Monday, June 10, 2013

Bonjour! Another good week! I'm finally starting to see a lot more improvement in the language which is way nice! I have been able to have pretty solid conversations with people which is good to finally see! I'm even able to bargain with people finally, which is necessary here being white.. and even got a pair of sandals down from 8000 francs to 2000....(which is what they were originally) so I was feeling pretty good about myself! I got a little to confident though when I was talking with one of our ami's this past week, and we were talking about her kids, and apparently she asked me if I had any kids, and I thought she said something completely different so I said of course! She got super excited, and I was really confused, then only to find out she wanted her kids to marry my kids one day. Luckily we got that one cleared up though! Haha Ive had a lot of problem with getting proposed to, but now they're trying to set their kids up with my kids (which I don't have..) didn't see that one coming.. but hey its all good! haha still super hot and and eating fufu every day so that's good! I'm feeling a lot more at home here though now, and am pretty used to all of the craziness of Africa! Ill be honest I sometimes forget why everyone stares at me and the kids think I'm a monster, then I remember I'm white.. I don't see that changing any time soon though so Ive gotta get used to that! The work is going great though! The baptism this past week was great and no doubt the best feeling! It was really cool to see one of our ami's Marlene go up after the baptism and bear her testimony! I have no doubt she will be a strong member in this branch! Our ami's are progressing amazing, and we've made a lot of progress with them so that has been great. The four business men that we found the last week in the rain, have continued to accept our message and they are doing great! They have been coming to church, and are starting to bring their families as well, and are really understanding and applying our message as well! When you can show them how the gospel will bless their families it definitely sparks their interest a ton! So it was a really great blessing to find them! As it is very difficult to find a solid family with parents and children. They have committed to baptism later this month so that is really exciting to see how the Lord prepared them for our message! Definitely a great blessing for the branch as well to hopefully have 4 more solid new families! Another ami who we found through a recent convert as well is committed to baptism and she is amazing as well! It is just her with her two kids, but they are strong and their testimonies are growing a ton! Shes probably one of the nicest people Ive ever met as well.. for example every time we have a lesson with her, she tells us that because we are always giving her spiritual nourishment, she wants to give us nourishment, so she demands to make us a huge meal every time! We try to explain that she cant keep doing that, but she INSISTS, so I just go with it.. but hey I'm not complaining.. I also had my first lesson with a Muslim family here which was cool as well! Usually we don't teach with them and a lot of the time they want nothing with us, but this family wanted us to come so we did, and it was an amazing lesson! It was also way cool to pray together with them for really the first time in their life and helping them understand who their Heavenly Father is and such. I'm hoping they will continue to come along as well! Our branch is growing and doing well too! We had branch conference this past Sunday, and one of the new golden converts Larry who is from Ghana (so he speaks English) got put in as 2nd counselor in the presidency so that was awesome to see! Also I had another big shocker at church when another American showed up.. The first American non missionary Ive seen since Ive been here! So good to talk to him Ill be honest haha, but apparently he works with the U.S. Embassy here, and is in this branch area, also he said he learned french here in Benin, so there is hope! The work is great though overall! Elder Langouet the other Yovo in our secteur is being transferred to open up a new area, so Ill miss him! He helped me a ton with my french so that will be missed for sure! Things are great here though! And really we have a ton of little miracles each day, so we are very blessed.. for example this past Tuesday our little propane tank ran out so we couldn't cook any food.. so me and my comp went out to fill it up, only to find out the closest place to do so was over an hour walk away.. and carrying the big propane tanks.. and it was the middle of the day so it was barely physically possible for us to do that haha, but we went along and after about ten steps a random guy pulled up in a jeep and asked how preaching the gospel is going, and told us he appreciated what we were doing and offered to give us a ride... never would anyone usually do that for us!? So even though it was something random and small it was a huge blessing for us as missionaries!! Hope all is good back in the USA though! And you're eating good food and stuff... I didn't have anything too crazy this past week, but we are definitely finding more and more fruit especially because its mango season so that's the best! No doubt a lot better than in America, even the Bananas are better here!?  Love and miss you all! Good luck with everything this next week!
-Elder Oliverson

Marlen, my first Baptism!
Elder Soanantenaina, and the member from the muslim family who helped us find her!

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