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

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 19, 2010

Hey family!
Glad to hear that everyone had a good week except Jack! Feel better, little bro! Maybe kicking Dad's butt in Mario Kart a few times will help!
Yup, we'll be moving to a bigger chapel soon! Its a very welcome change, yesterday we had over sixty people at church so that meant the missionaries plus some other members were forced to spend sacrament meeting outside haha. Also, during sunday school and the third hour, there were not enough chairs for all of the classes. Those are always both very welcome problems at the church, it means things are progressing! There were twelve investigators at church which was really great too! Our prayers are really being answered. I was in charge of teaching the first ever Young Men/ Young womens class at Akpakpa and then the deacon/teacher class (there is one of each). It was very fun. Afterwards we went to a few appointments and then the evening our branch president invited us to his house to eat. It was very good food. A good way to end a good sabbath day.
Whoo, cant believe i'm almost already back into August. I have fun recently by reading my journal entries from one year ago and seeing the difference now.

Its heating up there? Its actually been cooling down a lot here. Like some nights i dont even sleep with my fan anymore. I'll enjoy it while it lasts- i remember last August when i first got here it was scorching ( or maybe thats just because i wasnt used to it). And its still been raining like crazy. Last thursday it was our turn to get stuck out in a flood. We were at our investigator Migan's house so we tried waiting out the storm for a couple hours but at about 7:30 we decided just to roll up our pants and go for it. We were about twenty mins from the appartment and we had to hike home in shin deep water. It was quite the adventure and luckily my new shoes survived it.
Haha wasps have very good eyesight and sense of smell? Where do you learn this stuff?
A scripture that helped me this week. Hmm, there are a few. One thing I have discovered on my mission is a love for the New Testament. So, i really like the Parabole of the Two Sons in matthew i think. In the Book of Mormon, i read a scripture that i could relate to in the last verse of Alma 27 or 28 i cant remember which. It talks about how he experiences sorrow in the destruction of the people but joy in the light of Christ. I have never had so many reasons to rejoice and sorrow at the same time. Some people will reject Christ and keep on persisting in their stubborn wicked ways, but i can always find joy in the people that accept the gospel and seeing the light of Christ bring so much happiness to them and their families. Its those moment that keep me going and give me the strength to try to find more of them. Those are the moments that strengthen my testimony and make me thank our Heavenly Father for letting me serve him as a missionary. I love this work.
Ok well i love you all! Have a good week! Cant wait to hear from you again next week!
Elder Bertoch
July 12, 2010

Hey everyone!
Glad you had a good week and that the trip to Aspen finished well! You've become quite the active family! And I'm so happy none of that stuff got stolen! I pray for you all every night so i'm happy to know they are being heard.
As for how my shoes got stolen...its really not that exciting of a story. To get into the appartment/church you have to go through an outer door which we always lock. Then we just keep all of our shoes on the second floor balcony (shoes are not allowed inside the house, if so we would not have the cleanest appartment). So probably while we were sleeping someone jumped the walle, went up the stairs, ignored the ten other pairs of shoes and took my eccos and my nikes and one of my companions pairs. I have no idea why he didnt take them all, theifs really just arent that smart.
Sooo...i dared to go to the GIGANTIC street market today to look for shoes. It was a success and i had fun bargaining along the way. I found nikes that i bought for twenty dollars and eddie bauer brand shoes for another twenty dollars (he asked for seventy dollars to start with and i countered with 14. Ended up at twenty). So if you send forty dollars to the couple that would be great. (Its amazing how cheap everything is here. I also bought three ties for a total of 4.20 dollars).
So this week was just ok. It would have been great BUT Carine went back to the hospital and they say she needs to keep the cast on for another month (again!). So that stinks. We wanted to baptize her with her dad and brother this month but we can wait until next month. All will go well. She took it much better this time. We showed up with food to celebrate but we ate anyway and even joked a little about it. When she finally gets it taken off she'll have been in that stupid cast for over 7 months!
In better news Raul is going better. There was a baptism service on saturday and he came to watch it with us. If we can just get him to come to church regularly he would be great for the branch.
Pierre and Elodie missed church yesterday. You wanna know why? They had bought the eighth season of 24 (they sell that for the equivilant of a dollar here) and had been watching that all last week. Sunday all of their friends were over to watch the last few episodes so they couldnt leave. I didnt know whether to smile or chastize them. Hopefully they will have better priorities next week.
Church was good again yesterday. I was assigned to give a talk and teach Elders Quorum. I couldn't decide on a topic for my talk so i decided just to do what i love best- I told the Restoration Story. I dont think there has been another event in modern history that is more important or touched the lives of more people. I love bearing my testimony of it, as simple as it is.
In other news, the Leavitts found a new chapel for Akpakpa now cuz this one is too small. So in about October the church and the missionary appartment will move. Too bad i probably will not be here.
Haha I keep dry just by wearing my raincoat you sent with me. My umbrella actually broke a couple weeks ago so i should probably replace that soon too.
Theres crime in my area but nothing i'm afraid of. Its usuall small stuff, although there have been two armed robberies not too far from us. As far as like being held up or something like that, i've never heard of that here.
Well I hope you all have another good week!
Elder Bertoch
July 5, 2010

