The latest on 18.5 year old teenage boy who is living in Africa.
This is an update on Brayden from 18-18.5 years old. At his 18 year summary, I felt like that would be his very last one. But he is having such a unique experience that I thought it would be fun to have an 18.5 year old update.
Brayden is almost 6 months into his 2 year mission for our church. He is in Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). He is speaking French!
He left at the end of June and spent the first 6 weeks in Ghana being trained.
Neither he nor I expected it to be super hard for him to leave. He has traveled a bunch and traveled without his family. It was always fine and no biggie.
He was excited to go and we were excited he was going.
But man. Saying goodbye to him at the airport was SO HARD. I do not show emotion in public and I was full on ugly crying.
He ended up feeling very homesick for a while.
After his 6 weeks in Ghana, he moved to Cote d’Ivoire. He was sent to a smaller village in his mission called Alepe.
His companion (missionaries are assigned a companion) was from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and only spoke French. That was definitely difficult as Brayden was still very much learning French, but it also made it so Brayden had to learn French faster.
He and his companion got along well. They had very different work ethics and goals. Brayden spent far more time in his apartment than he would have preferred, but he made the most of his time by studying French and the Gospel.
He spent 12 weeks with that companion and then got a new companion. At this point, he was made a trainer of a new missionary and also the District leader. He and his new companion (and current right now) really get along really well! They have similar goals and work ethics. They even worked themselves into heat exhaustion one day. Brayden really enjoys him. Brayden is still in Alepe.
LIFE IN WEST AFRICA
Life in West Africa is very different of course. They have no washing machine, dishwasher, or oven.
The food is very simple. Fortunately, while Brayden isn’t picky with food, he is content to eat the same thing over and over again. Chicken, rice, pasta, tomatoes, eggs, and pima peppers are the main diet.
With that said, Brayden’s current companion’s father is a chemist and very good with recipes, so they have had a lot more variety lately, which Brayden has been very grateful for.
It gives you more sympathy for the children of Israel complaining about mana…again…
He is close to the equator, so the weather is basically the same every day. Hot and humid. While he has been there, it has been the rainy season. That means rain basically every day. Lots of rain. It has been drying out lately and just being really hot.
He has spent weeks without running water and without electricity (sometimes both at the same time). He is learning to roll with that.
He is of course incredibly grateful for all that he has at home along with all of the modern conveniences. You know to be grateful for all you have, but obviously living in a situation like this solidifies that gratitude. You no longer have to imagine life without things; you know life without things.
We are able to talk to Brayden each week. It is amazing to see his progress. He is learning and growing at such a rapid pace. I am glad we can talk to him regularly so we can keep up with his growth.
Here is a quote from a recent email I have loved:
“The Lord prepares His children for their upcoming difficulties and experiences. That is one of the amazing things about letting Him teach you. He has the foresight to prepare you according to your needs to come.
But, sometimes that preparation is painful. The most effective growth is also often the most painful. Frequently when we are in the middle of this growth we don’t want it. We want someone to take it away from us. But if we can see through these dark storm clouds, we can find the lesson in our trials. We can find ways to grow and learn. All things will work together for your good. The Lord has this power. So just let Him. Stay strong in your trials, and allow Him to teach you.”
What a valuable experience he is having!
A hard thing is that we can’t reliably send him things. We can try, but it is very expensive and most likely will not arrive there. So we will be sending him money (in the modern way to send money–put it in his account) and not sending any items.
So that is a brief overview of the latest on him. He is going strong and learning and growing in West Africa. He will be there for 1.5 more years.
Once again, you can follow along on Instagram to see updates.