Zone Conference #2 at Grand Bassam

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Today was good. The drive to Grand Bassam is only about an hour,  As we got close the roads and roadsides were flooded from rain in the night. By the time we got into the stake center, the heavens opened again and the we had a mighty downpour. The power was out (no lights or fans or power to the microphones or computers for their power points).

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Elder Pond, the finance Elder had to wade out to the generator to get it going so we’d have power. The meeting started at 10:00. We arrived at about 9:15. The stake center is nice. Large room, stacking cream colored chairs, lots of ceiling fans, louvered windows and open doors to keep us sort of cool. It wasn’t terribly hot today because of the rain, but the humidity was really high.

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The generator is running!

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President and Soeur Binene:

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Each of the 3 Zone Conferences this week follow the same agenda (see previous post).  I’m able to hear more words I understand. It’s helps to hear everything we heard yesterday again today. I started a little notebook of vocabulary words and filled 4 or 5 pages today.

We were asked to introduce ourselves and bear our testimonies again today.  It’s pretty fun to blunder through the words–I think many of them learning French can relate and they think it’s great that we are trying so hard. I’m meeting quite a few missionaries from Nigeria. I sat next to Soeur Baah today from Aba. I showed her a photo of me at the dedication of the first church building in Aba in 1983.  She was amazed to learn I lived in her area for 3 years.

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A break for lunch at 1:00.

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Bringing in the chilled bottled water:

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Ladies always go first!

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The meal was prepared by good members who own a restaurant.  We had chicken with rice and fired plantain.

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At 2:00 we went back to work.  President Binene taught and instructed us.

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After the closing prayer, we celebrated this month’s birthdays and took a group photo.

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Here are a few of the photos I took after the meeting.  The rest are in an album on Facebook.

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President usually visits with a few missionaries after the conferences, and the missionaries wait for transport, get their supplies and visit a bit.

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Soeur Baah, my Nigerian sister:

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Ebick Ngoma (far left) is our mission photographer and historian.  We will be good friends here!

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Good things happened today in this place.  I’m so grateful to be here with some of the finest people on this continent.

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The church parking lots are made available to local soccer players.  They love having a good surface to play on.  I loved seeing all of them surrounded by missionaries as we left the building.

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Zone Conference #1 in Adzope

Today we traveled with President and Soeur Binene to Adzope, about 2 hours north, to our first of 3 Zone Conferences this week.  We’re excited to get to meet all of the missionaries serving here in the Ivory Coast Mission (except for the 4 in Bamako).

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We were greeted by these good missionaries.  A few walked, but most traveled here with public transport.

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The building in Adzope is one of several in this part of the country.   I love how open the buildings are so the breeze can blow through the windows.  And the ceiling fans help to keep the air moving over us.  It’s hot and very humid here.

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This morning Pres Binene had some power points and he followed an agenda which included having us recite the mission purpose/statement, reading from the white handbook, going over some rules and regulations, a period of Q&A, a lesson from a Zone Leader and also from a Sister Training Leader, a segment of the Safety Videos, and then Sis Binene taught about overcoming temptation. She speaks with great confidence.

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We had lunch at 1:30. Some local members prepared rice and chicken and fish and fried plantain. They also had Futu for those who wanted some. It’s cassava pounded with plantain. There wasn’t really space for tables, so everyone went everywhere to eat. They prepared a small bishop’s office room for us and the Binene’s to eat and brought us huge portions!

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I am always AMAZED at how much missionaries can eat!!

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This afternoon Pres Binene taught for an hour or two.  He addressed topics like using the Book of Mormon, a discussion on what are your greatest blessings (he let missionaries answer) and then we talked about why it’s so important that we share the gospel to share these blessings,  he talked about what motivates us, and then we had a long segment on preparing people for baptism out of Preach My Gospel.   President Binene is a good teacher, animated and his voice is strong and confident.  He also speaks very clearly so those of us learning French can understand more easily.

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We are trying to understand and speak French. It’s hard and my head feels like words are swimming around in it, all a jumble. I try to listen carefully, but sometimes my brain just gets tired.  I know many of these missionaries have felt the same when they first arrived.

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Here is the whole zone:2019-10-30 ZC Adzope (75.1)

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I’ve posted all of the photos I took on the Mission Facebook page for the moms and families to enjoy.  These are just a few.

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Here is one of the transport vans hired to bring the missionaries and take them home.2019-10-30 ZC Adzope (94)

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Supplies are always distributed at zone conferences.2019-10-30 ZC Adzope (97)

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What a great day!  We left with our hearts and heads filled with good!  (The boxes up on top help to hold all that goodness in!)

