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

Monday, March 8, 2010

March 8, 2010

Here's Sam's e-mail. Elder Halterman was Sam's companion in Togo and now they are roommates. Sam is still with the missionary from Congo. Togo held their elections last week and the senior couple couldn't cross the border into Benin for a couple of days to bring the transferred elders over.
Hey family!
Still loving life as a missionary. Really everyday here is amazing. Victorine got baptized Saturday without any problems. It was really cool, before the baptism she kept saying theres no more doubt or confusion, she knows what shes doing is right. We have fixed four more baptismal dates for the third of April, the whole zone is focusing on that date and wants it to be a huge service so we are praying for that.
Its starting to cool down a little bit which is nice. Apparently the rainy season is finally getting closer. Elder Halterman and Carver got here on Saturday and its been really nice being with Elder Halterman again. At church we had nine investigators yesterday, the most since I've gotten here, so things are starting to pick up. Benin is a little different than Togo in that it is a lot harder to get married here, so we always have investigators that cant get baptized bc they live together and have children, but are not married. But its not that big of a deal, theres no reason we cant have success here like we did in Togo.
Dang, Dads now another year older?! You hit sixty yet?!!
I dont hear too much about the elections here but I'm not surprised that they were rigged; Apparently the president right now killed his dad to get power. The boarder was closed for a while- thats why Elder Halterman was a little late getting here. Theres still three whites (two americans) in togo im pretty sure.
Ok well nothing too exciting this week, sorry! I'll talk to you next week! Love you all!
Elder Bertoch

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March 1, 2010

Elder Halterman was Sam's companion in Togo and Elder Carter was one of his roommates. I have since read that both of them are being transferred to Benin, but I don't know which one will be Sam's roommate. Elder Ghisquiere is from France, so Sam has been speaking only French lately. This will give him the opportunity to speak some English now and again.

Hey family!
Especially loved your letters this week, thank you very much! Very encouraging, you always know just what to write. This week was a little tougher but nothing Elder Bertoch can't handle. We've still been working hard and we were blessed to have 6 investigators at church on sunday. This week it has gotten HOT. I thought it was hot before but i think i tanned another four shades this week. We walk a lot under the sun but when its worse is during our appointments. We'll get there and go inside their little room and it will be like a hot box haha, just traps the heat. I think I sweat half my body weight in water every appt haha (dont worry i drink plenty of water). My companion is actually taking it worse- hes not used to different climates than Congo and I guess its not quite as hot there so hes always sweating right with me haha.
Yesterday we found out that Elder Ghisquiere is being transferred to Togo. Either Elder Halterman or Carver will come here to replace him. That would be really cool to see Elder Halterman again, we became pretty good friends. But I'll sure miss Elder Ghisquiere, he is a really good missionary, learned a lot from him in the last 6 weeks. He helped me become a better missionary and is a really good guy (for a frenchy).
Thanks so much for the package! I loved everything inside! The chocolate was melted but there wasnt a mess and I just stuck it in the freezer and it was all good! We all ate it as a district and they loved it! The soups are all awesome too! So far we have eaten the mac and cheese, cheesy potato, and the chinese one and they have been delicious!
Haha voodoo is all around here in Benin but so far we've been able to avoid it for the most part. When ever the voodoo people come out and do demonstrations a big crowd always gathers so whenever we see a big crowd we know not to get close. I've see one voodoo guy with a stick but we got around him with out any trouble. All the missionaries (especially the Africans) have stories about the things the voodoo witch doctors can do, like magic wise but I'm not really scared of them. I actually think it would be cool to meet one (but I'll be smart).
This week our investigator Victorine will be baptized. Shes was a little tough but now shes very excited. She's really great- shes smart, well off, she reads the book of mormon and gospel principles, and participates in Relief Society every week. She'll make a great Relief Society President in a year.
I love being a missionary. Thats a fact that never changes. The opportunity to talk to God's children about the gospel everyday is invaluable. I savor every chance I have to testify of our Savior Jesus Christ and of the restoration. Its hard to believe that it has already been 9 months since I started. I will cherish every moment and will not waste a second.
Ok well thats all I got i think. Love you all! Je vous parlerai encore la semaine prochaine! Que Dieu vous benisse!
Elder Bertoch
PS Also, i have repented and am now using myldsmail again so go ahead and email me here!
PPS Sounds like you had a great birthday, Jack! I'm sorry I missed it but we'll party it up when i get back! Love ya!

February 22, 2010

Sam is referring to his grandfather's 80th birthday party. We took him out to dinner in Cedar City where he lives, then the next day we drove down to Las Vegas and took him to see Tony Bennett.

Hey family!

Sounds like you all had a blast this weekend! I'm jealous you all got to go to Vegas and see all the family (although I'm where I want to be). I'm glad you all had such a good time.

This week was not too bad. Our baptisms actually did not happen this time (problems with the interviews) but they should all be ready in march and we are planning on baptizing a lot next month. Nothing too eventful happened outside of the baptism. We're are still working hard and finding those that the Lord has prepared for his message. This week we've decided to focus a lot more on getting the branch involved in the work. Right now there is not a branch mission plan in place and the members dont really know how to do missionary work so we will help them to get involved.

O ya! I got your packages, thank you very much!!! (it seems like every other email i'm thanking you for another package haha). I actually havent seen them yet, the couple just called and let me know that they picked them up so i'll run over there and grab em tonight (an advantage of living across from the couple). THANK YOU!

Finally, Happy Birthday JACKY JACK! I bought you a present but you wont get it for another 15 months or so (sorry!) but I think you will like it. Be sure to write me and let me know how your birthday went! How old are you now anyways? 15? 16? I love ya little bro.

Ok well I think thats all! SOrry, nothing too exciting this week. I'll probably think of someting i couldve written after I leave. O well. I love you all and cant wait to to hearform you again!

Elder Sam Bertoch