Monday, March 31, 2014

Rainy Season!

Bonjour!                                                                                                                               03/31/2014
This past week has gone by pretty well you could say! A couple big changes happened, so that mixed stuff up again! First off on Monday we got the transfer call, which sent Elder Sahue over to Benin. Then I found out I have Elder Derou coming to work with me in Be Kpota! So I was pretty happy because of the fact I get to stay here in Be Kpota! They didn’t do the change till Saturday, so we worked the week till then. I’m working with my 4th Ivorian now so hey hey hey! That’s pretty cool. I love my companion though, he’s pretty nice, and we get along well, we get a lot of work done as well so things are going good! 
I organized a little missionary prep class for our ward. This past week we had 11 people there, so I was super happy with how it went! From what I remember that’s even more than how many that I would see for a ward back home! It was super fun though, and one of the things I like a lot with working with them, is they all are converts of 2 years and less, so they are fresh off from the missionaries, and understand missionary work pretty well already, and the conversion process, which helps them out a lot. Right now two of them have put their papers in, and more to come. It's the best seeing that, and I can't even imagine how strong the church will be when all these young men start getting back, it will be awesome to watch! So that’s been pretty good with the mission prep!
I did a split with Elder Florion the Tahitian this past week, so that was pretty fun as well. He’s only been out a month now, but he already seems like an experienced missionary! We have some good Tahitian Elders here and have a few more on their way so that will be nice to see. On Friday night the assistants brought the missionaries from Benin over from the transfer, and ended up staying with us so that was pretty fun as well. Its nice with Elder Ritchie being assistant as that way I see him much more often! We then had a little soccer missionary work activity Saturday morning, as now that we have a Stake, they have given each ward the assignment to have a missionary work activity every two weeks, its been somewhat successful, but hands down the soccer worked the best! Ha-ha, surprise surprise. Still not much of a fan of it though. The work is still pretty consistent though so that is nice!   
We have Joseph one of our Amis getting baptized this next week, and Eric getting baptized the week after, so those two will help out the Ward a lot for sure. I love the Ward here, and they do an awesome job at really getting our converts each a call right when they get in, which helps a lot, and along with that you see really how the Ward is blessed by the many different and unique talents of each member. 
But yeah, so the whole weight loss thing has gotten to a whole other level now. So usually when I show people here that family picture I have in my scriptures, they never know I’m actually in it, because well, in the picture I was a 50 pound bigger Elder Oliverson, so I’ve gotten pretty used to pointing myself out, and they laugh and think its pretty crazy. But the toughest to take was this past week when I showed our recent convert Ayele, and had her point me out, and she pointed at Tanner, and was convinced it was me. So all those times I said Tanner would probably be bigger than me when I get back, they might not be so crazy. 
I got a call from Desvergez this past week from Benin, it was the first time we’ve talked since I was back in Benin. And man oh man I miss him so bad! Ha-ha it was the best talking to him again and it was nice remembering those days we worked together. I got a call from Elder Sahue as well when he got too Benin, so it was cool talking to him as well! Today for a zone activity we went to a little Togo National Museum, which just turned out being a slave museum. It was still pretty cool though, and was once again really fun being with all the missionaries! Along with that, we ran into a white guy, who without doubt by looking at him you could see he was American. Along with that, he had a stone face, with a huge build, and was packing heat. So sure enough as it’s the first American I’ve seen in I don’t know how long we had to talk to him! So we did, and found out he works for the Department of State and is an army officer from Mesa Arizona, and is here right now, doing something that he couldn’t really tell us, but also training a narcotics force, and apparently is going all over West Africa doing the same thing, it was pretty cool running into him as well! 
The rainy season is surely getting closer. This past week we were in our last rendezvous, when it started raining, we already had to be leaving, but waited a couple minutes for it to stop... but it didn’t, so we realized the more we waited the more flooding there would be, so we just started running, the 45 minutes way home, and I mean full out running, and at first we were trying to avoid the huge puddles, but half way realized, the roads were completely flooded, so just ended up running the rest of the way in about 5 inches of water... completely soaked, then got back and our house was flooded, but it was kind of nice at the same time, as it was so cool! But it got to the point where it was a little too cold... and now I understand what people were talking about a year ago, when they would always complain about how cold it was after the rain, while it was hotter than ever more me, but now being acclimated, I need a jacket or something. But it will be nice for sure! 
Thanks for all of the love and support as always! I love and miss you all a ton! Thanks a ton for the pictures as well, they’re the best!
Elder Oliverson

