Moving into the New Office

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We spent the rest of our day (after District Meeting) at the new office, helping to unpack and move in.  It was an exciting day for all of us!

This is the main floor, front room.  This office was built as a residence or home.  The main floor has this living area and the kitchen behind it, along with one bedroom/office and bathroom.

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Eveque Mel and Fr. Oro have been working really hard with the movers and Facilities Managers to make this move happen.

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Here is the new President’s office:

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This is the new Financial Secretary’s office, where we will live while we are here.

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Fr. Ebick and the APs will also have an office upstairs.

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Behind the home is a small storage room for supplies:

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Right now it’s filled with the old financial records that need to be shredded.

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And the kitchen is also a sorting area.

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This afternoon we went out into the neighborhood to find a money transfer place.  Here’s a look at our new neighborhood.

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The Mission Office Move

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The moving continues!  Today we stopped by the office to see what was happening.  A moving truck was there and they were busy loading it with stuff.   Everything was a little crazy.

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The supplies in the swimming pool storage area had been moved into the garage.  There are boxes and boxes of supplies here.  We need to find better ways to get these materials to the members!

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The swimming pool storage room:

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Inside the office:

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President Sossou and Fr. Oro taking a little rest.

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Here is our old office, now empty.

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Interesting wiring job:

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Still in the kitchen:

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Everything has to be taken out–including the cupboards on the walls.  The place must be left as it was found.  It’s a big job here to move.  The mission home upstairs is almost empty now.  It’s a little bit sad to say good bye to this place.

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People and Places in our Neighborhood

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This is such a colorful and interesting place to live!  Everywhere I look, there is something that fascinates me.   I wish I could take all the photos I’d like to take.  I need an invisibility cloak and time to just wander around.  Here are a few of the beautiful and interesting things I saw today.

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This is how I take many of these photos.  It can be pretty hit and miss, depending on how good the roads are (which = how fast we are driving).

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A carpenter shop:

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Recycling:

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Peanuts and attieke for sale:

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Roasting maize:

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Laundry drying between rainstorms:

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Selling drinks from a cart:

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The changing of a wall:

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And here is what I fixed for dinner tonight!

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A Farewell Testimony Meeting and Dinner

This evening we had a special gathering for 9 of the missionaries who have reached the end of their missionary time.  Only 2 of these missionaries live in the Ivory Coast and are able to return home this week.  The rest will get up tomorrow and go back to work, and they will keep working until borders open allowing them to return to their countries.  Two are from Benin, two are from Brazzaville (Republic of the Congo) and three are from the DRC Congo.

The Assistants with the Binene boys:

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We met at the stake center in Cocody.  President had final interviews with these missionaries this afternoon.  If the borders open, missionaries may be evacuated quickly, so we wanted to celebrate with them now.

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Here is the group.  Elder N’cho and Elder Wanani are on either end.  The departing missionaries are left to right:  Elder Kadima, Soeur Adantonon, Soeur Bankole, Soeur Ihuna, Soeur Tshilobo, Soeur and President Binene, Elder Wawe, Elder Kouakou, Elder Malonga and Elder Danziat.

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After the interviews were finished, we had a testimony meeting with these good missionaries.

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Soeur Celestine prepared a delicious Ivorian meal for these missionareis.

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We had footoo and fish, rice and chicken and plantain.

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Fr Ebick is our mission photographer.  He is always with us to capture the events of the mission.

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Afterwards the missionaries had their photos taken with the Binenes.

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We’re grateful we get a little extra time with so many of these good missionaries.  We will miss them when they go.

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Sunday Morning with the Elders

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This morning we took Elder Wanani and Elder N’cho to meet a friend who has been introduced to the church and wants to learn more.  We eventually found him and the Elders were able to set up an appointment to teach him.

Then we drove to their area to have a sacrament meeting with one of the members of their ward in Anono.  We’ve had heavy rains this week and many of the roads were washed out.  I love walking through these interesting neighborhoods with lots of people out and about, selling and buying. We also heard churches and people singing happy songs in several buildings we passed by.

You could see the water and flood damage in these places where no cars go. There were gullies and rivers down the middle of the roads. Sandy dirt. Lots of trash and rubbish has been washed along the way, carried here in the floods.

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We held our sacrament meeting with the Kouame family. Bro Kouame is a bishopric counselor.  He and his wife, Naomi have an adorable 9 month old daughter.  The Elders will be teaching Naomi.  It was wonderful to be with them in their home today.

