Elder Benjamin Archer

Elder Benjamin Xavier Archer
Benin Cotonou Mission
Quartier Cadjehoun #1158
Block F
01 BP 3323 Cotonou
Email: benjamin.archer@myldsmail.net

Monday, December 22, 2014

"Feliz Navidad"!," Ni hao!", and "Merry Christmas!!"

   Dear friends and family, It has been a while since I've written an entry. A lot has happened since last time. I will try to go somewhat in chronological order, beginning with the weeks that I didn't write.
   First of all, there was a baptism. There is a young man around age 20 named Felix who has close friends in the church. We began teaching him and invited him to come to church, He began coming regularly and has much support from his friends and the branch members. He accepted to be baptized and we made sure he was ready  for that to happen . He is a good friend of ours and plans of serving a mission. Ha, ha, he actually just walked into the cyber cafe and shook my hand as I was writing the next paragraph.

   A few weeks ago we were invited to a party at a missionary apartment in a different area. There were three Tahitians there and my companion and I discovered that they sometimes roast pigs on the second floor of their apartment complex. Why not? The missionary handbook  is silent on the matter.

   Two weeks ago we went to another area to work with other missionaries, during the morning, after that we went back to the apartment of the other missionaries to eat, but Elder Amoah, my companion, decided to rest instead. I ate  but he didn't.  When he woke up, we decided to go to a small restaurant, that it was in the area, My companion ordered something to eat but I just had a coke(my mom called it medicine). In the tables outside there were people drinking and there were empty bottles on all the tables. After a little while, an African guy came out of the bathroom, he passed by our table and said "buen provecho" which means "bon appetit", but he said it in spanish, then he continue to his table. At the moment I didn't understand what just had said so I went and ask what he said. So he told us, I said "bon appetite" in spanish, so I asked him in spanish: "Donde aprendistes el español?"(where did you learn spanish?) and he replied in spanish "yo he visitado a muchos paises y he estudiado un poco"(I had visited many countries and I had studied a little). I felt very happy because he mentioned the name of Joseph Smith. He asked: are you from the order of Joseph Smith, right? we explained to him that we serve the Lord and he said:" si, si, si, yo se" (yes, yes, yes, I know) the man was a little bit drunk and that's why he wasn't paying attention, very well. He offers to pay for our drinks, since he has a tab in the restaurant. I said,  thank you! so he went back to his table where he kept smoking and drinking. I was asking to myself, how come he had been in many countries? what does he do for work? shortly after he came back to our table and spoke english and said: I am a pilot, that's why I know many languages. Then what he said next makes me really happy, the man said I feel happy when I see missionaries from another countries like America that "they have everything" and come to Africa because  they want to share the gospel with my people. We asked for his contact number to teach him but he only gave us his name, because he was proud that you can find his phone number in "google" with his name.  Haha.  Then he went back to his table. Elder Amoah and I, finished and we asked for the check. But the woman said that the man in the other table had paid our check. How nice!!! we went to his table and other people were with him and a lot of empty bottles, so I told him: "muchas gracias señor"(thank you so much, sir), so he stood up and gave us a handshake and said: "de nada"(you're welcome). That was a good day.

   One funny thing. There are some chinese people that live here in Benin, mostly because of the commerce. So when Elder Amoah and I pass  a particular road, there is a little African girl who always sees me  and says: "ni hao!". Hahaha, she thinks I'm chinese. Very cute.

   Another funny thing happened during "ward council" at the branch building. We were at the church with the branch president and first counselor. One of the old missionaries had left a bottle of sunscreen on the shelf and the first counselor brought it to me and asked what it was. Hehe. I thought it was kind of funny. (African people don't get sunburned, so they don't use sunscreen.)

   Oh yes, there was a mouse in our apartment. It ran out of the kitchen and into another room. We couldn't find it for a long time but the Elders in that room always  heard scratching sounds. We eventually found the mouse behind the wardrobes and it had 7 babies(perfect for Bella, hehe).

   This week we had more baptisms and it was a joyful time. One was again a good friend of a different member (Here I have really seen the impact that members can have and their importance in missionary work) and the other was a young man who we had been receiving lesson for several months. As we were filling in our accomplished goals in our daily planner, I expressed excitement (yes I do) when we filled in the two accomplished baptisms. My companion Elder Amoah said: "Yeah, this is our gift for Jesus". This comment touched me deeply. May we  all keep in mind the significance of Christmas and the ever important role that Christ has in our lives as our Savior and Redeemer from physical and spiritual death. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

                       - Love, Elder Archer -
                                                             - Felix baptism-
                                                                - The roasting pig -
                                                                   -Baby mice-

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