Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Still no connection

Hey, we're still working on getting the connection here, so I'll try to write tomorrow!  :((

Monday, September 29, 2014

No connection

He, sorry we haven't had connection so I'll be sure to write you guys soon!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Basic Truths

Bonjour!                                                                                                                   09/20/2014

This past week has been pretty good, but super busy like usual. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get much done in our area till the end of the week, as at the beginning we were very busy with some problems that came up. 
On Tuesday we had the arrival of a big group of missionaries. Along with that it was the biggest group of Americans we’ve got in over a year and a half. It was really cool to see all of them, and was kind of a flashback to how it was when I first got here as well. There are so many things that just seem normal now, that before were the craziest thing ever, but you just get used to it. We didn’t get to spend too much time with them though as President had us running around helping with some other things that came up. Later that night we went and dropped some of the missionaries off as well, which is always fun too. As the road between the airport and the mission home is probably the nicest and prettiest area in the whole mission, they get here thinking it kind of a nice tropical vacation place. Then you start driving them to their area and they realize its not exactly what they thought, Ha-ha. They all seem to be adjusting well though as now they start out in the Ghana MTC, so some of the shock is taken away from that. 
The next day we spent a lot of time taking the rest of the new missionaries out into their apartments so that took up most the day. We were originally planning on going to Togo that day, but luckily President Blaise came over here to Benin, so when returning to Togo was able to take some missionaries with him. Letting us have time later on to go teach some lessons. We weren’t able to get too many lessons taught this week, but the ones we did were good which was nice. 
One in particular was a contact of a girl that we found as she works at this good food place not far from our apartment. Elder Izekor is never too fond of going there, but I convinced him that as we were able to start getting the contacts of the workers, it was basically mission work Ha-ha, but when we got to her place her whole family was there, so we had the chance to talk with all of them. The best part is her Mom was there as well, and it’s always easy to get the Mom's interest when you share that our message is centered on families. When we were teaching them most everything we focused on was about the family, and she loved it. She’s been in many many different churches, and has enjoyed it, but said that she has never seen one where there is this much focus on the family. We talked a lot about he basic truths that are found in the "Proclamation to the World" for example, and you could see that it was stuff they probably hadn’t heard much before, but when they did it just made complete sense to them. It was a great lesson, so we're excited to start teaching that family a lot more. 
Another bright spot of the week was that our recent convert Sarah just got back from the Temple trip, so we got to hear all about that. I remember back home, we would go to the Temple just whenever, or just for mutual, and it didn’t seem huge. But here when there is a Temple trip its a whole different story, especially those who make the big sacrifices to go, and when they come back you can see it is something they will never forget at all. Along with that with just her going to the Temple it was a big motivation for the rest of her family to push towards that as well. The happiest part was when we found out that she saved up all the money herself to be able to go to the Temple, it made me think a lot about the sacrifices I need to make to be better, and to go to the Temple more often when I get home. 
All is going great here though, today we have a big activity for the Branch in preparation for the Branch Conference tomorrow, so we have to leave soon to get ready for that. I hope all is great back there though, thanks for all the love and support.
              Elder Oliverson

Saturday, September 13, 2014

We’ve learned a lot together.

Bonjour,                                                                                                                   09/13/2014

