Missionaries have been on the move this week, and Elder Black has been with them both coming and going. It began on Monday when Elder Konkou returned to Congo after the completion of his mission. Elder Stucki was scheduled to go home to St. George, Utah the next day so we decided to have all the missionaries over for a farewell breakfast. Of course, the missionaries will never turn down an invitation for a meal so they were all there promptly at 7:00 AM. We had a good time, and Elder Konkou was gone by 8:00 AM. Elder Stucki consented to bring some of Southam’s things home so he was really loaded. He took a taxi from the Togo border to the MTC in Tema, by Accra, and was going to leave the next day for home. We would then be two elders short in Lome, so President Ayekouoe sent us two from Abidjan who arrived on Monday afternoon. Boy, do we ever have a struggle with these African names as they are Elder Kouassi and Elder Kwokou. It is good that elders wear name tags or I would be in name trouble most of the time.
President Ayekoue decided to move two elders from Lome to Cotonou and two from Cotonou to Lome. That called for another run between the two cities to transfer elders. On Tuesday, Elder Black was on the road again, but I took the easy way out and stayed home in Lome. I guess I am getting real brave as I took the Lome pick-up to the Hedzranawoe marche twice. Blaise, the guardian, wouldn’t let me go alone so I did have company. The route is relatively easy and I felt real good about my little excursion as I did not get honked at. From the time Elder Black dropped Elder Stucki off at the border, went to Cotonou and returned back to Lome, it was a big 14 hour day. Elder Kpagni and Elder Lah went to Cotonou, and Elders Bowman and Gondo came back to Lome. We are getting fewer and fewer North American elders here so the flavor of the work here is changing but the African elders are doing a good job.
We came back to Cotonou on Thursday so it was back to work as usual. We feel the effects of getting older as it is very difficult to be constantly changing gears. In fact, remembering the little things like, “Is there enough butter in the fridge when we arrive?”, or “What bills do we need to pay?”, is proving to be a challenge. There is also an hour’s time change which makes the first day at each place a little difficult. But the Lord has really blessed us with the health we need to keep going. We try to count our blessings every day as these minor challenges are nothing at all compared to the severity of challenges most people face here in West Africa.
We have mentioned our alarm clock rooster that has his internal clock a little mixed up as he sometimes begins crowing about 3 AM. I finally got a good look at him this week and decided that you don’t have to be very big to make a big noise. I was surprised to see that one of his feet had been chopped off. I assumed it was done to keep him closer to home as it curtailed his mobility a little. I have seen others with a foot chopped off, also. Many chickens have an identification piece of cloth tied to or fastened on to them somehow. Some also have their feet tethered. We have not been on any streets in Cotonou without a few chickens scratching around in the sand, but they always get away from the truck as we pass by, as do the little goats.
The Sunday after her baptism, Soeur Briga had to work (she is in the military and sometimes that happens) so the confirmation was set for this Sunday. Unfortunately, Frere Briga is also in the military and is away on training for a month after which they both leave for about 6 months. They don’t like it but it is their job and they make a living by doing it, so away they go. After church, we invited Sister Helene and the two girls over for a spaghetti dinner. It was fun to visit a little and the little girls are just little dolls. It seemed good to have some kids around for entertainment. They had fun riding Southam’s elephants and playing with the few toys that we gathered up around the house. I guess this house really isn’t geared for kids like our home in Blanding, which we will see in four more months.