The first 16 months of the mission, it's been ridiculous. In the best way though. I feel like I’ve served several missions already. I mean when I started in the Congo I was a totally different missionary. (not to mention that was sooooo long ago, kinda feels like a dream). Just totally inexperienced and really naïve. Later, I had that spin out in Yaounde. That was definitely a rough time. And now, here I am one of the most experienced missionaries and just see the fun in teaching and finding people. I guess my overall thoughts have been, I've loved it! There is this really awesome quote from the District videos, where one missionary is asked what he thinks about missions and he says, "If someone doesn’t go just because, then they are making the biggest mistake of their life." I totally agree. If any young man in our ward asks me about missions I will 100% encourage him to go.
And here is why.....
The week started well. We had a good week of teaching which always makes it nice. But other than that we had some fun as well. While waiting for rendezvous we draw attention from the local quartier kids. So on Tuesday, about 8 boys and girls were gathered around us asking us questions. Well, I took the opportunity to play games with them. We started with a game of hop-scotch, Congo style because some little girls taught me how to play a long long time ago. They absolutely loved it. Next we played the classic, Congo leg kick game. Again, I learned from little girls in Congo a long long time ago. And I finished with an American game, Down by the bank. All Africans everywhere love that one. They got so into it! Even the adults. So by the end of those 20 minutes the entire neighborhood was watching us and laughing. Hey positive publicity, and I had a blast!
Later that same night we got stopped by a group a kids who wanted to see magic tricks. See, sometimes we pass by the same neighborhoods day after day after day, so these kids knew us and I had tricked them with some lame magic tricks before. So Tuesday they found us at like 8pm and kept asking me to "detach my finger" haha. We had a blast, and again the neighborhood laughed along with us as we played with these kids. The best part of all is that people get to see that these white boys are normal, and actually really nice!
The fun didn’t stop with the kids this week though. We teach a lady at her boutique in the marche. Like in the middle of the market surrounded by hundreds of people. Seraphine (our amie) is amazing and we love her, but the location draws so much attention to our lessons. So Wed., West taught a lesson while I spent over 2 hours passing out brochures. I would try to teach with him, but every 10 seconds someone came and asked who we were, so instead of stopping the lesson we just split up the tasks. He taught and I answered questions. Things like, "No, we are not the church that goes bare footed. LOOK AT MY SHOES!" or "No, we can’t marry your daughter, we are missionaries, for this church here..." and the occasional "We believe in a prophet, here is a brochure to explain why." Overall, a super fun experience! I also love being in the market to teach because people are sarcastic, so we get to joke around with people. Again, good publicity, now when we go to the market everyone smiles and knows who we are. They even defend us when people say false things. So sweet!
While teaching lessons you learn a lot as well. There are many times that someone almost stumps you on a questions, but as you try to stall and make it seem like you know what to say, a logical answers comes to mind. Or a scripture, or in my case a neat little diagram. Recently I've started using diagrams to teach. I walk around all day with a plain white sheet of paper and bust it out when someone isn’t getting a tough concept. It works so well, and I don’t know why I haven’t done this before. Some things I've learned so far, this week, God always respects his priesthood holders and passes his power through them and no other source. As well, Even though Adam and Eve had no earthly parents, they are not in the same class as Jesus. Adam and Eve were created, not born like Jesus.
That last one I came up with while arguing with a muslim. Basically it was end of the day and all was well, when we get asked the typical "Who are you?" questions. So we jump into the routine of explaining and giving him a brochure. But the beard gives away that this man is a muslim, and his tone of voice gives away he is looking for a fight. Doctrinal fight, that is. So we begin discussing Jesus, at this point I am being polite and simply trying to explain our beliefs. Just what we believe, not even why. To which I get told we teach lies and will be condemned. As I've said, when someone started telling me that I serve the devil or will be condemned for my beliefs the gloves come off. Also the constant poking me on the shoulder got me pretty fired up as well. So we go through this 20 minute heated discussion, where I think of that thing about Adam and Eve, and it ends with Elder West forcing me to leave. haha. Fun sparing match, and it helped me learn something new. He did accept the brochure and said he would call us, so who knows.
Church was also special for one reason. Not one single phone went off during the sacrament, nor did a child scream or run around freely. Completely, 100% calm and reverent during the most important thing we do on Sunday! Might not sound crazy, but it is so worthy of note.
Lastly, we got transfer letters today. I’m staying in the same apartment, but.....
I’m working with ANOTHER African!!! Elder Okon, from Nigeria. He is pretty cool. Elder West will stay in our apartment but with another companion. Even more sad, is I’m losing my best bud on my mission, Elder Bacera. He is going to Yaounde. So shifting gears and moving on. But this district has been the best district ever! I’m planning on staying in touch with these kids for a long long time.
That is the long update on this week! All the fun things that have happened to me on this crazy wonderful adventure.
You guys make up the best family ever, and best part is no transfers to split us up :) I love all you guys and can’t wait to be with you guys for a rockin 2015 summer vacation!