Monday, November 9, 2015

La La Lala!

Farewell to Elder A!
It's a shame we have to split up so fast--he's one of my favorite comps
 Dear Family,

It's been a great week!

On Tuesday, we had zone meeting. I was a little nervous because it was my first time having to teach and lead one, but it went great. I had Elder H from Tahitii teach about finding new amis. Then I taught about fixing baptismal dates during the first visit with a new amis--I focused on addressing different situations that keep us from inviting amis, or that keep amis from accepting. 

Both lessons went over well and we are starting to have noticeable results. Last week, the companionships in our zone averaged 3.6 fixed baptismal dates. This week we averaged 5.5.  And the number of new amis is going up as well. I made some phone calls around the zone and we have a new goal of finding and teaching one new ami everyday. And I think we can make that goal!

The zone is doing really well, and so is my sector. We should have 3 baptisms this upcoming Saturday for M, J and P (ages 16, 24, and 18 respectively). They aren't siblings or related, they all just ended up with the same date. Hopefully, a few others will be baptized at the end of the month. 

I finally got to see General Conference! Well, at least the Saturday morning session. We scheduled the activity for Saturday at 2:00, but apparently no one from the district had brought the DVD. We then had to try to download it from online and put it on a USB. Meanwhile amis and members starting arriving at the building, so we had to stall a little. The branch president told us to start singing hymns and we did, but after the 4th or 5th, people were getting tired. So, In the middle of a hymn that my companion was leading, President Comi came up and cut him off saying, "Alright, we're going to spice things up a little---everyone turn to 'Joy to the World.'" He then told Elder A to stay there and conduct with him. The two conducted together which was funny to watch because President Comi gets very animated while conducting and my companion tried to copy him a little for fun. 

We finished the hymn and Pres. Comi announced, "Ok now were going to sing it again, but without the words." So everyone just kind of hum-scatted Joy to the World, By this point, I was kind of giggling, so I couldn’t really sing. Then after the first verse, Pres. Comi said, "Ok now we're going to do the 4th verse, but with LA's!" Everyone started singing  lalalala and I couldn’t keep myself from laughing I had to duck out of the room quickly to compose myself. I really like Pres Comi, the way he sings is just great! Sometimes he just kind of makes up complimentary parts to the hymns and sings them that way--it is fun to hear.

In other news, we have a piano for the branch now, and guess who the branch pianist is? Moi! Yep, two years of lessons over 10 years ago and I am the one in the branch with the most experience. We'll see if my drumming skills help me out at all. 

I was supposed to start playing next week as we were going to have a member from another branch come to play for the week. So Pres Comi assured me that I could relax for this week and then just take the piano back to our apartment to practice for he next Sunday. Then Sunday, right before meetings started President Comi pulled me over and asked, "You're playing, right?"
Me: "Isn't  Fr. L-- coming to play this week?"
Pres C: "No, I thought you took the piano home last night to practice. Anyways, here are the hymn numbers for today."

I did my best, I’m hoping most people didn’t really notice how poor the piano playing was. I sure did! It was definitely interesting. While everyone did their talks (including mine), I was frantically fingering out the hymns, trying to figure out how to best play them. I am trying to convince Pres C to let me take the keyboard home with me so that I can practice all week. He keeps it locked in his office during the week and says I can pick it up on Saturday. 

Anther funny story: We were all sitting around on our balcony last night talking, when out of nowhere, a bird flew into me. I jumped, surprised. Everyone laughed, and then it flew towards them and they jumped too. The little thing looked like it broke its legs or something. We tried to make him a little bird shelter and give him something to eat, but he ended up flying off somewhere else.

Also, transfers are in, Elder A will go to Cococodji and Elder M will be a ZL with me for his last 3 weeks before going home, then Elder P (French) will come and replace him as an assistant.

This past transfer went by incredibly fast compared to the past 7 months. The next few weeks will probably be the same. My trainer, Elder A is going home this week as well. He's one of my favorite missionaries--I will miss him. 

Love you guys,
Elder Walls

PS As for the Christmas package, I really have no idea of what would be good to send. Not sure who my comp will be at that time. Most Africans don't really like the sweet, sugary things. I would like a mid-sized American flag that I could hang up and pledge allegiance to every morning. And the tortillas you sent awhile back were amazing. You can't really find anything like that here, so that would be really nice. 

PS So I just barely sent that last email and the power cut...very good timing. I was planning on taking my comp out to a nice restaurant after we finished emailing. So, when the power cut out, I suggested we go eat and then come back when the power returned. The food was pretty good (chicken, fries, salad, rice). Really well prepared and not too expensive. I would rather have really well prepared African food more than shabbily prepared American food that you sometimes find here. 

While eating, a stranger came up to us asking if we spoke English. He explained that he came from Ghana to work here with a friend. However, he had no email or phone to contact the friend. And his friend wasn't at the rendezvous point at the right time, so now he was in a foreign country, lost, with no money and speaking no French. He wanted me to go around to everyone else in the restaurant and help him beg for money. But that didn't seem appropriate, so we ended up just paying for his taxi to take him all the way to Lome. I am glad to help someone out--even if that is kind of an expensive ticket. We did give him a brochure, so maybe something will come of it. We went back to our seats and found that they had cleared our plates already. And all of my fries that were still on my plate! So, I ended up spending a lot of money for not very much food. It's alright though. Patience is a virtue I guess. 

Pres Comi and Elder A conducting music together
The Elders in Cocotomey
Sr De F
Elder Walls in front of the Cocotomey church building
Cocotomey church building

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