Hello from Africa,
I am doing pretty good this week. I only had one big problem, which is the following. JK ROWLING PUBLISHED HER NEW BOOK AND NO ONE TOLD ME. I found it in a printshop/bookstore yesterday while we were looking for ink and laminating pockets. That'll need to be sitting on my bed when I come home.
I'm attaching the picture for the new international Driver's licence. If for some reason that doesn't work, email Elder and Sister Semken. Speaking of a senior couple, we seem to be getting a new couple sometime soon. Elder and Sister....Christensen. Yup, there are officially too many Christensens in the church, they aren't any relation (from Nevada). I'm assuming they will be taking me out to eat and buying me Christmas and birthday presents and such. Or at least, I like thinking that.
Easter was pretty low key. All we really did was sing the two Easter themed hymns in the French hymnal.
I didn't go to the member/missionary soccer match. We were told it was going to last for a while, and we had some office responsibilities to take care of. It ended a lot earlier though, so we probably could have gone. Oh well. I don't really feel out of the loop with the other missionaries because I have to call them all and we have had large batches of them in for their residency cards. As far as I can tell, the only missionary in this mission that I have never met is a little Elder from Madagascar named Elder Rakotonirina. But everyone else I know at least by their face, even if I haven't really talked to them. Of course that'll change with time. Especially if I'm not in the office in June, when we will be getting a rather large wave of sisters.
Yes the rainy season has started a bit. It has rained a couple of times at night, although for the daytime we still haven't really seen anything. Oddly enough, we no longer have power outages. You would think that that would be worse when it rains. I'll never really understand Africa.
I don't know if the MTC really has more sisters than Elders, but I know the number of missionaries is up about 8000 since October, and in talking with our Area Secretary yesterday I was informed that we are expecting about 94000 missionaries to be the high. That is just crazy. Obviously that won't be permanent, but it is still very impressive. The work will progress a lot.
You are the S2 cast team leaders again? That's crazy. You'll still be there when Robin becomes YSA. Will you even change anything or just pull out all the stuff from last year again?
We are doing a bit of missionary work here in my companionship too. Usually all three of us are in on lessons, but yesterday Elder Semken took me to go run some errands with him so I missed about a lesson and a half. Luckily, both of them were taught here in the mission office (yes we have permission to do that). One of them accepted a baptismal date, so that was something. She's even come to church already so that is a little more significant. Sometimes I get a little skeptical when people accept a baptismal commitment and they haven't even been to church yet. We have a couple of other investigators that look pretty promising. Funnily though, only one of them is from Benin, one of them is Congolaise and the other is from the Central African Republic. The latter was wearing an LMFAO shirt during our last lesson, which made me chuckle. We have had a couple of really good lessons over the last week where I really think the Spirit was there. At least we are starting to have investigators come to church.
We are going to have interviews again with President Weed this week. I can't believe that it's that time again. The last 3 months have just flown. I don't know how that will be now that I'm in the office and we see each other most days of the week anyways.
This week I realized that I am not a good cook yet. I had not been aware that it is in fact possible to burn spaghetti. Oops. Lessons learned. On the other hand, I bought a giant bottle of mint syrup recently and that has been a lot of fun. I have rediscovered the joy that is mint hot chocolate. Mint Macaroni? Not a joy. Mint rice????? I'm going to try tonight if Elder Burkhart will let me.
Yesterday we had a visit from the Area Secretary, Elder Fitzgerald. It was a most insightful meeting. He was here to talk about the new branches we are looking to create for the district. I now fully understand how painfully obnoxious it is when missionaries "poach" and baptize someone who lives in a different ward or branch. I also learned a lot of other really cool stuff. Unfortunately President Weed wasn't able to be there, so I took like 3 pages of notes.
Now for the list of cool things I saw this week. A two ring binder A baptismal form with a birth date of February 31st A catholic church that looked like a candy cane I was thinking this morning about communication. I never really realized before my mission how important communication is, and especially good communication. It is impossible to work for/with someone if you don't communicate. Same thing with serving them. When I attended those two weddings a few weeks ago, something that really struck me is that all of the American couples talked about how crucial being completely open with your spouse is. I also thought about the communication that we have with our Heavenly Father. It is incredible to me that that is a two way communication. He doesn't have to tell us about what he is doing, he could just go ahead and do it. He tells us because he loves us and he wants us to understand. Thinking about all of this made me really grateful for general conference, even though I won't get it for another month like normal. That really is such a great way to listen to what God has to say. I hope everyone will take the time to listen.
Alright, I think that that might be it for this week. Lots of love, Elder Christensen