Saturday, January 4, 2014

Just Another Yovo Day Down in Africa

The Cauldron Chair. Surprisingly, not very comfortable after a 45 minute lesson!
From an ami's house. They actually do use these pots all the time to prepare food on the side of the roads!

L'ami de l'église: 

Scrub, scrub, scrub. Laundry, laundry, laundry. Washing, washing, washing. I'm Beninois and I love doing laundry by hand! Alright, now let me just take these wet clothes and hang them up on the line.

OH NO! The missionaries are here! Goodness, is it really Thursday afternoon at 16h00? Wow, according to my phone it's 16h45... goodness they are right on time! I thought they wouldn't even be coming today. 

Oh, "bon soir! Comment ça va?" Well, I hope they don't mind that I didn't sweep the sand in front of my parcel... ehhh... I'll do it anyway, I just wouldn't feel right if it wasn't all nice and swept up! Yovos really like nice and neat things anyway! 

Okay, now where did I put those little benches of mine. I hope the neighbors kid's didn't steal them again and use them to dissect the dead lizard again. I think there are still some lizard guts on that one stool actually. 

Alright, found a couple of stools... let me just put them down for them. Jeez, that big white guy is really sweating up a storm. Haha... oh yovos... sometimes I wonder why they even come here because it's so hot here in Africa! Oh wait, it's Harmatton... it's freezing right now and he's still sweating! Haha oh yovos. 

Goodness I hope they don't ask me to say the prayer again. I really like talking to these guys, but I never know what to say during these prayers. I'm so used to seeing my pastor pray for me... he uses all these weird names for God that I can never remember! How am I supposed to remember all of those weird crazy names?! 

Oh good... my Ivorian brother will say the prayer... *phew* 

Dang it... looks like the Yovo caught onto the fact that I really don't like to pray... now he's taking out his little Book of Mormon book bible... Alma 37:37... jeez, what kind of name is Alma? Yovos sure do like weird names... why are there never any Bible prophets named Koffi, Kwami, or Kodjo? Gotta love those Ks! 

"Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day."

Hmm... Counsel... never really thought of prayer that way. I thought it was just another way to shout praises to the Lord. You know, I really never thought that about prayer like that... as a communication or council with the Lord. 

Ahhh... now the Good Book... I really do love this Bible that I bought for only 3000 francs. It's old and tattered but the word that's in it is what counts. However, I still have no idea where Matthew is... maybe it's near Jeremiah?

WOW... look at the tabs on the Yovo's bible. Now that's advanced Western technology there! Wooooowwwww soooo amazing. I wish I had that

Okay... FOCUS now FOCUS... okay, let's see I'm supposed to read what verses? Okay, Matthew 7:7-10... 

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?"

That would be kinda weird... getting a stone instead of the bread you asked for! I guess it is true... a good Father will always give his Son what he has need of! Does one really only have to ask and then he will receive? That's an amazing blessing of the Good Lord! 

Wow, you know what... I really do like this concept of prayer! I guess it's not just reciting something or singing praises to the Lord! It's communication that counts, not just what you say! 

OH no! They want me to pray now! Well... okay then... here we go...

Okay... that wasn't too hard! Maybe I'll keep on doing that! That's pretty cool actually! 

Alright not too bad... that was a nice little lesson. I told the missionaries that I would be there this coming Saturday at 16h00 but you never know when the next Emergency Family Meeting might pop up! 

Hey, I wonder where that yovo, errr... Elder Wayhkins got his glasses! They are pretty stylish! Yovos are so funny... always wearing glasses for style! And I wonder where he got that ring too... I guess that means he's married? Where's his wife then? 

Alright, see you later missionaries! Thanks for coming! 


Elder Hawkins:

Great... late yet again to another lesson. I guess that little rule in that missionary handbook never does really apply out here in Africa... I remember learning in marching band that, "If you're early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late. And if you're late, that's unacceptable." Here in Africa, it seems to be, "If you're late, you're on time. If you're on time, you're early. If you're early, that's just weird." 

