Monday, August 26, 2013

 Things have been really well for sure! The Day of Service was good for sure, especially because it was on National T.V.! And yeah the service helps a lot in gaining trust, because otherwise these people won't trust you because they think you're a big rich white person. So we are always looking for opportunities to do small stuff with people! The U.S. ambassador invited us over for dinner this week!! So we've been dying!! It will be incredible to eat food like that again..The old Branch Pres. that we have been working with is back at church again, we're trying to get him a call in the branch so he has some responsibility there, and we gave him a blessing yesterday actually, and he's been doing immensely better!! Its been amazing to see that with him!! I could see though that the branch had kind of shoved him off, and actually in this area before the missionaries weren't the best, and a lot of problems came up, and I think they kind of shunned him as well.. So when we have showed up, not mentioning a thing about what happened before, and just being good to him and serving him, its been huge for him, and has completely turned that around. So that's been really cool to see! 
But yeah a big thing I have learned as being obedient and such, not only do you receive many more blessings and tender mercies, but also you are more receptive to the spirit, so you see those a lot more actually, they really are around each day, we just don't always notice them, unless we really open our eyes. I love my companion though,  He's awesome, he's definitely incredibly humble, and a very Christlike person.It's been such a blast being with him! 
     I've gained an incredibly greater appreciation for the Book of Mormon as well so that's been awesome, its incredible how much there is in that one book!! Ive been having to dig deep into doctrine with having to be the one to respond to everything, and people always think you have to look into deep doctrine, and the words of modern day prophets to find the answers, which sometimes is the case, but truly, every single answer, you can find in the Book of Mormon, that book is the best!! We have an Ami named Daniel, who we found just two weeks ago, he is one of the smarter Ami's that we have, and we actually taught the word of wisdom the first lesson, afterwards explaining the Book of Mormon, since then he has read half of the book!!! And has filled a notebook with notes he has taken! He has an incredible testimony already, and will be getting baptized on the 7th!! I'm really excited for him, and I see him being an awesome member in the church! When Ami's are struggling, if you can just get them into the Book of Mormon, they will be so much more fortified... its insane! 
     We were able to get institute back started up, and actually 3 of our Ami's showed up! So that's been really cool as well.. We've been having around 15 of our Ami's at church each Sunday which has been unreal, and I keep forgetting that before that was around 3 maybe, so we've been blessed a ton! I'm still really frustrated with the marriage here though, as we have multiple people that have hit that roadblock.. But yeah the work is going great! The branch is doing well, and it has helped a ton having that third companionship come in! I've loved living with those two, even though they'll be leaving soon! Elder Owusu (old AP) is the best! He's Ghanaian so he speaks English, but honestly its easier to understand his French, but he's the best!! Ha ha, he sings Taylor Swift all day long, and is insanely Christlike. He also might be coming to BYU one day so that would be the best to have him over there! The work is great though! With the French finally there, I've been able to see my ability to teach well also grow so that's been a big help.. It is insanely hard to help people understand, with so little, but you have to make it work, so it takes a lot of work figuring that out! Its tough, with voodoo being ingrained in everyone, and the Catholic and Muslim churches being enormous here, to  get their old ways changed, but it is definitely coming along! Elder Owusu was giving us some comfort as well ha ha, he was saying when the missionaries first got in Ghana, they walked in the church, and they were playing drums, and the two leaders were women... Since then though they have a temple and the church is beautiful over there! Benin and Togo are really the last of the West Africa to get the church, and I guess the reason of that, is because of the problems in voodoo, and it is really the least educated of all the West Africa.. its coming along awesome here though!!  I love it here now though! Africa is the best!! Thanks for all of the love and support! I love and miss you all so much! Thanks for all you are doing back home!
Elder Oliverson
My Companion :)
Day of Service
Me with my machete

