In the MTC - Sam is kneeling down in front on the left pointing to the Ivory Coast in West Africa

Sunday, August 30, 2009

This e-mail is from the missionary couple, Elder and Sister Black, who are in Togo. They are letting us know about Sam's wallet being stolen, but they also had some since things to say about Sam. I haven't noticed Sam experiencing "culture shock", but so far his e-mails haven't revealed much anyway.

August 10, 2009

Dear Brother and Sister Bertoch,

We are Elder and Sister Black, the couple missionaries serving in Benin and Togo. I don’t know if Elder Bertoch has been in touch since he arrived. He landed here in Lome, Togo on Friday and was assigned to Elder Kowkou as companion. Elder Kowkou is a very good missionary from Ivory Coast. They had a baptism on Saturday and Elder Bertoch did the baptizing so he is in the harness and pulling hard. Unfortunately he also got a lesson in the other side of Africa and called a while ago to report that his wallet had been stolen when he and his companion went to the Marche. Luckily they had already done their shopping for the week so he did not lose all of his allowance money but he did have $150 in American money and of course his credit card and drivers license. It would probably be a good idea to cancel his credit card. Most of the time a thief would just take the money and throw the rest away as credit cards aren’t used here much but you never know for sure. I am sure everything will be okay. He seems to be taking it in stride. He likely will not need a drivers license while he is here. We can make sure he gets by okay should he need any extra money until you can get him a new card. Usually the missionaries don’t need any unless they want to buy souvenirs or some such things. They get plenty every two weeks for their personal needs and we have already replaced what he lost there.

If you send him a new credit card, the best way to do it usually is to send the card (mail usually takes 10 days – 2 weeks) and then after he confirms he has it, you can activate the card the send him the pin if necessary.

All the missionaries get their mail at the same PO Box. The address is BP 4086, Lome, Togo, West Africa. In our experience, the mail has been fairly reliable.

We are really glad to have him here. We were amazed at his French skills already. He is adjusting well and will be a great asset to the mission. Most of the missionaries go through a few weeks of discouraging times as the culture shock really sets in so don’t be surprised if that happens, but after that they suddenly discover they can understand what people are saying and their missions take a turn for the good. The missionaries write home from internet cafes where they can go in and use a computer and the internet for a while for a few hundred francs. They report that most of the time it works well but once in a while Africa wins out which means they lose. We are lucky enough to have an internet connection in our house so we get by a little better if and when it works. Let us know if you have any questions or if you lose contact.

Elder and Sister Black

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