Monday, September 30, 2013

This week has went well

     This week has went well, we had our interviews we do every three months with President, so that went really well! Its also really good to talk with President Weed, he’s the best! He went home actually this past week, to get some skin cancer removed but hopefully he'll be back soon! The sun is hot here! But yeah, interviews are always the best! Then afterwards me and Desvergez got reminded about the give money rule if we get jumped... still hasn’t happened yet and I know for a fact that he isn’t giving any money ha-ha. Not a ton is new with our Amis though, were finding some new good ones though! The Nigerians are progressing well, and probably the best part of this past week was seeing all of our recent converts get the Priesthood, this past month has been awesome for the branch, there is a whole new load of members which will help a ton! But yeah, one of the best parts was when we went to see Daniel the Saturday before he got the Priesthood. We came in and he had some food for us and we asked him if he’d eat too, only to find out that he was fasting, finally he told us as well that he was fasting so he could be spiritually ready for the next day. Man he’s the best!! I’m excited as well for the next step to see them all receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, there is always a small worry about retention here, but honestly this big group we’ve had of baptisms this past month have been incredibly strong, so I’m really excited to see that move forward... A big thing like I said before that I’ve noticed is those who are the strongest converted have the strongest desire to share the gospel, and that’s been huge with these recent converts is how strong of missionaries they already are! They’re awesome. Before I leave as well next week, we have one last baptism in Gbegamey, which is Antoine, he is one that called us off the street one day, (which are usually the crazy people) and we got talking to him. He’s progressed awesome and now I see him doing really great as well!! Things are all great with Desvergez I love him!! He made me a certificate giving me the authority to leave now, saying that I’m ready to be a stellar missionary ha-ha, his trainer did for him as well, but I passed the final test he gave me by teaching the second hour at church, he’s the best! 
      I don’t know if I told you about the crazy Nigerian last week but he’s back! We had an activity at the church this past week, so me and Desvergez were there early getting ready, and here comes walking in the crazy Nigerian, he went and hid, so after we found him, it took a little while getting him out of the church, but we some how managed, and sure enough he showed up for church this Sunday as well, we had to give a warning to all of the members to not give him money. Ha-ha man, that guy.  Also we had zone meeting this past week which is always good, and found out were going to the city on the water next p-day before I leave! So I’m really excited for that! That’ll be really fun the next week. But yeah, the past week has gone really well, we’ve been working so hard it’s been the best!! Not a ton new though, but its been really good! The mission has taught me how to cook as well! I should have been prepared that way! The branch is doing much better though so it’s been awesome! Desvergez has taught me a lot that way!! And it’s definitely remade the connection with the missionaries and the branch! I’m really excited for General Conference! We get the telecast, but not till about 5 weeks afterwards, and even then we don’t get all the sessions, so we wait till we get the Liahona to read the talks, and even then they don’t come in till two months after, so its kind of tough. Thanks for everything! I love and miss you all a ton! Thanks again!
Elder Oliverson

