Monday, July 1, 2013

Bonjour! A pretty good week! No moto crashes or angry mobs and such so that is always nice! This past week has been pretty peaceful and nice, not too much that is new. I have finally found out its totally cool to hold hands with other guys and no one will judge. I have definitely been judging this whole time as I have seen just about all of the guys here holding hands with each other. Turns out that here that means you're just friends and that's that! I found that out this week after we went on a split with a member and when we crossed the road he grabbed my hand and I about had one, I looked to my comp stunned at what just happened. Then luckily I found out that really that is not at all the way it is in America, but instead its totally cool to be holding hands with your guy friends... I'm still not a fan though.. Haha and I just realized its my birthday my week too when I was reading some emails so that was to know! Haha I'm trying to keep it on the down low though because I don't know what kind of crazy celebrations they do here for that.. but this week was good in the work! We got to do our monthly split with the zone leaders, so Elder Ritchie went with my comp. and I got to work that day with Elder Kabedeh! No doubt one of the nicest Africans you'll meet, he cooked for me, and even sang me to sleep that night! Whats better than that? On top of that he has their fridge stashed with beesap and we went crazy on that! (its one of the best drinks Ive had no doubt, but its the juice from habiscus flower) Haha, But no doubt one of the best days I have had yet for sure! He is from Liberia, meaning that he speaks English... But not really, You have to understand that the English spoken in Liberia or Nigeria is nowhere near the English that we speak.. Luckily the French has come a long way, and honestly it was much easier to understand his French than it was his English! He is an awesome missionary and no doubt one of the nicest, hardest working Africans I have met yet! We had a great time and got a lot of work done so that day was awesome. Our amis are all doing great though as well! Gilbert and Ambrose are still working on getting their marriages planned so they'll be ready to be baptised next week or so! They're the best though, and are working insanely hard to keep getting ready for their baptism, they have studied the Book of Mormon a ton in this time and are already gaining a great knowledge and testimony of the scriptures and doctrine! They invited some of their business friends to talk with us, they bore some amazing testimonies in those lessons as well and are definitely already doing some great missionary work themselves! Our ami Chrystel is doing great also and is absolutely golden as well, and she also has made some big sacrifices too for baptism! Sure enough shes already giving us a ton of contacts as well as she owns a coiffure business so she has the hookups! So no doubt many more blessings have already started coming from those amis that we have getting baptised! The rest are doing pretty great as well! Its been tough but great for sure! We had a great zone conference this week as well on the importance of using the Book of Mormon, and helping people have a true testimony of it, as if they have that, everything can follow, and how true that is! The Book of Mormon no doubt is true, and contains an unbelievable spirit, and I for sure have a testimony that using that is our best way to get strong lasting converts! Because really our message is pretty strange with a young boy and angels appearing and such, but the proof is in the Book of Mormon and there is a promise that whoever reads it WILL know it is true. So as a missionary I have been able to see how awesome it is to have that proof! Also we found a new Muslim family as well who is taking our message great! They have a cousin who is a member in Burkina Faso and they told these people to find the missionaries.. The people said they have been looking for a few years now, they have found the Jehovah Witness missionaries, (yes there are a ton of those in Cotonou as well) but they said that it just didn't seem right with them.. So this past week as we were on our way to a lesson after having a appointment fall through, we had a lady come up running from behind us yelling for us to come back. She said she knew it was us when she saw us walking down the road, as she led us back to their parcel we ended up having a great lesson with this new family and they as well are all progressing great! So we for sure have had some great experiences this past week and found some new investigators! Its definitely great as well finally having the language because I can finally do much more to help the people and do more in the lessons! These people are so ready though no doubt, and it isn't hard to see how the Lord has prepared them! Nothing else too crazy though this past week! Elder Christensen and I got to go teach in the Primary this past Sunday and man was that a great one!! I miss those days for sure! The only problem was I have all of those primary songs memorized in English not in French so I just had to act like I was singing! The kids had trouble though concentrating on the lesson having two Yovos in the room, but hey it was a great time for sure! We also got to teach the branch the importance of FHE, so that was fun! Our branch is definitely growing and building up great so that is good to see! The French is finally getting there so that is great as well! I'm at the point where I can converse and teach pretty well, but I'm not completely fluent yet! Finally Ive been able to start up teaching some of the branch members English once a week, like the Elders have before, and all I can say is I am so glad I know English already because it is not an easy language to learn! Haha Its going great though! This past week were interviews with President Weed so that was great as well to get to spend time and talk with him there! We have a lot of missionaries going home this month and over 20 Congolese missionaries leaving in September so he explained there will be a lot of changing and things going on in the mission in the next months, also with wanting to open up new areas in Benin like the capital Porto Novo, so that should all be pretty fun! Things are great here though and the work is going awesome! Hey I'm finally acclimating too to Africa and honestly I don't even sleep with the fan on anymore because I get cold with it on at night, Haha, so that's good finally! I hope things are all great back in America! Don't enjoy it too much! I love and miss you all! Have a great 4th of July as well!
Elder Oliverson
A wedding we had in our branch!! Really awesome for sure! Along with the A.Ps and Elder Ringle and his comp!
 Elder Poll killed the picture.

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