(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!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Turkey "parts"..and a four dunker

I don't know who took it. [He's referring to some money that was stolen] I'm not trying to make too big of a deal about it. It's sixty bucks. Taken from the apartment.

Health is always great. Ya it's hot. It hit 145 degrees here today. So what do we do? We play basketball! Lol! Ya. So I'm a little burned and was a little dehydrated. Meh.

There were 166 people at Church. We had three baptisms last saturday with another 2 or four on the way for the sixth. I've been studying the Ancient Testament. I'm reading about David and his son Absalom right now. I don't have really anything inspirational, but I love reading in the Old testament all the times that Jesus speaks to the old Prophets. I didn't even know Christ was the God of Israel until Côte D'Ivoire! I was seriously shocked. lol!

Companion is fine. Work is great. We have to get home at 6 instead of 8 for a precaution for the elections. They aren't really serious. Just people trying to play trumpets and banging on drums in the back of an ancient truck. Lol! I took a couple videos. The elections I think are for the third March.

OH Package. If you haven't sent it... I need socks. I've worn the same black Champion socks after a year and a month... They're dead... Also deoderant and the burn stuff and PICTURES! That's probably the best thing. Still lovin the mish. People say the best two years and that's true. You get the crud beat out of you, you get insulted everyday at least 1452310 times (in Africa anyways) and slammed by all things just impossible to imagine. AND YOU LOVE IT! It's really weird...

That's a lot of trees [we just planted 1000 trees] and sounds like Dad's luck is terrible [He's getting over some stomach virus]. The rainy season is in April. But I've been thinking. I'm so dead when I come home... It's 130 on average here the month I'll be coming home, and it's 15 to 30 degrees with possible snow over there... Yeah I'm dead. I've forgotten what it's like not to sweat about 10 months ago... That golf really sounds cool. I kinda want it.. Lol! I wish I could watch the olympics right now. And yeah... There's basically just Soccer here and a little basketball. Hockey most definitely doesn't exist.

Yeah with these religions it's just hard not to laugh sometimes. We seem to ask this question a lot but "Do you even READ the Bible?" Lol! It's just ridiculous. I've definitely learned a lot.

Well here is some of the stuff that I noted for the last week. I don't know if I've told you but we contact about 65 new investigators a week now. I'm really tired. We've been working our butts off. This coming home at 6 for the next couple of weeks is a nice break.

We were doing door to door one day and we came across this Arabian family. It was really awkward... There were three girls and they didn't speak french. So they said We can speak English. So I said we're from the Church of Jesus Christ. And she said. We already have a shop. I was like WHAT? A shop? I'm talking about a church... So she just laughs and pulls out her cell and calls someone and goes off in Arabic. So she hands me the phone and I talked to I'm guessing her husband about the church in French over the phone. He was muslim so that was over fast but he was nice.

We had another interesting meal. TURKEY BUTT! Yes you read that right. We have eaten Turkey butt for the last couple days. The first day Elder Dea (Cruz's comp) started laughing after we bit into our meat chunks. We asked what was funny. And he told us "I'm watching two americans eating Turkey Butt. So we went ahead and ate it.

We had three baptisms. It was actually one of the best services I've had here. It was just fun and sacred and a good blend of everything! I can't really explain that very well... It was good!

OH! BUT! This is funny. Elder Kakou got to baptise for the first time... LOL! So He had to redo the baptism FOUR times! The first time the guy like collapsed in the water and his head didn't go under. The same for the second and the third his hand didn't go under. But on the fourth Elder Kakou kicks the guys legs out and he just goes down! LOL! It was great.

We try to play soccer, us four, everynight. Getting pretty good. We use two little chairs. The ball can barely get in. I just hate how much we sweat for so little effort...

Well that's it for the week!

I love you all very much!

