Monday, December 28, 2009

.....December 21-December 28.....

hello again everyone!!

let me just start by saying that as uneventful as my christmas was, talking to you all could not have been more amazing. it definitely gave me the strength i needed to finish this last week of 2009. you all sounded great.

so not much has happened since i last talked to you all, so this email will be fairly short.

we have another district meeting on tuesday, which is ok i guess... however on thursday, the entire misssion except togo and benin are going to grand Bassam, which is the prettiest beach area in the Ivory Coast, for an activity for new year's. it should be fun i guess, i am just excited to see an actual beach, even though we're not allowed to swim. i will be sure to take plenty of pictures to show you. each zone was asked to prepare a presentation for president and mama ayekoué, so our zone is doing a dance. to african music of course, however me and elder cloward are most likely going to steal the show with american stuff, you know, show em how its really done...

thursday, we have leadership training at the mission bureau, where president will probably just "chatier" us (chastize) for our week numbers at the end of the year. so thats how i am spending my new years eve. new years day, i get to go out and teach all day!! but you know, when do i not?

you know whats interesting... in four months, about, i will be calling again for mother's day. when i call, i will have less than a year left.... that's nuts!!!

i received some bad news... Elder Tchare and Elder Cloward are moving back to Cocody soon, so it will be just me and Kouakou in the appartment. that will weird but oh well. its been nice having an english-speaker, but i knew it wouldnt last too long.

a couple we have been teaching is finally getting married, after four long months of waiting to be baptized. that will happen in the first couple weeks of 2010.

i think that the next time i get transferred, i will be going to togo or benin. just saying. fingers crossed, yeh?

well family, that'sall for this week. just know that i love ya and miss you like crazy, all of you. talking to yo all was incredible, and it won't be too long before you hear my voice again. happy new year!!!

your son,

elder call

Monday, December 21, 2009

.....December 14 - December 21.....

hello friends and family,

i hope everyone is getting jazzed for christmas on friday. i am certainly excited, as i will be able to talk to you guys!!! so before i get into the juiciness of this past week, i will describe the procedure for fridays calling.....

you will be calling my apartment and i have been given about an hour to talk to everyone. the time difference is five hours, but just to be safe, i am going to call you all briefly to tell you to call me back. just be ready by the phone at 4pm on Friday. that would make it about 9 pm my time. if the time change is only four hours, then hours then it will be closer to 5pm. so just be ready at 4 pm for my "signal."

i am totally syked to talk to everyone and hopefully sara too.

ok so this past week was interesting. we had a last minute mission conference on thursday, which went very well. we sang for the three missionaries that lost their family members; it was the first time that i have ever seen president cry. the spirit was way strong. he said it's been a tought year for him. the rest of the conference went well, as i was excited to see my "whiteys" again (elder legere,elder olson, elder skousen, elder bowman).

here's an interesting story for ya. on the way home, a police officer pulled us over and asked us for our identification. we all had ours, only elder clowards was expired by two months. the guy was willing to let us go, but only if we gave him some money. yeh i was disgusted as we drove away. i had a pathetic feeling for that man. so thanks for the heads up mom and dad, however, we learned that advice the hard way.

another interesting story: after the district meeting on tuesday, we took a taxi back to the ward building for riviera. as we got out of the taxi,another car came speeding by, almost hitting elder tchare; as i stepped back one small step, i realized that there was no ground behind me, and i fell down into a sewer about five feet down. on the way down, i scraped my shins quite nicely, and my pants and shoes were covered in what could only be caca ( yeh that means human waste) up to about my knees. it hurt, it smelled awful, but i wasnt really that embarassed; i was just flat out furious. so i walked the thirty minutes back to the apartment with my companion, looking and smelling like crap. what a lovely day it was. i refuse to wash the shoes or the pants so i just threw them away.

quite a week huh? oh well, ca va aller.

so my plans for friday consist of the same thing i do every friday, except in the morning we are eating at the stake presidents house. fun fun fun .

oh yeh and i opened the box that you sent mom and dad... i couldnt wait any longer; thanks for everything, it was great. just so you know i gave two small packages for the baileys to send off, one for the family and one for sara. they are dvds. hopefully they will make it home ok... it might be awhile though.

well everyone, i hope that the holidays are great for all of you. i will be missing you all terribly and thinking of you all this friday, well pretty much all week actually. i love you and cant wait to talk on friday!!!

joyeux noel et nouvelle annee!!!

votre fils et missionnaire vaillant,

elder call

Monday, December 14, 2009

.....December 7th to December 14th.....
" this is hard, this is not easy, but this is right."