Monday, September 23, 2013


This past week has gone really well too! Not a ton new though! We’ve been able to do much more work as well as it has been just us two, so that’s been good! A lot of it has been in getting all of our recent converts ready to get the priesthood, which they’ll be getting next week so that will be really exciting for sure! They’re all doing awesome! The work is still going really well too, we don’t have a ton of investigators right now, so wave been doing a ton of searching. We have an ami named Carlos.  he’s been awesome to teach and has come along really well, along with that he wants for his girlfriend to hear our message as well, she lives a ways away though so we’ve been teaching him and having the other missionaries in Fidjrossey teach her, they aren’t married yet which is a problem, and also means they won't probably be getting baptized any time soon, but I definitely see the two of them getting baptized together in the next month or two! So I’m excited about that, we have two other Amis as well, who are two sisters of a member in the branch, who have received almost all of the lessons, have loved it, and are getting baptized in two weeks! The problem is the summer vacation is over, so they are both moving back to Togo, so we’ll pass them over to the missionaries in Lome to baptize them... that will make three baptisms that we’ve sent over there, they must be doing something right in Togo, to just get those people moving in like that. It’s been good though!! We do have a baptism in two weeks though with an ami named Antoine, he’s an older guy and his wife has left him, we’ve only been able to see him once a week, yet he’s still progressed really well and loves church! With him coming in, we have a lot of older single men in the branch, which is good, but it would be somewhat better if we had more whole families, but we for sure have a solid single adults program now! Another big thing in the branch this past week happened with a member. There is a partially active member I don’t know too well, and apparently about five days ago he became really sick. The other companionship here in Gbegamey went over to visit and see how he was doing; they ended up giving him a blessing, then left afterwards. The next morning at church, we found out that late the night before he started coughing up blood, and after a couple of hours he passed away. Obviously the family and the branch were all pretty sad and down about this, but the problem was is there is a rumor that someone killed him, with a voodoo spell or something, so overall people are all being really skeptical with the whole thing, and there are many rumors going around with that, and some members in the family are wondering about the blessing that the missionaries gave; and if there is anything with that, luckily most of the members understand to stay away from voodoo, and understand the gospel well, yet there are still some that are worried in a way.. It was really sad though; as he was a pretty young guy as well, but really no one has a clue why he died, so we’ll have to see what happens there. I’m hoping all will turn out well in that situation. We have a Nigerian ami we found a couple weeks ago that I’ve been teaching in English, who is coming along great, something I’ve seen is a way to see that someone is really interested in the message is when they invite everyone they know to hear it as well, and that is what she has done, she’s really nice, and I see things going well with her. Her name is Blessing, which is kind of ironic, but yeah she’s been great, and she’s already married which is nice as well! Its been tough though, as with their English they don’t understand any of my English, and I can barely understand any of there’s. It works though!! This past week we went to our rendezvous with Wesley, the American ambassador guy, but his two friends weren’t able to end up coming, so we had dinner with him and invited a member over as well, it was the best once again! Also it turns out that it is Bryant’s friend! He’s awesome though, it’s so crazy eating food like that and talking to an American. His house is gorgeous as well. We barely knew what to do with ourselves!! Other than all of that the work is going really well!! It was Elder Desvergez birthday this past Sunday, and that was fun because everyone made us food once again! Also I made him breakfast, as it was his birthday as that is what Sister Weed suggested we do. And man I’ll be honest I’m a good cook. If anyone doubts that go ahead and ask him!! It was a good day though for sure!! I love him though, its great being able to work so hard and well together, also to see the French continue to improve as I’m with a French elder! But yeah, we don’t have many dinner appointments but when we do they’re always really nice, they are really giving in that way. They’re awesome! But yeah with the branch, me and Desvergez have been doing a lot more that way and have actually organized a kind of mutual night for the youth, to help the branch improve more. Also we’ve rearranged the branch cleaning, as it wasn’t working by family, so we moved it to getting done by the auxiliaries, so were hoping that improves as well, as there aren’t many service projects here to do, that was one that we figured we could for sure get everyone involved in. Also we organized a talent show thing each month, in hope that that will help us get more people interested and involved, and help them bring friends and new contacts in! So things are going pretty well with the branch and such! This month has gone by so fast, and then as I was thinking about it, it is probably because we’ve had baptisms each week. It’s nice having the work up and going like that!! And yeah we had the cleanest apartment, so we got the prize, which was nice!! I’m still in the same place as I was before! And either way there isn’t a single area in the mission where we can clean clothes. Its all hand washing. I’m a pro at it now so it’s not a big deal!! We haven’t had a ton of power this past week as well, so all of our food has gotten rotten. Then we haven’t had water either. But I found it better that way, because instead of cold shower, I fill a bucket with boiling water, and then normal water, and its a nice bucket shower! So that’s been good!  When all the food in the fridge went bad though, all we had left were noodles, but we didn’t have water, so me and Desvergez went out and collected all of the water we could to cook the noodles, then we had no water to make sauce, so we put margarine on the noodles and have been able to enjoy that ha-ha, we have one of the bigger apartments, but there is rarely water or power so its not the best. We loved the pineapple season so much, that we’ve been living off pineapple juice since then, but now the papayas are coming on so we’ve moved to those. But yeah things are all great here! I love and miss you all a ton! Thanks for everything again!!
Elder Oliverson

