Sunday, May 26, 2013

July 9, 2012- Does This Look Sanitary?

Dear Hunter,
Well, another week has passed and things are back to the regular around here…almost.  You know, back to work, busy with summer kids activities and the other stuff.  Before I forget, where is Elder Leavitt from?
Going back to work wasn’t very fun.  I wish I was independently wealthy and that I could stay home, go on vacation when I wanted to and just be a Mom.  It would be nice. Oh, well.  It will probably never happen.
So Dyllon’s farewell is July 29th, we are so excited to go and I actually have that weekend off.  Yes!  Mindy is still stressing although I’ve told her that she’s going to live and be okay and that Dyllon will be okay too.  Katelyn and Ryan are picking him some ties to take to him.  It is going to be an exciting event.
So guess what the missionaries in Logan we doing yesterday to meet people?  Of all things, they set up a lemonade stand and were giving away lemonade!  So funny!  Do you suppose that would work in Africa?
Alma 32:42 And because of your adiligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the bfruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.
So the new CARS LAND at Disneyland was pretty cool.  It was like walking into the movie… Especially at night when all the neon was lit up.  The Radiator Springs Racers is like Test Track in WDW but with a CARS theme and story background. The best ride we went on was at Universal Studios- The Transformers Ride- It’s a 4D simulated ride.  It was IMPRESSIVE!  Very fun!  Even Wes liked it a lot.  We can’t wait to take you to see it.
So here in Utah the wild fires are everywhere.  Something like 250,000+ acres have burned just in Utah since June and there are still nine wildfires burning in Utah.  Many people have lost homes and even more are still displaced by evacuations.  It’s scary and sad.  There was a fire just south of Pocatello that burned something like 65 homes that are on that west bench.  So many families are without right now.  It’s good to see that communities are stepping up to assist the now homeless.  A week ago Sunday, the LDS church called for a special fast for rain.  It’s amazing how that works…Wednesday we had record rainfall around the state that helped to contain most of the fires that were threatening homes.  Ask with a steadfastness in faith…
So Ryan and Kate had a ball on vacation.  They are back to swim and art lessons, playing with friends and hanging at Debbie’s.  They are excited to take you to Burns Ranch when you come home in a year and a half…which it’s crazy to think that on July 24th you will finish up six months! 
So how are you new investigators doing? Have you had an increase in the activity?  What things are you trying to get people to church?  Who is your most memorable investigator so far?  Who is the one you think will be baptized the soonest?  I guess I’m just asking if you’d tell me a little about the people you are meeting.
Ryan is still helping all he can at the farm.  He even shovels the horse manure out of the trailer after Lewiston. Very impressive!  He’s so super excited for the lambs and the fair.  Katelyn…not so much!
The grain is quickly ripening and it will be back to school time before we know it.  The stores already have the back to school stuff out! (Yes!)  If the cyber is working and you get a minute, be sure to drop a line or two to Daxen and Brooklyn.  They both love writing to you.
Ryan and Kate’s questions:
  1. Do you play soccer now?  Is it fun?
  2. Have you eaten cat that you know of?
  3. Do people ride or race horses in Africa?
  4. How deep does the water get in the roads when it rains?
  5. Do you use your umbrella?
  6. Will you get to drive a car in Africa or ride a motorcycle?
  7. What do you do with your trash? Do you put it on the road too?
  8. Do you have running water or is your water in a well?
  9. What is your favorite Africa tie color?
  10. Will you bring back a drum for me when you come home? (Ryan)
  11. Have you seen any snakes yet?
  12. Did you have anything funny happen this week?
I love you much!  I am of proud of you and the work that you are doing.
Love, Mom
Hi Homey-
Would you please bring me a wood one (hippo) like the one Bailey brought home? Love Kate
Hi mom. Im alive.
1- no i hate soccer
2- nope
3- nope
4- 2 feet
5- yep
6- no motos but if i get to be assistant i get to drive a truck
7- sometimes it goes on the road.
8- runing water
9- lots of colors
10- how bout a hippo
11- nope
12- not really.
i went to the art market today. some guy wouldnt stop trying to sell me a box for 25000 franks. i kept offering him 2000 just to irritate him. i sent the pictures.  Did you get them?

 The baptism was good. the guys name is Bertin. He is 33 and he has a kid but hes not married.

