Monday, December 29, 2014

'Tis the Season:)

Hello Everyone!!!

I hope you all had a great Christmas holiday and you are enjoying family, snow, and lots of new presents from Santa. As you know, this past week encompassed Christmas, so I had the chance to Skype with my family!! But to begin, I'll start from the beginning. We woke up at 6:25am (just a tad early) and I went into Elder Larson and Rakaotos room and yelled "Merry Christmas!!" But Elder Larson is a bum, looked at his watch and mumbled "attend un peu" (wait a little bit).  I, of course, just proceeded to go into the living room, still saying "Merry Christmas!" We did a little secret Santa for our apartment, so I started the day off right with some sparkling cider and then I got the great gift from Elder Larson of rivers (a really yummy soy drink) and cookies. I gave him a scripture case, a watch, and gold bond. Overall, it was a very great experience and I can't wait to do it again. Then we all got ready for Christmas day and we were off for Akwa.

When we finally got there, we had stockings from the Colemans which had oreos!! I haven’t eaten any but I'm sure they will be delicious. Then we had breakfast with everyone and Elder Larson and I had a nice game of chess while the 2 African Elders called their families. Then we had a really good lunch of chili and some French dessert. After that, we watched the Christmas devotional and it turned into a little bit of a snooze fest and Elder Colinris, my zone leader, and I both fell asleep.

Elder Larson and Elder Legerski

Elder West and Elder Legerski
 
Then it was Skype time! After some complications, we got it all working and I was able to talk with my family for a little over an hour. It was so nice to be able to talk with them. I can't describe the feeling you get when you finally see your families' faces over the screen. We talked about this and that and it was good to just be able to talk with them. Towards the end, my mom asked if I would bear my testimony in French and I wanted to wait till my homecoming, but you can't say no to mom, so I went ahead and bore it. I think it went really well but I dunno if anyone understood me! Then it was time to say goodbye and go back to work and it was very bittersweet. But there was pizza waiting for me after I got done and no one can be mad while eating pizza. After it was all said and done, we acted out the nativity scene and then headed back home. All in all, it was such an amazing holiday.

The best Christmas present:)
Then came the day after Christmas. Well, I thought I was prepared but it kinda stunk!! You just have to get your body and mind back into a rhythm so it was really hard. We had some annana planet to give ourselves a boost because we are trying not to drink pop anymore.  But through God all things are possible and by now I am okay and I'm back into the work.

The other highlight of my week was getting to teach in church. Elder Larson and I tag teamed it and we had to teach The Final Judgement and it was hard! The whole thing was in French and it was all very confusing but we managed to get through it and continue on with our day.

I'm sorry this email was so short but everything led to Christmas and it seemed to be over in a flash. I'm so thankful I got to talk with my family and to see them. I know that the work I am doing is amazing and I just always want to be out there teaching; I hate being in the apartment:( But until next time, someone go drink some sparkling cider for me!!

Love,
Elder Legerski

 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Joyeux Noel!!

Hello everyone how is everyone back home!?

I have had a very busy week this week but is was well worth it! The first thing that I want to talk about is Monday night. As many of you know, Monday is our p-day or our day of preparation. This Monday was special because an Elder in our zone was heading home on Wednesday, so we went over to the Coleman's house and had some burgers!! They were so good, but after we had a testimony meeting and it was awesome. It was really cool to see how much someone grows on their mission; he is a really good Elder and I looked up to him a lot. For me, being on the very new end of my mission, I was glad I got to know him because even until the last day he was working as hard as he could.

Elder Legerski and Elder Larson

The second thing that I wanted to talk about was my day on Friday, which was a very, very special day. First off, it was my three month mark. Secondly, it was the three month mark of the first day that Elder Larson and I met and thirdly, it was the day that Elder Larson and I went on splits. So you may ask how two VERY new Elders who do not know the language teach people? And the answer is simply, through the spirit of the Lord. To start off our day, we went and helped a member prepare food for his work which was pretty routine for us. Then we came back to the apartment and decided to get going and plan. Now this was difficult for us because in order to set up rendez-vous, first you need to call the person. At first nobody was answering their phone but finally someone did. And since we were in my sector, I had to do all of the talking. Now I hate talking on the phone, and the phones here really stink and then you throw in people speaking really fast French it is nearly impossible to understand, but somehow I was able to understand and we got 2 rendez-vous set up. Then we started to plan for the 2 lessons and it was really awesome; we were both so excited and we knew just what scriptures to share and what commitments to extend and I know for a fact that it was guided by the Lord. Then we got all packed up and left the apartment. We walked to our ami's house and he wasn't there so we called him and he said "Oh no! I'm at my friends house" and since his friend is a recent convert we knew, we walked another 10 minutes back to his house.

Elder Legerski and Elder Larson
Thanksgiving at the Coleman's

On our way to his house we ran into the wife of one of our recent converts who is an ami and she stopped to talk with us and for a slight pause of a second, I looked to my right, expecting to see Elder West there but it was Elder Larson. So I was like "Crap, I gotta speak in French to her!" But I was able to understand her and answer and have my first ever French only conversation by myself. I was so shocked afterwards and I hardly knew what had gone on.

Then when we finally got to the ami's house but they were both gone!! So we said what are we gonna do now!? But as we were planning to leave, both of them arrived so we were able to begin the lesson. Now both of these guys speak only French. Somehow, Elder Larson and I were able to give an entire lesson on the importance of reading scriptures every day, we were able to understand everything that they said. We were able to understand and answer the questions that they had. It was just so amazing and I have no idea how we did it!! Now since we were in my sector, it is my job to lead out and guide the lesson. Elder Larson speaks a little better than me, but that day I was able to speak without any problem. I said the things that needed to be said and spoke for about 70 percent of the lesson in French. I never thought that this day would come but I know for a fact that our Father in Heaven gave me the gift of tongues for that short while and His promise in D&C 84:85 "Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man was fulfilled." After the lesson Elder Larson and I were just ecstatic. We had done it but our day was not done yet.

