(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, January 17, 2010

The mice are eating well...

Heat is killing me. I put on sun block, got burned still.... No rain... PRAYING! We'll have two baptisms this week. I have stories but I left my stupid planner at the house. My Apt doesn't have AC. MY new companion is great! His name is Elder Kakou. So I spelled it wrong the first time. He's fresh from the MTC and I'm his Trainer. We get along well. Health is great. I'm learning to cook a bunch of stuff with Elder Kakou. Sonds like you guys had a bunch of stuff going on. And another car? Dang... Lol! That sounds cool though. I would love to drive it.

Well I bought some masks today and got burned playing soccer. I got some statues too. Nothing too crazy. I had a lot of stories about a ton of funny and sweet stuff but I really can't remember. AND LUCK HAVE IT! I had it right next to me! Gonna open it up.

I saw two little kids ding dong ditch this poor old lady. It was actually quite hilarious. The kids just took off running.

AFRICAN EXPERIENCE! We found this guy we thought was an investigator. He's CRAZY far from our house, but someone showed us. Se we get to the beach and we see this shack. We're thinking interesting... Okay. And then we take this tiny little side trail winding through this plantation of palm trees and end up in this tiny hut on the beach. Wow... It was intense. His house is a little bigger then our pantry and made up of palm leaves. We took a picture together.

I got the package with my debit card from the Bailey's. The mice ate really well. The soup and bacon bites are gone. As for my card, I tried it and it said action forbidden. I don't know if it's activiated or what. So that's what it said. I'm going to try another place.

I bought a bible in évé so I'm: going to try and learn this language really really well and speak it. Also had a little ice cream party for my comp. It's been a decent week.

Well I love you all very VERY much and miss you all!

Elder Halvorsen

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fixing the kinks in the new apartment

This is now the third flipping time that I've written this letter. First time the computer tweaked and THEN after it had erased everything the computer saved nothing, and then the power got cut in Togo. Good start for the morning.

Well I"m in the Souza Nétimé branch. Health is good. Package wasn't rummaged. Out of Deodorant. Africans believe in Roll on only and it's girl marks... New apartment had a TON of problems. Some self proclaimed lock smith took a crowbar to our door and broke the lock. He charged us three bucks. Then water started overflowing in the kitchen and our drunk guardian got his sons, beat the concrete around this big lid thing with hammers, put a ladder down and his son dressed only in a pair of tight boxers went down, no shoes, basically diving in just the worst smelling sludge I've ever seen... Was so gross. Did not receive the reflector stuff either. That story about Chan sounds terrible but super funny. Reminds me of the pooped pants I cleaned up at Home Depot. And With Bro Baxter. : ) You can tell him I did learn a little Fong bé and I'm starting a little Ewé.

Here's a couple little stories. Just after last week's internet we went outide and the Muslims were burning a goat they just killed. Right in the middle of the road. Fun times. We dumped a huge bucket of water on Geisler's head from the roof and started a water war inside the house... Took an hour to clean. Some kids threw a strobe light in the middle of the road and we kept walking, but Geisler stopped to do the Robot, and it turned out to be a mini bomb firework. He jumped so hard and it was So funny.

We were on the roof of this four story building and some kids had spotted us from the roof, so I started doing the YMCA dance and we got about 25 kids down on the street to start doing the YMCA and after the Maccaraina. They cook here buy using grinding stones and coal in these little firepits. Just like the native Americans. Most people cook like that anyways. We got stuck in a huge march for the UFC. We were in a taxi. Dead stop for all the Traffic. And then the next day we got stuck in another when we were walking. It was a bunch of people that were excited for the World Cup. Wow... It was crazy. They block the whole road. Some crazy guy come over and started hugging us and asking for money so we told him to get off and that we didn't have any so I thought I'd pull the I speak English card and he most definitely spoke english too. I just said great. Lol.

Well that message was way better the first time, but oh well... I'll explain more when I get home and have some photos. The 28th is coming fast! The year mark! It's been so fast! I get Kakoo the 14th. I'll let you know how it goes. I'll have my debit card soon too so all is good. Thank you! I love you all and miss you a lot!

