Monday, December 30, 2013

Starting an English class

Bonjour!                                                                                     12/30/2013                                               
This past week has been really good! It was super nice being able to call home to you guys and to see a little bit (Skye)! Best part of Christmas for sure! We had a ton of dinners with members that day so that was nice for sure! We were all pretty sick at the end of the day though. Also after leaving the cyber Elder Haggard fell into an open sewer, so that was funny for a little while. Then for him too after he got all cleaned off. 
I already love this secteur though! The ward here is seriously like a family, we have a normal amount of members, but we have a ton of ward missionaries, and many that are preparing to go on missions. If we want we can easily have a member in every single lesson so it’s been awesome! The bishop is incredible as well, in my secteur's I’ve never seen such a zealous and missionary minded Bishop. He does all he can to get the members to work with us, and at the same time he works with us as well which sets a really good example for all the members. There are many inactive's as well in the secteur, but that will be nice to be able to work with them. 
I’m much more thankful to have Amis now after having spent that time in Kegue. The Amis that we have now though here are amazing, and with all the member support, things are much more stable. I’m starting an English class as well for the ward so hopefully that will help us out even more. We have a baptism this Saturday with a guy named Jacques, he’s a little over 20 but is an awesome guy. Not even baptized yet but has the strongest desire to serve a mission and to share these things with others already. We have another few baptisms in the next week after as well, with an older guy, so were hoping to be able to start teaching the whole family as well. It’s been super exciting though. I took that time back in Gbegamey with Desvergez really for granted though with how well we did,  Kegue has made me so much more thankful for those things, and no doubt I’m not going to waste those useful resources after being there. I love all the ward missionaries here too, and they’re some of the best, there are a bunch of cute babies too so that’s always cool!  this Sunday was really fun being there. 
This morning we got to have interviews with President, which was great as always! I wish we had them more often and longer ones, but they’re still the best! He’s seriously such an inspired man and it’s the best to have that time to go over things with him!  Things are going well with my comp as well, I love him!  
 The church is still so new here, which is tough sometimes but it works.  I’m glad all is going great there! I hope things are good this week with the New Year and such! I love and miss you all a ton and hope things are great!
Elder Oliverson

Monday, December 23, 2013

Me Lemaire and Sagers on our little jungle adventure:)

Bonjour!                                                                                                12/23/2013

 This past week was a pretty great one! Tuesday we had the Christmas party with the mission so it was really good to get to be with all the missionaries and President for that! Just had a lot of games, a ton of food, which was the best part, and a little program, then at the end we all got a little stocking so that was really nice! Then also I got the call that I’m being transferred to Be Kpota, to work with Elder Imoukhede so I was really excited for that as well! The time in Kegue was the toughest and most wearing, so it will be nice going back to a well-established secteur! Also he'll be the first Nigerian companion I'll have worked with the whole mission so I’m excited for that! So we’ve had a lot of dinners and meals the rest of the week, so many to the point actually to where my comp got sick, and was sick all Sunday. it’s strange that I’m better with the food than he is, but its all good!  The secteur has been good here, no doubt the toughest ever, but I can look back and say it’s where I really learned the most. This Sunday we had 6 Amis at church, so even though it’s not a ton of progress, I was happy to see it there, compared to the 0 that was there when I got here! So that was really nice. I remember a talk from Elder Eyring where he was talking about how he prays that trials will come. Hard to believe, but with someone with that kind of spiritual maturity, you see they understand that it’s by the trials that we progress more and faster. No doubt the truth with that last secteur! 
         We also finally got the conference issue of the Liahona so that’s been the best! So many inspired talks it’s amazing. I will miss the members that were in the branch of Attiegou though, leaving. We had our last meal with the Attiogbes, which was a sad one, but a great one for sure!  There are some incredible members in that branch, that understand the church and how it works. I’ve heard the branch in Be Kpota is really good as well, so I’m looking forward to that! 
       The activity was well done today! The only problem was there was a miscommunication with the member, so it took us a while and we didn’t get to the right spot, either way we were up in the wilderness, we found these guys with a hole full of crocodiles, and fed them for about 30 minutes then left, ha-ha. So it was still worth it!!  Those things are insane, one is scary enough but he had 11 in the hole, plus they’re much faster than us, which just adds on. Also we could only feed them fish, we tried to see if we could use a chicken or a goat for example, but because they have legs, and blood, that would make the crocodiles more used to killing things with legs and blood... like us for example, so we backed out of that one. Off in the distance though over the valley, you can see a huge Jungle forest, so we asked him about that one, and found out that that’s actually where all the monkeys are, so well be going there in a couple of weeks as well! Also apparently that’s where they go to hunt gorillas, so that will make that activity much more exciting! It was still all round super fun, and way pretty as well being up in the Safari area. 
        The Jungle trip was the best, no missionaries have really explored to much, but me and Lemaire decided while were in Africa we might as well make the best of it!  The work is going well here no doubt! I'll be sad leaving Kegue, but I’m excited for the new secteur! Also a nice part of last week is that its the start of Harmanttan, its where the dry winds blow down from the Sahara Desert, so actually it gets cooler than hotter! It honestly felt much more like the summers in Utah, with the hot dry air, rather than humidity,  its been really nice, and the best part, is because the air is more dry, its really nice at nights! Its crazy to think about the snow there, I forgot what that was like. The other morning I went outside to take a shower and it was like the coldest thing I’ve felt since I’ve gotten here, just because its drying up so the air is cooler and drier, but then I looked at the thermometer, and it was 85 degrees only problem is we're not used to it, so its killing our skin. It’s been nice though!
        It’s hard to believe its Christmas really, and it’s really not here, as it’s not celebrated much, which at the same time is a good thing, as it’s not as distracting! So that’s nice.
       That is super fun the whole family is coming in! I miss that time a lot! But yeah all is well here, and I love and miss you all a ton! I hope all goes
well this week and I'll be talking to you again in a couple days!!

