Hey I'm so so sorry! We just finally got connection at the cyber! I've just watched Mormon messages for like almost two hours. The problem is we have to go! I prayed and somehow got connection enough to tell you guys all is well and I'm still alive!! Things are all going great! Sorry again but next week hopefully I'll have connection because there have been some really cool experiences!! Sorry again!! I love and miss you all a ton!!
Monday, October 21, 2013
Yeah this past week went pretty well. I really like the secteur here too. Its one of the most difficult ones, but the branch we get to go to is awesome! Went from Gbegamey where it was so new we were the authority figures, to here where there are two returned missionaries in the branch, which is awesome! The branch is really well run, and there are some amazing members as well! The only problem is they live so far away that it’s hard to get their help! As the secteur is new and there aren’t members, its mainly finding Amis, which since they opened the secteur has been really difficult, and I’m really not sure why. But yeah its been a lot of searching really this past week, so not too much new that way! We had a really cool lesson the other day, just a first encounter with someone, we got talking about religion and such and about the ladies concerns, and she was explaining how she has been searching for the real pure doctrine, already I could see either that was just a really weird statement, or she was no doubt prepared, we got into a really cool lesson about the restoration and the Book of Mormon, and she loved all of it!! We haven’t had too many lessons with her since, but I’m hoping to see her start to progress more.
We had a pretty crazy and scary experience as well this past week, as we were on our way back to the house one night, we were taking just a random road toward our house, as this is a new secteur we still don’t know a lot of the area, and have never really been into it, so it is all new for us, we were walking back that night, and in Togo there isn’t any light at all like there is in Benin at nights, and out of no where this little kid starts following us, at first he was kind of creepy, but then he started telling us that we needed to hurry up and get out of there, he followed us for about five more minutes telling us to hurry, and to get away from that area, so we finally got out, and our little friend left, we were kind of confused and on the way back stopped at a members place and started asking what was up with the kid back there, and he was completely stunned and mad we walked through there, he told us to never walk near that block again, as its one of the most dangerous gang spots that he knows of, and he’s never seen anyone walk down that way.. Afterwards I was no doubt saying my prayers thanking Heavenly Father for the protection! It was also really comforting to see how we did have the protection, and that random little kid hurried us out, and with that I really doubt it was by chance that he was there! That was a pretty crazy experience this past week. Also another weird one as we were walking, we were on a little trail walking through high brush and such. And at first it seemed like just the usual, then I started to notice something was strange, I slowly began to realize finally that all these plants around us had 5 leaves on each stem, ha-ha and finally realized that we were walking through a little marijuana forest Ha-ha, so we discovered that this week which as well!
But the work has been good! We have the dedication of the new building this Saturday so I’m really looking forward to that! They’re hoping many people will be there as well so that will be awesome for sure! We were able to get one member to work with us this week and I was seriously amazed, usually, its not always easy to take members teaching, as it can kind of be a little crazy, but this past week we took out one of the new elders in the branch getting ready for his mission Frere Elolo, and I was stunned, he was an awesome missionary already, and even better he had a love for the Book of Mormon as well, and was even teaching me things from it, that guy is awesome no doubt! So I feel really blessed to be in this branch as we have some amazing members and people like that who will give us so much time to teach with us. But yeah the work is going really well here! Today the zone had a soccer activity, but like usual it’s usually the Ivorian that get super into it and the Americans end up falling out. So instead me Elder Lemaire and Mejean decided to go see the big voodoo marche in Be kpota!! And we were not let down to say the least!! there is a French guy who served a mission in Cote Divoire, and moved back here to Togo to get married, and he is really close with the missionaries and ended up being our tour guide. But honestly I’m not sure really how to describe the voodoo marche. It was basically just like a million dead monkeys, hyenas, leopards, antelope; elephants, hippos, turtles, and every other animal you could think of and some are taken apart and some are left together for voodoo purposes, but we had free reign to touch everything and take as many pictures as we wanted. So I’m hoping I'll be able to send those, they had a bunch of turtles and chameleons too so we got to hang out with those, we realized the turtles bit as well so we had a good time with that too ha-ha, it was awesome though!! Definitely worth the time as well. But yeah things are going great here! I love the teaching even though we don’t have many Amis, but it just makes it better when we do get to teach. Its still super hot here, like none other ha-ha, but its good! I like where we are with how quiet it is and it’s pretty peaceful, it’s full of red dust though that is impossible to get out of clothes so everything has a tint to it.
