A Farewell Testimony Meeting and Dinner (for those who didn’t depart in April)

This afternoon we had 6 missionaries come to the new office for a final gathering and meal.  This is the group that was scheduled to depart in April, but couldn’t because the borders closed.  These 6 missionaries are still here.  This afternoon they had their final interviews with Pres Binene.  They still aren’t scheduled to leave, but if the borders open, they could go at a moment’s notice.

Elder Kwizera had his interview at the front end so we’d have time to meet with him.  We interviewed him once before (oral history), but somehow we lost the audio file, so we did it again today.  Elder Kwizera is the only missionary currently serving from the country of Burundi.  There are 3 branches of the church in Burundi.  I think Elder Kwizera is a Pioneer.  He joined the church in 2015 when he was 23 years old.  He will be a great strength to the members there when he eventually returns.  He’s been serving now for 27 months!

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After the interviews were completed, we gathered downstairs around our big new table for a testimony meeting before having dinner.   We each shared our thoughts, and Pres and Sis Binene ended with theirs.

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Our long-over due six:

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Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Sis Celestine and Sis Debrime had ready for us.  We are grateful for their help, even late on a Sunday evening.  All this food was prepared elsewhere and brought over this afternoon in public transport.

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What interesting times these COVID-19 months have been.  Perhaps most interesting for these missionaries who have no idea when they will return home.

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A Farewell Dinner for the Binenes with the Stake Presidents and their Wives

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This evening we had a special event–a farewell dinner with all 6 of our Stake Presidents and their wives and the Binene family.  Our Area Seventies, Elder Guei and Elder Dekaye helped to organize this send off.  We had a lovely evening in a nice restaurant here in Abidjan.

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Here are some photos of our evening together:

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President and Sister Binene spoke to us one last time.

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The Binene family:

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Dinner was a delicious buffet with lamb, chicken, fish, rice, scalloped potatoes, attieke,  plantain, vegetables and some sauces for the rice.

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The Binenes were presented with gifts of traditional clothing from the western regions of the country.  This traditional dress is called a boubou yacouba.

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The wives of the Stake Presidents:

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Photos with each of the Stake Presidents and their wives:

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President Sossou and his wife, First Counselor in the Mission Presidency:

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President Lewis (Second Counselor in the Mission Presidency) and me.

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Eveque Mel, the Greffier to the Mission:

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The Binene Family:

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A few Sister Missionaries

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We happened across these good Sisters teaching a lesson this afternoon.  This makes me feel so happy.

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And this makes me sad.  These 2 Sisters, Sister Adantonon and Sister Bankole, are flying to their homeland of Benin early tomorrow morning.  They have completed their missions and their borders have opened.  We will miss them here.  We wish them well.

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In the Neighborhood Today

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This is such an interesting place.  Everywhere you look, you could pause and watch things you don’t see at home.  It’s fascinating and it’s inspiring.  People here do hard things.

Strong young women sell fruit all day.  They wear flip flops.

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Mangoustan fruits

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It must be recycling day!

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The biggest load ever, with lots of add-ons hanging from the sides and top!

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High school boys at the end of the day.

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Lawn care business on a bike.

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Hot drink vendor on wheels.  Bottles of peanuts in the shop.

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Potions for whatever ails you.

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Peanuts for sale, mother and baby.

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Street vendor with fruit and a tired child.

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There go the bananas!

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Yams, firewood, eggs, and peanut paste for sale.

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Luggage and lingerie

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Sending sand to the roof, one bucket at a time.

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Ladies things like hair pieces and extensions, dresses and fabrics.

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A new umbrella

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A shoe shine man waiting for customers

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Working Hard

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Our dear friends, Pres Sossou, First Counselor in the Mission Presidency, and Eveque Mel, the Mission Greffier or clerk.

Today Elder Kouakou, who finished his mission last week and was released, returned to us with a new calling.  He will be an assistant to Eveque Mel, helping to keep track of the records in part of the mission.  He was set apart today.

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Here is another hard worker.  We stopped by the stake center today and I watched this landscaper haul several loads of weeds and pulled grass out to be dumped.

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We often park at the stake center so we don’t have to take our car over these bad roads.

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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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