"C'EST AFRIQUE!"

(French for: "This is Africa") A common term used by the missionaries when they want to express "thats just the way it is because "THIS IS AFRICA"! ie..."the power went out..AGAIN... C'est Afrique...or sometimes denoted as TIA...This Is Africa!!)) Elder Halvorsen has been serving a full time mission since January of 2009 in the Ivory Coast, Abidjan West Africa Mission. This mission encompasses the countries of Benin, Togo and Ivory Coast. He loves it there and is enjoying his experiences serving the Lord and the people of West Africa!!



Saturday, December 26, 2009

DON'T HUG ME!

The cat was really good actually. I'll spare you the details, but I have photos and a video, so you'll know after the mission. : ) I know the package wasn't supposed to be anything crazy mom. : ) I was happy to get a package and have something for Christmas. : ) Yeah Baxter is right. Almost every house in Prairie ridge is better then some people's best here. Imagine dirt floors with nothing but coconut palm leaves as walls and a mat for a bed. Most cook on coals only too. Even some of the well off people. Yeah the boys will regret not going on trips. Right now I just have this longing to go hiking and rock climbing and dirt biking and snow mobiling and the GYM Man I miss the gym... Yeah I can't believe that the year is just right there.. and they say it gets faster.... I like that idea cause sweating every moment of the day sucks, but I really like it here. I'd love to work in an embassy for the US. I think they get paid pretty well too with all the government benefits.

No water or electricty for two days? Cake. Lol! I've done that for a week in a half. : ) Thanks for the money transfer. That was actually pretty easy so I think that'll be the new way to do it...

SO There are a lot of things I forgot to tell you guys about what's been going on. So at our apartment, there is this car garage with parts everywhere, junker cars and garbage. They LOVE to put it on our doorstep. SO I deliver a nice little present every night in a little plastic bag.. [not sure what to make of this...] Then one day one of them peed on our door mat. So we tossed that too.

I had my first very awkward encounter. There is this pretty cute girl. We visit her sister to teach her. One day the cute girl met us in the road. She smiled and walked toward me and at the last second tries to throw her arms around me. She doesn't know the rules, so it wasn't intentional, but automatically without even thinking I like ninja chopped her arms with both of mine and said NON! That's against the rules! Lol! NEVER in my life have I rejected a hug just automatically like that; especially from a cute girl. It was really weird, but cool at the same time. lol! It was difficult to explain the rules to her after that...

So my French got a good exercise again. I translated last Tuesday for our Leadership meeting, then again the next day for the Zone Conference, and AGAIN Thursday for a DISTRICT LEADER TRAINING. That was weird... I'm this 20 year old basically telling 30 to 60 year olds how to do their job and the 20 year old is the one that has to translate cause they don't have a clue what Elder Leavitt was saying... It was an interesting feeling. Even President tried correcting me cause he thought I misunderstood the question and I was like no. I said it exactly as he did.

So kids light firecrackers here all the time. They'll throw those little ones at us and explode them in the street all the time. So Christmas night, we got up on the roof and chucked some at them. It was really funny. You'd throw one and they'd shoot off in all directions and start cracking up.. Then they started retaliating. It was a fun Christmas.

We had two good baptisms the 26. They're both strong. We have another three already ready to go the 9th of JAnuary with a family hopefully too.

Something funny they do here. If you talk about Thomas S. Monson, you read Thomas S Monson right? Here they say Thomas S Point Monson. The point after the S.. they actually say S point Monson. It is THE funniest thing of all time! Lol!

On the home from the baptism, we decided to go eat at a restaurant so we all pile in this tiny taxi, six elders, and I thought that Elder Dea had already closed his door so I wrapped my fingers around the post. Slam. Fingers got slammed in the door. At first I was just confused at this sudden pain. Then I started shouting in French, OPEN THE DOOR OPEN THE DOOR! It was really funny. Fingers are fine. Not even a bruise. I was blessed. : )

Our piano guy at church. He does these freestlye hymns... It's really funny. At the beginning or end he'll just kinda bust out on his own little rythm that works with the hymn. He's actually really good.

The road I live on is the Houphouet Boigny Boulevard. You find the road Tabinde, then go on that road till you cross the road Noépé, and our house is right after that road in front of a little car dump. Our house is white.. And the pronunciation of Houphouet Boigny is "Whep poo eh Boing ee." Lol.

Well that's it for this week. I loved talking to you guys! I wish Austin would've talked better. That made me a little sad he wasn't even able to talk clearly to me. We'll he gets another chance in just six months. I love you all very much! Happy new year!

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pre-Christmas call...just to make sure the calling card worked :)

That was so weird... You sounded exactly like Sister Leavitt when you said Bonsoir. I thought it was the leavitts home phone in Togo.. We were in the middle of planning when you called. This sector is gonna make me a little tired. there's a lot of work to do...

Yeah. Never send packages to Abidjan again. Only to Benin. the couple will bring them over. If I do go back to Ivoiry coast, I'll just wait to get home. Then you wont have to send stuff. President DID NOT birng my package. Not happy at all. The time to call will be around 1 to 2 my time, right in there.

Man I miss snowmobiling. Wait... What's snow? Hahah. That was lame... Umm... No offense but I don't think I would ever wear an arm band that flashes.... The stickers would be cool to put everywhere. But a flasher? Hmm... Togo feels COMPLETELY different then Benin. It reminds me of Côte D'Ivoire a little bit. Benin is a more negative place really... It's hard to work there. Here it's a lot easier. We just got a district here and now we have four branchs. President is in town. Got a meeting tomorrow with the other DL's and the ZL's. Then we have the Zone conference all Wednesday and then a party at the Chruch thursday and Christmas Friday and a baptism saturday... Wow... This week will be crazy...

Well I have a couple stories this week. I told you about the side walks with the big bricks that shift sometimes right? Well they dump sewage and throw garbage in these holes. Elder Geisler most definitley fell in one.. LOL! It was so funny! Just his right leg but he was like "I feel so gross!" we had to walk another fifteen minutes before we found a taxi too. Oh man. lol!

I have eaten something interesting now. Dog. Yes I have betrayed Ruby [our black lab]. It was good actually. Was really spicy though but good. We also will be eating Cat for Christmas. We're killing it and everything [great], so I'll let you know how that goes...


I think I said the water here is bad already. Even after it's been filtered it has this weird taste. I'm finally getting used to it. It was disgusting at first. I took a huge gulp and barely got it down...

Here's a fun story. You know "The Other Side of Heaven"? There's a part where someone dies and the ladies are crying really loud. I witnessed that for myself in person... We Contacted someone and they brought us into their house. there was this girl in front of this 6 or 7 foot stone thing with Jesus in a little cove and she was on her knees just bawling with her hands in the air, I swear, exactly like the Tongans in the movie. Wow... So We sit down inside and she walks in and says "Okay! I'm all yours!" Like nothing ever happened. So We start singing and she says every line like really REALLY slow which is really incredible for an african cause they already sing SLOW and she starts picking apart every word. So we start over just Geisler and me and she stares at Geisler the whole time with this big smile on her face... Like maybe a foot away... Creepy. So we started teaching after that and during the ENTIRE lesson she kept saying" Jesus! Jesus! oh Lord! Jesus! God! Jesus!" The loudness of her voice varied, but it was constantly that for a good 15 minutes until we left.. She was flipping crazy....

Well I'll be talking to you in a couple days anyways, so I won't write much more. And tell Austin, I had my [Eagle] Project almost ready and finished it a couple months after.

I love you all and am excited to talk soon!

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New area - TOGO!!

Well Yes I'm in Togo. I'm with another american, Elder Geisler. He's a cool guy and he looks like Pierce and sounds like Elder Legere. I'm in the Lomé sector. The President called me to be a senior, a trainer, and a District Leader all at the same time, while getting to know a new sector. So I'll be training a LOT. I'm happy though. Our apartment is literally a house, but it is so beat...

I'm just happy I have a toilet. That always reminds me of when Elder Legere came to Koumassi and said, "YOU HAVE A TOILET?!" So I'll always be grateful for what I do have.



Health is great. I got our Christmas package. I honestly think all my packages are in Abidjan. Please don't send anymore over there. They will get lost or stolen or sit. Thank you for the tree and food! I took a little video. The lights are like strobe lights. It's really funny.

The work here won't be too easy but better then in Bénin. It kinda makes me sad cause I had 11 baptisms lined up and was shooting for 15 but oh well. I'm [hoping] to do the same thing here.



The Branch has about 135 members [and want to] get that to around 175 to 200 before I leave so they can seperate for another Branch. Eating good but the water here SUCKS! Crystal light packets are a life saver. The pancakes was a big hit too but it only makes four pancakes... oh well.



I don't know my new number... I know it's ##### but I don't know the code for calling.... Meh. I would SO wear a reflective tie! Bright neon orange or lime green! LOL! CHOUETTE!

Sounds like Jordan had a good mission and is moving on. Mince. That's still a good ways away but at the same time, I've changed three countries in the last year and am fluent in French, so it's been flyin.

Kinda glad I was tranferred also. The leaders of the Ménontin branch were [kind of negative]. They told us we didn't work hard enough and that we need to do better, even though there were 35 people at church and when I left there were 70. I worked hard over there. That was probably the worst part of my mission.

I've had it rough in my mission, not gonna lie... Leavitts said a two year mission in Africa is five years anywhere else and man is that true. : )

Here's a fun little story, my Togo welcoming. SO I opened my bag and pulled my scriptures out to teach someone. After we finished, zipped it up, and went off to the next. Opened my bag, pulled out my scriptures [again] and taught. When I was putting my sciptures back in I noticed something that most definitely did not belong in my scripture bag. A GIGANTIC spider. Yep. Don't know how it got in there or when, but it was there. I freaked out and was franctically telling this African boy that was there to kill it. He didn't, it just ran out, but man, that was flippin scary...

There's one good experience I had in Bénin before I left. Elder Kablan and I knocked on this door and found a great contact. We went in and taught. Then she said my son is sick, and we said we could give him a blessing. Her eyes lit up and she said great! She took us inside and called her son out... He looked terrible. He was drenched in sweat, sunken eyes, looked like he had a heavy fever. So we said hi. He grunted. We asked him to sit down in the chair, and we asked his mother directly, Do you have the faith that we can do this? She said yes, I do. So we blessed him. He stood up and smiled and then moved to another chair. His mom asked him how he was feeling in Fong bé and he looked up and said, fine... She liked flipped out! She turned to us and said Thank you thank you!!! The boy stopped sweating and he starts talking like a rocket. He gave us his schedule number, we got another appointment there, they asked were the church was. Wow. It was amazing. I love those moments. : )

Well that it's for this week gang. This internet is slow so I don't get to write my friends which stinks, but no big. I'll look for another cyber.