To go to our final rendez-vous we had to take a taxi. Now I had called a taxi once the night before, and Elder Larson had never so it fell to me to call one. With success, I was able to call one and say our taxi call. And as we got in, we realized that only the front seat was open and in Africa that is a seat for 2, so squished into a tiny little Toyota Corolla, there were 2 white guys one, 6'4" and one 6'5" both sharing a tiny little seat for about 10 minutes. It was really funny and my head was mashed against the top of the cab the entire time, but it's Africa and I'm used to it now.

Our last rendez-vous for the night was with an ami who speaks English. So we were able to read
1 Nephi 7 and talk about how when we pray, we pray to be strengthened and also about forgiving others. It was amazing to feel the spirit as we taught. And I was blessed to be with Elder Larson because we know each other and our teaching styles very well, so we taught very well together.

Now for the taxi ride back; we got a taxi and we were on our way back when I told the cab driver that "here is good" and we want to get out. So he pulled over and I gave him the money and he turned around and asked "deux" (two) place? But I didn't understand him so I shook my head because I thought he was asking for more money and just got out of the cab real quick. Then Elder Larson and I thought about it and we were like "oh, maybe he just wanted to know if we were getting out at 2 different stops." But come to find out we were wrong. In a taxi there are 7 seats and he was wanting to know if we were paying for 2, which we were, but I gave him the right amount of money so it was no harm done.

Well that was my long and amazing day with Elder Larson!! I was really glad for the opportunity I had to be with him for one day. Not many times are companions from the MTC able to go live together right after and hardly ever are they able to go on splits together. Also, we get along together very well so that is just an added bonus. I have to say this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. This day gave me such a big boost in learning the language and ever since, I  feel way more confident when I speak. Also, it allowed me to gain a true love for this work I am doing. I love this work so much. I love being here in Africa; even when times get tough I know it's worth it. I know that there is no other place I would rather be right now than here. So many times, I just stop and think "Wow! Right now I'm in Africa!!" It just blows my mind. To end our great day, we popped a bottle of sparkling cider that I bought. Yes, I even found sparkling cider in Africa and it is delicious! I have one saved for Christmas day.

Sparkling Cider even in Africa!!
As it is the Christmas season, I want to say a few things. When I have free time at night, I have begun reading in the Bible and the other day I began reading in Luke about the life of Christ, as well as His birth. I have to say that there is no other gift that was so precious. He's the only one who could come and live a perfect life and die for us. Through his sacrifice, we can become clean from sin. He was perfect. Many times as we sit and talk at dinner, we think about Christ and one time the question "what if he wouldn't have been born?" came up. Well, the adequate answer given was "well, we would all be in big trouble!!" As I've been doing His work, I have gained a huge testimony of Christ. I love Him with all my heart and I even know what paintings I will have of Him in my home.

I just want to bear my testimony of Christ. I know with all my heart that Jesus Christ was and is the son of God. I know that He came to us to serve us. I know that He lived a perfect life and that He is the perfect example for us to follow. I know that He performed many miracles during his mortal ministry. I know that He suffered for each and every one of my sins and for the sins of the world. I know that He feels everything that we feel and if we will just turn to Him, that He will comfort us. I know that He died on the cross and 3 days later He rose. I know that He came to the Americas and He preached to the people of the ancient Americas. I know that through Him, we can be perfected. From a talk from Elder Holland, I learned that while Jesus was alive and while he preached, He had no home.  He was born in a stable, and the man that deserved the most on this earth took the least and gave the most. I know that I have been blessed with so much, and that I have so much. I do not have near the trials that some people have. I know that I am engaged in a marvelous work and a wonder. I know that this work has brought me so much happiness in my life. I know that Jesus Christ lives and I know that I am his disciple. I humbly bear my witness Au nom de Jesus Christ. Amen.

During this Christmas season, try to give more thanks. Instead of focusing on receiving, focus on family and giving. This is an amazing time of year. I miss my family so much and I can't wait to talk to them on Thursday. I know that life is hard but it is all worth it. My challenge for everyone is to try and give with all your heart this Christmas season. I wish you all a very merry Christmas.

Love,
Elder Legerski

Monday, December 15, 2014

Almost Christmas...

Hello everyone,

How are you doing!? As for me and Africa, we are doing just fine!! This week seemed to be a very eventful one, as well as a very slow one. So I will go ahead and just start off!!

For Mom, we will be able to Skype for 40 minutes and I don’t know when we will do that; I just know it will be during Christmas day from the Coleman's apartment. We have 2 districts Skyping from there, so 8 Elders total, so it will be pretty tight for time! Some of our amis have been taught by other missionaries and some have been taught only by us. The average time teaching is around a month, I would say, because there is so much to do before!! As for the music, I use it all the time and I am so glad to have it!
 
Elder Legerski and Elder Larson in the back of a truck

Well, one day after we were done eating, Elder West and I went to the boulangerie, which is like a small Albertsons, to get some bread for dinner. And as we were checking out, it just started to pour!! I thought rain in the States was bad sometimes, but that is nothing compared to this!! So we waited for about 15 minutes to see if the rain would let up. When it didn’t, we decided to just head back to the apartment. And when we decided this it was with great care because it's a 25 to 30 minute walk back to the apartment. And my bag was full so I did not have anywhere to put the bread. Well, we ran back quite a bit of the way and then we slowed to a walk because we were out of breath. So we walked the rest of the way home in the pouring rain, with water up to our ankles. Then I said in my mind "well, this stinks so we might as well sing a song", so Elder West and I sang Christmas carols all the way home. And when we finally returned triumphantly to the apartment, THE BREAD WAS STILL DRY!!!! It was such an awesome and wonderful experience.

