Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 11, 2013

Greetings from Africa,

I'm still doing pretty good out here. I'm a little surprised to hear that you are in California though. Spring break trip? Or Dad's official "I'm sick, I'm going to use my sick days"? 

I think I'm okay with being in the office for a while still. There are much worse things. I'll probably get tired of it eventually, but who knows. The most annoying part is probably being in a threesome. Both of my companions are good, there are just sometimes problems when you are three. I don't think President will let me pick my next assignment coming out of the office, the Elder I replaced really wanted to go back to Togo but didn't. Now, I have no idea what President will do with me. But that's forever far away. You are right though, my tan has faded a lot. I haven't gotten a good burn in months, and that will be even harder now that the rainy season is in. It rained for hours and hours this morning. We're probably going to have to find a new route to church tomorrow, some of the streets are totally flooded. 

I don't know what Wes learned in regards to peppers, and I don't know how Jacob is eating hot food, but my hot food is very simple. Take a pepper. Take some onions. Grind them together. Sometimes add in other things (tomatoes sometimes). Finished. Throw that into whatever you want, or use it instead of ketchup. 

I haven't been able to go over the border yet, office missionaries rarely do that. Maybe with this next transfer coming I might, but it's far from sure. I haven't really even done any driving since I got my license. The one time I did, I stalled out a bunch. I'm somehow a worse stick driver than I was back when I was first learning. Not sure how I did that. I think I know what my problem was though, I should be okay next time.

I still haven't officially decided if I'll do Winter semester or not. Things are looking like I might be coming home in time for that even without me officially asking. But there's still 5 months before we submit for flight plans. 

This week was a very interesting week. Why? Well, lots of reasons. First of all, I got to be a big part of the zone conferences that happened this week. In the conference I attended, I played the piano (never having learned how to play Called to Serve finally came back to bite me), translated for Sister Weed (I forgot the verb 'to deceive' but then the verb President told me was actually 'disappoint' so we're even on that), and gave a lesson about how to fill out a baptism form. That went a little longer than planned, turns out not a single missionary was aware of what "head of the household" actually means in church-speak. It ended up being good though. I'm hoping that the baptism forms that come through next week will be nice and orderly! That would be a miracle. 

The next off-proselyting odd thing happened on Thursday. I went with Elder Semken to check out a potential new branch building. It was HUGE. Some sort of mansion a bunch of Chinese people were living in while supervising some road construction. It could honestly fit two branches pretty easy. Then we went and helped the Cococodji Elders plan sacrament meeting, President Weed has authorized a group for that area. After that we went around to Gbedjromede, Akpakpa and Finagnon branches looking for chairs. Because if you are going to have a group, it's best to not make them all just stand there. That took pretty much the entire afternoon. 

Dad should love this. Elder Semken has not been able to hook up his computer to the big printer we have. Well, I found a fix for it. 2 hours later, a brother from Nigeria shows up to work through some of our internet problems, and I realize I've only found a "static' fix. Pride cometh swiftly before the fall. I get the impression that he won't have time to work on that before he has to leave, so I will probably just end up trying to work through it on my own again. 

So let me tell you about the little miracle we had this week. I call it, General Conference. We finally got to see it in church. The other miracle is that we had 6 investigators come and watch it (well, 5. Gospel didn't understand a word so he left after 20 minutes. I wouldn't have lasted even that long, I don't blame him). But all of our investigators loved it and one of them said that it answered all of her questions, she wants again to be baptized. That was a huge breakthrough for her, she has been on a down streak for about 2 weeks now. Just her getting to church was amazing, it had rained that morning and we hadn't mentioned that it would be conference. She even brought her 18 year old daughter, who also enjoyed it. 

I recently heard a little about that family that I was teaching back in Togo. I think I mentioned that the older brother did get baptized, but that the Mom hadn't yet gotten spouse approval. Well, apparently Steve is now family history consultant for the branch. So sounds like he is getting pretty integrated. That's been a bright ray of sunshine in all this overcast.

This week I had a really good pondering about Consecration. President Weed talked a bit about how we need to consecrate ourselves to missionary work, leave other things aside. I started thinking about about that and trying to see it in the light of the Law of Consecration. A dangerous subject, I know. But I really liked some of the insights that I received. I know that if I keep thinking about it, I'll make myself work in Church Welfare when I go home, so I'm probably going to change topics soon. What I really learned is that consecration is to put something to a good use, to dedicate it and make it work for good. Elder Christofferson gave a talk about 3 years ago about living a consecrated life. I found it very insightful. 

Lots of love, make sure to bring me back a souvenir from Cali!
Elder Christensen

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