I'm glad to hear that y'all got to meet Elder Magré, and that the Olympics are going great!
Fun fact: almost all African films are based on a true story, or based on events that happen all the time. So, when people here see films like Spider-Man or Jackie Chan, they sometimes think that those are true stories as well.
Well, this week was a slow/fast week, but still good nonetheless:
This morning, we had a soccer showdown between the missionaries and the bishoprics in our zone. I sat out (didn't want to hurt my back), but it was super fun to watch! Both sides have a lot of talent, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Soccer is what everyone does here, and Lionel Messi is their idol. Haha, I've definitely learned a lot about soccer on my mission. Anywho, a super fun game.
On Tuesday, everyone in the apartment except me was sick, so it was an apartment-day.
On Wednesday, we had previously planned to do a split (Elder Joseph with Elder Olela, Elder Hammons with me), but Elder Hammons was still sick, so we stayed at the apartment while the others went out. That evening, however, Elder Adzagah came and started a split with me.
The split was so awesome! Elder Adzagah is probably the hardest worker I've ever met. We just taught and taught and taught! I learned a lot from him. Elder Adzagah is from Ghana, and he grew up speaking Ewé, which is also the most popular dialect here in Lomé. He just teaches the investigators in Ewé! It's so cool! The Gospel shall be preached to every nation, kindred, and tongue, and Elder Adzagah's fulfilling that promise! The investigators responded totally different to Ewé than they do French, they got super excited! Even our investigators that speak fluent French were super pumped! Elder Adzagah's an awesome missionary, and I'm lucky to have worked with him.
Something interesting: at the beginning of my mission, I wasn't too shocked by the poverty and living conditions around me. It was pretty easy for me to adjust to, and its almost second nature. More and more, however, I'm having moments when I think "You know, if you were to teleport somebody from home and drop them right here, they'd probably have an eye-opener. Living here is still second nature for me, but I'm noticing the poverty more and more.
Unfortunately, I caught a nasty little cold Thursday evening, so I had to take Friday off, but not without...
Zone Conference! Our zone conference was fantastic! I really love zone conferences, they're special meetings when Président and Soeur Morin, Elder and Sister Dyson, and the Benin and Togo Assistants come and train the zone. They're like general conferences for missionaries! I love 'em.
We received some training on setting goals, and the mission now has three challenges: 1) fix a baptismal date on the first rendez-vous with every investigator, 2) find 7 new investigators each week, and (a new one) 3) teach 20 good lessons each week. A "good lesson" would be defined as a quality lesson, one in which we feel the Spirit testify with us.
Président Morin also put emphasis on obedience. One problem that this mission has, apparently, is that lots of missionaries have unauthorized smartphones. Président said that he can't search our suitcases and confiscate them, but he encouraged us to turn them in. Président promised us that if the mission made a collective effort to go un-plugged, our level of obedience would reach a new level, and we would be able to more fully carry the light of Christ to our investigators. Super cool promise.
It was the last zone conference for Elders Whitt, Joseph, and Gnamien, as well as the Dysons (our senior couple). They all gave great testimonies, especially the Dysons. They taught a great lesson about taking care of sacred things, and I had the sweet opportunity to translate for Elder Dyson. At one point, he stopped, and said that he felt prompted to bear his testimony. As I translated, I really felt the Spirit, testifying to everyone that what Elder Dyson said is true.
I'm really going to miss the couple. They're fantastic, they've done so much for the mission, and we've been so blessed to have them in the mission.
Saturday, we got to visit a couple of our less active families, and they came to Church! Such a blessing.
Felicité came to Church, and she had a good time! So did Brigitte and Frère Akakpo, as well as Louise, Eli, and their mom! We got to teach everyone after church. We're on track to baptize Brigitte this Saturday, and we're hoping to baptize Louise as well. Our first actual lesson with Délali (Eli's mom), was great! We fixed a baptismal date with her for mid-September. Eli is a super member-missionary, his mom said that he helps everyone understand the Gospel at home. He's only 13! He's a stud, I love him to death.
The Akakpo family has been such a privilege to teach. Working with them has been magic, everything has been working near-perfectly, and I have this recurring feeling of "This is too good to be true". It's amazing to see how their lives have changed, in just a short space of time, without any prodding or constraint. The Spirit just kicked in, as if they've been waking up from a nap and getting back to work. The power of conversion is real!
Yesterday afternoon, we got to go to Be-Kpota, Elder Joseph's old sector. Be-Kpota is a rather big sector, and one of the best in the mission. Elder Joseph did so much good work there! He had lots of converts and members to visit, each with their own unique story. It was a lot of fun to visit the people. His favorite family is a partial member family. The oldest sister is a single mom, living a Cinderella story, just running up and down trying to take care of the family. She was always too busy to be taught, so whenever there was a ratez-vous, Elders Joseph and Gonzales would just go to their house and do chores for them. Elder Joseph said that their family is probably his favorite family in all the mission. The little daughter always called Elder Joseph "Daddy," because she thought that it meant "pick me up," and that's what she saw on the TV (little girl runs up to a big person, says "Daddy," and then the big person picks her up). Yeah, my heartstrings just melted. Such a great family.
I've been so blessed to have Elder Joseph as a companion. He's been such a good influence on me, and he's been working super hard during his last transfer. I'm so lucky to have been with one of the mission legends, and I'm happy that he gets to go home. I'm sad to have to say goodbye, but these past few weeks in Attiegou have been paradise.
Transfers are this week. I hope I can stay in Attiegou and keep up with the sweet work here, we've got a lot of great things planned for the next transfer (completing our partial member families, continuing the reactivation process for our less-actives, and baptizing the investigators we found on our own efforts). I also hope that I get another great companion. Transfers are always a toss-up, but I'll do my best to do the Lord's will "with a heart sincere".
I guess if there would be a spiritual thought for the week, hmm, I'd say to recognize the Lord's hand in your life, and that will help you know when you're in "the good ol' days". This past transfer has been such a blessing, thanks to Elder Joseph, Elders Hammons and Olela, the other missionaries around me, and the Spirit that's helped us find and teach our investigators. Again, the glow is in gratitude, and the more and more I think about how amazing this transfer has been, the more and more I feel the light of the Lord in my life. I invite y'all, as the summer ends and as school begins, to count your blessings. I hope that, for everyone, this summer has been marvelous, and I wish everyone a good back-to-school as well. Have a great time at Education Week!
Mawu ni fo mi,