Dear Family and Friends,
Dr. Maughan our Africa West Afrea Doctor in Accra, Ghana calls us the "Energizer Bunny Missionaries" and this week we wore out our batteries thats for sure. Here is our report.
Our love continues to grow for our children and grandchildren and our friendship and thanks continue to come forth to you are friends...thanks for your support.
Elder and Sister Leavitt.
PS: I will be posting more pictures today on http://www.leavitts-backtoafrica.blogspot.com/ so take a few moments to peek into our world.
IT’S ON, IT’S OFF…IT’S ON, IT’S OFF…IT’S FINI!
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.
Til next week….Elder and Sister Leavitt
The Blessings of Complications, Part II
6 days ago