Time is going way too fast.
Well, it's finally spring out here, which is the nice way of saying rainy season. It rains and rains and rains. Toto certainly did bless those rains. (; It's beautiful to see the rain wash away the dust of winter, and there's this feeling you can feel in the air, like the earth has been rejuvenated. The whole atmosphere feels clean, like the world is taking a new start. (:
This Monday, we got to play football with the Finagnon zone, which was fun, and then do some souvenir shopping. Normally, I hate going to the Tokpa Market, but this time around, I felt happy to be there, and I even felt like I would miss that place.
My birthday was great! Thanks for your birthday letters, cards, and wishes. It was great to celebrate, and it's hard to believe that I'm twenty. I'm glad I celebrated in Africa. (:
Narcisse is doing okay. We visited one or two times this week, and we realized that he wasn't keeping up a steady habit of prayer. We tried to help him out with that. I testify that all of the pieces of the Armor of God are obtained from the base of prayer.
Natalie and Florence are doing well. We're preparing them for baptism, and it looks like their baptism will hold for next Sunday. Pray for us, and wish us luck!
We taught an eternal investigator, Franco. Franco is a self-professed Muslim, and he asked the question "if I were to be baptized in your church, would that mean having to give up going to the mosque and praying there?" and I felt prompted to talk about ordinances, so I did. I don't think he's getting baptized soon, but I believe that that really helped him get a new understanding.
We taught a Nigerian couple, Daniel and his wife, who were investigators back in 2008, but they lost contact with the church once they moved to Nigeria, but now they're back in Cocotomey. We had a great lesson, and they want to be baptized, and we asked if they were legally married, and they said yes! They have papers and everything! It was a miracle, I was so happy! Normally couples have to save and work for at least a month or so to be married, but they're ready to go! We fixed their baptismal date for July 10th. I'm looking forward to getting those baptismal photos. (:
We taught an investigator, Honore, whose neighbor joined in on the lesson. The neighbor claimed that he was the Kokogbesso, or the King of Cocotomey. Technically, if Cocotomey was still under tribal rule, he'd be the king. At least, that's what he claimed. Lots of people claim that. Anywho, I guess I can check "Preaching the Gospel to an African king" off of my bucket list. (:
Odile had a bad case of appendicitis, so she can't go to church for three months, but we keep visiting her and making sure that she's okay.
I'm really grateful for my companion, Elder N'Guessan. He's super patient, and I really respect him. I prayed for a long time that my last companion would help me finish my mission well, and he's been an answer to my prayers. For some random reason, we decided to walk out to our area yesterday morning, in the rain. It was great to get one last "in the sector" experience. I haven't gone to bed that tired in a long, long time. (: I'm also grateful for Elders Linderman and Motshikana, and all the other missionaries I've gotten to know. I've come to truly love those around me, and I'm proud to be serving in the Benin Cotonou Mission.
This week was my last full week of proselyting. Next week is just zone conferences, other Assistant tasks, saying goodbye to converts, and our last baptism. I can't describe how I feel, the only word that comes to mind is love. I sure do love these people. I realized this week that every important relationship has a temporary goodbye, whether that be geographical, time-based, or mortal separation, but the Lord has promised us that we will all see each other again in the Resurrection. "Saying goodbyes" is just the Lord's way of showing us how much we loved those around us, and how important that relationship was. Well, I'm learning how much I love these people, and how important they are to me.
I testify that Jesus Christ is the true King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and that because He was resurrected on a spring morning, we all can be together forever, through His plan of Happiness. I know that, through His Atonement, we can receive a forgiveness of our sins, and be made clean again.
Je vous aime, et je vous souhaite une semaine merveilleuse.
Avec tout mon amour,
Elder Brian H. Phillips
"Travailler comme c'est votre premier jour, témoigner comme c'est votre dernier."