Monday, April 28, 2014

Leaving Be Kpota for Anfame!

Bonjour!                                                                                                                        04/28/2014
          Things have been really well this past week. Monday night we had a little party with the ward as kind of a goodbye FHE, and that was really fun! There was a ton to eat, and over all we had a really cool lesson from our Bishop, I’ll surely miss that Ward a lot. The lesson was on testimony, and afterwards he had everyone bare just a short testimony, and that was the best to have. One thing that hit me in particular that I liked a lot, was in the testimony meeting a common thing that a lot of the people said, was about how when they received the gospel, it was like they found that piece that was missing in their life. It reminded me of something I’ve heard our converts talk about before, but it made me think a lot about how that is with the gospel. I remember one of the times that Elder Vinson came, talking about how we all have already learned the gospel, but because of the veil, we have need to be reminded of these things, and of Gods love for us. It reminded me as well that really what we are doing is just reminding these people of these things they’ve known before.   Another testimony that hit me a lot, and really made me think a lot more, was from a member named Joel. He’s an incredible member, and has brought many others into the church, but he’s actually been a member for about 8 years now, which is one of the longest I know. But he bore a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon, and explained that every year since his baptism he has read the Book of Mormon, all the way through. And one of the years read it twice, so up to this day he has already read the Book of Mormon 9 times. It really made me realize how much more work I have to do, and how much of a help that book can be in our lives if we make the efforts to read it constantly. So if someone from Togo, that doesn’t have very much education has read the Book of Mormon through 9 times, it made me realize I have a lot more work to do. It was awesome though that night hearing all their testimonies, but also sad saying goodbye. The next few days we had some more dinners, which was nice as well, but towards the end I started getting a little sick of it. Ha-ha, but then on Thursday they took me over to Anfame for the transfer. And oh I love my companion! Elder Gnenenon is the best! He’s just a little shorter than me, but is only about 165 pounds so he’s seriously like a stick when you see him. It makes me feel pretty huge as well, even though that is no longer the case. On the bright-side of that, in Africa, you don’t put on fat, and you lose it all as well, so if you put in the efforts you can actually get pretty ripped. Not huge, but cut. Ha-ha, and it's a big self esteem booster now hearing from members that I look like a mannequin with how skinny I’m getting, so hey this isn’t too bad! 
But yeah the transfer went well, and I’ve loved the new secteur! There are so many families in the ward, and they’re the best to work with as well. When people have a family in the gospel, it seems to help them be more stable in the church. Along with that we have a lot of great Amis as well that are getting ready soon for baptism. We had a really cool lesson as well this last week with one of them named Frido. It was actually just the second lesson with him as well. He was a contact from a member, so that has been a lot of help. But when we started talking about baptism with him, we asked him if he believed that the Book of Mormon was true, and if what we have taught him was true. He bore a very strong testimony as well about how good he has felt after praying about these things. And in particular he explained that he had a dream before he ever met with us that led him to meet with us. He said in the dream he was walking in the forest, and fell into a dark hole. When things were getting bad in that hole, he looked up and there was that member that he was friends with, and he put his hand out and lifted him back up into the light. He figured that was a sign he needed to talk to this friend, and ask him about his church. It was one of the coolest stories ever, and was awesome to see how he came into contact with the gospel. This next week we have Zone leader council, and then Zone conference as well, so things will be pretty busy. Along with that I am giving the lesson in Zone conference so I'll be even more busy getting that ready as well, but it will be fun for sure! Things are going really well here though, not much new with the Ebola, but hopefully it doesn’t get too bad. But other than that, life is much more busier now, but I’m loving it for sure, and it's the best with my companion. He’s seriously one of the nicest people ever, and we get along perfect! Like I said as well the Ward is great, and the members bring their friends to us asking for us to teach them, so the work is going awesome as well.
I love and miss you all a ton, and I hope things are going great there!

Elder Oliverson
Leaving Be Kpota

Last FHE at the home of one of the members.

My new companion on the left!
The school in BeKpota that the member started up.

