Monday, August 3, 2015

Week-end à Wèkè‏

Jose's Baptism

It’s great to hear all of your news--seems like everyone is getting married or doing something exciting. I'm sure everything will be different when I come home. 

I am doing well. I got the anniversary package that you sent. Thank you, I love everything you sent! I shared some of the Oreos and Cliff bars with the other Elders in the apartment. And Friday, I will cook something special to commemorate the 1 year mark. It's been so neat to have the Book of Mormon manual. I appreciate it so much more now than I would have before I was a missionary. I really enjoy using it in my study of the Book of Mormon.

We celebrated Benin Independence Day on Saturday. They really don't do anything special for the holiday. Most people here cannot afford to take a vacation day from work. If they close up shop, they could miss a sale.

The Dysons, the missionary couple, came to visit, which is always fun. I spent some time talking with Elder Dyson and tried to squeeze some information out of him regarding the plans for Porto Novo. 

Sunday school was great we talked about missionary work and ordinances done vicariously for the dead. I really tried to emphasize that without temples, God's plan of salvation would not be just, and it could not work. Through the work that is done in temples, ALL of God's children can receive the ordinances they need for salvation. 

This morning I organized an activity to go to a small zoo, called Wèkè. We'd heard from multiple sources that there was a lion there, but upon arriving we learned that he died 2 months ago. We did see a jackal, a Gila monster, crocodile, baboon, peacocks, etc. It was a fun activity. It is good to do some fun things on our P-day to keep up morale. 

The best news of the week was José's baptism! He is the ami that we reconnected with at the English competition. It was great to see him enter the waters of baptism, and participate in his first gospel ordinance. 

It has been awhile since we've had a baptism, which has caused me to reflect on the scripture in 1 Corinthians 1:17, which talks about not being sent to baptize, but to preach the gospel. It is easy to base your success as a missionary on statistics and numbers (especially with the records we keep, and having to send in reports every week). However, the call is to be a disciple of Christ--to be an example and guiding light to everyone around you, whether they are fellow missionaries, members, investigators . . . to all. Baptism is an important, and necessary, step. So, it was great to see José take that step and make that commitment to follow Christ. 

Things are good here. The Church is growing. Soon we will have a Zone of missionaries, then a district. Eventually a Stake will be formed here . . but all things in their time. 

Love you all! It doesn’t seem like its been one year already. I’m convinced that the second year will be even faster. So I’ll see you in a few! 

Thanks again for the package, I love everything inside. I appreciate all of the support and the weekly letters. One thing that would be nice would be some current photos of everyone (hint hint!). 

Take care and have a good week. 
Elder Walls
Great view of this beautiful country
More photos from the baptism 

Chillin with the gorilla
Marurai and I got a little thirsty at the zoo--hoping they use filtered water!
Ribera and I
Our guide warned us not to get too close to the baboon--they can claw or bite you

Tennis courts
We have an activity arranged to play tennis with some of the children in the neighborhood
Goat in the middle of the road

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