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!

Elder Oliverson

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