Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekly Craziness from Yours Truly! March 25, 2013

 Hey Everybody!

Things have been going same old, same old out here in Africa. Not too much craziness but here are a few things I've noticed.

This past week, I asked my family to help me out and pray so that I would be able to concentrate during lessons. A lot of time, because I'm usually wiped out because of the heat and walking miles through it, my energy can get really shot during lessons. But this week, I've definitely been noticing a difference. I don't know if my contributions to the lessons have been any different, but I've been able to focus much more than I have been able to before. Even Elder Owusu, who doesn't hand out compliments often to me, told me that he noticed I had been making a much more concerted effort to concentrate. I've also been trying to take notes in lessons so that way I remember specifics about the lessons and won't forget them later in the day or the next day... that has been helping me direct my study efforts so that way I'm not just studying random things! So, yes, of course the prayers worked this week! Thank you very much for the continued support.

But this week has been filled with tons of walking. With the new sector, we've been trying to get familiarized with the new sector as much as we possibly can! We've been meeting lots of new people, but most of them are recent converts... right before Elder Gunderson got here, Elder Kabango baptized 10 people in his 3 months here so it's been a struggle to keep them all coming to church but this week we've been having some good success. Usually, we get about 3 amis coming to church in a week... however, this week we had 6! We were worried because they were all late to sacrament meeting so we thought we were going to have none, but they all showed.

That actually reminds me... one of our new amis is named Antoinette and I've never taught her but we've seen her a few times... and she has a beard and side burns. What. The...? I'm worried for my first lesson with her because I think that concentration you've been praying for might come back to haunt me in a bad way... concentrating on her not-supposed-to-be-there facial hair! However, she did shave it for Church, so now I know she actually does take care of it occasionally... but she seems pretty cool otherwise. I'll let you know how she is next week!

But yeah... nothing too exciting out here... it's been getting up into the 100s everyday so that's been making life all the more interesting. I mean, it's not too different from what we see anyway, but the extra few degrees can be killer.

Oh yeah... we had a beach activity this week! It was for the youth and we stayed there for a few hours... it's not quite like anything I've ever witnessed in the states, that's for sure. All they did was go to the beach and chill out a bit. I think they played some games and ate lunch... honestly, I think it was more just a chill stake activity more than anything else. All I honestly did was talk to the other American missionaries, which is pretty much my go to activity anywhere I go. But... going to the beach made me homesick for the Jersey shore... when I was telling people that, they all thought I was talking about the show (which, by the way, I haven't ever seen a single minute of...)... and I was just like... you have got to be kidding me... people in PA don't go to the beach... we go to the shore... come on!

The water looked really nice, but apparently, there's some hidden grossness about it that people avoid so I guess I'm not going to be hanging out at the beach anytime soon! We'll see, I suppose.

Not many more crazy food adventures like the past weeks... so sorry about that! Oh... the worst news EVER came out last week... the FanIce machine out here in Togo is broken so they've stopped making it! I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned FanIce before, but here, the frozen treats are all from FanMilk which is a big brand out here that makes dessert, ice cream type treats... you can get tons of different things, but they're all made with powedered milk so you know... nothing like ice cream but out here their golden because they're sweet and COLD! Cold is key out here in Africa! They're also only like 20 cents or so for a little sachet (or, you could say a little plastic wrapper bag thingy). What you do is you buy it and rip the corner off and just drink it/enjoy. They do the same thing with water here too (yes, most people here drink their water out of bags!). Anyway, my favorite was FanIce (a vanilla flavored thingy) and they stopped making it. Thankfully, FanLait is mostly the same thing so it's not that bad! But still... it's the little things that count, right!

Well, I guess I got to be going right now. Sorry that the letter isn't too long this week, but the hours at the cyber have been cut short and I had a ton of letters to respond to this week! Thank you to everyone who wrote to me this week, they are much appreciated! If I didn't get a chance to respond to you this week, you'll be at the top of the list next week for sure!

Miss you all! Thank you for the prayers and support!

With love,

Elder Hawkins

Note from the Fro: I am posting the letter this week sitting under the palm trees, with an ocean breeze in Miami, so I'm sorry if my usual formatting is a little off as it's not quite the same posting from an iPad! A big thanks to all who prayed for our Elder this week. I told him that each week I'd ask him for something specific that we could pray for. It's a small thing, but just knowing we're behind him helps a lot I think! So this week we're going to pray that he and his comp are able to work well together through the added stress of a new sector AND the heat. He said they have problems sometimes, but are still able to work through them. I can only imagine as they've been together for quite some time already! If you have time to shout out a prayer or two for our boy this week, I know he'll feel that support. Today I taught him how to make guacamole and how to tell when a chicken is fully cooked. Funny kid! He said avocados are EVERYWHERE and I told him if he wants something to taste better, just slice one up, they make everything better in my book! ;)

Picture captions:

Elder Owusu always puts his hat on his face when the dust whips up! It's pretty funny and we were finally able to get a picture of it because the wind was so strong! He also does it to scare the kids on the side of the street, but usually they just look confused.

This was the Calzone I had last Monday... it was absolutely fantastic!!! It had mushrooms, tons of cheesy bread, and it was PACKED with meat!!!!!!!! It was absolutely amazing. Totally worth the $10!

Me and Elder Gunderson... cool dude. 'nuff said.

This is the beach! Looks nice huh? Off in the background, you can see some of the many ships that dot the Lome harbor. A lot of times they just sit there because the docks here in Lome are too shallow to fit them... so they have to get a bunch of smaller ships to get the cargo into the port. Oh Africa...

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