The rainy season is getting close :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Book of Mormon

Bonjour!                                                                                                                         03/24/2014
This past week has been pretty good. Again not a ton new but its been good! We had zone meeting on Tuesday and I got to give the lesson there, so that went pretty well. It took up the entire morning so we weren’t able to get too much done that day. On Thursday I did a split with Elder Rybin so my companion went with Elder Ravelejoana. It was a pretty good day for sure! We both learned a lot from each other, like usual on splits, and it was nice changing things up a bit. Along with that at the end of the day we got to go out to Baguida to do some baptismal interviews, and man, that place... It’s a little section just right out of Lome, and it’s where most of the white Europeans live, and it’s incredible there! We did the interviews at the rented out church building there, and they had grass!! Which was like the most mind blowing thing ever it was so nice! So that was pretty fun. We also had our baptism this week for Ayele, who is the sister of Espoir, who was baptized earlier this month, so that was really nice! She was the last one in the family that hadn’t been baptized, and the hardest for sure. But she’s there now, so I’m really happy for that family for sure now. 
I’ve loved it here, and I’m glad things are still going as well as they are. The members are still great at usual. I will really miss them when I leave! We’ve also found some pretty good new Amis. One that was really cool, was one day as Koko, our new convert was walking down the road, he was walking with his Book of Mormon, and someone who had been talking to the missionaries before, but moved, stopped him and mentioned they had known the missionaries before, and wanted us to come keep teach them. So Koko has helped us get restarted with this person, so I’m hoping that will go well! I thought that wasn’t just by chance that he had walked past this person carrying his Book of Mormon. So that was pretty cool!
 We have a lot of great Amis right now, and most of them are keeping their commitments so they are doing pretty well. That is one of the things I love most with commitments, is yes, we ask if people are reading the Book of Mormon, or keeping the word of wisdom, to see if they are. But really you can see a big difference already when they are doing these things. So really you can usually see whether or not they are keeping the commitments, in how they’re progressing without even asking, but its good to ask to help them be accountable. 
 We had another random rainstorm that hit us last night. I don’t know why but I swear they always come in the night. Either way I had to sleep with mist hitting me in the face. Ha-ha, because with the windows here, they are like glass shutters. So there is no way of completely sealing them off, because it is so hot, there is no way you could do that. So yeah water always finds its way into the house, but it was cool, so that made it not too bad! Ha-ha, but yeah, all is going pretty well here!
            Thanks a ton for the letter and also for the prayers and support! The prayers are much needed right now so thank you for those! I hope all goes well for you this next week, I love and miss you all a ton!!
Elder Oliverson

