Jeanie Oliphant(Jack's oldest daughter) passed from this life at approximately 3:20 this morning at Dixie Regional Medical Center. She is having a wonderful reunion with Grandpa Jack and Grandma Dorene, Gordon and Donny and many others who passed on before her.
She was loved by many and will be remembered by many. She was a very kind, compassionate woman who loved giving. She would give anything to anyone.
WE LOVE YOU and WILL MISS YOU DEEPLY!!!
Funeral services will be Saturday April 9th, at 11:00 am at the red chapel ( 274 N 100 W) Hurricane, Ut. Viewings will be Friday April 8th from 6-8pm at Metcalf Mortuary on Main in Hurricane then 9-10:30am Saturday at the chapel.
Sorry for the generic email but need to let you all know where we are and what is going on. We arrived safely from Cotonou into Salt Lake City, Utah last Thursday. Friday we had our first appointment with Dr. Fernley on Marv's knee. The bottom line is that after extensive x-rays and examinations the outlook is a total new knee replacement. The current prosthetic has apparantly been displaced causing the knee to not function correctly and the excalating pain and reduction in mobility. The knee is not alligned. Also, there is some concern about ligament damage and nerve damage. Monday we go for a three phase bone scan which should provide further information. Tuesday we will meet again with the Doctor and go over what needs to be done, how it will be done, when it will be done and where it will be done. We are currently staying at an Airport hotel in Salt Lake. Monday we ill move into President and Sister Garff's home in Midway Utah until some decision are made, they have also given us the use of one of their vehicles. We are overwhelmed at the moment, saddened that this is NOT going to be a "quick fix". We have been released a missionaries and do not, (at this time) see it being over within the 30 day period the Church requires for us to receive a re-assignment back into the field. We are however, encouraged that finally Marv will be able to get his knee fixed and receive some reflief from the 24/7 pain he has been enduring for the last few months. We cannot respond to your emails as we are not able to receive or reply until we get a computer. If you recall our laptop was destroyed in Cotonou and we bought a new computer but it was a desktop and we had to leave it behind. Bear with us...there is hope on the horizon. We would like to return to Arizona and home as soon as possible to begin the recovery process...that is our goal. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. We hear and feel them and we love the Lord and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being missionaries....WE WILL BE BACK again at some time we promise.
Well, the long anticipated regime changes at the Cove have been announced and we're very pleased with the new leaders. Elder and Sister Fenn have been called to be the new Directors (perfect), Elder Jim Emling our good friend from Boulder City has been called to be the new Facilities Supervisor and he and Sister Emling, who will be a Trek Scheduler, will be Polar Bears. The rest of the Polar Bears will be the Pankhurst's, the Posts, the Flunkeys, the Rhodes and the Michelson's. Elder Bagley has been called to be the Director at the Willie Site.
I have been setting forms for sidewalks and a patio around the pavilion at Missionary Village. The additions to the Pavilion and the Humanitarian Center are coming along nicely. As the visitors slow down we will be able to utilize more missionaries these projects and hopefully finish them before the majority leave in October.
We are expecting our son Glen and his family to come in tomorrow, and can hardly wait to see them.
Sister Leavitt has been rushing around preparing for their visit so she will not be adding to this email, but will be back online next week.
I would like to thank all those who sent me B-day wishes this week as I hit the big 68. When you start getting old sometimes it's not fun to be reminded, but it is great to be remembered, so thank you all. For those of you who forgot or didn't know, it's August 24, so write it down! The truth is, that it's celebration enough to have all of you as FAMILY AND FRIENDS!
Isnt it just such a great day today? what wonderful blessings have you received today? How did you do with your challenge? I also completed the challenge this week. last night we were sharing a message with an inactive member. He is pretty cool. He is 22 and has a lot of potential in the church. I just think he kinda slacked off on doing the things he needs to be doing but any way. We shared the story of Alma the younger with him. The part about repentance and how good it made him feel. It is in Alma 36 of the book of Mormon if you would like to read it. It is one of my favorites. This story i think really shows how much we can get from the gospel. I mean look at what happened to alma. he repented and was able to feel more joy than
he could really describe. thats pretty awesome.
