Monday, February 23, 2015

Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream--in Africa!!!


Great to hear from you guys! It is always hot, sweaty and crowded in the cyber, but its still a highlight of the week to get to hear from everyone. I would also like to apologize in advance--the space bar on my computer isn't working, so I am sure there will be several words that get bunched together.

This week we haven't had too many adventures, except for we did have a big rainstorm on Wednesday (rainy season is getting close). The storm went all morning and we lost power and water so we couldn't really cook. When it let up a little we decided to venture out to buy some pork. We got to the vender, but then the rain hit hard and we had to run back, through the rain, to the apartment. Everyone was along the sides of the road, under cover, shouting at us to get out of the rain. We made it back
soaked completely through, but the pork was good so it was worth it!

I finally got your package. As always I am enjoying it very, very much. Thank you! The snickers were melted, but we threw them in the freezer and they were fine. The thin mints didn't even melt!

We had Zone Conference in Cadjehoun (The nicest part of Cotonou) and instead of going straight back to the apartment we decided to make a pit stop at Erevan, the one decent supermarket in all of Benin. It is even nicer than Walmart. And walking in the store felt like walking into heaven. And joy! They happened to stock Ben and Jerry's ice cream, so of course, I had to indulge (I guess one pint every 6 months isn't too bad for your health! Coincidentally, since eating B & J's, I haven't had any more issues with diarrhea!)

In other news, we have a few baptisms coming up. Isaac will be this Saturday. He was one of our first amis upon arriving in the area. He has been a little hesitant with us, and fairly lukewarm with several commitments in the past. But in the past 2 weeks, he has really turned a 180. He will be baptized on Saturday. Then we have two other men his age (mid-twenties) who he should be baptized in the next two or three weeks. (I'm really hoping that I don't get transferred out!)

But anyways we're both excited. Barnes' training is coming to an end, and we might get split up next Monday. We'll see how this all works out--maybe they will keep us together a little longer. 

I love you all, and be assured that things are going well here.
Elder Walls

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Elder Dube Visits the Benin, Cotonou Mission

Elder Dube, of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy visits the Benin, Cotonou Mission February 5 & 6, 2015
Elder Dube is also the 2nd Counselor in the Africa West Area Presidency

Monday, February 16, 2015

Will Try to Send Some Warm Weather Your Way

Hey guys,

It's great to hear how you all have been doing, Although I am having trouble believing that it's still so cold over on your side of the world. Hopefully, Spring will come soon for you guys. Right now we're stuck in the hottest season of the year. January and February are scorching, but I am getting more and more used to the heat everyday. I welcome being drenched in sweat now because it makes everything feel so much cooler as it evaporates off. And with the wind, it sometimes feels like you are at the beach. We are almost back into the rainy season, which I am looking forward to because it cools everything down. And I've always liked the rain. The storms here can be pretty impressive!

We had an interesting week. A bird pooped on one of my shirts that I dried outside, and I have spent most of the week bleaching and bleaching and scrubbing trying to get these two brown stains out of my shirt (it finally came out so don't worry!). But I had to wear a dirty shirt on Sunday because of the whole ordeal. And one of the sisters in the branch was not very happy with me!

We have started having a lot of fun with our laundry. Scrubbing your clothes can get kind of mundane. However, once we realized that we all really missed swimming and water-parks we decided to start dumping full basins of water over each other while laundry is getting done. It makes for a much more refreshing P-Day!

Be warned--I am going to have to spend a few days at the pool or Dorney's water park or somewhere when I get home. It felt so good to be drenched with water. 

In other news, Ribera and Mayamba had a few baptisms the other day. To get to the pool where we perform the baptisms, the missionaries have to take a car taxi and then we have to find moto (motorcycle) taxis for our members who want to come. But some of our members decided to jump into the car with us, and no kidding, we literally had 13 people in the 5 seater taxi! That was the most cramped I have ever been--we even had missionaries riding in the trunk. Holy cow, transport here is crazy. During church yesterday I saw a moto (again, this is a motorcycle) go by with the driver, a married couple and 6 of their little kids.

