(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!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lumpy cake and routines

The Fab Foursome

The church building in Togo - Be Kpota Branch.

Elder Halvorsen devouring a Freedom Fries :) Burger.


Out to lunch

Africans do do scouting and the Duty to God. Health is fine. I'm wearing a little sunscreen. If I put too much on it burns me. A guy gave me a little baseball hat. I wear that if it's REALLY hot= strong rayness... I don't understand proper english anymore. Some stories, but like always, they come after this portion!
That's cool that you guys went on a river trip! Yakima is the mexican town right? That reminds me that I want to learn spanish now. How's Dad's rosetta spanish coming along?

4 MONTHS AND 29 DAYS! It's actually a funny missionary tradition. The day AFTER your month mark, you say you have one less. For example, the 28th I was saying I have 5 months left. Now I'm saying I have 4 left. Lol! We all do it... It's shocking when you say it... Especially when I know I'm getting my flight plans in two months... Crazy... It's like it's not real.

Concerning school, there are two things. Elder Forman told me that if you went to a community college before, you don't have to take the ACT. Can look up to see if you can give just all my credentials for the registration to BYU without my ACT score? Seeing how it wasn't the greatest at 26... But If I don't get into BYU, I think I wanna go to UVU. I just really want to go to Utah. Cousins, the city, the church, good climate, lots of dirt biking to do and... It'll be easy to find a wife. I put that last, but honestly that's number one on this list.

The lead with Adam sounds interesting. I've seriously been thinking a lot about a job as an ambassador. I'm pretty sure that I want to do something internationally. I really want to keep my french. There's a member here that was talking to me about being an expert on Africa and how there's a lot of good jobs in that. I've also been really interested in doing over-sea affairs in France, or African countries like Côte D'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Liberia. I think that that would pay pretty well also. So sure! I'd love information on that! Thank you! The other option I've really been looking into is a major in Business leadership. That interests me too. So in other words, no. I haven't decided... Lol!

Give my congratulations to Olivia! I can't believe she has 8 years... That's just bizarre... That's funny that Chandler hits with one hand like I did. It took FOREVER to get the stupid two hand back hand down. And to get power on it was still always hard. I probably forgot how to play tennis... I miss tennis a lot...Okay. So for our investigators. A month of no baptisms in August... That's my second month of my mission I didn't baptize... But we worked really hard and we're seeing the results. We have 8 possibly 10 baptismal dates fixed already for september. That's really got me pumped for this month!
We had an interesting (well I did) this sunday. We were walking along the lagoon and I saw in front of us these men using a machete? to cut up what I thought was a fried goat on the side of the road... Not something that's strange in Togo. It's very normal in fact. When we were just next to it I saw... A dog's head NEXT to what I thought was a goat's body... So I looked forward naturally and then realized what I had seen. My head snapped back and I said "Is that really a dog?" Then all the guys looked at me with big smiles on their faces. I just kept walking... C'est l'Afrique.

So you'll get pictures of Elder Call and his cake that we bought him for his birthday on sunday. That's a fun story. So Last tuesday we were walking down the train tracks (Elder Bo Bi and I) and I saw a sign that said "Order your cakes custom made here!" and I thought well that's way better to get it here than to go down town to get a cake! So we go by the house, and start talking about a cake. We show her the size we want and all that. If you go down town, a cake the same size we showed her is covered in frosting, two layers, and pretty pretty and it's 5000 cfa. (10-11 dollars) So she says well that'll be... 15000 cfa. Both our faces drop. QUOI? Non. That's too expensive. We want something of 5000. She says no problem. So We come back saturday night. she brings out the cake. She unwraps it. It was just like a big cake lump with "Happy Birthday Elder Call" and on top of that it was badly written... So we couldn't say no since we were needing a cake... We paid for it and took it home. I had a thing of chocolate spread and ate the cake with that so it wasn't too bad. I'm just glad he enjoyed it. The first thing he said that morning was "I forgot even that it was my birthday!" Lol! so it was a fun morning. Especially when a preacher guy and his two back up clapping girls started preaching DIRECTLY in front of our door with a loudspeaker. Lol! It was interesting.
I've just finished the book or Romans this week. I had read Acts the week or two before so I'm going to take a break from the Bible and Finish Helaman now. I read a ton of interesting insights on life and the gospel through Paul in romans. He's got so many powerful verses that just blow you away. I've been able to use a lot of his words in my teachings too. I just wish I had more time to study... Our schedule is rough. We gotta wake up, (the hardest part) do a morning prayer, share the ironing board, take cold showers, prepare our food, do a personal study, do a team study, and then out the door. Lol! My personal study is usually 15-30 minutes long and I try to catch it in the afternoon.