So this week was really great for me. We had a Mission Training Meeting this week. It was the first one that we have ever had. They have to teach us a lot of new material or more like review and make sure we are using a lot of old things. It is just Kind of proof to me that this work is run by god. He knows what His children need to hear and feel in order to come back to him. Then on saturday while we were at home eating lunch the A.P.s showed up. They are the Assistants to the President of the mission. They told the house mates that i had that they were moving now. It was kinda sad. I have had 4 elders in my apartment for most of my mission and now we are back to two. It is really quiet now. plus i don't have any body else that speaks English in my house now. Kind of a bummer but now i will have to speak some more tagalog. I Also found out this morning that i will be getting a new companion on Thursday. It is kinda cool but can be a little nerve wracking at the same time. You never know who you are going to get. I will be sad about my current companion though we have gotten along really well. we really only fought about him not eating vegetables. but that wasn't really serious. well i will let you know how my new companion is next week.
Attached is our journal from the week past...we hope this finds each of you, our family and friends in good spirits. Remember we love you and we love our work here.
Dad, Mom, Grandma,Grandpa, Marv,Sue
Elder and Sister Leavitt
Our (albeit cheesy) clever title this week comes from the fact that yesterday (Saturday August 21st) we participated and completed our All Africa West Humanitarian project entitled HELPING HANDS. The word for hands in French is “mains” and we attracted a lot of attention….now you know the rest of the story.
Here is our week, past.
Week of July August 15-21, 2010
We attended church again in Akpakpa as we have designated the month of August to concentrate our training with them. We are so grateful that we have found them a new building as each week their congregation grows and grows and, by the time Sacrament Meeting is over they are spilling out the doors. Following the services we headed home to spend the remainder of our day preparing for our very busy week.
With a list as long as our arms we headed out early to get all accomplished. Tomorrow we leave early, early, in the morning to drive to Togo to meet up with Elder and Sister Herr and help drive back the Ayekoue’s and Sitati’s. We made the rounds of bill paying, bank, post office and even picked up a package for Elder Halterman from the Airport Postal facility without incident (miracle). Shopping at Erevan for last minute supplies was also achieved. Back at the apartment we spent the remainder of the day catching up on paperwork and projects that needed our attention. Grateful that we were able to accomplish all items on our list we decided an early night would be wise. As Elder Leavitt was walking towards the bedroom his knee locked on him causing excruciating pain. Sister Leavitt helped into the bedroom and into bed. We elevated the leg and he asked her to push gently down on the painful area. A loud cracking sound ensued and painful screams from Elder Leavitt, but then thankfully the knee was working again. We are anxious that this is the second time an incident such as this has occurred and feel strongly that we need to now address it with our area authorities.
We decided to leave for Togo around 7:30am and all night long the rains have been coming down so, the roads are wet and very muddy. The knee is behaving itself today, albeit the pain is now a constant companion for Elder Leavitt. As we drove out of town we hit a giant traffic jam which held us up for a good 45 minutes. Our border crossings were uneventful and quick but we got drenched in the process and that was not fun. By the time we hit Lome, Togo it was close to 11:30am (Togo time). We decided to grab some food at Festival de Glace as Elder Leavitt needs to take some medicine and not on an empty stomach. The restaurant was empty. When the rains come down, the people disappear. It was raining very hard and the roads were flooded. After our meal we decided to head for the Supermarche Ramco downtown but the roads were so very bad we had to turn around and went to the one near the Ecobank. We were able to find just about all we were looking for that we cannot get in Cotonou. It was then about one hour away from the Togo Conference conclusion and so we headed to the Be Apartment where it was taking place. We arrived on a break (which was a good thing) so that we were not a disturbance. The missionaries were glad to see us, and we them.
