(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, July 26, 2010

Super-baptism day and an unwanted "house" guest

I just took the information for the transfer today but I'm sure that It'll go fine. OH MAN!!! Dad's response to the bones made me laugh HARDER than I've EVER laughed from an email on my mission! Belly laugh and tears and everything. My companion scooted away from me! LOL! Cushy mission eh? I'll send a nice picture to you guys... Hehehe!


I WAS transfered. Cruz and Kakou went to Benin. Ghisquiere, Dea and N'Dri are going to Côte D'Ivoire this friday. I'm going to Bé Kpota. I'm district leader again and I'm with Elder Bobi who is also hooked on Yu-Gi-Oh cards... Joy... We baptised 6 people. A woman and her son, A girl we've taught forever (finally got permission from her parents) and the family I've been teaching FOREVER! THAT WAS SO GREAT!

Oh ya. And about the transfer. I bore my testimony. I'm so weak... I get up in front of the branch that I've served in for 7 months... I had it all planned out. What do I do? I get up in front of everyone and see the faces of the people I've baptised, my friends, my brothers and sisters and my mothers and fathers. I ball. I didn't even talk for a minute and a half. I just stood there crying. It's hard to write this even... And then N'Dri walked up and put his arm around me and I was able to talk. Man... It's like my home now... I cried so hard and everyone started crying... It was hard... I'M NOT EVEN GOING FAR AWAY! Lol! We took so many pictures after church. almost 200. I have to erase a lot. We told them to take lots cause normally Africans take bad pictures. Lol! so I gotta pick and choose. I've wanted this transfer for so long and now I don't want it... I wanna stay... Lol! I'm ridiculous...

Okay. So Grandpa sends me letters of stuff he's doing. It's not really addressed to me though. He's a crazy guy. He works so hard and so well. ALMOST 90! He's a prophet! : ) I love reading his emails. I'm gonna try and respond to his letter real quick today.

are the olympics going on right now? Just a question.

So the rat that you'll see is one we found in the house and killed. We made a tomb for him and everything. He was a biggin. Then there's a group baptism that we did. We baptised The woman Irène and her son Assiba in that group. Then sunday morning we baptised Fifi and the Gnawui family except one son. He was sick the day of the interviews so he'll be baptised this saturday I think. I'm going to be there for his baptism. It made me so happy to see that family baptised. They were so happy and wouldn't stop expressing their love for the work and time we spent with them. They're so happy to have the chance to be sealed together as a family in a year. We baptised their daughter in March so she Veronique is super happy too! Gotta love the work, even if it tears you apart sometimes...

A really weird thing... You know, I haven't really missed home that much. Not that I don't love it. I talk about it all the time and I reminisce (that's spelled wrong) about life back home but I've never really been home sick. Till saturday night. We were at the branch at 9pm filling up the baptismal font and I laid down on the tile and looked up at the stars and the moon and I just wanted to cry. I don't know what was up. I was so confused. I haven't had any super strong feeling like that before... But I'm so glad to be here too and it's hard to leave here. What do I do? : ) Just rhetorical. I know what I have to do. I'm so happy to see the blessings of my patriarchal blessing coming true.

Well I think that that'll do for the week. I don't think I've forgotten anything. I love you all so very much and I miss you so much too! I'm going to burn a tie and that's about it for my year and six months... I'm not a super cool missionary. You're SUPPOSED to burn pants but I've been stitching up my pants trying to make them last. Butt rips, pocket rips, and all that great stuff. I don't want to burn them. Lol!

Elder Halvorsen

P.S. Yes Mom. I knew that. : ) [I asked him if he knew that I loved him VERY much :)]

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lounging by the pool and eatin' chicken bones...

Mom... You wired me money how? Did you send it by Western Union? I need the code and the transfer number and all that. I tried EVERY bank that accepts my card and EVERY single one was "en panne" or broken. Lol! Togo is something else.

So I didn't really explain the pictures... I forgot what I sent too... so I'll explain it at home! But I'm sending you four pictures today. I'll explain them later.

LEGERE AND FORMAN! Punks... Not gonna lie, I would love to be home for Christmas (sings the song in his head "I'll be there for christmas" lol) but I don't see how that would EVER work out.

Retention is good. there are only branchs here. It's a district. It grows well but there are a lot of old in actives. for example. We had our conference. 525 some odd members. 135 really active... Ya. REally sad. apparently there was a type of "tribal war" in the branch and it chased (I think I spelled that wrong) a lot of people away...

Ya I was up to date with the leavitt story. They don't hide much do they? I didn't want to tell you guys that kinda stuff. I know how mom would flip if I told her stories like that... All that matters is I'm safe! I'm not gonna do something stupid, unless it's overeating cause a member prepares and you don't want to insult her and your companion is already stuffed from lunch and... Ya. That killed.