About something for the first girl I baptized, you can get her something like that little bracelet. i might still be i tokoin when it gets here and i might not. As for packages, i havent got anything yet but the president is coming this week and he might have one. but i have just got the one. just a question... how do i spread the parmesan if its all squished together and not in the bottle?
So I struggled with my comp this week. but i fixed it this morning. he just wouldnt talk to me and he would walk as fast as he could everywhere. so i would stay one step ahead whe he was trying to be intimidating. i tried to talk to him several times throughout the week and he refused.  and this morning i got to talking to him and told him we got nothing accomplished this week because of this problem and how it was on our heads. and we needed to fix it before president kills us( he’s afraid of president). i just told him we could forget it and start over. president and i are gonna have a talk this week in our interview. if he wants to try to intimidate me(not sure if that’s the right word to explain it) im gonna use it to my advantage and work him hard. Something is up for sure and I don’t know what it is when he wont tell me. We will get it worked out.

Hi Homey. Love Ryan Today I have scouts.  It is fun.
oh ya? what are you gonna do?
I don't know yet
why not? whos the new scout leader?
My leader is Blaine Spotten's dad. He is nice.
oh cool. do you still go help grandpa every day

Mostly everyday I help him when I am home.

fun. do you ride the paint
I asked Grandpa but he won't let me because he hasn't been rode in two years.
oh. maybe you can talk dad into leading you around. and i rode her a few times last year but if grandpa says no he means it
I will ask dad. I got to pet Sparky.
oh ya? i see goats everywhere!
I havent opened the parmesan yet but i might this week. its hard to want to go from steak to spaghetti.
Are steaks expensive over there?
for 1 kilo about 2 pounds its about 10 bucks. ask Matt why i havent got his package yet. better yet ask my whole shift why i havent got my package yet. For that package you are sending next, did you get black or blue BUTTARS TRACTOR clicky pens?  taco seasoning packets? and if there is room I love gummy octapusses.
I love the laundry day picture.  I don't think i want to do laundry like that. I will stick to my old washer and dryer. The market looks crowded and is it sanitary?
there is no such thing as sanitary here or anywhere else in Togo that I have seen at least by your standards. did you see my kitchen? my fingers are raw from doing laundry.

Gotta run…love you and have a good week. Oh and Leavitt is from Orangeville.

Elder G and Bertin

Clouds...and smoke in the sky from the riots. They burned cars and stuff and we had to stay in.

This is the moon. It is really bright because there are not very many lights at night here.

This is my kitchen. Does this look sanitary to you?
(No wonder he bought a grill!)

A the market there are a lot of people. It's really crowded.

The umbrellas are for shade and impending rain. You just never know in Africa.

At the beach

July 2, 2012- Family Vacation Time

Happy Anniversary mom and Wes.  How is California? I got the pictures of the horses and Sparky. He looks good thanks.  I haven’t got a lot of time I have been busy today and because the cyber is being dumb. I have been doing a split today. We found out one of our best investigators just wants money from the church. But we also may have a baptism next week.  Hey in the next package I need buttars tractor clicky pens and speed stick unscented deodorant. I don’t think I have time to answer the questions from the kids today. I have to write the President. If I don’t I will do it next week.
Have fun…Hunter

Here are the pictures that we shared with Elder G of our vacation.
Walk Through Fire

Sparky's kin

San Diego temple

The twinners loving Sparky!

