Friday, August 25, 2017

...and smacked my head on a tree branch. Except that last part it was really fun.

August 21 2017

I'm so happy for Rachael and Tyler! Perhaps a little disappointed that I wasn't there and that I won't be able to see a total solar eclipse near us, but being here is definitely better than the eclipse.

We weren't able to visit Fr Ngoyi and Fr Ebibas often enough to prepare them to be baptized the 27th (they also weren't at Church) Fr Vieclaire doesn't feel ready but it's good with Sr Sagesse and her kids. So we'll have three baptisms this week. Sr Gloire came late to Church so she wasn't confirmed (but her mom came!)

We read about the Book of Mormon this week in the teachings of Gordon B Hinckley and I was really touched by the testimony that if we read the Book of Mormon with an attitude of meditation and prayer that we will strengthen our testimony, have a greater desire to keep the commandemants and something else that I forgot, but just those two there are really cool. SO I'm going to do that.

We still got lots to do. We finally talked to our Bishop (who was in Pointe Noire), who happens to be Fr Ghilson! Cool, right? He helped us know some other amis that we should visit, so that is good.

Things are still going well with our apartement. Elder Cicon is a goofball, but a good worker and Elder Robin and Elder Muyala are getting along also.

Oh! We got to help out at an orphanage on Saturday! I washed clothes and plates and smacked my head on a tree branch. Except that last part it was really fun. I have some pictures, though I'm not sure I'm in any because I was mostly taking them. We'll see! The lady running the orphanage was really touched, and apparently confused because 1) The Bishop was helping 2) We didn't bring the publicity (in her terms "the TV, someone said, "God is our TV!" in response after the activity).  

Je vous aime et felicitations! 
Nous ne craignons acun homme! 

Elder Russell

Elder Cicon and I with Sr Gloire and the whole family except the father and Sr Fael 
A terrible, silly picture, with red eyes

Helping the Orphans

Helping the orphans 2

We also found a bunch of yummy foodstuffs (ketchup, maple syrup....yummm)

August 14 2017

Yeah, this week was cool. We visited a lot of people who are preparing themselves to be baptized the 27th (There's Fr Vieclaire, Fr Ngoyi, Fr Ebibas, Sr Sagesse and her two children, Sr Belvie among others.), and we might have more if all goes well. This coming week looks like it is going to be full because we have around 10 people who we really want to focus on and the members say they have people they want us to finish too, so we shall see how we will juggle all of that. Sr Gloire was baptized this Sunday. It was a good experience and all the Young Women were there to support her.

One cool thing is that I have noticed that my prayers are a lot more like conversations now instead of being like reading off a list.

We also found a bunch of yummy foodstuffs on sale (ketchup, maple syrup.... yumm) so we bought that.

Things are going well with Elder Cicon, like I said he likes to work and we study Preach my Gospel together so that we make sure we are doing things right. It's great!

Sounds like your week was alright! I like that analogy with the pond, it is also true. It is a lot easier to work spiritually if we fill ourselves up constantly rather than waiting every couple days. I admit I am super excited for Rachael and Tyler's wedding, even if I won't be there physically I will be praying for you all.

Je vous aime TELLEMENT!
Nous ne craignons acun homme!
Elder Russell

Elder Cicon, someone, and me

President Thompson, Sister Thompson, and me

WE played Football last monday!

Just me

Elder Kincaid and me

Me, again

Elder Cicon with a funny face

He is hilarious, chill, and serious all at the same time

August 7 2017

It was a good week here. We visited a lot of our amis and it was nice to see them progressing little by little, though we have some complicated cases.  We have Fr Theophile who has this burning testimony but he has some fears concerning his uncle who is a pastor in a revivalist Church, so that impedes him from being baptized. There is also the Mother of Sr Gloire, Sr Atese, who wants to be baptized but she has problems with her husband. There is also the Sr Belvie who will have to wait a bit because she needs her interview but the timetable is a little hard to work with. We also had a cool lesson with Fr Ngoyi about the Holy Ghost because he had a lot of worries about receiving a confirmation of the truth, but the Holy Ghost was there in the lesson and we testified of that so I hope that will help him.

