(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!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weather, markets, and blistered toes

man that was a lot... well first the Golf sounds like it's not doing so hot right now... 26 degrees? that sounds nice right now... it doesn't go below 85 at night. then add the humidty. i think it's 95 to 100 each day and add the humidty... sweat all the time... that's great about the boys sports!!! sounds like a lot of fun!!!

ya i need to write to people at home depot... said i would... that sucks about Chans stuff... bet he was super mad... Yes i can use my electric razor. the adapter is perfect. but you're not gonig to see pictures until i get back because the adapter i bought uses a different card... we have a water filter thing that's pretty big so we're set on water. unless the water goes out like it did again last week for a day and our reserve is gone..

thanks for the B_day money!!! i already ordered some SWEET soccer jerseys and two Baylou's which are traditional african suit things... i think i spelled it right so you can google it or something...church is interesting. it's kind of indoor and out. we just saw conference this last dimanche and it was in french so i didnt understand. i'll just wait for the liahona.

the people here build up an immunity to malaria when they grow up. like us and chicken pox. but if it doesn't build, they die. i'm in a nicer place though called Koumassi. i think i described temperature last week but i did it again. it's kinda of the rainy season. the rain is AWESOME! it's always ridiculously heavy and it's always a storm with lightning. since i'm in the city i've only seen a ton of lizards. i've ben told that if i go north to Yamosukro that I'll see the sahara type creatures.

ya the people are receptive and i can teach but we dont contact so i cant really tell you the receptive level of the people. i will be able to explain next transfer... actually i haven't taken any other meds than my malaria stuff... there's not many mosquitos here at all... i will if we're in an area of high concentration. it's really not that bad here. [which is kind of interesting because the following week Elder Halvorsen contracted malaria!!]

the market is interesting. you buy everything from this place with a ton of food everywhere. grocery stores don't exist... we have to wash everything. that's loads of fun. Baka is incredibly good. a typical day is waking up. i read my french scriptures and study french. then we eat whatever. then we leave the apatment at about 9 30 and teach till 12 30 or 1. then we eat lunch, i study again or take a nap or shower, then we go back out and teach till about 8 30. then we head home. our furtherest house in our district is about and hour and half walk. I had seven blisters last week. one of my toes have completely caloused over... it's pretty gross...

some young kids screal when they see me... it's pretty funny. the older 8ish year old kids alway say le blanc or bonjour and if i anwser (cause i dont always hear them) they smile real big. lol. the people are all amazing. All the girls look at me. i'm not kidding. like i've had about 5 marriage proposels and people asking me to take them to America... lol.

well i gotta go. i love you all very much! Oh. i also taught a nigerian. nigerians speak english. it was nice being the one in control of the lesson. : )

Love Elder Halvorsen

Monday, April 20, 2009

Koumassi, diesel fumes, and strange bedfellows

Ya sis bailey just said that she was calling to get the email of some family members. The keyboard is fine. i can type much faster each time. sounds like the boys are doing good. tell the boys good job on everything they aƩre doing! i wish i could write more about each thing.

casava is a root? weird. when it is ready it looks like bread. it tastes literally like vomit.

the corvette sounds cool. i kinda wish i had it... BMW and Mercedes are crazy cheap here. like 4000 for a model before the new ones and in pretty good shape. M3s are cheap too. 5000 for a NICE one. There's so much diesel smoke. it sucks breathing sometimes. like i could stick my mouth on the pipe of the truck for 10 mins straight and thats probably how much i suck down.

actually the guys are taking me out for dinner on the day before or after [to celebrate his birthday]. who knows. if you could send me like 60or 80 bucks for my birthday, that would be sweet. i'm buying a couple of soccer jerseys and two African dress suits. not like a suit jacket. its paints and a shirt. they're being made next week. : ) well to answer your questions, my french is improving and I'm getting used to things here, still take the malaria pills, of course. [he had a native companion tell him that there was no malaria there and he didn't need to worry about taking his meds] no worries.

im actually in Koumassi which is that island peninsula off the city of Abidjan. shoes are great. I don't wear my sandals when going places because i have stepped in things 10 times worse then i think the human body can produce. got a couple blisters. no big. the members are great. incredibly nice and they love me. especially the kids. they'll rub my arms and my hair all the time/.

yes we have a toilet but no seat so you just sit on the rim. i have to wipe it down each time. makes me want to tell them to sit down to pee... lol

French is going good. it doesn't even sound french here. i can understand about half of what people say cause they talk so ridiculously fast. on the plane i could understand and talk a little to the french people, but when we were in the airport in france, some africans were talking behind us and we seriosly thought it was a different language. like a bush language. My french is getting better though. i argued pretty well this morning about something and i can tell people stuff... lol.

[We have a baptismal] font.

the interview [with Elder Golden] was pretty normal. just asked how I was doing and then he gave me some encouragement. he's a really nice guy. i found a couple of cockroaches in my bed this morning. just a little fun fact. [ewwww]: )

I love you all!!!
Love Elder Halvorsen

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Inquiring moms just want to know!!