Monday, March 17, 2014


Bonjour!                                                                                                                         03/17/2014
 Sorry I don’t have much time today as we just barely got back from the trip to Kpalime, so the time is short! Things have been pretty well this past week! The work is still going along good also. We had our baptism with Koko this past week, which was really awesome to see. He was one that had many many changes needed in his life, from chastity, and the word of wisdom. But thanks to the example of a member, he was really touched, and has made huge changes in his life to be baptized. So that was big this week. This past week we had a lot of time with our recent converts as well. It was the best being with them, and one in particular, Jacques, who we baptized back in January is more zealous than ever. This past week while we were walking back to the apartment one night, I was walking with him, as my companion was with his brother. He bore one of the best testimonies I’ve ever heard, and just about how thankful he is for the Gospel in his life. He’s on his way towards his mission, and was just going off about how big he hopes the church will be in Togo one day. He was saying he would do anything to have a temple here, and will do all he can to get one here. He’s also going to be working all summer, in the hopes of having enough money to be able to go on the temple trip next fall with the members... It was a very humbling experience to be with him, and to really see once again, how many things I take for granted, with the gospel, and the temple for example as well. 
The work is going smooth though; we fixed a few more baptisms this past week, one with Joseph, who has been an Ami for a couple months now, but has accepted to be baptized and will be in a couple weeks. Along with him Aquete as well, the young man who has made many sacrifices to accept our message. So that is very exciting. Along with that we got to have our interviews with President Weed, which as always was great! He brought the picture of the new president that will be here in a couple months, and he looks like he will be awesome. It will be very strange though, and also sad to see President Weed leaving. Interviews were great though, and very uplifting. 
On Friday we got to have a leadership conference, which was basically a zone conference, but for the leaders. But that was awesome as well! We had a lot of great lessons, but one in particular from President Weed that I loved a lot. He talked a lot about how Elder Bednar gave a talk saying that when missionaries fall into routines while teaching, or just teach in other ways rather than by the spirit, it isn’t of God, and our calling is to teach by the spirit always. That’s a big problem for many missionaries, as it is much more easy to just give the same lesson each time, and fall into routine, but it was something that really helped us see that when we do that, we aren’t teaching by the spirit, so we aren’t doing things the Lords way. It was very good for sure! The week went by great though for sure!
 On top of all that, we got to go on our trip to Kpalime today, the trip up north to the waterfalls, which comes like once a year and it was a blast!! It was a couple hour ride bus ride up north into the hills and mountains... and it actually wasn’t too bad, as we all got to be together as Elders. But then afterwards, we had a hour and a half hike which, was a different path than they took last time, and I’m not sure why... Either way, I loved hiking before the mission, but on the mission is a different story! Ha-ha the good part, was because it is so humid, when you took a break, you got your breath back quickly. It was seriously gorgeous though, pure green jungle, with huge cliffs, and hills, and as we were on a mountain, you could see for miles in every direction!! It was no doubt the prettiest part of Africa I’ve seen yet. Along with that, we found cocoa beans and passion fruit, which was the best... it was by first time with the cocoa beans, so we didn’t eat them, as you have to dry them out then mix them with sugar, but there is a goo inside, that is very fruity and tastes incredible!! It was no doubt an awesome trip though, and a great time being all together with the Elders, and it was so gorgeous! The waterfall wasn’t as big as I had hoped, but with the jungle around it was well worth it! 
All is great here though, the Ward is doing great, we had the birthday thing for the Relief Society, so that was pretty cool to see them start even celebrating that here as well! But yeah its pretty crazy that I have been out a year now, and the time seems to be picking up a lot for sure.  I’m really excited for the new Americans!! We haven’t had a group of Americans since mine! Just a couple like Elder Barton, so that will be interesting to watch them adjust, I remember having good older Americans like Elder Layton who called me my first night to see how I was doing. 
 I’m very thankful for the patriarchal blessing as its a blessing on the mission, and a good reminder to have for sure. I love and miss you all a ton! I hope all is well there and you have a great week! I’ll try to catch up more next week, thanks again for everything though! I love you!
Elder Oliverson
The baptism of Koko


Monday, March 10, 2014


Bonjour!                                                                                                                        03/10/2014
This past week has gone by pretty good! The work is still going along really well and our Amis are progressing good. I was worried if we would still be able to have as many Amis to teach with all of the baptisms, but thanks to the members we still have a constant flow of Amis coming in, so that’s been really nice! Lome also had one of their Temple trips over to Ghana this past week, so that was good as always for the Ward. Along with that two of the young men getting ready for their missions were able to get their endowments, so that was awesome to see as well. We have some great Amis right now, and its really fun to see them progressing. One of the biggest things I’ve seen with that is how much they progress right after baptism as well, getting started in the church and stuff. That’s been one of the best parts is seeing them get callings right away, getting the priesthood, and getting into institute and such. The ward here is still awesome and I’m really happy to be working here! 
Last week Michelle was asking me to send her some miracle stories, and I was thinking and its really hard to pick them out, because if you are looking you really see the blessings the Lord gives each day. For example a couple weeks ago we were walking back at night again, and as our secteur is a 45 minute walk from the apartment, we were tired as it was the end of the day, so I was a bright one and thought about taking a short cut. By taking that I was taking a little dark back ally back to the apartment. Maybe because I was tired or something I didn’t think much of it, but as we got started on our way down, some guys came running behind us. They were coming to us to warn us to not take the road. I then remembered that a big white guy carrying a big bag walking down a dark long ally on the edge of Be Kpota late in the evening probably wasn’t the best idea. Later on though really thinking about it I really realized that those men were being nice, but at the same time the Lord was really watching out for us. You see a lot of things like that that don’t just happen by chance at all. Things are all going well with the work though. 
I’ve been studying a lot this past week about avoiding sin, as a problem in the Ward has been with the youth, and problems such as chastity and such, thinking they can just repent later on. A verse that I love in the Book of Mormon relating to that in a way was from Alma 59, where he is talking about how they worked hard to build up a city that was about to be attacked by the enemies, because it is better to prepare, rather than have to repair. That made me think a lot about that principle in that it is better to resist, rather than to have to repent. No doubt it’s always easy to rationalize a little, and plan on repenting later, but not till we start taking steps away, do we forget what we're doing. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately since Elder Vinson came, and gave the lesson on the importance of perfect obedience. Its very true the second we start letting small things slide, we start to slide ourselves toward sin. Thanks to those studies, I was ready once again when I got called on to give a talk on Sunday with no warning in advance... Ha-ha the mission is doing good as well. 
Elder Barton and me were looking last week at and the profiles, and were able to see there is a group of 5 or 6 Americans coming in a couple weeks. That will be good, and something new for sure, as in the past 9 months or so we’ve only had 2 more Americans come into the mission! 
The health is still all well, even though it seems like just about everyone here gets sick all the time. We had a nice rainstorm this past week and it got me pretty excited for the rainy season soon to come! At the same time though it was a little scary, as the night after it rains here, I don’t know how, or why, but all of these little wasp looking butterflies come out of no where, and they come in swarms. When I walked out our front door that night, a swarm came out of no where and filled part of our house, the weird thing though is they only live for a couple hours, so then they all started dying. Which was cool and all, but then we had to sweep them all out, which was a pain. 
 Things are going good though, I hope all is going well there, I love and miss you all a ton! Thanks for everything!
Elder Oliverson
Baptism of Espoir