Monday, August 19, 2013


I’m really sorry but my time is short today because today we went to Ouidah (place where they sent off the slaves, and the voodoo capital) with the Zone, and the APs, and didn’t get back till not too long ago so I’m short on time today! But yeah we were involved with a day of service that was really cool! The best part was I got the machete for a solid hour! It was the best! But yeah, so it was the day of service for our district, so we went and cleaned those grounds of one of the government buildings, it was national televised too so that was really cool and helpful! I got on Benin national television sharpening my machete!! I think because they thought it was crazy that a white guy had a machete, but yeah it was really cool! I was in heaven with that machete. It was the best! It was really fun too; it was tough no doubt though. In the U.S we would’ve finished that job with a tractor in 30 minutes or so, but we had to clear the field with machetes... its crazy how well the Africans work with those, we didn’t know what we were doing! It was really cool though, and we had a really good turnout I thought! Presidents son was in visiting as well, so he was there with his two sons as well, it was crazy seeing white kids! I got a haircut that is not good, for sure didn’t want them to do that to my hair, but they messed it up, so there is nothing more that I could do, it’s happened to everyone here at least once! Its finally coming back though, everyone here made fun of me for it forever.
     But yeah the French is coming along really well, and finally isn’t really a worry at all, so it lets me focus much more on the work for sure! I finally see my ability as an instrument for the Lord growing that way so it’s really nice!  I’m worried I will be leaving this sector soon, and like I said before we have about 12 baptisms who are waiting for marriage, which I know are all coming soon, so it will be tough for sure to leave before we get those done because those were some awesome people for sure!
    Another new thing this past week was another companionship moved in temporarily. Because Elder Owusu, the old AP, is leaving in three weeks, and Elder Koadio who had to go home to fix a hernia, came back as well, so they put Elder Owusu and him together for the next couple weeks, until Owusu leaves, and they find a place for Koadio, and Gbegamey was the only apartment big enough for 6 so they brought them in. It’s been really fun for sure, and they’re both awesome missionaries! But yeah things are going pretty well! Elder Desvergez is definitely very zealous, allowing us to get a ton of work done so that is really nice! Honestly some of the happiest parts so far have been what we have been able to do with the branch, for example activating the old branch president. It’s going great though! I am very worried though that I'll be going soon! It’s going great though! Ambroise was at the service activity with his family and that was the best to see as well! That’s a beautiful family for sure! I have three new Ghanaians Amis as well! So it’s pretty weird teaching them! Teaching in English is honestly probably harder than teaching in French! Its crazy teaching them though but I love it! We have them now, and also an Ivorian Ami.  Something I found out, that actually makes a big difference, Benin is the least educated and least civilized of all of the West African countries, and even the others are in poverty. It was crazy talking to Elder Koadio, who is from Cote Divoire, and hearing him talk about how much tougher it is here to teach, because they have such a hard time understanding. It’s going really well though! That’s definitely a big challenge though for sure, and especially in that a big part hardly even speak French, but the gospel surely has to go to all the world; and all these people have the same potential as we do, so that definitely helps get things in perspective! But yeah I'm really excited with the Ghanaians’, its a father and his two sons, and they came here to Benin because they are carpenters, and the ebony here is much cheaper, so they make the stuff here and send it back to Ghana! We haven’t taught them too much though. It’s great as well having Owusu and Koadio come into the apartment though for sure! They are two Africans that are amazing missionaries, like future general authorities, they’re awesome! It’s been really cool, as it’s the coolest time of the year, so I think 80 ish or so? So that’s been nice! Avocados are in season here, same with pineapples, so that’s all I've been living off of but it’s been nice! I miss the mango's though for sure! The work is going really well though, and I remember Elder Ritchie saying how much more fun it is when you can finally speak well, and I’ve definitely found that to be true! It’s going awesome though! I love and miss you all a ton! I hope all is well! Sorry again I’m short on time! I’m trying to send a lot of pictures, but that’s impossible with the computers here, but yeah! Till next week!
Elder Oliverson
This is from over in Ouidah! Where they sent the slaves and such 
                                              The gospel is going to the whole world!:)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Things have gone pretty well this past week! Nothing too crazy has happened though! We have been working incredibly hard, and its a bit frustrating as right now we have about 12 Amis or so, that are completely ready for baptism, but because they can’t get married, for some reason or another (their spouse, money.) They haven’t been able to take that next step so we just have to keep fortifying them, but finding new Amis that will be able to progress. So this past week has been a lot of finding mostly!! Elder Desvergez has loved it as he loves talking with everyone ha-ha, we’ve found a handful of some bizarre people, but at the same time we have found some really good Amis! We have a new Amis who is a Rasta, and he’s actually very intelligent as well, he’s very interested in our message, but we’ll have to see how that goes! We have another ami I’m very excited about named Moise, he works in the government here, so he’s pretty well to do, and he has a few children as well, one actually is studying to be a doctor, and they have already been doing really well and were at church this past Sunday! He calls me Elder Clinton; because I think the only American he knows is Bill Clinton, so finding that I’m American, that’s the connection he makes. But it’s all good! We’ve been doing a lot of work in the branch this past week as well; we set up a fireside on Tuesday, and actually had a really good turn out! We had a meeting with the branch on Saturday as well, to try to get things more organized, and working, so I’m hoping that will help out! I GOT to give a talk on Sunday as well, on missionary work, and every member being a missionary, because the Branch President wanted me to chastise the branch, because they have struggled a little that way. I have no clue how to do that, so I just gave a talk! Ha-ha, it went really well though! But yeah the work is going great! It’s been a little tough this past week but it’s going well! Ambroise and Gilbert are doing amazing. Its the best to see them, and to see how far they are continuing to progress, its insane! Then I think back to the day when we found them back at the bar, and to see how happy they are now, and especially their families all together is the best! Because we’ve been doing a lot of finding lately as well its funny to see the people that don’t really want to talk to us. At first I though everyone did, but after this past week I realized there are even people here that don’t. For example when we knock a door, and we start talking, and the person is clearly not wanting us there, so they say I’m Ghanaian, (so they speak English) and then I start to speak English with them, then they say they don’t speak much English so they start speaking some random tribal language, only to find out Desvergez has started to learn those as well, and you can see the frustration in their face.... Man. Haha, we’ve definitley found some good new Amis though!! We for some reason have an unusually very tight relationship with the police and military here as well, Ha-ha, with the commissioner and many of the leaders being Mormon, or just liking us in general, that’s been really nice, For example this past week, we were walking through some crowd and there were military people ordering us around, and for some reason they started getting really mad, because they had to get some UN trucks through, they started pushing people and getting aggressive and such, and with me and Desvergez sticking out of the crowd like a sore thumb, it wasn’t a good situation.. Then out of nowhere, we heard someone yell Mes Amis!! (My friends!) And the head guy over the military group ran up to us and was happier than ever to see us, at first we didn’t recognize him because he was decked out in his officer gear, then we realized who it was, the second he came all of the soldiers that were pushing the crowd around scattered as they knew they were in trouble ha-ha, but yeah, its definitely nice having that hookup there! Things are going great here for sure! We have a mission wide services project this next Saturday, which will be pretty fun, so that’s exciting! I had to get blood drawn this past week for my Carte de Sejour, because apparently they are better than visas? So I headed over to the mission office, expecting that they had brought in some French doctors or something. The doctors weren’t there yet, but out of no where two random Africans in Bumbas (tribal outfits) showed up, and said they were the doctors.... never have I been so scared of a shot in my life, Ha-ha, it went well though as far as I know! I’m still not sick so I think were good... But yeah things are great here! It’s been pretty cool, which has been nice because we haven’t had power! And mentioning no power. We were at the coiffure today when the power cut, sooo. They ended up shaving mine and Desvergez heads... not the best look, I’m hoping well get that back real soon! Ha-ha I hope all is great back in America!
I love and miss you all! 
Elder Oliverson