I love you all very much and miss ya!



Elder Halvorsen

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Letter from the Mission President

Date: 12/10/2009

Dear Parents of Elder Halvorsen

It‘s a great joy to have Elder Halvorsen in our Mission. He serves humbly, loyally and efficiently. His devotion permits him to serve in an effective a lot personally since his arrival in the mission field and has become a great instructor of the Gospel. His willingness to learn and the effort that he is exerting for the establishment of Zion in the Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission have inspired members and missionaries alike. It is a great pleasure to have him here.

He has the opportunity to serve with Elder Geisler as his companion. He serves now as District Leader. He accomplishes this responsibility diligently and gives valuable service.

We would like to assure you that as Mission President and wife, we will lovingly care for Elder Halvorsen like our own son.

May the Lord bless you for all you have done to prepare this noble missionary.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

President Ayekoue
Sister Ayekoue

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New companion

There was the cable but it was the wrong one. No candy. Don't send anymore tuna. I found it and it's not that expensive. Ya we saw that [in an email that the senior companions sent to us, it mentioned a lady that had been hit by a car and was lying in the middle of a busy road. They stayed by her til help could arrive. Because of the threat of AIDS there, there wasn't much they could do but to shield her from other cars running over her again]... The lady was really messed up... we were on the way to pick up my new companion. No one moved to help her for a while. We blocked the road with the truck... Her leg was definitely broken and pretty bloody...

Speaking of new companions, Elder Adams was just transferred to Côte D'Ivoire and I just got another Ivoirian as a companion. His name is Elder Kablan. We get along really well and have just instantly clicked. I'm loving having another French speaker in the apartment. Elder Ghisquiere got another companion too. He's Ivoirian. His name is Elder Kouakou.

I just have a couple of things I would like to tell you. I wanted to know if I could send packages by airlines? Is that safe? I heard it was less expensive. I think I would like to send at least a couple of things home. I love the clothes and ties here so I've been thinking of what I wanna pick up. Especially for christmas. I REALLY want that debit card... Don't send anything else to Abidjan, only to the couple. I'll be in Togo after this so there isn't any problem with sending stuff to the couple.

I love you all very much and can't wait for the call. What time and day did you guys choose? Well gotta go!

Love ya and miss you all!!!

Elder Halvorsen

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Checkers isn't for sissies

Not too much exciting stuff has happened. We went to the beach again today but we just took a couple pictures and played a messed up version of checkers where I lost almost every single match against everyone but the Americans. They'd better never put checkers as an Olympic sport. The Americans will get owned time and time again against the African's and the French... That's about it.. I think.

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Some real quick stuff

Hey! Just letting you know a couple of things. Elder Adams and Elder Guillory are being transferred to Côte D'Ivoire soon. Just got the call yesterday afternoon. I'm going to be in an all french speaking apartment again. I was speaking french all the time for the last two weeks anyways, so that doesn't change too much. I'll be with Elder Kahblan and Elder Ghisquiere is with Elder Kouakou. Two Ivoirians. Also, KEEP IN VERY TIGHT CONTACT WITH THE BAILEY'S As soon as my package with the debit card hits Abidjan, they need to send it with President or by mail immediately. Do not send ANY packages to Côte D'Ivoire. Only the Bénin address. Apparently I just got one of your packages you sent in August. The Leavitt's just told me I got one that was sent in august. I don't know who from. We had a good dinner with the Leavitt's. We ate at a thai restaurant. SO good. Man I miss chinese. Also you can pick the time and day you want to make your phone call here. So choose one that works out well. Love you all!

Elder Halvorsen

Thanksgiving in Benin

No packages, but I would like that you call/email the Baileys and have them send all my packages over here and check the post for the others. I am sure president has some over there. The weather is hot but bearable. I'm glad I didn't start my mission in this weather... Lol! The work is good. We just baptised another 2 people who are really strong, and we have 7 already planned for the 26th, but we're shooting for 11 or more. Insights maybe later. Scripture. I'm reading in the Old Testament right now and Jesus the Christ. HAven't finished. It's hard to study french, scriptures, Jesus the Christ, and BOM in thirty minutes in the morning... We're always busy. I'm working at it little by little.

Did not celebrate thanksgiving. I don't even think we ate that night... Lol! I wear my clothes like that cause I HATE WASHING BY HAND! Especially socks. they kill. But it works out alright in the end. I still gotta wash once a week. They don't really get stinky. Or I don't notice anymore which really worries me too... I haven't opened my other g's yet. I am going to open them the 4th of February cause that's my real year mark kinda... Lol!

This year has been faster for me cause I'm so busy and the surrounding never changes. Always dirt trees and hot. Sometimes rain. Lol! If I didn't have a calender I wouldn't know what season or month it was.

They do have tithing settlement. They pay in cash. yeah I liked the school plan too. The only other thing was sell the car, get a little pick up, a dirt bike, and a street bike. Suzuki Bandit 1200. : )

The laid off thing doesn't sound very positive... That sucks about Blake's ankle... Hope he does better... And Austin's blowing his cash already. Lol! I'll have to come in and tease him at Fred Meyer when I get home.

Here is some of the things that went on this week. this was crazy. We were heading out to teach someone and I grabbed a "L'évangile de Jésus-Christ" pamphlet in which I thought I had grabbed in French. We got to the guys house and he had a nigerian there. So we taught him and he was really interested. so I was like well we only have this brochure in french, but you can have it... Pulled it out. ENGLISH! God is great. Then we went to his house to teach him and his brother was there. I would like to tell the Primary Children that both of their books of Mormon have been placed. I took a picture with them and their new books of mormon, and also, THEY WILL BE GETTING BAPTISED THE 26th DECEMBER! Good job Primary!

These are just a couple other random things. Ghanians and Nigerians say "Your welcome!" every time you visit and at first I was like, what did I even do? But I quickly realized they meant "Your welcome (at my house)!" Lol! That really confused me... But it was interesting none the less.

Also I found out that Congo uses American currency more then their own. They have clinton, jefferson, francklin, every bill! I laughed so hard when I saw pictures of that and the Frère Farya told me that.

I had a question about customs. If I have only African clothes, statues, masks and paintings in my bags, are the custom people going to stop me? I wasn't sure if I should try sending packages home or what; It's got me a little worried...

Well I'm glad to hear you're all doing well! I love you all very much and miss you very much!

Elder Halvorsen

ADDENDUM: I forgot! I think I said we just had two baptisms with another 7 or more on the way, but just in case I didn't, voilà! And then something else. The call that you guys will make is anyday near christmas you want. So we pick a day and time. Then you call. I think Sr. Leavitt is going to send you guys an email talking about that. Just a heads up. Love you!:

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Reach out and touch... the yovo's hairy arm

Elder Adams is actually doing really well. He's staying here and he's back to his normal self. No packages, health is good, we have three baptisms this week, and the work is going great, but at times it worries me cause you have to REALLY chastise people here to get them to do things. That little thing to the boys was NOTHING! Everyone is so busy all the time over there now. Dad's been having a lot of fun on the big toys again... lol!

SO the things going on here. It is HOT! Your guys winter is our summer. It flippin kills. It's hard for us to want to leave the apartment and we sweat almost all through the night. Well I do cause my fan sucks... Lol!

So just a couple things this week. Here is a lot like Bro Hardy's mission. People just think it's so weird I have so much arm hair. Their skin is tough too. So they love to squeeze my arm, rub my arms, and pinch and hit me to see if it hurts. The children are really funny cause when they shake hands with me, they check their hand right after to see if their skin changed. lol! It's also common for people to touch my arms just randomly when i'm walking down the street.

Here's my interesting life which concerns my clothes. I wear the same pair of socks for 2 to 3 days. The same shirt for 1 to 3 days. The same T-shirt for 1 or 1 1/2 weeks. The same pair of pants for 3 to 4 days. Pair of shorts for the same time as the T-shirt. BUT I change my g's and tie daily, so no worries there. : )

So I've been thinking about life after the mission and I have a plan and wanted to know your thoughts. I'm also writing this so I don't forget it. : ) I would like to head to BYU 2 1/2 months after I get home. There I will find a job and maybe live at a cousin's house for a bit. I'll work until the school season comes and work half time instead of full. Then when school starts I can move out to an apartment and pay rent. VOILA! I think it's solid. It's a little more detailed then that, but that's the gist.

Sadly that's all I have really this week... Oh. Family, it is possible that you will be receiving a package from an INREDIBLY nice man here in Africa. He wants to send Africa clothes to you. I will also include some SICK ties that are made here. That's a HOPE not a PROMISE! I'll try and send a package despite that.

I love you all and miss you all SO much. Christmas is gonna be a little weird... We'll probably eat spaghetti Christmas morning... Yipee... OH! Yes we have a cell phone so you can call that. ######## and there is the number. You can give it a test shot a couple weeks before to test it out and make sure it works, k?

That's crazy I'll be speaking to you guys soon!

Love you all,

Elder HAlvorsen

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A little chastisement goes a long way, translating, and receiving the Primary childrens Book of Mormon

No transfers. It looks like I will spend my First African Christmas in Benin and head for Togo in January. Just a prediction. I translated for FIVE HOURS for Elder Dickson the last Wednesday. 4 hours for the zone conference and then another hour for a fire side. Work is going good. Maybe one baptism this week and at least two the week after. : )

No packages, but one which I will talk about later. Eating TOO much actually. I'm getting fat again... It's killing me to not have a gym... I would like money so I could buy stuff... That's killing me too. How did Dad not have the itch to buy souvenirs? THAT WORD IS FRENCH! Lol! Barbash is a word in Chti, a French variation in the north of France. Ghisquiere uses that so it's caught on...