Love Elder Oliverson
Elder Oliverson & Elder Jenkins at their Christmas Party

Monday, December 16, 2013

I got bit by a scorpion this past week- (this new area he hasn't been able to send pictures)

Sorry about last week, there was no connection at all to even be able to write! But I’m here this week! This past weekend was no doubt the best though! With getting the new Stake and all. The week before that though was a little rough. Probably the least amount of lessons I’ve been able to do the whole mission, but then I thought back to other missions, and realized how blessed I really am. But no doubt this week made up a ton for last week, we have an Ami named Juju, who was a contact from a member, and from him we have found 4 other new really good Amis, who are all progressing pretty well, and I’m hoping to see things get going with them. 
      Saturday and Sunday were great! We got to be with Elder Vinson Saturday which was awesome no doubt, I seriously love just having the chance to be with those men and just feeling the spirit being with them. I was a little surprised at first when I talked to him not realizing he was Australian so the accent was pretty sweet! But what an incredible and
Christ like man. You seriously feel so loved being around them and associating with them. I love too having the chance to see how they unveil the scriptures for you, just when you think you are seeing pretty amazing things in the Book of Mormon, they show you something 50 times more amazing. Its incredible how well they know the scriptures, and understand them, I can't even imagine having a study session with one of those men. But either ways that day we had the Adult session of what is now Stake Conference, which was great! It like as in the U.S was centered around missionary work, and getting the members and missionaries working together. But no doubt it was awesome to be there and to see that. Then the next day was the first Stake Conference here, and it was really just getting the Stake Presidency in place, and now having 6 wards! So that was pretty awesome. There we had Elder Vinson, and another Seventy who is from Cote DIvoire. It was awesome though, and to be able to have the chance to see the first Stake come into this Country was huge! Elder Vinson went on to talk about the church here in West Africa, and how these ten missions here baptize more people than the rest of the world, including Mexico and Brazil. But at the same time that when they measure growth it isn’t off of baptisms, but t see how the church is really doing with Priesthood holders and such. He also really reminded me how blessed we are to have the chance to work with these people here. He explained it how when we talk to investigators, we're not teaching them new things, just helping them remember stuff they already know from the life before, and mentioned that people here must have a thinner veil, with how well they accept the gospel and embrace it. No doubt these people are the best!! But yeah, it was a great meeting where President Weed spoke as well. No doubt I feel blessed to have been there! So that was great, and this past week has been much better for us, the secteur is still extremely tough, but its coming along..
Another bright spot though, is I did get to have my second split with Elder Kabedeh!! I’ll never forget that first one, and we were both happy to get to work together again! He’s one of the nicest most Christ like people I know. He is an incredible missionary as well, coming from Liberia, where there past time has been civil war, he didn’t have an easy life at all before, but no doubt he made the best out of it. His French is still much easier to understand than his English, even though he’s Anglophone... But no doubt he’s one of the most charitable people ever, and its the best to be able to work with him. But yeah, things are going pretty well with the work! It’s coming along slowly but surely here in Kegue. We had a really good rendezvous again with one of our members figuring out what we could do best for the secteur here that has struggled so bad. But it was good talking to him, Brother Attiogbe is an incredible member!
 I got bit by a scorpion this past week too. Ha-ha, I got a really bad bite on my leg, and didn’t know for about 3 days what it was at all, I just assumed it was a spider bite, as we
have a ton here, but then I came to find out that it was from a scorpion bite, I ended up finding two dead scorpions that same day in our study room. They’re tiny things, but much scarier than spiders. I have cool pictures of the scorpion and where it bit me, so that's good as well. But yeah, it was pretty bad for a couple days, but is slowly and surely healing.
This past week I organized one of the best activities for our zone as well, which is where well be heading out to the Jungle in our secteur this next Monday -P-day !! So I’m pretty pumped about that! We figured we might as well take advantage of being so far north, and there are a lot of members who want to take us out, so were going to figure that out soon!
 Not too much of the Christmas spirit, but living with another American in the Apt. were
making the most of it!  It’s just hard to realize its Christmas with how hot it is. Its actually cooled down a little bit as its the month where the dry winds from the Sahara blow down here, so that has actually been pretty nice!
 I’m really excited to call home though! I’m thinking it will most likely be around the same time again? Well see though, there is still one more p-day before Christmas so well figure it all out then. I’m no doubt looking forward to that though!
 This secteur has been one of the toughest things ever, but no doubt I’ve seen that it’s been one of the biggest growing periods of my life, It’s been good! I hope all is well this next week! I love and miss you all a ton! Thanks for everything!
Elder Oliverson