We also had an awesome zone conference with President Thompson. He is hilarious, chill, and serious all at the same time. It was a great spiritual experience. He emphasized the importance of the message of the Restoration, something that Elder Cicon was doing with me. We went through it and saw that the Restoration of the Gospel (as in the story of Joseph Smith) covers all the points of which we speak in the lesson. I also started a more in-depth study of Christlike virtues so that I can develop them better. Sunday went well. I like the ward and everyone seems very happy. I'm excited to get to know the people better. So that was my week!

Je vous aime!
Nous ne craignons aucun homme!

Elder Russell

better and better at loving the people

July 31 2017

Sounds like things are going well for you! That's good. Things are going well here. It was interesting because we worked in a companionship of three with Elder Malu Malu as well. Elder Cicon is cool and he really loves the restoration message; which is good because, as Preach My Gospel says, that is what helps people gain a testimony. Of course the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ help but our unique message to the world is the restoration of the Gospel. It has been restored and we have a living prophet who leads the Church. And the Book of Mormon is the convincing proof that the restoration happened. 

Oh, so there was also SECOND round elections so there was no church yesterday. No vehicles on the street, all stores closed. 

I think I'm getting better and better at loving the people. I see their needs and wants, not just "how do I get them baptized" (of course I want that but they have needs, worries, questions, etc. How do I help them gain a testimony of the Gospel?) 

One of my only worries is speaking French with Elder Cicon, because it is really tempting and really easy to speak English with another English speaker. 

I am at the beginning of the Book of Mormon again and it is really cool to see how Nephi's faith and such developed and the trials he faced. As well as the difference shown by Laman and Lemuel. 

Our ward (first ward I've worked in!) is cool. They have a desire to work and the ward missionaries have a cool plan so that they can visit the investigators and all. Our first day in sector we didn't have the area book or phone so we contacted. One contact we taught again: Fr Rex. I think it will go well. We went up a mountain to visit an amie, I wish I had some pictures. But I should be able to get you some other pictures today if all goes well. SO yeah, overall a cool week!

Je vous aime tous tellement!
Nous ne craignons pas l'homme!

Elder Russell
Branch President 

Elder Robin 

Tsieme Goodbyes 
The Primary of Tsieme

Tsieme Goodbyes

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Goodbye my trainer!

July 24 2017

Things here have changed a bit with the transfers. Elder Luteso will now be working in the zone of Makelekele (Mah-keh-leh-keh-leh), which is still in Brazzaville, with Elder Razafierimanana. I will be working in the sector of Mikalou with Elder Cicon (wow! was not expecting that. The two Jared's are working together!) The sister missionaries that were in Mikalou will be working in Tsieme, so they switched us around. That will make transport easier for both groups. I'll still be in the same apartement. Elder MAlu Malu is going to Gabon and Elder Robin will work with Elder Muyala, who is from the same stake as Elder Luteso. ELder Izere is also going home. Goodbye my trainer! And good luck in life. Fr Romual did come to Church (but sadly not Fr Bel)! That was awesome. The members also brought quite a few of their friends so that was cool. We also met two cool new investigators who I wish I had another chance to teach: Fr Faveur and  Fr Leonel, lots of good questions which can be answered by the Book of Mormon. It was kind of weird being in a sector for only one transfer. I'll miss Tsieme, even though I didn't get to know it as well as New Bell or Ekounou. I got a new SD card, so I should be able to send pictures. As for musical instruments, they have their drums and I did see a weird flute sort of thing one time, but I'm not too knowledgeable on that, I'll have to ask around. I didn't bring my journal (again) so I don't have a reference of all my experiences but it was a good week. I've also had a good time keeping a study journal, I've gotten really good at keeping notes of what I studied in the Book of Mormon. It helps a lot.

Je vous aime!

Elder Russell