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ambroise with the whole family! Thats a stellar family!
Things are going good! And yeah I’m glad I’m still here in this area, I think I'll be going in October though. And yeah the baptisms went great! After the baptisms there is always a time President Weed gives for the new converts to bear testimony, this past week was the best! Every single one stressed the importance of repentance, and of the changes that they have made to follow Christ, which is really what repentance is. And how committed they were with their change of heart; even the young ones expressed this as well, so that was the best. It really made me realize again the importance of repentance, and really how it is there so we can become more like Jesus Christ, and it is all about change of heart, which I could really see with our Amis! So that was good!  This week was much more laid back though, in that Elder Owusu was leaving, so me and Desvergez were on a split with him, so a lot of the time was in eating with members and visiting and packing! We’ve been doing a lot of finding as well mostly as we’ve had a lot of baptizing, so we have less Amis, which I guess is a good thing!  The best part was all of those baptized were contacts, or distant family members of members in the branch! That was awesome because we saw how much the branch has helped us, and also there were a ton of people at the baptism. The baptism was awesome for sure, frightening as well... the branch president who was over the baptism came up to me at the start, and was a little uneasy, and began to explain to me that there was a candidate that the other missionaries couldn’t baptize. Elder Allred and Elder Lala, I didn’t really understand what he meant until he explained that really, they couldn’t baptize her. Then I saw her come in and realized why, she was easily well over 300 pounds... Not only was that a problem, but also the water in the font is always very low because the font is so small. I felt a little honored that he asked me to do the baptism, but at the same time I was terrified, there were a ton of people there and I legitimately thought there was no way I could do this one. I'll be honest I prayed multiple times in advance. When the baptism came though, I wasn’t too nervous at all, and honestly it went perfectly fine!  I can say that my prayers was answered there, because otherwise I really don’t think I could have done that baptism! It went great though! So Saturday was a good day for sure! As we have so many new converts now, we’ve been teaching the priesthood a lot lately, and in turn I have been studying that mostly as of late. It’s been a good reminder for sure of how great a blessing that really is to have the priesthood on the earth today. And it is all thanks to the Restoration of the Church, and its something that really sets our church apart, but seriously what a blessing that is we have that power to do ordinances on the earth and have those accepted in the heavens! Like I said this past week we haven’t been able to do much teaching because of Owusu, but it’s been good! We have had a lot of dinners with Ghanaian families as he is Ghanaian, but man they are awesome! Its incredible how strong the church is over there and the members. I'll miss Owusu a lot though he was an awesome missionary! It was crazy to see him go home as well though... sheesh ha-ha.  It was our apartment that won the clean check!!!!!!! SO we got to go eat hamburgers on Tuesday it was incredible!!! Ha-ha too worth it. Also the American with the embassy talked to me yesterday, and invited me and Desvergez over for dinner again, and he is inviting a couple of his friends from the embassy a French and an American, that wanted to talk with us, so that will be awesome again for sure!!   Elder McConkie is coming by here in the next couple months. I’m guessing the son of Bruce R McConkie or something? That will be cool though! Things are going really well, thank you for all of your love and support! I love and miss you all a ton! 

Elder Oliverson

Some of the baptisms from Saturday! Parents coming next week! Because of marriage.

Our dinner with one of the Ghanian families!

