8/25/2014 - Right place at the right time

Monday, August 25, 2014 10:28 AM

Hey Family!
Its been a wild week.  the food is actually spelled igname.  its yams but they are different from the yams from back home.  just type in something like igname african fufu in google and that should get you something. 

it has been an exhausting week because of the trip to togo.  We just came back today. there were some weird situations with missionaries and so we had to stay an extra day and work some things out.  but all is well.  we don’t have a lot of time today either.  I’m sorry our p-days have been all eaten lately.  did you know there is a word in french "bouffer" now that i say it, it could be the origin of buffets the restaurants where you eat all you want.  basically bouffer means the same thing as manger [to eat].  just a fun word to say.  anyways i say all this just because the first thing that came to my mind was that our p days have been all bouffed lately.  little franglais for ya.  anyways, this week we have 5 missionaries leaving including elder diallo who is in our apartment.  we are getting elder amoah to replace him.  elder amoah is from ghana.  i really like him. it’s going to be great to have him in the apartment.

this last week elder kognani and I had a little bit of time where it turns out we didn't need to be somewhere so we went to visit some converts.  we had a couple of those just in the right place at the right time kind of moments.  do you remember aime?  the kid that got baptized really quick because he had a dream about the book of mormon?  in attiegou?  anyways he had moved to tokoin and with his sister and his sister was kind of keeping him from going to church and he just kind of slipped through the cracks in the transition.  i found this out and was working on finding him again.  when we just ran into him in attiegou.  he was like i was planning on leaving awhile ago but i don't know why i just didn't.  i was like, i do.  God wants you to come back to church.  it was really cool.  similar things happened once or twice more that same day.  

well sorry for the strange letters i know that i don't get it all in there but i try to share at least something that happened in the week.  I love you all!
Elder Rybin 

8/18/2014 - Still alive, still happy

Hey Family

Sorry for the little letter.  We are super busy, and have not really any time.  Still alive, still happy all is well.  The powder is not fufu.  that is more like pate.  fufu is with boiled ingnams that they smash in a big bowl with a huge stick until it becomes like playdough.

This week we are heading out to Togo.  We need to go out to a family home evening with a part member family right now.  We had a soccer activity this morning and Elder Kognani had to get 10 stitches on his eye.... 

Love you all!!!
Elder Rybin

8/11/2014 - Busy, making fufu, zone visit to Ouidah

Hey family!
It's been a crazy week!  We were like always really busy and didn't have much time.  I was just looking in my agenda to see what all we did this week.  We got a batch of new missionaries earlier this week.  We left on Wednesday morning to take some of them over to Togo.  We received three Tahitians, two from Congo, and one from Togo.  We brought all three of the Tahitians over to Togo.  The other three stayed here.  We came back on Thursday morning so it was not a long visit.  

On Friday we had our Leadership council with all the zone leaders and the sister leader trainer. I really like those meetings. There always seems to be something that I can get out of them that really applies to me now or can help me improve.  This time Sister Morin talked about Praying with Faith.  I feel that multiple times during my mission I have worked on my prayers but it is so easy to slip into routines and laziness with prayer.  To have consistent effective prayers is not easy.  So, I recommitted myself to again put more effort into my prayers.  

Saturday we had our mission preparation class.  There was just one person there and we were waiting for the others and so we started to play a little soccer on the road outside the apartment.  It was fun and we saw a young couple that was walking by and they stopped and talked with us for a while and they were intrigued by what we said about the church and the restoration.  God works in mysterious ways.  

Sunday after church we made some fufu in our apartment.  We borrowed a bowl mortier thing from cococodji and a pilon.  Fufu is mashed up ingnam until it becomes like a stretchy playdough kind of stuff.  I'm sure you could look up more about it online.  While you’re at it look up how they mash it.  Its crazy!  Sometimes they get like 5 ladies that stand in a circle and take turns hammering in a big old stump bowl.  They get this rhythm going - it’s really cool.  I bet you could find some more on it because it’s hard to explain.  Anyways we made our own at our apartment.
And as for this morning - We had an activity with the Calavi Zone in Ouidah.  Ouidah is a village that is between Cotonou and the border as you head to Togo. It is the Voodoo capital of the world.  There is a Portuguese fort that they have turned into a little museum, a python temple, point of no return (where their boats took sail with the slaves for the last time) and lots of other stuff to do.  I tried to take some pictures and I’ll attach them in a couple emails.  It was interesting and fun.  The weather cooperated and everyone was safe and happy and tired. 

This week President Morin has a seminar with the 70 leaders of West Africa in Ghana almost all this week.  This means we will have a little more time in our secteur [area] than usual. Just a little though because we still have some more things to do and a meeting on Friday.  It just never ends.  

Well that’s all for this week!

Elder Rybin

8/4/2014 - Stuck in Togo, bailing missionaries out of jail

Hey family!  