A FREE WII DIDN'T ENTICE THE BOYS ENOUGH!?!?! Wow. Boys. If you are lazy with the simple things in life, for example the Eagle Scout award which is really CAKE, then it will difficult to serve your missions well. It is time RIGHT NOW to kick your butts into gear and GET IT DONE! Even if it doesn't have a bribe attached to it, you need to get it done. Not everyone has a father to help them do things in life. It makes me sad to tell you this but the Father of my companion Elder Adams, passed away. You don't know how hard it was for him. He's a year and a couple months into his mission now and now he doesn't have a great motivator always there to help push him to success. Listen to Dad and get your work done. You're lucky to have someone there to help you through these things. And it's not hard! Just spend a little time and finish up so you can move on to other projects: Stay active and get it DONE! But really. Love you all and I hope the Missionary chastisment wasn't too much. : )

Well I'm glad all is well. Got a lot going on as usual. Austin got a job huh? That's pretty cool! So here's the things that happened in my week.

First is to the Primary: [The primary children in our ward sent Elder Halvorsen 2 Books of Mormon to give to people in W. Africa. They earned the Books of Mormon for being reverent] Thank you so very much the package that you sent me! I was so excited to get my first package here in Benin! I will look very hard for a couple wonderful Nigerians to whom I can give the books! Since I'm in a French speaking country, I have to look for Ghanians or a Nigerian Family. [because the books were in English, not French] I'm sure they will be very happy to get such a beautiful copy with a picture of all of you! I hope you all are doing well and I would like to say hi to my old class also, David, Natalie, and Demmick! I would like to share my testimony also in French with you!

Je sais que Jésus-Christ vit. Je sais qu'il nous aime et il a donné sa vie pour nous, ses frères et ses soeurs. Je suis réconnaissant pour les exemplaires du livre de Mormon vous m'avez envoyé! Ils sont précieux à moi et les gens dont je serts. Merci beaucoup et à bientôt mes amis! ~Elder Halvorsen

[Google translation: I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know he loves us and he gave his life for us, his brothers and sisters. I am grateful for copies of the book of Mormon you sent me! They are precious to me and the people I serve. Thank you very much and see you soon my friends]

Alrighty. Here's some fun things we've been doing. Ghisquiere and I have clicked real well the last couple months. we've thrown sandals at each other, used whipping sponges, end wrestling. It's been fun. I added another scar to my lips. Tried eating a noodle that was over 500 degrees hot and found out it was filled with water... Wasn't too pleasant... I think it's fading.

The translation went really well. My voice was really tired after, but it healed over the night, so it wasn't bad. It was really fun to get to know Elder Dickson better also. I was happy I had the chance to serve another Washingtonian, and it was crazy that he just happened to be a relative to the Dickson's back home!

So here's a funny story. We were walking past a primary school and they had JUST let the kids out. We were just waiting for trouble... And it came... We had at least 30 children walking behind us for over 10 minutes singing as loud as they could, "Yovo Yovo Bonsoir! Comment ça va? Merci!" [Whitie Whitie Hi! How are you? Thank you!"] It was really interesting... Everyone was laughing their heads off.

We had some funny little things like this kid that was standing on the side of the road. Normally the kids just walk to the curb and pee. So the kid had only underwear on and he was about to pull his pants off and start peeing and he looked over and he saw... The Yovos. Us. Lol! He completely forgot to pull his pants down and it looked like a WATERFALL coming from his pants.... It was SO funny.

I also was wondering, Mom; if you are sending another international license in the next package, or if you sent it in the first one? I wasn't sure.

Well family, Life is going good here on my end. Thank you for the all the support you give me! Blake, keep workin hard and DUNK all the time, cause I tell EVERYONE you can dunk. Austin, that's so cool you got a job! Next the license and you will be able to have a little more freedom. Budget your money well! And Chandler, I can't believe you're already 14... You're growing up fast. You robably don't even talk the same... It's too weird to think about...

And.. HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY, MOM! Even though I'll write you next Monday too... I love you!

Dad, Thanks for all the stuff you're maintaining for me... I know it's a pain... Thanks for the example you've given me too. I don't think I would be the missionary I am without the example of constant diligence that you've given me! I love you!

I love you all so much! Thank you!

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chewin' on rocks tastes like...well...chewin' on gravel

YOU HAVE A WII!!! [No, we do not have a Wii...we told Cameron we tried bribing the boys with one if they worked on their scouting for a certain amount of time each week...which they failed to do, so we did NOT buy a Wii] WHAT THE HECK IS THIS!!! YOU SEND ME OFF TO AFRICA AND BUY A 65 INCH TV AND A WII!!! I see how it is... :. ( No really. That's flippin sweet.)

A Project, [for the boys] help out at an orphan home. Get a bunch of old toys or newer cheap ones and do that for their Christmas. They would love it and you'll have a blast too. Really I have this urge to help orphan kids... It's strange but REALLY cool!

Bonus from Home Depot. SCORE! Don't have the email for the Levitts. They were in Togo this last week. We had one baptism. We taught her in a week. BAM! Baptized. Her family looks really good too.They're all really interested. We have 8 planned, but we'll see how it goes. I think it'll be a good outcome. Church was fine. I was supposed to teach but we confirmed 7 people so i didn't have to give it. : )

Alrighty. Here's the news for the week. And I brought the wrong planner... DANG! Really. Barbash. Well I remember most of what I wrote. First thing. Any mail sent to Abidjan, or packages, sometimes are not checked unless sent to the mission bureau. They will not be picked up and then the Ivoirians will enjoy what you have sent. I had the mailing address too but that's in my other planner...

Culture shock. I've told you they brush their teeth with these little sticks before, but here's something a little more interesting... They eat rocks. They pack these rocks that are chewable in little plastic baggies on the side of the road. I don't know why they eat them, but they do... And to answer the question you are probably asking yourselves, yes. I ate one. It tastes like putting a piece of gravel in your mouth and chewing it up...

There was someting interesting that happened on Sunday. There was a HUGE Voodoo group that passed right by the church. It was about 30 to 50 voodoo people with huge drums and hundreds of people. I didn't know at the time so I stuck my head out the door real quick. One saw me and said, "Hey, White! Come here!" I just laughed and went back inside. So he came to the door of the church and he said, "White, I said come here!" I just lazily pointed and told him to get lost. He just said. "Oh..." and then left. It was SO funny.

I believe there are transfers this wednesday cause the President is coming. I've been here for almost 5 months so maybe I'm getting transferred. We'll see how things pan out.

Here's something a little nerve wracking. (I think it's spelled with a W...) Elder Dickson of the 70 is coming with President. I have been chosen to be the Translator for him for our Conference meeting... I'm excited yet still nervous. It's weird cause I'm the person here with the least amount of time in the mission and they chose me... But that's so cool at the same time!!!

Well I think that's it for this week... I hope I didn't forget too much... I love you all VERY much and miss you too!!!

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Necessity is the mother of invention

Health is great. no packages. Levitt's are rockin it up. Transfers are coming up le 12. I have a GREAT story this week, but after I read your letter.

They [the voodoo priests] hit them and they are SCARED to death of anything voodoo, so they pay... interesting stuff... I have the email for the Levitt's, I'll ask. And I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT HALLOWEEN!!! It was depressing... Sounds like Halloween was a bit of a let down.. Oh well.

Okay, so I have THE funniest story that can only be fabricated in Africa...

It all started one night when Ghisquiere and I were hungry. We had a couple a of packets of noodles, some eggs, some spices and salt and pepper. So we decided to throw it all together and make a little whatever. So we get it ready to cook and click the stove. Nothing. No gas. So we check the tank and we found out there was NO clamp holding the feed to the back of the stove so it had fallen off... So our tank was empty AND our stove couldn't work. So, as I said at the beginning, Ghisquiere and I were hungry. He had remembered that he had bought some charcoal, cause I guess if you put charcoal in your shoes, it gets rid of the smell. ANYWAYS, we remembered he had the charcoal, so we debated on how to burn the charcoal. So we started searching through the apartment and this is how we constructed our little outdoor stove.

We took an old metal fan and pulled off the front cover and put that on two bricks. Then we put the charcoal on the inside part of the cover and got a bunch of extra paper, old progress records, old curch news, etc. and began our fire. We burned SO much till the coals lit. We built a little fire underneath too. After2 HOURS of stoking this stupid thing, we commenced with the cooking.

It took another 30 minutes to cook the noodles, and 20 to cook the eggs with the noodles. We enjoyed our little meal.

So in the morning, we didn't have any charcoal either; so I had a bowl of oatmeal wheats in cold water. Luckily the Levitt's saved us that night, but man. Reminder I'm in Africa. We took pictures.

I had two baptisimal REQUESTS this last week! Patriartical blessing coming true baby! YA! LOVE THIS CHURCH! I also spent a day with Ghisquiere in my sector. We're both going a little nuts here. There's a good chance I could head off to Togo this next transfer. We'll see. It's crazy to think January is coming up. Soon I'll be halfway... Scary thought... It was 80 degrees with a fan on and I started getting cold so I think I'm DEAD when I get back...

Love you all so very much!!!

Love,

Elder Halvorsen

ADDITIONAL LETTER HE SENT TO FRIENDS WHO FORWARDED IT TO US:

Fast food doesn't exist here... We spend 30 mins to an hour making our food...... I eat yams and cooked flour off the street sometimes... That's my mcdonalds... And there's a TON of Chinese people here, too...Lol

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Voodoo circles, bou bous, and "lets pray"

A bou bou is a native African... Clothing thing... Lol!!! It's REALLY cool!!! Some guy is making me three more as a GIFT! Not the nice ones but the Pignes... I can't really explain it... They're SWEET though and if the boys want one, they can send money. They're 15-40 dollars depending on type and quality.

Church is over the top dramatic... We're thinking of involving President soon. Just too many issues. A small branch is so hard to manage... I don't know how the Leavitts are doing... Havn't really seen them.

No packages... Yes I can find those things. Only powdered milk though and cheese is CRAZY expensive unless it's made here and that's like... INteresting....Sounds like everyone has still been just crazy busy...

I don't have much time right now so I'll just say a couple SWEET things. First off. Monday night we went to a members house to watch a movie (approved movie, The Other Side of Heaven) and we ran to a large group of 5 voodoo Reverands (people that whip people for money with this little branch thing.) So we were like crap. There's no other way around. So it was the four of us and we all just walked right through and they were SCARED of us! They avoided us like the Devil himself. It was really cool!