Me and Elder Derou

Monday, April 21, 2014


Bonjour!                                                                                                                  04/21/2014
First off I don’t have a ton of time today as we had a big soccer activity for the Stake in Kegue today. So I will be short! This past week has been good though! Not too much new except for that I got the transfer call this past week, so I’ll be leaving Be Kpota! I will be going to be one of the Zone leaders now in Anfame. Luckily still in Togo! I will now be working with the other Zone leader Elder Gnenenon from Cote DIvoire. My fifth Ivorian:) Ha-ha. I’m really excited though, and I’ve heard he’s an awesome missionary, and that it’s a great secteur so I’m really looking forward to it. 
Things have gone pretty well in the work this past week, but not too much new. As the church is so new here, they’re still working on getting better at helping the recent converts, but its us that do most of the lessons with them. We have a lot right now, so a lot of our time has been with them, which has been good as well! Something I saw in particular was how amazing some of our recent converts are, but also how much Satan works against them right after their baptisms. It shows a lot though that he is worried about them being part of this great work, and doesn’t want them there. One in particular was Joseph, who we baptized a couple weeks ago. A few days after his baptism the manager of his company came to him, and presented a huge job offer, which would send him to live in Germany. The problem was that in accepting this offer, he would have to lower some of his standards he has as a member of the church. At first he had a hard time, as that’s a huge temptation, and its almost every persons dream here to go to Europe, or America, so this was definitely something that was tough, and I could understand why it was hard for him. I was really happy though to see that even though this offer looked so appealing, and it seemed so big and great, he chose to stay here in Togo, and keep doing what he is doing. I was super happy to see that, and its things like that that make me thankful to work here. 
Our other Amis are progressing pretty well also, which is nice, but I’ll be sad leaving them for sure. This is no doubt one of my favorite secteurs, and I'll miss it a lot. Luckily though, I’m not too far as I’m still in Lome! Things are going well in Togo as well. We all got a mass message this past week that there is a Ebola outbreak here right now, that just came over from Ghana. I’m not quite sure what that is, but I’m pretty sure its not the best. So we'll see what happens with that! Along with that, this past week I saw my first case of elephantitis. That disease where the leg, or whichever part infected swells to the point where it really does look like an elephant. It was seriously very sad to see, and I can’t even imagine how it would be to live with that. It reaffirmed the fact though that it is not at all easy living here, yet seeing how great and happy the people are, helps you understand the more important things in life. 
Also this past week I was able to download conference and have been listening to that so that’s been nice! It’s awesome to have that help from our Prophet and Apostles so often. I haven’t listened to all of them, but one of my favorite talks was the one by Elder Anderson about spiritual whirlwinds, and the fact that even though the world is getting worse, the Lord doesn’t lower his standards. I’m excited for sure to see the rest of conference soon! But yeah, things are going well with the work, and I’m excited to be going to Anfame for sure. As I said time is short as the Ward is having a little goodbye party, so that will be fun! Also tomorrow were eating one of our member’s cats for a little goodbye party as well:). That could be a highlight for next week so I’m hoping that all goes over well, but yeah, things are all going very well in Africa, and the work is surely going forward!

 Sorry my time is short today! Thank you for everything, and for all of the love and support! I love and miss you all a ton!

Elder Oliverson

All of the ward missionaries from Be Kpota!
Me with Bishopric of Be Kpota, saying goodbye

A newborn baby! It's been awhile since I've seen one of these.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Preach my Gospel

Bonjour!                                                                                                                04/14/2014

