Snapshots of Life in Africa

Elder Walls and his MTC companion, Elder Jorgansen,
Ghana Missionary Training Center

MTC District 

The craziest kids I know!

Ghana Temple

Elder Walls at the Ghana Temple

Elder Walls after decorating the Christmas Tree

Walls and his favorite Ghanaian 

The Family Delphine

SR Rose et Moi, her mother was one of my first baptisms

Elder Seka getting excited for Christmas!

Mission service project at an orphanage

Elder Walls showing off his muddy pants which he had to wear for 2 days

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Quidah Beach

Quidah Beach

Gila Monster

Quidah Beach

Notice the markings on her face--they make these markings to look more like the snakes


Students at a Culinary School

Ben and Jerry's in Africa!!

Attempting to compete with the children at soccer

Barnes and Walls

You commonly see trash on the sides of the roads

Can you spot the water tower on the horizon?
That is where the Branch building is located. We make that walk several times a week (about an hour).

My sector

Riding in style to a baptism

No bake cookies are a success!

Where's Eric?

Porto Novo Cityscape

School Children

Porto Novo Branch building

African wildlife

Baptism of Solange

Katchi, the Porto Novo equivalent to Times Square

Shepherds watching their flocks

Black patte

The sauce that goes with patte

Open wide!

Cooking on the 4th of July

Finished product

Teaching Sunday School in Porto Novo

Another District activity at the Temple of Pythons

Painting at the Temple of Pythons

Painting at the Temple of Pythons

One of the huts at the Temple of Pythons
White flag represents Voodoo

Walls, Legbanon, Marurai, and Ribera at Temple of Pythons

Door to the Temple of Pythons

Entrance to the Temple of Pythons

Ouidah Beach

Ouidah Beach

Humorous skit at English competition

Jose at English competition

African scripture case I had made for me

Super cute family

District wearing boombas
Loving the scenery!
Just posing, not actually riding a moto!
Out in the boonies
African goat cheese--very different from cheese you find in the States
Women sell it out of buckets of water they carry on top of their heads!

Jose's Baptism
Great view of this beautiful country

Pictures from our P-day field trip to the zoo

Ribera and Walls

Elder Walls goofing off on the swings

Can you tell that tennis is not as popular as soccer?
Jose's Baptism
Making grilled pizza to celebrate my one year mark

Part of the anniversary celebration: Burning a worn out shirt--a rite of passage for missionaries 

Lunch Ribera and I while out on splits
Boudakasa with sauce Boma
Before the Porto Novo building got their own baptismal font, we used to travel to this hotel and use their swimming pool
Ronald's baptism

Isaac's baptism

Cute kids

Amazing African Sky 
Way to move furniture in style!

Elders Ribera and Walls keeping cool

My olds sandals that wore out--they didn't even last a year!
Our old apartment in Aimlonfide, we keep our new one here much cleaner!
Young Mens, with Maserick, Fabien and Gael
Elders Ribera and Legbanon
Elder Marurai
From MTC days--Elders Bailey and Jackson
Us with the senior missionary couples, love them!
Poor lost goat
Yovos! You don't see too many here.
The white people you do see are almost always French and/or Jehovah's Witnesses. 
Memorial to the first missionaries to arrive in Benin
Sacrificial ball, I believe is opened every 7 years to put stuff inside.
The stuff on top is red flour with oil--the food of the gods. 
More photos from our trip to the zoo and to the Temple of Pythons

Rogenio's Baptism
Rogenio looking classy in his new church attire
Rogenio with his friends Grace and Gracia
Rogenio's Baptism
Gave our study a makeover, my desk is on the right

The senior couple try amiwo for the first time--they said they liked it!

The senior couple and President M and his wife join us for lunch. We made them amiwo. 
Sweeping A's yard

Boombas in honor of Elder L's departure

Realigning our zen as we prep for a baptism--namastay!

One of my converts and I

L's baptism. He is from the Congo and a great guy!

Our district

My comp and I

A sunglasses salesman on the road

The road to Sangai
It is going to be so hard to leave Porto Novo! It is amazing how much the Branch building has changed. When I first came to this area, we missionaries lived upstairs (Elder B and I slept on the floor no less!). Now that we have moved out, there is a huge Chapel on the second floor. The building now has its own baptismal font. Ceiling fans, purple paint, walls busted up, we even have a sign on the front--lots of changes. The church will continue to grow here--I am so glad to have been a part of it!

