Have you ever had natural honey that was so natural that bee legs were floating in it? Well, maybe I had some this week... Moving on... (;
On the opposite end of the spectrum, today Elder Joseph took me on a tour of real American food that can be found in Lomé. We went to a supermarket named Ramco, where they have (among other things) Oreos! I got some of those. We shopped around the big marché for our monthly groceries (tomatoes, onions, etc), and then we joined multiple missionaries for a group lunch at a pizzeria called San Marco's. It's suuuuuuper nice. I had a medium BBQ Chicken Pizza, a medium Calzone, Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches, and some sparkling mineral water. I'm stuffed to the brim, and I think it'll be another year before I eat American food again. Haha, just kidding, but seriously I'm feeling super-chub.
We found a member that is willing to make sauce for our meals if we buy the ingredients and pay her a little money, which is super nice! If all goes well, we'll only have to pop rice in the rice cooker for our meals, which will save us a lot of time and energy.
A lot of people find it hard to believe that Elder Joseph is from the United States. This week, a lady called us over and asked where Elder Joseph is from. He said the United States, and the lady called over her friend, saying "See? I told you so!" Her friend didn't believe it, asking if Elder Joseph's parents were also American (yes). Haha, it was another one of those "Haha" moments. (:
On Tuesday, we had a zone meeting. That went super well. My lesson was on Fixing Baptismal Dates. It went pretty well, nothing too spectacular or special, but I felt like I did okay. Elder Adzagah gave a killer lesson on Fixing Goals, and that was very inspiring. One of those lessons where you stand up and shout "Yeah! Let's DO THIS THING!!!" *bursts into the restaurant, then becomes super shy and sneaks his way awkwardly to his table*-Ratatouille
That afternoon, we helped one of our investigators "charge water". In each neighborhood, you can usually find at least one water pump, where you can pay for water, and then, under a pump, you hold a big basin on your head as they fill it to the brim with water. Then you walk, with delicate balance and poise and a heavy water bucket on your head, back home. Well, it was quite the adventure! I don't recommend it for the weary-of-back, but it was great anywho. We spilled a little water on ourselves, but that's okay. Apparently, for most of the people on the street, I was the first white man they've ever seen to charge water. Making history, folks! (;
Speaking of my back, I finally got a new mattress! It's super firm, and I love it. On top of that, I switched back to my small hand sack. My back isn't 100 percent again, but it got a lot better. I'm hoping it improves even more this week! (:
We were planning on doing a ward activity this week. The ward had reserved Wednesday to Friday to go out street contacting with us during the mornings to invite people to a pre-ward-conference missionary activity. Well, guess who showed up? Just the missionaries, the Ward Mission Leader, Frère Bakana, and another member. So, that kind of fell through. We're hoping to reschedule the activity for another week.
From Wednesday evening to Thursday evening, I went on a split with Elder Whitt, our zone leader. He's such a great guy, and we had a lot of spiritual fun together. Our companionship study was by far the most spiritual comp study I've ever had in the mission. We had a lot of fun teaching together, and he showed me where some less active members lived (he used to work in a neighboring secteur, Kégué, when the ward boundaries weren't super fixed). It was a really successful split, and I learned a lot.
Eli and Louise weren't showing up to Church for two weeks, nor their rendez-vous, so during the split we walked out to Zogbedji to check up on them. As it turns out, they've been having malaria in the household, so that naturally kept them from coming, but their health is much better now, so we saw them at Church on Sunday. Super great.
We had ratez-vous all of Saturday evening, so that was a wee bit depressing, but so did Elders Whitt and Adzagah, so at the end of the day we met up and went to King Burger. A good way to end the day, I guess.
Sunday afternoon, we had lots of rendez-vous in opposite ends of our sector, so we went on splits with the members: Elder Joseph went with Frère Bakana, and I went with Frère Matthias (the first counselor in the bishopric). It was super weird to be so separated from my companion, even when we were doing something completely legal and in-the-rules. It'll be interesting to see how I react to being completely alone back at home. To add to the weirdness, Frère Matthias has a car, so just driving to our rendez-vous was a really strange adjustment. We had some interesting moments, but at the end of the day, the split was a success.
One of our amis that we're teaching right now is named Sam. He's a Rasta-man, with dreadlocks and a beanie. He likes making public art in his spare time. He's super cool. We passed by him one day, and I thought "You know, it'd be super cool if he got converted," so we contacted him, and yesterday we had our first lesson together. He asked questions that covered both the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation, and he loved all of it. I hope he'll be able to progress well.
Throughout the week, we taught a lot of lessons about the Plan of Salvation, and we ended up focusing mostly on the Fall of Adam and Eve. The Fall is a harder doctrine to understand, but I've learned so much about it on my mission. In addition, each time we taught someone about the Fall, I gained a new insight.
The Fall of Adam and Eve was a positive event for the children of God. Adam and Eve were commanded to be fruitful and multiply, giving the opportunity for their children to come down to the earth and gain a physical body. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve were innocent and lacked the knowledge to start a family, knowledge that could come only from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Our Heavenly Father knew that Satan would tempt mankind against His will, so God commanded that Adam and Eve not partake of the fruit. Adam and Eve were tempted and partook of the fruit, and by consequence, gained the knowledge necessary to start a family, and introduced physical death and sin into the world. We owe our existence on earth to our First Parents, and the effects of the Fall can be overcome, thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
As a missionary, we are expected to be exactly obedient to the missionary rules. It's been a goal I've had throughout my entire mission, and it's been very hard. And no, I have not been perfectly obedient, and chances are I probably never will be. Earlier in my mission, I was constantly stressed about my shortcomings and weaknesses and mistakes, and it was making things hard. Now, it'd be nice to say that I've finally learned how to overcome that stress and deal with imperfections (mine and those of other people), but I haven't. I'm still learning though, and it's a continuous learning process. I'm still imperfect, and so is everyone else in the world, and I still stress out about that, but the Lord is always there to comfort me, and I'm learning how to rely more and more on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Daily exercises in faith, daily repentance, and a weekly partaking of the sacrament are how we can improve ourselves, little by little, and become more and more comfortable with unnoticeable progression.
Little by little, one travels far. (:
I love y'all! Have a great week!