So With the suit. If Bro. norris wants to just wait till I get home, i'll throw it in my baggage. It's really light and small. He needs to give me his sizes and i'll make it in december when I'm close to coming home. That works? I don't really need anything for Christmas... Honestly... I've become kinda lame for gifts now... You remember the christmas when I got the bag and mosquito spray and I think the camera? Ya. If I got a christmas like that again I'd just die from thrill! I mean I like getting ties and socks now... I feel old... Even one suit and i'd be off the wall... Africa really helps you see things straight and to be grateful for what you have and forget what you don't. I hope America doesn't change that again... Lol! I miss America...

Anyways, I liked the story about the trip in Seattle! I forgot Greg was home! and Kirtly soon! AHHHH! I feel so behind... I'm glad to hear a story about Ruby again! I thought maybe she had died and you guys didn't want to tell me. Lol!

Well here's a little with what happened.

first today. We got the 12 missionnarires with the couple Herr and Dieudonné together and went to a little hotel "The Lake Hotel" and went to see the lake. It's really nice, well... I thought it was. Lol! They have pet crocodiles. We caught a big crab and threw it in and the croc (there are two) ripped it to shreds. It was AWESOME! So we threw in lizards that they caught with the orange heads and they ate them too. We wanted to tbuy a live chicken and throw it in... Stupid chicken was too expensive... Then they'd have to go look for it too... I took videos. We ate there and relaxed took pictures. Just had a fun time.

So here's a new thing I'm eating! I want to get home and do this in KFC and shock them to death... HAHAHAHAHA! the Africans taught me how to eat.......

...................BONES! They're actually pretty good. Inot gonna lie. And whole crab! Shell and all. DELICIOUS! You guys are gonna think I'm weirdo when I get home... Lol!

African Beliefs. My companion honestly believes is Genies and Pygmies... All Africans do. they tell me the most ridiculous stories. Then I ask "have you ever seen one?" "YEAH! in the night time and it was really far off!" Oh. Okay. Thanks. Lol! "Has anyone ever killed one to prove they exist?" "Oh no. Never. They're not easy to kill." Okay. Thanks. And they believe in these lizards that breath fire and humans that have this thing were they can't be pierced by bullets and bombs and they destroy armies and stuff... Africa is crazy...

And finally a good french mistake. So I was praying a little fast cause we were late and I've been kinda tired lately, so I wanted to say "and help our investigators to have touched hearts." and instead I said "Help our investigators to go into labor." And I heard my companion start to giggle so quickly I say "IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST AMEN!" And I just look at him and he busts up laughing.

Well thank you for the updates! I'm glad everyone is doing well! I miss you all very much! !

Elder Halvorsen

Friday, July 16, 2010

"Toll bridge" and more pictures!!

Ya I'm still doing what I gotta do here, even if it's been a long time in the same place... Ya go ahead and send the transfer. ya 150 is perfect. I loved the story with Blake. Josh is bald? That sucks. Lol! I'm glad I'm not. Really REALLY glad. I liked the story with Blake! Lol! I remember Sr. Evelyn! She was super nice and really funny! If I remember right... I've been forgetting a lot of things lately... I think it's the sun... We played soccer again today. I'm starting to get better. Really I wish I would've stuck with soccer as a kid... That drives me nuts now... I want to play soccer like a pro! Pretty sure it's almost impossible now but heck. Who knows? Lol!

YELLOW SUBURBAN! Sans échec. [according to google translate it means SAFE. I'm guessing it's a slang term] She's still there. Lol! That's hilarious. Ya the trip feels like it was forever ago.. I think I was 19 but that's almost two years ago and I don't know if it's true... time is weird. I don't like it. I think that's why God doesn't use it. Lol!

Loved the story about Brandon. It's weird that he's been home forever now. Did Kameron already go? I don't remember...
Well this week wasn't too exciting. Went by really quick. OH! It WAS kind of exciting!

We went to Baguida! Baguida is a part of our sector that is SUPER far! We took a taxi for... Uh??? 350 francs? That's... 10-25 minutes in the car... I think... I don't know time, I only know price. But it's far. So We get out there and the member we were going to visit sends us a guide. We start walking down this big side road until we round the corner. What do I see? A little bridge walkway that is just three planks built for half a mile to a mile over solid water... WHAT?! There were people walking their motorcylces on the bridge and everything. And you have to PAY to cross. You pay both ways! Man. It was nuts. The water was in the house, HUNDREDS of houses were abandonned. It was everywhere. The member told us that the people with cars can't leave. It's flooded on every side for 2 months. And if by chance you got out with your car fast enough before the rain started, you have to now garage your car by the road, cross the bridge, then when you want to go back out, cross the bridge and pay for the garage parking. It's ridiculous...
That was really the most exciting thing of the week... A family FINALLY decided to be baptised! That was seriously a struggle for MONTHS! We baptised their daughter (24 and doesn't live with them) and we have a baptismal date with their son and FINALLY they changed and want to be baptised too. Wow... This lady is seriuosly stubborn. We talked about the Plan of Slavation 3 times and she STILL had questions last sunday. We have spent HOURS at her house talking about baptism too. Wow. There are at least 10 members we've taken over there too... FINALLY! So happy!
That's about it. I don't really remember the rest of the week... It went by pretty quick. We had a fun birthday party for a Nigerian boy named James at the church on Friday. We're going to celebrate the half italian girl we baptised her birthday tomorrow. Her name is Francesca. We bought a cake for her (Kakou, N'Dri Kablan et moi) and we had to make a box just to buy the cake cause I forgot we were going to buy a cake and I bought a big bag of chocolate cereal (cause the after market cornflakes I bought were HORRIBLE!) It's been a LONG time since I've had cereal, in fact since Côte D4Ivoire, the couple gave us some, so I wanted to give it a shot again.