Monday, September 9, 2013


 Things went pretty well this past week! Just been teaching a ton of lessons! We had a solid baptism day on this past Saturday and that went awesome!! I was especially excited for Daniel, who’s been stellar no doubt! It was the best to see how happy he was, it was insane! He’s progressed insanely fast since we found him just a few weeks ago, and was able to get baptized this past Saturday with all those others! He’ll be getting the priesthood in the next couple weeks as well, so it will be awesome to see how well he progresses in the church, he has an incredibly strong testimony in all the things we’ve talked about, and was surely converted by the Book of Mormon, so that was a special baptism no doubt! We have 5 more coming up this next Saturday so that will be really fun for sure! Me and Desvergez both stayed here through this last big transfer, so that was good for sure! I love him a ton and we have the best time no doubt, and its great for both of us to see a lot of the fruit of our labors these next weeks with the baptisms! I’m pretty sure one of us will be leaving this next transfer though when we get 21 new missionaries. So the work is going really well. We have a lot of finding to do though, so we’ve been up to a lot of tracking, and looking. We had a really cool lesson with a Muslim couple this past week. We read Alma 42 with the two of them, which is in depth on the atonement, and the importance of Jesus Christ, the spirit was incredibly strong no doubt, and afterwards all Desvergez said was, man. Dieu est fort.. We were lucky to even talk with the people, as they are Muslim, let alone read the Book of Mormon with them, and as they did you could see the spirit working in them. We have fixed a date for baptism with them the 21st  of this month, I’m really hoping, but well have to see if that works out! Either way, they for sure have a better understanding of Christ thanks to the Book of Mormon, so that was awesome for sure! Things are good in the branch as well, this past week was the temple trip for the youth, so this past Sunday was the testimony meeting for those who went on the trip, and that was awesome as well! It was great to see how blown away and happy they were talking about it!  It’s really cool to see these people getting the chance to go to the temple, and the sacrifices financially they made to do it. They only get the trip two times each year, but you could definitely see they made the most of it!  
It’s been really hot this past week, and its now hitting that time of year where it just gets hotter. Its good though being acclimated by now! Me and Desvergez had a solid basketball session today as well, doing our usual... either the people here are getting faster though, or I’m just getting more out of shape.  With those cleaning checks.... its too competitive... we seriously went all out, we cleaned, went and picked flowers, made a fruit bowl, and hung up Benin flags. Yet we still didn’t win.... That was terrible Ha-ha. Things are good though!  things are so much more fun when you can speak the language, studies as well!! It’s really fun teaching the atonement with these people because really it’s something complex but there are many ways to make it easy to understand. I’ve always heard the way with us being in debt, and Jesus Christ paying that for us, so now we have to pay him back. This one is good, but really we cant pay the debt back, and that’s not what Christ wants from us... but this past week I found something that makes a lot more sense, and that’s piano lessons. For example, a mom pays for piano lessons for her child, so she gives him a great opportunity, and something that can be a big blessing, she doesn’t ask for the child to pay her back, that isn’t what she wants, but all she asks for him to practice, and that is what makes her happy, that’s also the way the child can show his thanks for her, for what she gave him, by this as well he grows and becomes better, as he grows, that’s what makes the mom happy, its not that he repays her for the lessons, he doesn’t pay the teacher for the lessons, but just practices.. With this the child grows and can become really good at piano, which is what the mom is wanting. This analogy is a lot like what Christ did for us, as he paid for all the sins and all he asks is obedience and repentance. In doing so we become better and more like him, which is the goal in life... along with that, I know from my experiences, we don’t like practicing the piano, because we don’t see the use of it. Just because we don’t see through the mom’s eyes, and we go and do our own thing. Which again is a lot like with Christ, where we don’t see reason for repentance or obedience in some things. If we only saw through Christ’s eyes and saw why he has us do all we do, its just so we can become more like him, be happier, and live with him again. The atonement is something special for sure!! I love you all though, and I hope all is great there!! Have a great next week!

Baptisms Saturday!

Monday, September 2, 2013

This has been a pretty good week!