Elder and Sister Herr, President and Sister Ayekoue and Elder and Sister Sitati were in attendance and Elder Sitati was just getting ready to give the final remarks of the conference. We are meeting the Sitati’s for the first time and quite honestly Elder Sitati was so much younger looking than I imagined. They are from Kenya, and he is a member of the First Quorum of Seventy and the Second Counselor in the Africa West Area Presidency. He is very tall and a quiet soft spoken man. Sister Sitati is just about the most humble sister I have ever met and a joy to sit and visit with. Both are converts to the church and share their wonderful conversion story and bear individual testimonies that are very spiritual. As they concluded the conference the spirit was very strong. We greeted them as well as President and Sister Ayekoue and then, with Elder and Sister Herr, left to return back to Togo. The Ayekoue’s and Sitati’s stayed to interview missionaries and will drive later. Sister Herr had packed us a lunch to eat along the way and we were enjoying their company when, just minutes from the Togo/Benin border Sister Herr remembered she did not have either her or Elder Herr’s passports. We quickly pulled over and called Blaise who found them in the house, he then jumped on a moto to head to meet us halfway and brought us the passports. Back we go again this time making it into Cotonou just after dark. We unloaded everything from the truck and headed up to settle in for the night. Today we made the decision to make Doctor Maughan aware of the escalating problems with Elder Leavitt’s knee…it was not a decision made in haste and took the entire ride over to Togo to come to the conclusion that things are getting worse and the pain is becoming unmanageable. We also made Doctor Maughan aware that we had an opportunity of being with our Mission President for the next two days and a member of the Africa West Presidency to discuss the matter. The decision was made to take this to the next level and see what has to be done. Doctor Maughan assured us that we are doing the right thing and it is time to take action.
We woke very early to get ready for today. We start the conference at 8:00am and go til 1:30pm so it will be a long day for all. We are anxious to hear from President and Sister Ayekoue and Elder and Sister Sitati. The missionaries are excited too. The conference started on time but….Sister Ayekoue did not come as she was sick. Sister Herr acknowledged that she did come to the Togo Conference but spent most of the day asleep on one of the missionary’s beds. We were well taught by President Ayekoue however and Sister Sitati. Then the Leavitt’s and Herr’s were asked to contribute their testimonies and a spiritual thought, which of course we did. Elder Sitati taught us well, (between 2-3 hours). He has a wonderful way of involving you in his teaching and urges and encourages participation. All too soon it was over. President and Elder Sitati then started missionary interviews and we all sat and visited. Then Elder Sitati requested an interview with us. We took this opportunity to make him and President aware of our problem and the fact that we were in dialog with Doctor Maughan who has stated that his recommendation to the Africa West Area Presidency was that we return to the U.S. for evaluation and treatment. He is not recommending that anything be done in West Africa. He has further received communication from an Orthopedic Specialist from Salt Lake who feels, (given the description of what is happening), that the tibia which houses the prosthetic knee is fractured and is causing the pain and allowing the prosthetic to move. Elder Sitati was not aware of the attack/robbery to Elder Leavitt that took place on March 30th of this year which has resulted in causing these problems and was very concerned. He said he would call Dr. Maughan this evening and President Cardon to get further direction. He counseled us to look forward, to be thankful for all we have done to this date…he thanked us for our diligence and service and for our faith in trying to hold it together and finish our assignment here. He said it was time to take care of the problem and of us, he said the Lord will take care of the people we have come to love so much. We left feeling humbled and thankful for his counsel and this lovely man. That evening Elder and Sister Sitati conducted a Fireside for all new converts and investigators which was very well attended. President Ayekoue shared some thoughts. Again, Sister Ayekoue did not come. After the Fireside we were invited to go back to the hotel for dinner with the Ayekoue’s and Sitati’s. We asked that we be excused, we have so much to decide and contemplate and wanted to talk with each other and work things out…they understood. Elder and Sister Herr dropped us off at the apartment and went to dinner. We learned after they returned later that the dinner was one event Sister Ayekoue did show up for. Sorry if this sounds bad but it is our journal and an outlet for feelings and we both feel that she has seriously let her missionaries down this time.