 This past week has been pretty good! President left to Togo as well, so we’ve been a little more busy here than usual. We had a really long meeting with him on Monday, a little longer than usual, for planning and such. A lot of it too was about how we could apply the things that Elder Curtis taught, more in the mission. He talked again about Elder Curtis’s calling, and how it’s true that he knew some things about the mission already, but still if you look at the things he taught, it was exactly what we needed. So I really like how President wants to make the most out of the visit, and see things improve because of it, so we’ve been working a lot on that for making plans. Along with that we’ve had a lot of appointments with the missionaries, and President has had me translating some stuff for him. Usually the translating wouldn’t be too difficult, but when you start reading the letter and realize its very important, that makes you a little stressed, then you see that it has to do with business and law stuff, the kind of vocabulary I don’t have, it took a while. Ha-ha it was the types of words I wouldn’t even know in English, and even when showing it to a couple of French people, they didn’t understand either, so I didn’t feel to bad, but all in all I was able to finally get that finished. 
The past week we’ve had a lot of missed rendezvous. Yet we’ve been able to find people to fill in for them, meaning we’ve found some really good new Amis, and some older ones as well. So we’ve had many prayers answered for sure. As we’ve been really busy, we’ve done our best to get out and look, but haven’t been able to a ton. But still were finding Amis, for example the other day, when we walked outside there was a lady looking at the sign for the church in front of the bureau. We asked what was up, and she told us she wanted us to start teaching her, so we took contact and started a little lesson. We didn’t have much time, yet still talked a bit, and the four questions she asked were. How do you guys baptize and confirm people, do you have the Sacrament, do you have a Prophet, and how can I join your church. It was either she is a little crazy, or just someone really prepared, so we’ll have to see how that goes. We picked up an old Ami as well, that has been taught by the missionaries for a couple years already. But has had a few rough experiences with them. Well have to see how it goes but it’s going really good so far! It’s a mom and daughter the mom is Congolese, and the daughter is Congolese/French. And oh her French is just wonderful. Either ways they’re both actually really intelligent, so teaching them is a bit different than usual. We're hoping it will work out though, as I’ve seen that on my mission where because of one reason or another someone wasn’t ready at one time, then later on they were there finally. 
We also finalized the transfer this week, so that got out a few days ago and it will be a pretty big one. Usually we will do the transfer over a two week span where we do one half the first week then finish it the next. But we decided rather to try and get it all done in three days. So next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will be pretty busy, as we have a big group of new missionaries getting in, and then on Wednesday we are going over to Togo. 
Things are going good with my companion, and we’ve learned a lot together. Something I’ve always known that I’ve gotten to know better is that if there is any contention in a companionship, the spirit won't be there. Even if you think you are right, and the other is wrong, and there are problems because of it, things won’t work out, you have to be completely unified. I remember a MTC branch president saying that he would tell his missionaries that when they came to him with problems he would rather they both be right, or they both be wrong, rather than one right and one wrong. It was kind of hard to understand at first, but it makes much more sense now, so we’ve been putting a lot of work in being more unified, and its paying off in our lessons as well so that’s been really good!        
This past night there was a little voodoo party (where they just hit their drums) going on outside our apartment. It started at like 10 but I was still able to fall asleep with it. I woke up again at 2 though, to hear them still hitting the drums, then again at 4 still hearing the drums, then again at 6, and they were still hitting the same drums. I realized that they really had been playing their drums the entire 8 hours that night. Then in the morning when we went out, we were driving down the road and saw a huge crowd, which usually means someone got hit by a motto or something. But then I saw that in the middle of the crowd there was a revanon, one of those so called voodoo "ghosts" that have legs and look an awful lot like a human body. Either way he was laying in the middle of the road, so I’m not sure what was up with all of that, but assumed it was probably the long party they had the night before. I remember hearing from the brothers about the chicken fights that would keep them up at night, so now I better understand what that is like to have your sleep ruined. Ha-ha, other than that though things are going really well here.
 But yeah thanks again for all the pictures!! They were the best! I love and miss you all a ton! I hope all goes well there this next week.

Elder Oliverson

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Elder Curtis--The impressions of the spirit!

Bonjour,                                                                                                                   09/06/2014