The Porto Novo Elder's Quorum--a few members are not pictured

President and Sister Z. It is amazing how the Lord calls inexperienced people to do His work. These two wonderful people have had to learn all the rules and traditions of the church. They have worked hard and tried their best while learning to lead the Branch.

One of my favorite members, A. He would often help teach Sunday School, and is going to take my place as SS president. He speaks both French and English. He recently received the Melchizedek priesthood, and is considering serving a mission.Hard to believe he was baptized only a little over a year ago.

These two are not a couple, we just took a photo together. I love them both. P (the man) is our Branch clerk. He works in the Benin Historical Archives--I visited him once at work and his job looks so cool! ML (the woman) lives so far away from the church building but always makes it on time to church. Quite often she brings food for the missionaries. She asked that if I ever meet the prophet, that I show him her photo--I'll do my best!

E is a former voodoo practioner, and now is one of the first to show up for church every Sunday. He is a great guy and wants to be baptized.

B is always fun to be around--love him!
Another great member here is A. To look at him you would think he is in his 20's, but he is in his mid 30's. He always has a very serious face while listening to talks or lessons--you can tell he really pays attention to what is being said.

Our Stunning Primary

 First course: Salad!!
 Second Course: Patte with sauce crehn crehn--this was delicious!
Third Course: Chicken and rice--I was pretty stuffed by this point!

Cococodji Branch Building
Palace de Congress--the most beautiful building in Benin
 F and C on their baptism day
 Another photo of F and C
 M's Baptism Day
 Back when we did autonomy training--training to help the people in the area to be more self-reliant.

Classes were given on how to find a job, start a business, continue schooling and so forth.

We were there to talk with the nonmembers. L-R Walls, Elder M., Elder S., Elder B. 

 Want to buy some fish? Not quite the same display you'd see at Wegmans!
I usually buy frozen fish, not this smoked stuff which has been sitting out all day.

 Peace out from Benin
Like many youth here, this girl walks around with foodstuffs on her head all day. 
Her mother sends her out while she keeps shop. The girl is taking a breather. 

Farewell to Elder A!
It's a shame we have to split up so fast--he's one of my favorite comps
Pres Comi and Elder A conducting music together 
The Elders in Cocotomey
Sr De F
Elder Walls in front of the Cocotomey church building
M-- and J--s' baptism
Another shot of M and J on their baptism day
Elder R's last day in the mission
Good Eats!
We don't normally have time to prepare this nice of a meal
Our study desk is a disaster! We did clean up today.
My side is the one that doesn't have the photo of Carrie Underwood!
Can you see the orange speck at the top of the tree?
A guy climbed this really tall coconut tree that is in front of our house. 

Elder Walls and his comp, Elder M.
Elder M and Elder Walls peeling yams for ingyam pile 
ingram pile. Boiled yams that are then beaten into a doughy ball and served with a sauce
My Thanksgiving dinner plate
Our Thanksgiving spread
Don't worry, we didn't eat this! The couple missionaries were coming over to do a cleaning inspection. I remembered one Christmas where mom put oranges and cinnamon sticks in a pot of boiling water and made the house smell nice. So, I thought I would try it. It worked, the whole apartment smelled great, but then all the water evaporated and I was left with this burned cruddy pot to clean.
Sister C and her children

Elder Vinson of the Quorum of the Seventy visits the mission 
E--'s baptism
Elder M taking a photo of the Palais de Congres, where the District Conference was held
Buses were provided to transport members from across Cotonou 
Buses and members begin arriving 
Sky view of the hustle and bustle 
L and M from my first area, Cococodji
I-- from Porto Novo, looking sharp!
Cococodji Branch Members
Kolo Moto taxi, not against mission rules!

Found this mural in my sector. I have a lot of respect for the local artists
Love the goats here in Africa. Thinking these photos would make great inspirational posters!

Thanks, Mom, for the cake mixes and frosting. 
Makeshift flag pole.
A new area we discovered in our sector, Agbocodji.

Elder Walls and his companion, Elder F. washing bottles for an orphanage

"I figured I should get a picture with a chicken--Why not? I see a thousand of them everyday!"
Revenon dancer on the voodoo national holiday. They are able to keep their costume spinning around their neck as they dance around. 
This group of revenon dancers caused quite the scene right in front of our house

Close up of a revenon dancer. If you look closely, you can see his hand outstretched, asking for money from us. Not sure what a spirit would do with money, but who knows.
We walked really far out into our sector and saw this amazing landscape
Cows on the beach. You never cease to see new things in Africa!

