(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, 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.

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