Monday, March 3, 2014

Elder Vinson

Bonjour!                                                                                                                         03/03/2014

This past week has been pretty good! The work is going along well and we’ve been able to get some more baptismal dates fixed so that was good. We had the baptism for Espoir as well this Saturday so that was really fun. She is one of those who is from a part member family, and really made things way to easy for us, she easily accepted everything, and gained a testimony very quickly. We were able to have some of our Amis at the baptism as well, which helps a lot. I don’t know what it is with baptismal services but they are killer for the Amis. Its usually easier getting them to come to baptismal services, and with the spirit that is there at those, it helps a lot with motivating them. We still have many great Amis though, and many that is making big sacrifices, and will no doubt be blessed for that. We had one for example that was living in Concubinage, and had about every word of wisdom problem possible. But he is a good friend with one of our members, who is sealed in the temple, and has an incredible family. He has seen the blessings in his life, and how happy he is, and as a result has already started turning his life almost completely around, it will take some time to leave where he was, but he is on a good start. I’ve had other Amis do that like Gilbert and Ambroise, but none yet that have changed that fast. We have another one that is getting baptized later this month named Ayele. She had already received the missionary lessons before, but her problem was that she lived with her conjoint, and it was him that was her financial support, and on top of that, she doesn’t have living parents to help. We worked towards trying to talk with her boyfriend and help him accept the gospel, but have found that he is very Muslim and isn’t willing to change. Her faith has been amazing though, and she has already started to work towards getting on her own, and leaving that behind, which is hard as she depended on him, but no doubt she will be very blessed because of her sacrifice. It’s really strengthened my testimony that if we put the Lord first, he always takes care of his end, maybe not right away, but he will. 
On Thursday we had our conference with Elder Vinson, and it was seriously incredible! It was based off of the results that he got on the survey that we took and was very inspired as well. It’s incredible how they can completely change the direction of the lesson by inspiration from the spirit. It was centered on every topic from the atonement, and how the Lord can and will help us carry our burdens, and also to obedience, and the importance of following our spiritual desires rather than carnal desires. Once we can master our carnal desires and control those it really changes everything almost. As always as well, his testimony was incredible, and when he testifies about his relationship with the Lord, the spirit is seriously amazing. He also talked a lot about how great this area is in general. He actually didn’t have the opportunity to serve a mission as he was converted after he was married, but did say that if he had the choice on where he would serve a mission, it would be here in West Africa, and said that no part of the world has been more fertile than the Africa West area. It was an incredible conference though no doubt, and you left seeing many things you could improve upon, but at the same time with a very good feeling. As always as well, another thing that blows me away is how strong their wives are, they are just as strong spiritually as their husbands, its awesome!! Things are all good here, its pretty funny having Elder Florion in the apartment, its been a little tough for him adjusting to West Africa, but he’s doing well. He shaved his arms and legs hoping it would cool him down but was unsuccessful. He also won’t stop tickling me at random times of the day, and as he is about twice my size there isn’t much I can do. It’s not too much of a problem though! Things are all going well though here!

 I hope all is well there, I love and miss you all a ton! I hope things go great for you this next week!

Elder Oliverson

Sorry no pictures this week we're at a different cyber and the USB drive isn’t working for some reason? I'll send them next week though!