|Elder Edwards going home! Sad to see him leave... he was a BBQ master and a great missionary... he actually trained my current companion Elder Izekor! Will surely be missed!|
Goodness holy free-mizzle dizzle gracious! This week sure did fly by because I felt like so much happened!
I guess I'll start with the weather... it has been crazy rainy. Finally, the rainy season has been kicking into high gear! Let me tell you, the roads have been all flooded. And it seems like we've been getting big rainstorms day after day so the water that comes from each rainstorm has no time to dry out and evaporate. That is to say: HUGE PUDDLES THE SIZE OF THE ATLANTIC OCEAN.
Now, I say that because the Assistants got into a little (just a little) hiccup with the van this past . I was sitting at my desk trying to focus on my personal studies when all of a sudden the phone starts ringing and I see the Assistants calling... I'm like... errrr... what the heck? Why would they be calling right now? So I answer and I hear all these random people in the background and then Elder Ritchie started talking to me and telling me how they fell into a hole... I feel really sorry for laughing while on the phone with Elder Ritchie, but at the same time I thought it was pretty hilarious... Elder Ritchie did not think so but asked me if I could go out, buy a chain, and help tow them out of the hole.
And then, the A-Team theme song started playing in my head and we went into action! BOOM!
First step: finding a chain. Thankfully, on our way to Church every , we walk by the Quincaillerie de Gbegamey: that's French for the Home Depot of Gbegamey. You can find all sorts of random paints, locks, sinks, pipes, and all sorts of junk. Though, it's not like a Home Depot in that it's really just a big market full of construction materials... and just about everybody sells the same exact stuff. However, I had never seen a chain so I didn't really know if there would be a chain or not.
Well, on our way over, the first place we stopped at had a chain. The shop vendor wasn't there so we had to negotiate with her 7-year-old daughter who was opening up the shop for her. Always a joy. Thankfully I was just sitting in the car, all nice and dry, while Elder Haggard and Elder Izekor were trying to get the chain and some hooks. We spent about a half hour trying to negotiate for the chain (we only had a 10,000, or about 20 dollars) and the hooks! We ended up getting the two hooks and 2 meters of chain for 10,000 which I think is a good deal but I'm not really sure... I've never bought a chain before. Especially in Africa.
Anyway, in the meantime everyone is calling the Christensens and President to see if we should really go out and help them... I mean the last thing we want to do is get the truck stuck or pull off the bumper in trying to get the van out. Finally, at the end we decided we would go "assess" the situation and see if we could get them out.
|The Bus... in water... stuck in mud.|
So, we get to the scene of the crime and... well... yep, the Assistants managed to fall into a hole (covered by water since it had been raining all morning) that was about a meter deep. It was dang deep. Elder Rybin and Elder Desvergez were walking barefoot through the water and looked like caveman missionaries all covered in dirt and junk. They had rolled up paints and shirts all covered in mud... It was pretty sad to see how things had deteriorated to that point... I'm pretty sure if we had got there 15 minutes later, they would have had to revert to cannibalism. It was pretty scary to see the state they were in.
|Is the bus supposed to be tilted like that?|
|Elder Desvergez... rocking the chain like a pro.|
|ELDER HAWKINS TO THE RESCUE!|
|ELDER HAWKINS TOWING POWER (with a chain and a 4x4 Toyota Hilux)|
Before we got there, apparently 15-20 Beninois tried to help pull the van out of the ditch but to no avail... a semi-truck also tried to pull them out but their cord snapped! Yet, Elder Haggard, in his infinite knowledge of how to get any car unstuck and out of decommission, thought that we would be able to do it. Long story short, we put the trusty chain on parts that looked pretty sturdy on both our truck and the van (no tow hooks on either)... and BAM we got them out! Pretty easily too! It was a huge sigh of relief for everybody. Thankfully there was no damage to the van so we were able to drive it away with no problems. Mission accomplished. (A-Team theme song fade out...)
|Lala driving to his new home... and the last time he would be driving for a while (hence the frowning).|
In other news, my long-time companion of almost 5 months, Elder Lala, has finally been transferred! Elder Haggard, who is being transferred to another mission for health reasons, had to be replaced in the mission field. Now, I'm alone with Elder Izekor (well, Elder Haggard is here with us until he leaves ... it's been fun since we were together for 4 months at Kodjoviakope!). But, the adventures of Elder Hawkins and Elder Lala are over for the time being... but you never know what can happen! I know he'll miss my daily singing songs to him, who wouldn't?
In other news, our sector is going well too! 4 of the Nigerians we found last week came to Church this past week and I think they really enjoyed it. We haven't been able to teach them this week because of school and stuff but we're probably going to stop by and see if they can't come again to Church this week. It would be really great if they could.
Other than that, there's nothing too new to report on. Things in the sector are moving surely but slowly. Our ami, Innocent, was supposed to get baptized today, but was not able to because she couldn't get interviewed by the President due to scheduling problems. So, cross your fingers... hopefully the baptism will hold for this week!
I cannot believe that June is already upon us. That will mean that I was transferred into my second area a year ago on the 12th! Wow! It is ridiculous how fast time flies. I realized this past week that I really don't have too much time left, as I have done 6 months in the office and I have 5 months that are left. And these past six months have flown by, so I know that in not too long I will be back home, which is great and frightening at the same time.
In my personal study this past week, I was really touched by a scripture in Romans ... in French it reads "Ne te laisse pas vaincre par le mal, mais surmonte le mal par le bien." Roughly translated it says that we cannot let ourselves be won by the bad, but we have to beat the bad by the good. I loved that scripture because so many times, we try to not do bad things by simply avoiding it. But in reality, we need to replace the opportunity to do bad by doing good instead!
I think this is something that I really need to focus on because it's easy to try to not do bad things... but to actually focus on "replacing" bad with good seems like a good challenge! I actually loved the whole end of chapter 12 because Paul just lists these great exhortations that are very encouraging... I would encourage you all to read it!
Thanks for everything that you all do! Thanks Sharky for the letter... I hope to be replying to you this week... it made my day when I got it as it was a very pleasant surprise!
Keep praying for me... love you all and catch you next week!
Note from the Fro: One other big piece of news he shared with me today was his actual RETURN DATE!!! He will be coming home October 28th (probably the 29th by the time he gets here!). It's a little earlier than he wanted, but there are missionaries arriving that day, hence the change. The ONLY bummer to that news is that his parents will be out of town the entire week after he gets home, so I'll only get to see him a couple of days before I have to leave him. Sniff!!