Today everyone leaves. We went to the hotel to say goodbye to the Sitati’s and Ayekoue’s. They were very gracious and shared their love for our missionaries and members alike. Elder Sitati reported to us that in conversation with President Cardon he was in total agreement that we are to return home and get the evaluation and treatment needed for Elder Leavitt, as soon as possible. However, he will not release us as missionaries but wants to keep us as “active”. They are so very concerned about the lack of seniors coming forth to serve (less than 3000 currently serving in the field) and need us (if possible) to return to the field of service. So, we will come home, get the knee taken care of and receive another assignment to finish. We do not know where that will be; President Ayekoue said he and the missionaries will pray us back into West Africa. We were overjoyed with this news…we are not ready to NOT be missionaries…we love the service and YES the blessings we receive. So even with a crippled painful knee, surgery, therapy and whatever, we will wear our badges, remain missionaries and when ready…GO BACK TO WORK IN THE FIELD…HOORAY! After the goodbye’s we had breakfast with the Herr’s and (as we do so well) talked and talked. They will carry the torch for us while we are gone…cannot possibly think of a better couple. They are more than ready…more than capable and more than willing…THEY ARE A TRUE BLESSING TO US. For the remainder of the day, the Herr’s drove back to Togo and we drove around Cotonou and took care of our business then…back to the apartment for some rest.
First stop the bank then the post office and then back to the apartment. We have more rain today and cool temperatures. Elder Leavitt worked on his working fund and had a meeting with Elder Cloward and Elder Gnohohi on our leaving. We organized our minds and made plans so that when the time comes to leave we are leaving with everything in order. We also took this day to come to grips with our situation and mentally prepare our minds for the changes it will bring. Our evaluation and surgery will take place in Salt Lake and physical therapy/healing in Mesa, Arizona. We have Sister Casey living in our home and she has agreed to vacate by October 1st, what a blessing she is. We also sold our vehicles and have no car to drive when we get home so that has to be worked out…so many things, so many emotions.
Well today is the ALL AFRICA HELPING HANDS SERVICE DAY. Cotonou has decided to clean a median strip about 50’ wide running from a roundabout in Gbedjromede to another roundabout (about ½ mile long). As is always the case it is full of trash, weeds etc., well you name it, it is there. We showed up at the Gbedjromede Chapel at 8:30am and our lovely missionaries were there…then members started to show up in droves armed with rakes, brooms, hoes, trash bags, baskets…we had it all. We started about 9:00am and worked until 12:30pm non-stop. When we started it was a filthy mess, when we finished a clean, trash/weed free beautiful addition to any neighborhood. We had local dignitaries come to cheer us on and the mayor even sent a large garbage truck to receive the results of our efforts (I am pretty sure we filled the whole thing). We laughed, took pictures, and just plain had a great time. Elder Leavitt tried to participate but ended up cheering us on out of the window of his truck. We could not have had a better project or have expected a better execution of the project. I have attached a picture of the group at the conclusion. We attracted a lot of attention, (especially Sister Leavitt with the children) so we took this opportunity to stand at the concluding roundabout and sing “How Firm a Foundation”…our audience loved it. The day continued on as we took everyone back to the Gbedjromede Chapel for drinks and hot dogs. That afternoon at 3pm we had a great baptism with six people being baptized. Elder Halterman and two local members did the baptisms…what a great day this has been. With a trip to take Elder Cruz and his apartment elders back to Menotin, we finally hit the apartment at 5pm thankful for a fulfilling day, answers to prayers, and the blessing of serving with some really great missionaries.
PS: With not knowing what will happen this week…this may be our last journal entry for a while. Do not worry, we will make it through and return back to missionary work…we thank you all for your love and friendship.
The attached picture was taken at the conclusion of our service project and just as we had finished singing our song…what a great bunch.
