Monday, February 29, 2016

Life in Afrika

Hey Guys

Thanks for getting my housing situation figured out and for sending me photos of the place. Good job, I am giving you two thumbs up from behind my computer screen here in Africa! I do appreciate all you are doing to help my transition back to college go smoothly. 

We have had a good week here in Benin. I did a split with a companionship on Tuesday. We did a lot of street contacting since they don't have a lot of investigators. I will probably come back and help them again. 

In other news, we had our District Leader meeting on Thursday which was productive. President has set the goal for us to find 7 new amis each week, and to send in 50 new contacts into the office before the creation of the new stake. The plan is to send out a giant group text invitation. We are all working hard to see that happen. 

We had a GREAT Sunday at church! So many of our amis showed up that we had to share seats in Sunday School! (Isn't that great?) 

We came home from church to find our landlord trying to clean the outdoor landing. She was screaming curses at us because it was dusty. She barged into our apartment and howled about every dusty thing she saw. Then she noticed our couch cushions on the floor--they were on the floor because we've had so many power outages at night, that we sleep on the balcony to keep cool. At any rate, she started complaining that we had ruined her cushions and was going on and on. It took her several minutes to remember the cushions (and the couch) don't belong to her! She is a character.

We are doing our best to help our amis and our converts. It is always fun. We are hoping the rainy season starts soon--it has been sooo hot lately. Anyways, that's life on my side of the globe.

Love you, 

Elder Walls

Monday, February 22, 2016

Tough Week

Hey Guys!

My companion and I have been suffering a little this week. We both got a sick around the same time with chills, headache, overall weakness, and loss of appetite. We tried to go out and work, but in the end, we were both so miserable that we made the decision to go back home and try to nap it off. After 2 days, we were feeling better, but we still didn't really feel like eating anything for a few days longer. To add to it, this week has been killer hot all day, everyday. So, we've been sweating pretty hard and have to make frequent stops to buy water. 

In good news, our couple C-- and J-- are close to getting married. We are doing as much as we can to help it happen. I'd love to see them married and baptized before I go home! They are two of my favorite amis. We only have a few more forms to find and then we will be solid.

We finally got to see the worldwide missionary training this week. It was great. Nothing really that I haven't already heard, but a good reminder of what we should be doing. We are now working hard to find new amis in a final push for creating the new stake here. 

The work is great! I am glad to be a part of it. I am so proud of all my converts--they mean so much to me. I am grateful for the opportunity to work and help establish the church here in Benin. 

Love you guys! Thanks for everything you are doing to ensure my return to BYU will be smooth. I took a few minutes and planned out the courses I want to take next semester. Log into my account and you can see what I have mapped out. 

Love you guys a ton!

Elder Walls

PS Mom, we really are feeling much better, so please don't worry =)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Hanging in There

Dear Family,

So Valentine’s Day wasn't anything special here--just a normal Sunday. We went to church in the morning, and did some proselyting in the afternoon.  Honestly, I almost forgot that it was a holiday.

We did have a funny thing happen at church. Before church began, I was trying to play some prelude music on our electric keyboard, however the music stand was missing so I just laid the hymnal over the control panel and started playing. Halfway through, 'In Humility, our Savior,' the hymn book must of accidentally pushed a button and a drum beat started playing fairly loudly in the background. As I rushed to turn it off, I saw the other missionaries trying to hold back their laughter. Interestingly enough, the beat was very well coordinated with the song--same tempo and everything!

Then later in Sunday school one of our amis got up to ask a question. Before she asked it though, she shouted, "Hallelujah!" and everyone said it back to her. I do so enjoy all the cultural aspects of Africa and things from other churches that slip into our church services. It definitely keeps things interesting. 

Not too much has happened this week. We had a few interesting stories happen that would probably be better to tell after the mission is over...let's just say I have a new found appreciation for Bear Grylls. 

Love you guys a lot. I’m doing my best to keep my spirits high for the last few months. The work is tiring, I can't lie, but it is a really good work so I am doing my best to keep at it. 

Love you,

Elder Walls

Monday, February 8, 2016

Finally, The End of a Reign

Elder Walls, N-- and R-- on their baptismal day, Elder F
Hey guys!!