Elder Halvorsen

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pictures: Good Eats in Africa

Pictures: The Apartment in Abidjan

Valentines Day and 130 degree weather

OMG! Today is Valentine's Day! I didn't even know... Lol! Sister Leavitt gave us candy and I didn't even realize what it was for... LOL! Health is good. Elder Holland isn't coming to Togo. Haven't tried the Debit card, but someone did steal 30000 francs (about $64 USD) from me so I'll be trying it soon... I can't really think of anything honestly... It's me that wants to send stuff home... President was in the hospital cause he overworked himself... And no. Hasn't cooled down.

We got a thermometer and it is 100 degrees at 9 in the morning with a high of 130 in the afternoon. It actually rained a couple of days ago and it was 80 degrees during the rain storm at night and we were freezing... Then I remembered that I'll be coming home in the dead of winter while here in February is the dead of Summer... Ya. I'm dead... I loved your story about your hair! I would've loved to see that! I laughed pretty hard and a couple guys in the cyber thought I was laughing at them... lol!

I don't really have much to say this week. I didn't keep up on my stories very well... We played soccer today. Went to the market... So I went to go buy a couple little trinkets for the boys and we went to this little shop on the side of the road.... This reminds me a little about Dad's vegetable story... but I was there and it was Halterman, Carver, Kakou, Bobi and Aissigba, and me. The white guys were buying then I hear Kakou say, He's selling the Priesthood! Ad they started laughing... So I said what? I looked up.. .This man had wood carved "Priesthoods" and one that was in brass and a bottle opener... (Think about something that Men only have... That's the "Priesthood") That was fun...

Also Just a little update on the work. For the last two months, we've been contacting roughly 65 new investigators by week.. It's really fun cause you meet all the Jehovah's Witnesses and Catholics and random African Cults. The cults are the most fun. Most of the time we don't teach. We listen to what they want to preach to us about... One guy had a ton of candles in his house on a raised platform with a little stained glass window in his roof and said Jesus comes down every suday to teach them... Ya... Just one of the crazies. Another said he had a dream about Jesus on a bicycle and showed him the true church, which is called "God, The Dove, and THEN the Truth." I'm telling ya. This isn't Washington...

I finished Jesus the Christ and taken a large interest in the bible accompanied with the Book of Mormon. I haven't really kept you updated on my studies... I've taken a HUGE interest in religion and I'm curious about all other religions. How they were founded, what they study. It's jut interesting. Like the JW's think that Jesus was hung on a Post and the Branhamist's think that William is Jesus and the Celestial Christians think that the Holy Ghost was manifested in the human body and so they don't wear shoes... It's just so intriguing... Can't really explain. I'm just happy I have the truth and it's just so clear. Not all this whack superstition... Lol!

Well I gotta go. I love you all! HAPPY (Unknown) VALENTINE'S DAY!

Elder Halvorsen

Monday, February 8, 2010

"John the Baptist", unresponsive kids, and sleeping on roofs

I am opening my first package of garments tonight actually! BIG MARK! Health is great, eat too much, gonna start an exercise program, course I do all that for mosquitos, deet is great. Should last the rest of my mission easily. Haven't tried the Debit again. Didn't get an interview with Golden but tht's okay cause I was really tired with my voice. It kills after all that translating. You asked how my health was twice... LOL! And I got the package with the reflector stuff. Thanks!

So the thing with companions, I know it sounds like I don't like most of them, but it's not that. I love all my companions. I keep in contact with and like them. I just share my feelings on certain subjects. It's me that's going to be reading these again after I get back and I can analyse my life after. Our goal in this life is to better ourselves to become perfect like our Savior, so I want to know my weaknesses. I guess it's kind of a lamely justified reason so I'll omit the other feelings. I've actually become very patient here. I mean kids yell/sing at me everyday telling me that i'm white, a fact I know very well, Old people yelling at me and insulting me all day, but it's weird cause no matter what they say, I love them as a brother or sister I knew before. The kids are innocent I know. I took a video of them singing too. SO FUNNY!

Well the conference was great. Everyone loved Elder Golden's discourse and he got asked some interesting questions. It was great though. We had one baptism last week. We have a good service the 20th coming up.

