(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, March 29, 2010

Here he grows again!

Health is great. Companion, I'll explain in a bit. Weather is normal HOT, Got the money, don't send shoes, bought a pair today. There is One American and Three Ivoiriens in our apartment. Our Branch is called Souza Netime. I had an interview with Ayekoue yesterday. Explain that later. Insights in the email. We don't eat too much beef. Fish and chicken a lot. Elections are done. One person killed. French is rolling along. Doing great. Translated for the couple for our conference today and I translate into English for the Couple also. Yes it's the heat and dust that's killing me. I have sun spots that poke out all over my face since CĂ´te D'Ivoire... They bug me. oh well. I haven't been too hot on my journal... Gotta work on that.

Can't believe Jon is home in two weeks. Just yesterday it was Five weeks. And the day before that Six months. Wow. The boys are doing amazing! Runs in the Halvorsen blood. Not bragging. Just a fact. The bike story was funny. I'm missing so much. But it's only 9 months and 29 days left. Wow that's crazy...

Okay I have a few stories to share. This last week has been a spiritual high for me. I read 200 pages of the bible, read till 1 Nephi 15 in French, read all the Liahona's for 2010 and one that came out in 2007 about the temple. I finished the 5 lessons in Preach my Gospel a second time and and currently marking my french scriptures like none other. I've just been absorbed in reading and praying.

I don't know where this change came from but I just have so many desires that are going everywhere. My job, Wife, kids, where to live, how to be, how to help, how to grow, I don't even know. It's just been utter bliss. Honestly reading the scriptures before, I would start to fall asleep after one chapter, but now every morning I find myself rushing to get dressed so I can spend more time reading. I've conquered being a leader also.

My interview with president lasted an hour or more. I had asked him a question about his thoughts on me and how he sees my progression in this mission. He didn't answer my email. He came for the interview and told me, "you know why I didn't respond? I wanted to talk to you in person because I saw that you had reached a new level or being, of humility, of spiritual comprehension and of leadership." He had been putting me in these hard situations to shape me and he did nothing but compliment on how I've become. He told me how he was impressed with the area book, the relation with my companion, my level of understanding, and he used me for an example with my crazy marked Preach My Gospel, and he chose me to join in with the blessing of our President here in Togo.

I'm realizing more who I am and that I have no limit to my potential. It's an incredible feeling. It's times like these that you BEGIN to understand the love that our Heavenly Father truly has for each one of us. It's the proof that he is there and that he wants us to be with him and one day take our eternities into our own hands. The Gospel is amazing.

Our President, Dieudonné, his wife passed away last week. It's been hard for him. We all went to his house today. It was to him that we gave the blessing. All the missionaries and the President and the couple Leavitt went there. It was a time of love and peace that each of us felt. I've never prayed so hard for someone like I did when we placed our hands on his head. Just as I knew I'd see my grandparents again, he's be with his wife and beautiful family.

The relation with my companion is great. I did something weird last week. I asked him to forgive me. I took all his criticism and put it into practice. That's how I conquered my anger. I realised if I truly love everyone around me as the Christ asked us to do "Love thy neighbour as thyself" I have no reason to be angry. Even if something happens that I caused, I broke or if it was something or mine that was ruined, it's for a short time that these things will exist. If I can't control my temper after two seconds, how will I do it for the eternities? God is a God of Love and Understanding. He only destroys the people if they're REALLY stupid and turn away from him. I know I have to follow Jesus's counsel to "be perfect even as your Father which in in Heaven is perfect."

Here's a couple funny stories. First, there's these two kids that always try to talk to me in Eve (eh-vay) and I don't understand anything. So one day they ran and hid behind a well. I picked one up and told him I was gonna throw him in and he started screaming! So I set him down and he runs off. We came back another day and I saw him again. He hid in his house. Right before I left, he came out. Well his sister was just next to him and I told her to grab him! So she grabbed him and I took two steps toward him and he starts screaming, "Yovo Duna! Yovo Duna!" That means "The White's going to eat me!" LOL! I was laughing so hard! I gave him a piece of candy and left. Our relationship is a little better now.

One quick thing. Our Branch Mission Leader was teaching the Kingdoms of Glory in the Investigators class. He drew up on the board the names but below the Celestial he drew a moon, terrestial a round moon and telesial a star. I said Uh.... Ayih. The Celestial is a sun... And He says a sun? What's a sun like? LOL!!! Everyone just stared at him witth these dumbstruck faces... Then someone said,"You're African! You see the sun EVERY DAY!" LOL! It was a great moment in Church History.

Well that's about it. I hope that this letter was enjoyed and savored.

I love you all!
Elder Halvorsen

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