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hey! This is just to let you know I'm still alive and not dead! Sorry I
didn't write this week there isn't any connection! But I'll update all
next week! Past week was really tough, but one of the coolest seeing
the new stake coming in and being with Elder Vinson! I'll write next
week! I love and miss you all a ton and you're in my prayers! Have a
great week! I love you!
Elder Oliverson

Monday, December 2, 2013

The day after Thanksgiving

Bonjour!                                                                                    12/02/2013
 Things have been pretty good this past week! I love my companion and we’ve been able to really start getting things together. We’ve been putting a ton of planning in and searching to see what we can do with the secteur, as it has been so rough, so we started out
seeing Frere Attiogbe, who brought the church here, and a couple other members, as we only have one in the actual secteur, but it’s been really nice, and we’ve still been able to center a lot of the work around the  members, even with the lack of them we have. Home teaching has been a  huge problem here in the branch so we're trying to get that back together, we’ve spent a lot of the past week meeting with the ward leaders trying to help things get going, so that has been a lot of where our focus has been!  No doubt if you want to work hard you have to work smart as well, or you won’t really get anywhere, so it’s been really nice to be working with Elder Kouau in getting things together, they’re coming along well, hoping the  secteur will be a better place when we leave. Our Amis are doing well! One of our baptismal dates has to go up north to get treated for some health disorder she has, so that’ll have to wait a little while! Other than that things are good with the Amis, I love teaching with Kouau though as he teaches really well, and we do really good together in lessons, so it’s a lot of fun! The big news really from the past week is President Weed found out this last Monday from the church headquarters that we’ll be getting the first stake in Togo this next weekend!!  It’s a huge step for the church here and very exciting!  Elder Vinson is coming again with another Seventy to do the dedication, so that will be really cool. 
      We had a meeting with the assistants as well this past  week to finally map out our secteurs and figure out the limits, so that was good to get done as well. It was also good seeing Elder Ritchie, as he’s the new assistant and it’s been a long while! He’s no doubt a stellar missionary and you just feel good after talking to him! 
      I talked to the first non-member white person ever in the past 9 months!!  So that was pretty crazy! It was this French lady named Pascaline, who wanted to talk with another white person I think, but didn’t want to hear our message. I wasn’t too surprised after hearing what Desvergez would tell me about the French Ha-ha.
         Another high note from the past week, was the day after Thanksgiving.  We had forgot it was Thanksgiving till we got a call from the Senior couple, they had dinner with President the day before, and had a ton leftover, and invited us to help them come finish it, as we're the closest missionaries to their house. No doubt the best thing of my life!! Ha-ha they have a gorgeous house and it was insane just sitting there and having a table with food, and the food was incredible!!  They took a picture, and I think they’ll be sending that to you soon if they haven’t  already, but no doubt that was the best meal I’ve had since coming here, and much better than our make shift Thanksgiving we had. The work is going good though, this secteur is tiring and the most difficult but its coming along pretty well which is nice, slowly but surely! My companion is doing good as well, and thought the 24 days of Christmas countdown presents you sent were the coolest thing ever with the scripture on them! He loved that part and is really happy and thankful! The work is coming along though! It’s taking a ton of work but its good.
I’m so thankful though no doubt for sports, and the work ethic that helps you gain, there are so many that don’t see if you don’t work, nothing will produce, but I can see that really thanks to sports you learn how to do that extra mile.
I know there is a place in Lome where you can Skype, and a lot of people do that, so I think that could work. But I don’t know how the connection is, so I was thinking maybe to do half and half Skype and phone, but well see, I’m really excited for that though!
Is there snow there yet?  Thanks a ton again for the package! I loved the Jesus picture with the McConkie quote, that’s one of the coolest things! But yeah thank you so much for that! Thanks for the love and support I miss you all a ton!
Elder Oliverson