Monday, December 29, 2014

Unity in the family

Bonjour,                                                                              12/29/2014

       Things have been good this past week, and it was nice to get to talk to you guys! The week started out with the Christmas party. We started out the day driving a ways to a orphanage just north of Calavi to do a little service project there, where we cleaned bottles, then sang and gave candy to the kids and such. It was really cool to have that opportunity with them for sure. Then Christmas day was a little tough, as even though people don’t really celebrate it here, they still aren’t really ever at home, but luckily we were able to get some teaching in. The work in our secteur is coming along pretty good! This past Sunday we had 4 new Amis at church not including those that were there last week, so we were once again super blessed in the work. 
        Were still working a long with Eli and Jeremie, who were hoping will get baptized in January. They’re some of the smartest people I’ve ever taught, and I’ve still never seen many people that know the Bible as well as they do. Olivier was sick this last week so we didn’t see him as much as we would have liked, but we’re still hoping for his baptism in January. He is no doubt someone who could be a big help to the church here and especially when we start the group in a month. Along with that we have other Amis that are progressing really well also so it’s been a lot of fun still this past week. Its a little exhausting as our secteur is huge and there is a lot of walking, but nice at the same time as we don’t have enough time to see everyone so we have to pick and choose a bit. 
        We worked a little bit in the other secteur this past week with the recent converts over there. One of them is an older lady named Paulette that can’t really walk because her feet are bad, and as a result she can’t really come to church. She’s one of the sweetest ladies ever though and reads the Book of Mormon about all day long. The other is a young man that was baptized a while ago by Elder Layton back in Gbegamey, and then moved here to Calavi. Its a little tough for him as his father lived in France for a while and actually got with the missionaries there, and was baptized, but then fell away and now practices Islam. The young man is awesome though and is at the age to be getting ready for a mission but is having trouble getting to church because of the distance so we’ve been working a lot to motivate him. I also thought about trying to get him more involved and active, as I’ve seen that one of the best ways to stay active in the church is being active in serving and such. So to motivate him and get him going we’ve talked to him about starting to go to shut-in's. As I remember before the mission that is something that I always enjoyed and helped others a lot. We planned to talk to the Branch President then next Sunday we will start taking the sacrament after church to Paulette the older lady that can’t walk. I’m hoping it will be a way to help him feel the spirit of service and at the same time it will help her a lot as well. 
        This past week we worked a lot with some of our Amis that are full families which is always fun, but a little sad at the same time seeing that there are many problems with them. Mostly that the fathers are either very alcoholic or very abusive. We worked a lot with them, but its tough in those situations to really see what you can do at all, but we left them with plenty of commitments in the Book of Mormon figuring that will be one of the best ways of helping them. Sure enough one of the families the Loko’s was at church all together on Sunday, we were figuring most likely just the father, or just the mother, but it was really interesting to see them all together and a good experience for all of us. It was great as the District President who is in our branch and is a returned missionary gave an awesome lesson on the family and the responsibilities of parents and unity in the family and such. It seemed like the perfect lesson for them. So we’re hoping this next week as we pass to see them again we’ll see more changes as well happening. We’ve been really blessed this past week for sure, and also can see that things are very promising for the group we'll be starting up in February. 
      Another kind of funny story this past week. As I said we recently started heading out to a little village west of our secteur, and of course its full of voodoo like none other. There was a family we saw and didn’t really even start teaching but just visited. There is a member that lives there that introduced us to him. He apparently is a big time priest in voodoo and that’s about all he does, people come to him all the time for spells and all that for good health and such. And the member told us that he is scared of us now, and tries to avoid us every time we come out there now, as since the last time we stopped by at his house and taught his kids, he said his spells and all the black magic stuff haven’t been working like usual, so he’s trying to avoid us now. Ha-ha, we thought it was pretty interesting how that worked. But yeah things are going well here, like I said were working like dogs right now but its been great! I hope things continue to go well there this week.

Elder Oliverson
My companion Elder Kasonga and Me

Activity at orphanage.

Part of the service project the week of Christmas.

Me and Mou Tham at the service activity. It was just north of our secteur and we had a pretty good view.

The Christmas party. The older Americans up front with the new ones in the back.

Primary Christmas party.

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