Visiting the Cocody Ward

This morning we attended the Cocody Ward which wasn’t too far from where we are staying.  There are two wards that meet in this building, first the Agban, and then the Cocody.  We got there a little bit early, in time to see some of the members and the Sisters from the Agban Ward before they left.

Here is the chapel:

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Here’s the Relief Society room:

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And here are our Beautiful Sisters who were coming and going with their beautiful investigator.

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These beautiful children really do Light the World!

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Sacrament meeting:

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In Relief Society today our lesson was on increasing our spiritual capacity (Sister Craig’s last conference talk).  I shared with them what it’s like living next to a large mosque in Bamako where prayer calls are blasted through the neighborhood several times a day.  They always remind me to keep a prayer in my heart.  But how much better it is to have the gift of the Holy Ghost whispering to our hearts and minds every day at any time, in quiet peaceful ways that share ideas and promptings and Heavenly Father’s love.  I am grateful for the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  (Yes, I said all that in FRENCH!!)

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Our Relief Society Sisters:

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The rains began about the time the meetings ended, so we stayed and visited with these good Sisters for awhile.

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Waiting for the rain to pass.

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The baptismal font:

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These youth were happily gathered after church, to look at things on lds.org and to enjoy each other’s company.  Two of these young men gave excellent talks today in Sacrament meeting.

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Happy Sabbath!

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District Presidents’ Training Meeting

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There are 6 Districts in the Abidjan East Mission and there are 6 Stakes.  Districts are made up of Branches, Stakes are made up of Wards.

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Those attending were:

President Binene
President Sossou, counselor to President Binene
President Okoubi from the Aboisso District
President Nadje from the Alepe District
President Beda from the Agboville District
President Anon from the Abengouron District
President Agbation from the Akoupe District
President Yapi and his 2nd Counselor, President Beda from the Adzope District

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These are the first on several slides on these topics, which were discussed at length:

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Snacks prepared for each in attendance:

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Here is the group of these faithful good Priesthood Leaders.

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After the meeting the food helper started bringing out all of this delicious food!  There was the seasoned rice, fried plantain, cubed fried potatoes, tomato and onion sauce, spicy hot sauce, chicken and big chunks of fish, and bottles of flavored water.  It was delicious!

Soeur Binene told me this is the meal they serve to every arriving and departing group.  It’s very traditional Ivorian food and it’s wonderful!

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What a treat on this Saturday afternoon!

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Missionary Leadership Council

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Today we got to attend an MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) meeting at the Cocody Stake Center in Abidjan.  It was great to be back with these missionary leaders!  The skies in Abidjan are cloudy and gray and most days we get some rain here.  Everything looks green and lush after being in Bamako!

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The Abidjan Temple is growing!

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This part of the parking lot will become a Distribution Center.

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Elder Tenney with his new companion, Elder Kabambi, our new Assistant to the President.

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President and Soeur Binene arrived and greeted all the missionaries.

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Here’s a summary of our day:

–Song: Silent Night
–Opening prayer
–Missionary Purpose, recitation
–Handbook reading–missionary conduct
–Announcements by Elder Tenney–Next zone conferences, Christmas gatherings
–Testimonies (1 minute) from each new MLC member. There were lots of them.
–Pres Binene’s welcome–he talked about using the missionary portal –he said that only about 50% of the missionaries are writing to him on P-day. Then he encouraged them to watch Safety Zone by reporting who had watched how many episodes.  He also said something about a missionary survey–not sure what.
–Zone Reports, key indicators, goals by each set of ZLs.  Each read numbers from each of their districts for each of the key indicators, then asked Pres Binene if he had any questions. Each had prepared a paper with the numbers for him and for the APs.
–Elder Kabambi, our new AP taught on Effective Leaders being firm in the faith and good examples.
–Elder Tenney taught from PMG 12 on adapting teaching to individual investigators.
–Sis Binene taught from D&C 88:74, 119 about sanctifying, organizing, and preparing yourselves.
–Lunch at 1:15 for 30 min. after a blessing on the food. We had styrofoam boxes with rice and chicken or plantain and fish.

