(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!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


The cat was really good actually. I'll spare you the details, but I have photos and a video, so you'll know after the mission. : ) I know the package wasn't supposed to be anything crazy mom. : ) I was happy to get a package and have something for Christmas. : ) Yeah Baxter is right. Almost every house in Prairie ridge is better then some people's best here. Imagine dirt floors with nothing but coconut palm leaves as walls and a mat for a bed. Most cook on coals only too. Even some of the well off people. Yeah the boys will regret not going on trips. Right now I just have this longing to go hiking and rock climbing and dirt biking and snow mobiling and the GYM Man I miss the gym... Yeah I can't believe that the year is just right there.. and they say it gets faster.... I like that idea cause sweating every moment of the day sucks, but I really like it here. I'd love to work in an embassy for the US. I think they get paid pretty well too with all the government benefits.

No water or electricty for two days? Cake. Lol! I've done that for a week in a half. : ) Thanks for the money transfer. That was actually pretty easy so I think that'll be the new way to do it...

SO There are a lot of things I forgot to tell you guys about what's been going on. So at our apartment, there is this car garage with parts everywhere, junker cars and garbage. They LOVE to put it on our doorstep. SO I deliver a nice little present every night in a little plastic bag.. [not sure what to make of this...] Then one day one of them peed on our door mat. So we tossed that too.

I had my first very awkward encounter. There is this pretty cute girl. We visit her sister to teach her. One day the cute girl met us in the road. She smiled and walked toward me and at the last second tries to throw her arms around me. She doesn't know the rules, so it wasn't intentional, but automatically without even thinking I like ninja chopped her arms with both of mine and said NON! That's against the rules! Lol! NEVER in my life have I rejected a hug just automatically like that; especially from a cute girl. It was really weird, but cool at the same time. lol! It was difficult to explain the rules to her after that...

So my French got a good exercise again. I translated last Tuesday for our Leadership meeting, then again the next day for the Zone Conference, and AGAIN Thursday for a DISTRICT LEADER TRAINING. That was weird... I'm this 20 year old basically telling 30 to 60 year olds how to do their job and the 20 year old is the one that has to translate cause they don't have a clue what Elder Leavitt was saying... It was an interesting feeling. Even President tried correcting me cause he thought I misunderstood the question and I was like no. I said it exactly as he did.

So kids light firecrackers here all the time. They'll throw those little ones at us and explode them in the street all the time. So Christmas night, we got up on the roof and chucked some at them. It was really funny. You'd throw one and they'd shoot off in all directions and start cracking up.. Then they started retaliating. It was a fun Christmas.

We had two good baptisms the 26. They're both strong. We have another three already ready to go the 9th of JAnuary with a family hopefully too.

Something funny they do here. If you talk about Thomas S. Monson, you read Thomas S Monson right? Here they say Thomas S Point Monson. The point after the S.. they actually say S point Monson. It is THE funniest thing of all time! Lol!

On the home from the baptism, we decided to go eat at a restaurant so we all pile in this tiny taxi, six elders, and I thought that Elder Dea had already closed his door so I wrapped my fingers around the post. Slam. Fingers got slammed in the door. At first I was just confused at this sudden pain. Then I started shouting in French, OPEN THE DOOR OPEN THE DOOR! It was really funny. Fingers are fine. Not even a bruise. I was blessed. : )

Our piano guy at church. He does these freestlye hymns... It's really funny. At the beginning or end he'll just kinda bust out on his own little rythm that works with the hymn. He's actually really good.

The road I live on is the Houphouet Boigny Boulevard. You find the road Tabinde, then go on that road till you cross the road Noépé, and our house is right after that road in front of a little car dump. Our house is white.. And the pronunciation of Houphouet Boigny is "Whep poo eh Boing ee." Lol.

Well that's it for this week. I loved talking to you guys! I wish Austin would've talked better. That made me a little sad he wasn't even able to talk clearly to me. We'll he gets another chance in just six months. I love you all very much! Happy new year!

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pre-Christmas call...just to make sure the calling card worked :)

That was so weird... You sounded exactly like Sister Leavitt when you said Bonsoir. I thought it was the leavitts home phone in Togo.. We were in the middle of planning when you called. This sector is gonna make me a little tired. there's a lot of work to do...