June 25, 2012- I Can't Even Understand What I Said

Today (June 24th) was Bailey's homecoming.  It was really good. Bailey spoke for a few minutes and then bore his testimony in French.  Wes said it sounded like Klingon. Bailey and his mom sang Because I Have Been Given Much.  They did a good job. We went to their house after for lunch. Bailey gave us the SD card and the coins.  We exchanged them for three king size Reeses Fast Break bars and said they were from you.  Bailey was really cute with Ryan and showed him all his stuff from Africa.  He showed him how to play his big drum by tipping it sideways and let Ryan play it too.  Ryan loved it! Bailey also gave Ryan a tie from Africa.  You will have to bring an extra tie home for Bailey.  He showed him the wooden animals he brought too. He told Ryan he could come see him anytime.
The SD card is really cool. Most of the files are good and fun to look at.  Fifteen of them won't open.  Did you leave the software for your camera here? I wondered if I tried to open the files with the camera software if it would work. The little lizard is cute.  The bug in the water is gross. The trees are pretty with the flowers.  I like the little kids doing acrobatics!  The fir
st baptism pictures are really special.
There were two videos that would open.  Are you trying to launch a homemade rocket? We did get the pineapple lady picture too. The pineapple looks good. Is that pineapple on rice you were eating? 
Bailey asked me to send your email letters on to him. That means you need to write things for h
im to read. 
Questions for the
week :
1- How much is 395 cfa
(the total amount of the coins you sent)?
2- Did you get your package yet?
3- Is the pineapple lady a member?
4- Do you share your candy with the kids?
5- Do kids have pets?
6- Have you held any African babies yet?
7- Do you have a tie from Africa?
8- Do the boys do anything like scouts there?
9- Do the kids know how to jump rope?
10- How much does it rain there? What do you do when it rains?
I miss you Hunter Ryan.
We played Mario world.  Love Kate.
Love, Mom
Hi Mom…im alive. How was your week?
1- about 80 cents
2- nope
3- nope
4- nope
5- they have them then eat them.
6- yep
7- yep
8- why would they need scouts when they live in africa
9- i dont know
10- lots. you go out and teach
Wow. i had a bit of trouble with money this last week. it kept disappearing. so i had to take money out 3 times. just make sure there is still money in the account. i dont think it was in the apartment. it might have been the big market. you cant tell if someone has touched you. everyone touches you. i dont know who it is. and i might have just lost it too. im gonna figure something out. I lost about 10000 cfa or 20 bucks but that goes a long ways here.   that book is somewhat accurate. i can pay 2 dollars and they wont have change.
 (I told him about a book I was reading called To Benin and Back that was written by a Peace Corp volunteer.  You can find it at:  The site also has how to learn the Fon language on it.  Kind of a fun site-check it out!)
im fine today. i havent got a bunch of time today though. i have a regular lesson. How was the homecoming? and you should put some of those squishy ear plugs in the box too. It’s loud here. The mosque is right by my house. They have speakers.
Wes said after seeing Bailey, you just might make weight to ride as a jockey when you get home.  Are you losing weight or holding steady?
Since Elder Leavitt and i started eating good i have put on a bunch of muscle. Leavitt is in the video. It’s a cannon from a can and were trying to launch an onion. Winters is the French guy in the video. What are you having for dinner? i might have chicken or spaghetti or beniyas...donut things.
Have you had to teach a lesson in church yet?
yes i gave a talk last week. the talk sucked. even i couldnt understand it.
Anymore investigators come to church?
yep 2 Amis came to church. The work here…its tough. but when you find one that will come they might come every week.
Bailey said that was really frustrating.  Prayer was his answer.  The last two weeks before he left he was so sick he couldn't go out he prayed and prayed that someone would come to church and 5 did the last week he was there.
Elder Milambo said you did a good job with your discourse Sunday. I'm sure the talk was better than you thought.  The spirit translates you know.
Even Elder Leavitt says the spirit couldnt translate my French. It was bad.
i get tired of people everywhere.  yovo is something ive heard that more than you could ever imagine.
I loved the picture of your first baptism.  Does she still come to church?
not very often. i see her almost every day though. well i think its about time for me to go so i guess tell everyone hi for me and we will talk next week. 
Ryan in his tie from Elder Shaffer. 
He thinks this tie is the neatest thing ever. 
Thank you Bailey for being so kind to Ryan.

June 18, 2012- A Few Questions from the Kiddos

Copy and paste them with the answers Love, Ryan

1- What is your favorite thing to eat in Africa? i like my grilled chicken(hint- bbq sauce)

2- What is the worst thing you ate this week? i ate this stuff called jencomin. its like a dough stuff. i dont know how to spell it. just know the food was bad.

3- Do you get to help build the churches in Africa? nope. although it may go faster if i did.

4- What crazy thing happened this week? i about got hit head on by a moto. literally had to jump out of the way.

5- How many doors did you knock on /clap at? about 10 a day. not too many.

6- Do the kids there like bubble gum? the kids here dont know what gum is.

7- Do the kids go to school in the summer? nope its just like at home.

8- What animals have you seen?  Any lions or snakes? ive seen goats dogs cats chickens horses thats about it.