Well I think that's about it for the week. I also sent a picture of the branch and a truck accident that was kind of cool.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Some brotherly advice

Companions - Elder BoBi and Elder Halvorsen

Making Fu-fu??

Well Dad is still buying cars left and right. Lol! I wanna drive them...

The cyber here is a little slow but there's something I really REALLY want you guys to see and hear. It's how I wake up in the morning! It's so lovely! It's taking a lot of time so I don't know if I'll get any other pictures off to you guys... We'll see.

My companion is great. I jut realized that you guys haven't seen most of my companions... oh well. Only five months left.

That would be cool if Blake and I crossed in the airoport. Tell him that I said I was going to France too and I'm in Africa. There are a ton of French speaking missions, Congo, Tahiti, Côte D'Ivoire, Madagascar, Washington D.C., Quebec.

I'm glad Ruby is still active. I really thought she was gonna die before I got home (knock on wood).
I read about the new Duty to God program in the Liahona. sounds like it'll be more exciting.

Power got cut... Every time I write to you guys it gets cut... Lol.

The singing prayer was an investigator couple. They're thinking about a baptismal date. We just found out that the husband's brother is the district young men leader. He said, "Oh! You found my brother! Well I trust you with him." Ya. Thanks a lot. He didn't even give us his contact info. We found his brother by door to door. He doesn't even help us with the teaching. He just gave us "his support." Gotta love it. The couple is great though. He'll be an amazing leader! The second visit, he asked us "and what if I said I don't believe in God? I'm just giving you guys a scenario to help you practice if this ever comes up." We told him that we've experienced that several times and that we're going to focus on his needs, not others. Lol!
And for the move. I don't really know what you guys should do... I'm not there so it's difficult to really know... So the movie wont load so here's some pictures.

Well this week we just had the conference like I briefly explained in the last letter. It was really good. I just heard about the Leavitt's yesterday. That's really tough...

For stories, I don't really have any this week because of the chaos of the conference and the activity monday with Elder Sitati. The wednesday morning we had a little bit of a P'Day. We didn't have any baptisms this month, which is depressing, but we've got a lot of people coming up for the next month. If all goes well there are 10.

It's been raining a bit this week and in the new sector there is a place called Adakpame which reminds me a lot of Baguida. It's flooded everywhere you look. We had to cross on this little broken down wall edge thing... You'll see it in the picture. I haven't fallen in water for a couple months and I really wanna keep it that way. It's not pleasant.
I did get another pair of shoes though for six bucks that are really light, perfect shape and a brand called Airflex I think. Yep. Just looked like an idiot checking the bottom of my shoe to check the mark...

I just have one more thing to add and it's concerning Austin. I was studying this morning and what I was studying has nothing to do with what I'm going to say, but I felt I needed to say it. Austin, you know how you always wanted to be a roller coaster designer? (don't know the real name for that kind of thing...) I just wanted to say that you should keep trying to do your best to be what you want. I know I said several times "well that's stupid. Who wants to build roller coasters?" but really if that's your dream, go for it. Don't listen to what people say. Heck. If you had a job like that with the level of intelligence that you have, you'd be making millions easy. That's advice for all the boys, but I just felt a need to really tell that to Austin. I know it sounds corny but you can make a dream like that a reality. I know you can.

I love you all and miss you so very much!

At the end of this week is "click day" with five months left! I get my flight info in two months! That's just weird... I wont believe it until I see it. Love you all!

Elder Halvorsen

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Zoramites in Togo

The weather doesn't change. It will ALWAYS be hot. Lol! Don't worry about the sunburns. We'll just hope they find a fast and easy cure for skin cancer in the next five years. Hehehe.

I didn't actually hear about the thing in Ghana, but now that makes sense cause Elder Sitati of the 70 is already here to do our zone conference so maybe he just passed over in Ghana to help fix the problem.

The ideas I could give you for the hometeaching people aren't good ones... Normally if an investigator starts acting like that, we drop him and just stop by to say hi every week or month just to show we still care. We just don't have time to waste.

I love how you said 80 felt pretty good. I've even had to start turning down my fan. I had it on three with my thin sheet cover on but I had to bump it down to two now. Lol! I get too cold at night.