Monday, August 5, 2013

 I’m super short on time!! Things are going great! Once again we’ve been working incredibly hard and have had a good time seeing it pay off! Our ami's are continuing to progress well, in exception of a few, due to marriages, which is no doubt the biggest problem here! It’s coming along though! We have baptisms this Saturday, with Gladise and here two kids! So I’m really looking forward to that! They’ve been really hard to teach because they hardly speak French, but they’ve all progressed really well! Another one of our cool experiences that actually happened a while ago has been with our ami Maximellean. Our first lesson with her, we were talking, and she was expressing some family problems she was having, my companion decided to read a story in Alma from the Book of Mormon, thinking the missionaries before had already explained it to her, which they hadn’t. She’s a strong catholic so we were a little worried, but we went along with the story and how she could apply that in her life. We finished the little lesson, and she went crazy asking what this amazing book was and how she could get one. We explained she could get one if she came to church with us that Sunday. Sure enough she was there, and since then hasn’t missed a single week! She’s been an amazing ami, and is now getting baptized on the 17th! So I’m super excited for that! My comp has taught me so much on using the Book of Mormon, and how important that really is, which I’ve seen clearly!! When you know how to use that your success goes up drastically in all areas its crazy!! But yeah the ami's are coming along very well! Sorry I am short on time, I will try to keep you all updated the next week! But yeah! We also, today, found out that this whole time we have had a zoo, just behind our apartment. So we decided to go check that out today! Man. it was a little shady kind of thing, it was back in this little parcel area, which I can see why no one knows about it. But coolest zoo I’ve ever been too!! They had monkeys everywhere, and a couple huge baboons, caged up though... But I got to feed one, no doubt one of the scariest things ever! Ha-ha, after that we found all of their crocodiles and alligators, which were all just behind a couple of bars... it was crazy. In the corner there was a full-grown adult lion... I legitimately could have pet it through the bars, but I chose not too... the lion wasn’t doing much in its little cage, and the guy who owns the place got a stick and started slapping the lion with it... That is something I’ll never forget is how mad that lion got... I was only feet away as it went absolutely crazy, and I legitimately thought that we were going to die... Seriously never have I been to a zoo like that. Ha-ha, but definitely the coolest one I’ve ever been too! But yeah the work is great, and the branch is coming along really well!! But yeah things are going great and the work is really fun!! Its much more fun now to with how far along the French is!! But yeah I love my comp. Its awesome how much I’ve learned from him. We had zone conference on Friday, and that was really good! The last big one was my first week here, so it’s good to see how far I’ve progressed. It’s crazy though too! But yeah the branch is doing great, its incredibly tough with that though at the same time! It’s going well though! For example, we had a lady bear her testimony about her husband who is a priesthood holder giving her a blessing. Which is great, till she mentioned that he’d put the oil in her mouth. Just things like that are some of the tough stuff to deal with! Ha-ha sorry again though I’m incredibly short on time today! I will for sure get caught up next week! Same with pictures! I love and miss you all!
Thanks again for everything! Elder Oliverson

                                                          I found a Snake