Monday, August 11, 2014

New Sector, New Comp...Life is Good

Elder Semeha's first mangez-vous! 

It has officially been one week back in the field of missionary work... lots and lots and lots have things have changed since I last wrote to you guys. But, just so you all know, things are going well and I am doing well too! (and NO ebola!)

I got my new companion, Elder Semeha this week! Fresh out of Togo and even fresher out of the MTC! He's a really nice guy and I think we are going to get along great. It was kinda weird because he only came on the mission with one carry-on size piece of luggage... then I look at all my bags and wonder if I really need all the things I have! Then I remember that he probably lived a lot like the people I saw back in Togo who don't have a whole lot to begin with... but I feel like it wasn't by accident that the Lord put him and I together because I will be leaving a ton of stuff behind which I'm sure he can use. I sure hope my vitamins don't give him the same problems that they gave me...

Other than that, things are going well in Menontin... except for the water cutting almost daily... and the power was out for a few hours today as well, though it doesn't seem to be as much of a problem. One of the first things I did when I got to Menontin was call the couple to tell them to install a water tank at the apartment (when you have a water tank it gives you a backup supply of water so when the water does cut, you don't notice it because you have an extra tank of water!). 

Other than that the apartment is nice. I'm with Elder Mejean (French) and Elder Mbala (Congolais). They're both really nice guys, but the funny thing is that we are all going home within the next three months which I think makes it a little hard for my companion but he seems to be taking it like a champ. Elder Mejean is a lot of fun to be with because we both started our missions at around the same time and we talk about cool stuff in France (from what I can remember anyways). 

Background: Benin has recently been enforcing a law where people have to wear helmets if they ride a moto. It's been crazy and it's basically all people talk about here! But, as you might expect, people can pretty much get away with anything on their head and it will pass for a helmet (think cardboard boxes). Well, one of our members seems to have gotten a cool Army helmet! That's Elder Mejean sportin' the helmet, btw.

As for the sector... well we have a couple of amis that I hope will progress. We actually had three amis at Church yesterday which is a miracle in and of itself because we hadn't even been working in the sector for more than a week. The nice thing about Zogbo is that it's actually a very old sector and there are quite a few members that we can go and see. We've been asking for contacts from everybody and everybody seems to have people ready to take the missionary lessons. I think this week will be a big test because this is when we'll actually follow up on all the contacts. Hopefully we can get a few interested people out of it! 

As for myself... it's kinda weird to be in the sector again. Wake up, get ready, study, go out at 10:30 (because I have to train, we have to study for an extra hour), get back at 12:30, eat lunch, go out at 2:30, then come back to the apartment at around 8:00 PM. For now, I'm actually liking getting back into the routine and getting back into real missionary work, but I'm afraid that I'm going to get bored of being in the same routine. Hoping that won't happen just because I only have a matter of weeks left on my mission, so I'm learning to cherish as much as I can here on the mish.  

For the first part of last week, the ZLs in our apartment were going out with us showing people in our sector. Then, on Thursday, they had to go to their own RVs in their own sector so we were pretty much left on our own that day... needless to say, I was pretty dang scared because I still really didn't know the sector, but things turned out okay. 

I've been figuring that I really need to trust in the Lord right now... I know that he put me in this dead sector training a new missionary for a reason. So far, things have been working out for the best. Even on Saturday, we had four appointments and all four turned out great. To be honest, the days where we are able to see everybody we have planned to see are rare on this mission! Though there were few lessons to be taught that day, the reason there were so few was because we had to walk an hour to get to this recent converts house... I thought it wouldn't be that hard but once I got home, my feet hurt so bad... plus now I have sun burn on my face which is kinda embarrassing but at least I will be going home with a nice tan (well, I hope that the sunburn turns into a tan anyways...). 

In other news... I'm sure Fro has told you all about my flight plans... won't lie... I may or may not have jumped and shouted for joy when the Office Elders handed those to me. It was a sweet moment for me... I thought the day would never come. However, unlike other missionaries who like to stick their's up on the wall for everybody to see or carry them around and show them to people, mine is safely tucked away where I can't see it on a regular basis! I'm honestly trying to not make my companion feel bad!!! I was in his position when I got on the mission and know how rough it is to be thinking of all those months still ahead,  so I'm trying my best to not talk about going home with him or with investigators... although it is kinda funny when people ask me how much time I have left and then they turn and ask him... ahhhh... I remember those days!

Goodness... the only other thing I have to say is that I'm loving life as of right now! It's good to be a missionary to be honest... and plus, when you have a sector that seems to be turning in the right direction, you can't help but smile! 

I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for the prayers and kind thoughts... if you need something to pray for, pray that I will have a good connection at the Cyber next week and that I stay healthy! 


Elder Hawkins

More Pics:

 Boom! BBQ! Last week we had a nice BBQ out in Avotrou. There was meat. And it was good.

This is Lac Nokou√©, which is the north border of my sector. It's a pretty shallow lake but the part that touches my sector seems to be filled with trash. Trust me, it smells lovely. Next week, I'll have to send a picture of Jean's house, the branch clerk, as he lives on a house built on the water. It's pretty scary to be inside.

Just preppin' some patte, Beninois style. 

It's a little bit thicker than Togolais patte and they eat this green stuff called "krenkren" with a lot of their sauces (the point of the krenkren is that it makes the sauce thicker so that you can scoop it all up with the patte). It doesn't exist in Togo so my comp was pretty confused when he saw it! It's funny to see all the differences between Togo and Benin, even though you would think they would be virtually the same countries! 

Note from the Fro: For all those who are asking about Ebola in Benin....there were two cases that were being tested for it, although this article (click HERE to read) states that both cases came back negative.  So as of now, Benin is holding strong against the virus.  Keep those prayers for West Africa coming!  And pray that my boy will be able to finish out his mission there in good health. 

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