Elder and Sister Leavitt
This has been a fun week with the visit of some of our children and grandchildren, Chris, Leanna and Connor, Garrett, Olivia, and Wyatt. In addition, Sandy Marshall, Leanna's mother accompanied them and we really appreciated the opportunity to spend time with her. We also had a visit from their friends Lee and Stacey Atkins and their 8 kids who are now living in Craig, Colorado. We had a great time showing them around the area as well as taking them on a trek up to Martin's Cove. We were a little concerned about going up into the Cove with a large group of sometimes rowdy kids, the oldest two being 12 and the youngest being 3 months, but I was so proud of how they recognized the spiritual nature of the trek up into the Cove and that they were all very reverent and respectful. Even the missionaries stationed up at the top of the Cove commented on how reverent they acted. Of course, the rest of their time here it was like herding cats. But, when you love the cats it's a loving and fulfilling experience.
While they were here one of their goals was to see Oscar the trail dog. We were a little concerned he wouldn't be around as it's the end of the trek season, but to our amazement, when they arrived at the apartment there was Oscar laying on our porch. That "amazing dog" always seems to know where he's wanted or needed.
Well, the kids all left today and it's going to be a big let down, but, we'll get back to work and try to stay busy to keep from missing them too much. It was so much fun getting all the hugs and attention -- even the Atkins kids were hugging us and calling us grandpa and grandma. One of my highlights of their visit was getting all dressed up in my leathers and doing my impression of the frontiersman and pioneer Ephraim Hanks and watching their wide eyes as I got into the part. After my performance, they all made me feel like I was a folk hero. Ephraim has such an interesting and colorful story that it's hard not to pay attention. We also got the opportunity to see Connor pass the sacrament for our first time since he became a Deacon and we were really impressed at how seriously he took his participation in this sacred ordinance.
This week the 12 week missionaries leave for home as things start winding down for the season and we have only another month and a half before finishing our mission here. It will certainly be a time of mixed feelings as we have had such a great experience and such wonderful associations with the other missionaries. We have truly made some life-long friends. But, we will be excited to spend more time with our family and friends at home; i.e., canasta & golf with the Johnsons, golf with Al and Jo, lunch with Mark at the Cup, and reuniting with the ward members. Something tells me we won't be bored. I will probably be estranged from Sister Leavitt for a while as she catches up on all her lunches, dinners and shopping with her family and friends, But from time to time I'll meet her for a tee time or at bedtime. I try to warn people not to make friends with her because they will never get rid of her. I guess I shouldn't complain because that outgoing personality is the reason I was able to stay friends and keep dating her until the time she thought she was going to lose me as a friend so she married me. All kidding aside, what a great companion!
We love you all,
Hi everyone -- As Elder Leavitt said, we had a wonderful visit with our family. We were blessed w/ gorgeous weather so we were able to do all that we had planned. The kids enjoyed the Interpretive Center in Casper, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and, I think, were blown away by how beautiful Wyoming is. We actually explored part of the country that Elder Leavitt and I hadn't seen before near Lander. It required going over some dirt roads but we saw some high mountain lakes and breath-taking scenery. But the highlight of the visit was our trek to the Cove. The kids loved the experience and as Charlie said, despite their young ages, appreciated the significance of what happened here. It was also so special for me to have Wyatt, Olivia and Garrett in Primary. They were so cute and smart and gave such good answers that some of the other teachers thought I had been coaching them :) Grandma was so proud !
I know all of you identify with us when we tell you what a incredible experience it was for us to be able to share Martin's Cove with our family. We had many "tender mercies" while they were here -- one of them being able to visit with Jolene Allphin -- the author of "Tell My Story, Too". We had the unexpected honor of hearing her tell her experience of attending the Testimony meeting of the Ward whose bus burned down on their way here to trek. She related one miraculous story after another. I told Leanna, that it's hard to believe, but these spiritual moments happen all the time up here.