This past week has been super busy, but great with the visit of Elder Curtis. Sunday was a good day, as the Branch President taught the lesson in the Gbegamey Branch, which was really good, and a good example as well to the members on how to give a lesson. They have us give talks, lessons from time to time, as you realize that often the people have no ideas how to give them. Back home I remember it was never difficult, as you see very experienced members giving talks each week. It was good though and hopefully it will help out! 
On Sunday we had a double mangez-vous day. As we had two dinners, so we finished the day feeling well. On Monday we had Elder Welch and Woodland come in, as they were leaving home on Tuesday, which like usual is weird to see. There will be a lot of changes in the mission in the next few months as there are so many missionaries coming and going. We also had a solid family home evening with Rebecca’s family as well, and we had Sarah our new convert give the lesson. Its always fun giving a good lesson, but its like a million times better seeing one of your converts give a great lesson as well. It’s really fun to see converts that seek to develop quickly after baptism. 
That night Welch and Woodland stayed with us so that was nice as well. The next day we were super busy once again with doctor appointments, and a ton of other stuff, but were still able to get some rendezvous in so that was nice! Elder Izekor and me tried to do a little more tracking this week, as its been a while since we have had to, since we have members to give us contacts usually. It’s been a while since I’ve done it, as the last time I did was on a split back in Togo as Zone leader. It was a lot of fun though, and I enjoy doing it, because it’s all centered around following the spirit, then exercising faith in talking to someone. I did notice though that the people aren’t all as nice and open as back in Togo, but still you can just walk into most of their homes and start talking to them if you want to.                 
We were able to fix a baptismal date as well with one of our Amis named Cedric, who we’ve been teaching for a while now. He’s told us multiple times he knows the church is true from prayer, and that he needs to be baptized, but he’s been unsure as to if he is ready and such. So we’ve been explaining to him for a while that if he is waiting till he’s perfect, he will never get baptized, so it was nice to finally get a date fixed with him. 
For the first part of the week, President Morin was in Togo with Elder Curtis and his wife, as they stopped there first. Then on Thursday they flew into Cotonou, so we went to pick them up there. It was the first time I met Elder Curtis, but it was awesome no doubt, its incredible how much light one person can bring into a room, or just being in their presence. He was the nicest person ever, and had a really funny sense of humor as well; his wife was super nice and smiley like all the wives of 70's. We brought them back to the mission, and were able to spend some good time with them. I don’t even know how they do it though; on Sunday he was in Ghana, then Togo for two days, then Benin for two days, then Nigeria for the weekend. And they have hardly any rest time, yet they are so inspired and you wouldn’t even know all the work they’ve done. It was a super cool experience getting to be with him, so I hope to not forget that. That same day a couple hours after getting in, we had a devotional with the members in Cotonou. It was actually really impressive, as they only had about a one-week notice, which is sketchy here. Yet there were still hundreds of members that showed up, so it was really good to see their faith. One of the coolest parts I noticed with Elder Curtis, is that when he is in a meeting, he waits till he gets their and sees everyone there, that he pulls a notebook out, then stops, and starts thinking and listening for different things he should talk about. It was interesting to see someone that is that good at hearing the impressions of the spirit, they can do that. He gave a very simple talk, but it was super powerful at the same time. He talked as well about how we are hoping for the first building in Benin next year, along with the first Stake. Then on Friday we had the conference with him with only the missionaries, so we left there early to go set up for that and get everything ready. That like all the other mission conferences with 70's was great, but this on was very spiritual and was an awesome meeting. He talked a lot about obedience and brotherhood, which are both probably the two biggest weaknesses in the mission. It was interesting though, as he was able to correct us and tell us to be better, but in a very very loving way. It was cool talking with people after as well, as everyone could see stuff they had to improve on, but were positive at the same time, as the spirit was so strong and he did it in such a loving way. One of the things that he said that I loved was what Elder Holland had told them, in that the hours between when you wake up, and go out to teach will either make or break your mission. Everyone knows studies and everything in the morning are important, but it was interesting to hear it that way, but is very true at the same time. Those men are incredible and so inspired. It was probably my favorite visit that we’ve had no doubt. 
That took up about half the day, so by night we didn’t have much more time, and had to take some missionaries around. Today I’ve been pretty busy as well, as I had to wash the clothes and clean the apartment, as it’s been a few weeks since we’ve had a real P-day, with being so busy. It’s been really nice though at the same time, and the time is flying by! Elder Izekor is still catching on the driving aspect, so that’s getting better. We will be having a huge transfer in a few weeks with a bunch of new missionaries coming in, so we’ve been and will be very busy with that as well. 

        Things are still good with the work as well!  Thanks for all the love and support! I miss you guys a ton!

                                    Elder Oliverson
Elder Curtis's visit.