Next, I was talking with Davy, who is a young man in our ward and he came up and he had a red Under Armour shirt on with a devil looking "E" on the back, along with the phrase “Earned It”.  My first thought was Evanston High School, but I did not ask him about it. Later that night after teaching an ami at church I saw Davy again and asked him and he said it WAS from Evanston High School. I could not believe it!! Evanston ruins everything, even Africa:) Turns out an Elder Scott Davis was in this mission and was friends with Davy and gave him the shirt. I guess the world isn’t a such small place after all!

This week was also a week of splits. For those of you who do not know, splits are when you work with a different companion for a day in your sector. So I got to go out with Elder Rakotondrabeharison who is from Madagascar and is Elder Larson's companion. It was just a good experience and you learn how to work with other people and it gives you an opportunity to learn from them!! Elder Larson and I are going to have to do splits together this next week so that will be very interesting!!
 
Elders Larson, West and Legerski
 
As you may know, we teach an English class on Wednesday as a district, and this last Saturday was a lot of fun. I can now understand a lot of what people are saying and I can communicate with them basically,  so I talk when I can but little kids love talking with us. So I talked with a little girl named Grace the whole time. She is so funny and we just talked about school and braiding her hair and it was so much fun. And then I told another young women that Legerski in French means elephant rider. And she believed it!!!

But the highlight of the week came when Elder West and I were teaching a recent convert named Andre. We were reteaching him the restoration and in broken French, I was able to teach him about the life of Jesus Christ, the Great Apostasy, as well as the life of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. I do not know how I did it, but I was able to. Also, I was able to understand the things that he said in the lesson. I know that for that short period of time God gave me a great gift. Earlier that week I had been struggling with my teaching, as well as my French, so I made a promise with God. If I was to read the Book Of Mormon everyday in French and only study my scriptures in French, that as I do these things I will be able to become more fluent. I can say that I can already see this promise working in my life. I am able to understand more and slowly, but surely, I am able to speak.
 
My testimony of the Book Of Mormon is growing day by day and I don’t know what I would do without it. Before my mission I did not know the Book Of Mormon hardly at all but already in the short while I have been out, I have read it from cover to cover. I have gained so much knowledge and learned so much. I testify that if you read the Book Of Mormon, that you will feel its power. That you will know the things that it says are true. And if you ask God with a sincere heart and a contrite spirit, that he will give you an answer.
 
This is all that I have for you for this week. It's back to another week of being a servant of the Lord. Somebody go have a big bowl of Waffle Crisps for Elder Larson and I!!

With much love,
Elder Legerski

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Message from the Sweaty Elder:)

Bonjour everyone!

How are things going in America!? Things are good here in Africa; its just getting
hotter and hotter and I'm getting sweatier and sweatier!! Right now we are in a cyber café to email and the air conditioning decided not to work!! So I'm emailing in about 95 degree weather in a tiny little concrete room. You just got to love Africa!!

Home sweet home!
 
This week has been a really good week as well as a trying one. Our water was out for 2 days so we had to fetch all of our water as well as take bucket showers. It made me realize just how much water we use!! Let's just say I am really thankful for running water!!

The Bonaberi Elders:
Elder Legerski, Elder West, Elder Rakotondrabeharison, Elder Larson


 
During our p-day Elder Larson and I were cleaning the kitchen. Pause for a second cause yes, I do clean and I clean a lot and I do it really well, especially sweeping. But I decided to "go in deep" and clean under the counter next to the washing machine where it was all gross and it was going well, until we hit cockroach central. In 40 minutes we killed 11 cockroaches, including an albino one!! And one that was around 3 inches long got away. Let's just say I really, really do not like cockroaches and I want them all to die!!

This week has been a good, but hard one. One funny story is that we were asked to give a blessing to a member who was in the hospital and when we were about to begin, he starting taking off his shirt, which for Africa isn't weird at all and he was struggling so I helped him.  Then he took off his undershirt and things got a little funny.  Well, he is a recent convert and he thought we had to rub the oil on the affected part and it was really funny!  But I was able to give him a blessing and it was really amazing.

Elder West and I committed 2 people to be baptized and they were people that were so prepared. One of the men, Narcisse, said he had a vision that one day he would go to church with his best friend and
his best friend, Jean Baptist, was baptized not too long ago. The other man is a man named Julian who works with the branch president and he said he had been praying to know the truth and a preacher gave him a card and as he went to call it he said he got the feeling that he should throw it away so he did. 2 days later he meet the branch president and in our second rendez-vous he said he had a testimony of the church and the Book of Mormon. He said that as he read the Book of Mormon, he just felt good. It was amazing to hear these stories and to receive people that are so prepared.

The French is coming along really well!! I am starting to understand a lot, although the speaking is still very very hard for me. I set a goal to read the entire Livre de Mormon (Book of Mormon) in French so that after I do so, I may be able to recive the gift of tongues (the ability to understand a foreign language). I pray everyday for help and slowly but surely it is coming.

As a way to help the members out, our apartment is now teaching English at the church
and it makes me feel so much better when I see them try and speak because they look like me!! But it's a lot of fun working with them.

To answer the questions you asked in your last email:
1. I had to pay 12,000 francs for the package you sent for my birthday, which is about 24 dollars but it was worth it! I couldn't tell if it had been opened or not but it was in pretty good shape.

2. Make sure to tell all of the Sister Missionaries back home "hello" and I wish them all the best of luck! Tell Sister Unrast that she can even take my room if she wants it, just stay away from my shoes!!

3. As for the light sabers,  they were at the apartment when we got there and we have lots of fun with them!! There are lots of left over things so we use what we can to fix things!
 
