Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Elder Legbanon and I... the FIGHTIN' NYEKONAKPOEANS (pic taken at the cyber just for Fro)

And the roller coaster continues! 

Wow, what a crazy week this one has been... but the big news first, I am finally un "père"!

Yup, mon fils has finally made it out to the mission field and his name is Elder Legbanon, the very first Beninois missionary to serve in the Benin Cotonou mission. He is one awesome dude! Here's a little information about him...

First, Elder Legbanon was only baptized into the Church about two years ago, ironically by one of the only Togolais missionaries to serve in the Benin Cotonou mission! Back in Benin he worked as an ironsmith (building doors, window frames, furniture, etc... apparently he wants all the furniture in his house to be made of iron... errrrr... okay). He used to live in the middle of Benin but moved down to Cotonou due to family problems from back home. Because of that he dropped out of school from an early age but took up an apprenticeship as an ironsmith which he has been doing for a number of years (he's about 26 years old now!).

In terms of the Church, he grew up as part of a church called the "Christanisme Celeste" which is a church that I think might only exist in Africa. But he found the Church because one day, they pushed back his Church service, which he thought was really weird. I think he had problems with them before but he was tired of them at that point. So, knowing that he wanted to go to Church and respect the Sabbath day, he prayed to God that he would find the right Church to go to... and well, just like that he saw our Church with the sign on the outside. He went in and asked the missionaries if this was really a Church... and well, the rest is history, He was baptized just a few months later and has been in love with the Church ever since!

He is a really great guy though... someone who is always trying to please his neighbor and be friends with just about everybody he meets. I really don't believe there is a bad bone in him. Also, happily for us, he is a cook! And a good one at that! So now, he makes us breakfast, lunch, and dinner and it's not even bad either. However, he hasn't made pate yet and he was really sad to find out that Elder Digbe and I REFUSED flat out that he make pate for us. We told him that if he wanted it, that he could make it for himself and Elder Digbe's companion (he's Congolais so he likes pate too) but as for us, we would just eat something else... I think that about crushed his little heart! He is convinced that he can try to convert us to liking pate! No. thank. you.

It's a bit weird though... now I'm finally on the other side of the companionship as a trainer and a senior companion. Every single thing that we do together is a flash back to my first few days on my mission. It is absolutely surreal sometimes! Everything that we do together just makes me feel like I was doing this only yesterday with Elder Kiputa when I first got here: falling asleep during companionship study, lessons, and personal study, never talking during lessons because I was still in shell shock mode, ahhh... good times really! 

It's interesting though as now I'm the one who controls the lessons, decides what we do, and knows how to do everything. It's definitely an interesting dynamic that I had never known as a junior companion. However, my biggest fear is tiring out like some of my former companions did. So, my goal is to make sure that I try and stop... remember what it was like being a junior companion! Being just a little guy is tough!

However, one of the hard things about being a trainer is trying to show my comp an example! He is like a little puppy in that he follows EVERYTHING that I do, like how I write in my planner for example. So, now I have been forcing myself to get up on time, to work out in the mornings, to do all my studies on time, to go to bed on time, etc. I don't know if he recognizes everything I do as the rules yet (he's in a little shell shock period of his own too!) but it's the example that counts. That's one thing that really stuck out to me when Elder Kiputa trained me... was that he always tried to show me a good example and that has always stuck with me... so, like a good father, I'm trying to do the same thing for him!

Other than the new companion thing, things out here have been same old, same old! Nothing new to report on. Although, another interesting thing now is that I'm the only American and English speaker in the apartment, which I have never gone through on my mission. Needless to say, now it's French 24/7 nonstop. It's good for the French skill, but wow... is it tiring! However, it's cool to be able to communicate with all of them and get to know them all a little bit better. Elder Edwards, my zone leader and someone who just got out of living in an all African apartment for 4 months or so, told me that the best way to get through it is to just talk to everyone and get to know them like you would an American! I mean, it makes perfect sense really but I guess sometimes the constant French makes it tiring. However, I have felt like I have really gotten to know these guys well in talking and chatting with them.

Anyway, the time is getting short so I best be going now. Keep praying that my companion and I will meet more people to teach this week. I know that he has the energy to do it, but sometimes I doubt that I do! However, I know that I can do it. Only I have the power within me to do it, don't I?
Have a great week everyone! Be great!

Elder Hawkins

My dream come true! SO, background information. People always say here that they know how to speak english "small small"... freaking nigerian english... I always joked around with Elder Shearer that if I ever made an English class, I would make signs that said "Learn English BIG BIG"... well, I recently had some inspiration to give members handouts to give to their classmates so that they will come to my english class... and well... I just had to take advantage of the opportunity.

Note from the Fro: WOOHOO! He has a great companion!  He's thriving and happy and worried that he's going to gain weight with a chef as a comp, haha. Also, you may have missed it, but remember the Starlight Express song I posted a couple months ago?  The one we'd always sing to him when he doubted himself?  Yeah, I LOVED that he slipped in a reference to it right there at the end..."Only I have the power within me.." Yes, Elder Hawkins, you do.  We hope you use it Big, Big too!

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