|The Incredible Lala has left... it was a sad day but this last picture was taken in haste as he was excited to finally be off to the airport haha|
Alright folks! Don't have too much time to write today but here are some of the things that happened this week:
500 Franc Charwamas ARE BACK!
So, I don't think I've ever talked about this before but there's this guy in Gbegamey who used to sell these awesome little 500 franc charwamas from a little stand on the side of the road. It's pretty ghetto to say the least, but when you can get 4 good tasting charwamas for the price of one, that's just an offer that you can't refuse! Sometimes, after our coordination meeting, Lala and I would go with the Gbegamey Elders (Elder Gray when he was there, now Elder Kunz) to go get some nice, cheap drive through grub. It was so great.
Alas, the guy would almost always be there. And then, a few weeks ago, his stand disappeared all together! How great was my misery when I thought these 500 franc wraps of deliciousness would disappear forever!
BUT NO! That was not the will of the charwama stand man!!! For he opened up shop down the street, with a freshly painted stand and new tupperware to put all his preheated meat and the likes in it! I'd like to say our patronage helped buy that paint and new tupperware, but who knows? And of course, they tasted as good as always... let's just hope he's here to stay.
|The Wide Open Roads of Afri-ka!|
The Road to Togo... Still as awful as ever
We had some transfers that went down this past week and in order to help out with everything, we had to go meet one of the mission employees at the border to pick up some elders that were coming over to Benin.
Before picking them up at the border, I thought that the ride was going to be relatively easy because it hadn't rained the whole past week and I had thought that rainy season was officially over!
But no, it rained cats and dogs the night before which made for quite a mudfest on the roads over to Togo... thankfully there weren't many semis on the road so they weren't taking up space and causing traffic... and also, if they were on the road, I feel like they would have had some huge accidents because the mud was just incredible. It was like driving through pudding most of the time. Except I'm pretty sure you should not eat the pudding that we were driving through.
However, we did make it safely and the only problem we encountered was when we discovered a flat tire on the truck after we had finished eating lunch. If you guys had seen the road that we had traveled down, you would have thought much worse would have happened!
Flat tire... disappointing. You'd be surprised all the looks we got... three white guys and a
Congolais trying to change a tire. We did it though!
|BOOM! Our truck (left) and the Assistants (right)... you can obviously tell that we won.|
Yet, one thing that I've noticed in the 8 months I've been driving here is that missionaries are really protected by the Lord... on more than one occasion, I could honestly tell you that I probably should have ran into a moto, gotten stuck in a ditch, or have totaled the car (okay, well not totaled it but greatly damage it!)... yet every time that we pass through without harm, I can honestly feel the hand of the Lord protecting us and helping us complete our work here. It's actually quite a miraculous feeling and one that's hard to describe, but I thank the Lord for all his help in keeping us safe on the roads out here. It truly is nothing short of a miracle with the amount of miles that we drive out here.
This was probably the most exciting thing that happened this whole week! Our ami, Sara, who I talked about not too long ago, has finally gotten baptized today by Elder Oliverson. Her mother, her brother Romario (who is a member), her sister and cousins were able to attend which was really special. Everything went really smoothly... but the most interesting thing that happened at the ceremony was during the time that the new converts have to bear their testimonies.
While Sara was bearing her testimony, she actually started to cry really hard. Not tears of sadness, obviously, but you could tell that it was the joy she had as she was looking at her brother (I think he was crying too). Even more exceptional was when their mother also started to wipe away her tears as her daughter was testifying.
Let me tell you something, in Africa, people don't cry. Period. Except when little kids get smacked in the face (even then, most don't cry). Almost 99% of the time, people will never cry no matter how strong the Spirit is during a lesson or whatever they're doing.
I'm not really sure why it is like that, but it was really odd to see her start crying, though I knew that it wasn't a bad thing. It was actually really amazing to see the love that is in this family, a love that is ever increasing with their acceptance of the Gospel.
I feel so blessed to have been part of the whole teaching process with this family... it has probably been one of the most enlightening times of my whole mission. We've really had to prepare a lot to teach and to help bring the whole family into the Church... and though we are far away from done, I feel like today was a huge step in trying to help this family reach it's full potential and hopefully, one day, create eternal covenants with God that will keep them as a family forever.
Family photo! Elder Oliverson, me, Sara, Rebecca (the maman), Romario, Elder Izekor, Ceilia (she's the one I sent a picture of last week). The two kids in front are Sara's cousins... didn't pick up their names!
A dream of mine on my mission has to be able to find a family that can accept the Gospel and reap the blessings from it. I really hope that this small step, in baptizing Sara, will help bring the rest of the family into the Church, and you can bet that I'm praying with all my heart, mind and strength so that one day, this will happen. I know that, from my own life, there is really only one way to experience true joy and everlasting happiness... and that is through a family that lives the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I know that is true thanks to my own family and that has really been a driving force as to why I'm even here, serving a mission in this little tiny part of the world... sometimes it's hard with the trials of being away from home, of being in a place completely different from yours, of being stuck in doing the grueling work that is missionary work, but at the end of the day... whenever there's a moment I want to stop, think about quitting, or feel the urge to return home... all I need to do is open my scriptures and remember...
... that my family, my driving force, is never really very far away...
|Elder Ritchie!! The Assistant (to the) President, who I miss dearly! But it's all good... he's going to BYU so we'll see each other!|
My main man Elder Digbe... another missionary I'm gonna miss a lot... we weren't comps, but we lived with each other for four months at Kodjoviakope
|Crazy tomato truck! I swear he probably comes from Kodjoviakope because they were always loading up outside our apartment!|