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, September 21, 2015

Only chawarma and ice cream can make this better

This week was pretty good. Tuesday night we spent cleaning the apartment for the arrival of our mission president for interviews the following day. Elder Atherton poured a heck-ton of cleaner in the mop bucket and foamed up the apartment floor claiming that the bubbles would "eventually just disappear". Haha. They didn't. The interviews went well and Elder Atherton bought us all chicken that day.
Friday the 18th was my official year mark! It seems to have come very fast. 
It was a pretty normal day. Before leaving the apartment in the afternoon, I handed Elder Atherton some funds to buy some chawarmas and ice cream for dinner. My companion and I then traveled all over the place to do some baptismal interviews in other areas. By the end of the day I was feeling very tired but was looking forward to eating the food that Elder Atherton would bring home.
When Elder Agui and I arrived at the apartment, he unlocked the front gate and I walked up to the front porch and waited for him with the key. When Elder Agui came over to unlock the front door he stopped and looked surprised. My gaze had been away from the front door so I turned and was surprised to see the door wide open in the still darkness. I turned to my companion and we kind of looked at each other and then back at the door. We walked over to it and he reached in and turned on the light in the front room. We were shocked to see chairs turned over, couches scooted away from the walls, cushions, books and papers strewn about the room, our mirror face down on the floor, the whole room was a mess. Apparently the apartment had been robbed. I couldn't believe and/or accept that what I was seeing was what I thought it was, and I hurried over to our room and on the way I was again shocked too see suitcases opened, clothes thrown around every which way and many signs of disturbance in the hallway and the other rooms.

Arriving to our room what I first noticed was that the box that I keep my money in, among other things, was on the floor, opened, and my money gone of course. My companion said: "they took my camera?", he had left it on charge but now it was missing. I couldn't find my camera either. I felt shocked and kind of overwhelemed but I didn't want to stick around and search for things without first checking to see if there was anybody in the house or outside. I went over to the back door which I had previously noticed being wide open and I peered out a little. The shock from seing movement kind of threw off my vision for a few seconds until I processed that it was... Elder Seri moving around in the dark! At that point Elder Atherton ran over from his hiding spot in the back yard to join him and they both started laughing. The idea that the whole thing was a joke had been in the back of my mind but the condition of the apartment had thrown that idea out! "It's too much work to put all of this back for this to be a prank", I thought. But, it was a prank. I just smiled at first and turned away but then I turned back and kind of tackled them and laughed as well. Then I went inside to tell Elder Agui that it was a prank. 

We laughed for several minutes while the others put all of our items back where they were. Then we finished off the day with some chawarma and icecream. And that is the story of how our apartment kind of got robbed.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bonjour cher amis,

    Vow, well it's been quite a while since I had last written hasn't it? Oops. Well, I've since been working with my new companion Elder Agui for about a month now.  He is from the Ivory Coast,  a  French speaking country,  so I hope to further improve ma capacité de m'exprimer dans la langue Francaise.  Up until last Monday things seemed to be going pretty smoothly.  Let's just say that if I would have written about my companion last week you may have thought I had accidentally inserted a paragraph about Adolf Hittler into my blog, BUT, all is well now and the work advances. We all have weaknesses and some of them don't really promote a non-combat environment.  Let it be known however that these matters never evolved to the full extent of that stament.
         As to the happy side of things we had the occasion of witnessing five baptism take place last Saturday.  One was a rather large mama named Odette who lives near our apartment another the young nephew of the first counselor in the ward, two young brothers who live next to the first counselor and an albino child from the same area who comes to church every week with the other kids.  It was a little difficult to prepare them because they are easily distracted during the lessons but in the end they responded very well to the pre-baptism interview questions.  (Everyone likes to be in the picture with the candidates).
   I enjoy teaching with Elder Agui as he has an amazing ability of adapting and teaching the lessons to the comprehension level of  the investigators.  You could say he is an expert of communication,  the investigators feel at ease and understand everything the way it is intended to be received.  I have learned a lot from him so far,  especially in regards to teaching.
   Today we played volleyball at the University of Lomé with our district,  which includes the sister missionaries. It was actually pretty fun and there were enough clouds to block most if not all of the scorching solar death rays.  We got in contact with a player on the team and he set us up with a net and ball. We played on a concrete court.  Sadly I didn't take any pictures at this time but we got some after at the language studies building gazebo. (Picture: Elder Seri, Myself,  Elder Atherton and Elder Agui).
        - Elder Archer-