The kids were just great -- they had so much fun playing in the campground behind their trailer and exploring the prairie. They also got to see Grandpa Leavitt kill a rattlesnake. Just before we started our trek, Lee Atkins spotted a rattlesnake in the parking lot. Charlie ran and got a snake-catcher and soon the snake was disposed of. I didn't get any pictures of it as my camera was by the handcart and I didn't want to leave and miss the action so I'm counting on getting copies of the pictures Olivia took. It was quite an exciting start of our trek.
The Monday after our family left, Charlie started feeling a little punk and had a severe headache. We were worried about it as he just recently has developed high blood pressure. His asthma was also acting up and he was very congested. We had had a dr. appointment set up for him because of his blood pressure so when he went in the dr. gave his a thorough exam and sent him for a bunch of tests. To make a long story short -- he had pneumonia, again. He had it last year at this same time. We have decided that something is in bloom at this time of year that he is highly allergic to. After giving him some strong antibiotics, he is feeling much better.
All of us here are anticipating the call of our new Director and of the Polar Bears for this next year. Elder Freeman told us that Elder Estes will be here on Monday to make the announcement so we're all excited about that. We'll have the news in our next email.
This weekend we are having a "grill-off" with one of the Casper Wards and next week Glen, Becky and girls will be here. We can't wait to see them and hope the weather continues to cooperate so they can see Wyoming at its finest.
We had our annual talent show as a send-off to the 10-week missionaries. In a word -- it was fabulous. We have so many missionaries w/ so much talent -- much of it being comedic talent. We laughed our heads off. Sister McAtee wrote a little ditty that several of us sang at the conclusion of the program -- the lyrics were really clever and funny but I also think everyone was touched. We saw many tears after our performance. It's very hard to say good-bye to our friends whom we have come to love so much.
The attached picture was taken by the Red Butte area in Lander -- one of my favorite spots in Wyoming.
Where oh where has this week gone? We have most certainly put some mileage on our old bones (and truck) to accomplish our tasks this week. We have also had many experiences to test our fortitude.
Week of July August 7-14, 2010
We began our week attending Akpakpa Branch for the final session of their Branch Conference. It was very well attended and the spirit was so strong. Sister Leavitt was thrilled beyond thrilled when the Primary children got up and sang their song “I Know That My Savior Loves Me”. The members of the branch were very enthusiastic with how well the conference had gone and how much they had learned from the teachings and training given. We felt good. Following the meeting we then headed over to Menotin to take care of some business, then home for a quiet rest of the day and, preparations for a busy coming week.
We left the apartment early, early today as we have a list a mile long of things to be accomplished. One of our must do’s is to get some credit for the Akpakpa building electricity (pre-pay) meter. We went to our usual spot only to find out they could not take our money as their computers had been down for over a week. We were told of an alternate spot but we will have to hunt to find it. We then hit all of our other places on our list finishing up at the Leader Price Supermarche. Sister Leavitt is excited that she has found a source for DVD movies in English and the young man is from Ghana and she can communicate with him.
Elder Leavitt has put in a request for a Bourne Identity movie…not only did she find one, but three + 7 other high adventure movies ALL ON ONE DVD. We are positive they are all copied and we know that is not right…but it is actually our only alternative. We were also told by the same man that the place we needed to pre-pay the electricity was right across the street…so this was a two for one, stop. Our next must do is to find a clinic for one of our missionaries to go and have some lab tests done. We decided to enquire at a large Pharmacy and, the man drew us a map which proved to be less than helpful. We criss-crossed back and forth trying to locate where we thought this clinic would be, to no avail. In desperation we called Precious to see if she knew of it, but the name was not familiar however she knew of a clinic that the other senior couples had always used. We decided that we would have her go with us tomorrow and see if this clinic could perform the tests. By the time we arrived home it was way after 3pm and we were dead on our feet.