It really is like a new mission like you said, as things are so separated and far, but its fun! It’s nice out here! I like my comp and we get along pretty well! I can see that its a promising secteur and no doubt a lot can be done in it, but I’m just hoping to be able to get to work that way! It’s had the least amount of baptisms as any in the mission so I’m hoping to be able to help change that! But like I said the branch is really good here and we have a lot of good members! I miss Elder Desvergez a ton!! Ha-ha those were the best times. And yeah we worked great together as well, and that was a tough secteur over there as well so I see that its possible, I learned a ton from over there no doubt! I love the French though and luckily I have Lemaire and Mejean not too far ha-ha I’m hoping to be able to send pictures as I have a ton from ganvie and from the voodoo marche, and from Togo and our area, its really pretty here! A lot of missionaries don’t like it because it’s so bad here, but I like it a lot more! The time is different here in Togo than Benin, so it gets dark at six, and there is a super pretty sunset every night so that’s cool! Being out the farthest up north from the city, I was bound to not get the nicest apartment, but its nice, just a little couple room house with the sweet outdoor bathroom and shower, which I like actually because its cool at night, also we have a big water tank, so if the water does go out, we always have back up so that’s good! But yeah the African language here is évé, and it sounds a lot cooler than font, I’m hoping to pick some up!
I found something in my studies this past week from Harold B Lee, on improving ourselves, and he said to each day write something to improve upon, a weakness, and the next day work to leave it behind, and in the night talk with the Lord about how you did, and that has been something that I have loved doing and can see that it really works. The best thing I learned from Desvergez is the love for the Book of Mormon, he honestly had it memorized, so that’s been what I’ve been doing is just working to the point where I can be like he was, its an incredible book and seriously something to read throughout a life, just studying stuff the general authorities have found in the Book of Mormon shows me that we really have to look a lot deeper, and see its application. It’s seriously the best though!! Another cool thing is we will be dedicating the first stake in Benin and Togo in the next couple months, so for sure they will be sending out an apostle for the dedication, so I’m really excited for that as well!! Things are great here though! I love and miss you all a ton, and I hope all goes great this next week!
Monday, October 14, 2013
Man Togo is the best! It’s much different from Benin! It's a lot poorer, things are cheaper and people are nicer This past week went pretty good! Monday night we just packed and said goodbye to everyone there and such. I already miss Desvergez a ton honestly, it sounds really weird but man I miss him! Then Tuesday morning the AP's took me to the bureau, I waited there, ate some food, and said bye to all the zone leaders there as they had they're monthly meeting. Then me the AP's, and Ringle all took off for Togo, it's a long drive and not the most comfortable as there really isn’t a good road going between the two countries, it was the most beautiful drive ever though!! Seriously once you get outside of Cotonou its gorgeous here and just jungle, so we drove for a couple hours, crossed the border, and after about 4 hours we arrived in Togo.Then we headed off for my area. Lome is a ton prettier than Cotonou though that’s for sure, even though the country is a lot poorer, it's a lot more green and pretty here. Also I found out quick everything is a ton cheaper here!! Some things even half the price; so now I can eat all I want! It’s the best. I didn’t find out till I got here though that my secteur, Kelegougan, or Kegue, is the farthest north of Lome... When we dropped off Ringle I made fun of him a bit for how run down his apartment was, but oh man. After about thirty minutes of driving north, I realized my secteur is all the way out in the boonies, the farthest out in the outskirts of all the areas. We continued on the dirt road till got to the little house we have, and man... I thought I had it roughish in Cotonou, I would do anything to have that apartment back, Ha-ha but it’ll do!! We have an outdoor bathroom and shower, but that’s always nice! The dirt is really red, and there aren’t any roads here in comparison to Benin, and were out farther, so things get dirtier, the shirts turn reddish, and it's insanely hard to get out, and like everything is just covered in red dust! Its much different here, its nice though! Its almost like going into a new mission, as there is a whole other group of missionaries here I didn’t know, they’re all really cool though! Companion is really cool too! Super quiet though. Its Elder Sow, from Cote Divoire. All we talk about is the civil war they had over there and all his war stories. I have mostly just been getting into place the past week. I also found out when I arrived that this is a new secteur they opened up, and since opening it they have had only one baptism, so it's the most dead in the Togo. I’m excited though!! I can see there is a lot of people