That is way too many questions... i seriously don't have the the time to go back and answer every single one so please only send one email from both of you once a week. i have to pay for my internet here and i BARELY sent that email off to you last week cause i had one minute left. I'm really sorry, but we're not given a lot of money to run off in a week and i'd need about two hours to be able to answer everything.

alright well here's a couple of interesting things cause i really can't answer all of those questions. the food here is good. the only thing I dont like is casava. it literally tastes like throw up and i know this because i threw up three times my first morning here. i tasted the casava later that day and had a cruel reminder. well they make stuff out of this as well and all of that is good, like fotoo and atieke. I like baboa and bisaup. all good stuff.

i baptized three people on saturday. the family of Koffi and Armandine. their names are too hard to spell. that was crazy! My companion is good. it's been difficult understanding what he says cause it doesn't sound french at all. it's difficult to explain. i'm just teaching myself french in the mornings and studying throughout the day with random words. if they talk slow i can understand about half of what they say.

The corvette story with brother mcgraw was pretty funny. there are no mosquitos in my area. they are at the ward building but that's the only time i use the spray. it's been no big deal. i sweat all day' every day, except when i'm in the shower. i sweat at night a lot of the times too. not nearly as bad anymore. we have a fan that runs all night. well washing clothes by hand sucks. so does eating with your hands. i'm a firm believer of washing hands very hard now.

our water went out for two days. i cant explain how horrible that was... especially after sweating all day... the smell was absolutely terrible. the power went out on the last day of the wateroutage too. sleeping was not fun at all... I really enjoy the people here. everyone is incredibly nice. I'm so much taller and bigger then everyone here. the kids call me "le blanc" or "toobabu" it's pretty funny actually. they get surprised when i answer. well I'm running out of time. Sorry I can't answer all of your quesions. please only send a couple each time and one email a week.

I love you all and hope you had a good Easter!!!

Love Elder Halvorsen

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

French keyboard

Ya my pday is on monday. i'm typing on a french keyboard so if i spell things wrong; that's why. it's terrible. my conpanion is native and i told hi, like 8 times that i needed to email, yes i told hi, that in french, and he just kept cleaning and saying "nous devons laver notre appartemente" (google translate: "we wash our apartment :) but oh well. he is a lot of fun. the first time he spoke i coukdn't understand a single word. not even kidding. I thought there was no WAY this was french... and when we first drove up to the apartment, elder legere said, this has to be a joke...

it(s such a different world. everyone is so nice though. I only have three minutes left. this keyboard will take some getting used to. We washed our clothes by hand yesterday. that was fun. pretty sure they're dirtier then before i washed the, but whatev.
I GOTTA GO!!! tons of BMW and Mercedes

love ya

Elder hqlvorzer (gotta love those French keyboards)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

First email from the Mish

Hey Mom!!!

I can't tell you how much of a culture shock this was... We arrived at 6:17ish and went through a ton of checkouts... Paris was great. I got to use a lot of french and their French was fairly easy to understand. They just speak very fast. But here in Africa... Man... The guard just went off and I was like... 0_0 I don't understand. Do you speak English? Lol.

It feels good here. It's not too hot, but just enough to make you sweat. Course I'm still in the shirt that I've been in all day... So It's kinda gross... They don't have any rules on the road. they drive all over the place. It's so cool! When we drove to the Mission President's home, looking out and seeing everything was just absolutely crazy... I'll have to take a ton of pictures... It can't be defined by words.

Well I'm safe and well. We're actually heading straight over to meet my companion... So I'll talk to you on Monday, which is my P-day.

I love you!!!

Elder Halvorsen

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Headed to West Africa - SLC Airport

After Cameron's two month stay at the MTC, it was time to head for West Africa. He left April 1st and arrived 2 days later (due to crossing the international dateline).

A kind gentleman, Bro. Powers, at the SLC airport snapped this picture while the boys waited to catch their flight. There were 5 of them in all travelling together. He, then kindly sent it to all the parents of the boys in this picture. From L to R: Elder Halvorsen, Elder Foreman, and Elder Turner.

Below is the email that Bro. Powers sent. I thought it was such a wonderful gesture, especially since we're always anxious to hear about our son and how he's doing.

Dear Halvorsen Family,

Here is a picture of Elders Halvorsen, Foreman & Turner at the SLC International Airport. I hope I have the emails and names correctly. They originally wrote them nicely on a piece of paper which I correctly misplaced. We went back to their flight arriving just as it was boarding so speed over clarity became the desired writing style. Each has my email so if this fails, they can email me with the better data later and you will receive this later.

We met them patiently waiting for others in the group to finish their phone calls. They were all excited to pose for this picture to send you. We noticed them while walking the airport before our flight.

As you can tell in the picture, Elders Halvorsen, Foreman & Turner were happy, smiling and obviously looking forward to their new assignments. I can assure you from being there in person you could feel their excitement and the Spirit was strong. All seemed especially excited for the Ivory Coast Mission.

We just had 2 sons return from the Puerto Rico & Houston South Missions last March and May respectively. We had others serve in Lisbon, Portugal- South (That also opened up the Cabo Verde Islands off the coast of West Africa and loved the area), Dominican Republic &Mexico City South. It is amazing how much they grow during those 2 years.

I hope this finds all of you well and understanding of the sacrifice they and your families are making on behalf of the Lord.

Enjoy the photo. I am honored to have been able to take it and send it.

Bro. Jack Powers