Monday, September 1, 2014

Week 7 - Antsirabe - Trying to Read the Book of Mormon

So last week after we went to the cyber to email, we went shopping at the Shoprite, the only grocery store in Antsirabe other than street vendors. While we were there, we found a whole section of mugs for sale, and Elder Covey and I found some of the coolest mugs in existance, and we bought them for about three dollars. They are white with pictures of kittens on them. It doesn't get more hardcore than that. Mine is actually better than his because I get 5 different kittens in one big picture that wraps all the way around, but he only gets the same cat twice, once on each side.

This week has been super awesome! Our member help is amazing. We have had at least one person with us every day this last week from about 2ish until around 7. They have been a huge help because they know lots of the people who were investigating with the last missionaries, the less actives, and the leaders in the ward. There was one day where we had no help and we didn't know where to start, so we just went into our area (about a 30-45 minute walk from our house) and stopped at a market to look around and decide where to go. Then a member walked up to us, announced that she was going to help us for that day, and then started taking us around to people. She even had a list of recent converts and less actives for us! The Lord is definitely leading us to those he has prepared.

A nice traditional Malagasy meal

In one of our lessons with some less active members, there was a little boy who decided I was his friend, and I was chatting and playing with him a little bit before we got going. I made the mistake of writing something down in my planner and he was fascinated with my pen. It's just a black ballpoint pen that you push the button down, then have to push a button on the side to pop it back up, but he thought it was the coolest thing in the world! Then, during the prayer, he reaches through my folded arms, all the way across my chest and slowly pulls the pen out, then after playing with it for about 30 seconds (it was a long prayer), he slowly reaches back and slides it back into my chest pocket. I was trying sooo hard not to laugh the whole time! His family is really awesome though. They are pretty rich for Malagasies, the dad is a mechanical engineer and professor at a local college. Pretty rich is relative, of course, because they still have a cement floor and I'm not sure if they have running water or not. It's crazy how much we take for granted.

A sunset in our area

Today we drove way out into the boonies in Manadona, to go to a waterfall. It was super cool. We went with all of the missionaries in my district and in the other Antsirabe district. Some of the elders went and ran way up past the waterfall jumping from rock to rock in the river. It was lots of fun, and it was really pretty.

My selfie from our hike to the waterfall today

I've started to read the scriptures in Malagasy to work on my language skills, and I started by jumping around to a lot of scriptures that I have memorized in English, but then I decided to start at the beginning. I open to the first verse and it says "I Nephi, because I was born of parents pinched people with hair..." or something like that. I asked Elder Rahilahivao, the native Malagasy who lives with me, about it and he started laughing and said that it was pretty messed up--apparently the translation isn't quite perfect... Apparently people still manage to keep reading after coming across that, so it's all good I guess. The mistakes of men can't keep the work of the Lord from progressing.

The word of the week is mazoto (muh-zoo-too) it means dilligent. We use this word a lot when describing investigators and members. It's super important because those who are not mazoto, those who don't read their scriptures and keep their covenants and obey the commandments, don't have the Spirit in their life and they lose their faith. It's super sad to see. It's a hard concept for lots of people to understand that you won't be able to know if the gospel is true or not until AFTER you start living it. You have to give it a test drive first because no assurance that it's true will come until after the trial of your faith.

Fitiavana maro!

Elder Rasmussen

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