Oh... doing laundry, yet again! Gosh these people seem to be doing never ending amounts of laundry all the time... that's probably why their hands are so dang rough and calloused. 

Okay, okay man you don't need to sweep the sand/dirt... dirt is dirt whether it's been swept or not... actually... for some weird reason, I do think it does just feel a little bit neater when everything is all swept up. It kinda reminds me of the streaks the vacuum would leave after vacuuming the carpet! 

Hmmm... this stool seems like it's about to break because it's so darn woobly. Ehhh... probably not. I've sat on worse... hmmm... what's this weird greasy stuff on the side? Is that victago? (African menthol herbal rub). Eww... not really sure what this is... well... let's just hope it's not lizard guts!

Oh gosh... it's so hot right now... I know it's the cold season and it's dry but I still sweat like a pig for some reason. People just don't understand that it's not like I want to sweat all the time! I think people here believe I make the choice to sweat! Ugh! All those times people told me, "oh your body will get used to it," HA! Lies! I just got used to sweating all the time! Although, maybe that's what they meant? 

Okay, what are we supposed to teach today... ahhhhhh... woops, forgot to bring my planner to the lessson! Errrr... jeezzzzz... goodness what did we plan on teaching again!?!?!?!?!?! Well, this guy really doesn't seem to want to pray... maybe he doesn't know how? I feel like that's what stops a lot of people from praying here... they just don't know how which makes them feel like they don't know what to say! Alright... that's a good lesson! Prayer! 

Hmmmm... what's a good prayer scripture... okay, let's flip to a random page in the Book of Mormon... ah ha! Perfect Alma 37:37! This has to be one of my favorite prayer scriptures because it has specific directions for us to follow and then gives us really amazing promises from it too. Sometimes, I wonder what my life would be like without prayer and I realize that it wouldn't be good because I feel so much better when I take the time out to pray... even if it's just a little thought in my head or if it's a long prayer before I go to bed and when I wake up... it's all the same. I can tell you one thing... without prayer, I would not be able to communicate with these people, that's for sure! 

A quote that I loved from the MTC (though I'm not sure where it's from) is "Kneel before God so you can stand before men." That really is true and it reminds me that the source of my strength really does come from God before it comes from men or even myself... even though some people might find that corny, typical God talk... it's the truth! 

Well, he seemed to really like that scripture we shared... I think another good one would be from Matthew 7:7-10... I really love the imagery the Lord uses because I think it's something that even a child could understand. What kind of person would give someone a rock when they asked for a fish?! It just doesn't make sense! So why wouldn't God give you what you ask for that is just? 

Well, let's see if the lesson worked. I'm going to ask him to pray! 

Okay, he didn't say no... so here we go...

Wow! You see! It's so easy to pray... sometimes I think people believe that prayer is some long winded speeches that we have to say to God when in reality it's quite the opposite! Just say what's in your heart, whether it be long or short, and He will listen! The Lord has promised that in so many different scriptures, I don't think I can count them all! 

Alright, time to get going now... already late for the next lesson obviously! What's new in Africa?! Which means...we're on time actually. 


AND NO... I'M NOT MARRIED WHICH IS WHY MY RING IS ON MY RIGHT HAND AND NOT MY LEFT HAND! GAHHHHH!!!!!! I should really carry around a FAQ sheet for my amis because I feel like they ask me the same questions all the time.

Oh well... at the end of the day... whether you're in a lesson, eating a handful of patte, or sweating bullets on the way to a rendez-vous... it's a once in a lifetime experience and with every day being my last here in Africa, I know that I'm here to make the most out of it. I might sound crazy, but sometimes I think I might miss this place at the end of my mission! 

Naaaaaahhhhhh... that's just crazy talk! Onto the next lesson we go! 



Happy New Year!


Elder Hawkins

Hipsta pic of my seltzer water for sienna... oops Sister S-Hawk

Puppies for sale on the side of the street! At least I know where to get them now!

Note from the Fro: This kid.  He just makes me smile!  Always love a little insight on his daily comings and goings.  And yes, the simplicity of prayer.  It's a powerful thing.  Just one question for you all....

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