  This has been a pretty good week! Things are still going
really well! There were some pretty cool things as well. Monday night
we did our usual family home evening that we got started up for the
people with no families and kids and such. It’s been killer for sure,
we got to play some musical chairs as well, and of course I dominated
that one!! I watched the video though and remembered it was probably
because I was twice the size of everyone else. The work has been
really well too!! We got off to a good start this week... We’ve had an
ami named Boris, who’s actually just a young man, and we have been
teaching him at his friend’s house for a while. The kid is insanely
brilliant though, and has been golden!! He invited us to his place to
talk with his parents, when we got there we realized his dad is
actually a pastor in a church here in Gbegamey, so he’s strong in this
church, plus that’s his job, so we were already kind have decided there
is no way... It was almost the opposite though, he was incredibly open
and was telling about how his son has gone crazy and has been showing
all the stuff we taught and the Book of Mormon, he was very interested
in our message as well, and we are actually hoping to be able to
baptize him and his family soon, he understands the message is true,
but it is a tough situation with that being his job, to let those
things behind, but were sure he’ll be able to let those things go and
the Lord will provide. It’s awesome to see though that by this young
man we can hopefully baptize this awesome family! Ambroise and Gilbert
are still the best! 
     They actually live out in Cocotomey, which is a newer area, so they are
trying to start out a branch out there, and with those two solid
converts, that will help a ton, so it’s great to see the help and work
they’re already doing! So those were some good things this week. The
problem was Wednesday though, we were in a lesson in the morning, and
before going in Desvergez mentioned he wasn’t feeling too hot... the
whole lesson he barely talked, and I was thinking the whole time he
was mad at me or something... we finished the lesson and were walking
out, and he just threw up his whole stomach, he was insanely sick so
we had to stay in that day! The problem was, I don’t have the strongest
stomach, so seeing that made me somewhat sick the rest the day!
Definitley not the best day... Ha-ha, we were worried he had Malaria,
but he was better in a day so we assumed it was just bad food or
something, were worried it was the pineapple... which isn’t good,
because that’s about our whole diet... Luckily though he was better
quick! The next day we had our dinner with the American!!! Oh man I
about died no lie!!! We walked into his house, which is on embassy
grounds, and it was basically America.... I thought I was going to
die, there was carpet, and a teli, and AC..... it was incredibly...
We had the most amazing American food I’ve ever had as well, after I
was a little sick though just from how not used to I am to that food!!
But man..... It was incredible!!!!! He was there with his wife who is
actually from England, but just talking to them I about died it was so
great!! It was definitely a great night for sure!! Our Amis are all
doing pretty well, we have a baptism this next Saturday that I’m really
excited for which is Daniel!! He’s the ami that we found just a few
weeks ago and has already read almost the whole book of Mormon!! He’s
incredible! He hasn’t missed a day of church, nor an institute, nor a
FHE... he’s one of the smartest people I have been with here as well.
He’s progressed faster than anyone I’ve ever seen and is incredibly
excited for his baptism! The branch has been really good and bringing
him in as well which has been a big help! So I’m excited for that! He
told us a cool story about the first day he saw us and our first time
talking.. He said he had always seen us walking by, but thought we
were Jehovah witness, like everyone here, and never said anything and
wasn’t interested. He got malaria though and was stuck in his bed for a
long while. He was incredibly sick and could see things weren’t going
well, till one day when he was in bed, and we came up to the door, and
he said the only reason he let us in was because he was sick and
wanted us to help. He was just telling us as well how he could see
that it wasn’t by chance the time or how that happened, but man, he’s
got a strong testimony for sure!! Another cool thing that brought me
back big-time this week was our testimony meeting on Sunday... Usually,
they’re a little sketchy to be honest, but this past one beforehand we
explained how testimony meeting works, and it went amazing!! Towards
the end a lady in our branch who had polio, and is paralyzed from the
waist down, so she uses hand crutches, struggled up to the front and
bore an amazing testimony, and just expressed how thankful she was for
all of her many blessings, and just talked about how blessed she is
and how much she loves her life.. Man that brought me back big time,
we have rough days all the time and get so depressed, but this lady is
always the happiest, and sees herself as the most blessed, and hearing
her say that made me really think. These people are special for
sure!! That was awesome though. The branch is really good though, in
fact today the youth have big activity and are taking a bus over to
Accra for the temple!! I’m really excited for them with that!! So yeah
things have been really good. Today we had a activity with the
mission and played soccer. But man, I’m sick for the first time yet
here. Its nothing too bad, but I’m just exhausted and feel terrible.
Ha-ha, so I’m hoping that goes fast!! So yeah, I couldn’t go all out in
soccer today, and that was killing me because I just love
Soccer... But yeah the work is going great here! I’m worried with
the big transfer coming up!! We have 12 missionaries leaving for
home, and actually have 21 new missionaries coming in, only two are
America! So I’m not so sure I’ll be staying in Gbegamey, or if I’ll stay
with Desvergez, but I’d be content staying with him the whole mission
he’s the best! Its been nice having Owusu and Koadio in the apartment,
it was funny too; we were talking and pointing out that France has had
the church for an insane amount of time, and Ghana for only just a few
years, yet Ghana already has thousands more members than France, ha-ha
so we were trying to figure out why between Owusu and Desvergez, but
yeah the church is doing great over there! But yeah with the institute
class we got a member who is awesome as teacher, but Desvergez and me
teach it as well! But yeah things are great here with the work! It’s exciting as well getting
so many new missionaries as we'll be opening up more areas now! Things
are good! I love and miss you all a ton for sure! I hope all is great
this next week there!
Elder Oliverson
The Zone!