Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 10 - Antisrabe - Practically a Malagasy

So it's starting to heat up here in Madagascar. It's sitting around 70, and all of the people are still wearing sweaters and thinking it's pretty chilly. It is not, however, and it is so nice all the time.There has been a huge party/music festival in Antsirabe for more than a week now. It's in the city center which is in between our area and our house, so we have to take detours each night. And when I say huge, I do mean pretty big, there was even a firework show last night as we walked past.

Cool accomplishments this week:
I am still gaining weight--20lbs since I entered the MTC.
I have been told I am tanner than when I first arrived.
I have been told that I am practically a Malagasy right after I was told that I am tanner than when I first arrived.
I ripped the legs off of live crawdads with the family who told me I am practically a Malagasy right after I was told I am tanner than when I first arrived.
I made some killer biscuits and gravy.
Oh, and I may have taught a few people about the gospel too.

Anyway, first things first, this week our Branch Presidency was reorganized. Ok, that's like one of the last things that happened, but it's going first anyway. Starting with the second counselor, we have Adr., who we reactivated our first week here. He's super studly and he knows his stuff really well, and he goes teaching with us around twice a week usually. Then we have some guy with a French name that I don't remember, it could be like Fabien Pierre or something like that, anyway he was the old first counselor, so nothing new there. Then our branch president... drumroll please... Ruf.! You don't know him. So you'll just have to take my word when I say he's a stud. Actually, I think I already wrote some about him a few weeks ago. He's the one with the super maditra kid who kept stealling my pen during the prayer. He's a mechanical engineer and a professor at a local college and he was also reactivated pretty early in our stay here. So essentially we have two newly reactivated members in our branch presidency and they are both massive studs and I am so glad that they are ready. They are both really smart and they know the gospel better than most around here, so they'll be able to help out a lot.

We finally got M. and N. to church this week. M. is the guy who is still having some trouble with the word of wisdom (ny tenin'ny fahendrena) but he's been sober since his episode last week, which is good. M.s mom, who is already a member and lives with them, is actually the one who told me that I have gotten tanner (twice) and that now I am practically a malagasy. Which is true, because my hair and skin are way darker and I have shrunk a foot so now I fit in with them all! That was a joke. I do have a pretty sweet tan line on my neck from my collar, and my arms have a sweet tan line too, but I have, unfortunately, not changed ethnicities yet, but I hear that usually happens after a few months so I'm still waiting.

This Thursday, when we went to go teach M. and N., we walked in on a big (2 gallons ish) bowl full of live crawdads. They were all crawling over each other and a bunch were locked in death grips on each other. Then we sat down and plucked the legs off with the family and threw the live crawdads into another bowl where they all just thrashed and writhed, then after that we stuck them in a pot to boil. It was great! Not even phased.

We went to the big tsena (market) last Monday to look for some stuff and I got some flip flops. They were the biggest ones I could find and they were still too small. All the other elders thought it was funny, but I have the same size as one of them, and the other ones are within 2 sizes of me, so it still sucks for them too, they just don't know it yet! I have also determined that either this week or next week I'm going to get a sweet snapback from the tsena, because there are sooooo many, and we missionaries are pretty thug, so we just have to get them. On the subject of my shopping list, I learned of a guitar maker in Tana who can make you a guitar from baobab wood legally. I think I might hit him up at the end of my mission...

Anyway, I'm super excited for this next week because on Sunday we get transfer news!!!! Not that I'm going anywhere. Or pretty much anyone else in Antsirabe... All of the Elders except the zone leaders are training or being trained, so one zone leader will probably change, but that's it. The real exciting part is this transfer will be the introduction of the next group, including Elder Glazier, to Madagascar. And that's exciting. Hopefully they will open up some new area down here in Antsirabe and he'll be coming here, but we'll see. He's probably going to stay in Tana though, poor guy...

They get a lot of rip off clothes from China. So there are a lot of American styles but all the clothes are dirty and worn usually. Everything is super colorful though, that's definitely a big thing. There are a lot of traditional clothes though too. Especially hats. There are 18 different tribes and they all have their own colorful hats. Then there are some other cool clothes too, there's this super long shirt thing, kind of like a night shirt thing, but it's just like a fitted shirt that goes down to your knees, and I am going to get one. Even if I have to have a tailor make one just for me because they are all too short. Let's see... there are lots of flip flops, t shirts, shorts, jeans, and lots of sweaters when it's cold (like in the 60s). Then there are a TON of snapback hats, and I'm going to get some of those too. For proselyting, of course.

Anyway, that's all for this week. The word of this week is manolotra, muh-Noo-loo-chah, and it means to offer. I found it when I was reading Ny Fitsipiky ny Filazantsara, also known as Gospel Principles. We didn't have any copies in Malagasy so I got one from the other house because they had a ton, but I may or may not have asked them first... Anyway, this week we have been having a little bit of a tough time because people have that darn agency thing. We've been offering what we have, but lots of them have just gotten to sidetracked by things that really aren't as important. It's important to remeber that if you put ALL of your faith in God and put him very first, you'll still have rough times, but everything will work out eventually. You'll have peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come. That's kind of a big deal, anyway, you all take care.

Amin'ny manaraka,
Elder Rasmussen

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