Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tu as fait un peu?

Bonjour ma famille,
Tu as fait un peu?(That is an expression that people from Benin use all the time meaning are you doing well.)   So this week really couldn't get much better.  First off on Thursday we went to a wedding.  Here in Benin it is necessary to be married civily before you can get baptized.  We had two couples who have been wanting to get baptized for a really long time but weren't married yet.  So thursday we left cotonou with President Weed to go to Hêvie.  It is a little town outside of Cotonou where I guess all the marriages for Cotonou take place.  It was pretty cool.  There were 7 couples getting married that day and I think 5 of them were getting married so that they could get baptized.  It was very interesting.  It was one big ceremony for all of the brides and bridegrooms.  There was this mayor/magistrate/official looking guy who was incharge of the marriage.  He was dressed up all nice and even had a benin flag sash.  I even got to be a witness for one of our couples.  It was a little scary because the magistrate guy called my name and ask me if i was inagreence with the marriage.  I answer<oui, messieurs>  It was pretty fun too because I also got to sign the marriage certificate(i even have a picture of it.)  I really enjoyed it and it really  has made me think about how important marriage is to God and how God really has instuited marriage since Adam and Eve.  We had a lot of fun and took many picture.
Then on Saturday, all 4 of our amis who just got married were baptized.  I know, how great is that?  It was so amazing to see them take that step as couples.  Also they have been waiting to be baptized for a really long time and seemed ecstatic after the baptism.  I remember one ami telling us that she has been waiting to be baptized for 8 month and now the day had finally come.  It couldn't of been a better baptismal service too.  There were 12 people getting baptized that day(which was for all of Benin)  So that was a really great saturday.
We also have been having tons of great teaching experiences.  We have been teaching this amie.  She was way prepared before we ever got there.  She was actually a contact from another Invesigator.  And also we just started teaching her husband too.  Although he alonely speaks english, so i have to translate for him during lessons and at church.  Which actually goes pretty well, but i give a lot of praise to those people who translate for a living.  It is really hard work.  They are really progressing and seem to love the gospel and seem to be searching for the truth. 
So that was my week.  What an amazing one at that?  I just feel so blessed that I get to meet all this great people and get to help them.  It is a great priviledge.
  Je vous aime tous,
Elder Corey Kimzey  

mom's excerpts
Bonjour ma maman,
Comment tu vas?  I know can you believe it has already been 9 months.  It felt like I entered the MTC yesterday.  Also I was thinking about it the other day, it has been a year since i have taken out my endowments.  How crazy is that?  This week was great.  I really enjoyed it.  I love Benin.  I miss Togo also. I love them both for different reason, but they both are amazing.  It sounds like you have a unbelievable crazy week coming up.  But also a really fun one.  I'm excited to see how chels' bridals turn out.  I'm sure they be great. 
Wow, that is crazy that that basketball player survived and even will be playing soon.  That just proves how tough aggies are! haha.  That is really a miracle though that the trainer happened to be on the court.  We all know that that wasn't by chance.  
 How are doing with the move? What are the main differences that you have learned between Togo and Benin? The move hasn't been too bad.  I miss my amis and the members back in Togo but that is okay i'm sure we will meet again.
The difference between Togo and Benin.  Well, they are in different time zones.  Togo is more green but Benin is more developped. The church has been in Togo a little longer, but it is fastly growing in Benin also.  Both countries are very receptive to the gospel. 
Is the basic language the same???  What about the native languages?Yes, the basic language is the same(french) but the expressions are a little different.  Also the accent is kind of different too.  The native language is also different: in togo it is mostly ewe/mina and some cabia , while in Benin it is Fon and after fon it is Mina.
 Is the climate the same or are there slight differences?The climate is a little different because it isn't as green here so it is hotter.  It is kind of hard to tell though because i went through the rainy season while i was in Togo and i'm going through the dry season here.  So it is kind of like comparing apples and oranges.
We've seen some adorable pictures of children in your mission- do they still call you "white man"?  Are they still fascinated by your hair?Yes the little kids often call me Yovo.  Yes they are way interested in my arm hair and in my head hair also.  Although they seem to be interested my skin too.  They always are rubbing it, because i think they think it should  feel different.
Tell us about some of you new amies? 
I have a bunch of new amis.  We have one great ami who is actually from another french african country.  He is very interested in the gospel.  He came to church on sunday and then that afternoon we had a rendez vous with him.  We asked him is he had any questions.  He said he wanted to know those steps to getting baptized so that he could get baptized.  It was kind of shocking but really awesome.  He has overcame a lot of trials in his life, so i thought he was amazing he already wants to be baptized.
 Did you get your xmas package?I haven't received a package yet, but hopefully it coming soon:)
What do you do on your pday?  are they more "touristy" things to see in Benin?Well for p-day often involve a lot of cleaning, laundry, and buying.  But we do a lot of fun things too.  Today a family invited us over for lunch and games.  It was really fun.  We played Mafia and I was a member of the Mafia.  Unfortunately i didn't win though.  I think they are a few touristy things to do.  I'm not sure.
Well, i love you mom and thank you for always being there for me.  Reading you emails always makes me smile.
Je vous aime plus que les biscuits de Noël, (I love you more than christmas cookies)Elder Corey Kimzey

