March 25, 2013 - His branch, happy children, teaching Tango

Hey family,

thanks for the letters as always. and i love hearing all the stories.  this week has been good, time is moving faster.  it is weird to think that elder mccray is home now, but no we didn't really do anything that cool, just went out to eat at a place called akims or akifs, i can't remember. 

yeah, i carry water almost all the time.  i have a bottle that has a built-in filter in the straw so i can drink pretty much whatever, but without that i can't much.  we have a filter in our apartment that we use to drink from.  i drink so much water though.  probably an average of 3 liters of water a day, and i use it all sweating.

my sandals are great. i'm actually wearing them right now.  my feet are filthy at the end of the day, but i love them still.  i don't wear them every day, but more than the other 5 in our apartment.  i think we are having a soccer tournament with all the branches around for this weekend, Easter, but other than that nothing really. 

the branch is great.  all of us 6 go to the same branch and there is probably like 50 on average, counting investigators.  we go at 1 o'clock because another branch meets in the morning. that is usually where i get to see elder potter for a few minutes.  the building is something the church rents out and it is pretty nice building. the new building that the church is building should open soon. i haven't been there yet but i heard its really nice.  i'm excited for that to open because i hope i can start to teach an english class there to find some new amis.  there are tons of people who want to learn english and people love saying the few phrases they know in english to me.  also english is required i think in school like every year so all the kids are leaning it too.  i hope it will work out.

our branch president is called president gabrielle, and he is awesome, and is willing to help the missionaries out a lot.  church here is definitely a different experience though.  there is no piano so we sing a capella and one person gets up and sings the first line of the song and then says like one two sing and we all start.  for africans singing is more about volume than sounding good, so everyone is just belting at the top of their lungs, and most don't really know the tune.  sometimes we'll be going along and they will sing something completely off and it will screw me up, but whatever, its awesome.  their favorite hymn is 44 in french "que tu es grand".  how great thou art in english.  we sing it all the time. 

the branch takes trips, i think four times a year, to ghana to visit the temple with whoever wants and they just went this week actually.  it is weird to not have all the temples around.  it really is such a big blessing in our lives and i miss going every week.  we have soo much in the US, more than we ever would need, but people here are happy probably because most of them don't know how it is in the US, but they are happy.  the kids especially, just happy running around wearing some shorts... maybe, probably all they own, but they are content.  it is humbling.  tall wise most africans are short so i'm taller than most of them, but there are some that are really tall. elder hales and i just tower over everyone else in the apartment pretty much.  elder gomun is the tallest african but skinny as a rail.

this week we taught a really awesome lesson to this guy named tango.  at the beginning he asked us the question basically of why there was so many churches.  i got the chance to explain the restoration a little to answer his question.  and after i had finished he was like.  that's so awesome, that makes a lot of sense.  i feel so good right now, so happy.  i was threefold excited.  number one, he understood my french, and number two, he understood the restoration, and three, he was feeling the spirit.  as we wrapped up the lesson he just kept saying things like i'm so happy right now i don't know why but this is just amazing, i'm so excited to learn and read more and thank you so much for being here explaining this to me.  so i told him, tango what you're feeling is the holy ghost, its telling you that what i told you is true.  and that's what our message is all about, so if you keep feeling what you do now as we come back and while you read the book of mormon, and when you find for yourself a testimony, will you be baptised? and he was like.. of course!  it was awesome.  i hope he continues to progress.  and i hope that will happen more and more as my french and teaching improve. 

i'm sending some pictures this week.  the monkey is mwamba.  he is crazy.  that little girl is also crazy and those kids too.  it's like a whole bunch of hyper curtis kids running around attacking me.  thanks for everything.  

love you all. good luck with school and everything.  

loves Elder Rybin