Elder Legerski (aka Elder Skywalker)
 
 4. The areas our mission covers include: Brazzaville, Congo, Equitorial Guinea, Douala, Youndai, and Gabon. We fly to all but Youndai, which we take a big bus to. Since we do not have a lot of missionaries, it's not uncommon to be in a place for a long time; Elder West was in Aqua in Douala
for 7 months and he has been in Douala for 10, so transfers don't happen a ton!!

5. We are experimenting with food as an apartment; we have fish once a week now and I love fried fish!! I even ate the eye ball!! And the skin or scales are super good even if my mind says its so wrong. When I woke up the morning after, I wanted to puke because there was fish
in my stomach but I made it through.

Dinner is Served!!
 
6. And I have finally discovered my African addiction: the African pop!! There is "Planet" which makes apple and annana, or pineapple, soda and it is soooooo goood!!! I drink it all the time and I can't get enough of it. Good thing I walk so much or I would get fat:)

My message this week is "BE GREAT IN YOUR OWN WAY". This has helped me so much on my mission. Always, I was comparing myself and seeing what other people are doing to succeed but I wasn't searching within myself. So now I am trying to do things for myself and am seeing how I do best, instead of taking off of what others have. Our Father in Heaven made us all different so we must all find out how we tick. So everyone, figure out what YOU do well and just run with it. Don't see how others do it, just do it how YOU know and make it great! Embrace your differences.

Well that's all for this week.  I hope that all is well back home. I can't wait to Skype, but for now it's back to the Lord's work. Someone go have a gallon of eggnog for me 'cause I miss it so much!!

Love
Elder Legerski

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Big 21 for Elder Legerski!!

Hello everyone,
 
How are you!? I'm doing well over here in Cameroon. This last week seemed to be so long because we had so much going on, but unfortunately it was not teaching people!
 
We were blessed to have President Monga come to our sector this Thanksgiving weekend. So on Wednesday, we had interviews with him and he is just awesome! He is so nice and understanding and just wants us to do the best that we can do.
 
The Zone with Sister & Pres. Monga, Elder Lono, & Sister Coleman

His wife sister Monga came with him as well and she picked our apartment  apart! We thought we were doing a good enough job cleaning it but it was not good enough so we have to step up our game!

Sister Monga's Apartment Inspection with
Elder West and Elder Legerski

Then on Thursday, which was Thanksgiving, we headed over early in the morning to the Coleman's apartment and had a zone conference and it was really good! We were blessed to have a member of the 70 there and even though he spoke only in French, you could feel the spirit. Then after that we had a great meal that was prepared by the Colemans. They somehow found a turkey and made stuffing and green bean casserole so it was almost like an American Thanksgiving! Then for dessert, they found root beer so we had root beer floats and apple pie and it was so good!! I don’t think I have ever been that full in my life.
 
Thanksgiving at the Coleman's
Bless their hearts!!!

After the meal, we went to a huge marche to search for soccer jerseys! It was a lot of fun but it was also so frustrating! Everyone here yells at you and says les blach les blach and it really sucks! Or they yell nee haw at us because they think we are chineese. But we were able to get our jerseys at a decent price and I love them!

The Elders vs the Relief Society


Elder Larson and Elder Legerski in
their brand spankin' new soccer jerseys

Other than that the week was pretty good. We have a lot of investigators but it is so hard to teach over here. You have to put the gospel in such simple terms and it is so hard.

Monday (my 21st birthday) was good! I feel so old now! But I guess I have to grow up just a tiny bit more! I'm so thankful for the package that my family sent I waited for 2 days to open it and I am glad that I did! I loved everything in there and it was so good...thank you so much!!!!

The Knot Display at the
Maritime Museum 

Sorry for not emailing on Monday; we had a museum tour on Tuesday so we changed our p-day to Tuesday and the museum tour went great and after we had schwarmas which are so good!

Schwarmas...YUMMMM

Now I'm just at the café emailing. This week has been a good one but it has been tough as well. Let's hope that the next one is better! I'm so thankful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and how He can strengthen me.

Well that’s all for this week... I'll be trying to send lots of pictures with this email. I hope everyone is well and someone go run and work off all this Thanksgiving weight for me!

Much love,
Elder Legerski

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Almost Thanksgiving Already???


Hello everyone!
How are you doing!? I'm doing great over here in Africa. The teaching has been going great lately, I love it! We have been getting a lot of new investigators and it is awesome getting to know these people. One thing that I have been amazed about is how people here just want to be able to know their God more fully and to devote their lives to him. It is quite opposite from the US, where many people now do not know anything about God and they don’t want anything to do with him. Even the young kids talk about God and the Holy Ghost and a lot of religious things as they walk home from school and it just blows my mind!

For Mom, I am sorry for not taking more pictures and I promise that I will! It's hard to find a lot of times when we can and we have to be careful in the sector when taking pictures because we don’t want to look like those "white people" and I don’t want my camera to get taken! But I promise I will take more and more. As far as what's available for food, we can buy chicken and on rare occasions hamburger.  We can also buy flour and that kind of stuff and we do have an oven. We can buy lots of veggies and noodles as well. We just have a hard time finding a lot of variety to eat.
 
District Meeting with Elders Rakotondrabeharison, West, Legerski, & Larson

For Thanksgiving, we are having a zone conference with the mission president at the Coleman's house and after we will have a dinner. It might not be like just like home, but it's way better than usual so I'll be happy. I am really excited for my birthday but I feel like I'll be so old! 20 is just way too old for my liking, but I guess I will be a real man:) I really hope the package gets here soon; the Coleman's said they have never had someone send mail Fed Ex and they don’t know where the Fed Ex is in Douala or if they even have one. Most people get their mail sent in US Priority Mail. Also, they have a UPS here but no one has ever sent a package through it. For future packages, I would email them (the Colemans) and ask about the specifics because there are a bunch of little things that you sometimes have to do. So I hope that my package makes it here through all of that so I have some stuff for my birthday! As for the percentage of people who speak English, Cameroon is a bi- lingual nation, but it is more French.  I would say 90% of people speak French and 10% English. Many French people understand English and speak a little, but we teach them in French.

