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

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 18, 2010

Hey everybody!

Wow sounds like you guys had a great time in San Fran! (Especially the incident with the drunk lady haha) I was trying to figure out why you waited till i left to start going on a bunch of trips and then i realized...without me there theres nobody to fight with Sydney and Jack! Things are probably so peaceful haha!

Ok onto your many questions:
No signs of violence or protests or anything. Maybe its just because we're are in the appartment really early, but i have noticed any big differences. Just normal campaigning- billboards, stickers and such. The only real worry i think is that after the results come out (the 31st) the losers wont accept it and cause problems. The way i heard it is that there are three major canidate and all three are positive that they are going to win. Im not worried tho, really everything is calm.

I head off to my new appartment next monday. Its not far from the us embassy, the airport, or the mission home so if anything does happen we will be in the best place. And there are three different appartments for the non ivoriens so its not all the whites that are together. The americans in my appartment are Elder Carver, Elder Cruz, and Elder Halvorsen and then a mix of missionaries from benin, togo and congo. We'll all be together until the 8th of November and then there will probably be a big transfer because a lot of missionaries arrive and a lot finish too.

With the shoes I think size ten would be best. Eleven will probably be too big for me. Seven pairs of garments would be ok, that way i can throw away the old ones. One other request- roll on deordorant (3). Impossible to find here and i just started my last one.

No serious health problems lately. Ingrown toenails are still a problem but nothing that slows me down too much.

I have never attended another church but we have taught a lot of pastors. Never had any of them make any real progress but one did come to church once. Gotta be careful here cuz if you are not careful they will take church materials to go teach in their churches haha (they especially love Gospel Principles).

Eek i haven't played basketball since Togo. If we ever play sports here its always soccer. Always soccer. I'll be way out of practice by the time i get back haha.

I have not heard or read General conference yet! Can you put a couple Ensigns in my package too?

Anyway, this week was amazing as usual. We will baptize, fingers crossed, four of our investigators this saturday and three the saturday after that. One of them is actually the best friend of Elder Yao who was in my district in Benin so thats pretty cool. My companion had me take charge of the area this week so i'd know it better which really helped me- i need to get everything down pretty well because it is very possible when i come back to Koumassi my companion will be transferred. We still get a long just fine- things are usually pretty quiet at the appartment cuz it is just the two of us and we have to find quality things to fill out time from 5-10 at night. This week we'll be busy with a meeting the the district leaders in our zone wednesday, a meeting with all the mission leaders at the office thursday, baptismal interviews thursday and the baptism saturday so we'll have a lot to fit in. Anyways, love this area, love this ward, love my companion, love being a missionary and i love you all! Im just filled with love haha.

Elder Bertoch

Ps Dang i wrote kind of a lot to day. Your welcome.
October 11, 2010

Hey again!

First off, the report on the giant mouse- We found it was living under our entertainment center thing so we scared it out and chased it around the appartment trying to whack it with broomsticks. Weirdly enough, that didnt work and it escaped out onto the balcony. We have not seen it since. End of report.

The baptisms went well last saturday. All three were able to get baptized. We have six other potential canidates for the 23rd which would be great. My companion and I are hoping to be companionship of the month for october.

So the 25th I will be going to the Riviera appt with ten other non ivoriens (a couple americans, some togolese, beninese, and congoese). There are only four beds there so a lot of us will be sleeping on the floor. We'll still do missionary work while we are there we just cant go far from the appt and have to be home early. Should be fun.

In the birthday package i would like-
A pair of black shoes (the pair i bought is already falling apart)
Mesh garments
Those are the only really specific things that i was thinking of. As i remember other things I let you know.

Yes, please go ahead and renew my drivers lisence. You never know.

This week was pretty busy. It seems like we have so many things to do but such limited time that we can never really do something 100 percent, we just do everything 75 percent haha. We went and visited the missionaries in our zone who are at Grand Bassam (a city just outside of Abidjan) and did their district meeting with them. We also had a meeting at the mission office and it just seemed like we were never actually in out area. But we manage. We've gotten good at relying on our members to help us if we dont have time- our ward mission leader is an ex missionary so if we dont have time to visit someone we just ask him to. All in all, things are going pretty well. Yesterday was missionary sunday so we spoke at church and taught the classes and that went well too.