9- What did you do for fun this week? make my companion go out in the rain. he thinks he will melt if he gets wet. I think all Africans think they might die if they get wet. I welcome the clean shower.
10- What funny thing did you teach your companion to say? I cant tell you that. Mom wouldn’t think it was funny.

hi mom im still alive. send dyllon a few ties when he is in the mtc and cafine. that would be golden. elder bush gave me a new pack of phase ten cards. i play it almost every p day. as for the answers to the questions for the kids I will do that.
the church is about 15 minutes by taxi from my zone. Elder Milambo, hes still being better. he keeps trying to annoy me but i just dont say anything. It seems to work that way. Did Shaffy bring the SD card over?
send my big Leatherman. and pop tarts. the brown sugar kind. i use the tools all the time . hey could you do me a favor? i need aubrey rhodes to email me.. i found something and took a picture of it and it will make her laugh. so im gonna email it too her. shes logan rhodes little sister.
are we planning on doing something as a family when i get home? disneyworld would be fun. ya know what would be funner... a moose hunt in alaska!! thats a joke. disneyworld would be a load of fun. Got to message chat with Elder Milambo’s brother. his brother is nice.  We are gonna go to the temple too…just after i get back.  you should ask grandpa if he wants to go to disneyworld with us. I’d go golfing with him there. thats gonna be pretty fun now that those two (the twins) are not gonna be as whinny and there lazy butts can walk everywhere

I moved your bed and dresser and vacuumed under them because it was dusty.  There were toenail clippings under the bed.  Imagine that!

i suppose you found the playboy when you did that.  That’s too is a joke! Ha!

dont listen to other missionaries if they say the servers are down and that you won’t get email. its different everywhere in the city. mission gossip is beyond unreliable and honestly rediculous. im at the good cyber and nope i havent put pictures on so far. The cyber is weird today and you are probably gonna get a bunch of random emails tonight. That’s Africa for you.
We sure hope the cyber cooperates soon.
keep hoping. i think we are gonna head out. so have fun reading till tomorrow. i guess email is like a freakin jack in the box now. boodoop boodoop boodoodoo doodoop BOOF!!!  love ya and take care this week.

June11, 2012- No Cats Allowed!

Hi Homey,
I don't have school.  I am going to play wii. I still like my kindle and I love my new Scriptures.  Thanks for them. They are special. I went to the races and we were good in the truck.  My friend Chloe comes over to play. She rides horses in queen stuff shows.
Love, Katelyn
Dear Hunter,
The horse lost his shoe and didn't win. I hope he is not hurt on his leg. I got my ds taken away again. But we are going to play wii. Mom bought a bluray that is good to watch the blueray discs with. It is cool. We get to go to the dentist today and get a new toothbrush.  I like the dentist. We go at 2.
Bye bye!  Ryan
Write me back.
Kate- how is the summer going? Are you gonna find a dodo bird?

Boog- how is your girlfriend? Is she cute?
Hi mom...the internet was being stupid.

I already know where everyone is going for transfers this week…i get to stay another 6 weeks with Milambo but things are starting to get better. In another package i need you to send my leatherman and its case. If it’s not in my top drawer it’s in my glove box. Shaffer is on his way home this week. I sent a few coins for the kids and an SD card. Did you make it to the temple this last week? It’s really important to go. I miss it a lot.
I bought a grill and now we grill chicken and steak. I use charcoaled wood in it. No cats or other not normal things are allowed on my grill, i need you to send bbq sauce. A couple bottle would be amazing. The good stuff like the stuff i bought and the different kinds were names of cities. I think one was St Louis. Kansas City was the kind...Bullseye.
Good that you’re all going to the dentist today.  My teeth are rotting out of my head. Ha! My Pres. is a dentist.  Don’t sent me floride. There is nothing here to ruin your teeth. Mine are fine. My health is fine quit worrying about me. Ya just cant be worried about a few worms in ya here and you survive.
I’ve decided im not gonna move out for a while when i get home. i dont like living with different people, and some messed up day if i do move out im gonna find my own appartment all to myself. i dont like living with people. im gonna be home for a while when i get back because I’ll need to get back to being American. (glad to know we’re not considered people in Elder G’s book!)
You asked if we have rats like in the picture that Palmer shared. Nope. We’ve got ants and cockroaches…big ones. Just like the ones at home.
Did you leave?  We miss you! Baptize lots of people. Love Ryan
i think im gonna leave pretty soon big guy. you guys have fun this week.
we have one Amis who is gonna leave his wife so he can get baptized. because she wont let him.
Does Wes still drive my truck sometimes? I miss it. Is my spot at the table still my spot? How about my place on the couch?
Thanks for helping me out with school when I get back. thanks a ton!!  ive learned here that i freakin love school. If I’m back in time I want to start Winter 2014. I’m not gonna get married for a while. i think I’ll just be a charlie harper! Just messing with you Mom!