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bonjour from the big city

 Bonsoir ma famille,
Comment ça va?  Je vais bien.  So I got to Benin.  It is way different than Togo.  I'm right now serving in Fidjrossé.  It is pretty awesome.  I can even see the ocean from my house.  How cool is that?  My new companion is named Elder Ndaye.  He is from the Congo.  He got here just 2 weeks before me, so he doesn't really now the secteur that well either.  So we often get lost, but it makes it fun too.  The branch is really amazing also.  We have quite a few members and they really help out a lot.  Our secteur is doing well also, people are so receptive that it is easy to find people to teach.  Also many of them came to church also. How great is that? 
So this week we have been doing a lot of OVB<tracting.>  We have found some really interested people.  We found this one guy who just got in a car accident and was telling us how it was a miracle that he made it out alive.  We have been talking with him a lot about the Book of Mormon.  He promised to read, so that is pretty exciting.
Also coming up this week we have 2 couples who are going to be baptized this week.  I guess that they have been coming to church for a long time but need to get married civily before they could be baptized.  So  they are going to get married and then they are going to be baptized.  It going to be really great.  All of them are ready and really want to be baptized.  I'm excited for them.
This week was full of great exprience and testimony builders.  I'm so thankful for all those little miracles that God does for me everyday.  I sometimes look back at experience or lessons and think how much God must a played a role for it to work out so well. 
Well that was kind of my week in sweet and condensed verison.  Je vous aime beaucoup même,
Elder Corey Kimzey

Bonjour Maman,
Comment ca va?  I'm sorry you are getting up that early everyday that is got to be really hard. 
So how  is the wedding going?  Thank you for the invitation.  It turned out very well.  But it is true i don't think I'll be able to make it.  Please give my apologize to the Bride and groom haha. 
(I edited this-won't bore you with corey's wedding talk...)
I'm being thinking about the christmas call.  I'm hoping that we will be able to Skype.  But we need to figure out when we can do it.  So it is an 8 hour difference between us.  So maybe i could call around 6 o'clock here and that would be 10 o'clock  your time.  I don't know what do you think?  I'm really excited for it.  It will be great if we can skype or just talk.  By the way what is you skype name so i can plan out the call? 
Benin is great.  It is way different than Togo.  It is a little hotter here because there isn't as many trees.  It is a huge city.  There are tons of people.  We went to the grande marche (large street market)today and there were people everywhere.  I guess it is the biggest marche in West Africa.  It was ginormous. 
Crossing the border wasn't that bad.  I got a few more stamps in my passport, so that was great.  It is great too because the border police already know that we are the missionaries so it was pretty easy.
So in my new apartment there are 4 elders: Elder Ndaye, Mulumba<my first trainer>, Ritchie<an american who is hitting his 6month mark soon>, and me.  We have a lot of fun together.  ELder Ndaye is really great.  He teaches really well and speaks french really really well.  I'm learning a lot from him so it has been great. 
I will miss my investigators and the members of Togo a lot.  I already miss them.  Also i miss the language of Togo.  I haven't learned any words in Fon<the language of Benin> yet.  So i'll have to get on that.  Also i miss the greenest of Togo.  Hopefully someday i'll get to go back.
Benin is way more developed.  There are tons of big buildings.  There is also tons of nice houses in my secteur because we are right next to the beach. 
I'm in Fidjrossé.  It is a very nice area.  People are pretty nice here and pretty willing to talk about the gospel.  We have a lot of great investigators who are probably going to be baptized soon. 
I learned a lot of things from my old companion. Two things he used to say is: We never know and Everyone is weird.  I really like the two phrases.  Because we really don't ever know what is going to happen, what investigator will work out, or even what the day will bring.  All we can do is to do our best.  The other one makes me laugh pretty hard.  I would tell him i'm sorry that i'm so weird and he would tell me everyone is weird.  And sometimes he would say that he is weird and i would respond that everyone is weird.  It is very true though.  That we all have our quirks and our diffculties but we all are trying to get better.
I will try and take a lot of pictures.  Thanks for serving pie and chels' wedding in honor of me haha. 
But i still love you more than all the pie you could serve, Elder Corey