Bonsoir tout le monde!
Hows it goin?? Sounds like you're lovin Aspen! And Jackson has been HIKING without complaining??? A lot has changed, a lot has changed.
Anyway, first off I'm gonna have to bug you guys by asking for stuff this week. First, my black eccos and my tennis shoes might've kinda gotten stolen this week...not cool haha. Anyway if you could send me money through the couple i'll probably be able to buy some news shoes for pretty cheap somewhere here (we played soccer this morning with some members/investigators and i had to wear the size twelve shoes of my companion haha). Also, i need new white shirts cuz i'm not intelligent and hanged up a lot of mine to dry with metal hangers after i washed them and now they have rust stains. And I already tore one of the new ones you just sent me. Just three or four will do (size 14 1/2). Also, an electric razor would be nice but not necessary. That is all. Thanks!
Another good week gone by! Our district was named the Celestial Appartment of the month in Benin (another new thing that has started in the mission). I'm not exactly sure what that means but it sounds cool. Our investigators are still doin ok except for the fact that we cant get a lot of them to come to church now. Thats the only thing stopping Raul and Vincent from being baptized. Our investigators that do come to church are all people that cannot be baptized for commandment reasons. We did talk to Pierre and Elodie about the law of chastity yesterday for the first time and they are all for getting married! The only problem now is they need money and they might want to wait until they could do it in Cote DIvoire. The branch probably could help them with the money so we'll just have to see if they are willing to get married in Benin. Praying hard. Carine is excited to get the cast off this wednesday! My only concern now is that she still wont be able to walk and will have to go through serious rehab; its been six months since she walked, the accident was pretty serious. I feel like if she can start getting around we'd be able to baptize her and her dad (he came to church once and liked it but could never come back because hes the only one at the house who can still move around and he talks care of Carine and his mother) and her little brother. Still praying hard.
I think that next transfer will be in August cuz thats when the next zone conference (Elder Stitati from Kenya will be there) is and that is when the Baileys and Elder Skousen, Elder Fountaine, and Elder Olsen all finish their missions. I'm pretty positive i'll be moving then which will be sad. There are four zones in the Ivory Coast and they are all in Abidjan except for Yamousoukro which is a city like three hours north i think. I would love to go there, I hear there is some cool stuff to see and the church is a lot smaller up there than in Abidjan which i would like but there hasnt been a white missionary in that zone for over a year. What's sure is that I'll be wherever the Lord wants me to be.
Things have been still pretty cool here too- I guess we are in "winter" now. I dont even sweat anymore which is really nice. It was also very sad when Ghana lost to Uraguay. It was at like 8 pm here so we were already in the appartment but there is a bar that was full of people right next door so we could hear them screaming whenever something would happen (actually it sounded like all of Africa was screaming) and then just groans when they lost.
Ok well i think thats it... I love you all and have a great rest of a trip! Congratulate Susan on her success for me! Thanks for the email grandma! I always love hearing from you! Good luck helping people find work! Talk to you all next week!
Elder Bertoch