Monday, June 29, 2015

Hey, Hey, Hey, Walls!


What all is going on this week?.... I haven’t kept good notes on what happened during the week so my mind is kind of blank.

We had a Zone meeting on Tuesday, but most of the zone was at the mission office for the day renewing visas and I was the only DL that ended up showing up, so it wasn't really the most effective zone meeting we’ve ever had.

G*, our ami, is taking an extended vacation back to her village so it will be awhile before we'll see her again.

On Thursday we went with some Togolaise church officials to look at new apartments in Porto Novo. We are  not sure what the plan is for the new apartment--whether they want to move another 4 missionaries out here, split us up into 2 apartments of 2 missionaries each, or get rid of our current apartment and move us all into one that is closer to the church. The Transfer call is this Saturday, so we'll see what happens.

One of the apartments we looked at was right next to our former ami, Mary Jose's house. It has been awhile since we visited her. We pulled up in the car, and as soon as we got out all of the children and the women there started screaming, 'Hey Hey Hey Walls!'

On Saturday, we attended the reception for our next door neighbors First Communion in the Catholic church. It was fun to be there. We are all really good friends with our neighbors so it was good to be there to support them. And the food was really good too!

The couple missionaries came to visit us to do cleaning inspection and they ended up staying awhile to tell stories. Elder Dyson is from New Zealand and shared a little about the church's history there, and I think it’s probably more interesting than anything that happened to me during the week.

He says the Maori people are local to New Zealand, and in the early 1800’s the Europeans started to come over in ships and colonize. They brought all of their different churches with them. The Maori people generally accepted the message of Jesus Christ, but were not sure of which church to join. They organized a council to discuss which of the churches was right for the Maori people. They sent one of their high priests into the sacred hills (there is a name for the place, but I can't remember it now) to pray and find the answer. He fasted and prayed for 3 days in the hills and returned with this answer:

“The church for the Maori people is not yet here, but when it comes you'll know it by these signs: 1) I will be dead and no grass will have grown on my grave up until the day that they come. 2) They will come from the east sea. 3) They will live in your homes and speak our language. 4) And they will pray with their hands up (apparently at this point in the church this was custom during meetings).”

The missionaries arrived around 40 years later doing all of these things. They’d learned a little of the language from a member in Salt Lake, lived in locals homes, etc. One of the members of that original council 40 precedent was still living and pointed them out as being the church, so they went and visited the grave of the priest and saw grass starting to push up through the ground.

The church started up and was almost completely made up of Maori people for many years. Eventually white people started joining as well, and meetings began being held in English. They wanted a temple, but didn’t even have a stake at that point. An Apostle visited, and pointed out the sacred hills as being where to build it. The land was currently owned by a farmer, who refused to sell it. However, he died just 3 months later, and the church was able to buy it from his children. Originally the children disagreed about the price, but the current mission president, who was a rich Texas oil-man, threw a blank check on the table and told them to fill it out themselves. Then the members built the temple all on there own  and the church has been growing strong there ever since.

But anyways, that’s pretty much it. 

Have a good week, love you!
Elder Walls

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