In other other news, we had a new investigator start coming to church
named Ronald, he's a good guy who was raised Catholic and is about 22
now. He enjoyed church, even with all of the strange things that seem to happen. There's never really been a Sunday where something doesn't go awry, but I guess thats what makes Benin fun. 

Everything is going well. We are finding a lot of new people and we've got several amis who are close to baptism. I am actually hoping that I can just stay here in Porto and finish some of the things that we have started.

Hope you all continue to do well. I am enjoying myself (even though I have pretty much had constant diarrhea since Christmas). I am looking forward to one day enjoying some of that freezing weather you guys are having.

Elder Walls

PS By the way, I still haven't gotten the package. It is at the Mission Office, I just haven't been able to get it yet. Hopefully, soon!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Six Month Mark


Hey Guys! I loved hearing about your week. It is still hard to believe that you have snow on the ground and how different our worlds can be. Happy to say that I've hit the 6 month mark. It's gone by fast, but at the same time it feels like forever since I stepped off the plane. I am really enjoying my time here and doing well.

Mom, you asked me for my top 6 favorite experiences or the top 6 things I have learned. I think I will split my answer and do 3 of each:

Top 3 Favorite Experiences:

  1. The Christmas Party and Service Project. I was super dirty, but it was still so much fun and I got to drum for everyone.
  2. Thanksgiving at the Zone Leaders' apartment.
  3. Elder Dube's' visit

Top 3 Things I've Learned:
  1. Obedience
  2. The Importance of Family
  3. Avoiding Hypocrisy 
We had an activity this morning that was pretty fun. We went to this big stadium and played football, basketball, etc. I even got to play tennis which was really fun. However, because of this activity, I don't have a lot of time at the cyber today--sorry this is so brief!

Good news! MJ's boyfriend is in town for a month. Hopefully, we'll be able to work toward getting them legally married. We'll see how that goes. MJ is doing a lot better. She is coming to church again and is receptive to the lessons.

Also, President will be coming to look at the new apartment, so maybe we will move there soon. I am not sure I really want to go--now that we have things going so well here.

Anyways, sorry but that is it for today.

Elder Walls

Monday, February 2, 2015

Another Week


Hey guys, 

I am always great to hear from you. And I am excited to hear that a package is on the way! 

This week has been pretty eventful. I usually keep notes in my planner about things that happen throughout the week to help me remember it all when I get to the cyber, but this week I think I left it at home accidently. I will see what I can remember. 

One interesting story. We found some culinary students here and they expressed interest in taking our lessons, but they said that first we would have to ask permission from their head chef. So they ushered us into the complex and led us to this giant 'Gordon Ramsey-esque' black guy who was sitting on a motorcycle. Then the students were just like "OK go for it" and they averted their eyes not wanting to make eye-contact with the guy. We started talking to him and he cut us off, and then asked us in English if we were American. We said "yes," and then he said that he was basically American too. He then led us into his office and we talked for probably half an hour about how he had been the head chef at some Hotel for 11 years in Indiana, and how he could speak 7 different languages. He seems like a really cool guy. Then he told us that it was pizza day at the school, and asked us if we would want to try some. Of course, my companion and I acted like extremely polite and mature missionaries, saying "Oh sure, if you'd like us to try some, we would love too." But when he left to go get it, we both freaked out a little. That was the first time in 6 months I've had pizza and it was AMAZING! But anyways, we can start teaching his students and we will see if he is ever interested as well. 

Another funny story. We were teaching one of our newer amis, and we showed him a photo from one of the brochures of Jesus being baptized. Our ami got very confused about how we did baptism, because he saw John raising his hand to the square and assumed the he was about to slap Jesus. He was confused because that that was nothing like the baptism that he knew. We tried our best to explain baptism to him, but he still wasn't so sure that he wouldn't be slapped if we were to baptize him.  

Also, we had to visit the Bureau this week, and on the way our Taxi ran out of gas right in the middle of one the busiest roundabouts in Cadjehoun. We just slowly rolled through the roundabout while everyone honked and screamed at us. 

We have a few amis progressing towards baptism, slowly but surely. 

It's really great to hear from you again, I really hope you all continue to be well.

Love, Elder Walls