Our Delicious Local Fruits

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This is my favorite way to start the day!  Every where you look, on every street, you will find fruit stands and vendors.  If I lived in Africa, this is what I’d do.  I grew up on a fruit farm and worked in a fruit packing shed for years–from the time I was small until I eventually moved away from home.  For me, fruit is the food of the Gods.  And Africa has some of the best fruits ever.  None of these local fruits grow where I come from, so this is a special treat.   (The mandarins and limes and apples are brought in from other areas.)

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I think these girls are absolutely beautiful.

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The yellowish fruit above are cocao fruit (the seeds are used to make chocolate) and the orange ones to the right are called côcôta here in Côte d’Ivoire.  You can learn more about côcôta here:

http://www.afriquefemme.com/fr/sante/nutrition/12145-le-saba-senegalensis-madd-un-fruit-tropical-aux-mille-et-une-vertus

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Mangostan.1

These dark purple fruits are called mangoustan.  I tried one for the first time today and it was delicious!  You can learn more about them here:

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangoustanier#:~:text=Le%20mangoustanier%20ou%20mangoustan%20(Garcinia,Moluques%E2%80%A6)%2C%20de%20Tha%C3%AFlande.

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We Love the local pineapple.  This variety comes from Yamoussoukro.

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Soursop fruit

You can learn more about this soursop here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soursop

The fruit here is so colorful and there is so much variety.  What a gift.  I wish you could taste each one!

 

 

 

 

Saturday at the Office

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John is always happy to help with the issues that come up, like medical reimbursements.  These Sisters came today to get some help with a prescription.  He’s also preparing for the mission audit next week.

While he did that, I went to work with the new paper shredder we just got.  We have years and years of financial records to shred.  It’s going to take awhile to get through them all.

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We have some other exciting news.  Our Mission Office is moving!  Both the Abidjan East and West Mission Offices and Mission Homes are changing locations.  The Mission Presidents and their wives are moving into new side-by-side apartments across the street from the Cocody Stake Center.  The Mission Offices will move into a new space next week.  We have to be out of our current mission home by the end of the month.

The Binene Family is moving today into a temporary apartment in Marcory until they return to the DRC Congo sometime after July 1st.  Pres and Sis Bendixsen will attend their Mission Presidents’ Training Seminar next week via Zoom.  As soon as the borders open, they will come and the Binenes will go.  These are all exciting changes coming soon to our mission!

These are the records that are too old to keep.

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Meanwhile, back at home, the trash was picked up today.  By hand.

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Farewell Zone Conference with the Dokui Zone in Cocody

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Today was our 3rd of 4 Zone Conferences.  It looks like all 4 will be held in the Cocody Stake Center while other buildings are being painted and maintained.  Today we met with the 18 members of the Dokui Zone.  This is a great zone.  Reverent, respectful and trying hard to be good.

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We followed the strict COVID-19 restrictions, wearing masks and keeping a safe distance between us.  That makes it a little tricky to take pictures!

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Our wonderful lunch lady!

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This afternoon we had a good discussion about mission culture and things we do well and things we need to work harder on.

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At the end of a long day, Pres and Sis Binene shared their final testimonies with us.  We will really miss them.

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Temple garment orders have arrived for missionaries who ordered new garments.

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I love the fabrics and I love the hairstyles.  I wish I could be so bold and fun.

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Farewell Zone Conference with the Cocody Zone in Cocody

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Today was our second Zone Conference, following the same agenda as yesterday with our Cocody Zone.  It’s a wonderful thing to be with the missionaries and it’s an especially wonderful time for Pres and Sis Binene to teach and share their testimonies one last time.

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Here are a few photos from today:

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My favorite tie today:

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Farewell Zone Conference with the Grand Bassam Zone in Cocody

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It was pouring rain today as we made our way to the Cocody Stake Center for our first of 4 Zone Conferences, beginning with the Grand Bassam Zone.

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Missionaries arriving in taxis.

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Everyone had their COVID masks on and space around them.

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This morning we had farewell testimonies from missionaries who have completed their 18 months or 2 years, but are still here, waiting for borders to open.  They are troopers!

