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, June 29, 2015

= ) =(

Here in Togo, or perhaps in general, it is very bad luck to pass between two persons while walking. I found out when an old woman carrying a basket of baguettes on her head was approaching Elder Sagers and I. Elder Sagers went left and I went right. In what seemed like a minute as I passed this woman, I saw her frown and then begin stammering something in her language which may be rendered as: no ... oh  no no, no, nonono, NOOOO! Then she started mumbling things and that's when my companion told me that making people walk between us takes their luck away, hahaha. 

Another day, two men were approaching us on the road. The four of us walked right up to each other to the point where somebody was going to kind of really have to decide to go left or right. The guy on the left tried to go right while the guy on the right tried to go left and well... they ran into each other before the guy on the left grabbed the guy on the right's shirt and dragged him over to safety so that nobody would be walked between and lose their precious luck in a tragic disaster of events. Usually the things people don't worry about here are the things they should be worried about and vice-versa.

It's nice to work in an actual ward now. Bishop Tossa is very friendly and hardworking. We'll tell him we need information about a certain situation and he'll call people on the spot. Much gets done when people get things done. A simple idea but sometimes much neglected. We are expecting several baptisms to take  place on the fourth of July. What a day.

My companion has been sending me around to do splits at nearly every apartment in the zone now. That's been pretty fun. I've gotten to know the other missionaries in the zone and see how they live and work.

Well, that's about all of the exciting things to report for now.
Have a great week!
- Elder Archer

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Forgot the big fire in Togo

The big fire mentioned in the last blog.

 The big fire in Togo, Elder Magre in the picture. Good thing they learn these things at camp and......
                                            Random baby goats

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 16th, 2015.

Well today was my birthday. I woke up with a pretty terrible sore throat, which wasn't fun, so I skipped breakfast on the way to our zone conference. The zone conference was a little crazy because somebody decided to invite their ward mission leader over to tell us "how we should be handling things in the zone". Well, truth be told, he shouldn't have been there in the first place and was causing quite a disturbance. The Togo assistant Elder Dih happened to be at our zone conference and told the guy, in front of everyone, to leave, in an appropriate yet satisfyingly not-so-subtle-like manner. 

I was very pleased that Elder Dih also brought me a package from my family! Elder Dih's companion is Elder Bretherton who is technicaly an "office Elder" since the Togo missionary couple finished their mission and there is no mission office in Togo, Elder Dih and Elder Bretherton kind of have to take care of Togo for us. They do a good job.

We finished off the day with some banana pudding and some hamburgers which I managed to eat. It was an overall good day.

Later on (Sunday the 21st), the Gbandis family invited us four Americans over to their house for dinner to celebrate my birthday. How nice! We had curry rice, some vegetable sauce, and chicken. Sister Gbandis actually makes very good tamarind juice that my companion and I like to buy often. She made us some for the occasion as well as "bissap" or jamaica as it's elsewhere called. They actually hand-make these two drinks in Mexico too.

I also had the opportunity this week to go on splits with the other missionaries in our district. I went with Elder Magré on Wednesday and Elder Atherton on Thursday. It's a good experience to teach with other missionaries and see how they do things. Elder Atherton and I taught the only non-member son in a family the word of wisdom lesson at his house. 

The funny thing is that his mother sells alcohol for a living. There is a very powerful drink called sodabi that people drink here that's made from palm sap. It's cheap and apparently you can get smashed for like 20 cents worth. There will be a long bench full of zombie looking people and each have a small wooden bowl of sodabi resting in front of them. Anyways, this is the kind of business that this member runs.

So we're sitting there, right, pretty much in their family bar with his family and we get to the part where we talk about the harmful substances. Elder Atherton said (in French of course):" there are certain things that are harmful or addictive for us that we shouldn't take into the body, things such as ......... alcohol". We all burst out laughing haha. It seemed like one of those elephant in the room moments, everyone was just waiting for the mention of alcohol. I'm pretty sure mama had even served up some gin in the middle of the lesson. It was funny.

Other things.... we had an exterminator come and spray down our whole apartment. We had a cockroach problem. They were small ones but they seemed to be everywhere. We had to pack up all of our things and move them outside.

Just today, Monday, we decided to burn a rotten old armchair that has been outside for a while along with anything else we wanted to get rid of :) the fire almost lit up our tree, but luckily we had a water hose to control it.
     I wish you a happy week!                    -Elder Archer

                                             Making Uncle Harvey's banana pudding
                                            Banana pudding with cupcake and candle
                                             Birthday candle
                                      Birthday dinner "Mangez-vous at the Gbandis house
Elder Magre, Elder Atherton, Myself, Elder Sagers and Frere Gbandis 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Stake conference in Togo

 Togo so far is nicer than Benin. We were at a government building called: palais des congres that the church rented for the conference. The missionaries stood on the stairs and shook everyone's hands coming in. There were buses that brought all the members in all of Togo. Many many people. It was very nice there.

                                        Ben 3rd. companion Elder Sagers
                 Turning 19 tomorrow, Happy Birthday Elder Archer  :')

Monday, June 1, 2015

From Benin to Togo

Well, I had my first transfer! I now work in the area of Tokoin in the country of Togo. Something crazy must have happened because I now live in the first all-American missionary apartment that the mission has ever seen! It's pretty cool. (Hey, yes, we still work hard). I work with Elder Sagers from Kaysville. He will actually be returning home soon in August. The other companionship is Elder Magré and Elder Atherton.
I feel like I started the mission over again. New country, new area, new missionaries, and new families. I can easily communicate now I suppose, but I have no idea where I am or where things are. It will come with a little time. We've had some very powerful visits so far. Those were times when the Spirit was strong, everything was calm, and it felt as though I could remember how to say anything in French. We have an investigator sister Mawate who seemed very touched and in deep reflection as we taught. We had taught her about faith and repentance at a member's home. It's only the start but she seem's to be progressing well! 
Tokoin was actually the first branch in Togo. It's a ward now in the Lomé Togo Stake. Elder Sagers had been working on reactivating members since he's been here and has done around twelve. We had two inactive members come to church since I've been here that hadn't been to church for like seven years. They just need to know that we still care for them and need them at church. 
Well it's the beginning of the month and we did a bit of shopping today. I said bonjour to a white person right by an ATM and he asked: "parlez-vous Anglais?" haha. Yes! I speak English! He told us that the ATM doesn't work. Convenient ATM right next to the supermarket doesn't work, how unconvenient is that? Then we had calzones at a pizza place called San Marcos afterwards. 
Well, I'll let you know about the exciting things that come! We will be having stake conference next week.
Have a good day!
- Elder Archer