(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, December 28, 2010


The internet in the whole country was out yesterday and that's why I'm writing today. That's one thing that I've never liked about Bénin...

I love the picture of Ruby! She does look a little more gray but not by much suprisingly. I'm doing well. We've got a couple good investigators for this week. We've also got a couple eating
appointments for new years. I think this week will go by really fast like this week, but we'll get a lot of work done. I heard about Gbagbo kicking the UN out. I think they actually found a loophole in their contract and extended it to stay in the country for another 6 months and they sent more troops in but maybe that was a rumor... Didn't hear about the nationwide strike though...

I need garments when I get home. I think there are enough clothes laying around the house I can have right? Unless Austin took all the nice ones and left me crap...

So Christmas was really fun. We woke up and played hearts till the couple was ready for us to go over. Then we had a little stocking for every missionary with a tie, cookies, a bouncy ball, a water gun and some pens. We didn't understand the water guns until Sis. Herr jumped out with her GIGANTIC one and starting blasting us in her house... Lol! So that turned in to a huge water fight. After the water fight we ate a great American dinner, with ham and pineapple, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, corn, jell-o.

We did a gift exchange "white elephant" and I got what I bought. Lol! Then we watched "The Princess and the Frog" which was a GREAT movie! I understood the small french they used in the film too! It was weird. And we were all just SHOCKED that they eat sauce Gumbo in America! We thought that only existed here in Africa. It was funny when they said it. EVERYONE just said "WHAT!?!?!" Lol! It was hilarious.

Then we ate fudge, brownies, ice cream, no-bakes, and then we watched "The Princess Bride" and then I talked with mom and dad. The 24th we dressed up as you see in the pictures and danced. It was SO funny! They were laughing so hard! we also sang (in our missionary clothes with matching ties and hats) Silent night and rocking around the christmas tree. We did a dance to that one.

That's about it for this week. Today is my click mark. I now have less than one month left. See ya soon! Happy new year!

Lots of Love,

Elder Halvorsen

Monday, December 20, 2010


Yep it doesn't feel like Christmas at all but that's not really a big
deal. I'm not mad about the package. I figured it wouldn't be a good
idea to send a package this time around. Everything got stolen out of
the package of Elder Cannon... They left the stuff they didn't want
like the socks and the rubiks cubes. Lol

Ayekoue might be coming in a couple of weeks. We'll see how the
situation goes. I'm sure I'll see him AT LEAST one more time before
the end. Health is fine. I got a sore throat but that's it. I'm up to
date on most everything from the Côte D'ivoire Weather is SUPER HOT!
It's trying to kill me right before the end. I don't know how many
members.... Active, maybe 300... not too many... We had a little
activity. The primary did a little christmas thing. We have an
activity the 24th at the branch. Elder Carver and I planned something
pretty funny. I'll send you pictures.

Well this week not too much happened. The Gubler's just flew in to
Benin. We might have the Sultan's here soon too. We've found a couple
good investigators. We're going to see how they start to progress.
We've been doing a lot of door to door cause we just kinda got dropped
into the sector because of the situation... Not bad but it's just for
a little time. REally I think my letters are going to just stay short
for now. We're just having a good time together with four americans,
and doing the work. So I think I'll just wait till I'm home... Here's
a pic! I love you guys! I'll see ya soon!

Elder Halvorsen

Monday, December 13, 2010

Back in Benin...again!! :)

Yep. I'm in Benin again. Lol! And it's the best ever! I don't know why
>> I always wanted to leave Benin... the work is hard but the life is
>> just good. I love it here. I love just my whole mission... It's gonna
>> be really hard for me to leave... Can I just stay here? Lol! Not as a
>> missionary though... I need a break soon... : ) So I'm in an apartment
>> with Elder Carver, My comp, Elder Cannon and ELDER FORMAN! It's been
>> just amazing. I love it SO much. It's seriously the best thing that
>> could ever happen to me right at the end of my mission. Lol! I hope
>> that the pictures get through also. I sent one picture of two crêches
>> that I got for mom. I hope you like them. And a CHRISTMAS picture! I
>> really hope it downloads.
>> Well anyways we got shipped out of the Côte D'Ivoire I think Friday...
>> That was fun to take a plane with Cannon, Cloward, Carver and
>> Fisiihoi. Fisiihoi loves Benin! It's the first time Cannon and
>> Fisiihoi have been out of Côte D'Ivoire and Fisiihoi finishes with me!
>> Lol! Sucks. I really am glad I took advantage of the experiences that
>> have really changed my life in these countries and that I was able to
>> give something in return.
>> Well it's weird to say that I have a brother on a mission now too...
>> it's just so shocking and weird to say... But I love that Blake is out
>> there.
>> I can't believe that christmas is in a few weeks either... And if I
>> take out another hundred bucks, it's for getting myself a christmas
>> present and a couple more souvenirs for people back home. I think
>> there is only two people left on my list of stuff to get...
>> Know that I'm doing great and everything is fine just like I said
>> things would be. I'm loving my mission like I have since the
>> beginning, I'm staying strong and I'm proud of my little bro. : ) Hope
>> the pictures got through and there weren't any problems! If not I'll
>> send them again. I love you all! See ya soon! AAAAHHHHHHH!!! Lol!
>> Elder Halvorsen

