Hi Family and Friends,
Wow, this last week just absolutely flew by. I hope all of my weeks can be like these first two weeks of the year, I can't believe we're already halfway through January. Of course, everyone around here is still giving happy new years wishes. I think I might have just seen a monkey hanging out of a car window driving by. Not entirely sure though. If so, that's my first monkey I've seen in Africa.
The thought of Jacob entering the MTC was running through the back of my mind all of Wednesday. I'm glad he was able to get off to a good start, I look forward to hearing how he's doing.
Oh yeah, there's some biggish news for our mission. We'll be getting sister missionaries soon! At least one is coming in next month, but I don't know if she has a companion yet. They will obviously be in Benin. Also, not American. We're looking at Congolaises and Ivoiriennes for the most part apparently. Still, that was a surprising little twist.
That's kind of scary winter weather. I do not want to have to deal with that when I get back. December/January are some of the cooler months here, but it isn't that cold. Good thing I have so many jackets back home.
Interesting news from Togo for the week. The Grand Marché here burned down. Three story building full of little shops. Apparently the fire was so bad that the firefighters in Ghana popped over the border to help out. There you go. We were thinking about going and looking at it this morning, but my companion hasn't been feeling so great lately so we didn't go.
In other news, I used one of those little Tide things you sent me to wash my sheets this morning. I'm super excited to go to bed tonight, they felt a lot softer.
This week we held church in the afternoon. That was weird for several experiences. First of all, we were able to go out and teach in the morning, which is very unusual. Very few missionaries have that chance around here. Made it work, now we have a better idea of what's going on. I also got to play the piano again for sacrament meeting. Always an interesting experience that. I wish that I had time/the opportunity to practice the piano throughout the week. Oh well. I didn't have any problems with having church in the afternoon because I've had all that practice at home, but here it's the first time for a lot of members. Doesn't help that lunch takes longer to prepare here, so it's kind of a conflict for some people's schedules.
I'm finally getting a feel for the whole "loving the people" thing. I've never hated them, don't get me wrong, but it has only been over the last few weeks that I've started feeling like I really love the people. I've still got a long ways to go though.
These last few months I've been working on an idea that finally oralized itself last night. It's the Gospel that is true, not the church. I realize that that could sound a little heretic coming from a missionary, but I don't think it is. It is the gospel that will save us, change us. The church is nothing but a tool to that end. I think I used to confuse the two a lot before, make them into the same thing.
Yes, I did finally get the Ensign you sent me, and yes, the cards were inside, you can activate them now. I actually got a bit of mail, Most of the mail sent in December just got through to me. As always, I love mail, and I look forward to getting more. Or less, as more people go on missions.
As far as stuff from home, I don't really need much. I'm a really low maintenance guy. I didn't even use about 30% of my soutien (the monthly money, I forget the word in English) in December. Peanut butter is about the only thing I can think of. But if I think of anything this week, I'll write it down and tell you next week. Love you all so much, Elder Christensen