(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, 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!!!


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...


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.