(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, November 29, 2010

Shampooing again, bats and regroupment

I loved the scam email! lol! Sounds like something I heard here before> LoL! The pre-régroupement is going very well. we were allowed to write really quick. I'm actually writing this at the mission office cause it's close to my apartment and we had to come by to take care of some things anyways. it all worked out! we have to go back and rest in the apartment in a couple of minutes anyways so Elder fisiihoi and I are getting ready to take off. I'm with Elder Fisiihoi now. He's from New Zealand! He says it's not that cool there Dad. Lol! But if you wanna go anyways he'll show you everything you want to.
So just a couple of little things then I gotta go.
IN Cocody (where I am) there are MILLIONS of bats that fly at night from five to nine! It's really cool lookin', I tried to take a video but we'll see if it turns out on the camera.
And this is SO COOL! I bought and used shampoo for the first time in FOUR MONTHS! My hair is soft again! I seriously thought it was because of the sun, not the shampoo... Good times in Africa.
I've decided what I want to do for work also! Let's just say there's a lot to talk about when I get home! I had my click mark yesterday! Exactly two months! I saw I got my ticket changed for the 28th too! Cloward is ticked cause he's the only one going home the 4th of February. LOL!
Well Cloward is telling me to get off his computer so I'm gonnq tqke off. I love you all and I'll wish good luck to Blake next week. Can't believe it's that close!
Elder Halvorsen

Friday, November 26, 2010

Letter from Gublers

(Below is a letter written from Elder and Sister Gubler, a couple serving in the Ivory Coast. The final elections are taking place in the Ivory Coast and the Mission is taking the necessary precautions to keep our boys safe.)

Bonjour! This is just a quick update regarding the elections coming up this
Sunday, again. Precautions are in the works with the regroupment plan being
implemented Saturday through Wednesday. The President is monitoring the
situation, and will adapt that either longer or go to a different plan. He
has asked all the missionaries to be prepared w/a 72 hour bag ready to go,
and that each regroupment apartment have adequate supplies for a longer
duration if necessary.

Keep the people of Cote D'Ivoire in your prayers: that they will be willing
to remember their past and not repeat it, that they will be willing to
accept disappointment graciously (because obviously close to half will be
disappointed), and that the right person will be elected to lead these
people in peaceful ways.

We are looking forward to the Southams coming to the mission soon. Truly
they are needed. What a blessing it is to have someone WANT to return to
serve. We hope we get to meet them, but don't know how all that works yet.

It was fun for us to have 'thanksgiving dinner' with a few of the elders
today. Elders Halvorsen, Cruz, Fisiihoi, and Lamboni took us to a little
restaurant for hamburgers, chawarma, or pizza. The best part of the meal
was just being with them. I am curious to hear from the others what, if
anything, they were able to do. They are all wonderful, wonderful young
men. We feel so blessed to be here with them. We hope your Thanksgiving
was terrific as well.

Tons of love,
Elder & Soeur Gubler

Monday, November 22, 2010

Back in Abidjan

Well.. .First off I'm no longer at Yamoussoukro... I was transferred last night at 10, I woke up this morning, got on the bus at 9:30, got off at 3... And now I'm writing you guys from my new sector in Abidjan, Cocody at 5... Lol! It's been a really long day... So there is a lot of stuff in your guy's letter. Cassava just looks like bread crumbs... MAybe it's not the same cassava... Sounds like an interesting place. Never had anything like Hallo-hao*llo? Sounds good though. Ya Cloward is AP. Write to sister Gubler. Apparently Cloward has typhoid and will be going to the hospital. Jessica just got back from Italy and now she's going back there. Lol! That's really cool though! Health is great. I'm already in Abidjan and in the safest sector and here to stay. I haven't really studied the temple too much on my mission, but i really miss it... Haven't been for almost two years... There's a lot of things I need to learn. Sorry I don't really have much time tonight. So I gotta write really quick. Ya they did the manual training thing too. They've already done a training, but they'll do it again I'm sure.

So just a couple of quick things. Blake. At the MTC Laminate the front and back covers of your preach my gospel in your mission language! DO IT! Or you'll lose them. I used tape to keep mine on.

We got a SURPRISE zone conference last week. That KILLED us. The assistants called, Hey! Conference tomorrow! Lol! Nothing was ready. We struggled to throw things together at the last minute and it all worked out. President Ayekoue is up to date on the idea of me coming home early. You could write him directly too. That'dprobably be easier actually.

That was the week and............................ HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! You thought I forgot! : ) You know what's sad... I don't know how old you and Dad are... SO I jsut tell people, oh. 40-50? Somewhere in there. Lol!

Sorry about the shortness!

Love you all and I hope Blake's ready for NEXT WEEK! Dang that's insane..

