Well, hey howdy hey! I'm so glad that y'all got to meet my two favorite companions, Elders Hansen and Joseph. They're wonderful, and I'm so blessed to have worked with them. (:
From Monday to Wednesday, I was with Elder Hammons. He's been a little sick, so we just stayed in the apartment; cleaning and preparing the apartment for the coming of Elder Sahy. We ate some very, very good American food (macaroni & gravy, chips and bean dip...mm mm mmmmm). Elder Hammons is an awesome guy, and it was great to spend some time with him. There was a slight change in transfer, and he's now working in Benin as an office elder (for his second time).
Wednesday afternoon, because I couldn't be alone, I stayed with the Hedzranawoé elders, Elders Lath and Kayakez, and then Elders Adzagah and Eperonnier. It was fun to be with them, and to see just a bit of their sector.
Well, come Wednesday evening, the Assistants arrived with two new missionaries. I shook their hands, learned their names, and... neither of them were named Elder Sahy. So, that was a bit confusing, so I said "Well, they're telling me that I'm training one of you, who's that?" One of them said "That's me." So, my new companion is actually named Elder Angbo, from Cote d'Ivoire.
Elder Angbo's a stud. He's very enthusiastic for the work, humble, and ready to go! He's got a lot of faith. I think we're going to get along just fine. His favorite songs are "When I See You Again," and "Hello". His favorite films are the Marvel films, and his favorite Avenger is Iron Man. His hobbies are soccer and drawing, and he wants to be an architect.
Elder Angbo is really, really eager to learn English. He wants to speak English at the apartment, and he's constantly asking for translations and feedback on his English. He's awesome. So, I'm trying to teach him English and the little bits of Ewé that I know, and I'm also trying to learn more French and Ewé. Language, language, language! (;
Yesterday, we were able to learn the other sector better. We did a lot of walking, from one corner to the other, but it was worth it. We weren't able to visit a lot of people, but we know their houses. Pray that we will be able to remember where everyone lives!
Brigitte is still pretty sick (her family had a couple of cases of malaria), so she wasn't able to be baptized this past Saturday, but we were able to teach her a little bit on Thursday.
On Friday, we showed up to our first rendez-vous, and it was a ratez-vous, and so was most of our schedule! After a line of ratez-vous, I decided that it might be a good idea to try the first rendez-vous again, and she was there! Afterwards, Elder Angbo asked me "How did you know that she was going to be there?" and I was kind of like "Uh, I didn't. It just seemed like a good idea." It just goes to show, you never know when the Spirit might conduct you to do good, you just need to be trying your best to do the right thing.
We're working with a less active family, François and Alice, with the goal to help them go to the temple (this was the family involved in the crazy baptismal font story). You can tell that the family needs more of the Spirit in their lives, and it's very hectic to try and gather them in for a lesson, but once the lesson takes course, you can see the change in their faces, and they're much more receptive to the Spirit. I've got a good feeling about this family.
We showed up to help one of my favorite members, Soeur Anne, and we insisted on helping her wash the family's laundry load. It was lots of fun! One of her neighbors saw us, and immediately wanted to fix an appointment with us. Soeur Anne was super grateful, and at Church she was telling members all about what we did. Very embarassing.
We decided to pass by Sam's house Friday evening, and found him busy. He was boiling a whole bunch of different leaves, and said that he was feeling sick, so he was going to take some medicine. Since he's a rasta man, I kind of jumped the gun, put two and two together, etc, so we gave Sam an on-the-spot Word of Wisdom lesson. He said that he liked the principle, but because he has a lower income, he needs the boiling leaves in the pot for medicine. I got pretty passionate in my testimony, and then Elder Angbo was like "Oh, wait, I know what he's doing." As it turns out, a native traditional medicine practice is to boil a special type of leaf, and then take a hot bath in the tea/water that is produced. So, what Sam was doing was not against the Word of Wisdom, and I was a wee bit culturally insensitive. Oopsie. (; After we all had a good laugh, Sam said that he occasionally has a bit of alcohol, but that he'll have no problem keeping the Word of Wisdom. Yay! (: We also gave him a blessing of health to help him out.
Sunday afternoon, like I said, we had a couple of members accompany us to show us all of the investigators that they know of, which was very helpful. The others left a lot of people ready for baptism, so hopefully we can keep these investigators and see them off to baptism.
We were teaching a wonderful partial member family about baptisms for the dead. It was a very sweet lesson. I know that the work of salvation is available to all, and that because of our Heavenly Father's mercy and love for us, His children, all will have the opportunity to hear the Gospel.
Well, I've been thinking a lot about training my new companion this week, and I ended up thinking a lot about being a dad. From what I can see, training is just practice for being a dad and raising children. I studied some general conference talks about fathers, and I really loved "In Praise of Those Who Save," by President Uchtdorf, especially this quote:
"We may share the same gene pool, but we are not the same. We have unique spirits. We are influenced in different ways by our experiences. And each of us ends up different as a result. Rather than attempting to force everyone into a mold of our own making, we can choose to celebrate these differences and appreciate them for adding richness and constant surprises to our lives... Whatever problems your family is facing, whatever you must do to solve them, the beginning and the end of the solution is charity, the pure love of Christ. Without this love, even seemingly perfect families struggle. With it, even families with great challenges succeed. 'Charity never faileth.' ... As we emulate the Savior’s love, He will surely bless and prosper our righteous efforts to save our marriages and strengthen our families."
I feel that I'm meant, not necessarily to force Elder Angbo into my imagined mold of what a perfect missionary is, but to help him discover his potential as a missionary in the Lord's kingdom, and as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for how humble and willing to learn he is, and I know that the Lord will help us accomplish wonders in Attiegou.
I hope you all have a great week! I know that as we seek charity, the Lord will help us to do wonderful things in our lives!