It is very weird emailing on Sunday. It's kind of throwing me off, especially being in such a nice, cushy air-conditioned bureau to do it. And using an English keyboard instead of a French one is so different too.
This week has really flown by. I'm loving being in the car and not having to walk miles under the burning, hot sun. I’m hoping to gain a little bit of weight back. And the air-conditioning is pretty sweet, too. Being able to spend a little time every now and again in the mission office (air-conditioned) is also a plus.
I really, really love my new comp, Elder Pellevoizin, as well. I first met him just after being transferred to Cocotomey. He was transferred at the same time from Togo to Cococodji. I liked him from the get-go. Then he got transferred to Cocotomey to work with Elder Teaupa and we still got along great. Now I’m in heaven getting to work with him. Definitely a blessing for me to finish the mission with such a great guy!
So my new duties officially started on Tuesday. We spent the entire day transporting missionaries around the country. We ended up getting in an accident while trying to cross the road, an old man on a moto didn’t feel like slowing down for us and slammed into our side. We spent some time arguing and finally gave him 10,000 so that he'd leave us alone. Road laws are practically nonexistent here, no one is insured and no one calls the police for these sorts of problems.
That evening we started the journey to Togo, taking Elders Barnes (my former comp), Seifert, and Ballié- with us. It took about 3 and a half hours to make the trip, but it was worth it to see how amazing Togo is.... I can't even exaggerate how great it is. Missionaries always talk about how nice it is, but I never really considered what they were saying until now.
So, the first branch we visited was Baguida, and we walked in to an AMAZING outdoor branch activity with food, live music, and dancing. It was such a well organized and fun get together.
Afterwards we passed by the Stake center of Togo, which is beautiful! It made me feel like I was at home walking through the halls. I haven't seen a traditional LDS church building since 2014.
Then we dropped off Elder Seifert at Tokoin, the district of Elder Jackson, whom I haven’t seen since leaving the MTC. Elder Jackson has served his entire mission in Togo (as I have in Benin). It was great to see him again. I had been worrying that I wouldn't be able to talk with him again until the airplane ride home. He is being transferred to Benin (Cococodji). It will be interesting to see what he has to say about Benin.
We spent the night with Elder Jorgensen (my former MTC comp) at Kelegougan, so I got the chance to chat with him as well, which was so great.
|Elder Walls with his former MTC comp, Elder Jorgensen, in Togo|
It was a pleasant surprise to see that the sun rises before our 6AM reveille in Togo, making it so nice and easy to get up on time. Normally in Benin, the sun rises between 6:30 and 7:00.
We stopped by a supermarket on the way back and I found Dr. Pepper and Cap'n Crunch!!! Two brands that I haven’t seen since home! Togo has better import/export laws so finding American products is easier.
I am so grateful to have had the chance to go to Togo. I am still very happy to have served in Benin. I've been able to participate in the creation of the first stake here, and the birth of the church in a country that, until recently had never even heard of the Mormons.
In other news, I’m starting to learn my way around the sector little by little. Tomorrow I’m going to start learning to drive stick shift with my comp. Wish me luck!
I love you guys a lot!
PS I am sending a ton of photos. The ride to Togo was nearly 3 1/2 hours (each way), so I had a lot of time to take pictures. Plus, it is so nice to be able to send multiple photos at a time. (Editor's note: Many of the photos were added to previous posts since they related to prior experiences.)
|Road trip to Togo|
|Another photo from our trip to Togo|
|3 1/2 hour drive of rural scenery|
|OK, so a Shell gas station probably isn't that exciting for you, but I was excited to see one!|
|Cargo ships at the Port of Togo|
|In front of the Togo Stake Center (you can't see much since it was dark)|
|Benin Chinese Cultural Center|