After watching the other side of heaven was really weird too... I saw the beginning of my mission, where i am now, but it made me sad to see the end... I saw how his mission ended and it just made me think so much... I love the people and I love it here... It's gonna be hard to leave... It's funny cause he struggled with the language, culture, all that! Just like I did. It's just weird to see how it's gonna end... They also say something funny right before each prayer.

They say "Prions" which means "Let's pray." EACH TIME! It makes me laugh SO hard! But also, it's strangely effective... Sorry this is so short...

LOVE YOU ALL SO FLIPPIN MUCH!

Avec BISOUS et mon amour!!
[Google translation: With my love and KISSES]

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, October 18, 2009

You vo, we vo, the wee ones scream at the "Yovo"

Health is always good. The missionary couple are good. Talk a little about them later. No packages... Yep working hard. Companion is always great. Weather is the same... Hot and humid... What do you mean you'll straighten out my debit card? What are you going to do??? And Dad's questions, Leavitt's speak English already... Not French... I think you meant French.

One Transfer last conference. Lah went to Côte D'Ivoire to be the assisstant, and Dagrou took his place. Still with Elder Adams. He's from Roosevelt, Utah. The people rub my hair cause they don't have much or any on their arms and ya, it's not coarse at all. That Cassava lead sounds great!!! It's probably the same thing. The activity you guys did sounds really cool!!! When you wrote that stuff about my mission, I thoughy, that's crazy... Do I really do that? It's just normal now... Lol! The service project was on the other side of the stadium. We live right on the other side where mom showed you.

Alrighty. Well nothing too crazy has happened. It's only been 3 days. : ) I got a letter from Austin!!! I loved that!!! I do have a couple things to talk about though.

One is little kids. Most kids LOVE the yovo's, but the little little ones are SCARED TO DEATH of us. really. we passed this one kid and he starts singing, Yovo Yovo!!! So we turn around and stick out our hands so he can shake our hands and he starts SCREAMING!!! So loud too. So his mom comes over just busting up laughing. She picked up her son and brings him over and says, say hi to the Yovo! And the kid is just screaming and wriggling around trying to get away. They seriously think we're going to just kill them or something... lol. It's kinda funny.

one of our investigators cooked us up a huge dinner a couple days ago. some acassa and pima sauce and rice and chicken. it was really good. also what REALLY sucks is that every single one of our baptisms got pushed back to the seventh. that happens sometimes though... dang it. i put sticky keys on and don't know how to turn it off...

we walked a lot this last week. We got a bunch of good contacts too. we're going to have a lot of great investigators and a couple are ready for baptism already. The Leavitt's. So the leavitt's are nice. he's a big fellow and she's from england.

i'm having a black bou bou made for me. i'm sorry boys, but i cannot buy you all bou bou's. if you guys want a nice one, you can send me 40 bucks and i can get a really nice one that'll look really cool, but you gotta give me your measurements and what color you want. i'll send you a picture of mine when it's finished. that's all for this week. oh and also, if you send a package by DHL it's gaurantied that it'll get here fast and safe.

I love you all very very much and will try and see what i can do for sending some stuff home for christmas!!!

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Finally get our first pictures from Elder Halvorsen from the mish

[But I'm on the wrong computer and will have to insert them later...]

SWEET!!!! You got my pics! Just so you know, when it shows that brick house, right after the photos with the white guy with the glasses on his head and the orange tie, that's where Benin starts. THAT'S SO SWEET!!!! Finally you got to see a bit of my life here in Benin.

Haven't gotten anything yet. P-day's today. I've told Elder Jerman about the packages and I'm going to tell the couple right away. I did Finally get mary's letter though. It had been searched... I feel bad for them [the new mission couple] already cause they're just going to come into this mission and get SLAMMED cause there hasn't been a couple in a month. And they don't speak French...

I'm not sure If I wanna go Summer term. I think my plan is going to be to work for someone for a couple months in Washington, sell the car, then head down to Utah, figure out living situations, find a job, and start school. That's what I would like to do. Elder Guillory wants to come up for 3 or 4 weeks to our place for my homecoming and then hit up Washington stuff with me. Sounds like that was really cool for the boys... I could ordain Chandler as a Priest in FRENCH! That'd be sweet. I would've LOVED that Dakota, but ya, you probably wouldn't of been able to keep it. I wouldn't mind a little old truck either. Just something that runs and looks decent. Even a little S-10. Those are cheap... Maybe you could just try to trade the car for a little truck and sports bike. Nothing less then a 600 Though. Lol!

So obviously, today is P-Day. The conference was good. It was very spiritual and just good to have us all connect. The day after the conference we worked with the President in the field. Said he was impressed how we taught. We're shooting for 7 baptisms this next week. We're hoping all accept. We had a baptism last week. She's really strong AND she was the first person I've baptized to SMILE when she came out of the water, not looking like she was on the verge of drowning. Africans DO NOT like water.

So here's some stuff we've been up to. We had one day which was pretty brutal. We had nine lessons that fell through in one day all in a row... Last week was tough. Then we ran into a HUGE voodoo circle with hundreds of people and these crazy drums just POUNDING and there wasn't space to pass and they were moving towards us so we had to go around. My camera batteries just died too so i didn't get a Pic. Tant pis [too bad]... There was also a Fifa match in the stadium right next to our house. It was Ghana against Benin. It was CRAZY! I could hear people shouting from a mile away. Ghana kicked their butts though. This one kid was funny. He prayed and the only thing he asked for was that Benin scored. Lol! Soccer is a BIG deal here.

So I had a fun experience with the toilet. So I knew we were running low on toilet paper, but I was like I can use what's left and survive. SO I went for it. Mistake... So I run out. So I'm sitting there contemplating what to do cause I already know there isn't another roll in the house. So I start thinking or alternatives. We had a bucket full of water, a shower, and I had the roll of cardboard left from the toilet paper. I made my choice and wished I would've gone with the bucket or shower cause I can't explain the pain I felt from that cardboard that I tore up... Ughh... Africa...

We've been having a lot of Drama in the Branch again unfortunately... It's been really annoying... But things are still progressing and moving on, so we're happy.

I hope you're checking my bank account too. I haven't withdrawn money since Côte D'Ivoire so if there is any withdrawls, that's not me. the H and Y keys aren'"t working too well.

Here's something that's kind of the same as Bro. Hardy's mission. EVERYONE loves to rub my arm and head hair. Kids, teens, adults, people that are just passing. It's so funny. I'm so used to having my hand and arm grabbed when we're just walking around...

Well fam, that's it about this week. If you've got any questions about the pics, I can answer.

LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU ALL A LOT LOT LOT!!!

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Gaining momentum and weight

No packages, or card. WHICH IS DRIVING ME NUTS!!! I've wanted to get some SWEET Boubou's made, but no. Don't got ANY money. It kills me... Health is great. Investagators, I'll explain later. I think what I would love for Christmas is my card... Cause there is just so much cool stuff that is cheap here... That and some photos of life there. I haven't seen any photos of you guys and you're about to get 800 or so with some videos of Côte D'Ivoire and Bénin... Oh well.

I don't need any shoes. You can pick up a pair of comfortable Armani's for 10 bucks here. no big. Of COURSE I haven't said yes to people [to these marriage proposals he keeps talking about]. I know I'm on a mission. : ) Ruby [our black lab] sounds so cute!!! I can't believe she caught fish... I really hope she's there when I get home... It's a need for me to have a dog in my life now because of her... I'm glad I don't have one here cause I'd never cuddle with it AND it's kinda against the rules to have pets. We kinda stretched the rule with our pet praying mantis...

Yeah Yolande, the large lady, is crazy strong. I baptised her in a font that came halfway up my quad's. So I had a long way down and a long way up... KILLED. She's already started teaching other people about the gospel and here two kids that turn 8 in décembre are getting baptised. She's SO incredible.

We also have two other baptisms this week. There's a lady named Beatrice. She's Ivoirien; but she's fluent in English, not french cause she lived in Ghana and Liberia for a long time. Unfortunately she's going to be moving to Côte D'Ivoire soon again, but she's really strong and so is her son. We picked them up for church and they sat undercover with us when it was just POURING down rain Sunday. I was FREEZING at around 75°. I'm in deep trouble when I get home. I'm probably just gonna have four sweartshirts and lay in bed till summer comes... I totally forgot about Conference. I'm going to watch it in French. I listen to these spritual thought CD's in French, so it's kinda the same. Sometimes the translation sucks, so maybe I will watch it in English... Haven't decided now...

I wish I could baptize in a river or the sea. That'd be sweet but two problems. The rivers are FILTHY and the sea has constant rip tides... So I'll probably never have the chance.... It's started to rain again and we gotta walk. Another soaking...

So reality bites. I'm getting fat and I just finally admitted it. We've been cooking too much stuff at every meal. I can't believe I gained weight in Africa. I NEVER thought that was possible. Ah. There's the thunder. EVERY time it rains, there's thunder.

We had a funny experience with a taxi again. This one guy gave us a ride, and we'd seen him before. So he dropped us off at Etoile Rouge, and we did some stuff and then walked to Gdèdromédé to see the other two Elder's over there. So we stopped a taxi guy there, and it was THE SAME GUY!!! It was crazy! So we tipped him.

We have our zone conference coming up next week, but that sucks cause it was supposed to happen like 2 or 3 weeks ago, so now it's scheduled on a P-day, so we won't have a p day for two weeks... Oh well.

There's something you do A LOT in Africa during the mission also. Chastisement. I've learned you have to be a little more strong when you give commitments. I don't like the sterotype that black people are lazy, but most Africans are... So I'm not being racist! It's just the truth. So we've gotta be strong when we give commitments, or they'll just be like, oh. Okay. Ya. And they ALWAYS have an excuse, even if it's ridiculous. Just gotta rail on them sometimes... Lol! It's kinda fun.

So The other Elder's have been saying that I'll be a great dad. I was going through the kitchen saying a little loudly, "Empty bottles don't go in the Fridge, forks are supposed to be washed after you use them, garbage goes in the garbage bag, not on the counter." just things like that. It was great. : )

And last but most DEFINITELY not least. BON ANNIVERSAIRE A MES FRERES ET MON PERE ENCORE!!! Bon Anniversaire à vous tous qui ont eues un anniversaire et je vous souhaite le mieux dans vos vies et bien sûr pour à jamais!!! Je pensais que vous aimeriez vos voeuxs en Français cette fois, parce que les deux fois dernière étaient en Anglais. JE VOUS AIME BEAUCOUP!!!

