran out of
money. Everyone but me that is. I don't know why, but I never seem to
use my money as much as everyone else does. So I got to chuckle a
little bit and help out.

I just noticed that one of my shoes is starting to wear out a
little. I'm pretty sure I can make it last for at least 3-4 more
months though, and Elder Sery knows where to buy legit shoes.

Fun story this week. There is an Ivoirienne family that lives in our
apartment building that decided to be good neighbors and give us some
food. What they didn't know was that we had already started preparing
for ourselves. They gave us a lot of food. I ended up eating about
three dinners that night. Everyone else stopped eating. For some
reason, I eat more african food than the Africans. Actually, that's a
pretty commen trend for Americans. I'm guessing it's because we're
used to eating lots of different styles of food.

Could you imagine that the weather is starting to get hotter here?
Crazy, but it's true. At least our water is a little bit more stable
this week.

Missionary work has been a little slow this week thanks to the
sickness. We still have some promising people though. We haven't been
able to talk to Raisa's family yet though. We had a meeting set up,
and we even had a couple ready to go with us, but it ended up not
happening. One of the daughters locked the door and left while the
parents were gone. We've got another rendez-vous set up for Wednsday
though, here's hoping that goes well.

I found out this week that all of the American elders that came in
with me are still junior companions too. I think Presdent Weed wants
to get us as trained as he can as long as there are still older
missionaries. But those start going home next week, so that'll start
changing fast. Who knows what december will bring?

Hmm, I don't feel like I've written very much this week. Weird. Sorry guys.
Oh yeah, we saw conference, or at least two sessions of it. It was
really good, but I'm excited to read it too. I understood a lot more
than I did the first time, but I was still getting tired of
translating it in my head at the end. Plus it's hard to take notes in
English while translating in French.

Alright, got to go,
love you all
Elder Christensen