Mother’s Day Phone Call
Mimi – is kind of like a mom to the missionaries. She buys all of Elder Allred’s food because they try and cheat the white man so she gets better deals. He can get more food this way.
Investigators – They have a new investigator and he is progressing well. They also committed another person to baptism so we will see if that continues. All 3 of their progressing investigators were at church on Sunday so they are hoping that things will continue to be good with them.
Food – the food is all pretty weird but he likes it better than he thought he would. Something called enyams (not sure if it’s spelled right) is his favorite. From his description it sounds like sweet potatoes.
Language – he is starting to understand the French and what they say in church. He speaks more English than he should since his companion speaks English. His is also learning some Fon which is a native language. He read 2 Nephi 9:34 and 1 Nephi 5:14 in French. He wants to learn Spanish when he comes home.
Companion – his companion, Elder Ragondonandrasana, is from Madagascar and speaks three languages: his native language, French, and English. He says he got lucky with his first companion who is a District leader. The other elders in his apartment are zone leaders. Elder Rago goes home in September so it is kind of making JD homesick. There are 3 elders from Arizona in the mission.
Church – the building isn’t very big and there aren't classrooms like we are used to. There is a lot of crying. They start late and end late. The members like to sing a lot so they have songs in every meeting.
Muslim Mosques – there are mosques everywhere with speakers on top of the buildings. They broadcast their moaning throughout the area, starting about 5:30 a.m. He says they moan morning, noon, and night. We could hear it in the background while we were talking to him. Favorite quote: “The Muslims are moaning again.”
Power – power comes and goes and they don’t have any hot water.
Laundry – he does his laundry by hand. Mimi offered to do his laundry but he decided that he needed to learn how to do it by hand himself since he wouldn't always be in the area (I’m proud of him for this decision). He says doing laundry is kind of fun because the elders in his apartment all sit around and do it together and talk.
Transfers – he says the elders usually stay in their area 5-6 months and that transfers mainly happen when they get new elders.
Area – there are 3 zones in Benin and they are averaging about 70 baptisms a month. He says they are hoping to open Porto-Novo soon. They are hoping for June or July.
Temple of the Pythons – pythons are very sacred to the Voodoo religion. He dropped one of the snakes while they were visiting but luckily no one saw him.
Time – feels like he has been gone forever but it has only been three months. He is missing his old life – hanging out with friends, sleeping in, watching movies late at night with his sister, and going to college.
We are getting ready to send his first package so he gave us a list of things he wants. I’m replacing a couple of his favorite ties that went missing in the MTC. He has asked for a Rubiks cube because his companion had taught him how to solve one. He didn’t ask for much food which surprised me but he did request candy and Takis (apparently they haven’t made their way across the Atlantic yet).
All in all, he is doing great. He would appreciate letters because he can keep them with him and read them over and over. He doesn’t have a way to print emails so he can only read them on P-days.