I love you all and miss you a lot!!!!!!

Elder Halvorsen

Friday, July 9, 2010

Elder Halvorsen wants a car! (with AC, no doubt!)

When did you get an Ipod? Everyone is constantly connected over there now... Sheesh... Ya Blake told me that he had fun. You can use my [paint ball] gun to shoot the deer. My tank is cheaper to fill up, too. It's compressed air. Maybe a buck or two. Transfers take place when President wants them to take place. You travel by yourself to the next place.

I got mom's email only. I didn't get one for Dad... I think you guys sent it to my yahoo account. I'll check there. Sounds like the week has been busy! And cold..; I don't know how I'm going to support that... We'll just wait and see. Blake writes me every week now actually for a month or so. I really love it! I hope that he doesn't stop like Austin did, though. It's just a nice little thing about them and their lives. I don't write too much back cause I write a lot here. The power got cut last night and that's the reason for which I didn't write last night... That's Togo for ya. I did not get transferred and I don't know why. I know that that'll change though.

I was feeling kinda sick this week. Got a little fever and body aches but it passed. It's been a sick season for the missionaries lately. I guess it's because of the cold weather and the mosquitos. Lol! I'm doing fine though so don't worry. I know how Malaria feels even if by chance I got it. Still with Elder N'Dri. He's good and we get along just fine. He doesn't talk too much but we have good conversations when there is one.

Insights? Maybe. We'll see later in the letter. I don't think there's really anything I need... A car? Can you send me a car?

I just checked. Dad did send it to my other email. I'll just write back a little thing to that letter. This week was still pretty interesting and there's a lot of little things that happen all the time that I wanted to tell you guys too.

I made a natural tea that's really good. I think that I took a picture and it's downloading right now... I forgot if I did or not...

There's a bunch of little girls that are always in front of our door. They draw on our door with chalk and when they sing to me they try to talk to me in Evé but I have no clue what they're saying. So they shake my hand and when they shake my hand they love to kiss my hand and rub my head. (These are little girls 2-8 years old not 16-20) Lol! They're really cute.

There's also a big mom that doesn't speak french and she's always in the same place each day.... Topless... But she loves to wave to us and say "Yo ai zo!" Which means Welcome! So we answer "Yo!" Which is like thanks! She loves that anyways. She wasn't there for two weeks so I thought that maybe she had died, but what do ya know? She's back and topless as ever! Lol! We like when it's cold out cause she puts on a blanket or shirt.

so I supported Uruaguay against Ghana and Uruaguay won! I was happy but I didn't dare show it here. In Ghana even there are people that are refusing to work because they lost. Not just a little group of people either, THOUSANDS of people. Football is big here...

So Germany played Argentina and STOMPED them, 4-0. There was some German people that were surrounded by Togolese fans of Germany in trucks that drove by. They came to a bar and we walked past them and the Germans there liked like (to me) nerds, but they were treated like kings in this case. They were doing really weird dance things and they just thought they were so cool. It was hiliarious. Everyone here thinks I'm German because of my name so when one saw my name he started calling me over and I was just like No thanks! Lol!

This is another story about the little girls. They learned a little French. they ask me what my name is and I respond "I forgot!" and they all scream "I FORGOT!" Like it's my name! Lol! Kind of like Madagascar and the New York Giants thing. Lol!

Insights. I've been reading the Conference Liahona and There's a lot of talks that I'm just loving. There's one in Particular by David L. Hallstrom. It's a talk about letting things not bug us and forgiving and forgetting. There are so many examples that he gave that are so shocking and lines that he uses that are really inspiring. That's what I've been studying lately.

Well that's about it for the week. I hope you all are doing well! I love you all!

Thanks for the letter! I love you and miss you a lot! I've been dreaming about dirt bike riding lately... I talked about the cabin in the mountains of Cle Elum and the fun times we had over there with Elder N'Dri. Just thinking a lot about that kind of stuff lately. Well I'll talk to you next week!


Elder Halvorsen