hello friends, family, in-laws, loved ones, everyone!

this week was another interesting one, to say the least.


ok had to get that out. anyways, as the days are getting closer and closer to christmas, i am starting to feel farther and farther from the jolly holiday season. the only red i see is the harsh sunburn that i have. the only green is the grass and the palm trees. the only cold is the icy shower i take 3 times a day. however, thats not what christmas is about, right?

mom and dad, i got the package yesterday, but i am waiting to open til christmas, even though i already know whats inside of it. i am still excited...

this week was the first full week as district leader and as a senior companion, and things went surprisingly well. the district meeting was good. i talked about "finding people." i think it was quite effective, and i was able to mettre en pratique that which i taught, as me and companion found 16 new investigators this week. one of theses amis is named raymond. he saw us walking one day and asked us why we never stopped to teach him. i guess he had a point; us missionaries are often so preoccuied with getting to our next appointment, that we often forget there are others in our path who need the gospel too. we taught him the message of the restoration, and he was extremely interested, so we gave him a book of mormon, and invited him to the baptism on saturday, just to see what it's like. he has family members that we teach also. he's a great guy.

our apartment was partially flooded this week after a rainstorm. we leave our windows open at night because its so hot, and water just poured in. it was a pain to clean up, especially at 3 in the morning, but no harm done.

i am attaching a lot of photos to this email, or at least im going to try, most of them are older pictures from koumassi, but i figured it still might be nice to see them, considering the dvds and photos never made it there...

well just know that i love you all and i am thinking about you all this holiday season. this is hard, this is not easy, but this is right. love you and miss you!

elder call

Thursday, October 22, 2009

.....October 12-19.....

hello agin family and friends,

this week has been pretty crazy to be honest. alot of changes. first off, i'd like to inform you all that the goat which guards our appartment was killed and eaten by our guardian. we were pleasantly greeted by the head of the goat as we left the appartment friday morning. i'm just alittle miffed that he didnt invite us to eat with him. oh well, perhaps i will cross another in the next year and a half.

we watched "other side of heaven" with a family from the ward. it totally got me jacked to be a missionary. it always touches me to watch that.

in bigger news, ITS OFFICIAL. i am leaving for Riviera on wednesday with elder n'dri. we wont be companions but we will still be in the same appartment there. my new companions name is elder gnohohi, and he's pretty dang awesome. i already knew him from zone conferences. so these next few days will be dedicated to saying our goodbyes. i love our investigators, and its going to be really hard to say goodbye. i hope the missionaries replacing us can pick up right where we left off. however difficult it may be, i am glad to be going because now i can feel like im actually progressing.

so this mission is the most difficult thing i have ever done and most definitely ever will do. but whats keeping me going? i think its the fact that i am not alone. i have a loving family who supports me through all the trials, an incredible group of friends, an amazing girlfriend with an amazing family. and of course, i KNOW without a doubt that the Lord's hand is in this work. i have no doubt about it. this isnt easy, but its so worth it. i am learning and growing every day, my testimony is getting stronger and stronger, not to mention my french, but i know that this is God's work. i I KNOW that His gospel has been restored. i have seen the changes in these peoples' lives. i wish i could describe everything that i see and feel but thirty minutes on a computer is just not long enough. i guess i'll have to wait to share my journal until i get home.

just know that i love you all and i miss you all so very much. somedays are harder than others, but i am doing fine. i am focused on the work and i am trying to lose myself so that Heavenly Father can make me an instrument in His hands. i am trying to give everything i have so that when i return, you will all see the version of me that He had in mind.

thank you for all of your support. keep me in your prayers as you all are in mine. i cant wait to tell you about my first week in riviera next monday!!!

your Ivoirien missionary,

elder call

Monday, October 5, 2009

.....September 28-October 5.....

hello friends and family,

this week again hasnt been very exciting, but thats alright. i cant believe its october already, and its already the fourth week of this transfer!!! kinda nuts, time is flying. that also means that it is getting closer and closer to the day when n'dri gets transferred... that is definitely not fun to think about but i guess he has to go sometime right??

so everyone has been talking about how awesome general conference was... i wouldnt know, we didnt get it over here. but im sure it was as great as everyone said.

so my ward split on monday!! there has been so much growth in the past few months that now it is just the koumassi ward and the marcory ward meeting in the same building but at different times. kinda exciting right? also i have been getting more and more people at the english lessons, which is pretty dang fun. i know im not here to teach english, but its helping us find new people to teach, and its providing a service for the local members here.

as we draw nearer to halloween, i have been thinking of my costume. something with a shirt and tie. i might go as a missionary or something. i dont know, i havent decided yet.

