Saturday, April 19, 2014

Testimony? Check!

Armand at the baptism

Well... just another week gone by here in Benin... 

I guess I'll start with the highlight of the week... which happened today with Armand's baptism! And I was even the one who did the baptism, which was pretty fun. It's been a good while since I've been able to get into the baptismal font but it was pretty crazy today... there were 18 baptisms today in Benin so the church was PACKED with people. 

I was really happy to be able to baptize Armand though... every time we taught him, I was just amazed at how prepared he was for everything. In fact, earlier this week, we were gearing up to teach him about the law of Chastity. Now... as you can imagine, two 21 year old missionaries introducing another 21 year old guy something about sexual purity and chastity is probably one of the most awkward things ever. Before the lesson, Lala and I were just talking about how this will either make or break the baptism because the Law of Chastity is a tough commandment for people to keep here. 

But, in typical Armand fashion, he put us to shame. Why? Because HE TAUGHT US about the law of Chastity instead! During the lesson, we were explaining stuff and then I asked the question. "Why do you think this is an important commandment to follow?" Then he basically explained everything about it, the numerous amounts of blessings that come from it, and continued to tell us that it was already an important part of his life to begin with. After he explained that, Elder Lala and I were just like, "well... you pretty much already know and have a strong testimony about that... so we'll just leave." Haha just kidding but that's what we wanted to do because Armand is probably the best example of somebody I have seen that was prepared by the Lord! 

And it was pretty much like that for all the other lessons we taught him too. Word of Wisdom? Well turns out that he had an uncle that would drink and use drugs all the time and it ruined his and his family's chances to live in France. Testimony? check. Tithing and Fast Offerings? Ooh, well, he's already born his testimony in Church on fast Sunday and is already down with paying tithing and wants to pay it! Testimony? check. Honestly, this list can go on and on and on because he is just that cool! He keeps telling us that he doesn't want to wear a white shirt and tie until he receives the priesthood because, well, I don't know why but he feels like that's when it will be his duty to wear priesthood attire.

Otherwise, life has been pretty busy. Three missionaries returned home this week, finishing their missions this week so we got to hang out with them for a day or two. We also ordered Elder Lala's flight plans since he only has three months to go on his mission (scary stuff!). We've been gearing up for Porto Novo as well, as we will officially be opening up the Church in a city that's not Cotonou nor Lome for the first time in the mission! 

Goodness, I am really running out of things to say this week. I think the sun has been beating just a little too much on my head this week because I feel fried up there. It has been super hot lately (that's I how feel rainy season is here... rainy hours and then the rest of the days are just super hot). It's not officially rainy season yet but it has started to rain numerous times throughout the week. 

Okay, one thing I will make a comment about is this little map that my friend Steph sent to me this week. She asked me if the things that were on the map were actually true about the nations. I can't talk about every country but here is my list of African countries and what they are "known" for, from a white kid living in Benin's perspective.

Benin: The map says "bad driving" and they're spot on. Why are they known for that? Motos, lack of real driving schools, lack of car controls which means that cars break down all the time. 2nd place: voodoo.

Togo: The map didn't say anything about Togo but here's what I'll say: patte. Never seen a people more obsessed with wet cornflower than the Togolais. 2nd place: complaining about Togo.

Ghana: Funny people. Honestly, Ghanaians always seem to have a great sense of humor, at least the ones that I know from out here, be it missionaries, members or random people. Probably one of the most smiley people I know, too. 2nd place: Good soccer team.

Nigeria: Cheap gas. I'll have to get a picture sometime, but on the sides of the road, you'll see people with huge containers of brown fluid... meaning, it's cheap gas from Nigeria (a liter is 650 FCFA whereas you can buy road side gas at about 400-450 FCFA, which is about a 20 cent difference). Apparently, the government tried to ban the roadside sellers because, well quality is always a bit iffy, and all the roadside gas people went on strike. Then, people said that there were just huge lines at all the gas stations, filled with motos and there was like a mini uprising here because of it. So, they scraped the legislation and the roadside gas people stopped striking. Vive l'essence Nigerian. 2nd place: bizarre and many times incomprehensible English.

Cote d'Ivoire: Attecheke and cooked fish. I've already sent pictures of the meal "attecheke" but that's a food staple of the Cote d'Ivoire. The map says malaria, which I would suppose is true but that's pretty much most of West Africa as a whole compared to just one country. It's kinda funny here because whenever anybody gets sick, people just say they have malaria. As to whether or not they actually do get malaria, I have no idea, but people sure do seem to say they always have malaria. 2nd place: dislike of French people.

Congo (RDC): Cassava leaves. Probably a Congolais' favorite sauce of all time comes from the leaves of a cassava plant. Seriously, these people are obsessed with it. I've had it a few times and it's pretty good when made right... but come on... that's like saying I would kill to eat iceberg lettuce. 2nd place: using pretty much every other currency but their own.

Anyway, that's my little commentary of what these countries should be known for the most on that map! I hope everybody continues to has a great week and keep up the prayers for me! I need them and thank you for the prayers already said for me.

Have a Happy Easter!

Love you all,

Elder Hawkins

Hipsta pic for SisSieHawk. Figured it's been a while.

Man cake. Had to do something with all that leftover flour!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome read. Love your weekly stories. Great memories for you. Thank you for your service dear Elder. Love ,the Davenports