(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!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dialects and walking

[Benin] is pronounced Ben IN.

There's a thunderstorm here every time it rains. Actually 19 people died in Abidjan last week cause it flooded so hard... Sorry about the random french. Some words are just easier to say in French. Lol!

I'm so wiped out right now. Walking 10 to 15 miles a day does that to you I guess... Here is crazy... There's so many flippin motorcycles... and the power goes out all the time. About three times a day is normal. It's just as hot here as in Coté D'Ivoire, but it's much quieter which is nice.I think that's the first thing I noticed when I got off the plane...

OH I'm another hour ahead now and I guess sometimes it's two hours and sometimes it's just one because of the Tropic of Cancer thing??? Anyways, I love Bénin and my French is doing amazing. Elder Lah speaks so dang fast, so my comprehension is really jumping. I need a video of him and me talking... lol! There's also a French kid in my house, so that really helps too. I have three different accents just in our house. I'm really excited to learn Fong gbé and Mina. It's so weird... It's got words from a bunch of languages mixed with these grunts and African sounding words... Don't know how to explain that any better...

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, June 28, 2009

On the ground in Benin

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLAKE!!!! Wish I could send you guys some schouette [I'm guessing that means "stuff"...google translate didn't even know what it meant!!] stuff for your birthdays. Maybe I can. Yako.

I flew to Bénin. Didn't buy a pair of shoes. No big. Everything is cheaper here than in Coté D'Ivoire. I take the Garlic pills and Vitamin B1. Yes I can listen to Ratatouille on my mission : P. Yes I got their addresses and sent emails. Merci Beaucoup. I don't need the license right away... But I'll need it within the next 5 months I think. SO there's time.

Dad's going to walk fifty miles? Thats bites. I know. I cover about 70 miles every week. Ya I've lost thirty pounds since last i checked. My hair this short sucked at first but after my head tanned, it's not as bad. I went to Bénin with just Elder Ghisquiere. (French) Two nouveau Américaines went to Togo. The guys were so shocked. It was funny. Made me feel old.

Ya I found a computer. Just a couple things I forgot last week. Kirtley, FRENCH IS SO MUCH EASIER THEN PHILLIPINOISHTHING! [Kirtley is Cameron's cousin who left for her mission to the Philippines the same time as Cameron]

Alright. Bénin. ROCKS!!! It's like ten times poorer then Coté D'Ivoire. Oh. Naked people and breast feeding in public is normal Mom...Lol! But it's seriously so sweet. There's one road that's paved and the rest are dirt... It's quieter here then in Abidjan. BUt EVERYONE drives motorcycles. There are literally 30 to 50 motorcycles to every car. Makes crossing the street a little more difficult... Since it's poor here, We have a SUPRE nice house. It's great. My bed is actually comfortable. And I alwalys have a working shower. I bought Lakai's in Abidjan. I guess they don't exist here. I'm going to order some Lakai bangies from a friend in Abidjan. The people here are a little hard to talk to. We're trying to teach this lady that doesn't speak french. She speaks Fong gbé. I might have to start learning that in a month or two, but in Togo I HAVE to learn Mina. So I might be coming home with a couple of other languages. At least two. French and Mina. Hopefully Fong gbé.

I'm in our apartment with Elder Lah, My AMAZING companion, and Elder Teti and Elder Ghisquiere. Lah and Teti are Ivorian and Ghisquiere is French. I talk French all day with them about everything and I try to think in French too. I love this language. Being fluent enough to talk and understand everything is nice too.

So I am ADDICTED to liver and Gizzards. I'm going to be trying Escargo soon too. Gizzards was my first meal here. Our branch is tiny. We have about 25 people I think. I still love it. Also, I met Elders Adams, Jerman, and Skousan. It really confused me cause each one said that I spoke French better then them and they love my accent. I don't think my French is any better... I've only been here for 2 months and a couples weeks... Everyone thinks I'm Quebecqua because of my accent that I aquired somewhere... I have no idea where... I love my accent though.

I bought six ties today. ten bucks and they're all super nice. I got a Boss tie and a TM Lewis and tfour jatalas. That Black tie in that photo you got , I got that from a trade with an African for my ninja tie. Bénin is great though. I'm really excited for the Accumé here. I miss Atieké and Degé. But they have Bisap here so all is good. I need to find rognon. I'm obviously hungry right now...

Well all is well in Bénin. When I get a little more established with the people here I'll let you know how the work is.

Tout le monde, je vous aime beaucoup et vous me manquez comme d'habitude! J'espère tout va bien avec les gens dans la paroisse et tous mes amis!!! odwabo. (that's not french...)

[Google Translation: Everyone, I love you very much and I miss you as usual! I hope all goes well with the people in the parish and all my friends! odwabo. (that's not French ...)]

Elder Halvorsen

Friday, June 26, 2009

Getting Transferred, A letter from the Bailey's and one last picture with the Zone

Dear Halvorsen family,

We just wanted to send you some photos of your son leaving for Benin. He is with all of the new missionaries that arrived on Tuesday, and with Elder Ghisgueire (from France) who will be going with him to Benin today. They were pretty excited!! Thanks for your dear son. His French is wonderful and he has a great attitude about sharing the gospel with everyone, so please know that he is such a valuable part of the Ivory Coast team.