And then the muslims in the morning... HAAAAHHIIUOOJHHAHHHA ALLLAAHHH AKKK BAAAHHH!! That's just wonderful. Loving that again. Elder Bo Bi, my companion, said a little joke. The muslims (we call them Zoromites cause they say the same prayer again and again...) they're fasting it's their Ramadon. They've been screaming louder now on their loudspeakers so my compy said they haven't eaten, so they're hungry and full of air. You'd scream too right? Lol!

Congratulations to the boys! That's so cool! finally!

My new area is great. I like it. I really like Togo. I have such a big family here. I really do wanna come back and be on my own schedule to see people and sites. I'm happy how I am right now though. I think I get the information about the date and all that when I have three months left. We don't really have a lot of baptisms this month... We're working hard to change that. We have a lot of good investigators. It was kinda like we started all over again in the sector though so I knew this month would be hard.
So just a little funny story. We were talking with one couple and we had just started. We asked the husband to choose someone to give the prayer. So he chose his wife and then she started going off. She started singing... We were like Uh.... What do we do? Her husband started to sing with her... I didn't know what in the world to do. Then after the little song about Jesus, she started to pray... It was really weird...
the work is goind good and I'm doing good as well. I can't believe that Blake will going to be serving his mission soon. That's just weird that you guys will have two missionaries out at the same time... That kinda sucks too cause I really wanted to see him before he took off... Oh well. such is life.

So for Christmas, I really don't think that I need anything... Maybe you can just get a couple little things that you think that'll I'll need back home when I get there I can open it like it was Christmas. I think that'll suffice.
Well really that's all I have... oh. For the photos. Wow. The power got cut last night when I was writing this letter. SO HAPPY that it saved a draft. So I'll fill you in on a little today. For the photos, tell me what kind of photos you want.. I have a ton and can't choose.

So Today, "Tuesday" we had our zone conference with Elder Sitati. It was really good. I didn't translate this time so I got to take good notes. I also had a good interview with him.

That's just a little of what hapenned. We just got back from eating and I think we're gonna head home. I love you all very much!

Elder Halvorsen

Monday, August 9, 2010

His work is cut out for him!!

A camaro Z28. I looked for one of those forever! What year is it? It's got the 5.7 TPI right? Wow.

Pictures download a lot faster her. I only added four and it was already done when I finished reading your letter! I'll be able to send more. Health is fine. I'm really getting too fat. I'm gonna have to start doing push ups. I hate push ups. I prefer weights... I can't come home fat though... I've gotta be somewhat in shape. Lol!

There aren't too many mosquitos. Yes I use the net. No baptisms this week. I'm in an area with no progressing investigators. Score. So I gotta work my butt off. Wasn't too excited when that was the first tidbit of information I received from my new comp.

That's an interesting dream! Can't believe Blake is taking off soon!

For Christmas, I don't honestly know... I feel like a loser cause I don't really need or want anything... As for families here... I'm not really sure what they would need either... A plane ticket to America? They'd accept that in a heartbeat. But really... There's only like three things I really want but I can't really use these three things on the mission. Like motorcycle, dirt bike, etc. I'll really think about it and maybe have some ideas next week... My camera is acting a little slow sometimes... But if I get a package in december, that's basically pointless and to send a camera in a package isn't a good idea.. lol! I'll think about it.

Well this week wasn't that exciting. We met with the community leader and leaders of our sector to present our message and missionary purpose. I think it went well. We got some contacts so we'll see how that goes.

We did a lot of walking. I spent tuesday and wednesday showing my old sector to Elder Zufelt who took my spot. So I got burned by the sun pretty bad. But it's almost gone. IN Baguida they upgraded the bridge to four planks. Lol!

The branch here is really small. It was 77 people this week. It really depressed me actually. I'm not used to a small branch again... I've become a very sociable person... It'll just take some time to getting used to. The people are all very quiet and reserved... We'll have a conference next week so I don't know if I'll write you guys or not. Elder Sitati of the 70 is coming. President chose Elder Call to translate. I'll be able to take good notes this time.

I've been reading in the book of Acts lately. I've almost finished. There's a lot of good missionary tips and tricks in there (except for the getting stoned, beat with rods, and thrown into jail parts.) Tips about teaching families and using every occasion to speak about the Gospel. It's been almost 5 years since I went through the new testament all the way. I can't believe I've forgotten so much.