Haha so after I thought about it, 136 lbs seemed way to small. So i weighed myself again and i actually weigh 144, much better. And im pretty sure i'd be ok going on a cruise when i get back, sounds like a lot of fun.

Im glad you had fun at outdoor ed jack! You'll have to let me know what all you did!
Ok, have a good week! I love you all!

Elder Bertoch
October 4, 2010

It ended up that Brother Leavitt came into town as well, so we rescheduled for a couple of days later and had them to dinner. We had a fabulous visit - what wonderful people they are! We are so indebted to them for all they did for Sam and the other missionaries in Togo and Benin.

Hey family!

Ehh, Im so jealous you guys got to meet with the Leavitts! They are so amazing, all the missionaries here were in love with them. I dont think they realize how much they helped us and the church grow in Benin.

Ok people you would know in my zone...umm Elder Geisler is a district leader in my zone and i think thats it. Elder Kuiongbe is from abidjan, the toit rouge stake more specifically. O ya, Elder Halterman has gotten skkkiiiiinnnny. I wont tell you how much i weigh. Ok, i will- 62 kilos. About 136 lbs. I'm actually just praying that that scale was broken haha. But dont worry about me, im perfectly healthy.

This was a pretty good week. Got a good taste of what zone leadering is like. Visited all of the districts in our zone and exhorted them to do better and resolved problems and such. With the elections coming up we have to be home at 6 pm everyday which makes the work harder. And starting at the 14th we have to be home at 5 pm. And starting the 25th all of non ivorien missionaries have to regroup together in the same appartment for a couple weeks. Not good for missionary work but a neccessary precaution i guess. So, we are going to baptize all of our canidates before the 25 (at least that it the plan). This saturday we are going to baptize three (Monique, Aminatha and Irene) and the next saturday or the saturday after that we whould baptize four more (jacqueline, joseph, richard, dorcas). The work is moving a long nicely in Koumassi. Its great to see how much the Lord helps us in this work. In no matter what area we are, there are always people that have been prepared to recieve this message.

Hmm, what else? Theres a giant mouse living in my appartment. I will take care of it this week and report back next monday.

Ahh gotta go! We did some work for Sr Ayekoue today so we didnt really have time to write! I'll try to get permission to come back tomorrow morning to write more and to write everyone else! Love you!

Elder Bertoch
September 27, 2010

Sister Leavitt, who was one-half of the missionary couple in Benin with Sam, called when she was in town visiting her daughter (who knew they had a daughter so close). She wants to meet us and show us pictures of Africa. Needless to say we are very excited to meet her.

So, I really like my new area. Elder Kuiongbe is great, hes an oldtimer, finishes his mission in January. Hes a funny guy and a real hard worker. Really knows how to connect with people so i'll learn a lot. Hes been zone leader for about 6 months so he'll train me well. We have a zone of twelve missionaries (three districts like all the other zones) so it is not too overwhelming or anything. Right now we're just making sure everyone understands the new planning methods that Elder Sitati taught us. Nothing too difficult, but we do use a lot of time and money visiting other appartments.

Haha, Elder Cunningham was one of my companions in the mtc. He's been in Abidjan his whole mission, most of it in the same zone (hes zone leader now too). Me and Elder Starita actually realized when i was leaving that this will be the first time our entire missions that we wont be in the same zone. Crazy.

I called Elder Aiba yesterday to see how the baptisms went and there were two that went through so that was good to hear. We had six more baptismal dates for october so i'll be checking back in to see how those turn out.

Zone Conference was great. President was extremely happy with our zone (niangon) and the work we had done. Our zone baptized the most for the month so he didnt have much to complain about.

Haha of course i take doxy! Elder Starita does too and he got malaria the day after me. Apparently we just had really stubborn mosiquitoes in our appartment.

SISTER LEAVITT IS COMING OVER? Thats exciting! Tell her i say hi!!! And thank you again! Hows Elder Leavitt doing? Its too bad you wont see him, i think you'd really like him haha. The couple in the Ivory Coast is the Gublers but they stick pretty much to the office, I dont really know them. They are from las vegas.

