(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, 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...


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.


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!!!


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!