Bonjour mes amis! I hope that you have all had an excellent week! Things have been a bit interesting out here, but they’ve been great! Elder Rasolo and Elder Kunz made it out Saturday morning, and it’s just been Elder Dih and I since then. But with two splits to start the week and then two days left for the missionaries leaving to say goodbye, we didn’t really get too many lessons taught in our area this week.
Good news from this week: Luc and Vicky have found, through their own efforts and God’s help, the means to be legally married according to Togolese Customs and, as such, are now qualified to be baptized! This means that their baptism will be this Saturday, the 22nd! Just another testimony of how prayer, hard work, and obedience bring miracles!
|Vicky with her daughter Precious (Thursday night at Philippe's)|
Tuesday and Wednesday morning I spent in Anfamé with Elder Rybin, who is one of our Zone Leaders. He and I worked and got along really, really well, even though he attended the University of Utah before coming out here. Amazing how the mission brings people together like that. Anyways, he gave me some counsel and advice before I take on my new roles, and I learned soooo much about leadership with him. He’s a good guy.
Wednesday, Elder Kunz and I did a split in my area and it went very well. We got a couple of good lessons in, and we enjoyed the time together. As we were out, at about 4:30, these HUGE black clouds just came rolling in along a front. We saw them from a far, but weren’t terribly worried. Then, all of the sudden, we were being blasted with cold wind and it got really dark. It made for a very interesting experience and we got only a few drops of rain. Apparently Lomé got pounded with rain. So that was kinda cool, figuratively and literally. It was Elder Kunz’s birthday, so we decided to end it with celebrating with dinner at the Monument Restaurant.
|With Elder Kunz celebrating his birthday|
|Right before the clouds came was absolutely beautiful and comfortable.|
|What you don't see here are the huge dark clouds to the right (North)|
|That's the front.|
|Just a pic of a part of my area mid-storm|
Thursday and Friday were both spent mostly visiting people and saying good-byes, so I was just following wherever my companion wanted to go. But both of them ended with very good mangez-vous, especially Thursday. Thursday night we were at President Philippe’s house. There were several people there, as most had been at the preparations for President Hervé’s (our Branch President) father’s funeral (apparently he had 8 wives, so there was well over 5,000 people that attended), so they all just came back to Philippe’s. We had Djekoumè, which is pate made with tomato/piment (pepper) and onion sauce, meaning that it’s all cooked together, so some people call it red pate, but it’s soooooo much better than normal pate. I can easily say that it’s my favorite Togolese (and African for that matter) meal, served with fried chicken. SOOO GOOD!
|Eating some Djekoumè. Honestly one of the best djekoumès I've ever tasted. Everyone was talking about how good it was after|
|Fanning the fire|
|This dog LOVES me.|
|We had a sling-shot competition Friday night at Boris' house. He destroyed me|
Saturday is when Elder Rasolo and Elder Kunz left. I got to work with Elder Dih in the afternoon in the Ivorian Refugee Camp. The camp was installed during their war in 2011 by the UN, and many haven’t been able to find the means to get their life back in Côte d’Ivoire. Anyways, while we were there, we passed the central commons room (just a nice TV with a couple of couches) and I saw the Winter Olympics on! That was pretty awesome. Some cool ski jump.
|With Elder Kunz on Saturday.|
|One last picture with Elder Kabedeh. They past by our house on their way to Benin.|
Today we moved into our new place! It’s still big, but it doesn’t have too much useless space like the last apartment. We still have plenty of space, but we’re not so separated anymore. Plus we have garden space again! Just not quite as nice as the last house and no grass. But it’s very nice! High, vaulted ceilings, too! But moving in left me exhausted today. Luckily President Blaise made up for it by providing Charwamas and Cheeseburgers.
|Harry Potter Cupboard!!!|
|View from the balcony just outside|
Well, that’s about it this week. I have exceptionally felt God’s love the past few days. I’ve been feeling, only slightly, a bit lonely because I am now the only American (and white person for now) again. The only difference between this time and when I was in Tokoin for the 2 months before Elder Edwards came is that I have been called to be an example, being the oldest missionary instead of the youngest. But, like I said, I have truly felt God’s love for me and the power of Christ’s Atonement to help us in all of our trials and sufferings, not only with finding forgiveness for our sins. But, I have also realized that in the Church, we are never alone as long as we have our fellow brothers and sisters around us, something that I have had to learn by experience out here in Africa.
This work truly is God’s work, and He blesses all of His servants very much. This is by far the hardest thing that I have ever had to do in my entire life. Physically, emotionally, and mentally it is so draining. Everyday brings more and more fatigue from the long hours under the sun. However, I would not trade this time for anything. I have grown so much closer to our Heavenly Father, and my Spirit as well as my knowledge of God have grown so much. It is true that the Lord works by small and simple things to bring about His great and eternal purposes (as stated in the scriptures). I have seen this in my missionary life so much. Every day is another drop added. I still have such a long way to go, but it has been such a blessing for me to see how much I have grown in my short time here.
I could go on all day about this, but I have things to do, and I’m sure you have a normal life to live as well. I leave you these things this week, and I hope that this next week brings the best for all of you as well.
I love each of you all so much.