Monday, October 28, 2013

The Heavens Help Those Who Help Themselves

Better pic of me and my new comp. Yeah... he's a little bit shorter than I am! But 5 years older than me! About the tie: Elder Kapuku baptized someone who makes beaded ties by hand. A call, 6000 francs, and a few weeks later... I get two cool beaded ties. One of Benin and one of Togo.This one is Togo, of course!
(Love the photo bombers in the back! Is that Elder Jenkins? -Fro)

Another week gone by in a place otherwise known as “Come and See”… well, I’m really not sure what there is to see in my sector but, as always, I’m trying to make the most of it. 

My first full week with my new companion has been a successful one in my books. As always, we were a little lacking on the lessons front, but I’ve come to learn that it’s not always the number of lessons that make a missionary successful or not… rather, it’s the amount of people that the missionary knows and talks to that’s important! 

That is why this week, my companion and I have been trying to make a huge effort in trying to find new people to teach. We have about 3-5 amis that we’re keeping from the time I was with my old companion and know we’re just trying to find new people to teach. Unfortunately, that means doing OVB… a missionary’s least favorite thing to do, especially when that means doing “porte-à-porte” meaning going door-to-door. Last week, when my companion wanted to do it, the very first home we walked into was surrounded by tons of weird dried fish and like 10 old ladies who I knew (right off the bat) did not speak any French! My comp tried to speak to them but he soon realized that here in Togo, a LOT of people do not speak French, much more than in Benin that is! To make a not too long story shorter, it was a complete failure and my new comp soon realized that door-to-door really does well...stink! 

However, last Sunday I decided that we would set a goal to meet a new person every day. I kinda just said it in passing, but well… I think the Lord took me seriously and I’m glad He did. Whether it was through our own efforts (in talking to people on the streets) or God just placing people in our path, we managed to find a new person almost every day since! I didn’t count Saturday and Sunday (I’ll explain that later) but I thought that was pretty cool! I’m not really sure if they will progress or not, but both my companion and I were very excited to see this mini miracle happen. Just goes to show, if you put in your effort, the heavens really do help those who help themselves! 

Kegue Building Dedication

Lots of people, lots of food!

About Saturday and Sunday, the new and most exciting out here in Togo for the Church is the fact that we were able to finally dedicate the new Church building up in Kegue! How about them apples?! It only took six months to dedicate it, but at least it’s finally done. On Saturday, they organized a huge activity where people came to learn more about the Church and who we are exactly. I can’t really say that it turned out to be a success (there were a lot of people) but it was just pretty awfully organized. For some reason, we watched a lot of Church videos from Youtube that were in English… meaning, because of the poor video quality and because of the fact that it was in English, nobody understood what was going on! Well, the Americans did, but I don’t think they threw the activity for us. 

However, not all was lost as there was a ton of food! And, as with Church activities back in the States, it’s the FOOD that really counts! I didn’t get to eat that much because my group didn’t prepare anything (that’s a very long story in and of itself) but I did get to drink a lot of beesap and citron (two local juices out here). 

Cowboy Stadium of Lome. For some reason, it's all bench seating! We got a chance to go explore it a little bit after the activity on Saturday. I've seen the inside only on TV so it was fun to go in it and actually see it. I would be scared to death to watch a sporting event there as nothing is up to American building codes, so the massive crowds would most definitely kill you if you're not careful!

On Sunday, we went to the dedication of the building. We had one of the local Area 70 come do the dedication (he’s from Cote d’Ivoire and happens to be from Elder Digbe’s ward!). He was the one who offered the dedicatory prayer and it was really great. Very spiritual and I think it was much needed after the disastrous activity from the day before.  Unfortunately, I had to miss most of the talks that were given by the district president, the Mission President and his wife, and some other speakers. Why? Well, I had to try and direct the Nigerian Brother John to the Kegue building.  I missed a bit of it but it was worth it because at least Brother John finally found the building and he got to listen to the dedicatory prayer be translated by one of the Nigerian elders (Elder Imokuede, from those of you who remember my days at Tokoin!). 

Anyway, it was a fun weekend! We didn’t get to do much in terms of actual missionary work, but it was a nice break from the routine that I’m so used to doing on a week-to-week basis! It’s been a while since the mission has thrown together a nice mission activity for us (last time was in March) so I think it was well worth it. 

Another funny little thing that happened this week....President Weed made a surprise visit! He had just finished a week in Accra (Africa West Presidents meeting for mission presidents, stake presidents, etc.). He had decided to drive there because of some scheduling problems and on his way back, he decided to give us a surprise visit since we're not even a half mile away from the Ghana/Togo border! The funny thing is that we had just cleaned the apartment that morning (we weren't able to clean it last Monday because of an activity)... turns out that was pure inspiration! I had even paused in my cleaning that morning and wondered what would happen if the mission did surprise inspections, but shrugged it off thinking, nah, they wouldn't do that, but kept cleaning anyway. Thankfully, when there was a knock on the door and it turned out to be President Weed, the appartement was nice and proper! *phew* I really like President Weed, he is a really cool person. I'll be sad to see him go before the end of my mission!

Maybe you should save this for may actual year mark but the dedication was probably the last time before our year mark that Elder Kunz, Elder Seidl, and I would be together! (Ok, I couldn't save it until the year mark - 17 days from today -  I was too excited to see those three faces together.  Yay for MTC comps! - Fro)

Well, not too much more to report on this week. I’m doing great! Training is still a bit tough and there’s a long way to go in terms of my comps training, but ca va aller, as we say! We’re finding people to teach which is a great first step… though we did take a step back in that none of our amis came to Church this past Sunday… ugh… but I’m sure everything will turn out alright. 

Just keep praying that the Lord will put the right people who are ready to hear the Gospel in my path! I think that will be key. Also, pray that we will be able to feel promptings from the Holy Ghost so that we can know who these people are! 

Thanks for the support and the love that you guys are all sending my way! I know the weather is getting cold in the states, but I guess that means you’re also sending more heat my way… that I could do without! Take it easy everyone! 

Elder Hawkins

Note from the Fro: And the OTHER good news is....the mission office found his package which had arrived in Benin on Oct.1st but could not be found!  Hopefully he gets it this week. Praying that the work continues to move forward in his sector and that he continues to keep his spirits up and not get too discouraged.  He always "sounds" happy when I'm able to email chat with him on Monday's.  I'm so grateful for that! (both the positive attitude AND the ability to email chat, that is...!) 

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