Well here we are now homebound in Benin. We thank the Herr's daily for their service in Togo. We love and miss our family and thank all of your who prayed for Dorothy, she is doing much better, still has a long way to go, but doing better. We hope you had a good week and have an even better one next week.
Dad, Mom, Grandpa, Grandma, Marv, Sue
Elder and Sister Leavitt
A NEW CHAPTER!
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Our plan today is to attend the Gbedjromede branch. Sister Leavitt especially wants to monitor the Relief Society as we have been getting some bad reports from the missionaries that the Relief Society is not running at all well and that new members are complaining that the sisters just sit and gossip and do not “greet” them. We also understand that the President of the branch is releasing the old Relief Society President and calling a new one. When we talked with the missionaries they stated that the Branch President was doing something different for today and that was, after Sacrament meeting all the adults were meeting together to watch two hours of the Priesthood session of General Conference. Sister Leavitt voiced a concern that it was his decision but could the women not at least watch the Young Women’s conference instead of Priesthood? Elder Leavitt met with President Lokossu and gently recommended that if he wanted the adults all together, maybe watching the closing session of General Conference would be more appropriate…and so it was changed. We therefore left following Sacrament meeting and went over to Akpakpa Branch to meet with President Desiree and the branch clerk over the recent audit conducted by Elder Leavitt. We were thrilled to see that President had listened to Elder Leavitt and had designated a teacher for Victor Dike (the lone Deacon). His new teacher is Elder Bertoch whom he loves so much…good to see that when you teach and make suggestions they are acted upon. We finished our business at Akpakpa and then headed back to the apartment for some nourishment and rest. The evening brought some mighty thunder, lightning and eventually torrential rain. As we sat in the apartment nice and dry we heard the doorbell downstairs …Sister Leavitt peeked over the balcony but could not see anyone in the driving rain. Again the doorbell, again nobody, then a third time and now she sees two drowned rats standing soaked to the skin. Sister Leavitt buzzed them into the gate and it was Bertha (Precious’ sister) and Victor. They had been attending a practice for the Africa West youth activity and could not get a transport home. We dried them off with towels and gave them something to eat and then Elder Leavitt solicited the help of Elders Halterman and Aisseba to accompany him as he took them home. The rain was so torrential you almost needed a couple of oars to get going.
Monday, June 7 2010
Today we knew we must stay focused and get some much needed things done. First stop the post office and then the bank. Thank goodness we got there early enough that it was just a quick in and out and not a repeat of a week ago when it was a two+ hour wait. We also needed to make hotel arrangements for President Ayekoue at the Benin Marina and do some serious grocery shopping. We were blessed today with decent traffic and our navigating the city was quite tolerable. We even got to pay some power and water bills. Erevan was a disappointment as it seemed to have half empty shelves…(maybe they are waiting for their ship to come in). We had lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant and it tasted very good.
In the afternoon Sister Leavitt had an appointment at the dentist to take impressions for her new cap. It took about thirty minutes total and the new tooth should be back in a couple of weeks. We then headed back to the apartment via DHL to check and see if we have any packages. Natasha assured us that we had none and none were on their way so we decided to call it a day. We had been back in the apartment only a little while when the doorbell rang and we looked down and there was DHL with a delivery of 5 packages for us (I will never figure this DHL thing out here). They contained the May General Conference Issues of the Liahonnas (very, very, late), which everyone has been anxiously awaiting…we were glad to finally get them.
Tuesday June 8, 2010
We started our day heading off to get Pierre who will show us where the Ghana Embassy is located in order that we may apply for our Ghana visas for our visit in a couple of weeks. We filled out the forms and left our passports and were told to come and pick them up tomorrow. We took Pierre back and then ran some more errands ending up at the Orca store to buy some new rugs for the bedroom. We are getting a sense of how nice it feels not having to rush around because in a few days we have to head for Togo…that is now in the past for us. Precious came and cleaned today and she and I worked on the Primary Booklet which, is now in the final stages of corrections…I am very proud of the way it has come out and feel a sense of accomplishment in this project and, appreciation for Precious who has been there with me every step of the way. It will not be perfect, but pretty close and, if it can and will be used by the members here to get the Primary’s where they need to be…then it all will be well worth it.
Wednesday June 9, 2010
Pierre called to say that the Ghana Embassy had contacted him and there was a problem with Elder Leavitt’s passport and we needed to go speak with them around 9:30am. So our plans for today changed and we headed for the Embassy. The problem was that Elder Leavitt did not have enough blank pages left in his passport and the alternatives were, cancel the trip to Ghana, obtain a “letter of travel” (whatever that is) or try to get the U.S.Embassy to insert more pages. So, off we go to try and find the U.S.Embassy. Marv had an idea as to its approximate location but we could not figure out how to get to it due to street barricades. We finally got it worked out and got close enough to park. We then had to go through three security checks until we were finally in the building. It was so nice to be able to talk with people and read materials in English. We were told to come back after 3pm and the pages would be inserted for us. We then left and went to find Precious who wants us to help her pick up some household things a former member of her branch has left behind, as he now lives in Nigeria. Well we picked her up but she did not have specific directions to the place and we got hopelessly lost in the horrific traffic so we gave up. She said she would get better directions and we told her we would try again tomorrow.