[Google Translation: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BROTHERS AND MY FATHER AGAIN! Happy Birthday to all of you who have had a birthday and I wish you the best in your lives and of course forever! I thought you would like your vows in French this time because last time the two were in English. I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH!]

I hope that all is well at the house and in your lives. It's hard for me to imagine what life is like for you over there, but I'm sure it's going great!!! I love you all and miss you guys a TON!!!

Love,

Elder Halvorsen

P.S. Mom, I was wondering about the school application and how that's going to work out and when the applications can be put in. Thank you!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

All is well in Paradise

We're rockin' Zogbho. We just had two more baptisms with other dates set. No Packages. Starting to get mad at that fact... New couple a arrives the 12th I heard. The food is different, [in Benin] more rice and beans kinda stuff and lots of pastes with WAY more pepper and it's hotter here. I'm gonna need new shoes in a month or 3. Shirts are fine, pants, net, all that is good. Haven't opened my new garments. I haven't seen any games inside the stade, but there's people ALL AROUND playing. Sundays are CRAZY! Every sunday.

Sounds like a lot of fun things have happened this week. I feel kinda bad cause I haven't written specifically to the boys, but then again, the only time one wrote me was when Austin wanted the Iphone. : P Well boys, I don't have much counsel today, but Happy Birthday to Dad, Austin, and Chandler next week! I can't believe Austin has 16 years... That's just weird...

Well here are some of the things that I noticed this week:

We've had this girl that we reactivated that just left for Ghana for school today, and she UNLOADED all her CD's to me. So I have a ton of African and French music now. I'm seriously addicted to Zouglou, which is a type of music in Côte D'Ivoire. I hear it all the time in the Maquis. And I'm going to keep looking for more. Music is really cheap here. A buck a CD. There's guys that go around and sell CD's too.

I hope that you're keeping all the emails I send cause sometimes I forget to add things in my journal that I write to you, so I'm going to throw copies of all my emails in my journal.

since I still haven't gotten my card, I won't be able to send any gifts for Christmas... It's a real bummer cause I had some cool stuff planned... Grandpa airmailed a letter to me... Had a letter about stuff he had been doing. MAN that man is never stopping. Just keeps on going and he is BUSY!

We bought this HUGE bannana branch with like 40 bannanas on it. Guess how much? 4 bucks. MUAHAHAHA! Straight off the tree. they're good too. We took some funny photos.

We have a couple families that are progressing rapidly for baptism. I think We'll have some candidates for the 10th, but what I've leared in Africa is NEVER count 100% on something. Lol! Like our shower. I'm SO thankful for the all purpose tool I bought now. It's how we turn the shower on. Gotta use the pliers. C'est Afrique.

So I'm at a total of 45 marriage proposals for my mission. I just received five in one day.... None of which I have accepted which you will probably be glad to hear. [Yes, yes I am]

Out baptism went really well. We had two candidates, a mom and here daughter. This lady is SO funny and SO strong. It's great. On the Investigator sheet she marked Member, and we had to explain that she has to be baptised before she is a member. LOL! And her daughter is incredibly strong too. We thought that she was 18 or 20 years old cause she's got the form of a full grown woman. She's Twelve... E. Adams and I did not believe her. Then she pulled out her birth information... Dang... ANYWAYS, their baptême was the 26th.

First, let me telll you something. I DREADED the thought of having to baptise this woman. She weighs a bit. And she's short. So we asked her who she would like to baptise her, and she said let me think about it. So we called her later, and i asked again. She said, Maybe ghisquiere? I said that could work. Then she said, or better yet, You? Oh man. Of course I said yes. Let me also tell you that I have lost every ounce of muscle I gained and my arms are twigs.

So I get into the font and I'm nervous... She comes in and i'm like okay. PLEASE Lord, just let me be able to do this. So I do the prayer and go down and she starts wriggling around like a fish. Just so you know, Africans HATE water.

So she had a part of her body was still out of the water and I got her up but MAN did it kill. My arm was burning. So I try to reassure her and tell her she can't wiggle like that. so I prayed even harder the second time. Oh man did I pray. I finish the prayer and got her down and got her up and it was solid. So she gets out and my arm is just shuddering. Her daughter comes in, flawless. So here comes the next day. About half way in the day, I raised my hand to wave to someone, and yes. My arm was completely sore. IT KILLED! But really, I don't care if it hurt or even if it broke off. This lady is SO strong and she deserved to be baptised too, and I was just extremely happy that I'm the one that did it. : )

Another funny story. We were at an investigators house. Elder Adams had just finished talking and it was my turn. So I start bearing my testimony on a subject and this HUGE bug flies into my mouth and starts buzzing everywhere. So I'm sitting there frantically trying to spit this thing out and everyone is just cracking up. It was pretty hilarious. Fr. Florent said, maybe you were just talking too much. Punk.

Well that's it really. I can't think or anything too crazy. We had 8 investigators at church last sunday. Oh. And yesterday we were teaching a girl that's finally decided to change, and her brother (who takes no pride in personal hygiene. Like, NONE) decided to flick on the TV. He's a member too. We asked him nicely to turn it off for the prayer. And then he said "To hell with you and your problems" to his sister. We're definitely going to having a nice little chat with him VERY soon. ; )

Well Fam, I miss you all a ton and love you all very Much! I want the Boys to know I care about them too and miss them like crazy!!!!!!!!

All is well in Paradise,

Love Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Realization is a sweet thing

No package or letter... We've got some good investigators. We had 9 come to church last week and we gave out six copies of the Book of Mormon. My companion is great. We keep telling each other that we're the American team, so we're pretty much bomb.

I have stories, but after I read your email and answer that. So the Stick bugs weren't in Edgewood... That was in the Yellow house. I remembered that and told the Elder's about that too. We set Roxy free saturday. We found a Male outside. We were actually trying to get them to fight, but oh well. She really kept the flies down... Regretting our decision now... The wedding sounds like it went well. Speaking of nativities, they make African ones in Togo, really cheap and REALLY nice. African style of course too. I coud pick up a couple for you whenever I head over there. With the memory card, I left a little surprise right at the end, I think you'll like it. It was really weird though... The member drives a nissan something. It's a 90's model. She's PYSCHO though. Really. I never been scared in a car until this woman...

Polygamy is pretty common in Togo Benin and Nigeria, cause they're really poor and voilà. They take on more wives. I didn't hear about it really in Côte D'Ivoire. But that's probably cause I didn't understand everything anyways... Lol.

Alrighty, so here's some of the stuff we did this week. Just gonna throw in some little culture stuff.

They have an interesting way to brush their teeth here. They use this little sticks, and a dentist actually said the stick is VERY effective if you don't eat sugar. Then you look around at what kinds of food people sell off their heards or on the side of the road, and it ALL has sugar. Not sure why they use the sticks still... Oh well.

Africans have a different point of view for distance also. When they say, "oh yeah. We're close." That means it's another 15 to 30 minute walk. It's kinda close" is an hour, and "It's a little far." is anywhere from an hour to two. Good times...

So I got my hair cut again. Elder Adams cut it. I must say. I look rather dashing with a very close hair cut. I really want to try bald. then I think of grandpa and change my mind... But with it short, the other elders said i'd look really good with a cowboy hat, so I might pull off the cowboy look when I get home. Lol!

We had a funny experience with a taxi driver. We stopped him and we told him "Terrain" so he told us 200 francs a person. And I said Nope. It's 150 a person. And he said fine. Get in. So we get going and he chuckled a bit and just said Yovo, Which means White. And I said "what's funny about a Yovo?" and he said "you're not a yovo. You're an African." so i said why do you say that? and he said "Cause you don't have any money." LOL!!! I was laughing so hard! I told him it's cause we've been in Bénin for a while so we know Système D. LOL! It was great.

We have this French device in our kitchen, and we didn't know what it was. It's called a 'jour de fête' and it's like a cheese fondu thing that Elder Ghisqiuere knows how to use, so we bought a bunch of stuff for it and it was good, but the cheese was 30 bucks... It's expensive here...So we're all stuffed and we're sitting around the table, and it was time to leave so I was like crud. So I said this french line that means, Well, we're off. But I said it wrong cause it had been a while since I had used it, and instead of saying that phrase, I said, (This is slightly inappropriate BUT I didn't mean it to be) my manhood. It's left. And elder ghisquiere just looks at me at said What did you say? And he told me that i said the wrong word and I just BUSTED up laughing when I was drinking some water and I shot potatoe and bits of cheese out of my nose with water and it just went everywhere... After that it was kinda hard to breath, but it came back, but man. It was funny.

Well I gotta save my little apostasy I created. So here's this story. We were at this lady's house who's getting ready to be baptized. She was NOT happy with her child cause she had been disobedient. Her child is 12 but she LOOKS and has the body of an 18 or 20 year old... It shocked Elder Adams and I to death [to find out how young she really was].. But anyways, she was talking to us about her in front of her and it was a little brutal... Like VERY uncomfortable. So She stops and looks at us and asks us, So what does the church teach?

I closed the passage I was going to read and said, if i can, I would like to share a little of the experiences that I've gained in these small 20 years I've been here on earth. And I told them how I was a disobedient child, too. I did what I was told, but I didn't like it and it took time for me to do it.

Then I told them that I changed my attitude, even if I didn't like what I was asked to do, and I just did it, and that my parents were always so much happier when I did it. Then I talked about how much my Mom and Dad have taught me in this life, and how much I wish I would have been more odedient to them when I was home.

It's amazing how much you realise you did wrong, you wish you would of did, and all the moments you missed out on in life when you finally get out on your own and are faced with situations that you never dreamed you would have.

I've seen strong families, broken families, kids that don't cared about their future, people wanting God in their lives, people living in houses made of sticks lashed together, others that have built mansions with huts of sheet metal aroud them, I've seen true fear and true love. I've seen Satanic things and the miracles of God. I don't think I can express in words how much I've learned just during these six months in Africa.

And I'm telling you boys right now, Don't let those moments you have right now pass. You have so much and you don't realize it. Appreciate who you are, what you have, and MOST IMPORTANT, what you stand for. You will get rejected, made fun of and yelled at, but know that no matter what they say, do, or in some cases, throw, they can't break what you have.