I’m a little pressed for time this week. We played ultimate Frisbee with the Cococodji missionaries this morning which was a lot of fun. I thought I would have the rest of the day to clean, email, etc., however, at noon the office elders gave me a call saying I had to be at a meeting in the office by 5:00. I will have to leave at 4:00 to get there in time, so I basically don't have much time to get anything done this Monday. 

We baptized R-- and N--this past Saturday, which was great. These two will make great members of the church. It was an interesting baptism because the water level in the font was super low. Rather than give me the key to the building so that I could go early to fill the font, they sent someone to take care of the job. I usually allow 3 hours to fill the font, however, I don't think this person started filling the font until maybe an hour before the service was supposed to start. We started the service a little late, thinking that by the time the talks were done, the water in the font would be at a decent level. It wasn't, so we started singing some hymns to fill some time. That got tiring pretty quick, so I gave an impromptu talk. Even still, the water level was pretty low, so I invited N--to sing a solo for us. I was surprised that she actually did. Finally, we had barely enough water. We had to have them each sit in the water, and then we slowly lowered their upper half into the water until they were completely under the water. Of course, by this point, they were completely lying on the floor of the font. Takes skill to baptize here--I've seen a lot of barely full fonts. 

Can you see the low water level? 
The week has been great, I spent Tuesday working with Cococodji in their sectors. I got to see some old friends, including Y--, who was the first person I ever taught on my mission. It was a great day. Many members are doing very well, including L-- and M-- who are still probably some of my most favorite converts. L-- apparently has 3 different calling in the church now. 

In other news, I found the mouse...dead....finally. I’m not sure if it was the poison that got him or what, but his reign is over.

The end of his reign
OK, I m going to send some photos and then jump of quick so that my comp can have some time to email his family. He ran out of time on his account and the patron isn’t here to accept his cash so he’ll have to use mine.

Love you guys,
Elder Walls

PS By the way, it looks like my go home date will be earlier than originally anticipated. It keeps changing--hopefully, I will have a solid flight plan by the 3 month mark. I'll keep you posted. 

Elder Walls (2nd from left) with his former MTC comp, Elder J (in white shirt and tie), current comp, Elder F, (on the right). (Photo courtesy of Amber Jorgensen)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Her name shall be . . . Abigail

Hey guys!

Glad to hear you’re alive and well. I am also doing well. 

Elder F and I get along super great, which makes going out and working together easy. Transfers happened this week--Elder T is being replaced by Elder M, who is one of my old zone leaders and I really like him a lot. It will be fun to have him in our apartment. Elder F and I will be together another 5 weeks, after that, who knows. 

Elder F and I are doing our best to find some new investigators because we have had some people fall through in the last couple of weeks. One guy seemed more interested in teaching us--he seriously would talk for 45 minutes straight without taking a breath or letting us talk. Other folks seem only interested in a church that will provide them with food. 

We still have some great amis. I love being able to teach them the gospel. We spent 3 hours yesterday with F-- and G--. They are some of my favorite amis. In Preach My Gospel, they recommend you don't spend more than 45 minutes teaching, but well, uh, it was a pretty great lesson!

Sad news is that our ami, B--, has a "wife" living in Togo that he is still together with. The sad part is that, as I have mentioned before, getting married here takes a lot of money, money which B-- doesn't have. So, it will take more time for him to be baptized than we originally planned. Hopefully, he stays motivated and continues to come to church. 

Did I tell you that last week I got to name a baby? The mother said she wanted a biblical name for her daughter. So I showed her Abigail, and she liked it. Although, the verse I showed her said that Abigail was smart and attractive, but that her husband was basically an idiot. Let's hope she finds a better husband when the time comes to get married!

Our recent convert, J--, got his head stuck in some weird historical beliefs. He started asking some strange questions in Sunday School, and unfortunately people kind of laughed at him and gossiped a little. Not a good thing to do, especially with someone so new in the church. He missed a few Sundays, but we've been able to get him coming back to church. 

We’re having fun and working hard. Not too many crazy stories to tell--I think I've experienced most everything here already, so there really aren't any new stories to tell. I will just sum things up how the Nephites would summarize several years of their records, by saying we are living righteously and happily. 

Life is good!

Love You,

Elder Walls