Elder Halvorsen

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Elder Halvorsen's testimony

Health is good. Companion, Elder Geisler, is getting transferred next week to Benin and I will receive a Brand new Ivorian missionary from the MTC. His name is Elder Kakoo. Christmas was great and New Years was fun too. I'll bear testimony at the end. I re-sent the email again. Sr. Bailey called and talked to me about the package. THe money transfer worked out great. It's funny cause I actually ended up pulling it out FARTHER away from downtown but in a WAY nicer facility. Lol!

Yeah I can't believe that Jon will be home in 3 months. That's just too crazy to think about... And with Kirtley. I got a letter from her family saying she had been evacuated.. Man that's just nuts...

Did Andrew get a hold of you? I told him to give you a call.

Okay. Now the fun stuff. New year's was great. Kids have used fireworks all day everyday since I came here and man.. EVERYONE had fireworks. We did too... We threw them off the roof. Lol! We ate so much that day. I thought I was going to explode. Everyone invited us over to eat. Then I was too tired so I decided to go to sleep at around ten cause we were all so tired. At exactly 12 the apartment started shaking... There were SO many fireworks. Not just little ones... We're talking an army might have turned around... It was ridiculous... It went on for about 30 minutes to an hour. Then the stupid rooster woke us up again... UGH.

It's more difficult being a District Leader then I thought. I've got to keep all these Elder's in line and staying in their positions as missionaries. It's rough... Good experiences for me though. I'm learning how to deal with all kinds of people.

We just moved apartments today. First off we went down to this market where we buy food, but there's a member next door who sells wood things. CRECHE SETS MOM! : ) They're a little more on the expensive side, roughly 20,000 cifas, I think that's forty bucks, but they're pretty cool. I don't know if you want it to look African or just a normal type creche. Let me know.

There are also masks for 8 bucks and cool wood statues and necklaces and all types of things. If the boys want something, nows a good time.

So we got back to the apartment and Fr. Dieudonné came by and says, you guys are moving today! Surprise! So we ran around packing things and getting ready. We moved everything in about 4 hours and we finished moving everything around in the house. Then we realized ah. Gotta hit up the internet. So I lock all the doors and there was just one door left to lock. I put the key in, locked it and pulled the key out. But something went wrong. The lock and tumblers followed. Yep. We are currenlty locked out of our house... Lol! The guardian next door has a key but he wasn't there so we're going to stop by his house on the way home. It's been an eventful day...

So it's kinda weird bearing my testimony in English cause I always do it in French, but after everything that I've seen here and everything I've been through I have taken the testimony that I had before and turned it into an unbreakable rock. I have easily moved every obstacle out of my path in this mission because of the testimony that has been built. I look at other churches and other people that don't have the Gospel and I just ask myself, How can you think that that church is right when the bible clearly states what we need to do, and you're church doesn't do it? How can you let yourselves live in darnkness? Even with the Book of Mormon as a second witness that completely backs up the Bible, how could you believe in anything else? There's is not a single question that I have, had or will have that I have not anwsered easily with this Gospel. The answers to eternal life are only in one place as stated in the Bible, One Lord, One faith, One baptism. Jesus built one church on the Earth and he made his church on the foundation of Prophets, Apostles and HIM being the corner stone and Leader of all righteousness.

I know without a doubt in my mind that this church is his church.. I know that everything that is is here because of a Heavenly Father that loves us and will never leave us alone and in darkness. The gospel is so easy to understand and so easy to live. We just have to follow what somebody else has already done, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It's always easier to do what has already been done because we know it's possible. We know it has been done and can be done. It's the path that is the choice. The straight and narrow where our Brother has already walked and leads us along as well, our the wide path that only descends into darkness. I have chosen my path and will hold on the Rod and the Wisdom of our Father and his Christ instead of the knowledge of man. This is my testimony and this is my Rock. Which is the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

I love you all very much. One year has passed and one year remains. I'm making the most of it for these people.

Elder Halvorsen