That's about it for the week! I forgot to write the stuff that happens too so I'll try to do better this week. I love you all and miss you very much!

Elder Halvorsen

Monday, August 2, 2010

Transfer and new apartment

Five fast sundays [til he's home!!]... That was weird to hear... That's good that Daniel has been keeping in touch! I forgot to comment on that in the last email... That would be great if he could get a... Thingy at BYU. Don't really wanna search my head for the word. You know what I mean...

I've been in the area for only, really, two days but it's an easy sector. The Branch is really strong. It's not the same branch, it's different people in a different building. It's not as exciting as my last branch... it's like an old person's branch... Lol! I almost fell asleep during the testimonies... It starts at 1:30 too so that's hard for me. I'm used to being home at 12 to 2 and sleeping a little so I was dying... It's incredibly well organized and the members love to work! It's about an... 800 franc taxi ride... Uh... 5 mintue drive maybe 10... I don't know...

Be Kpota is a little district, not a city. I know some members but not too many... We should have good results. For my baptisms, I haven't lost count. I have them all recorded in my Preach My Gospel.

The money transfer was good. Took it out last week.

The apartment is good. REALLY dirty. The Elders have SERIOUSLY neglected it. I've been cleaning like... a crazy cleaner... For a while now. Today is the kitchen. I'm seriously not looking forward to that... It's disgusting. I found multiple fried fish smashed in the cupboards and the drawers haven't been cleaned out in ages... There's just so much stuff in the apartment.. .I've become a clean freak...

There are four missionnaries. I was supposed to be with Elder Forman in the apartment, but that didn't work out cause he was already with Elder Dady one time. So It's Elder Call (american) Elder Dady and Elder Bo Bi (two ivoirians, the second my companion) and me. I'm a district leader for a different District. It's a fun district already.
I loved the story about Blake! LOL! Couldn't live cause of a microwave... LOL!!! I love little things like that. Chandler is almost as tall as Mom? Yikes... That's weird to think about..
Well I left my planner at home... Elder Dady wanted to come straight to cyber so it was a little different from what I'm used to. Here's a little story I wrote to Jessica. It's long so I'm just gonna copy and paste.

I had a crazy lady stop us one day. We thought she was a lady that had contacted the missionaries before. She started talking to us in this high old lady voice and she's like "You're the missionaries!" And we just said Yes, do you know us? And she says "No! but I met some of you at Tokoin. Can I have your names and your address?" I was just like... Ya... I guess... So I said you want the address of the church right? And she said "No, your address in Germany" (Many people think I'm german...) And I said I'm American... And she says "oh. that's better!" So I told her... I forgot my address. And she says don't lie to me!!! And I was just like no really! My parents were planning on moving so it's changing! and she goes "ok... Well that's tough. I'll just take your names and number then. So I take her little notebook and I quickly wrote down Elder Halterman (a missionary that went to Benin) and Elder Kakou (my old companion) and we took off as fast as we could. Then when we were walking home my companion, Elder N'Dri says, you're an idiot! Did you really write our names and number there? And I look at him and say, I wrote Elder Halterman and Elder Kakou. He looks at me horrified and just CRACKS UP laughing! He laughed so hard it was great! We talked and laughed all the way home.
My new companion is good. He's quiet but when we teach he LOVES to talk. I think it's an invorian thing. He's good though. I love the district. It's nice being with another American again. I saw Forman today. He says it's only Legere that's going home in December... Home for christmas. Ca va aller [gonna go]. Since we came to cyber unexpected, I didn't bring my camera or card so sorry, no pics. Maybe next week.
My new sector is right up against the lagoon, but it's not dirty and covered in garbage like my old sector. there's a nice flat walkway and palm trees that give you shade and a breeze that's always strong. I love walking there. The branch works really hard here. I'll actually be working with Zufelt and Niawkey a little in my old sector for the next three days to show them the sector cause they're both new.
That's all there really is for this week. It's been kinda laid back because of the transfers. The members gave us a ton of "eating appointments." I probably gained so much weight this last week... Lol! I like to take pictures of all our eating appointments too so I've got all that. OH! Just like in Koumassi, there's a mosk right outside of our apartment! WOO-HOO! 5 in the morning again! ALLAH AK BAH! That's just a wonderful unwelcome alarm clock. They chant into a LOUD speaker. It made me jump this morning.
I love you all and miss you tons!
Elder Halvorsen