We arose today at 6am for surprise missionary apartment inspections. Our first call was Menotin. We gave them a five minute warning and when we arrived they were up, dressed and ready. It was quite an impressive site; they had even dressed alike, all wearing bright pink ties. Their apartment was spotless, attitudes great and their song wonderful. Everyone should start their day like this. Next stop, Gbedjromede…same scenario, it was a pleasure being with them. Then on to Akpakpa and another repeat. We remarked what a difference this was from when we started these inspections, finding surly missionaries half dressed, dirty environments, disorganization in every direction. Now they are focused, alert and just plain on the ball. We gave them a spiritual thought about being of one heart and mind in all things and a motivational poster to remind them. We also drew a chart of how as teams with a combined focus (in this instance Jesus Christ), even though they are divided by culture, personality, etc., working towards that goal brings them closer. We urged them to be smart in all things, work, health, play, etc., then Sister Leavitt told them she had brought them a pill to take every day to help them do this, and proceeded to give them all a box of Smarties (candy similar to M&M’s)…they loved it. We said our goobyes and wondered how on earth we were going to pick a winner. We decided we would stop for a late breakfast/early lunch and focus on the rest of our day and try to come up with a winning apartment. We stopped at Festival de Glace in Akpakpa and had a really nice lunch, it was quiet which gave us some time to sit and think…we finally picked Menotin because they excelled in all areas…good for them. We then went to retrieve Precious from our apartment and have her show us where this clinic she knows of is. One look and we said “NO-WAY”. We did however get directions to the clinic we are looking for and finally after a series of twists and turns, found it. Precious and I went in to make an appointment and ensure that they could do all the tests. It was fun trying to communicate but with Precious by my side it was accomplished. We then took Precious home. Our next item is to go and pick up Madame Vierin and take her and the revised contract as agreed upon, to her lawyer. While they went into the lawyer’s office I sat outside and waited. It was not long before I heard heated raised voices coming out the door and my husband was loudly exclaiming “no, no, no”. It would seem that although Madame Vierin was in agreement with the minor changes the lawyer was not and was being very obstinate and rude. The end result was my husband walked out with me in tow. As we headed for the truck he stated that without the communication skills he was out of his league and could not deal with it anymore. President Gbedjangni just has got to step up and fight for what he wants for his building…somehow he felt relived and exonerated by his decision…it is OVER, he said. We then remembered Madame Vierin and Sister Leavitt had to climb the numerous flights of stairs to retrieve her from the office to take her home. She talked ninety miles an hour to us all the way in her local language as well as French so much so we had to stop and get Elder Halterman to interpret…it seems she just wanted to make sure we were actually taking her home. After this ordeal we were both so utterly exhausted…we went home to call it a day. We did have Precious call President Gbedjangni to tell him that the contract had fallen apart, then Madam Vierin called Precious to say she wanted another meeting, then President Gbedjangni said another meeting was set for 1:30pm on Thursday and he would attend, with us. With confusion at every turn we wonder is this thing on or off…we just don’t know.
Today we feed our Gbedjromede missionaries for lunch in our apartment. We fixed the same menu as before, chicken spaghetti, salad, etc., etc. They arrived promptly at 12:00noon and so did 11 boxes of supplies via DHL. So while Elder Leavitt and the missionaries were blessing the food and getting started…Sister Leavitt was in the receiving zone, checking in 11 boxes of Book of Mormons. The lunch was a huge success and we thoroughly enjoyed these wonderful young men. We love doing this by apartment as it allows us to visit and get to know the missionaries so much more intimately than when they are all together. When they were done they left with food to take home and were thrilled. We cleaned up and decided that we needed some down time, took a nice nap and relaxed for the remainder of the day. Marv enjoyed his Bourne Ultimatum movie and we both still are amazed at how many full length feature movies you can actually get on one DVD…AMAZING.