Elder Halvorsen

Monday, November 15, 2010


That's really funny... You guys actually just gave me my flight plans. I didn't even know I had them. I almost screamed and hit the ceiling that made me so happy! I called all the Elder's over, Dago, Yapo and Muteba to look. DANG! I can't believe it's really that close... It's just too crazy to think about...

Ya I can take a picture like that for you for Christmas. We'll think of something fun or funny to do here at Yakro. Health is fine. I think our water might be infected... We're going to run a test cause the moment I got back, I had those weird bites again... I eat plenty, companion is great. I love how much I have learned about companions on my mission. It's just a lot easier to get along with anyone now! I'm really excited for Blake! We're looking for investigators right now. I don't think we'll baptize this month... We're trying really hard to find a good family... We might have one baptism. Wow my flight plans just blew my mind... That's so crazy. When I get home, I want a BIG jacket and I want to sleep. I'll give the boys a couple gifts before I sleep. I got something AWESOME for Mom and Dad too. Lol! I'm crazy trunky right now... Ok... I loved Austin's fender bender. And with the bikes... If you guys don't use them anymore, I could take one off your hands... Can't believe Kameron is finally out there too. Sucks I wont see him forever...

Okay so for this week, we moved Elder Yapo and Elder Muteba completely into their new apartment. I'm SO happy to have Yapo cause he was a Ward missionary when I was in Koumassi and it's SO good to see him again! He got gigantic... It's really weird... We had a lot of meetings to do to help the District progress so we didn't really have time for ourselves... We found a new family that might be pretty good. We've been doing a lot of door to door lately... It's getting a little harder since we have elections, noel, new years, and all that stuff. So actually if Shane Norris wants a Boubou, he's gotta do it now cause it's gonna get expensive the closer we get to these holidays... Depends on him, but it's 20 to 40 bucks. I don't know what color he wants, or if he wants a cool design. Quality is up in the 40 buck range like my green one. A simple one is 20. Or he can get a pagne one that is like the multi color ones... His choice. Let me know.

I don't know if I told you guys about these stories, but here we go. First there is a WHITE family in the Ward at Riviera. Apparantly he was a missionary 15 years ago in Côte D'Ivoire and he's working for the embassy right now. He was in Belgium. He had the same ward building as me in Koumassi and lived in the same apartment. Lol! That was weird to talk about... They invited us over and we ate at their AWESOME AIR CONDITIONED house and not gonna lie... I watched some of "A Bug's Life..." And they had CARPET! Elder Cruz, Bertoch and I dove on to it and made carpet angels, (When they weren't in the room of course) and we told Elder Lamboni (a togolese missionary) to do it too cause it's amazing. HE DID IT! It was amazing. Carpet... Hmmmm.

Also I learned something about the peppers here! They're habeneros! Isn't that awesome? We use like 5 to 7 in a sauce. So When I was cooking for 14 at Riviera one day, I thought I could fry the peppers then put them in. THe moment I started cookng them, they realesed a SERIOUSLY strong odor that made eyes burn, people cough, and leave the apartment. It was HORRIBLE! Then the new missionnary that was there walks in, "Is that... PEPPER?" and starts coughing immediately. Then everyone came in, "Are you trying to kill us Halvorsen?" ALL the Africans and Americans. So I say, "you guys are weak. *cough* that's nothing. *cough cough cough* Right after I say "that's nothing, the fire alarm goes off. FIRE FIRE FIRE! and there wasn't even smoke. Just the odor of Pepper... So I finished the sauce. Everyone was scared but it wasn't even that hot. Then the Africans asked, why was it so strong though. Wait... Did you FRY the pepper? Ya... Why? WE DON'T FRY PEPPER ELDER HALVORSEN! And everyone started laughing... So don't fry peppers in oil okay? The greatest was the fire alarm. Lol!

That's about it for this week. Nothing too crazy but still loving it here and working hard, even if the sun is getting.. .hotter... Didn't think that was possible... And I have FLIGHT PLANS! BOOYA! Love you all and I miss you guys so much!

Elder Halvorsen

Back in Yakro

Together for the elections

Elders Halvorsen and Legere - they were companions in the MTC

Bus ride back to Yamoussoukra

The Yakro Zone

I really don't think that Forman is going home early Mom... I'm pretty sure it's just Legere. Unless Forman didn't tell me the whole truth.. Maybe he is I have no idea... That'll be cool to see pics of Jerman's mission! I miss the kid a ton... I hope he's gotten home well and already up to speed... (Even if I know he's not... Lol) And Adam's has been home for TWO WHOLE MONTHS now! That's just insane to think about.

The Elections were INCREDIBLY calm. The army put their power in the most dangerous places and there weren't any breakouts! It was great. We stayed in the apartment for four days I think... THat really wasn't that fun and it was super boring, but we threw Cruz's football aroud on the roof, (Blake knows I suck at football and I most definitely threw it off our four story building...) We played a game like Sorry and we had UNO. We did two hour group study sessions every night and had tomato sauce with rice.... EVERY MEAL! It was bombin. lol! We all got along very well and we're all better friends because of it. I got to know Elder Cunnigham and I love that kid to death now. Lol!

