Sunday, July 3, 2016

Adieu, Porto Novo, Adieu

Catching up with friends in Porto Novo
Dear Family,

Wow! The time is really flying by, and I am really feeling nostalgic about leaving Africa. I was privileged to get to do one last split with Elder Fenn (who I trained in Cocotomey) in my former sector in Porto Novo. We set the whole day up to see former amis, members and converts. It was really special. I will miss that place and those people!

I got to see DD and Parfaite. I taught them the entire 10 months I was in PN, without getting to see them make much progress because of the dowry/marriage issue here. It was great to see them again. They are very, very close to taking care of all the necessary paperwork and paying all the fines so that they can be married. Hopefully, that means they will be able to be baptized soon as well. Their children, Françoise, Isabelle, and Donald (all of whom I baptized while I was with Elder Barnes) are doing very well. They are probably some of the most active members in PN. They typically arrive very early to church each Sunday, even before the branch president does!

I also was able to see Isaac and Josée. Isaac is making preparations to get married to his girlfriend next year. And Josée, after he was baptized had moved back to the village and didn't have any place to attend church. But he is back in PN and fully active. He is now the Young Men's president. 

I wasn’t able to see Rogenio or Gladys because both are away from PN that day. I have been assured that both are doing fine.

I also was able to see some former amis (Marie-Josée, Jo, Sabine, Raoul, Rachelle) who decided to stop investigating the church. I invited them to come to church and I put them in contact with Elder Fenn. Who knows, maybe they will accept my invitation and come back. They were surprised to see me again, and to know that I remembered them. I was happy they remembered me as well. I hope they know that I sincerely love them and was happy to see them again after 10 months. I really hope they will all be taken care of after I leave. I am sure they will, and in any case, I will do my best to keep in contact with them. 

Today, back in my current sector, we baptized Fr. Mensah. It was a very nice service. We held it right after church, so everyone stayed and helped. And remarkably, everyone was pretty calm and reverent (not always one of our strengths here in Africa!). Fr. Mensah got up and bore his testimony afterwards and said he was very thankful to be a child of God. 

Not sure how I will be able to say goodbye to all these wonderful people. It's going to be tough. 

All in all, it’s been a good week. I am doing my best not to count down the days, but I am looking forward to seeing you guys very soon. 

Love you all,

Elder Walls

Photos from Fr. Mensah's baptism.