Monday, August 10, 2015

One Year Mark! Celebrating with Grilled Pizza!

August 10, 2015

Dear Family, 

It was great to hear from you guys and see all of your photos. Glad things are going well at home.

We are doing well here in Porto Novo as well. We had a lot of things going on this week, so it went by fast.

Tuesday, we had a tennis activity with some of our neighbors which was a lot of fun. The only downside though was that we didn't make many contacts. We had planned on also playing some basketball (which is better for meeting people), but there was an organized competition going on, so we kept to the tennis courts. 

Wednesday, we went to Akpakpa in Cotonou for a street contacting activity. It was great because we all got to work with different people. I worked with Elder Dakuri from Cote D'Ivore. He has a tremendously good sense of humor with the other missionaries and with those he finds in the streets. It was fun to be around him for the day.

Thursday, I did a split with Elder Ribera which was very effective. We taught 7 lessons in one day which felt awesome! We were able to see our ami, Prudencio, who is starting to make some good progress. He read the first 5 chapters of the Book of Mormon and said he wants to be a missionary and to take the Book of Mormon all throughout Benin. He really wants to visit the hill Cumorah, to witness where Joseph Smith had the First Vision. We are really encouraging him to attend church on Sunday. 

Friday, was my one year mark!!!! Very exciting! I made everyone pizza which was easier then I originally thought. The only real difficulty was finding ingredients. Thankfully, while we were in Cotonou on Wednesday, I was able to find cheese and pizza sauce. We made the pizzas on our neighbor's grill, and that worked out really well. We made a ton, so everyone had plenty. 

That night, I burned a shirt which was in really poor shape. That was fun too. Ribera and I joked around that it is almost a rite of passage in missionary life. 

Saturday was a normal day of work. We started teaching some of our Nigerians neighbors, which is great, because I don't have many opportunities to teach in English. They asked a lot of inspired questions and generally concluded that most churches today only preach prosperity, but that a real church would teach repentance. We talked about how one of the primary teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we are able to repent of our sins. 

After our lesson, they fed us rice with tomato sauce and goat meat, which is a pretty common dish. However, once I began to eat, I discovered that the particular piece of meat that I was given was the snout, which had not even been skinned. I could clearly see the hair nostrils. I did my best to rip the thick, rubbery skin away to get to the meat that was inside. I was mostly successful, although I did make a bit of a mess in the process. 

The work in Porto Novo is going well. I am not sure if I will be here much longer--transfer calls come this weekend. We'll see. Wherever I go I will be fine. I love Porto Novo, but I am sure I would love any area I am sent to. I do hope to be able to go to Togo at some point. 

I have a ton of photos to send. I want to make sure you have all of the photos in the event that my memory card gets another virus. 

Have a great week!

Love you,
Elder Walls

Making grilled pizza to celebrate my one year anniversary. They say kneading dough is one of the most relaxing things you can do. I know this much, the finished product was a beautiful sight! 

  Ahh, it's been too long since I've had pizza! We used our neighbor's grill to cook them, since we don't have an oven. We made a ton, so everyone had plenty---and they were awesome!

I guess it's almost a rite of passage for a missionary to burn a worn out shirt to celebrate their mission midpoint. I had a shirt that was in pretty poor shape--starting to get some holes. Didn't think anyone would want it, so I decided to burn it. Mom, don't worry, we didn't burn down the house!

Some more food pictures. The first is the lunch Ribera and I had while we were out on splits--we ate well: chicken, rice, eggs, fries and Polynesian sauce. The second picture is Boudakasa with sauce Boma.

Before our Branch building got its own baptismal font, we would travel to a hotel and use their swimming pool.

These photos are from Ronald's baptism. 
(Please excuse my dirty shirt--it was just before wash day, and a bird pooped on my other shirt, 
so I had to wear this one a little longer than I normally would)

Isaac's baptism (this is going back a bit)

It is an amazing experience to be a part of someone's baptism, and to witness them taking 
their first steps in following Christ. 

The Young Men's group: With Maserick, Fabien and Gael

Mom, you said you loved seeing the pictures of the children. 

Beautiful African sky--the clouds looked like rainbows

Now, this is the way to move furniture in style!

Ribera and I trying to keep cool

My old sandals that fell apart from all the walking on rough terrain--they didn't even last a year! 
Thankfully, for my birthday, my family sent me a more rugged pair. 

This photo is going way back: Our former apartment in Aimlonfide. 
And Mom, don't worry, we keep our new apartment here MUCH cleaner!

Elders Ribera and Legbanon

Elder Marurai

This one is going way back, but I love it! Elders Bailey and Jackson from our MTC days.

Another way back photo. Us with the the senior missionary couples. Love them!

Poor lost goat.

A strange sight here in Africa--Yovos! 
When you run into white people here, most likely they are French and/or Jehovah's Witnesses. 

Memorial to the first missionaries to arrive in Benin.

The rest of these are from our trip to the zoo and to the Temple of Pythons (awhile back)--the power cut out last week before I could finish sending them. The first picture is some sort of sacrificial ball. I believe they open it every 7 years to put things inside. That's red flour on top with oil--apparently, that is the food of the gods. 

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