Well, for this week I just wanted to talk about 2 experiences that I had. The first one was pretty funny.  We were out with our ward mission leader Lionnel and we were looking for a lady named Antoinette who's number we received a few days before. To get to her house, we walked 45 minutes to a marche, or market, and waited for her.  After not being able to find her, we started back to another rendez-vous but she came out of nowhere so we headed to her house. Her home was just a small room with a twin size mattress on the floor and then her personal effects on the other half of the room. It was so small but we somehow fit all 4 of us in there. In addition, the room had no ventilation at all so it was so hot! On top of that, she was cooking in the room. It was like giving a lesson in a sauna; my face and body would not stop sweating and I sweated through my pants and my shirt! It was so gross:) But it was a very good lesson and even though the sweat was dripping from my face, I could feel the spirit.

The next experience was one that I had with a man named Patrick. Patrick was a man who contacted us on the street while he was a little intoxicated (this happens quite a bit here in Africa). But when we called him later that night, he seemed very eager to meet with us so we set up a meeting. The next day we called him and then he said he would meet us at a taxi call. So after while he showed up and lead us back to his home. Well his home was a building that was under construction and since he was the supervisor, he lived there all alone. This is probably the sketchiest building that I have been in yet, built with cinderblocks and with chunks of cinderblocks all over the floor. Well, there was no power in this building so we went all the way to the top floor and had a lesson in the room there with no light but the light of the moon, sitting on cinderblocks. There he began to tell us about his life and how he regretted the things that he has done and how he now wants to have a life that God would be proud of and that he can be proud of. When asked why he stopped us he said "I don’t know", just that he felt like he should . This is the kind of people who are over here in Africa; they are just amazing. I'm so lucky to teach the people here and they have been prepared and many of those who have been taught gladly receive our message. I'm so grateful to be a missionary here in Africa and this is a time that I will forever cherish.

Since it is the Thanksgiving season, I would like to say that I am so thankful for my family: my Mom and Dad, Koltin, Megann, Skya, Grandma and Grandpa, Debbie, Trent, Luke, Marcus, Thayne, Lisa ,Biz, Lauren, Julia, Alex, Troy and Jamie. I miss them very, very dearly. I am thankful for being born in the US and having all that I have. I am thankful for my amazing ward back home. I am thankful for my Bishop and his amazing family. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve a mission. I am thankful for the prophet and his council. But I think most of all, I am thankful for this Gospel and for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave His life for me, that suffered so much pain so that through him, I may become clean once more, and that one day I will be able to marry a wife for eternity and that someday I will be able to be sealed to my family and live with my family once more. He that gave me so much and demands so little from me. He who's debt I am always in and I am forever grateful for. I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. Go eat lots of food for me please! And most of all, don’t get caught up in black Friday; enjoy family because family is the one thing that I miss the most here. Well, that is all.  On to another week of work! Eat lots of cheesecake for me!

Love,
Elder Legerski

Monday, November 17, 2014

Love Me Some Beignets!


Hello Everyone!
 
This week has been such a good one! Its crazy to think that I have already been here
in Douala for almost 3 weeks! On average we try and have around 5 meetings a day and usually we
end up having around 4 rendez-vous (or meetings) a day. We do a lot of studying in the morning
because I am being trained and we are learning a new language. Since for right now things have
settled into a rhythm, I'll fill you in on the highlights.
 
Elder Larson and I have formed an addiction to beignets, or French doughnuts; they are only 50 francs or 10 cents! We want to have an eating contest to see who can eat the most, I really hope we get to do that soon!  Also, during a lesson with a recent convert, there was a little girl who was running around naked the whole time. While for you that may seem weird, we are now used to it. Little kids hardly ever have clothes on! Also, when you see an adult, the less clothes they have on the crazier they are. One day Elder West and I were walking to get a taxi and we saw a man with nothing on, just standing in the middle of a field! I was shocked and Elder West just said "yeah, sometimes that just happens!"
 
This week I was able to do some service for a member. He sells food on the side of the road by the airport, which here is really common. So to help him out, I cleaned and gutted fish for about an hour! It was really gross, but now I have no problem with cleaning fish at all!
 
Also, the Jehovah's Witness church is really big in Africa. They have a lot of missionaries and members here and they walk around with little badges on. Many of the people that we talk to think that we are JW's.  This week, two JW missionaries stopped Elder West and I on the way back from service and gave us pamphlets and talked to us. I thought it was so funny! And if anyone needs a good rec team name or 3 on 3 name, JW.org sounds pretty interesting to me!
 
Also this week, we got an opportunity to teach an albino lady! They are really common here but I thought it was awesome! As for the teaching here in Douala, it is great! Most of the time we never have to go tracting but it does happen in our mission. Douala is a huge commercial city, so most people move here for business opportunities so they are not the people looking for the gospel most of the time.  Here in Bonaberi many people live in apartments or houses and most of those have a gate with a guardian, so knocking doors here is very hard! Tha guardian most of the time will not let
you come in and teach the people.
 
The people that we do teach though are amazing! They are usually very receptive of our message, which is great! They understand a lot of what we say but it truly is like teaching to a child so you have to be really simple in your speech. It's amazing how many young people that we teach, many of our investigators are 20 years and younger. I would never have thought about religion that young, but here, young people are so intrested in religion. But that's about it as far as teaching goes.
 