Yeah. Never send packages to Abidjan again. Only to Benin. the couple will bring them over. If I do go back to Ivoiry coast, I'll just wait to get home. Then you wont have to send stuff. President DID NOT birng my package. Not happy at all. The time to call will be around 1 to 2 my time, right in there.

Man I miss snowmobiling. Wait... What's snow? Hahah. That was lame... Umm... No offense but I don't think I would ever wear an arm band that flashes.... The stickers would be cool to put everywhere. But a flasher? Hmm... Togo feels COMPLETELY different then Benin. It reminds me of Côte D'Ivoire a little bit. Benin is a more negative place really... It's hard to work there. Here it's a lot easier. We just got a district here and now we have four branchs. President is in town. Got a meeting tomorrow with the other DL's and the ZL's. Then we have the Zone conference all Wednesday and then a party at the Chruch thursday and Christmas Friday and a baptism saturday... Wow... This week will be crazy...

Well I have a couple stories this week. I told you about the side walks with the big bricks that shift sometimes right? Well they dump sewage and throw garbage in these holes. Elder Geisler most definitley fell in one.. LOL! It was so funny! Just his right leg but he was like "I feel so gross!" we had to walk another fifteen minutes before we found a taxi too. Oh man. lol!

I have eaten something interesting now. Dog. Yes I have betrayed Ruby [our black lab]. It was good actually. Was really spicy though but good. We also will be eating Cat for Christmas. We're killing it and everything [great], so I'll let you know how that goes...

I think I said the water here is bad already. Even after it's been filtered it has this weird taste. I'm finally getting used to it. It was disgusting at first. I took a huge gulp and barely got it down...

Here's a fun story. You know "The Other Side of Heaven"? There's a part where someone dies and the ladies are crying really loud. I witnessed that for myself in person... We Contacted someone and they brought us into their house. there was this girl in front of this 6 or 7 foot stone thing with Jesus in a little cove and she was on her knees just bawling with her hands in the air, I swear, exactly like the Tongans in the movie. Wow... So We sit down inside and she walks in and says "Okay! I'm all yours!" Like nothing ever happened. So We start singing and she says every line like really REALLY slow which is really incredible for an african cause they already sing SLOW and she starts picking apart every word. So we start over just Geisler and me and she stares at Geisler the whole time with this big smile on her face... Like maybe a foot away... Creepy. So we started teaching after that and during the ENTIRE lesson she kept saying" Jesus! Jesus! oh Lord! Jesus! God! Jesus!" The loudness of her voice varied, but it was constantly that for a good 15 minutes until we left.. She was flipping crazy....

Well I'll be talking to you in a couple days anyways, so I won't write much more. And tell Austin, I had my [Eagle] Project almost ready and finished it a couple months after.

I love you all and am excited to talk soon!

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New area - TOGO!!

Well Yes I'm in Togo. I'm with another american, Elder Geisler. He's a cool guy and he looks like Pierce and sounds like Elder Legere. I'm in the Lomé sector. The President called me to be a senior, a trainer, and a District Leader all at the same time, while getting to know a new sector. So I'll be training a LOT. I'm happy though. Our apartment is literally a house, but it is so beat...

I'm just happy I have a toilet. That always reminds me of when Elder Legere came to Koumassi and said, "YOU HAVE A TOILET?!" So I'll always be grateful for what I do have.

Health is great. I got our Christmas package. I honestly think all my packages are in Abidjan. Please don't send anymore over there. They will get lost or stolen or sit. Thank you for the tree and food! I took a little video. The lights are like strobe lights. It's really funny.

The work here won't be too easy but better then in Bénin. It kinda makes me sad cause I had 11 baptisms lined up and was shooting for 15 but oh well. I'm [hoping] to do the same thing here.

The Branch has about 135 members [and want to] get that to around 175 to 200 before I leave so they can seperate for another Branch. Eating good but the water here SUCKS! Crystal light packets are a life saver. The pancakes was a big hit too but it only makes four pancakes... oh well.

I don't know my new number... I know it's ##### but I don't know the code for calling.... Meh. I would SO wear a reflective tie! Bright neon orange or lime green! LOL! CHOUETTE!

Sounds like Jordan had a good mission and is moving on. Mince. That's still a good ways away but at the same time, I've changed three countries in the last year and am fluent in French, so it's been flyin.