Bye for this week…Love yall

A picture of the new branch building going up in Togo.
*shared by Sister Leavitt

Crazy Motos in West Africa!
*Shared by Elder Harding's Dad

Grilled cats are not allowed on Elder G's grill!
*shared by Elder Harding's Dad

Senior Couples are the Best!

I ran across this gem while preparing other entries. Not sure how I missed it.  Looking back from the point we are at today, I don't know what I would've done sometimes without the help of the senior couples in the mission.  They are angels!  This email was sent just days after his arrival in the mission.

Dear Missionary Family,
Your missionary arrived safely in the Benin Cotonou Mission. He is currently
assigned to labor in the country of Togo his area is the Nukafu area with Elder
Milambo as his companion and trainer. I have attached a picture of Elder
Gundersen with President and Sister Weed. We did visit with your son today
as we are currently in Togo and he is doing so very well. His fellow
missionaries really love him and say what a wonderful personality he has. We
look forward to serving with him and know he will make a great difference here
in West Africa. If you need any information, or help or just have questions,
please feel free to contact me.

Sister Leavitt

Sister Leavitt has shared many pictures of Elder G and a few of her observations in her journals.  I will be sure and share them as a come across them.  Elder and Sister Eastmond from our neck of the woods are also in the mission. The Leavitts and the Eastmonds have loved my Elder as their own and I know he loves and appreciates all that they have done for him.

June 4, 2012- We Had Zone Conference

Hi mom I’m still alive.
How’s work going for ya today?
It’s AWFUL.  
Oh poor mom…did you have to leave the air conditioned office again?
I’m at the good cyber…and the heat here would kill you. You better enjoy the AC.
This week I went to the beach. We played American football. It was kind of boring but it was fun. We also had a zone conference with the President in attendance.
Thanks for the prayers. That might help. I’m not sure yet. I have told the President about the problems I’m having before and it turns out the forgive 70 times 7 rule applies. Maybe if you and Wes got to the temple this week that might help.
No I didn’t upload pictures. If I remember next week maybe. It’s crazy hot. The cyber isn’t working well today. But I’m gonna go cause I have to find something to eat. Maybe the cyber won’t be stupid next week.  Have fun this week and we will talk next week.
Love ya!
Picture from Elder Baird. Assuming this was taken at Zone Conference.

Elder G at the beach. Picture compliments of Elder Milambo.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

May 28, 2012- Memorial Day Wishes

Hi mom... I’m still alive… not much happened.. just a bunch of rain and arguments between my comp and a French guy in our apartment…but we had 3 Amis come to church. It was a decent week.
In that package you are sending next, a big jawbreaker would be amazing... just to lick... I’m not at the good cyber... its closed because of a catholic holiday... so I’m not listening to any music today.
I got the SD card to Bailey...if you could sneak another in a package it would be good...I had one disappear.

I ate some weird stuff.  It may have been chicken intestines…I’m not sure.  When they put it in front of you... you eat it. We don’t have a choice. If I decide to line my pockets with zipper bags, I can get them for about 3 cents for 100 of them.

Not much happened… just kind of another week. Splits were nice; it’s good to have a different comp sometimes. I decided what you can do for the Memorial Day holiday… take a hot shower... drink milk... walk around barefoot... mack a good lookin girl... you know... all the stuff I can’t do here. Oh, and go eat for me at Texas Roadhouse. Order grilled bbq chicken with loaded mashed potatoes and baked beans... with a coke... really do it. That would be awesome.
It rained about five inches here today.  This week has been hard. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a daycare. Funny to think of it that way…that would mean you’re paying $400 a month for structured daycare! Ha!
I just told a member today that I would give her 2 bucks to do all my laundry except my garments. Win-win for both of us! My shoes are starting to fall apart but they are still ok. I may need more soon.
As far as sending me Katelyn’s old glasses, not a single use for doing that at all. If someone needs glasses here they spend the 10 bucks and buy them.  Tell the kids to have a good birthday. I’m almost to my 6 month mark... not too much longer here. That’s good because it’s hot here. It’s cooler than normal here today, about 78 and my comp is freezing... so I turned on the fan and opened the windows. It was awesome.
Happy birthday Ryan and Kate!! I Love you all and I will chat with you next week.
Making fufu!

Mashing the yams in the pestle.

Notice the feet action- gotta keep it steady!

This little guy is better at the task than Elder G!

Looks like this little guy is the one giving instruction!