Wednesday, April 10, 2013

April 6, 2013

Hello from Africa,
I am doing pretty good this week. I only had one big problem, which is
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

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

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