Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Dear Family:

 I've attended my first stake activity since I've been on the mission!!! It was a super fun experience and I had a really great time! We went to an outdoor sporting complex, the same one at which we held our last zone activity. The three sports available, in order from the highest played to the least, were Soccer, Basketball, and the Tennis. We had a huge turnout and I was able to see a lot of familiar faces and people from my old secteurs that I haven't seen for a very long time. One of which was my buddy Fr. Boris! I spoke with him for a while, we took pictures and watched him play a match of Soccer. I even met and spoke with three Togolese Americans from Maryland who came to the activity as a result of visiting family. Their siblings traveled to Togo as a vacation to visit and see old family. Two of the siblings were born in Togo and then moved into the U.S. when they were younger whereas the youngest was born in the U.S. At the activity itself, I didn't do too much. I just spoke with a lot of people, I took a ton of awesome pictures, and I played a little bit of Basketball.

 We met a guy who had ordered a Book of Mormon on the church's website. He left his contact
information in the system so he was contacted by missionaries in the U.S. From there, his contact info was sent to the mission office and then to us. We contacted the guy, whose name is Fr. Edem, and made an appointment to see him today. Unfortunately, he only thought we were the delivery boys and so when we tried to speak to him more about our message, we got the vibe that he wasn't at all interested in hearing our message.

 Before we left to Baguida so I could do a split with E. Kasonga, another Congolese, we saw my converts Sr. Shérifa, Sr. Akuto, and Fr. Dieudonné and spoke to them about the importance of reading the Book of Mormon. As a result of this visit, they've been more diligent in their BofM reading which has been super awesome.
 Got to Baguida really late. My guy left with E. Lath back to my sector. A member from their ward who had been visiting the missionaries of Baguida at their apartment drove my guy and I to a small restaurant where he bought our food (super awesome). Couldn't sleep at night due to either mosquitos, other small insects, or the latex-filled mattress on which I had slept. Whatever it was,
it prevented me from sleeping because my body was itching like crazy. Slept on the living room couch. Slept soundly without any itching. It was probably the bed.
 The split went super well. A lot better than anticipated. My guy and I got along really well and we did a lot of hard work. We did OVB for approximately four hours. Found a lot of people to talk and share our message with. Most hilarious mispronunciation of my name that I've heard yet said by a child at an appointment, "Wah...zal..."
It was pretty great.

While I was at Baguida, I was able to meet some old converts who had been baptized by E. Adjo, the Ivorian with whom I had lived at Kégué, along with E. Bretherton, an American that I came into the mission with. These converts are kids who were baptized during E. Bretherton's training (over a year ago) and they're still active and have a great understanding of the Gospel. We taught these kids about Joseph Smith and about the BofM. Afterwards, they feed us pat before we left to go to the church for coordination meeting.

 So we were on our way to the church where Fr. Girard would have his baptismal interview (which had concluded before we arrived). And we received a call shortly after the interview. It was E. Joseph telling us that there was a problem and that Fr. Girard would not be able to be baptized on Saturday. Good thing it was April Fool's day or I would've let him have it. It was a good joke though and he had me convinced.
 Fr. Girard was baptized today!!! His conversion story is sadder than most, but I don't have enough time to get into the fullest of the details. As for a brief background on Fr. Girard, he's getting ready to graduate from high school, I started teaching him with E. Joseph, he progressed super quickly and understood and accepted everything that we had taught him without question. He's very intelligent, he wants to go on a full-time mission and has a strong desire to share his newly found knowledge of the restored Gospel with all who are willing to listen to him. The said part of his story was that he lost his mother while we were teaching him. He thanks us for our teachings, for he said that they've helped him to overcome the death of his mother. Well, despite the fact that he has not yet received a solid response to his prayers, he has a strong testimony and a powerful conviction that the Church is true and that everything that we've taught to him is right.
 Transfers are this week! I had received what I considered to be a personal revelation or confirmation from the Spirit that all that I needed to do here in Bè-Kpota has finally been accomplished. It's strange, for I've never had this feeling before a transfer, but I feel that my work in this secteur has been complete. I'll find out if I've been transferred or not this Saturday.

 If I'm not transfered, I won't mind one bit because this secteur not only contains the majority of my converts but has within it's boundaries some of the best friends that I've ever made through out the entirety of my mission. I'm sincerely going to miss these people whenever the time comes for me to part. They have a special place in my heart, and whenever I think about having to leave them, it fills me with an empty void -- the exact feeling that I had when I left you at the airport.

Well, I must go for our investigators await. I love you all so much and I hope you have a marvelous week.

Know that the quality of my missionary life has improved ten fold and that I've been genuinely happy and filled with peace, humility and joy within the past few weeks.

Je vous aime de tout mon coeur et que Dieu vous bénisse!!
Sincerely, Elder Gonzales

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