Yes I'm in Yamoussoukro again. I MISSED IT SO BAD! When President told me I was going to go back up I literally screamed and jumped for joy. Guess I forgot the horrible bus ride... Lol! That wasn't fun. The "Second tunr" will be the 21st. I think I head back down there to do that... Fun times... I'm all over the place. I don't know if the guy was baptised or not. I tried getting a hold of Cruz but he didn't answer. I'm gonna call again to find out tonight.

Sounds like the Hawks are doing horrible this year... Lol! Guess we'll lose our football team soon too like we did the Sonics... Lol!

That'd be awesome if Blake was in the same class that Kirtley teaches! That sounds super exciting for Blake! Also JESSICA IS GONNA SERVE A MISSION?!?!? Where did that come from? That's really random but at the same time that's really cool that she wants to get out there. I encourage her and wish her the best of luck!

Well this week really wasn't too excting. We found our the elections were posted for the 28th and now they're for the 21st... That kind of ruins our plans of sending me back up here cause I think I'll be sent right back down to Abidjan soon... I'm not too sure how that is gonna work out.

So the "Gathering of Strangers" was fun, when we all went to that apartment. We killed thousands of cockroaches, ate the same thing morning till night, (until our gas ran out of course. and go figure, it was the day we weren't allowed to go out of the apartment... Lol!) We really did have a good time together and all went smoothly. Then President called and said we could go back to Yamoussoukro. That made me REALLY happy. So we took the bus, (five hours again) and got there in the night. Everyone was so happy to see me again and I them! I watched the conference finally and I really enjoyed that. I always like when it comes out in English in the Liahona because in the Translations so much is lost, especially the jokes... There were a ton of good talks that I really appreciated. Many good ones that helped the branch like the Free Agency and the Holy Ghost that was mentioned in many talks.

Then today we've been running around trying to get the Kokrenou missionnaries into their new apartment and sending off a misisonnary to Abidjan and receiving two new ones... It's just been hectic since we got back. But we're starting up the teaching again and getting back into the swing of things. Well I'm sending some pictures again. Three at Abidjan, in front of the church, last pic with Jerman, (take that pic off his camera too cause mine is blurry) and also with Elder Legere. then two on the bus heading up north and then the zone of Yakro after the Conference.

I love you all so very much. I thank you all for all that you do for me! I can't wait to get to talk to you guys REALLY soon!

Elder Halvorsen

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lock down and Typhoid recovery

I'm feeling much better. I took the medicine and I've been getting a lot of sleep. I took antibiotics and got these shots in my legs that took care of the disease. That was the treatment I received with the IV. Not much has gone on in the last week. Just did door to door, I slept a lot and I've been drinking a lot of filtered water. I'm not too excited for the once-over thing... But I'll be able to handle it. I didn't break into cold sweats and go into fainting fits when they gave me the shots and the IV. So that's a little improvement.

The apartment is interesting. We have these debates every night that aren't exciting... I try to catch a little "healing sleep" during this time. I'm loving Bertoch and the other American's. It's been forever since I've spoken so much English. Lol! Didn't speak it at all at Yakro... The people in my apartment are The Elder's Bertoch, Cruz, Cunningham, Carver, Leach, Mbunga, Ntumba, Muteba, Koussemou, Rambolosen, and Lamboni. We're all foreigners to the Côte D'Ivoire. It's interesting... six americans, Three congolais, one beninois, one togolese, and one Malagesh. It's a good apartment. We play a lot of Uno and a game that's like sorry. And we talk a lot...

But really that's all that's been going on in the week. I'm going to go back with President to the hospital to get another blood test just to see if my system is clean of the Fever. Know that president is taking really good care of me so you don't have to worry about my health. President is doing his best. He's definitely improved from when I first came into the mission. He's almost done with his mission actually. He'll finish in June. The new president will be announced in February.

That's about it for this week. It rained a lot, I slept a lot, I talked a lot with the Americans and played a lot of UNO and that's about it. The pre-régroupement isn't that exciting... I'm actually counting the days till I can go back to Yakro and do normal missionary work again...

ACTUALLY this is really cool. Bertoch and I started doing Door to door when we first came into the sector and our first door we knocked on was GOLDEN! We've taught him two times, he's accepted the BOM and he's come to church AND getting baptised this saturday if there aren't any problems with the elections! That's a great experience Bertoch and I will have shared together during this gathering thing. And Sunday was weird cause we had like Thirty six missionaries at church... I got to talk a lot to Guillory. He's going home this Thursday and So is Jerman. Then Elder Legere is going home the 17th of December... Then it's us. I haven't got my flight plans yet but i'll let you guys know when I do.

I love you all and miss you a lot!

Elder Halvorsen