We took our missionary and dropped him and his companion off at the clinic for his lab tests. We then went to the bank, post office and paid a phone bill. This was funny as the bill said we owed 70,000cfa. When we tried to pay it the girl kept saying “no” and pushing the money back. Finally a man came out and said we only owed 1,645cfa. When Sister Leavitt asked why the bill said we owed 70,000cfa on the “amount to be paid” line…he said it was a mistake. We pray he is right and the phone does not get disconnected. A few more stops and then we headed home to wait for our meeting at 1:30pm with the lawyer. We then went to pick up President Gbedjangni in the most horrendous rain storm which came in so quickly and violently it was frightening. He said he wanted to follow us in his car (which left us wondering why we had to come and pick him up). As we travelled over to the lawyer’s office we hit the worst of all traffic jams on a round point. You literally could not move with everything coming at you from moto’s to giant trucks to cars…you name it. Somehow Elder Leavitt slowly threaded that Toyota through and we came out unscathed. We parked in front of the lawyers building and just as we were about to enter President turned to us and asked Elder Leavitt if he had called for an appointment. We just stood there dumbfounded. Precious had called him two days ago and was told that HE had got us the appointment. Elder Leavitt looked totally worn out, he quietly looked at President and said, you said you had secured the appointment, I cannot communicate with these people, there is no point in climbing those stairs, for I guarantee nobody is there, we may as well leave. President verified that nobody was in the office and then assured us he could contact the lawyer and this time, get an appointment for Friday. Then Sister Leavitt said that we would see him tonight at the Public Affairs meeting at 7pm. He said he would be there at 7pm, not 8pm which is usually when he shows up. We took ourselves home, confused and dazed at this whole process but did share a laugh, just because. We had a quick bowl of soup and at 7pm headed over to the chapel for the 7pm meeting. At 7:30pm nobody had showed, finally Brother Missigbeto came and announced that they had changed the time of the meeting to 8pm at the request of President Gbedjangni who could not make it at 7pm, but they were sorry nobody had remembered to call us. TODAY WE GIVE UP!
We will not have a definitive schedule today but we will need to get on the ball and do some shopping…which we did. Mostly we bought the supplies needed for the missionaries, brooms, pots, rags, etc. and got them delivered. We ended up after much shopping at our Chinese Restaurant for lunch, very good. As we were leaving the restaurant we got a call from Precious to say that President Gbedjangni was in the lawyer’s office with Madame Vierin, the contract was signed and they needed the deposit money (1,250,000cfa-cash). Thank goodness Elder Leavitt had anticipated this and gone to the bank. We ran home to get the money and headed to the office. My husband’s motivation…today maybe, just maybe this will be FINI! When we got to the office President was waiting and Elder Leavitt whose knee was very bad today, opted to stay in the truck and let Sister Leavitt do the leg work. All signatures in place, money counted and copies made she walks out and announces IT IS OVER! We then went to see Precious in her shop to get more copies made. Then we picked up our missionary to take him back to get his test results from the clinic so Sister Leavitt can scan and send them to Dr. Maughan in Accra, Ghana. It ran like a well oiled machine….all done.
A GREAT DAY! We attended the baptism of Freeman and Alicia a wonderful couple from Cameroon. He is a Doctor and she a Teacher. They have a lovely baby boy named Brian. Elder Cloward and Elder Gnohohi have been teaching them and they are the kind of couple we need, to grow the church here in Benin. The baptism was wonderful and the spirit very strong. Following the baptism we headed home for today is Elder Leavitt’s birthday and we want nothing to do but relax, spoil ourselves and watch a movie or two…sprinkled with a good long nap. Ten minutes into this plan our bell rang and downstairs was Pierre with another person. The other person turned out to be Arnold Odonker from Accra who is here to conduct a meeting with the Branch Presidents and Financial Clerks. We love and remember Arnold from Nigeria. He wanted to visit with us and we were happy to see him. He also asked if he could stay with us, which he did. Our day turned around on us and our thoughts turned to accommodating Arnold which involved finding a safe place for him to park his car overnight (on the street is not safe). We had a nice dinner and visit with him following his meeting, and then we called it a day.