All Western Missionaries Evacuated from Ivory Coast

The Ivory Coast has been a hotbed of tensions after their presidential run-off elections there. The boys were in "regroupment" or sequestered for 2 weeks for the 2nd elections held Nov. 28th, 2010. The first elections on Oct. 31 resulted in no clear winner gaining over 50% of the votes, hence the run-off elections with the top two vote-getters. Things have been tense there as the Electoral Commission has declared a clear winner in the new candidate, but the incumbent refuses to concede. Both had seperate swearing in ceremonies which only added to the tension. So far, things have remained relatively peaceful, with some riots and protests throughout the country, but the elders have been put in apartments located in sectors of Abidjan which are considered more safe.

The typical regroupment has anywhere from 12 to 15 boys in each apartment. It's been tough on them as they are not able to work and visit with the members, but they are making the most of the situation. They wile away the time playing UNO, reading their scriptures, writing their testimonies down, catching up on sleep, and just talking. It's been good for them, but hard all at the same time.

As of this last week, all of the western missionaries (or ex-patriots, as they call them) have been flown to nearby Benin and Togo (which is still part of the mission). They will stay there indefinitely, or until they have further word that things are truly stable in the Ivory Coast. It has been a difficult and sad thing for them, as the people of Cote d'Ivoire have been wonderful to the boys and the mission president is Ivorian and don't know when or if they'll be able to see him again. For Cameron, he comes home in 6 weeks, so perhaps not. I don't know how often President Ayekoue will be able to fly over to meet with the elders seeing as they had already closed the borders and all traffic in and out of the country via land, air and sea. They opened the corridors briefly to allow all westerners access out of the country.

We are waiting to hear from Cameron today to see where he ended up. He is still scheduled to arrive home January 29th, 2011, and we are all excited to see him and hear of his experiences there!! The exciting part of all of this is that the church is creating a new Togo/Benin mission in July and the boys will be very instrumental in helping get things set up for that! The work goes forward and we learn once again that the adversary cannot thwart the mission of the Gospel!!

Monday, December 6, 2010


Everything is going well for us. We're all going a little crazy, being crammed in an apartment with 15 other Elders for a week and almost a half now, but everything is fine. We haven't seen anything crazy We listen to the radio and we're always on top of what happens. The couple watches out for us all the time and everything is going fine. We've planned really well for our apartment and I don't think anything bad will happen.
That's cool you got to do all that stuff in Utah with the old missionnaries. I can't believe everyone in the ward is taking off in different directions. I know it's kinda difficult for me to say this since I don't have children, but really try not to worry too much about Blake. Where he is giong, he will be protected not only 24/7 by the church, but also by the Lord. I've never once in my mission felt unsafe. I feel that I have really gained confidence in myself on my mission but more importantly I've gained an unbreakable bond of confidence in my Savior and my God. Really there is nothing to fear and all is made clear to those that might find themselves in dangerous situations.

I'm doing fine and we've just been eating, playing games, sleeping, and talking. It's fine really. I can't keep doing this for the rest of my life but I know that this will pass. President always has a plan for us and watches over us very closely. I wouldn't go to the trouble of writing Salt Lake. I have faith in President Ayekoue and I know that it's him that receives the revelation needed in this mission. There's really nothing to worry about.
So just really quickly, I'm so happy that Blake is taking off soon. It's an experience unlike any other. Congratulations and make it the best you can. I wrote you a bit already so I won't say any more. We've been eating a lot of rice with tomato sauce. And playing games. And talking and sleeping. We're all really close now.

Here's a [couple of] pictures. One with the 15 and one with Elder Cannon and I. You can use the one with the 15 for the Christmas card. Because of the situation, we couldn't really do anything about a Christmas theme... Sorry...

Love you all and I'm doing well! Thank you for your prayers and all the support you give me.

Elder Halvorsen