(SPIDERMAN!!!! or......)

(a missionary????)

also, tell annie and youyou banza that i learned how to make alocco. they would be very proud. its pretty dang good so when i get home i will have to make it for you all.

well the work is progressing great, we have dozens of awesome people we are teaching, my companion and i continue to grow closer. its way hard being away from everyone, but i know that this is the right thing to be doing. i am learning so much, and growing so much.

dad as you asked, here are some ideas for a christmas package.

-black/brown athletic socks (nike or adidas, midcalf) because my dress socks are too thin and got sooo many holes in them


-flip flops, not the thong kind, nor velcro

-sharpie pens(not markers) in different colors for marking scripturesthats it really... of course the snacks always rock

well i love you all and miss you terribly, but know that i am doing fine and that this work is God's work, not my own.

til next week!!

your african

elder call

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

.....September 21-28.....

hello family and friends,

so not a very exciting week. we didnt do a whole lot. i do have some fantastic news however. i got my birthday package!!! it was absolutely incredible. and yes most of the food is gone already. i made easy mac for elder n'dri and he absolutely loved it.
mom thanks for the cook book but we dont have an oven. maybe i can use it at the next apartment if im lucky!! the family looks great in all the photos and thanks for the cassette. i have listened to it all at least 30 times already. and i just sent the family a letter and a dvd with some pictures in a separate envelope.

so like i said, not much happened this week. our baptism fell through, but i have gotten used to that. three of the candidates were bumped to the 10th of october, because they had some things that they had to take care of first.

so the goldden investigator i talked about last week, it turns out she has a "catch". her mom wont let her get baptized. we dont know why exactly, so were going to go talk to her. carine was devastated. however, we have another investigator where the same thing happened, and now her dad is letting her get baptized the 10th of october!!! pretty exciting. the lords hand really is in aALL things. we told carine to hang in there and continue to be faithful, God will take care of the rest.

me and elder n'dri are still enjoying each other. tomorrow we have another mission conference already. i cant believe its been 6 weeks since the last one already!! i am prety excited. dad if you talk to phil soon, tell him that yes we are in the appartment accross from the hopital still, and that frere bli says hello.

the sun is starting to really blaze, and my tan is rockin. everythings going alright here in koumassi. nothing really exciting going on. i miss you all very much but i am getting lost in this work, and the time is flying. my french is pretty good, but that hasnt been a problem since about week 3. i love this work its hard being away from those that i love, but i know that this is going to make me so much better, and this willl be a blessing to me and my family for the rest of my life.

oh yeh happy birthday next week mom!!!

well i love you all and pray for you all. cant wait til next week!!!

your african missionary

elder call

Monday, September 21, 2009

.....September 14-21.....

hello everyone,

sorry this week isn't very exciting. i literally have nothing to say. it was a quick week. we went on splits with a couple of ward missionaries to get a couple more crucial lessons in this week. were going to have three baptized this saturday which is kinda exciting. one of them is Carina. let me tell you about carina. she is the golden investigator that every missionary dreams of finding. she doesnt know much about god, but she wants to. she said she wants to go to our church forever, she wants to leave her old life behind. every lesson, she asks tons of questions and understands every concept we teach. its kinda easy. i am just hoping there isnt a catch. life happens that way sometimes, there's always a catch.

so glad to hear that kelli and the baby are doing well. tell carter that if he doesnt knock it off, when i get home i am gonna invoke some african voodoo on him. only kidding.

so yeh, sorry this week's email kinda stinks... just nothin that great to really talk about. all is well, i am learnig a ton, and my french is improving. i love the work and cant wait to see the changes start to take place in my life.

thanks for all the support and i love you all.

your missionary,

elder call

Monday, September 14, 2009

.....September 7-14.....

hello family and friends,

nothing extremely exciting or out of the ordinary this week. i do have some news that i am quite thrilled about, elder n'dri stayed for another transfer!!! oh i was so dang happy. so all is well in koumassi.

we had another baptism on saturday. i baptized both of our candidates again. i am starting to think that the africans dont really like the water too much. oh well, i am content. there names are pedome affi marie and koffi charles andre. it was another pretty awesome experience. we have another three people getting baptized the 26th of september, so the work is going strong here.

i had yet another encounter with some interesting food.... i ate pongolais. what is pongolais, you ask? oh its anteater. yeh i ate an anteater. it was weird. i really wanna try monkey next.... i will let you all know.

