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 27, 2016

The Birthday Boy!

Thank you for all of the birthday wishes! I had a good day. I bought
two rabbits from the patriarch and we buchered them up and slow cooked
them with some vegetables, spices, and barbecue sauce. Then we made
some food from Ivory Coast called "foutou" which is made of (cooked)
mashed up cassava
roots and plantains. All this and drinks for four people, what a meal
for under 20$ huh. The sauce even lasted us the whole following week.
Unfortunately I do not have my camera with me, so I will send the
bunny pictures later.
Well I am still doing okay. We found some more families to teach!
There is a guy named Frank who we met who is a religion researcher guy
who doesn't currently go to a church. Still looking I guess. His wife
is a seventh day adventist but he doesn't agree with the sabbath day
being on saturday, haha, but they are together anyhow and they have
two sons. He reads many historical things and information about
churches and he says that our message about the apostasy is like the
"missing piece" to the puzzle he's been putting together in his mind.
He looks forward to hearing our message about the Restoration.

We helped clean the church on Saturday and we had to cut down a
diseased papaya tree. That was interesting. Everything on a papaya
tree is hollow, the branches the fruit and even the trunk. It came
down easily.

Last Monday we went back to the waterfall in Kpalimé. Same old same
old, but the missionaries were different. I also found a cocoa bean
pod thing on a tree and broke it open to look at the inside. That's
all the excitement there was. The trip down and back was pretty fun

   - Until next time, Elder Archer

Monday, June 13, 2016

Rainy Season

So we're in the rainy season and there are lots of puddles. Some
puddles cover entire intersections in the neighborhood and we are
obliged to take alternative routes. Sometimes people place bricks or
rocks in the water to make stepping stone shortcuts. Just the other
day, Elder Atherton and I went out to one of the farthest places in
our area. There were some pretty serious looking storm clouds coming
in from the north, so we ... did what people do when in dangerous
situation these days, take pictures. Haha. Being minutes away from the
ocean I would have thought that most storms would come
in sea-side but apparently they come in from the mainland. Anyways,
Elder Atherton turned to me and said: "umm, I think we need to go
home, right now." Several minutes later we were hit with few heavy
raindrops which quickly developped into thousands of heavy raindrops
and we ran as fast as we could to find shelter. We only ran about two
blocks but we were completely soaked when we finally stepped under a
small tin-roof shelter. It was one of the hardest rains I've ever seen
and the wind was just driving it across the land. It calmed down after
around fifteen minutes and we were able to make it home to dry off. It
was quite a memorable experience.

Baguida has a nice branch with wonderful people. It had been months
since they've had a piano player in the area so they were happy to
hear the piano again in sacrament meeting. The branch mission leader
is a returned missionary so he knows how things are suppposed to work
and works hard. We accompanied the branch president this week to the
home of one of his lifelong friends. Brother Améké, like the branch
president, is one of the kindest and understanding persons I've met
out here. He knows just about everything there is to know about the
Gospel and the church but he still won't commit to a baptismal date.
The current theory of ours is that he doesn't want to go to a church
presided over by his best friend. We have several progressing
investigators but we are always finding new people to contact. The
problem with Togo is that people will never tell you no. They will
always accept an appointment on a given day but it doesn't mean that
they will be there when the time comes. That makes things difficult.

The Euro Cup soccer season has started and is on every television we
come across. Oftentimes we see large groups of people in the road
crowded in front of one television in a "boutique" or small shop. You
can hear their shouting and cheering from the apartment.

The other night I woke up late when I felt something scurry across my
legs.I heard some fluttering or buzzing sounds. There are quite a few
moths in our apartment so that's what I attributed the sound to. I was
facing upwards and a good-sized sturdy something (definitely not a
moth) dropped right onto my face and scurried across my upper body and
up onto the mosquito net. I sat up quickly, searched for the movement
and drew near to see the unmistaken elongated shape of a cockroach
climbing up my net against the moonlit window. I climbed out of the
mosquito net, found my flashlight, found the cockroach on the inner
wall of the net and I flicked it, stunned it and then swept it to the
floor and smashed it. That's probably my best cockroach experience so
far. I don't know how it got into the net... I'll have to check again.
First mosquitos getting in and now cockroaches. Maybe I'll get a
lizard next time.

Aside that little story everything has been going fine. We cleaned the
"apartment" today. The problem with living in a big house is having to
clean a lot, but everyone did their part.

Have a nice week!

Elder Archer
* This is our house =)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Back to Togo - pictures!

1.  Me and Simon from my old area.  He is the ward mission leader.

2.  The second one is a picture of me with some children's at the conference.

3.  Third is Elder Atherton and I in front of the Lomé Independence memorial thing statue.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Back to Togo!

Well there's about three months ahead of me now and I have been
transferred back to Togo! I had learned that an American named Elder
Neubert would be replacing me. Neither he nor Elder Adjo has
experience driving a manual transmission vehicle. (Well, Elder Adjo
has a little from his driver's educaton class.) So I had about four
days (starting on Tuesday) to show Elder Neubert the ropes and ins and
outs of the bureau life and take the two on some driving practice
sessions, and we did so. On Friday night of that week, I handed the
car keys over to Elder Neubert after a final dinner appointment in
Cotonou with one of our investigator families. That was when it hit me
that I was leaving the office and Elder Adjo, whom I'd been working
with for six months. I miss him already but we will be returning home
at the same time, so we will be seeing each other again at the office.

After staying the night at their apartment, the assistants drove me to
my new area in Togo called Baguida. This "apartment" looks more like a
mansion (I'll send pictures next week). It's the largest in the
mission. I am now working with an American named Elder Atherton. We
both lived in the same apartment when I was in Togo last time, so we
know each other very well and are excited to be working together.

I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that this Sunday was stake
conference for Togo! I got to see most of my converts and friends from
Tokoin. That was a very special experience for me and I would say even
one of the happiest moments of my life.

Our area is very large and we do a lot of walking. I don't have the
area "mapped-out" yet in my head so I have no idea where I am when we
are outside. I had walked this place over with Elder Sagers around a
year ago so he could visit his converts before his departure, so I
recognize some places but it doesn't help much. Here's my first weird
experience: So we were teaching a woman named "Jeanne" who works at an
outdoor café. She brings people their drinks. There was a two year old
baby girl walking around the premises, which I assumed to be but am
still unsure of whether she is Jeanne's daughter or not. The only
customers were two men at a table drinking beer. At one point the
little girl started to cry. She was near the customer table and one of
them reached over and tipped his beer bottle into her mouth to give
her a drink. She stopped crying. Then he poured some more in a cup and
gave it to her and she walked away. Well, I know who's going to be an
alcoholic before five.

Anyways, I'm doing great. Feeling awesome and am looking forward to
some cool experiences. Until next time.


Elder Archer