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, August 15, 2016

Last Letter from Elder Archer :'( :')

Well it's the last week of the mission and there's been some interesting things going on. We recently had three convert baptisms. Matthew is the nephew of a current member. They come to church every week and he decided to begin the missionary discussions in preparation for his baptism. Parfaite, whose name is one of the longest I've seen and doesn't even include "Parfaite", is a young lady we met near the market and lives next to two other members. She is very kind and also understands easily. Her parents live apart but in the same neighborhood. She spends time at both. Her mother runs a hairdressing shop and her father has a farm in his backyard. We helped one day to pull weeds out around the sweet potato plants. She is now the only member in her family but she has two member friends her age who live nearby and they come to church together. Third is Yawovi who we met in one of the farthest parts of our area. I believe he approached the missionaries first, asking to be taught the gospel. He is very zealous, yet humble. A man of his word and is sincere about what he does. He understands well and openly asks us questions. He has a wife and two baby girls Felanda and Frida, who he says will suffice. He says he always wanted to give his kids spanish names. He also lives around the corner from a couple of active members and they regularly hold family home evenings together. All of these converts are solid and they have good support around them.
We have a ghanian investigator named Celestine who is preparing to be baptised this saturday. She is also close to many of the members and they even read the french church brochures and explain them to her so she understands. She is making good progress. We were invited over to brother Eli's house yesterday for a farewell get together. We had chicken with djinkoumé which is pretty much corn flour dough made with chicken broth. Very tasty. I'd say that the anxiety that comes from the idea of going home just hit me yesterday evening. Elder Whitt, from my MTC group, came to my sector to visit his converts. I was thinking: "wow, Whitts going home! - I'm going home!"
Well I'm sure that this week will go by quickly and safely. I'm so excited to come home and tell you all about it!

See you all soon.

-Elder Archer
Picture of me with Nicola, his mom and twin sisters.
Next is the dinner at frére Eli's house. He's the one at the end of the table.
Last is me with sister Sandra. She made us amazing food! This time it was beet salad with boiled egg, onions, carrots, and tomato. She also bought us a drink and bread.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Early Farewell for Elder Archer

Baptism of Sister Ramolino and Brother Yawovi.  Brother Yawovi is one of the nicest people I met on my whole mission.  He always buys us fruit next to his house and if there's no more fruit he won't let us go until he buy us some fruit somewhere haha!

Three of the pictures were at our zone meeting. We had our regular
zone meeting and then we had a small party afterwards as a farewell
for me :') the sisters made rice, chicken, this white pate stuff you
see on my plate and fish. It was good. All of the missionaries in the
picture where we're standing are American and the African on the left
is our zone leader, Elder Ndibu. He planned it all! He's nice.
The picture with us and the coconuts: We were walking down the road
when a lady asked us to come over to say hello. We went inside and
greeted like 12 people, then we had a random coconut picture for fun.
   - Elder Archer

Monday, August 1, 2016

Greetings from Togo!

We were planning on having three baptisms last week. One of them went
through but the other three were moved to next week. Matthew is the
nephew of one of the members and he was baptised. This is our first
baptism at Baguida. It was a little hectic because the font filled too
slow and the members started cleaning the branch at the time the
baptismal service was to begin. It worked out and everyone was happy.

One of our dear investigators is named Yawovi. We have been teaching
him since I've been here and he comes to church regularly. He is one
of the kindest and most sincere persons I've ever met. I've noticed
recently that he refers to the church as "our church" which gives a
very endearing quality to his questions, for example: "do we pay
offerings at our church"?

Many people ask us why we don't do cash collections in our church, why
we don't pass "the basket around". It's one of those prevalent things
in nearly every church here. It makes for an interesting teaching

I am proud of the members here at Baguida for stepping up their game
when it comes to branch missionary work. They've held meetings after
church to discuss what can be done to further the efforts. We don't
lack members to accompany us during weekly lessons. Last Sunday
evening, we were outside, far from home and kind of late. We were
hoping that we'd find someone who would feed us. We were near a
member's home and we decided to stop by to say hello. Brother Augustin
opened his gate and he told us: "do you guys eat pâte?" Pâte is pretty
much dough made of corn flour and water that the general population
eats every day with sauce. It's the staple food. There are two things
that foreigner white people do that please Togolese the most. The
first is to have some knowledge (however small) of their language.
After establishing the fact that you took interest in learning
greetings in their language, the very first question anyone will ask
you is: "do you eat pâte?" Well yes, of course we eat pâte we
answered, and the member brother Augustin told us: "good, because I
jus got home and you're going to help me eat". His wife served us a
single lump of pâte which we shared with tomato sauce and smoked fish.
It was really good. How nice of them. He goes on visits with us with
people who live in his area.

Today, Monday, was another market day. The market always makes me feel
uneasy because there are hundereds of people, motorcycles and cars
moving constantly left and right. Being familiar with prices was one
of my biggest worries when I first started but now I have a pretty
good idea of the general cost of things. Many tourists, often from
Europe, visit the market, and not being fully aware of the value of
merchandise will consequently pay higher than would be generally
reasonable. One man today tried to sell me a t-shirt for 18,000
francs, which is like 35$, insisting that there was nothing rediculous
about that rediculous price. That can be annoying.

Until next week :)

Elder Archer