This past week has been pretty good again. The work is still coming along very well also! We had our baptism for Eric this past week, which was awesome to see. Along with that we had two kids in the Ward that turned 8 and were able to be baptized as well, so that was awesome to see! The baptism went well, and the following day we had Ward Conference. The problem was when we woke up it was pouring. And when it’s pouring here, its really pouring. Like the roads are flooded. So we were worried people would even be at church, because when it rains here like everyone shuts down for the day. So we were a little down, worried about our three people needing to be confirmed, and the Ward Conference. Surprisingly we showed up and it was already packed there at the ward building!! It was the best to see the people here and how devoted they are to getting to sacrament meeting, and renewing their covenants. I was happy to see that and it was even a big example to me as well. With all of the baptisms we still have very solid Amis coming along. One of my favorite has been the young man named Aquete, he’s been an ami for a while, its the same one that had the struggles accepting our message due to his family being voodoo, and also his poverty, when everyone here is already in poverty. Along with that though he’s probably the most humble person I’ve met here, and with that, there are many humble people, so that shows how humble he really is. He’s really strengthened my testimony though in that the Lord doesn’t judge us by our intelligence, or what we have, but the gospel really is available to everyone. He bore us his testimony about how he knows our message is true, and has even had dreams helping him see that the story of Joseph Smith is true. I can see this is true as well in the sacrifices he makes to come to church and follow us even with how difficult it is for him. With how things are looking right now, he’s hoping to be baptized very soon, so that will be exciting for sure! 
The work is coming along well, and I still love the work here. Usually I would hate the 45-minute walk to our secteur. But it makes it worth it with the people we have over there. The Ward runs pretty well also. I was impressed this past week when we were visiting a member family, and I was talking with their 11 year old about what he learned in Primary this past week. He started off and recounted the whole story of Abraham and how he had difficulty having kids, all the way down to how the 12 tribes came about. Without any flaws... Ha-ha I was stunned seriously! I didn’t really get that story till I was in seminary in high school. And even then its awesome to see how even though the church is so new, things are already starting to get going. Things are going well with my companion. He pointed something out to me that I liked a lot in our companionship study. He had been reading in Preach my Gospel and came across a part that talked about how the only thing that can unite people in the world, from all different cultures, and ways, is the gospel. And we started looking at how yeah; we are very different, in just about every way. Ha-ha, but we have the same testimony, and the same beliefs in the gospel... it made me think a lot about that how I’ve had the chance to work with Malagash, French, Congolese, Ivoirians, and Togolese, and even Nigerians, and we all have this bond between us being the Gospel. It’s really awesome to see how the gospel has filled the world. 
All in all things are going pretty well. I read a little in my journal last week, from around the start of my mission. I laughed a little seeing how bad I stressed with the language and all of the other things at the time. But also saw how much I’ve come along and how my faith has grown from each day on the mission, it’s been the best!

          Things are going really well though! I love and miss you all a ton and hope things are going well there! Thanks for everything!

Elder Oliverson

Monday, April 7, 2014

New Companion

Bonjour!                                                                                                                         04/07/2014

Things are going pretty well here in Africa. It has been really nice this past week working with Elder Derou, we teach really well together, so things have been going good! We’ve got some really good Amis right now, and the best members as well! I love visiting with the members here, and our recent converts. For example this past week we were out in the morning, after our 45-minute walk to the secteur. And we had an Ami that wasn’t at his house, there were clouds coming in and you could see that it was about to come down hard. I was trying to get another lesson in before it started but it came fast. Ha-ha, luckily as there are so many members around they’ll pull you in from the rain, so we took cover with a member who has a boutique named Benedicte, and had a really good lesson with her. She’s struggling a little bit with a wayward child, so we tried to share some scriptures to help. One in particular I love for that is the story of Enos. You see that his dad was Jacob, and his grandfather was Lehi, so I’m sure he was well raised in the church, yet he still sinned, and had sins that needed repenting, years after he had left them. And you see that it was because he remembered the words of his father, and others that helped him get back on track by repentance. So the point we tried to get out, is just keep doing the best you can, and love them, and even if the results don’t come right away, the efforts aren’t useless. 
The work is still going forward though, we had our baptism for Joseph this past week, and it went really well. This next week we have our baptism for our ami, Erik. He’s seriously been the best, he was a contact from a member, and is one of the most sincere and humble people I have found here. He is one of the first people at church every week, and is already very devoted. He wanted to be baptized the first week we started the lessons, but we had to finish the lessons with him, and he had to come to church first. But he is no doubt someone who was very ready for the gospel. There is definitely no lack of people to teach in this secteur as we have many good Amis, and a ton of recent converts, so the work is going forward! 
I like my new companion as well so that’s been good, he has one of the closest to American sense of humor, so we get along really well, that’s been pretty nice! Also this past week I started taking parasite pills again.... and as I think I have lost all of the weight I’m going to, I got my pants made smaller so they actually fit me now:) so I’m no longer a 36, but now a 34, and along with that my legs are like half there size. Ha-ha but its been nice having pants that fit again! The people here like me skinny though, and say that I was fat before, so I guess it’s a self esteem booster;) they say I have the body of Ronaldo, so I was pretty happy. Then I remembered he was a soccer player, and was a little offended... it will come back quickly though when I get back to America!! We got a lot of new missionaries this past week so that was really fun as well, as we had a little soccer and basketball activity today. Basketball was really fun, but then someone invited that member that is on the national team, and he’s like 7 foot something, and then it wasn’t very fun anymore as I was the one that had to guard him. All in all it was still a good time though! Ha-ha, but yeah things are going really well in Africa, the work is going along well, and the people are great here!!

                     I love and miss you all a ton! Thanks a ton for all of the support!
Elder Oliverson

Baptism of Joseph