Koumassi is a ward in the cocody stake. We had about 84 ppl at church on sunday, not toooo bad (my other ward it was 194). As zone leaders, we are expected to have better numbers than everyone else so we'll be teaching a lot. Elder Kuiongbe has already baptized ten ppl this month (his reputation in the mission is that he baptizes like crazy).

Ohhh with eight months left i'll probably get transferred one more time, two if im lucky. Halterman is still in Benin but im pretty positive hes coming over in a couple weeks cuz his visa has to be pretty much up by now.

Ok well thats all i got for this time! Let me know if you have anymore questions, it makes writing so much easier! I love you all!
September 20, 2010

Hey family!

Loved to hear that you all had a great week! That spider is pretty dang cool. Jackson, whats with your hair?! I would never have hair that long.

Another great week for me too. Wednesday and thursday morning i had leadership meetings to go to. They were pretty interesting, we are being trained on a new way to do weekly planning. We also did zone reports and out zone is at the top so far for the month of september which is nice. Saturday we baptized two investigators, Guy and Innocent which was pretty cool. They are both in their twenties and are super nice. They will be good for the ward. We've been having a lot of success lately, sunday we had 18 investigators at church and this saturday we are going to baptize four more people. Well, actually Elder Aiba will baptize four more people because a got the call saturday night that I am transferred wednesday to Koumassi to be zone leader. My new companion is Elder Kuiongbé whos pretty cool, he actually trained Elder Cunningham. Anyway, so like with every transfer i am full of mixed feelings, excited to go work in a new area but sad to say goodbye to all the people that i have grown to love here.

Other than that, not too much happened. Tomorrow we have zone conference with President again so that is always exciting.

The elections for cote divoire are comming up at the end of october so there are a bunch of precautions with the missionaries now. For the moment we just have to be home by 7 pm. The 25 of october all of the non ivorian missionaries are going to be grouped together in an appartment for a couple of weeks. Like i said, just precautions, there is nothing serious that is going on. I am just annoyed cuz thats going to make baptizing people kinda difficult. I only have eight and a half months left!

Ok well thats all i got for this week! Love ya all!

Elder Bertoch

This is an afterthought to our question about his mentioning last week that he was a "little" sick: haha i had malaria but it wasnt that bad. I had a fever of like 102.5 so i went to the hospital, they did the malaria test, gave me the medicine and sent me home the same night with orders to rest for three days. By the next day i was feeling pretty much fine again. You guys dont have to worry about me, nothin can take me down.
September 13, 2010

Hey everyone!

Things are going great still! Nothing too exciting happened this week. I actually got a liiiiiiiitle sick (just a little) so saturday and sunday we took it a little easy. Our baptisms all actually got put off till this saturday so we're hoping that they go through this time. I did a split with Elder Mayinguila this week (hes from congo and in my district, hes only been out for about five months) and that was fun. I always like meeting other peoples investigators and seeing other areas.

This week we also had a meeting with all the auxuillary leaders about missionary work in the ward. In theory we are supposed to recieve five contacts from each auxillary each month but that hasn't happened since i've been here so we finally got them all together to talk about it. We got the plan all organized and now i think we should recieve even more contacts than before.

The next transfer would be the 22nd but i try not to think about it. I'm actually hoping that i'll stay here so we'll see.

My favorite investigators of the week are Monsieur and Madame Nanan. They are a pretty well off couple that live together with their 8 month old baby. We teach them and the wife was coming to church but now we have finally got the husband to come to church too. They are not legally married so yesterday our bishop (like a champion) pulled them aside after church and took the time to talk to them for a long time about marriage. We'll gonna try and get them married next month which would be great.

Haha the fish tasted fine [see picture of fish head below]. We eat stuff like that all the time so i didnt even think to take a picture of it until Elder Boty suggested it. The big think here in CDI is fish so they have alllll kinds. My favorite is probably smoked tuna. Its pretty good.

Ok thats all for this week! I love you all! Good luck with weight lifting! Keep up the good work!

Elder Bertoch