We had a pretty crazy week this last week.  It was tiring but good.  We spent from Wednesday to today over in Togo.  We were going to go back yesterday but Elder Christensen got malaria and couldn't drive back. Elder and Sister Christensen are the couple we have in the Bureau here.  President doesn’t drive manual cars and has a torn meniscus so he doesn’t drive unless it’s automatic, but..... all our cars are stick.  So we are in the process of selling the old car to buy an automatic version but in the mean time, Elder Christensen and I are the chauffeurs. Usually going to Togo we take our truck and Elder Christensen drives his truck or president’s car.  
Getting back today we tried to go by the house but the others were at an activity and we didn’t have our keys so we came directly to the office.  So I’m exhausted.

Mom you are probably wondering why we are writing to late.  its around 7 o’clock here in Benin.  You are probably freaking out haha. But all is well.  we had a bit of a situation and had to go bail some elders out of jail in the market.  We took a lawyer guy who is a member of the church and he worked it all out.  Nothing serious at all so don’t worry.  And they didn’t do anything wrong either.  But it took a little bit of time.  missionaries.....

For this week coming up we are not slowing down one bit.  We have a training meeting tomorrow morning and have to take someone to drop some marriage papers off north of Calavi and then Wednesday we are taking the new missionaries who are getting here tomorrow out to Togo.  We come back from Togo on Thursday.  Friday morning is our leadership council.  And Saturday for the moment we are free.  Cross your fingers.  We will have a little bit of time to see a few people during the week which will be nice.  We are available most of the afternoons, like I said, for the moment.  

We are already in August.  Just last week you said that summer started and now you are starting to mention school again.  Time is flying by.
I just ate some chili that the couple gave me.  Wow. The couple is so nice to us.  We probably wouldn’t be alive if they didn’t feed us.  

I love you all!  Happy birthday to all those birthdays!
Have a great week!
Elder Rybin 

7/28/2014 - Busy life and member/missionary soccer in the rain

Hey family!  

We had a pretty busy week these last couple of days.  President Morin visited with all the missionaries here in Benin a little like we during our last trip to Togo.  We had another special sacrament meeting on Thursday.  So our Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday were completely booked.  Friday the other companionship has a couple that they have been teaching for a while now.  They have been putting things together for the marriage for a long time now,  since that day that we fell in the big hole with the bus.  Well after a whole lot of hoop jumping we finally got things all worked out.  So Friday afternoon we picked up everyone and took them to the marriage.  It was a great day.  Especially for them.  They have worked so hard to get married.

Here getting married is kind of a pain in the butt.  Everyone’s corrupt and doesn’t care or doesn’t know.  And here, not like in Togo, the dowry doesn’t count as being married.  So it’s a little trickier.  But not impossible.  We are working with a couple right now, Leonard and Cristiane.  They are both Togolais so they are going to pay the dowry in Togo.  Things are moving along, just got to have a little faith and patience.

Then Saturday we had to make calls for a transfer that is coming up over these next two weeks.  We worked really closely with President Morin during this transfer unlike what we would do usually with transfers with President Weed.  It was a really neat experience.  I am learning so much from President Morin.  Today we had a district planned soccer activity with the members.  We went to a field in Gbedjomede right down town.  But the clouds came in the morning and it started really pouring.  It has stopped on and off but it’s still overcast and rainy right now.  Didn't stop us though.  We played in the mud, rain, puddles and all.  Too bad the members won..... it was fun though.  I'm probably going to be sore tomorrow. We were super soaked.  

As for this week, we are headed out to Togo again.  President is going to work with a lot of missionaries and we have a couple of meetings and a transfer.  These next two weeks are going to be really busy.  Not like its anything different from what we have been living for the last month though.  We are leaving on Wednesday and will be back Sunday night.  But Saturday we are coming back to the Border to swap missionaries.  

That’s a little bit of the general break down.  A couple other little things are happening.  We are going to start teaching a mission prep/scripture study class on Saturday nights because there are a lot of youth that want to go on missions here and they are in summer vacation right now.  Also I have started a little challenge around the ward.  I've been telling everyone that whoever can finish the Book of Mormon before I go home on the 9th of December (yeah I was going to tell you all.  My date got pushed back a week because of the date of arriving missionaries.  sorry if that ruins plans or what not but yeah) I will give them something special.  I’m not sure what yet.  we are trying to decide something simple but special.  What is really important is getting them to read and finish the Book of Mormon.  

Also Mom for your question what I'm studying right now.  Actually I just finish the Doctrine and Covenants in French just a couple days ago.  So I pulled out my character of Christ Book of Mormon and continued that.  I started it in the MTC but at the beginning of my mission, but I got bogged down reading that and the Book of Mormon in French so I postponed English.  But I as of now right I am at the end of 3rd Nephi so I'll be done soon.  I think before the end of the mission I am going to try and read Pearl of Great Price in French and then restart (maybe finish?) the character of Christ Book of Mormon that I already started so that I can really focus on what I marked instead of making sure that I got it all marked.     

And that’s all for now folks!  I love you lots enjoy the long letter.  Or at least I think its long, I’ve been writing forever now!

Elder Rybin