Monday, December 15, 2014

He has said it’s that part that has been missing.

Bonjour!                                                                                                                         12/15/2014

  This past week has been a pretty great one, and had a lot of changes. Sunday night I had my last weekly dinner with the couple and President, so that was kind of a bummer:)! Monday we went back to Togo for the beginning of the transfer to pick up the sister missionaries there, so that took up a lot of the day. That night we had a little FHE with Rebecca’s family. It was really sad to have to say goodbye to them, but I know I’ll see them again soon in passing by the bureau, but they’re doing really well also! Mama Rebeccah has called me like every evening since I’ve been here in Calavi.                 
Tuesday was supposed to be the arrival of the big group of new missionaries, but turns out they switched it up to Wednesday. So we had the departure of the 4 Americans, Elder Rybin, Potter, Hales, and Garza. Its still really weird every time you see someone go home, but its getting a lot more strange as the groups going home didn’t get here too far before I did.  It was sad seeing them go, but won’t be long before I see them again either so that will be good! Wednesday came along with the arrival of the huge group of missionaries, which took up about the entire day. It was exhausting no doubt. There were a lot of really cool new missionaries and a lot of Americans coming in as well. Along with that I got my new companion! Sure enough he did the classic Congolese name change. So instead of coming in as Elder Tshiunza his name is now Elder Kasonga. He’s pretty awesome though. He comes from a family of about 11 kids, with a very very humble home to say the least. Sure enough he is actually a very humble person, which is awesome, and every few minutes asks me what he can do better. Along with that he honestly mirrors just about everything I do, so it’s a little worrying sometimes and keeps me on my toes. Ha-ha, it’s been a little tough though. I forgot a bit what it was like to be a new missionary, and when remembering back to how I was, not knowing really how to effectively teach the gospel, let alone speak French, I could say my comps had a ton of patience with me. So I’ve been doing my best to show him the same. Its been tough though as I’ve had to teach him first how to get his money out, then how to buy food and such, then how to cook, how to clean and all the above. But he’s catching on to everything really quickly! He’s really quiet like I said, but super nice as well, so I’m doing my best to help him to continue to grow, and he’s doing really well as he is super teachable. 
Luckily in the apartment there is Elder Agui who is an Ivorian who is teaching him a ton too about how to live here, so that’s helped out as well. In the apartment there is Elder Hansen who is a new American, and he’s pretty cool, and Elder Kongolo another Congolese. And then Elder Destribois a French.  The best way I can describe Destribois is he is about the exact twin of that one kind of obnoxious kid from polar express. He’s hilarious though, and is probably honestly one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He’s super intellectual, and knows everything about almost every subject; along with that he speaks the best French I’ve ever heard, so it’s been nice living with him. I love the apartment though as its super nice, (for here) and there are a lot of good missionaries in it. The last week has been a little tough though as we arrived, me and my comp in our area around 11:30 pm. then waking up early the next morning and getting to work in the brand new secteur. I feel a little bad for my comp, as its never easy opening up a secteur, let alone as a new missionary. We’ve been super blessed though at the same time. There is a special spirit with new missionaries and even though he doesn’t have all the techniques and such down, he is still very powerful. 
This past week we’ve found many new Amis, and have been able to keep ourselves really busy. Probably the best miracle was finding a guy named Eli. He lives a bit far, but his dad is a Nigerian pastor. He was very open to the message, and explained to us that he knows the Bible to an extent is not complete, in that it seems there is stuff missing. Sure enough we’ve helped him find the Book of Mormon, and he’s absolutely loved it, and has said it’s that part that has been missing. Out of all the Amis I’ve had he is no doubt one of the smartest, and the one who has the Bible almost memorized, so he’s been tearing apart the Book of Mormon. This past Sunday after he showed up to church, so we felt very blessed after just a few days to already have someone in progress like him. We went back to teach him that night about the restoration and had an amazing lesson, he understands extremely well its surprising, and you can clearly see he is someone that has been prepared in advance by the questions he asked. For example he was talking about Jean 3:5 where it notes that man must be baptized by water and the spirit to enter into the kingdom of God. And explained that in most churches he only sees really the half of that. On Sunday though we had a confirmation so it was a stellar example for him. That night while visiting him we were able to fix a baptismal date for the 13th of January so were pretty excited about that no doubt. We’re looking forward to it as well as even just one convert like that can help us bring many more into the church. Along with that we’ve found a few families that are doing great as well. But I can see that as both of us have been striving to be obedient, we’ve been greatly blessed in finding many people to teach, and good serious Amis as well. 
Our secteur is super far from the church though, and we end up taking a little bus to get there, which is tough. Along with that it will make it really difficult to get Amis to church but it should be good. The secteur is up in the north west of Calavi, so pretty far from everything and calm and tranquil, it reminds me a lot of Kegue, my first secteur in Togo. Because of the distance from the church though we’ve been talking with President about creating a group up here in our apartment, and he said whenever we’re ready we are good to go, so we will have to see how that goes. Like I’ve said it’s been only a few days, but were already starting to see good success in the work, which is nice. The Branch here is pretty awesome. It’s a little small as it’s only existed a couple months, but there are some solid members, and actually the District President lives here. This past Sunday a lot of the leaders were there as they released the District President, and ended up calling a new District Presidency, I think in preparation for the Stake which is not far off. The new District President is President Kpadonou, he is Beninois, but lived in the ivory coast a lot of his life, and is a returned missionary, and sealed in the Temple. The interesting part is he’s very young, just in his 30s or so, but he will do a great job. Calavi has been great though, and I love my companion as well, he’s coming along pretty fast with everything. It’s been exhausting lately, but it feels really good getting back in the secteur. I hope all is going well there, I love and miss you all a ton!
                                                                                                                    Elder Oliverson

Me and Elder Merrill after the transfers. We were dead tired:)
Sister Precious. She's is Nigerian. She works in the bureau and does a ton for the church. She speaks English, French, Lingala, font, Mina and Yoruba so shes pretty helpful.
Saying goodbye to mama Rebeccah.

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