Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"Everything on my side of the world is going great!"

 Salute family!

 I've got some really fantastic news!!! We had three of our investigators named Sr. Reine, Sr. Adjo and Fr. Raoul Johnson along with a Nigerian, English-speaking family attend church with us last Sunday! The two sisters are progressing really well and hopefully we'll be able to help them become baptized by the end of the next month. As for our friend Raoul,  we've only recently started teaching him,  but he is doing really great as well. So, here's a cool story as to how we met Raoul: While we were on our way to meet up with someone to make a rendezvous with, he approached us from behind and asked if we were from the LDS church. We told him that we were and that were missionaries. Before further explaining, he had been talking to a girl over Facebook living in France who happens to be a member and she started telling him about our church. He became interested and told her that if he ever saw the missionaries in Lomé he would go speak with them to find out more. So, one day, he felt inspired to go for a walk for no apparent reason, and in doing so, he met us. While talking with him we gave him a brochure and took his number and set up a day to drop by his house to teach him more about our message. He voluntarily agreed and willing fixed a day to meet up with us. Since that day, we've met up with him three times and he has already come to church! The last time we were at his house, we took pictures together with his tablet that his sister sent to from my Germany and we sent the photos to the girl in France to show her what her missionary efforts produced. Pretty awesome story right?
 As for the Nigerian family, we were walking in the secteur on our way to a rendezvous Saturday evening and the father of the family who was driving his car at the time pulled over beside and us and starting speaking in English asking if we were from "That Church", that he had recently came from seeing the church building and asked when it was that he and his family could come to visit. We told that he and his family could came by the next day on Sunday, that church starts at 11h00 and ends at 14h00, that we were in fact from "That Church" and that we were missionaries, that we would like to take his number so as to be able to call him and make an appointment with him and his family to be able to share with them more about our message and that it would be a pleasure for us to see them at church.
 These sort of situations happen every now and then, that is one approaches us asking what it is that we do, if we have some sort of message to share and after having given whoever is what that asked us these questions a brochure along with a number to call if he/she is interested in learning more about our message, he/she says that he/she will come visit our church; however, they never actually come. But guess who was at the church the very next day?! I actually wasn't entirely surprised to see him and his family there because he seemed sincerely interested in coming. While he was there, I translated for him in Elder's Quorum and it went really great. I've got a pretty solid feeling that he and his family can genuinely progress. Well, we fixed a rendezvous with him and his family for this Wednesday so we'll see what happens.
Here is a picture of me and my missionary boys chillin in the hood while snapping selfies!

We send you all our love and thanks for the love, support, care and prayers!

We love you all so much and thank you so much for all that you do for us!

For some its been a while since we've spoken. Know that everything on my side of the world is going great! I'm absolutely loving it here, my compaion whose name is Elder Tapusoa is a champ, my district (all of whom you see in the photo) is absolutely amazing and we've working really great together, I'm still alive and healthly, and as happy and excited to do this work more than ever before since I've been on the mission, and we've been having really great success in our efforts to spread forth the message of the restored gospel with all those willing to hear us among the people of Togo.
Have a wonderful week and I hope to hear from you all again soon!

Je vous aime beaucoup et que Dieu vous bénisse!

P.S. -- By the way, Sarah asked me if I've seen anything crazy or weird since I've been here. In fact, yes, I've seen two to be precise. I hope you're literally ready to hear what I'm about to say. (1) So, one day, while teaching an investigator, there was an old lady sitting on the ground not too far away from us who started a fire by doing voodoo. In between her legs lied a can that she had filled with charcoal, whether or not it was lit, I wasn't sure. At some point of time, she lifted her hands above the opening and made a few, strange hands signals. Shortly after doing so, sparks started flickering out of the can and a spurt of flame ignited. (2) While walking the streets of Apedokoué in my last secteur of Adidogomé, there were two topless ladies painted completely white, wearing a white, fabric turban over their faces while holding what looked like a white, round-headed paintbrush, marching and chanting down the street while being followed by a group of normal dressed people banging on drums and making all sorts of crazy noise. This is indeed a very weird place and voodoo is pretty freaky and scary.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Short but sweet!

 Ma famille!!! Vous me manquez beaucoup!!!!

 Oh wow! That's crazy to hear what happened to Naomi! I sure hope that she's doing okay!
 Dad and mom, I must let you know that you were amazing parents and I seriously grew up having one of the most fortunate of circumstances as pertaining to a genuinely happy family. I could literally go on for a very long time, but as a brief yet sincere summary, know that you've always taken great and wonderful care of me in supporting me in every physical, emotional, and spiritual need, you've taught me a whole lot more than you can probably imagine, you've shown me countless of times throughout the entirety of my life that you love and cherish me and my siblings, you've set an incredible example to me as to how I should be one day as a parent, and I will tell you right now that you have no room for doubt nor worry that you were unsuccessful parents because in my eyes you have sincerely fulfilled your roles as parents in my life by demonstrating through your countless efforts that you did everything that you possibly could to make my siblings and I genuinely happy by teaching us to do what is right and by walking beside us in the light.

 Well, talking about the time passing by, my companion and I were asking ourselves today if this last week even happened. It's true when one says that time flies when you're having fun. Even though this week was rather tough due to trying to find more people to teach who are willing to receive us, contacting many people, going door to door, person to person giving brochures, and so forth, the week has certainly been among the favorites since I've been here in Kégué working with Elder Tapusoa. I'm afraid I don't have a whole lot more time left for today so as a summary everything is going great even if we're having difficulty finding people to teach. Fortunately enough we've found a few people who've been receiving us super well and I'm certain that they can progress to baptism. We've even had an investigator who grew up in France and poses ridiculously hard questions during rendezvous come to church last Sunday. My companion is progressing super fast and really well due to all the hard work and effort that he has been putting in to become a successful and effective missionary. Elder Tapusoa is so great, we've been working super awesome together and by far he's been my favorite companion so far (even though he's only the third). 

 Well family, I'm afraid I've gotta bounce so I catch you on the flip side next week alright! 
Take care of each other and have a wonderful week!
Je vous aime et que Dieu vous bénisse!
Avec Amour,
Elder Gonzales