The French is really starting to pick up; I can now read a lot in French and understand it. During the lessons, I am beginning to understand almost everything! My speech still struggles, but the more that I speak the better it gets!
 
This week has been a great one and I can't wait for the next to come. The thing that I
have thought about this week is the standard of living here in Africa. We have an apartment
that in the US would be so bad, but here it is like upperclass. If we buy a lot of food, we feel
self-concious, even though for us it's not a lot; for them it would be so much. Never before have
I been so thankful for the things that I have! I'm truly blessed to be here in Africa at this
time. I know this is where I am supposed to be. I truly love it here and I can't wait to have more amazing experiences. Well, that is all for this week. Someone go have a nice big steak for me!

Much Love,
Elder Legerski

Monday, November 10, 2014

Life in the Big City (of Douala:)

Hello everyone,
How are you!? Things are pretty normal here in Africa! I don’t know if I told you all yet but right now I am staying in the country of Cameroon, and in the city of Douala! It is a very big city, around 6 or so million people, but no one is quite sure how many! The city itself is pretty spread out so a small town Wyoming boy like me doesn’t have too hard of a time fitting it! Life has been pretty good lately. I have almost been hit by moto taxis and regular taxis several times! For clarification, moto taxis are motorcycle taxis and even though taking them looks very fun, it is against mission rules so I will not be taking any. Also, I think that my grandmother would kill me if I did take one anyways! There are still chickens and lizards everywhere! I want to catch them all but they are so fast! Today I felt like an awful person because I took out our garbage and just threw it on the side of the road. But I forget that it's totally okay over here! Every few days a garbage truck will come and pick up most of the trash but for the most part there is trash everywhere!
I have finally begun to feel like a real missionary after being gone for almost 2 months! Everyday is a long one but it I love it already! Ebola really stinks! Since it has gotten so bad we cannot eat at members homes which makes me sad! I would love to try African food, even if it landed me in the bathroom for a few hours! So far we make all of our food, often in the mornings we have pancakes or beignets (I don’t know if that is how you spell it) but they are French doughnuts and they are so delicious! Elder Larson and I are going to have an eating contest soon to see who can eat more! The weather here has been getting hotter and hotter. Walking is not bad at all, it is the lessons which are super hard! As soon as I sit down, I start sweating so bad! Often times I leave a puddle on the floor before I leave! I now see why white shirts do not stay white here. Despite it being as hot as it is, I am getting used to it! The average temperature is around 28 or 29 degrees celsius outside and in a house its around 24 or 25, so now when a room is 20 degrees (or room temperature in the US) I am freezing! We had our first huge storm and it poured and poured and almost snapped a few trees in half! Even as cool as it was, it stunk because ever since then our power has been very faulty and we are lucky if we have power for a few hours a day!

Pre-game Prayer Circle
Church here is amazing! Even though the entire thing is in French, I still love it! Sacrament meeting is in a building and luckily the big room has air conditioning! We sit on lawn chairs and other than that it is like a normal sacrament meeting! Although people here don’t understand punctuality and they often show up around half an hour late! The people here are so nice though. All the members shake our hands and greet us. They cannot say my name at all! And many say "Leberski" which I have no idea why! But they are very sweet people and they love the gospel. At church every week, we usually have at least 5 or 6 of our investigators, which is great! Its so nice to invite people to come to church and have them keep the commitment. After sacrament meeting,  we have Sunday school which is same as always and then after that is priesthood. I don’t understand a lot of what is said but I do my best! The biggest difference in church here is that every meeting ends and begins with a song. The people here love to sing and often times our rendezvous (appointments) with people start with hymns!
Soccer!! Elders Quorum vs the Young Men
The language is very difficult still! I try and speak as much as I can but I am still very bad! The thing that has helped me the most is reading out loud. I nearly have all of the little stupid rules for saying things down and I can read most things and understand them! French is very hard but I know that as I keep studying and working on it that I will be able to speak it soon!
As this week has gone on, I have come to realize that my time here on this earth is a time for me to get ready to meet God. In Alma 34:32 we read that this life is a time to prepare to meet God. As I think about this, I think about how God has a plan for me. And right now I am on that path that He wants me to be on. But I still must work. Every day as I walk through the streets, I listen to know what the Lord wants me to do. This is such a hard task; in order to know the will of God we must take quiet time and read the scriptures and pray and most of all listen. Listening is key and that is the one thing that I did not realize before my mission. I did not listen and now I am always listening so that I may always listen to the promptings of the Lord. For you people at home, I challenge you to take quiet time this week. Pray to the Lord and ask if what you are doing now is what the Lord wants you to do and just sit there for 5 minutes. While you do this, pay close attention to your thoughts and feelings. The Lord works through the still, small voice and He will lead you and show you the way; we must just be willing to listen.
All in all, I am loving it here in Africa.  Sometimes it gets hard but strong spiritual moments keep me going. This is the Lord's work and there is no better work I can be doing. I thank everyone who has kept me in their prayers. It means a lot and it strengthens me.
I hope everyone is good at home. Somebody please go eat an Uncrustable with a large glass of cold milk for me!
Much love
Elder Legerski

 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

First email from the mission field!


Hello everyone!
 
 How are you doing! This is my very first p-day in the field! Overall this has been such a blessing but so hard as well! I got done at the MTC this last Tuesday and it was actually really hard! I have grown so close to so many of these Elders and they will always be dear to my heart!
 
Gonna miss these guys!!
 
To start the travel day, we got all packed up and then headed to the airport. And there it was a typical day in the Ghana airport. When Elder Larson and I got there, we found out that our bags were overweight. Now President Robison had told us that if we had problems with that, the drivers would come forward with money so that we would not have to pay. However, the drivers did not and Elder Larson and I had to go through the airport to find an ATM machine and then pull out $80 to pay the overweight fee.  But then they said they needed more money and by that time our drivers had left. So, we had to go all through the airport looking for a security person to talk to and after about an hour we were able to finally head through security to start boarding our plane.
 