When people start saying things at me, I just turn and smile and offer a time we can have a little rendez-vous. NEVER forgot who you are and that you stand for something incredible.

And Mom and Dad. Thank you so much for all you've taught me. I'm 100% sure I would be home right now if it wasn't for what I have learned from your examples. I really am strong thanks to you and capable of life by myself, and eventually with my wife and kids, all thanks to you and your will to raise a snot nosed little brat who never talked like me. :)

Well just a little letter for today.

Love much,

Elder Halvorsen

P.S. We found a new internet café. A little more expensive, but SO much faster.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hospital contacting??

Mom:
I WANT TO WATCH THE U.S. OPEN!!! Federer is my favorite... No packages, no card. I'm the senior companion in our new team. We work really well together. He's a typical Utah Mormon. It's really funny, but I love it! Health is fine. No baptisms, we have some set for the 26th. Things are difficult without the Black's. We had a load of responsibility dropped on us and paying for transport to certain places slaps us in the face, cause we're white... I'm not sure how i ended up with an American. President hasn't done that since the war, so we think we're the guiniea pigs. But we're gonna work hard. YOU GOT A 65 INCH TV?!?! [Mom's note: We got it for free and it doesn't work. We thought we could fix it, but it just wasn't meant to be.] I should chastise you guys about how poor it is over here and that you're indulging in unecessary luxuries. Lol! !just Kidding. THAT'S FLIPPIN SWEET!!!

For packages, I think if you put an insurance on it, it will reach no matter what, cause the africans KNOW they can't steal stuff from it.

Dad:
Ya it was weird.. Still in the same sector toujours. that sucks about the vette. That reminds me of my prom date with the concorde and thermostat got stuck and the engine started to overheat. Just the Halvorsen Luck. LOL!

So Here's what was interesting this last week. IT flew really. I love it when the team is happy cause everything just runs smoothly. So here's some culture stuff. The kids play this game with a tire and stick and roll the tire with the stick and chase it FOREVER. They're like never stopping energized kids.

They put their last names first, then their first names and then their middle names. Every African is capable of speaking two or more languages. It is very rare to find one that can't. There is lingala, french, fong, Mina, indatchi, yakuba, and the list goes on. Also the people here keep monkeys as pets and walk them around on leashes. It's really funny. Baboons, spider monkeys. Etc.

So we have a pet. We've had a praying mantis tht flew into our apartment two weeks ago and we've been feeding it flies and it hasn't left. So we named her Roxy.

I was cooking some chicken in oil, and i had finished some pieces and i just threw a new piece in and it CAUGHT FIRE. It was a flame that jumped up a good three feet. IT WAS SO COoL! But at the same time i was scared out of my mind. Just a good thing most houses here are all concrete. I also cooked my self up a nice chicken neck. Those are so hard to eat... Oh well.

With investigators. We met this Golden family that believes everything that we teach. They're learning ridiculously fast. It's great!!! We also met another family next to the floating house village. They're interesting We'll see how they work out. Also, one of our investigators who is getting baptised the 26th. She was married to this guy who's now dead, but the story of this man;... Is crazy. He had 120 wives and 156 children. Ya. Crazy. He didn't even know most of his kids... Sad really, but crazy.

We have this member who drives us around sometimes and she scares the tar out of me... She doesn't even look, she just pulls out in the middle of the road and like, if they don't stop, they'd smash into her. It's funny cause the people who have cars just do whatever. They know the moto's will stop.

Also a couple weeks ago, we were working with a member who's getting ready for a mission and Elder Lah wanted to show him how to do door to door. So he goes to the first door, and this lady just comes out and says go in, and leaves. So Lah's feeling pretty good about things, and then this lady in this white coat comes out and says, yes? And Lah introduces everyone, and she says, This is a hospital... LOL! I can say I've contacted a hospital.

So here's so funny things. We were teaching in front of this store, and this old guy was kinda hobbling in front of us, then, in the middle of the road, stops and starts peeing. It went all over his clothes, everywhere.?.. It was interesting... There's also this other guy that when we sing songs in church, he directs, but like SERIOUS hand movements. But what's funny is, he's not the director. He's sits with us on the Benches. He lives in Gbèdromédé.

You have to love the sidewalk blocks here. I didn't take a picture of them, but every time you walkon them, you risk falling. It's really fun. Cause some of the blocks tilt, so if you're not paying attention, WHOOPS! Lol! I saved Elder Guillory today from falling into this huge hole cause some of the blocks were missing. LOL!

So I've reached a new level of French. I've been asked to slow down and use simpler words. I had this sudden spike in French when I was put with Elder Adams. I rarely miss a word. I'll miss maybe one a day. I know it's the Lord that has blessed me with this so that I rise to this new challenge.

Just a little more. Here's some things that will be weird to see in the U.S. People dressed again completely, Bathrooms that aren't just built out of sticks, and children running down the streets screaming YOVO! and wanting to hug me and hold my hand. It's actually pretty comical to see this white guy trying to avoid this horde of children running at him.

Last sunday I was asked to give a talk at the last second. I did a good job. Or that's what the people told me. And I have these weird instances where I just realize that everyone is black. And this guy is bugging me cause he's reading my email.

My memory card should be there soon. I know the Black's are home. Also, there are going to be two people by the name of Koudio who are going to add me as a friend on facebook. If you could add them, that'd be great.

Love you all and miss you very much!!!

Elder Halvorsen

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Better than nothing!

Sorry. The email that I sent didn't send. I'm with Elder Adams now, an American. Still in Benin

Love you all lots!

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Branch is growing!

I don't have much time to write, so this'll be quick. sorry... I'm glad that you enjoyed the stories. My experiences here sure are life changing.

THE YELLOW SUBURBAN!!! LOL! That thing has been there every time I pass there. Debit card and package, non. Tooth stuff is good. I won't see Sr Ayekoue for a while... Sounds like everyone is busy.

This week we had a going away party for the Black's. This thursday I get a new comp and there are transfers for a lot of people.

Have a couple funny contacting stories. Some old guy answered and said, I'm busy, and slammed the door. Another started talking how we just need love, not Gospel. Some interesting people...

My [camera] memory card should be home in two weeks. I'd keep in contact with the Black's to make sure they send it. I saved all the photos on another card just in case. We had 60 people at our branch this week. We're going to have to look for a new building because we've almost outgrown the building we have now. I've been cooking a lot and when Elder Lah leaves, i'll be cooking more. I took pictures of some of the things i've made. I'm almost out of time. This is the wost internet place I've been too... Sorry...

I love you all very much!

Love Elder Halvorsen

Monday, August 24, 2009

How to cross a street in Benin

Last week went by pretty quick. The ward drama... It's interesting. Talk about that later... STill haven't gotten my debit... Kinda worrying me... I think the rainy season is over cause the sun is out in full force again... Thank you for the words of encouragement. It's been difficile with the ward lately... Just a lot of things have been going all over. We have to rein everything back in.

Transfers are the 4th of september. President said that I will be a senior companion and maybe the district leader. If you have any tips on leading or teaching as a senior, that'd be much appreciated. : )

So quite a few stories this week. I feel kinda bad that I don't write spirtual things like Kirtley... There's so much that goes on here.

First off, I forgot, last week we went to the hospital to get chest scans and blood tests for our "Carte de Sejour." didn't handle the blood test well, like usual... I found a new way to cross the road. When a car starts crossing, we use the car as a shield. Lol. Or if there's an "almost accident" it stops all traffic for a couple seconds too. There's a surprising amount of those...

The Black's go home the fourth too. I'm getting my card all ready to send off. I really want that you take extremley good care of this card and even burn it onto another CD or something... I'd probably breakdown if I lost it.

Here's something funny. It's something dad always said, "Don't pee standing up." So for reals, that doesn't bug me peeing standing up, but Africans leave the seat lid down and just pee all over it. I have to wipe it down and disinfect it everytime, and when I really have to go, I can't tell you how painful that is... SO DON'T DO IT BOYS! Lol! I love when these little life lessons I should have learned when I was home come back to slap me in the face...

So we had our zone conference last week. It was very good and very spiritual. They always give me this boost of power to go out and convert the whole country of Bénin. I think that's what they're supposed to do. President was also impressed with my companion's and my performance.

So Blake said something about my car is "waiting for me?" I don't really understand the situation on that... I met this guy that looks exactly like Devin Dillard! Except he's black of course... He talks the same way, same facial expressions... It's weird... Do you think I can get the tracking numbers for the packages you send? or you could track them, cause Elder Ghisquiere has had a package in Cotonou since the 30 of last month and they're telling him they don't have it... Makes me nervous. Elder Ghisquiere got a stomach infection too and was in the hosptal for a couple of days... It's was interesting.... Said he didn't see the light though. Lol.

We had a service project on Saturday. We cleaned up a section of the side of the road. I forgot my sunscreen. Got burned... Not NEARLY as bad as the beach... Don't worry, I rarely forgot my sun screen, though it sounds like i do all the time.

We taught this guy how to pray, funny story, so we asked him to pray at the end. He asked us to remind him how to do it. So we said, as a summary, you say "our heavenly father, I thank thee, I ask thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." So he covers the steps just like how we told him. And we said yep that's it.. So he said the steps again, and we said yep... Now can you pray? So he said the steps again, and it clicked. We thought he was covering the steps, but he thought that was how we prayed! Oh man. IT's funnier in French...

Now for something spiritual. I've had a couple times to exercise my Priesthood here on some sick people. This one time, there were these two sweet little girls. THey had a fever I think.Her mom is an investigator, and she asked us to do an annointing. So we blessed the two girls. Now I was a little disappointed that they still said they felt a little sick. I didn't understand... So we visited them again a couple days later. The Mother greeted us into the house, sat us down and said, "I testify to you that the blessings you gave to my daughters were blessings from God himself. About an hour after you left, both my girls were completely fine with no sign of a fever at all. I know that you are servants from God." I can't tell you how many emotions I felt right then... I felt so happy, so filled with the love of God, but at the same time disappointed with myself for doubting that what I had given the girls should have worked that very instant. All the answers to my questions, all my doubts have been settled incredibly fast through instructions, personal witnesses, and revelation from God. Like Paul said, I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God.