At the baptisms, they call the person who is going to baptise, John the Baptist. "Now as John the Baptist we have...." Elder Golden about flipped. He was like WHAT?!? I thought it was weird too but none of the other missionaries made a move so I didn't think anything more of it.

So I have a terrible yet kind of funny story... We were walking back to the house in sand like usual. We came to an intersection and there was this group of little kids. Normally they sing or stare at me. This group was coming around the corner and pointing and making noises that sounded like their language Evé. So I thought I'd try to make them laugh and point and act like I could talk Evé too. Kids laugh when I do that. But these kids didn't even see me, they kept walking and I realised they didn't hear me. Kakou explained why they didn't hear me. They were DEAF. Wow... I felt like a total jerk. Kakou was laughing so hard though.

So one person we baptized has become SUPER strong. We gave him a Gospel Principles book, the new one, and the next time we stopped by his house, he had a 4 PAGE TALK written. he asked, how can I give a talk at church? . . .. . That was crazy... He's a great guy.

Last story and I gotta go. So the power has been cutting out every night for the last month. It's always when we're sleeping. So Elder Cruz and I wake up immediately and go outside cause it's too hot. We wait 20 minutes to an hour. Bam. Power. BUT This one night the power cut out around 10 or 11. An hour passed and Cruz and I were too tired. So we took our mattresses up on the roof. We used a TON of mosquito spray and with the great breeze up there were saved from the death heat wave. This is truly Africa. It was a fun experience. : )

Well that's all and I gotta go. I love you all VERY much and got a couple presents for you guys! the boys too.


Elder HAlvorsen

Monday, February 1, 2010


Health is good. [Elder] Cruz was sick. Don't know if it was malaria... Haven't tired Debit card again. Weather is hot. Compy is good. Fav Scrip. There's too many... All of Alma 29 is good. or 1 to 10. lol! I heard Tess was engaged. She told me. CRAZY! When did you get a Jetta?

An apostle at Jared's house! WOW! That is too cool! I'm happy for him! I can't check the blog. Don't have time. Rushed again... Tonight the power cut off eight times in the last hour...

So here's some fun stuff about what's been going on. So it's hotter then normal, don't know how in the world that's possible, but it is, and I now have SALT DEPOSITS coming through my pants after one day. Yeah. That's hot. lol!

We had a fun maggot experience. I was going to open the garbage can to throw something in and I tried grabbing it by the top, but my hand kept slipping so I thought heck I'll just reach around the side of the lid. I flipped it off real quick and ya... HUNDREDS of maggots all over the place. On the rims falling off the sides, on the lid, crawling all over.

SO I call out Kakou and told him to carry it out into the sun. Then the small portion of 200 that fell on the ground, I got a broom and swept them off onto the other sidewalk. I turn around and heard a scuttering behind me. I look and all of a sudden four lizards come out of no where and started eating all of the maggots! All of it. It was like pac-man lizard style! It was great! So We tipped the garbage can a bit and they hopped right in and took care of all of them! I love the lizards here now. And they love us. : )

So when I went to the bank to go get my money transfer, there was a Nigerian there and he had literally 5000 american dollars all in Franklins. It was ridiculous. I said, why do you have that here? He said Amreica money is better then Africa money. Case closed. Lol!

Another thing about my comp. He's 26... Ya not kidding. He's ANCIENT! I thought he was like... 20. But oh well. I really do like him a lot. He taught me some cool stuff and also how to make these cool bracelet things. I'll make em for the fam.

The Zone conference is tomorrow in our apartment with Elder Golden and I'll be translating again. It should be really good. I'm pretty stoked for this. We worked really hard this last week too. We should have some good baptisms coming up.

Also We didn't do anything for my year mark. The only thing that I'm gong to do is burn a tie, a shirt, a pair of socks and a pair of pants on my year and six months. Well I gotta go.

LOVE YOU ALL! Hope you're all doing well!

Elder Halvorsen