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, April 13, 2015

Almost 7 months.

Dear Friends and Family,
It has been a while since I had last written. Yes, I am still alive.
It seems as though time is accelerating and the days are flying by. I
can't believe it will soon be seven months since I left home.

Transfer calls were yesterday and I am still in my first zone and area
with Elder Teihotu our zone leader. He is not yet familiar with the
area so I'll be staying a little longer in Cocotomey to show him
around. It's funny to think that I know a neighborhood in a small
foreign country better than I do my own neighborhood at home.

Our branch president is currently hospitalized and will be for a few
months. He has an illness that requires him to undergo dialysis
treatments and carry an implanted device in his arm. Apparently the
device has become "irrecoverable" and he must stay at the hospital to
continue treatment until a new device can be placed. The absence of
the president seems to have incited the first counselor to suspicious
conduct, which is rather mysterious. To be continued...

This last week was easter and school was out for everyone. We were
able to teach with the young men from our branch. We were able to
teach many lessons as many of our investigators are women and require
the presence of another male to be taught. We also had an interesting
lesson with the jehovah's witnesses. (Yes, they're here too, I know)
Teaching is going well and we have some wonderful progressing
investigators. One example is the family of Joseph, his "wife" Cecile,
their daughter Eleine, their twins boys Isaac and Israel and their new
baby girl Matilda (held by my companion in the picture). I put wife in
quotations because they aren't actually married, yet. We are working
on getting their papers so they can marry and be baptised. They are
great people.

Just last week I had the opportunity to share the message of the
Restoration of the Gospel with a man in a taxi. This occurence
happened to take place in the front seat, occupied by both the man in
question and myself. As the principle of awkwardness doesn't exsist in
this land, the encounter was not strange or unusual.

I also had the interesting occasion of meeting an "apostle" at
Dantokpa, the huge downtown general market. There we were, my
companion, myself and two other missionary companionships. We were
walking down the crowded market road when a man approaches my side and
asks me if I speak English. I said yes in English and then became
hesitant when he asked for my name and nationality. Eventually I told
him I was American and showed him my nametag when he asked for my
name. He said: "you don't point to yourself like that when I ask you
your name, you tell me with words". I thought... okay sir, who are
you? He presented himself as an international apostle who spoke
French, English, Greek and Hebrew. He was tall, decently dressed and
was holding a red leatherbound publication with shiny pages, which I
assumed to be the new testament as the book was thinner than
reasonably possible to have also contained the old testament, which
doesn't, to my knowledge, mention the apostles just yet.

Anyways, he asked us if we knew what an apostle was. We answered that
they are special authorized witnesses of Jesus Christ and that Christ
appointed twelve during his earthly ministry. He indicated to the name
of the church on my nametag and said: "Is this what they teach you
here? This is wrong. This is not what the bible says".

At this point I determined that I had entered into one of those
discussions that can't be sensibly continued because the particular
person encountered out of the seven billion on earth has a pretzel
twisted idea of something so simple and general as the twelve and has
decided to impose their said non-understandableness upon me in the
marketplace, so, I began ignoring the guy.

He then decided to start speaking to the Nigerian companion of another
missionary about how the gospel can't be preached without the Holy
Ghost. He said it is necessary to have "THE POWER" which he had, I
guess. He kept talking about the Holy Ghost and how we needed to
listen to him even though we were standing in one of the busiest,
noisiest places in the whole country.

Finally, he said something like: "well, I see you are not yet ready".
Then, before walking away, he did a super creepy evil laugh that made
everyone turn. And that was how we met an "apostle", possibly sent of
the devil, at the market.
           " Written in the den of thieves "
Farewell everyone, til next time!

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