Eh bien ma famille, Je t'aime beaucoup, et tu me manque plus que tu peux comprendre. Je songe de toi, je rêve de toi, mais même ave'c toutes ces choses qui me gêne comme ça, je sais que je suis ici our en objectif plus grand que n'importe quoi d'autre je pourrais être en train de faire. Cet ouevre est magnifique. C'est l'ouevre du Seigneur. Saches que je suis ici par ma choix. Je suis ici parce que j'ai choissi à suivre le chemin que Dien a tracé pour tous ses enfants.

[Google Translation: Well my family, I love you very much, and I miss you more than you can understand. I dream of you, but even ave'c all these things that bother me like that, I know I'm here in our larger objective than anything else I could be doing . The Artwork is magnificent. It is the Artwork of the Lord. Know that I am here by my choice. I am here because I have to select your follow the path traced Dien for all its children.]

I love you all very much and can't wait till your next email!

Elder Halvorsen

Monday, August 17, 2009

Soccor and teaching

Sounds like a lot of stuff has happened... I think I answered most of the questions on mom's email... I've got like three packages cooming!!! Score!!! ... The most lessons we taught in one day was 22 cause I went with someone from the branch and so did Elder LAh. That was crazy. Ya I remember bro. Johnson. That's sad... He was a good guy... And Lindsey is married... That's just weird... Ya My health is great. No worries there. I keep the mosquitos away.

It's actually annoying how EVERY African is good at soccer cause I suck. I'm usually just the goalie cause the goal is 4 feet wide... Right now we baptised our good investigators, so we're going to start looking for some more, which isn't hard, but teaching is interesting cause the people's point of view on subjects is so different... Some people don't believe Jesus existed... Some believe God practices Voo doo... There's a lot of things that are difficult to explain... The teachings are hard too... Cause the word Mormon and Mammon sound really close to the same thing in French. But I'm getting pretty well acquainted with the bible. We usually teach in the peoples houses, but there's also a lot of times we teach next to a road, which can be difficult...

The Branch has had a lot of drama lately which is hard to deal with... It's not really my favorite thing in the world. The Branch is so new, it's basicially us who are in charge. It's not very easy... Everyone refers to us for instruction on things. I'm only twenty!!! Lol.

So a couple of questions. Can you send me a recipe for mac and cheese? I left my planner at the aparment so I don't know what stories I had... I'll just fill you in next week. President is coming this week. That means it's gonna be hard teaching everyone. Oh, and when i get my debit card, I'll be sending a package home for you guys for Christmas. : ) Also we've given a lot of blessings lately. There were a couple of people who were sick in the hospital and one girl that got hit by a motorcycle pretty bad... The motos here are horrible drivers and don't obey any rules... Well I'm doing good and learning alot about every possible aspect of the Gospel and life... I love you all a ton!!!

Love

Elder Halvorsen

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bumps, bruises and scrapes

I haven't gotten the debit card yet. I miss eating a lot of things from home... Mac and cheese, soups, sandwiches, steaks, food.... But I learned how to make Acassa! It's this white stuff that's got a really weird texture. At first it tasted horrible, but I LOVE IT now. I'm in Cotonou, Sector Zobhoué, right next to the Stade de l'amitié. If you type that into the comp, you'll be close to where i live. Just right up the road from the stade.

My supply of DEET is great. It'll last till the end of my mission. I just about finished the smallest bottle i have. after four in a half months and i've got four bigger bottles. I'm set. The sunburn stuff is called Burn Gel. I haven't been to the lake but I've heard a bit about it.. The Black's said it was cool but not as interesting as this African village we'll be visiting in a month or so.

Ya Elder asked me how to say your name cause his mom's is pronounced differently. I don't know if the Elder had Typhoid or not, but he's fine. I knew he was sick. He's African.. It was his companion. I don't know if Elder N'dri got it or not... I haven't heard from him... I'll give him a call.

*well a couple interesting things this week. Not much. We meet a couple nigerians. I started talking just normal speed english for me and the guy said he didn't understand french... Their english is SO bad. And then I talked with a beninoir here, and I talked too fast in French and he said he didn't understand Enlgish, so I had to slow down for him... It's been interesting. No I haven't had time to read Jesus the Christ lately... I've been really busy. This last sunday i gave a talk first hour, taught the investegators second hour, and the young girls third hour... .

We played soccer today and that was fun. And.... I got hit by a motorcycle. That was interesting. I'm comletely fine. His leg just hit mine and I started yelling at him in french cause he was driving on the wrong side of the road AGAINST traffic. The motorcyclists here don't follow any rules. Really I'm fine. I played soccer AFTER my experience.

Yesterday was pretty funny. I had just finished teaching a lady about free agency. Her daughter is already baptized and her son is getting baptized. So her son jumped and grabbed onto to ledge of his roof and I was like oh that's easy! So he said no. Don't do it. Really that's not a good idea. So I did it. My hand slipped after I grabbed it and it felt like when you scrape your hand on concrete. I was just like eh. Oh well. Then it started bleeding on a little chunk where the skin was ripped off. I saw blood and became kinda faint...[just like his mother] So I said can i wash my hands? So I went and washed my hands and layed down and put a kleenex on it, and Maman Bridgette, the lady, came in and was like, you're hurt! We're going to clean that. And so she came out with cotton and alcohol. It was the most painful burning pain I've felt here... But it was definitely clean... It's just funny that I excercised my free agency incorrectly and voilà... The consequences... It was funny.

Wasn't anything crazy exciting other then that.

I miss you all and love you all and hope you're doing well!!!

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Lovest Thou Me?"

In the beginning... was the mailbox and the mailbox was void of letters.
2 And the missionaries said "Let the box be filled" and the box was not filled.
3 And the missionaries beheld the continuing void and were not pleased.
4 And lo, it was the first day of the week and there was no mail delivered, but this was good.
5 But on the second day was the mail delivered, yet the box remained empty.
6 Yea, even from the second day unto the seventh was the mail delivered.
7 Even so, the box retained its void.
8 And yea, great mists of darkness spread forth from the void and enshrouded the missionaries. Yea, and did bring much sadness to their otherwise cheery days.
9 Even the long hours of fruitless tracting, being attacked by the fowls of the air, and being pursued by the beasts of the field were not as disheartening as the lack of blessed objects known as letters
10 Yet they persisted

Chapter 2
And, lo, on the second day of the second week, the mists still encircled the mailbox.
2 and on the third day, from within the depths of the void was a single postcard.
3 and this postcard put forth a ray of light that pierced the darkness and overcame the mists.
4 And the missionaries were well pleased, and there was much rejoicing.
5 But, alas, their exclamations of joy were in vain. For the postcard was from someone else.
6 But if their joy was so exceedingly great over someone else's mail, how great would be their joy at partaking of their own mail?

Chapter 3
But some will say, a letter, a letter. We have already written a letter. We have no need to write any more letters.
2 Know ye not that there are more days than one, and more events than one in a day? Why think ye that these events need not be reported?
3 Yea and ye need not worry that your letters will go unanswered.
4 But you should say, I will go and write the letter that a missionary requests. For I know that he giveth no requests except he be prepared to speedily respond.

Chapter 4
And the missionary said unto his friend; lovest thou me?
2 And the friend said, of course I love thee. Then the missionary said, fill my mailbox.
3 He saith a second time, friend, lovest thou me? And the friend said, thou knowest that I love thee. He then said, fill my mailbox.
4 He then spake a third time saying "Lovest thou me?" And the friend said, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee.
5 Then the missionary said "stuff my mailbox before I get home!"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Short, but sweet.

D'accord. Je vais répondre à cette message d'abord.
[Google Translation: Ok. I will reply to this message first]

That's funny about the subaru. I figured it was close to death. I'm proud you're my Dad too! : ) J'ai fièr de mon Père! lol.
[Google Translation: I am proud of my father.]

well I would like to see how much I could sell my car for. I would love a stick shift dodge dakota, or S10. I really want a Bandit 1200 and a dirt bike when I get home and a truck is just sounding so much more practical... I would like to have a little money left over for school as well. Just thinking ahead.

HI AUSTIN!!! So glad you wrote me!!! I miss you guys!!!

Mom Ya I thought the tie thing was pretty funny. I'm getting really good at bartering. Lol! Ya we have a cd player. Ya we had a little problem. Another last week too. And thank you for your measurements.

Love ya all!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A day at the beach and crazies

The food and money is good. Ya I get enough to eat. Rice and spaghetti is just like that. Ya it's about 75 at night. And I'm cold at 75... lol. The baptisms went well. We had 2 and the other comanionsqhip had 2. I can't go back and fix my typing errors because it will erase the whole message by the way... I don't get any contacts by email. I don't remember saying that.... Maybe I did. Dang... 103. That's really hot for Washington. That's a normal day here. Dang I sweat so much...

Well ya I learn a lot. Just life and languages and gospel and relationships... Lots..

This computer is ridiculousy slow... Oh. About the emailing if I didn't emailo. I TRIED!!! Lol! I tried logging on for 2 hours. Didn't work once. Then I actually wrote a letter but myldsmail kicked me out and erased it cause yahoo wasn't working. But it costs money so i can't do it every day. sorry.

So here's some interesting things that have been happening this week. There was this naked man in the road that was just staring at us forever with this big smile on his face... It reminded me of Mary's famous saying. Leave the crazies alone... They're happy... Lol! There was also this guy that was pulling this cart, it's like a thing they do for money put stuff in a cart a ship it. Anyways, he was just walking and talkingto himself, I'm strong. I'm stronger then the sun. *It's actually cold. They don't know me. They don't anything... then he yelled at two girls just sitting on the side of the road... He was wack...

I'm really starting to love french as a language. I bought a french dictionary and that's how I look up words now cause I can read the definitions in French. Progressing by leaps and bounds. In F)ngbe too.

We went to the Beach on Monday!!! It was SO SICK!!! I have the COOLEST photos of all time. There was this little fishing village right down the coast, so Elder Jerman and Guillory and I went down and checked it out. We literally have photos that look just like the movie Madagascar. It's sick. I love it here. Just not the internet. TIA. I got a crazy bad burn though. That burn gel stuff you sent really helped. It's almost gone. It hurt real bad the day after... Oh man... I forgot my sunscreen that day... We took this van taxi back and the door didn't close all the way so I had to hold it... I've lost literally ALL my muscle.... There were 30 people in the van too... I hate those things...

