Average Transfer Calls:
Us to Sister Missionaries: You're transferred to Togo.
Sisters: BEST! DAY! EVER!
Us to Elders: You're transferred to Togo
Haha, yes, we had transfer planning and calls yesterday. There's always weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, but there's also a lot of happy missionaries, and that makes me happy. Normally, President plans out the transfer, and he invites us into his office Saturday afternoon to look at it, and maybe make a few changes. I'm always amazed at how inspired President Morin is when it comes to transfers, he's very creative, and often I find myself thinking "Wow, I never would've thought of that, that's such a good idea!" The Lord definitely inspires his servants with the revelation necessary to fulfill their callings.
This upcoming week will be transfer week, which is honestly very tiring. But, the transfer in Togo is super huge, so President said that if we get the Benin side done quickly, we maybe will get the chance to go to Togo and help out for a couple of days, which would be awesome! In all cases, keep us in your prayers, that we'll be safe and protected, and that we'll get everything accomplished effectively, and that we'll have the strength and stamina to keep going.
During Tuesday and Wednesday, we had a split with the Cadjehoun zone leader and his companion, Elders Kola and Ballie. Elder Kola's an old friend of mine from Akpakpa, so it was good to be with him again. During the split, we had to go pick up Brother Isaac, a member from Ghana, who was visiting Benin to look at possible sites for a distribution center here in Benin, which would really help the members out. We got to drive him around a bit, and show him a few buildings in Benin. He's a super nice guy, and it was great to learn a little bit about the Church's temporal affairs.
Yesterday, we had a very unique opportunity.
The Church here in Benin has a group in Hillacondji, near the Togo/Benin border. Because it's so far out and we don't have enough missionaries in this mission, the members are responsible for teaching amis. These amis can't be baptized unless they have been taught by the missionaries and received a baptismal interview, so President Morin asked us to go with President Briga, the first counselor in the mission presidency, to review the teachings with these amis, and have President Briga do the interviews. We ended up working with two couples and the husband of a member (Felix & Marcelline, Bryce & Gloria, and Patrice). These people were super humble, warm, and welcoming, and were very open to the Gospel. They all passed their baptismal interviews, and we spend six hours teaching and interviewing them all. We had to leave a little bit early to plan the transfer with President, and so we asked the member organizing the group how many more people were left, and he said at least six youth. It really seems like Hillacondji is an area bursting and ready for the Gospel. It was such a cool experience to work with these wonderful people in this unique part of the world.
We rushed back to Cotonou to plan with President. While waiting for him, a random yovo walked into the bureau, without a badge. I thought for a second that he was a missionary, but I had never seen him before, so I was confused for a second, but then he introduced himself as ex-Elder Jenkins! He was visiting converts in Togo and Benin, and he decided to stay for stake conference this weekend. I felt so stoked and privileged to meet one of my mission heroes, and I took a second to thank him for his blog, his work in the Akpakpa area book, and his great example. I'm super lucky I got to meet one of the mission legends. (:
Today, we went to stake conference, and it was very inspiring. Two Area Seventies came, Elders Dekaye and Guei, from Cote d'Ivoire. The messages were inspired and well-presented. This was the last stake conference for President and Soeur Morin, and I suppose it was mine as well. That's a weird thought that hasn't quite registered in my head yet, but is still disconcerting, in a happy, au revoir type of way. It was great to see most of my friends and converts from Benin there, and I felt like the Lord is pleased with the work I've done.
I'm going to be staying in Cocotomey as Assistant for my last transfer (six weeks). I don't quite know what to think about this idea, but I feel happy, and ready to give it my all in the time that is left. Towards the end of the week, I felt the Lord give me a push of energy, and I feel a little bit more rigour in my work. I want to finish strong. I'm super happy to be working with Elder N'Guessan, my companion. He was the dark horse candidate for being my last companion, but we get along super well, he's taught me a lot, and we're both happy together. I'm glad I get to work with him.
I feel like these last six weeks are going to be the best, and that I'm going to have a happy ending. I love you all. I'll try to find more time to write y'all during the week. Have a wonderful week! (:
Elder Brian H. Phillips
"Travailler comme c'est votre premier jour, témoigner comme c'est votre dernier."