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A District Meeting in Bingerville

2019-10-29 District Mtg Bingerville (13)This morning we traveled with the APs to the Cocody Stake Center for the Bingerville District Meeting.  This is a large district with lots of beautiful Sisters–and some pretty fine Elders too!  2019-10-29 District Mtg Bingerville (1)2019-10-29 District Mtg Bingerville (2)Each companionship shared their week’s key indicators (baptisms, investigators on date for baptism, investigators attending sacrament meeting, new investigators, copies of the Book of Mormon placed and number of members they worked with in the last week).  They discussed the people they’re working with and challenges and successes.  2019-10-29 District Mtg Bingerville (3)

Then their District Leader, Elder Mariteragi taught a wonderful lesson on the importance of the Book of Mormon.  There was a lot of good discussion.  We are all grateful for the gift of the Book of Mormon in our lives.2019-10-29 District Mtg Bingerville (4)2019-10-29 District Mtg Bingerville (5)2019-10-29 District Mtg Bingerville (6)2019-10-29 District Mtg Bingerville (7)2019-10-29 District Mtg Bingerville (8)2019-10-29 District Mtg Bingerville (9)2019-10-29 District Mtg Bingerville (10)2019-10-29 District Mtg Bingerville (11)2019-10-29 District Mtg Bingerville (12)The temple next door is growing!2019-10-29 District Mtg Bingerville (14)

Branches Re-organized in the Agbroville District

2019-10-27 Blankro Branches Re-organized (1)This morning we traveled with President and Sister Binene to the N’dotre in the Agbroville District, where 3 Branches and a Group were re-organized into 5 Branches, making 9 total!  The District President is Pres. Bedar.  It was a big exciting meeting for these good members, who traveled from their various areas to attend.  We arrived at 9:00 and enjoyed watching everyone arrive for the 10:00 meeting.

The Church building is open on one side, with a tent in the back for overflow.  Class rooms and offices are to the right.2019-10-27 Blankro Branches Re-organized (3)We have several missionaries serving in this District.2019-10-27 Blankro Branches Re-organized (5)2019-10-27 Blankro Branches Re-organized (6)The baptismal font:2019-10-27 Blankro Branches Re-organized (7)The sound system for today:2019-10-27 Blankro Branches Re-organized (8)From the tent looking into the chapel:2019-10-27 Blankro Branches Re-organized (9)The choir provided prelude music and sang a beautiful number in the meeting.2019-10-27 Blankro Branches Re-organized (10)2019-10-27 Blankro Branches Re-organized (11)2019-10-27 Blankro Branches Re-organized (18)

Here are the changes that were made during this historic meeting:

The Blankro 1st Branch remained the same.  They meet in the Blankro building.

The Blankro 2nd Branch was divided to create a new Blankro 5th Branch.  They meet in the Asoko building where we met today.

The Blankro 3rd Branch had a dependent Group which became the new Blankro 4th Branch.  The 3rd Branch meets in Blankro and the 4th Branch will meet in Abingue.

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Front row left to right: Mission Presidency, Senior Couple Lewises, District President Bedar.   Back row: New Leadership for the reorganized branches
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Back row: Blankro 3rd Branch Leadership. President Zrakpa is 3rd from the left.
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Back row: Blankro 2nd Branch Leadership.  President Kouodio is the 3rd from the left.

2019-10-27 Blankro Branches Re-organized (28)Back row: Blankro 4th Branch Leadership. President Asseu is 3rd from the left.  This is formerly the dependent group.

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LDS Refugees in Grande Bassam

2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (1)At the baptism this morning, the Bishop told us about some members near Grande Bassam who had lost their homes in a horrible rain storm a few weeks ago.  Their roofs caved in and their homes were not livable. The Bishop gave them permission to move into one of the church buildings. There are 6 families living upstairs in the rooms above the church. We drove about 5-10 minutes to go see what was happening there. Pres Binene said that someone from Accra came to visit and to meet with government officials to see if any humanitarian aid could be given.  They are waiting and wondering where to go.  We went to see if we can help move the process along.2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (2)2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (3)The chapel and some classrooms are downstairs.  The 6 families are staying upstairs.2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (4)The sacrament table:2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (5)

Clothing drying outside the chapel:2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (6)2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (7)2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (8)2019-10-26-grande-bassam-ward-refugees-9.jpgA small kitchen:2019-10-26-grande-bassam-ward-refugees-10.jpgOne family had a newborn daughter.2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (13)2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (14)2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (17)2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (18)Here is the baptismal font seen from upstairs:2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (20)2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (24)2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (26)2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (28)I hope we can help send some aid soon.  I’m grateful these good people have a place to stay for now,2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (29)This is the street the church is on.2019-10-26 Grande-Bassam Ward refugees (30)

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A Baptism in Grande Bassam

2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (1)This morning we traveled with Pres Binene to Grande Bassam for a baptismal service.  The drive took us along the Atlantic shore for much of the 45 minutes we traveled.  It’s interesting to see some more of the country here and watch the industrious people here.  There is work to be done, and everywhere people are doing it!    We arrived at the Grande Bassam stake center at 9:00 and waited for the missionaries and members to arrive. 2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (2)2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (4)2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (5)The baptism “room” is open on both sides, with a nice font at the front and changing rooms behind it.2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (3)Five new members were baptized today!  The missionaries were excited and came from the surrounding areas to participate.2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (7)2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (8)

The Bishop of the ward:2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (12)2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (13)2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (15)2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (17)A pause for pictures!2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (19)2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (22)2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (24)2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (30)2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (32)2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (34)2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (35)2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (36)2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (37)When we watch missionaries like these, we know the future is in good hands!2019-10-26 Baptism Grande-Bassam (39)