This past week has gone by pretty well. Sunday we had even more Amis at church than we had the week before, so things continue to progress more and more which is really cool to see. Along with that after church we went to Ambroises house again with Desvergez and Lala, as this was Lala's last week on the mission so they wanted him to come eat there one last time, and as usual that was the best! Then came Monday and the long anticipated francophone-Anglophone basketball game. It got serious to the point where we even had a night devotional over a conference call with the English speakers the night before the game. I had the great honor of sharing the spiritual thought, and it surely helped in getting the team pumped up. Then came game day, unfortunately two of our other starters didn’t show up on time, so me and a couple other elders were put with the load of carrying the squad for the first half of the game. Lets just say it was pretty rough, as the French team recruited a bunch of random Beninois guys there that were playing street ball, I can't say they were the best at basketball, but they were athletic nevertheless. The game was pretty rough for us to be honest, but we made some good runs almost tying up the score. But in the end we ended up losing badly. Ha-ha, I can say that it is mostly all because of the French team having Desvergez, but its whatever. We were able to get over it quickly by throwing the football after.
Things have been well during the week with the work also. Our Amis are progressing pretty well and we have started teaching some new member contacts that are doing really well! Two of those are contacts from Ambroise's family, and have already been to church for a few weeks, and have assisted their FHE nights, so they were already pretty prepared before we even started teaching them! We're hoping they will be ready to be baptized the first week of August. Romarios family that we’ve been teaching is coming along really well also! We actually had the baptism for Sarah his sister today, and she was very ready for it as well. The baptismal service was really special as well, and she was bawling her eyes out while bearing her testimony after, along with the rest of her family, and I will say that’s something considering Africans don’t really cry that much! But along with that President Morin told us that when the first presidency talked to them at their seminar, they want the missionaries to have a much bigger hand in the integration of converts. Rather than just turning them over to the members, we are supposed to continue to teach them and stay in close contact to them for a year afterwards now, so President let us know all about that which will be really cool. That family is doing awesome, and honestly the mom was supposed to be baptized today as well, but as her and her husband are not yet married, and there are some problems there, they weren’t able to today. I’ve seen that situation a ton on the mission where the wife really wants to progress and be baptized but always seems to be held back by the husband. We’ve started teaching him a lot more now as well, so were really hoping and praying things will work out there so that they can get baptized and all be together in the church! It will be nice having Ambroise's wife as the Relief Society President with her, as she can help her out a lot having had the same experience. Its a tough situation with her and her husband as he has multiple wives, and because of some stuff in the past is having trouble forgiving her and just getting married to her and her only. So a lot of my studies this past week have been about forgiveness and the importance of it. Its no doubt one of the toughest parts of having Charity, but is surely one of the most important. Just seeing the example of Christ with forgiveness his whole life is no doubt the best one. From all of it though I can see that when we don’t forgive and hold grudges, its hurting no one more than ourselves as were the most sad person holding the grudge, but as we know we need to simply forgive, forget and leave the judgment to the Lord as he will be the most perfect judge of all, and then we have nothing to worry about. We're hoping things will progress with him for sure.
This week has been pretty busy though as well keeping us from teaching a ton! Tuesday was no doubt one of the saddest parts seeing Elder Ritchie go home finally. It was nice though as we got to be there for the last dinner with President. He was no doubt one of our most obedient and hardworking missionary and was always my hero on the mission so he will surely be missed! Then on Wednesday we had to do some transfers in the mission, and ended up driving to Togo to pick up the missionaries from there that were coming over to Benin. It took up most of the day as well as it’s about a 2 hour drive one way, mostly because half of it is off-roading. I will say though it was a ton more fun as it had rained the night before so it was just mud driving the whole way there and back! Ha-ha then we got back even later because of a flat tire along the way. One of the missionaries we picked up was Ringle as he is coming back over here so it was good seeing him! At the end of the week we had 5 Ivoirians going home, including Elder Gnenenon so we had to pick them up and take them to the airport and all, so it was crazy seeing them all leave as well! Then along with that on Friday we had Elder Lemaire and Lala, leaving back to France, so that kept us busy also. I'll no doubt miss them all a ton!
President Morin has been incredible; he’s been getting hard into the work and is doing well. He’s an incredible man though no doubt, and incredibly humble as well.
Things are going well here, its still been pretty cool and cloudy with the rainy season so that’s been nice, but not too much else is new. I love and miss you all a ton!
|Elder Ritchie and Me right before he left.|
|Eldet Gomun, Elder Gnenenon and me dropping them off at the airport|
|Me with Elder Lale and Elder Lemaire dropping them off at the airport.|
|Road to Togo.|
|The drive from Benin to Togo.|
|The flat we got when we got back to Cotonou.|
|The truck we drove on the left. Elder Rybins driving on the right.|
|It's been a while since I've baptized someone as I usually want the members to have the chance to do it, but today there wasn't the option!|