here and how it’s very possible! The big bonus is that our church building is a gorgeous new building the church built here! It’s honestly the prettiest building I’ve seen since I’ve been here! Definitely a big help for the church here! The only problem is it’s about an hour away; so it’s harder to get people to come to church, but it’ll work out! We don’t have a ton of Amis right now, but that will grow for sure. One of the biggest things I’ve noticed here though is the people are a lot nicer here than in Benin!! We’ve already had like two welcome meals, which has been the best! And all I do is show the people my sick dancing skills I picked up in Benin and they love me! But seriously the people are incredibly nice here, more don’t speak French, but it’ll work out!! I’ve heard also that the native language here is much easier to learn than Font, so I’m hoping to pick that up a little! There have been missionaries that have been able to do full lessons in it, so I’m hoping to get it down a bit! But I love my secteur! It's a big change, being out in the outskirts its much more peaceful and quiet, and everyone likes us for the most part so that’s nice! It's really cool to if you look down the road from our house it just turns into jungle, and according to members if you just keep walking about five minutes you’ll run into all the wild monkeys and crocodiles and stuff, pretty neat! So far Togo has been awesome and I’m hoping we’ll be able to get quick to work!! I can see already how being with Elder Desvergez I’m much better prepared and have learned a ton more so it’ll be fun! Sunday was fun meeting the branch, we have an amazing branch here already. One of the members is actually the one who brought the church here to Togo, so we have some really strong families and members here so I’m excited for that!! Also I’ve got Elder Mejean and Lemaire close by so I still have my French fix... they’re all the funniest people ever. Thanks to Desvergez most people here think I’m French because of the accent I have now! So that’s fun too! I can see that there is a ton to be done but it’s definitely possible! Another thing I noticed here is because I’m so far north I don’t have the ocean breeze anymore, so it’s much hotter than before! I’m super happy to be here though! It's a ton poorer and rundown, than even Benin, but I like it a ton! It should be really good! I love and miss you all a ton! I hope this next week goes great for you all!
Monday, October 7, 2013
Sorry I’m really short on time as a result of the trip today. We got to go to Ganvie as my last p-day here in Benin for now! Ganvie is the city out in the middle of the huge lake that the Beninese built to hide from slave traders, so it’s a lot of the old Beninese and more voodoo than the rest of the country, it was pretty crazy though for sure! We took our whole zone on a little canoe all the way out to it, which was about an hour ride, it was really fun though! Also I’m kind of mad because the computer isn’t uploading pictures, I have a lot of pictures of our meals with all the converts this past week, and the trip to Ganvie which are pretty awesome! Hopefully next week.
I was sad to miss General Conference though. It's incredibly important as you said to hear the words of the inspired modern day prophets no doubt. And no there is no way we could get it live, we have to wait till the DVD gets here, which isn’t till end of November, or till the conference edition Liahona gets here to read them. It’s good though.
This past week has gone by great though, as we already had an idea that I was leaving, word got around fast, so this past week has been a lot of meals and dinners! So it’s been really fun! I got the call Saturday that I’m leaving for Togo, in the secteur of Hedzronhoe and I'll be with Elder Soa, an Ivorian! So I’m really excited for that! Its crazy too, because he is 30 years old... he somehow was able to come on the mission, then they found out and he confessed to it, but they let him stay out. I’ve been looking forward for Togo, as a lot of missionaries prefer it, even though it’s a lot poorer and less civilized! I’m leaving with the assistants tomorrow morning, and actually Elder Ringle will be with me as well as he’s transferred there too. I’m really excited for it!
This past week has gone well, we have a marriage and 5 baptisms this next week, so I’m sad I won't be there to see all of those! But I’m really happy at the same time to see them making that step!! And also as I’m going over there so early in the mission, its most likely that I will return back to Benin before the end, so that would be the best to be able to come back and see everyone here! I love it here, and I love everyone in the branch here in Gbegamey, so it will be sad to go! But Togo will be great! I learned a lot here, and have made some great relationships, so this past week with all the meals and stuff was nice to see all our Amis and such! I'll miss them all a lot though.
Thanks for sending the summaries of the Conference talks though. Hopefully I'll have some time in the cyber to go through a couple! And no there isn’t a printer anywhere here that I know of. It’s weird to here that it is getting cold there, as its just getting hotter over here!
I love you all and thank you so much for all of the support!! You are all the best!
Love Elder Oliverson