Saturday, May 24, 2014

Meet My Trusty Bag

So... this is my bag. I think you guys all know my bag, made by my cousin Chris... this bag has pretty much been with me for about a year and a month now and it has still been going strong. It has been tough... probably even tougher than me, going through high heat, dusty weather, crazy rain, and, worst of all, me (meaning I've had to wash it by hand more than once). 

Despite this, it has been a very trusty bag and I love it to death. But what you might not know about it, is what's inside. I'll give you a hint, it's not Intel, but it's everything that I have found to be needed on my mission. So I thought I would give you guys a quick tour on what's inside.

First up, this is what's in my main pocket. Always have to have my glasses case (just replaced the one I was using with the one in the photo since the humidity has torn the other one into shreds). Then I've got my wallet (when change is such a big part of every day buying, you have to have a wallet that doubles as a coin pouch). Then, I still don't know why but I always have my memory cards and my USB drive with me in case I need them... it's actually come in handy many times but I think I should stop carrying it around in my bag because I did lose it for a couple of months when it fell out in the bus when I was transferred to Benin...

And of course, the most important thing has to be my Book of Mormon and my Bible! By far the heaviest things I have to carry and for the past 6-7 months I've just been using a Book of Mormon instead of a Triple Combination just because I use the Book of Mormon way more than Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. And of course, I have my bible which I love to death. I really can never buy a different bible because I basically know the pages of my bible by heart. Meaning, I don't know scripture citations, but I can very easily find you the verse you're looking for in my Bible. 

Next on the list is what's on/in the inside pockets of my bag. First, I got my "References par Sujet" that Dad gave me. Very handy when you have members that ask you random questions about the Millenium or the Pre-Existence. Then I've got my mini French cantiques which I'm always sharing every Sunday because of hymn shortages... but it's all good. When people only pick from the 15-20 hymns that they know, you get to know those particular 15-20 hymns pretty well.  

Other random items I keep on hand are my International Driver's Permit (I don't even know if I need it to be honest. The two times I have been pulled over, all they ask for is my Carnet du Bord, which is a booklet with all our insurance information and licensing of the car. The reason they only take that is because it's illegal to drive without one so that way you can't just drive away. Trust me, I've gotten so mad at the stupid things that I've been pulled over for (always driving through a yellow) and I'll I've wanted to do is drive away and shout profanities at them... but I can't because, you know, I'm a missionary and that wouldn't be very Christlike of me! Plus, I don't use profanity. So it's either you pay them (which is what happened the first time I got pulled over) or try to bribe them with a Book of Mormon (which is what I did the second time and it worked really well!)... but anyway, that's just one reason why it's a good idea to keep copies of the Book of Mormon in the car. Haha!

OKAY, back to the bag... other things I carry... PENS! You always need pens to be writin' down your appointments. Then I got my cool vial of consecrated oil with my American flag keychain. Gotta love the American flag keychain... also got some hand sanitizer (thanks Mom!) that can make a whole car smell like a Lancaster candle shop within a matter of seconds (it's pretty great). Also, weirdly enough, I've had need of chapstick here, despite the super humid climates. Then of course, we have the "White Bible" (aka the Missionary Handbook) which lists all of the rules that a missionary has to follow. 

Now for the front side of my bag, I keep a verity of things but not too much. On the very front, small pocket I keep my Togo and American flag... it's mostly just there because I won't lose them if they're there... but again, you can never have too many American flags on you. I also have my handy-dandy pocket French dictionary which does come in helpful. Next, I've got my planner which is where I write all my RVs down and helps me remember what day it is. It's been the 14th that I've used on my mission, hence the 14 on the side. 

Then, of course, I keep my brochures in one of the pockets. I usually carry lots of Restoration and Plan of Salvation pamphlets and then a couple of the other ones... it's really awful when you run out and have nothing to give to people which is way a missionary should never be without a brochure! However, I can't keep too many brochures with me because they are slightly too big for the bag so they get bent at the top (the bag was designed to carry English brochures, which are about an inch or two smaller in height than the French ones)... plus, after a while, the ink starts to smear on the brochures because of the humidity so it looks all gross. But it's okay! That just means I have to give away all my brochures before they get gross! 

I also have a little notebook, which is where I write down all my lists (like I talked about before), write down my favorite quotes and scriptures, and also write down words in French that I would like to remember (I keep this and my dictionary in the same pocket because I'm usually always using them together!). Recently, I've added a mini-Bible to my bag... it's actually a Gideon's bible, but the translation (Louis Segond 21) is only slightly different from the original Louis Segond version that we use. I still have no idea what I'm going to do with it but I'm trying to figure that out. It only cost me a dollar, which I thought was a good price until I saw the inside cover which says, in all caps, "DÉFENSE DE VENDRE CE LIVRE" (prohibited to sell this book)... still, a dollar isn't too bad for a mini-French Bible!

And that's about it! That's my bag for you. Of course, it can change depending on the occasion. For example, sometimes I've got to be carrying an umbrella with me because you never know when the freak rainstorm will come. Also, sometimes I'll carry a copy of the Book of Mormon to give to somebody... usually I don't carry around water because it's just too darn heavy and I can buy "pure water" on the side of the street when I'm really thirsty. 

Also, for a follow up of last week, I've been getting some good glimmers of hope this week! We've been finding some good people who seem interested in hearing about our message and even coming to Church. Elder Izekor, Lala and I went and did OVB (knocking on doors!). Lala and I really did NOT want to do it but we had planned the night before to do it, so, well... we pretty much had no choice. Elder Izekor, seeing that Lala and I were not at all ready to go out and do OVB, decided that we should pray before getting out of the car and doing some OVB. So he offered a little prayer and then as soon as he finished and got out of the car, he talked to the first person he saw coming out of the car. Turns out he was Nigerian, like Elder Izekor! Then, this guy takes us to all his friends at his house (that we happened to park in front of) who were also Nigerians. We're not sure if anything will happen with them but they all (like 6 people) want to come to Church tomorrow so we offered to walk with them to Church this Sunday (tomorrow).... hopefully they can come! 

So, keep up the prayers! They are very powerful and they work! Even Elder Izekor's little prayer that he gave right before we went out had big effects on our day. My companions can tell you that I do not like OVB and am still not very comfortable in just going up to people and talking to them about the Gospel. However, that day we found some good people and the time we spent contacting went by super fast. I'm not sure how many we talked to, but I swear that half of them were Nigerian. Next time, I'm going to say the prayer before going out to do OVB so that we meet Americans! Haha... if only! 

Thanks for everything you guys do to support me here. I hope you all have a wonderful week!


Elder Hawkins

Other random pics:

Elder Izekor braiding hair! He's actually really good at it... eerily good at it.
He did it better and faster than the two other girls working on the hair combined
My bus gauges... as you can see, she can go pretty fast according to the odometer (I think I've gotten it up to 100, maybe even 110 and that was scary enough for me). I don't think the motor could do much better.
Also, modified the photo to make it cool looking.

Elder Woodland, Elder Edwards (going home Tuesday... noooo!), and
Elder Izekor fanning the flames to our BBQ.
Our bought-on-the-side-of-the-street BEEF! It was pretty dang good in the burritos we made. I even brought some of my homemade guacamole which was gone in seconds. 

Elder Merrill, me, and Elder Kunz

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