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Part 2
–Song, Opening Prayer
–Pres Binene taught for 2 hours on preparing candidates for baptismal interviews, he showed slides about letting the Spirit direct, and we talked about inviting to baptism when the Spirit directs

–Song, Closing Prayer
–Light the World –Elder Tenney got up after the meeting and instructed everyone to do Light the World in their Zones or companionships. No other mention was made of it today. It feels like this year it’s more of an online campaign, and we can’t really do that here.
–Mingling until transport and taxis came

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Here’s what the slide above says:

How to Improve how to Let the Spirit Guide us in Giving Invitations
Don’t:
–Invite your investigator to be baptized on the first or second lesson as a general rule, or as a badge of honor, or as a way of sifting out someone.
–Extend the invitations in a routine way.
–Give the invitation the mode of a check list.
–Resort or move quickly to teaching the first lesson. (In 2015 they told us to “Rush to the Restoration”and then extend the baptismal invitation on the first visit)

Do:
–Be confident to let the baptism happen as indicated by the spirit, as indicated by the individual’s spiritual preparation.
–Extend the invitations that help the people where they are.
–Help the people to recognize spiritual experiences, feelings and questions.
–Understand where the spiritual starting point of each person and then teach from that need.

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What a fun day with great instruction.  These Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders will take this information back to their Zones and District Leaders and to the Sisters.  We’ll get together again for the Christmas gatherings the week before Christmas.

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Back to Abidjan we go!

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This morning as we prepared to return to Abidjan for a couple of weeks, the Elders began teaching some friends we’ve made here in our building.  We’ve met the nicest people here and many of them are interested to know what we believe.   We were pretty excited to see the Elders teaching some of them today.

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Snapped this shot as we sat on the plane, heading to Abidjan.  Passports and yellow fever cards are there in John’s pocket.

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We arrived in Abidjan this evening and Bishop Mel picked us up at the airport.  We went first to the mission office to pick up a few things we’d left there for our return, we had a nice visit with President and Soeur Binene, and then we were taken to the Ivotel in the old downtown Abidjan.  Our apartment Still isn’t ready.

It’s beginning to look like Christmas at the office!

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Here is the updated transfer board.  A new group arrived just last week.

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And here are the new Elders who will be traveling to Bamako soon.  They are waiting for some visa things to happen first.

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Feeding Friends

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Our 4 Bamako Elders received transfer news this week.  Two of them will be going back to the Ivory Coast soon, so we made a plan to have dinner with them Sunday evening.  They tell me they are tired of eating rice and fish every single day.  So we went to the local supermarche and our favorite fruit stand and Sunday after church we prepared a big meal for them–pasta and marinara with lots of meat and vegetables in it, a fresh baguette, a fruit salad with pineapple, papaya and banana, and watermelon.  For dessert (not a thing here) we used our oven for the first time and I made banana bread.  Our oven does not have a temperature dial, so it was a bit of guess work to get the flame just right.  All turned out –the meal was delicious.

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Our Bamako Elders–these two are leaving us:2019-12-3 District Mtg (4)

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Here’s how they showed up for dinner, with our friend, Romaric, the Elders Quorum President.2019-12-1 Elders for Sunday Dinner (3)

Tuesday evening we had a wonderful visit from Ibrahima and Miriam and their adorable daughter, Fatumata.  Soon Ibrahima will return to Abidjan to finish his Master’s degree in American Literature.  Miriam is also going to school, so Ibrahima leaves their motorcycle with her (she travels 2 hours to her university each day).  In Abidjan, Ibrahima is up at 4:30 each morning and he walks the 4 km to his university.  They are making great sacrifices to gain good educations.  We love them.

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Sekou and Dina were going to join us Sunday evening but Dina wasn’t feeling well, so they came on Tuesday evening instead and we had some leftovers we saved from Sunday.  Dina is returning to Accra this week.  They will be married in March.  We are so very happy for them.  Dina is brave to leave her home and family and move to Mali.  I hope we will become good friends here.

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Wednesday evening we had dinner with Abram Cosby.  He teaches 5th grade at the American School in Bamako (about an hour’s drive from us).  We went to the restaurant downstairs and had pizza and burgers and great conversation.  He’s the one on the left in the photo below.  Abram is from Salt Lake City.  He recently received the Melchizedek Priesthood and he and his mother will be attending the Salt Lake Temple in a few weeks when he returns home for his Christmas break.  We are so happy to know him and thrilled to have him in our Bamako Branch.

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