We also had training from 2 missionaries, the APs and Sis Binene, who talked to us about Elder Packer’s classic 1976 talk, “Spiritual Crocodiles.”

Saying hello to Pres and Sis Bendixsen!

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At 1:00 we had a lunch break.

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This afternoon Pres Binene taught about mission culture and we talked about things we can do to make this an even better mission.  We talked about the positive and the negative and ways we can improve.   It was a great discussion.

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Then we spent an hour or more continuing the smart phone training, preparing for when the missionaries will receive their phones.  We had planned for that to happen today, but we had no wifi and we’re still sorting things out with the SIM cards.

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At the end of the day, Pres and Sis Binene shared their final testimonies with their missionaries.  It’s hard to believe that their 3 years are quickly coming to a close.

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We had a full day and a wonderful conference!  These are great missionaries serving in interesting times.

Zone Training Meeting in Cocody

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Today we met with our district (smaller group) to go over the things the Zone Leaders learned last week in MLC.   We had a lesson on being obedient to the smartphone rules.  If you keep the commandments you receive the blessings.  Everyone received the insert for the white handbooks about the smartphones.

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The APs and our Zone Leaders.

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Preparing for a Baptism

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Today we went with Elder Blehi and Elder Muyuwa to prepare for a baptism at the II Plateaux Ward here in Abidjan.

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The Elders cleaned out the font and got everything ready.

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The water bottle plugged the drain nicely.

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Many of our missionaries have served in this ward.

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Baptismal supplies in the cupboard.  This building hasn’t been used since the COVID-19 stopped church meetings here.

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We waited and waited.  Sadly, the Sisters finally came, but without their investigator.  She’s decided to wait a bit.  We do a fair bit of waiting here.

Grilled Maize and Changing Seasons

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The weather is changing here.  We are moving into the rainy season.  Food vendors change too.  This week we started seeing many women selling maize on the streets.

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It’s raining now, almost every day.  Our neighbors put their buckets out every day and night, to collect the rain water from the roof.

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Meanwhile, back at the office, it’s trash day.  The lot next to the office has been cleaning things up a bit to make way for a chicken and goat farm.

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Elder Guei from Abobo Arrives!

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Today we received another local Ivorian Elder who has been called to serve in the Nigeria, Enugu Mission.  Thank goodness he gets to start his service here while we all wait for the borders to open again.

Elder Guei comes from a family of nine.  Two of his siblings and he joined the church after being taught by the missionaries in 2017.  He met those missionaries when his sister invited them to his graduation party.  He loves the gospel of Jesus Christ and is so excited to start his mission and share the truths he’s learned.  He’s been attending a remote MTC in Abobo where he’s been learning to speak English.

Elder Mbuya will be his companion in the Grand Bassam Zone.  These two will be a formidable pair!

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Speaking of borders opening, here’s the word we received from the American Embassy and State Department this evening:

Health Alert: U.S. Embassy Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (11 June, 2020)
Location: Cote d’Ivoire

As of June 11, 2020, the Ivoirian Ministry of Health confirmed 4,404 COVID-19 cases in the country, including 41 deaths and 2,212 recoveries, leaving 2,151 active cases. The country has seen higher daily averages of new cases through the month of June, peaking at 223 new cases on June 11.

A World Health Organization (WHO) situation report released on June 1 declared Treichville-Marcory, an Abidjan neighborhood, a virus hotspot, with one third of cases in Abidjan originating from this neighborhood.  [Our missi

Cote d’Ivoire’s border closure and suspension on commercial flight operations was extended through June 30, as well as the State of Emergency and isolation of the Greater Abidjan region. The restrictions on large group gatherings in Abidjan is also maintained, reducing the maximum group size from 200 back to 50 individuals maximum.

The U.S. Embassy does not anticipate organizing an additional repatriation flight from Cote d’Ivoire to the United States at this time. There is no confirmed date on which international commercial fights may resume. Please continue to check directly with commercial airlines for updated operational information.

The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to continue to adhere scrupulously to personal precautions, such as wearing a face covering, practicing physical distancing, as well as frequent and thorough hand washing.