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!!

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.

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!!

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!


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