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We had a wonderful sacrament meeting.  Bro Kouame conducted.  After we had the opening song, John prayed. After the announcements He asked the Elders to give the talks. Elder N’cho told the Joseph Smith story and Elder Wanani talked about Christ’s church being restored again. Then we had an intermediate hymn and then Bro Kouame gave a talk about the first principles of the gospel. Naomi listened intently. I gave the closing prayer at the end.  There is always a sweet spirit when we talk about these important things in someone’s home.

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Many areas of Abidjan have flooded this week.  Eveque Mel showed me pictures of the street he lives on in Grand Bassam.  They have to wade through water knee-deep to get to their home (which gratefully has stayed dry).  Many members of his ward are struggling with flooding and wet homes.  Gratefully, it was dry today.  A bit of a reprieve.

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After our visit here, we went to pick up 3 Sisters in 3 different areas for a special event this evening at the stake center–a departing celebration for several of our missionaries who are ready to go home whenever the borders open again.

The New Mission Office!

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This is the new Mission Office we are moving into!  It’s one of 3 new homes, side by side.  the Abidjan West Mission will be in the building on the left and we will be in the middle building.  Today we saw it for the first time.

This is the garage, or parking for the Mission President.

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This gate is the front entry.

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This is the space between the two mission offices.

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This is the living room.  It will be our reception and meeting area.

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Behind this living room is a lovely kitchen.

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Outside the kitchen is a bathroom and one bedroom which will be the office for Fr. Oro, our Facilities Manager.

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Next we’ll go upstairs.  There are 3 more bedrooms with bathrooms on that level.

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To the right, John is looking into the President’s office.

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Here is the master suite, which will be the President’s office.

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There is a walk in closet–a good storage area.

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And a very nice bathroom.

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The room on the left will be for the Mission Secretary.

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Here is the view out of these windows to the west.

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This is the bathroom for that second bedroom/office.

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The third room/office will be for the Mission Financial Clerk (right now, that’s John).

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We unloaded the things we packed from our office last night.

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This room also has a lovely bathroom.

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To the left of these office buildings/homes is a large field owned by the landlord.  We may have access to this space for parking.  You enter it from a road behind the building.

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The street that comes into the empty lot.

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This is the beginning of a new era for the Abidjan Missions.  Eight different Mission Presidents have lived in the old mission homes and offices–four for each mission, for the last 12 years.  The Mission Presidents will now live in a new apartment building close to the temple site, about 10 minutes from here.

The Binene family has moved into a temporary apartment building in Marcory while they finish their assignment here.  As soon as the borders to the Congo open, they will return home.  As soon as the airports here open, the Bendixsens can get their visas to come here.  We don’t know when these changes will be made, but we hope it won’t take long!

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The Mission Leaders’ Seminar with the Bendixsens

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This week President and Sister Bendixsen are attending the virtual Mission Leaders’ Seminar with other new Mission Presidents and their wives from around the world.  Here they are pictured in the top center of the screen.

In a talk given by Elder Uchtdorf, he shared these figures:

As of Feb 2020 we had 68,000 Missionaries
As of April we had 42,000
As of June we had 47,000
407 missionaries extended their missions
24 Mission Presidents are staying on longer
21 Interim Mission Presidents have been called
77 of this new group will go to their new missions now
55 will be delayed because of closed borders
300 Missions now (approx)
200 Missions have missionaries working from their apartments only
102% of the USA mission compliment is filled
55% of the rest of the world’s compliment is filled

What an interesting time to be a missionary!  We hope our borders will be open soon so the Binenes can return to the DRC Congo and so the Bendixsens can come here!

Preparing to Move the Mission Office

Moving an office has been an interesting experience here.  We knew it was going to happen.  We wondered about organizing things and preparing.  As we waited to see what would happen, we got our office space ready.  Nothing else was happening, until today.  We learned that when it’s time to move, you just put things in a truck and move. There were no boxes until late this afternoon, no planning what to put where, what to take, what to dispose of.  This was an interesting process to watch, a little tricky for us.

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring = Road Damage

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Here is our little neighborhood road.  When the heavens open, as they have this week, the dirt road washes away and leaves gullies, rivers and washouts.  What’s left are the rocks and road debris that’s been brought in to fill the holes from the last storm.  Every day the gullies shift and move.  We never know what we’ll find when we head out, and we never know if our mission car will make it through in one piece.

Today we just about lost the bumper after bottoming out going through some of the deep gullies.

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