A DAY AT THE BEACH IN BENIN




I SAW A VOODOO MAN!!! He was all dressed in furs and colored garments. The people here are dead scared of them. they go around with this little whip looking stick and hit people. It was interesting cause we had to pass close to him and we were walking by, and he was talking in this satanic voice and looked over at us when we were passing. All of a sudden i just got this surging sensation and was filled with the spirit, like a shield, and he just grunted at us and turned around and went the other way. I never thought the powers of Satan were this strong.. It is really bizarre, but the Power of God will always turn away Demons. It was so incredible.

Well my family, I love you all very much and can't wait to read your email next week!

Elder Halvorsen.

Friday, July 31, 2009

This is what happens when I don't get my Monday email!!!

Dear Elder and Sister Black,

Just checking in on my son, Elder Halvorsen. We hadn't received an email from him today and know that there are periodic power outages over there. Just making sure everything's alright. I know zone conferences are generally on this day, too, and that it can be a busy day for the boys!

Call me a worry wart...but the last time we didn't get an email from him, he was in the hospital with malaria. :/

Thanks so much for your service and watching over the elders in Benin. Itis a great comfort to us knowing you're there!

Sincerely,
Sis. Kalleen Halvorsen

_____________________
The reply:

Just checked with your missionary. He diligently tried to get an e-mail off on Monday and again on Tuesday but West Africa won which means he, or rather the computer, lost. I realize this isn't like hearing from him but all is well. He and his companion have, I think, 4 baptisms tomorrow. They are working hard.

Elder Black

______________________
Parent's response:

Whew!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bargain shopping and interesting diet

I haven't been able to take a lot of pictures like that, because like you said, I'm not supposed to act like a tourist. Also two other reasons. Once you take a picture, EVERYONE wants their picture taken, even if you'll never see it again... And then the other is when you see poverty like this, you just feel bad taking random pictures of any place where there's people in the photo that you don't know. It's hard to explain.... But i have good pictures. I'm sending the card home in September. So SOON you'll see the life I live, however so slight.

We have been surviving on rice and spaghetti with just soy sauce for the last two days. Toay was our "rétablissement" cause we got our money. Lol! We even started eating rice with just ketchup. Ya it was bad. Lol! TIA.

I've become quite the little barginner (I haven't spelled that word in a while. Quittes là!) with buying things. This lady wanted 1000 Francs for these ties I liked and I just said, "Non Maman. ça n'est pas juste. Je vais vous donner 500 chacun. Elle a dit, non non mon fils. 1000.
[Google Translation: "No Mom. It is not fair. I'll give you 500 each. She said, no no my son. 1000"]

I ended up buying six for 3000 and I said, Quoi? Non Cadeau Maman? Mais vous avez dit que je suis ton fils. Vous devez donner un cadeau à ton Fils.
[Google Translation: "What? No Gift Mom? But you said that I am your son. You must give a gift to your son"]

And I got another tie for free. Lol! It was great. They think that because I'm white that I have a ton of money, but that most definitely isn't the case. Oh. look up Mesabo. That's the Market I shop at. Supposedly it's really big...

Love,
Elder Halvorsen [the bargain shopper]

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The price of fruit, and other random things

Power converter is great. It gets a little warm if it's left in the outlet for too long, but not like burning hot... Just warm. Yeah I use it a lot, to charge my batteries (batteries are expensive here) and my razor. It's been a life saver.

I am SO glad I don't have a hat. I gave away those two baseball caps I brought. It's suicide to your head if you wear a hat. It's better to just get used to the sun. I have no clue what the stomach thing was. I think it was the honey that I bought.. Eh oh well. No I'm good on garlic till the end of my mission. I'm taking precautions no worries. I'm going to send my card home with the Blacks. My memory card. And maybe some presents, but shipping isn't that bad.

YAH!!! THESE PEOPLE CARRY WINDOW PANES AND HUGE TV'S!!! These people are crazy. I see that everyday. Elder Ghisquiere. He's my little Frenchie. LOL! A journey of Faith is about the BOM. It's an amazing documentary. I've never seen anything like it... I WANT TO SEE THE SIXTH HARRY POTTER!!! I DIDN'T EVEN SEE PREVIEWS!!! Dang it.. Just another year and six months right... You need to buy all the good movies so I can just watch all the ones I missed. lol. Dang...

Sounds like a lot is happening with life over there. I hope Chandler picks up the Car Spirit also. That'd be cool to see. ANOTHER HALVORSEN CAR MAN!! Lt's just start a garage. Halvorsen's African Auto.Lol LOL!!! I'm glad people talk so highly of me over there! About the hiking all the music and all that! But really, it's only 10 to 15 miles on flat ground. You guys hiked mountains! That sounds fun. The mosquitos here probably don't suck as bad as the ones there too... I laughed SO hard about the Subaru. I thought you were going to sell that... Well I wish I was there to experience all of that. It sounds like it was a lot of fun, the hike.

Here's what's new in Bénin.

So I met my first cult. That was an interesting experience... He was saying how Jesus teaches them and that they meet in his house... He only had one scripture to defend himself and it didn't even work for the situation... lol. Just bizarre. Greg Allen says he wants ALL my emails. did I tell you that holding hands for people of the same sex here is not weird? It's weird when you're walking down the road and your companion tries to hold your hand... So we had a rough spot with our companionship, but I just told him what was bugging me and he said he would change and he did... He's a great companion. We work well and efficiently together.

Can you tell me the set up of a Mancala board? I think there's six holes for each player, so twelve in the middle, and then the big oval holes on the ends. And how many rocks for each hole. Thanks.

There was this guy at a baptisimal service we had that was like waving his hand around and pointing at the conductor when we were singing. I was laughing pretty hard, but apparently he knows all the scriptures by heart, and he's not a member yet... That was a slap to my ego and how judging before you understand can make you feel like a complete fool. I felt like a total jerk.

Another guy basically yells when he sings, and we had to tell him to sing quieter. The day my companion and I made up was crazy good. We had one guy that, as soon as we showed up at his house, he said, I've read the BOM and I want to be baptised... that was amazing. THen after that, we visited one investigator we had just found to remind him of church, but he wasn't there, but his mom; dad; and sister were and said, yeah, he talked to us about( it and we all want to come... Lol! and THEN! a family emailed us and said they wanted us to come by and teach them. Good GOOD day.

I gave another talk. I guess I'll be giving a lot cause our branch is small and there's only ten missionaries here. Have I talked about the Alleuhia preachers? They are interesting. It's just like the people we imitate in the US for fun. and it's everyone... And it's crazy... They'll all be running around while music is playing. I've seen people yelling at each other when music was playing.. I've even seen one guy who was just yelling at the door.... It was weird...

I'm having this awesome painting made for me! The guy is in the ward. They look so cool! Elder Guillory is now in our apartment. He's the new companion of Elder Ghisquiere. He's from New Mexico. We instantly clicked. It's good, but bad at the same time. We try to speak to French but switch back to English a lot... Eh... C'est comme ça.

What did you find out about the music Ivorian, Togolese, and Beninoir? That's Austin's job, if he's willing to take it up. I'd really appreciate it. The mood in our apartment is great. The weeks are really starting to fly and I'm almost six months out. Just a couple more days. That's so weird but saddening at the same time. I want it to pass, but I don't... It's an interesting feeling and dilemna.

Shipping is about 16000 Francs per Kg. So I think I'll be able to ship something ome for all of you for Christmas. AND I NEED YOUR MEASUREMENTS MOM! Elder Black took us shopping today at this place that looked like Wal mart. That was good. It's funny, cause we were like everything is so expensive, but if you convert it, it's actually WAY ceaper then America. Like we buy fresh pineapples off the street for 5 for a dollar. They're good siz too. and forty oranges is 6 dollars. I bought ties for a dollar a piece too. NICE ones.

Well I've gotta go. Wrote a lot about random stuff.

Well I love you all and miss you a lot!!!

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Learning F)ongbe (that's how you really spell it)

I had a couple [of baptisms this week]. My total is nine now. We don't have any scheduled for the 18th cause we had meetings and such. But we've got a couple scheduled for the 1st. I was trying to hold this, but there are quite a few more mosquitos here. I'm fine, though. Ya We have a filter and If we don't have water, we buy bottled water. sweet about the debit card. Thank you.

But you didn't give me your measurements for a dress Mom... I need that. Ya I can send the card [camera memory card] with Elder and Sis. Black. I was nervous about sending it and losing all of my photos possibly...

So I've started learning f)ongbé. That's the af)ongandea that you wrote. I can just present and say hi bye thanks. Just simple, but it's a start. Ya I'm excited for Christmas too. My mission has already been flying and I'm counting UP to my year mark. When that hits it's downhill, and it's faster going down the hill then climbing it... lol! Ya the girl that got hit was fine. That's funny about the bikers. And sounds like everyone has been crazy busy. Oh, and about Elder Lah, I thought about all those things too. I told him there's a good chance it probably won't work because of our economy, and he knows that. I'll talk to you about that on Christmas.

Well this weeks been interesting. I forgot to tell you how people fill up. There are big Glass bottles of gas on the side of the road, and people pull over and pay the person and bam. Gas. MY shoes I've had gave out. My Hush puppies are doing good though. Oh. I don't know if I've said this, but I'm not Tubabu here. I'm a Yovo. The kids all chant this song; "Yovo! Yovo! Bonjour! ça va bien? Merci!" [Google Translation: Whitie! Whitie! Hello! How are you? Thanks!" Sheesh, you'd get thrown in jail for saying something like that in the states!] It's really funny.

I saw 5 people on a 100 motorcycle. That was... Not safe. I've seen people carrying televisions the same size as ours on the back of motorcycles. OH! On top of Cassava, can you see if you can find music from Côte D'Ivoire, Bénin, and Togo? We had a zone conference, which is for the 10 missionaries in Bénin. We met in Gbèdromédé. Elder Anulou of the 70, the guy that gave me a boost of confidence, was there, along with the president. It was great. You've got to get the movie, A Journey of Faith too. AMAZING!

I think I talked about our little well where we draw water... That's fun. I gave a talk in Church and then right after that, taught the young men. That was a lot of fun. I really love it. I've had a little stomach problems today. The president, Elder Black and Elder Lah gave me a benediction so I could be better and immediately I felt better. You've gotta love this church and the power we have as the true church of God! Well I think that suffices for today.

Love you all! Adabo!

Elder Halvorsen