Tacos we made from the tacos fixins you sent in the Christmas package
Elder Walls, N--and R-- on their baptismal day, Elder F

Can you see how low the water level is?
Finally, the mouse's long reign has come to an end
Elder Walls (2nd from left) with his former MTC comp, Elder J (white shirt and tie),and his current comp, Elder F (far right). Photo courtesy of Amber Jorgensen. 
The wedding of J-- and C--, J-- signs the papers
J-- and C-- sign the papers 
J-- and C-- exchange rings
Guests at the wedding
J-- and C-- with their marriage certificate
J-- and C-- with B-- and R--, another couple recently married
Baptismal service for C and J
Reception after the baptism 
Food served at the reception
Elder N and Elder B were able to come for the baptismal service
We had a lot of missionaries attend the baptism, including: Elders Bailey (from MTC) and Elder Nsengiyumva, Teihotu, Arek, Archer, Adjo,Miller, Teaupa, Pellevoizin, Mutumbo, and, of course, Mayamba and Walls

J, looking fresh after his baptism (like the world right after rain), 
and photobombed by R, one of the Young Men in the Branch
C after the service, it was touching to see how much this meant to her 
One of our amis, P 
The secret to getting our shirts so white!
Close up on our little laundry helper
Birthday party for C's daughter, M, who turned 1
Elder A and A work in the bureau and have some flexibility in their schedule, so they came to the party
Come, similar to patte, but spicier. When I was training, Elder Adeji made me eat this everyday. 
Mama C loves to feed the missionaries--and we love to eat!
Mama with her little piggies hanging out in the trash, a pretty common sight here
Zone meeting we held a few weeks ago.
From L-R back: Marie, Walls, Neubert, Bailey, Moss, Kincaid
> front: Gozo, Kiala, Mayamba, Yoboue, Kabuyah, Barou, Ranriamalala, Nsengiyumva

Elder and Sister Stanfill visit the Benin missionaries
The First Benin, Cotonou Stake Conference 
Elder and Sister Stanfill visit with the missionaries in Togo
Elder Walls with his former MTC comp, Elder J--, in Togo
Road trip to Togo, a 3 1/2 hour drive
More photos from our trip to Togo
Most of the trip to Togo was rural scenery
I was pretty excited to see a Shell gas station in Togo!
Cargo ships at the Port of Togo
Port of Togo
Elder Walls in front of the Togo Stake Center, hard to see because it is night
The mural on this voodoo hut is a representation of Mami Wata, the Mermaid Voodoo Goddess. I don't completely understand all of the legend/myth around her, but I do know that many people think she is responsible for many of the misfortunes that occur to people on the sea. A lot of people (including many church members) believe in her, and are afraid of her. 

Another Voodoo Hut at Ouidah
Fishermen off the shore of Ouidah

African Canoe
Revenon ("Awoken voodoo spirit") Statue at Ouidah
GTV (Goat transport vehicle!)
Baptism of AF
Mangez-vous (dinner appointment) with Sr. D, Fr. E, L, E and D 

Patte with Spicy Peanut Sauce
This little cutie is the son of one of our amis
Elder Walls holding a baby goat
Baptism for P-- and B--
P-- with his twin brother, P--, and friend, B--
Baptism for P-- and B--
Baptism for P-- and B--
B-- with her sister
Baptismal service for M--
Baptismal service for M--
Post baptism mangez-vous
Post baptism mangez-vous
Post baptism mangez-vous
Watching General Conference 
Sustaining Church Leaders
Caught Elder K-- catching some zzz's during Conference! 
Baptism of Ge-- and No--
Isaiah 52:7
Painful electrocoagulation to remove warts
Catching up with Is-- and Jo-- from Porto Novo
Baptism of Fr. Me--
Baptism of Fr. Me--
Baptism of Fr. Me--
Baptism of Fr. Me--
Little shed where I taught my first lesson
You don't see too many monkeys in areas where people live--this guy was pretty calm and friendly

Two of our Nigerian amis
Yellow Eba, a Nigerian classic dish 

Final Photos with Converts and Members 

1 comment:

  1. hi elder my name is roger kanda im writing from congo and just to let you know that iv been called to serve in benin cotonou mission on september 17 im so happy to come and serve with all of you ........this is my blog too