Elder and Sister Bailey

Leaving for Benin.

Zone Conference - June '09

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Next transfer: BENIN!!

That's perfect. Thank you. [Cameron is referring to my new email format per his last request to write out my questions to him first...I can be trained] I don't use the handkerchiefs. They make me sweat when I put them in my pocket. Shoes are starting to die and clothes are changing colors.

My birthday package was perfect. No tampering. A little beat but not bad. I would like some french music like the song from the end of Rataouillie. That song too would be sweet. I gave the rain poncho away. I love the rain too much when it rains. lol! Dang it. Accidently sent the message... Well it sounds like a lot of fun.... Ya I'll be able to eat anything, live in the worst conditions and I've already given away so much stuff cause I just don't need it. Sounds like I could help Dad right now with things like that around the house. HAPPY FATHER4S DAY also. I didn't realize it was the same day here too...

My news... I GOt TRANSFERRED TO BENIN!!! I'M SO excitED!!! I leave on Friday. Also I'm now fluent in French. Of course on a basic level, but I communicate and talk with everyone without really thinking about it. In about a year I should be perfect. But BENIN!!! Dang happy day. This last week has been just great. I've seen so many blessings. I was sitting in this beat apartment complex and say this old man sitting under a tree on his roof and just thinking and I said, I want to do that some day. Just think about life all calm like. But as I was reading in the Liahona with the General Conference addresses I thought, I don't need too. The Gospel is so simple to understand, I already know what life is for and where I'm going... Lol! There's no need to really think! The Gospel is such a bigger blessing then we realize. It hit me just crazy hard. I got this spiritual high and was like AH Iwanna SHOUT IT TO EVERYONE!

Lol! Well some other things, I bore my parting testimony at Church. Not gonna miss David, this super hyper child who gets my shirts crazy dirty all the time, but I've really come to love this area. It took a while but I think the first transfer is what makes you realize how much you really love being here, amid disease, some disgusting foods, and bugs. I'm not gonna miss the Mosk that's outside our apartment either. The guy starts wailing over a loudspeaker at 5 30 o, the morning... Ugh.

A couple of requests. Could you get me the emails for Andrew Earnhardt and Devin Dillard? I sent letters in the MTC and don't know if they got them. Should be on Facebook. not sure. Oh, how's my car? I totally forgot about it... Lol!!!

Well I think that(s all for the day. Taking lots of pics so no worries!

Que Dieu te bénisse et que la santé te suivre est mon espérance et ma désir, sachez que je vous aime beaucoup et vous me manquez. Vous etes mon soutien et tous dont je vis.
[Google translation: May God bless and keep you health is my hope and desire, know that I love you very much and I miss you. You are my support and all I saw.]

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Getting into the groove of mission life

Dang that's a lot of funny stuff. With Chandler and Blake. Everyone sounds like they're dying [metaphorically speaking]. That's really bad news about RJ. [RJ is a friend of Cameron's who's lung unexpectedly collapsed...it's common in late teen, skinny boys. But he has fully recovered and is now serving a mission in the Dominican Republic] I know the Lord will prepare a way for him. He's in good hands. Thank you for all you've done. Packages, info like the french speaking. Elder Hubbard wasn't very happy with me. I read his french letter. Lol! Thank you for that info.

The poeple have one college here. They do have buses, but really they're just mini vans. I think you have to pay too cause one of my freinds here walks to school. That's a 45 min walk. Stinks.

Anyways. Sounds like everyone is semi well. No you didn't send me diareha stuff. I think my body has fully adjusted to the food and stuff. For example. I was eating some rice the other day and I found this ball thing in my rice. It most definitely was a fish eyeball. Didn't even phase me. I just kept on eating. LOL! One picture came through. They take forever to come through. And Dad. You're hilarious.

Well some stuff about here. I saw The Elephants!!! It's the Ivorian soccer team. I'm really into soccer and Rugby now. I also had this different form of baka a member bought for me and I had to eat it. (obligation) and I was choking down the bites. It was bad.... It's been raining the last couple of days. It reminds me a lot of home. I miss playing games with my brothers and doing fun stuff inside when it rains like this. I got pretty soaked. We eventually took a taxi because it was coming down so hard and ithe water was up to the running boards and then we got stuck in a stupid intersection for 30 mintues.

This computer is incredibly slow. Sorry. Not a lot to send today. The 25th is transfers and I think I'm going to be transferred. I got a buzz cut. I've never had my hair this short but I love it. Except the massive burn I got the next day. Lol! I look and feel so different now. I think only a mission can do this to a person. In every way I just feel different and I know it's all been a blessing of the Lord. I taught a class on sunday in French too. Nobody answered my questions so I felt really down, but we had a member of the 70 at our ward and I think he's the first black 70, but he gave me a little pep talk and I felt better after that. I only had 20 minutes to prepare too. AI AI AI .

Well That's all I really have to share today. The baptisms are normal I guess like the US. Just in French and everyone is black except elder cloward and me. The people I am teaching are interesting also. I love seeing them understand and grow. It's like my patriarchal blessing said, I will love the people and baptize many!

I love you all very much and hope all continues to be well.

Love ya!

Elder Halvorsen

P;S; It's easier for me when all your questions are at the beginning of the letter cause I don't have to spend time searching for them. Thnk you! : )