The plane ride to Lome was very short and we were fortunate enough to be able fly with all of the Elders from our district, except one, so I was very fortunate. While in Lome, we had a 2 hour layover so Elder Larson and I said goodbye to the other Elders who are going to Benin and Togo and then we boarded the plane to Cameroon. Once we got to Cameroon, Elder Larson and I looked around and said "this is more like it!". It was crazy how as soon as we landed, we had a sense of belonging.
 
We waited for our bags, which came very fast. Then came the hard part; waiting for the right drivers. People were crowded all around us, asking for money and offering rides. This was all in French, so we had abosultely no idea what was going on! But finally a man said he knew the missionaries and it felt right so we followed him and saw Brother Coleman and the Mission President pulling up and we loaded our bags up and we were off.

From there we went to the Coleman's apartment where we met the other members of our zone. Our zone is very small and only has 8 elders.  The districts only have 4 each and then each companionship is in a sector. So we met our zone leaders, who were very nice, and one of them was taller then me! I was so surprised but I guess they send goofy tall kids to Africa all of the time:) Then we had dinner at the Coleman's and it was so good to taste kind of American food! They gave us brownies and mint ice cream for desert and I thought I was gonna cry it was so good! After dinner, we all had a meeting and I met my new companion and my trainer, Elder West. He is from Ohio and he is a great elder! He did a lot of theatre in high school, as well as band. We have bonded very well and we are working towards having a great companionship!
 
Elder West, Elder Legerski, Elder Rakotondrabeharison, Elder Larson
 
That night we landed, I went to my apartment. And let me tell you, every apartment in the US looks like a penthouse compared to what I have seen! By African standards, we have a very nice apartment: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a living room and a decent sized kitchen. I got lucky and got the apartment with air conditioning so I'm soooo grateful for that! Now for the downsides of our apartment by American standards: we have ants everywhere and it is just run down in general and we have problems with cockroaches sometimes and they are huge! So it's a good thing I don’t mind bugs at all:) But I feel very fortunate to have what I have.
 
Zone Conference
 
Then came morning and the biggest moment of my life so far! Day one in the zone. To start, we went back across town and had a nice zone conference. After that I went and had my very first lesson as a missionary! Before I tell you about that, let me tell you about my sector. I'm in the Bonaberi B sector. It is one of 2 sectors that do not use taxis, so we walk everywhere! And in most places it is just dirt roads or dirt paths! Plus, Elder West and I are being white washed, which means that we are both brand new to the area! So we don’t know any of the investigators well, where they live, where the members live or who the members are! So we have quite the challenge ahead;) Because Cameroon is a 2 language country, we have anglaphones who speak English and frankaphones who speak French!
 
Sister Coleman, President Monga,
Elders West, Colindres, Legerski, Hatch, Larson, Okon, Johnson, & Rakotondrabeharison
 
 
My first lesson was with Sonita who is an anglaphone and it went so well! I think that she may be baptized soon which makes me so happy! She is such a sweet girl. I probably sweated off five pounds during the lesson, too. I had sweat pouring down my face! Its getting into dry season here in Africa which is when it gets really really hot! So I'll be losing a few pounds!
 
There is so much to say that it is impossible to write it all down! So I'll tell you all the weird things about Africa! The ladies don’t shave their armpits so that’s really weird. There are canals on either side of the street that hold all kinds of stuff and they smell really, really bad. It's not uncommon for people to drop their pants and do their business in the canals so that’s always nice! There is trash all over the place and huge piles on the side of the road. It really makes me appreciate America! But I found the most amazing drink and its called dudu! Its like liquid yogurt and it is just delicious. We don’t eat in members home at all because of the new rules from Salt Lake, so we as an apartment have to cook 3 times a day so we get pretty creative with what we have! We have had pancakes and pizza, and tacos so far, so I guess we can make anything!  Real quick note about the language: French is hard! In French lessons, I understand the general idea but other than that I speak and understand little but it gets better everyday! I know it will take time but soon I will speak French.

Now I want to share a spiritual thought with you all. This last night I was having a hard time; I was homesick and it was just all coming down on me. It had been a hard day, it was hot, I was in a foreign country and I felt like I was failing as a missionary. But then as I read through Preach my Gospel, I realized something. We all are never perfect and this life is a life that is meant to become better. At that moment I felt such a strong desire to become the best person I could be and the best missionary that I could be. I encourage everyone to have this same fire in their heart as they go through their daily lives. If you can look back and say "have I done any good today?" and you can answer "yes!", then you are becoming a true disciple of Christ. In 2 Nephi, chapter 31:17-20,  we read about enduring to the end. This is the hardest step of the gospel but one of the most important. Always stay strong with the Lord and thank him every night for everything he has given you.

Now its time to say goodbye! But before I do, I have a challenge for you all. Go into a store like Walmart and stand in the middle of a food aisle. Then imagine you are standing on a dirt road. The aisle changes into little stalls all around you. You hear people speak but cannot understand anything. Its so hot you sweat through 2 shirts. There are flies and dirt on all the food. The stench of sweat and rotten food makes you want to throw up. This is the average market in Africa. Never again will I complain about having food that I don’t like, or the availability or cleanliness of the food. Make a challenge of complaining less and start to be thankful more!

Well, that’s all for this week; someone go have a Baconator for me!

Love,
Elder Legerski

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Last E-mail from the MTC


Hello everyone!
 
 I hope you are all doing well! Its crazy how fast time flies; it seems like just yesterday that I got here and it's already nearly 6 weeks later and I'm about to leave for the mission field. I can't wait to be out in the field and doing missionary work!
 
