Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A birthday he will never forget!


You wouldn't believe what happened the morning of my birthday. My district and I bought a pig to butcher and for it's meat. But long-traumatizing-story-short, we killed the pig on my birthday. And now, our fridge and freezer is filled to the brim with pig meat. It was a pretty intense experience; one I hope to never have again. I do though have a ton of pictures of everything that went down. However, I'm not entirely sure if you'll want to see them because they're all quite gruesome. Well anyway, that's one of the crazy things that has happened to me this week.

 While on the mission, especially while learning a new language, it gives one a lot of time to go over one's life. If there is anything I've learned here is that family is important and needs to be cherished and never taken for granted.

Well pops, just know that you were awesome to me and I have every humble bragging right to say that I had an amazing Dad who took excellent care of me, my mom and my siblings. I really do look up to you and I believe that you are a great man. I look forward to seeing you again in 22 months time, but until then, just know that I love you and I thank you for all that you've done for me.
          Hey Mom, just know that you were the best mom I could have asked for. You've done so much           for me and I'll never ever forget your kindness. I sincerelly miss your kindness, compassion, understanding, and everything else that you unreservedly gave to me.
Avec amour, ton fils
Elder Gonzales

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Happy 19th Birthday Elder Gonzales!

Cher famille:
J'espère que c'est ça va si je peux écrire à vous un peu en Français.

Merci beaucoup maman et papa pour vos messages! Je suis très heureux de vous écouter et de vous parler!

Vraiment, c'est très bizarre que je vais avoir dix-neuf ans demain!

Donc, c'est très bien ici-bas; parfois, il a été un peu difficile, mais, ça va aller, c'est la mission. Comme j'ai dit avant, je n'ai plus faim parce que nous avons achetés beaucoup de la nourriture maintenant de ce qui est merveilleux. L’œuvre missionnaire est une grande bénédiction et je suis très content d’être ici.

Well, I'd write more in French, but writing in English is faster and I'm running out of time. The days fly by it seems, seeing that it has already been a month since I've been here in Adidogomé, and two months altogether in Africa. I guess I say that now, but I've got a looooong ways to go.

The French is coming along quite nicely; I still struggle understanding people when spoken to, but at least now I'm more capable of sharing my testimony, teaching the people and expressing myself.

The weather over here has changed and apparently it's now the "winter" season. In the morning and at night it actually gets pretty chilly; that, or I've just acclamated to the heat so much that anywhere from sixty to eighty degrees feels really chilly. Oh man, coming home is sure going to be a shock to my body.

On New Years, I had a cold and a slight fever due to the season change. Before I continue on that, Pres. Morrin came over New Years day as well. While his wife went over how to handle medical and situational emergencies, each member of my district had an interview with President. I'm so glad that I was able to speak with him because it really helped me out. We discussed how I've been, how I'm handling the many stresses, along with my effectiveness and so forth.

Also, towards the end, he offered to give me a Priesthood blessing. He blessed me with good health, to be patient with and to understand the behavior and culture here and the ability to be able to express myself in French. Two days later, I was healed from my sickness. I've become so much more patient and tolerant to the way that things are around here and how I'm treated, and it's blowing my mind on how much French I've learned since then and how much I've been able to say.

I honestly believe that your prayers on my behalf have certainly added an incredible amount to my welfare. Not only that, but since you've been demonstrating your faith by reading the scriptures so often, it has also been generating an amazing abundance of blessings for our family.
I'm so unexplainably happy to be able to write to all of you. Quite honestly, it always fills my spirit with hope and strength.

Oh, by the way, I recieved a letter from the Seidels and a package from brother Phipps today. It was so great! The package was really small and it took about two months to get here, but it had bag of chocolate, a bag of laughy-taughy and skittles. It costed $25, which is really expensive considering it's small size and weight, but it was still super awesome.
Well, I'm afraid I have to leave right now, but it has been so nice hearing from you and I genuinely hope that everything continues to go well for our family. Tell Jacob that I'm really proud of him, he's super awesome and he's doing an absolutely great job and tell the girls thank you for their absolutely wonderful messages and to keep them coming!

I love you all so much and I'll write to again soon :)
Avec amour,
Elder Gonzales

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hey everyone!  I'm a little behind on emails because I wasn't able to write on Christmas.

 I had a really buff guy, who I'm pretty sure was drunk, ask me for money because he was hungry and wanted to buy anana (pineapple). I didn't give him any money though because a member who was working with us just pulled out a coin and handed it to him and we left.
 The people who are homeless are legitimately homeless. They live on the dirt streets, have absolutely nothing besides maybe a blanket and the one pair of clothes they're wearing, and are starving, alone, and hurting. It makes me feel terrible that there's little to nothing that I can do for them.
 Well, as for what we eat, we sometimes only eat two meals a day, which consist of bread, lemon grass tea mixed with hot chocolate powder and maybe eggs and friend bananas in the morning, and then a huge pile of rice and one piece of chicken with a mixture of vegetables, chicken powder, and tomato paste for both lunch and dinner. Yes, I'm hungry all the time. But, I've started getting used to eating less so one big meal usually will do it for me.
  Sometimes we have something called pat which is cornflour mixed with boiling water. Once thickened, you make a huge ball that can fit in two hands. You then put some kind of spicy sauce that I don't know how to make but it has spinach, fish, and really spicy peppers into a bowl. Once the meal is ready, you wash your right hand, dip it in clean water, take a piece of intensely hot pat, dip it in the sauce with a piece of fish and voilà, bon appetit.
 Thankfully we got our allowance and went grocery shopping at the super market so we don't need to worry about not having food anymore; that, and the members here feed us a ton all the time so that really helps us out. It's actually not too bad, its just towards the end of the month that sucks. But yeah, c'est pas grave, ça va allez.
  As I've been reading through the scriptures, I've been finding a ton of amazing things that help me a lot throughout the day. The only way I've been able to really learn French the best is by reading the BofM. Every time I do so, I'm more capable of hearing, understanding and speaking French.
  Thank you, by the way, for praying for me. Although, I'm having a really hard time with the language; I don't mind not being able to speak as much as I'd like, it's just not understanding what people say that's really difficult. People talk to me all the time and speak so ridiculously fast and I just have to tell them sorry, I don't know what you're saying.
  My companion expects a lot out of me and demands that I speak French all the time. Which, is really hard, because when he talks to me, I seldom understand due to his crazy-heavy African accent. During lessons, he generally has me lead it out and he has me approach people and present our message. As difficult as it is, at least I'm getting better and I'm actually able to see my progress which is extremely nice.

 Well I just wanted to let you all know that I love you and I hope everything is still running smoothly. I miss you all so very much, but don't you worry cause I'll be home sooner than you know it. It's crazy, I've already been here for two whole months. Not only that, but I'll be 19 years old in eight more days which is also pretty crazy cause honestly, I don't even really feel like a man haha.
Please pray for me that I'll be able to have more love, charity, and patience. I'm trying so hard to develop these attributes because believe me, it's been pretty dang hard.

But hey, I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!

By the way, thank you so much for all that you all did for me. I wish I could take the time to write each of you a paragraph of everything you've done to make my life such a wonderful gift; however, I'm afraid I've gotta bounce.

PS -- took me two hours just to reply to two messages haha But keep sending them because I love hearing from you!!
Have a fantastic week!
Avec Amour, votre missionaire, fils et frère,
Elder Gonzales