so i was kinda ticked off to see that i have been gaining weight. i had tried to gain for so long, and now that i am in africa of all places, i start gaining. dont you worry now, i still have my adonis-like figure, as i walk alot, work out alot, and not to much the sun enjoys sizzling away some pounds every now and then.

still no package. from anyone. there is another conference on tuesday so i will check with the assistants.

i wrote out the words to several songs from my ipod in english. elder n'dri has been singing his little heart out and it is the funniest thing i have ever seen in my life. his voice is deep in french, but when he sings in english, its a little like william hung. i love the kid and were still getting along great.

well not much else to say this week. keep me in your prayers as you are all in mine. and try not to worry about whats going on. just have faith. the big man is looking out for me.

i love you all.... until next week!!!

your missionary,

elder call

Monday, September 7, 2009

.....Another Week..... Sept. 1-7, 2009

howdy everyone,

so nothing really exciting this week... great job buckeyes and thanks for the update dad. all is well here in Koumassi. we just got our appartment sprayed with insecticide so we have to stay out for a while.

we had our stake conference yesterday in cocody, which is a gorgeous area, and the chapel there is sooo nice. elder dickson of the quorum of the 70 was there. he gave a talk on the family, which was incredible. he's the general authority with one arm.
Ndri and i worked pretty dang hard this week. between tuesday and saturday we taught 31 lessons. it felt good to see your teaching pay off in the lives of the people here.
this week is transfer. i am not looking forward to it at all, because i know elder n'dri is leaving. he has been here for about 5 and a half months. i love my companion and don't wanna say goodbye, but thats the life of the mission and i know that i will see him again.

so cote d'ivoire played burkino faso in soccer on saturday. it is absolutely nuts here when the games are going on. the shops close down, everyone turns on their televisions, all the cars honk every goal. i am surprised we were able to get 8 lessons in. i have never seen anything like it. its pretty awesome. n'dri said that with the world cup here next year, if i have an ivorien companion, he want won't wanna teach when the games are on. i believe it. soccer is life over here. if you dont play, your a wimp. i guess i chose the wrong sport then, huh?

i have been teaching english at the ward on fridays. it has been going really well and i usually get a good turn out. the members and investigators love it, and it helps me with my french too.
so we bought natural honey this week. it wasnt bad, but when i poured it out, several dead bees came out with it. thats normal... i looked at n'dri, a little confused. i wasn't sure if i was supposed to eat them. so i did. and then he busted up laughing. he told me he would never eat bees. i felt awesome (hint of sarcasm). good one companion, you got me.

looks like i have another 4 baptisms for this saturday. i am pretty syked. i hope it feels like it did last time.

thanks as usual for all of your support. mom an dad i still havent gotten the package but hopefully soon. i love you all and cant wait to catch up again next week!!!

your missionary,

elder call

Monday, August 31, 2009

what a week...August 24-31, 2009
hello friends and dear family,
this week was pretty darn awesome to say the least. not an eventful one, as we focused most of our lessons on the investigators who had committed to be baptized saturday. we did not baptize all nine that we had planned, due to some last-minute concerns we found. however, we saw four of our investigators in the baptismal font, and i was in the font with them. my first baptisms ever... i have never felt the spirit so strong in my entire life as when i helped those sisters into the waters of baptism. i ended up personally baptizing SEVEN, because i baptized three sisters from port bouet also. hands down it was the best experience thus far. now i can sort of imagine how a father feels after baptizing his child. it was incredible. dont worry, i took lots of photos that i will be sending next week. their names are : Dje Lou Dje Marie France, Kouadio Aya Rebecca, Kouadio Amenan Marina, and Gbotta Dah Nicole. it was awesome. and on my birthday to say the least!
speaking of my birthday, we bought a small cake which was pretty darn good, and for dinner we ate some kind of animal. i have no idea what it was because my companion was afraid to tell me. all i know is it had a tail. i ate it nonetheless. i also took pictures of that.
one of my investigators stole my french cantiques, so when convenient, if someone could send me one that would be fantastic. sorry to keep asking for things, i know that its expensive.
well theres not much else going on; i look forward to another week of hard work and blistering sun.
thank you all for your support and prayers, keep them coming!!!
your missionary,
elder call

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Elder Call Blog

Here is the plan...
This blog is going to be updated once a week with any recent emails or pictures we receive from Ryan (Elder Call) so that everyone can see what he is up to, how he is doing and what he is eating!!!!