The MTC is as good as it can be for right now. FYI, there is no Halloween in Africa, Mom:) I leave next week sometime and I do not know my address yet but I will try and find out. We still have chicken and rice everyday but by now we are all used to it and we don't really mind it! The French is coming very well. I've picked up my studying this past week and I am starting to understand more and speak more.  It is still very difficult, but I know the Lord will bless me as I do His work.
 
I must say that the Elders here are very good at soccer; however, they are not good at basketball at all:) We joke that Africa is the only place in the world that a white man can beat a black man at basketball:D Anything that has to do with their hands is very hard for them.  Also, all of our hair was getting long so we held a haircut night last night and we all cut our hair short, even me! I guess I have accepted the fact that I'm gonna have short hair for 2 years.
 
I do have a very interesting story for you all. President Robison told us a story during Sunday School. He always says that the church here in Africa is like it was during the Nauvoo period of time in America.  So the people that we teach and baptize will one day become the Bishops and Young Women's leaders of their areas. If any of you know about the Rwanda genocide, you have an advantage on most people. It was a war in Africa in 1994 between 2 tribes that killed approximately 1 million people, an estimated 20% of the country's population. After one shooting, a soldier was walking through the bodies and he noticed a young baby about 3 months old.  He picked it up and took it to an orphanage. 15 years later, a security guard for the US embassy went to that orphanage to play games with the children. There he taught the older boys and girls about his church. One young boy wanted to know more and was baptized by the missionaries. After his baptism, the missionaries found out that this young boy was the first member of the LDS church in his entire country.  And this young man has grown up and is here at the Ghana MTC!! His name is Elder Hakizimana Dady Paul.
 
Elder Theodore Nsengiyumva (left) and Elder Hakizimana Dady Paul (right)
Here at the MTC in Ghana we are so blessed to have people like this come through our doors.  I am so blessed to have the opportunity to be here at the MTC. Even though it is very hard, I do love it. Every day brings its own challenges. I feel just like you, Mom; sometimes I wish I could go home, or I want to just take a nap:) I want to see my younger brother play football and my little sister play volleyball. I feel frustrated and upset and discouraged. But when I feel like this, I get down on my knees and pray. The Lord will strengthen me and He will strengthen all of us. I'm so glad to be doing His work. I must go though; someone go have some Cafe Rio for me:)
 
Much love,
Elder Legerski.
 
ps. We got a new American missionary and he is from Star Valley, Wyoming!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mmmm.....Breakfast:)


Hello everyone!
 
I hope you are all doing well! The MTC keeps getting better and better the longer I am here! We all got to watch General Conference this Sunday for 4 hours and it was amazing. Never before have I been so excited and already I cannot wait for the next one.  This is a group picture that is on the slide show, and it is of our district.
 
 
Say "Cheese"!!
We are all in a class together and we all have become very close, but 3 of us are going to the Ivory Coast, Elder Larson and I are going to the Congo and the rest are going to Benin. My mission includes Cameroon, the Congo, Central African Republic, Gabon and Rio Muni. As Elder Larson and I did research, we found that the equater cuts our mission in half and goes through one of our cities directly, so its going to be very hot and humid there, much unlike Wyoming:)
 
Outlined in blue is the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Brazzaville Mission (Elder Legerski's mission)
The highlights of the week are few, but they were well worth it. Our lunch lady is very sweet and she takes pity on us white American elders so she made us cheese omletes one day and cheeseburgers and fries the next. You can say that we were just about in tears as we ate it. And we were in tears again as we went back to rice and chicken the next meal;)

Chicken...and rice....again:)
As you know, Elder Whitt got Oreos from his family so we all had one and I don't think I have savored anything as much as I savored that Oreo. It's funny, the longer I have been here, the more I look forward to breakfast and last night as my room and I were talking, we noticed that we are so excited for breakfast for one reason: a hunk of bread with butter on it! That is all. We love that bread and as the days fly by, I realize that I am starting to appreciate things much more.
 
OREOS!!!!!!
My French is coming along as fast as it can. We learn lots and lots everyday and as a challenge, my room decided to speak only French for a day. We lasted until 3:00 pm, when sports started, but it was very good for us and I was suprised to find out I knew how to say and understand a lot of French. 
 
Yes...I am studying. A lot:)
I thought now would be as good a time as ever to talk about my teachers. They are Brother Taki and Brother Djoussou.  Brother Taki is very nice and it was his birthday on Tuesday so we all sang to him; he is very driven and motivated and drives us to do our best. Brother Djoussou is very funny; we get distracted a lot with him. He says we wants to move to either Wyoming or Ohio and marry a cowgirl. We have no idea how he knows about Ohio, but he sure does love it.
 
Learnin' lots!!
Also, on Sundays our Sunday School teacher and priesthood teacher is President Robison. He is great; he comes in and talks to us and asks for feed back and also leads and guides us. I feel lucky to be in the Ghana MTC because we get to be so close with everyone and even our President knows us personally.
 
Our mission President and his wife, the Robisons
During sports time this week, we all decided that we would play soccer. It is very hard and some of the Elders here are very good and they think it is very funny to make us white boys look stupid. It is very fun but I would much rather play basketball.
Defending the goal
Elder Larson using his head:) As Elder Legerski looks on
 
Look at that footwork!!
 

I hope all is going well back home. I am learning so much about the gospel and the French language here it is crazy! One piece of advice I have for everyone is to read your scriptures; never before have I wanted to read them so badly and now I find I never have enough time. So feast upon the words of Christ and find comfort in them. Our Father in Heaven loves us and wants us to do all that we can. We are all children of God. The time here flies and I cannot believe that it has been nearly 4 weeks! I hope all is good back home. Someone please go have a 20 piece McNugget for me.!!!
 
Much love,
Elder Legerski