Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 14 - Antsirabe - The Ebola and Potatoes

It's still been pretty dry here in Antsirabe. We haven't had any notable downpoor for a few weeks, but that should change soon. In fact, I think it's going to come down pretty hard later today, but we'll see. And by that I mean I will see and then I might tell you about it later. Interviews with President Adams happened! They were pretty quick, but Elder Bowler, Elder Andriamanganoro, and I got pretty spiffed up for them. We had a shoe shining party and Sister Adams told us we had the best looking shoes she's seen the whole time she's been here! The sad part is that that was actually a big deal for us... Anyway, the pre-coup president returned and was promptly arrested by the current president, so there have been riots and bombs going off in Tana. So we all got our 72 hour kits going, but nothing happened in Antsirabe, so don't worry.

This week has gone pretty well. We had a few good investigators at church and some less active families that we've really been working with. We are starting to get some good referrals from members who bring their friends to church, which is great!

L. and V., two investigators in a part member family, are our start investigators right now. We gave them the Word of Wisdom pamphlet and told them to read it, came back and they knew all of it. So we reviewed it a little bit, then taught about obedience and scripture study, then we gave them a law of chastity pamphlet and told them to read it, and we came back and they essentially taught the lesson. So we taught about other stuff too again. Their baptismal date is in three weeks, but they could be baptized at the end of this week. They are way prepared.

One thing that I've been hearing a lot about from Malagasies is the Ebola. They tell me thaqt 2 people have it in America and everyone is freaking out. One Malagasy told me that the Ebola is very bad for Americans because they have huge potato processing plants and "once" Ebola gets in, everyone will get sick from their potatoes that they eat every meal (most Malagasies think that since Americans don't eat rice every single meal, there must be something else we eat just as much). She then went on to tell me that Malagasies wouldn't get the Ebola because they have better food, and the Malagsy people are strong. So there you have it. No need to worry about Ebola here, my rice and cold meat will keep me safe! (Also, it's always "the Ebola" so I capitalized it to show what a big deal it is here.)
Right after I learned all of that, we had a teaching appointment with J. and L.  J. has been learning for a while and two weeks ago he brought his buddy, L., to church with him. They are both super dilligent and they read their scriptures, oh I don't know, religiously? See what I did there? Anyway, yesterday we taught them and a ton of kids came to listen too. There were maybe around 15 of them. So we just reviewed the plan of salvation with all of them, and J. and L. essentially just taught the entire lesson to the kids while we watched. It was fantastic! J. has started to progress a ton since he started learning with his friend. Good support is crazy important!

I actually included a picture this week. I finally got my camera to work for long enough to take a few pictures, and now it is in a coma again. The first one is our mansion. Six missionaries live there and it's not as spacious as it may look. If you look closely on the right of the picture, yes, that is razor wire on the wall. I'll send some pictures of the inside next week if I can resuscitate my camera again.

The second picture is our church building right now. We still don't have an actual church here, so this is the one for now. Yes, that is my trainer, Elder Cartmill, caught at a bad time, in the bottom corner.

The last picture is our Preach My Gospel class! These are some of our branch missionaries who are getting ready to go on missions. E., the one flashing gang signs with me, is our young men's president, ward clerk, ward family history consultant, seminary teacher, branch missionary, and I think he is the young single adults leader. Then S., the one with the Book of Mormon is the chorister, branch missionary, and seminary teacher too. Then the other people live in the sister missionaries' side of the branch.

This week's word of the week was almost mpilofo, which means a try-hard, but it was more difficult to think of a spiritual thought to go along with that. So we'll go with a pretty neat word instead, mivadika, mi-VAH-deek(ah). It means to turn from a higher path to a lower one, or turning away from something that you know is right. Pretty cool concept, huh? This word becomes applicable when we are trying to get members to do the things they know they should, but just stopped doing because it's easier to just... not... We've been focusing on teaching about the blessings that they will receive when they start living the gospel again, and it's been working for some, but some just have hard hearts and don't want to change yet, which is tough to work with. However, it's God's work, and everything will work out. Work hard and do your best!
Elder Rasmussen

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