We then headed back to the American Embassy and waited until 3pm at which time we received the passport. Quick trip back to the Ghana Embassy and they took the passport and inserted the visa and VOILA! we are done.
Thursday June 10, 2010
We need to deliver the missionaries their Liahonnas and then head over to pick up Precious. This time she knew exactly where the place was and we were able to get there and get her stuff loaded in no time. The three of us then stopped at a Festival de Glace for an early lunch. While we were eating two nuns came in and they were with the Sisters of the Poor in Calavi. I had met Sister Angela at the airport a few months back and I asked them about her. They were thrilled that I remembered her and their project. We promised to put on our calendars a visit to see them in July, and we will. After lunch Precious called a driver of a bus who wants to transport our missionaries on their Super “P” Day to Ouidah on June 18th. We made arrangements to meet him in the Danktopa Market to see his transport. I would like to describe to you the Danktopa Market but words cannot express the mass of human flesh, trash, and total chaos that this place represents…in a word it is HORRIBLE. My husband has tried to get me to let him drive us “through” many time only to be met with my screaming rampage of protest. Now…we go IN. It was everything I had imagined made 100 times worse with the rains which had produced ankle deep waste of rotting garbage. The driver met us and told us to park (there was no place to park) so my husband directs me to get out with Precious and walk over to the bus to check it out. As we tried to navigate the mud, water, rotting filth and try to avoid being hit from every angle by a moto, truck or just a pedestrian I could only think to myself….”have I really been born for such a time as this”? We did make it and the bus was not bad. It was loading with men, women, children and the occasional chicken and then this crazy white woman climbs in and starts to count seats…I definitely amused them. We got the price and told the driver we would be in touch. Then we attempted to exit the market without taking out another person and/or vehicle, and we did. We took Precious to a transport stop and then headed home. My head was pounding and we both agreed that this had been a most eventful day.
Friday June 11, 2010
Today we have promised Elder Bertoch we would take him to the post office at the airport to pick up his package. We made one quick pass through the post office to see if our package notification had come (been waiting since February 26th) but no luck. Elder Bertoch as able to retrieve his package with no problems and that was good. We then stopped at Menotin and picked up Elders Starita and Tshibasu. We will have a Zone Leaders meeting at our apartment and Elders Cloward and Kouassi along with Elders Halterman, Bertoch and Starita will attend. We found the meeting very informative (heretofore we have not been able to attend due to our travel schedule) and it really opens your eyes as to what these young men have to deal with on every conceivable level. We are so proud of them and love them to death.
Following the meeting we decided that since yesterday and the day before had been days full of driving back and forth a day at home, in the apartment, was what we needed so we took advantage of it.
Saturday June 12, 2010
No “P” day today as we will be attending the baptism. We did however spend the entire morning in the apartment getting ready for Sunday. We want to meet with all the Branch Presidencies on several issues and need to get our ducks in a row. The baptism was wonderful a mother and her three children were baptized (Elders Yao and Geisler’s contacts) as well as a young man (Elders Halterman & Aisseba’s contact). The spirit was so strong. Following the meeting we had promised to pick up Elders Bertoch and Yapo at their apartment, they did not attend the baptism as they had no candidates but had several teaching appointments. During this past week as we were shopping in a market called Dupont the young man at the cheese counter saw Sister Leavitt’s badge and announced that he had taken the missionary lessons in Togo but had not been baptized. He further told Elder Leavitt that he loved the Book of Mormon and still had the one the missionary had given him in Togo. We asked him if he would like to attend church here and he said he did not know where to go. We then enquired as to where he lived and he announced Akpakpa. We promised to bring the missionaries to him and they would help him and so we did. He was working, and recognized Sister Leavitt immediately, Elder Bertoch got right to work getting his information. Of course Sister Leavitt could not leave without buying some good English cheddar cheese which she gave to Elder Bertoch as he and Elder Geisler love grilled cheese sandwiches. Back to the apartment and we enjoyed a quiet night and, thanks to Elder and Sister Herr, watched a good movie.
Marv’s Weekly Observations:
Boy it was nice to walk up to a counter, speak with somebody in English, make my request, have them give me a form to fill out in English, fill out the form, return it and be told it would be ready in approximately four hours. I am not sure this ever happens in West Africa except here at the U.S.Embassy….great experience.
Sue’s Weekly Observations:
I am always observing my missionaries when we attend meetings with them. I can tell if they are having a good day, or bad day, if they are sick or well, happy or sad…I can just tell. Yesterday at the baptism I observed that my lovely Elder Tshibasu (D.R.Congo) was sitting quietly alone, with his head down, very subdued. Most unlike the other missionaries who were laughing, patting each other on the back and greeting members. I leaned forward and said “Elder Tshibasu, are you alright? You are very quiet”. He looked at me and said “Sister Leavitt thank you I am fine, I am just taking time to listen to the spirit”. Lesson learned from a very spiritual, lovely young man.
Til next week….Elder and Sister Leavitt. Le Couple