Monday, January 19, 2015

Grateful for the little things:)

Bonjour!                                                                                             01/19/2015
        This past week has been pretty good. We’ve been able to get more work done as well. Its been nice too as Harmattan all of the sudden just cleared out in a few days, and were back to the really humid hot, which everyone likes more here so we were able to teach more lessons.
        Earlier in the week though we had to head back to the mission home and then to immigration to get my companions residence card, so it was nice being back there again. While we were there me and Elder Bulunga talked to a few people. Its always interesting as a lot of Northern Africans and middle easterners come to Benin for business, so we ran into some Tunisians that were Muslim, and told us from the start that that is one of the most difficult things to do is to convert someone from Islam to Christianity. We had a good time talking to him, and found out that he spoke fluent English, Italian, French, and Arabic as well. That is one of the interesting things I’ve noticed with Europeans and especially the French, is that they tend to speak multiple languages, and always a little English at least.
        Our Amis are progressing along well. We’ve still been working with Olivier and his wife, as they need to work on getting married before the baptism, other than that they are doing wonderful. The other baptismal dates we have are doing great also. The one in particular this week who has done the best is Alfred. I mentioned that he is one of the smartest people I’ve ever taught and teaches English at the university. He’s very sincere and humble though and has loved our message. He’s been reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know of the truthfulness, as he wanted to be sure before going any farther. In our planning for him we talked a little about what we would do if he has already received his answer, and what we would do if he hadn’t. We realized though that it was kind of a lack of faith, wondering if the God has responded or not, so we turned more towards planning on him having already received the response and then helping him from there. We had an awesome lesson with him, and he claimed he hadn’t received the response yet, and wasn’t quite sure. I felt a little like he had though so we started working more on helping him understand that he had received, even if it wasn’t huge. It reminded me of D&C 6:22-23 where the Lord is talking with Oliver Cowdery, as he wanted more confirmation, and the Lord explains that he brought peace to his soul. I’m not sure what the translation is in English but its something like that. But we showed that often the Lord responds in smaller ways, and we need to recognize those, and often if we search for more, we won’t receive them because we won’t accept what he has already given us. I remember hearing before the mission that Africans are a very visionary people, and have been able to see that just a little on the mission. But he started to remember a bit a dream he had had that week where he was somewhere he didn’t know, and there was a man dressed in the same attire that we wear as missionaries, he was holding a book, and told Alfred that the truth is here. That’s all he remembered but said because of that dream he has been putting the effort into read and study, and has seen that he has more assurance spiritually and more peace. Without even asking him, he then asked us when we would have our next baptismal service. He will be getting baptized at the end of this month as we still have to help him prepare a bit more, but I can see already he will be an incredible member of the church, so its been fun teaching him.            
We’ve still been working a lot with our families and are hoping for improvement there, but things are still going pretty well in the secteur. My companion is coming along well with his teaching and there on. He’s still pretty fresh, and a bit timid, but there are some times when you just see that he is on fire and can see he is feeling the spirit. This next week is the departure of Elder Gray, Allred, Buxton, and Peterson. Its pretty crazy as it was the group of Americans that got here right before me and Ringle, showing us that we are now the next to be leaving. Its pretty sad but I’m at the point now where I’m just trying not to think about it to be able to focus in more.
        This past Sunday we had some pretty good meetings. This week I taught the youth class, and the lesson was on how we can recognize the hand of the Lord in our lives. It was interesting as we were talking about the blessings we have and such, and they were bringing up things like, the fact that we woke up this morning, that we have good health, that we have food to eat, because there are other people that don’t have those things. If Americans were to look at these people they would think that they have nothing, and I remember us being thankful for our cars, jobs, and such, but it was really cool seeing the humility and simplicity of their answers, as they are the things we forget so often. All is great here though, I hope all is well there, I love and miss you all a ton!
Elder Oliverson

Larios. Our little member from Calavi thats leaving on his missin to Ghana this week.
Elder Kouao, my old companion, Elder Agui and Me 

This is Lionel. He is a member in our branch and is leaving to Italy soon to play soccer.

Christmas party.

I don't know if you recognize the logo on this guys backpack.

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