Monday, September 9, 2013

And Charity Suffereth Long...

So... Matilde hasn't come in like 2 weeks which forced me to do my own laundry. Be thankful for laundry machines. They are an amazing invention, one that has allowed America to progress in amazing ways. I am convinced that America is as advanced as it is because of the fact that we don't waste so much time hand washing laundry!

Hello World!
Well, here I am... back and better than ever. Well... or the same as ever. Maybe with more gray hairs and more acne because I've been using shampoo as shaving cream for the past week, but that's okay! I'm here and that's what counts.

This week was a pretty up and down week to be honest with you all. Transfers were this week (first since last month) and, well... nobody in our apartment was hit with transfers. I was absolutely positive that I was leaving this sector, but it just didn't happen. However, because I wasn't moved out of here, that means that I will be in this sector for quite some time. Why do I say that? Because I will probably "kill" my companion (who goes home on my birthday!) and, with 21 new missionaries coming in October... the chances are that I will probably be training... meaning, unless I have visa problems, I will be in Nyekonakpoe/Kodjoviakope for a very, very long time. 

So that's really the only big news for the week. That and I'm wearing white ankle socks with my missionary attire for the day because I washed all my socks today. I'll be honest, I do look fashionable but I don't think I'll be doing this any time soon back home.

On my interesting-foods-that-I-ate-this-week front, I have a new one to add to the list! Sugar cane! I've known about sugar cane for a while, but I have been waiting for the right opportunity to try it. Which really just means that I've been waiting for somebody to buy some for me. Thankfully, our ami Viviane (who has come to Church a few times) was just chatting with us and stopped a lady selling it on top of her head.

Sugar Cane Lady cutting sugar cane.

Just to give you a heads up, before I knew that it was actually sugar cane they were selling, I thought these women were just selling firewood on top of their head because it really does just look like kindling. But, what they do is they chop off all the bark stuff and cut it up into little pieces. 

My wood sugar cube!

As you can imagine, I was excited to eat it because it's (1) an exotic food and (2) SUGAR. Who doesn't love sugar!?! So I popped in the first piece and well... it basically tastes like eating pure sugar. It is surprisingly watery and juicy. I was enjoying it for the first 10 seconds but then it just turned into splintery wood... I was under the impression that it just dissolved in your mouth like candy, but I guess wood doesn't have the tendency to do that... so after chewing it for like a minute wondering whether to swallow or just spit out the rest on the ground, because it was getting gross just chewing on wood. Tasted a lot like toothpick actually. I ended up following my comp and spitting it on the ground right next to me and making a little pile.

What happens to my wood sugar cube, times 10! You would think those wood scraps came from a wood shop or something! Nope! Just my mouth! 

So yeah, it's pretty good! Except... after your 10th cube... you get kinda sick of it. I got so sick of it that for the rest of the afternoon I could not eat anything sweet, even my water that I put juice packs in! Everything was too sweet for me. However, it was good and I won't refuse it if anyone buys it for me but it's just a little too sweet for me after a while! But, if I had to describe fresh sugar cane in four words, I would say sweet watery flavored wood. Yup, that about describes it.

Hmmm... let's see what else. This week I went on my 3rd split to Tokoin (my old apartment) and was comps with Elder Kabedeh for a day. He is really awesome! He is actually from Liberia (only missionary to represent Liberia in the mission). His English is... well, I was surprised to hear that they speak English in Liberia. During our whole split we spoke French the entire time, so that should give you an idea of my understanding of his English. 

Still, it was great to see their sector because I already know a lot of people from there. Most of them still remembered me too! We ended up teaching tons of people and I had a lot of fun with him... but the most rewarding thing was at the end of the night, we were at the Tokoin branch building where I ran into Samuel, one of my recent converts from Wuiti. Turns out he's doing strong in the Church and he's getting married! Elder Jenkins (who replaced me in Wuiti) and I connected the dots and we figured out that they are actually teaching his fiancĂ© right now! How cool is that?! I'm super happy for him! 

To tell you the truth though, for all the lack of success I'm having in my sector, I'm happy to see that a lot of the things I did back in Wuiti are producing good fruits! For one, Attiogbe is now having his family take the missionary lessons (he even got to baptize his daughter last week himself which I thought was so awesome!). Samuel had his mother baptized and now his fiancĂ© will soon follow. Alex, the son of the branch president of Wuiti, has been going on splits with Elder Jenkins and his comp very frequently too. So even though success isn't coming quickly to the sector I'm working in right now, I'm thankful that through my efforts the old branch that I was in is continuing to grow. 

Hopefully the same will happen to Nyekonakpoe. The sector is still tough but things are getting better. We do get amis to come to Church and we do have some people progressing  We don't find many people to teach throughout the week, but I know that this little group here is getting stronger... slowly but surely. In our weekly meeting with the Group Leader, we asked him if there was anything we could do for the group as a whole. The only thing that he asked was that we would stay for a little while so that we could help get this group turned into a branch... turns out his wish was our President's command because we will be here for a while! 

I am happy though... you can ask Elder Haggard, but I may or may not have gone through the five stages of mourning after hearing that I wasn't moved out. I've finally hit the acceptance stage and I'm happy that I'm still out here in this little nook between Ghana and Togo. Sure it's tough, but life's not fair, right Sur? I could complain, but I won't! Just gotta keep working hard and hoping that something happens because of the work and effort that I put into this area! 

Thanks for all the love and support you guys are sending me! Don't worry about me though... I'm still fighting! Hope you all have a wonderful week and don't forget to send me a postcard or something!


Elder Hawkins
P.S. Scripture of the week: Moroni 7:45. 

Note from the Fro: He really was in good spirits this week. Despite having to do his own laundry by hand and staying in his sector for a bit longer.  I'm glad he gets to visit his old sector every once in awhile!  He got our postcards that we sent from the beach back in August, which made him happy. And I also find it interesting he chose this scripture this week.  Obviously it's a very apt reminder for him (and us!) each day, but also interesting because out of ALL the scripture mastery scriptures this year, yesterday I chose THIS one to teach! Great minds.

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