Kinda glad I was tranferred also. The leaders of the Ménontin branch were [kind of negative]. They told us we didn't work hard enough and that we need to do better, even though there were 35 people at church and when I left there were 70. I worked hard over there. That was probably the worst part of my mission.

I've had it rough in my mission, not gonna lie... Leavitts said a two year mission in Africa is five years anywhere else and man is that true. : )

Here's a fun little story, my Togo welcoming. SO I opened my bag and pulled my scriptures out to teach someone. After we finished, zipped it up, and went off to the next. Opened my bag, pulled out my scriptures [again] and taught. When I was putting my sciptures back in I noticed something that most definitely did not belong in my scripture bag. A GIGANTIC spider. Yep. Don't know how it got in there or when, but it was there. I freaked out and was franctically telling this African boy that was there to kill it. He didn't, it just ran out, but man, that was flippin scary...

There's one good experience I had in Bénin before I left. Elder Kablan and I knocked on this door and found a great contact. We went in and taught. Then she said my son is sick, and we said we could give him a blessing. Her eyes lit up and she said great! She took us inside and called her son out... He looked terrible. He was drenched in sweat, sunken eyes, looked like he had a heavy fever. So we said hi. He grunted. We asked him to sit down in the chair, and we asked his mother directly, Do you have the faith that we can do this? She said yes, I do. So we blessed him. He stood up and smiled and then moved to another chair. His mom asked him how he was feeling in Fong bé and he looked up and said, fine... She liked flipped out! She turned to us and said Thank you thank you!!! The boy stopped sweating and he starts talking like a rocket. He gave us his schedule number, we got another appointment there, they asked were the church was. Wow. It was amazing. I love those moments. : )

Well that it's for this week gang. This internet is slow so I don't get to write my friends which stinks, but no big. I'll look for another cyber.

I love you all very much and miss ya!

Elder Halvorsen

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Letter from the Mission President

Date: 12/10/2009

Dear Parents of Elder Halvorsen

It‘s a great joy to have Elder Halvorsen in our Mission. He serves humbly, loyally and efficiently. His devotion permits him to serve in an effective a lot personally since his arrival in the mission field and has become a great instructor of the Gospel. His willingness to learn and the effort that he is exerting for the establishment of Zion in the Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission have inspired members and missionaries alike. It is a great pleasure to have him here.

He has the opportunity to serve with Elder Geisler as his companion. He serves now as District Leader. He accomplishes this responsibility diligently and gives valuable service.

We would like to assure you that as Mission President and wife, we will lovingly care for Elder Halvorsen like our own son.

May the Lord bless you for all you have done to prepare this noble missionary.


President Ayekoue
Sister Ayekoue

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New companion

There was the cable but it was the wrong one. No candy. Don't send anymore tuna. I found it and it's not that expensive. Ya we saw that [in an email that the senior companions sent to us, it mentioned a lady that had been hit by a car and was lying in the middle of a busy road. They stayed by her til help could arrive. Because of the threat of AIDS there, there wasn't much they could do but to shield her from other cars running over her again]... The lady was really messed up... we were on the way to pick up my new companion. No one moved to help her for a while. We blocked the road with the truck... Her leg was definitely broken and pretty bloody...

Speaking of new companions, Elder Adams was just transferred to Côte D'Ivoire and I just got another Ivoirian as a companion. His name is Elder Kablan. We get along really well and have just instantly clicked. I'm loving having another French speaker in the apartment. Elder Ghisquiere got another companion too. He's Ivoirian. His name is Elder Kouakou.

I just have a couple of things I would like to tell you. I wanted to know if I could send packages by airlines? Is that safe? I heard it was less expensive. I think I would like to send at least a couple of things home. I love the clothes and ties here so I've been thinking of what I wanna pick up. Especially for christmas. I REALLY want that debit card... Don't send anything else to Abidjan, only to the couple. I'll be in Togo after this so there isn't any problem with sending stuff to the couple.

I love you all very much and can't wait for the call. What time and day did you guys choose? Well gotta go!

Love ya and miss you all!!!

Elder Halvorsen

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Checkers isn't for sissies

Not too much exciting stuff has happened. We went to the beach again today but we just took a couple pictures and played a messed up version of checkers where I lost almost every single match against everyone but the Americans. They'd better never put checkers as an Olympic sport. The Americans will get owned time and time again against the African's and the French... That's about it.. I think.

Elder Halvorsen