Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 77 - The Rains Begin

Christmas was great. And so was seeing all you guys. And since I feel like I saw everyone just the other day, I'll keep this one pretty short. But did I mention that Christmas was great???

So for our Christmas we had a white elephant exchange, we played signs and watched Meet the Mormons. Then we cleaned the church, we were supposed to go caroling but we got rained on... So we cleaned the church. But then we had a bring your own meat party at our house with all the missionaries in the zone and it was lots of fun. Way cool. 

Other than that, the work was a little bit slow this last week because of Christmas, but not too bad. Elder Glazier and I killed it as much as we could.

Exciting things going on right now: President Foote is coming up here on Saturday and we'll be doing interviews and pday with him, I'm way pumped. And then we have transfers too. So... next week we'll know if Elder Glazier and Elder Rasmussen get to stick it out together or if they're going to split up. Come back next week for the news!

Malagasy Morsel for the week is orana. It means rain. And we've been starting to get some. And rainy season is just getting going. And Tamatave is the wettest part of Madagscar. Who's pumped??!?!?!

Anyway, I love you all, and I hope you all have a great week, because I sure will! I love it here! Madagascar is amazing and being a missionary is even more amazing!
Mazotoa e daholo!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from your favorite missionaries ever! Hope you are enjoying the Christmas season!
Because we sure are!!!

Merry Christmas from Madagascar!
Elder Rasmussen and Elder Glazier.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 76 - Celebrating Christ


Whew. My throat hurts a little bit from yelling those words as I typed them. But really, who's pumped? I'm so pumped. 

This week has been great.

We did lots of stuff. Tons of stuff. So many stuffs I can't even think of them all. But really, I'm skyping home this week, so I feel like there's not all that much to talk about.

Elder Glazier and I got some gorrilla masks that we may have used late at night one day or something like that, but no biggie. We also made a sweet Christmas card that I hope you all got. We spent FOREVER making that...

Then we went on some splits this week. Way cool. 

But no we'll just go to Malagasy Morsel time. It's Jesoa Kristy. Guess what that means. It means Jesus Christ. I'm sure that was a hard one. And that's what Christmas is all about. I love it.But I just kind of had a cool story from yesterday that I wanted to share with y'all. We got home from church and were watching Mormon Messages on Elder Snell's USB while we were making our delicious spaghetti. And there was this one video that had a little clip of Jesus walking with his disciples and I just thought to myself, "What I would give to get to walk with Him and learn from Him every day." And as soon as I thought that, the next thought came into my head, "That's exactly what you're doing right now." I get to do his work and I get to learn from Him from the scriptures every day and we all get to do that! I love it so much! That just made my day.

So I'd like to wish you all a fantastic Christmas and don't forget to do some things that our Savior would have you do to let you come unto Him while you're all celebrating Christmas.

Love you all!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 75 - A Full Program

HEY!!!! Guess what. It's almost CHRISTMAS!!! And I am not the slightet bit excited. I can't stand Christmas.

Whoops... did I say I can't stand Christmas? I meant I can't stand waiting for Christmas. I love Christmas.

But this last week was so fantastic. We had splits with the APs one day, they brought two other missionaries with them and just did splits in each elder's area for a week. So pretty much one missionary and one of the split dudes would teach all of the times, and the other two would go find new families all day. It was lots of fun! Most of the missionaries got two days of splits, but Elder Glazier and I just already have too many people we're teaching that they only did one day of splits with us. Haha

But really, our program is so full right now. We pretty much have times scheduled every half hour... Way full. It's fantastic though! We have a lot of people bail on us and lots of new investigators but we still managed to teach 39 times. Hah, "only" 39 times. We were killing it, it was so fantastic.

Let's see... it's kind of weird working with Brandan, especially because I can't call him Brandan... But it's way fun! We just have a blast and we are just going hard and it's beautiful.

Fun note, this week is December 19th! Happy birthday family!!!

Christmas is coming up!!! We've got some sweet ideas for a zone activity, but we'll probably save it and keep it a surprise.

Malagasy Morsel of the week is bokana and it means ripped/muscular. And Elder Glazier and I are getting bokana!!! We ran to the cyber this morning in about 17 minutes. It's way far. And it was way hot. We've been sitting in the high nineties lately with like a gajillion percent humidity. We are dripping sweat all of the time. Literally. When I walked into the cyber and leaned over to turn on the moniter, I dripped like five times on the keyboard. Cool, right?

Anyway, y'all have a great, cold week and enjoy whatever part of the world you may be in.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 74 - Get Back to Work Week

Work Week! Last week was Travel A Lot Week, so it was nice to get going! We've still got a bunch of stuff to get going, because we are actually whitewashing half of our area, but it's going good! Church attendance was not quite as many as I was expecting, but new branch, new people, it's all good! 

Our goal here in Tamatave is to light the place on fire. So Elder Glazier and I just went to work. Did we tract a lot? Yeah, you could say that. Did we teach a lot? Yeah, you could say that. Did we go swimming a lot? No. We're missionaries.

It was a great productive feeling week and we should be seeing some results from it in this next week! So awesome.

CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!! I don't know if you guys knew that, but there's this holiday over here where everyone gets with their family and then gets so drunk they can't remember why they were celebrating or their name. And it's excellent! Mostly it's excellent because of another holiday that's coincidentally on the same day that's about Jesus Christ. That's the really good part.

We'll even go all out and put Christmas in Malagasy for our Malagasy Morsel. Are you ready for this? It's Krismasy. Pronounced just about the same as Christmas. Crazy right??? 

Can you all tell that I'm way pumped for Christmas? It's always been my favorite time of year, and you can bet I've been playing Christmas music for like a month and a half. Bummer is that it was a different Elder's Christmas music, and then I moved and don't have any. I should get on that.

Why is Christmas so good?
Because Christ lives. And we can live forever too.
And that's really really good.

Love you all and I mirary a sambatra Christmas Season!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 73 - First Week in Andranomadio and My Companion's a Tool

So like I said in the subject line, this is my first week of working in the Andranomadio area and my companion is, in fact, a tool.

But that's not exactly anything I wasn't expecting, and the fact that he's your best friend helps get you over that...

This last week was exciting for sure!

We had life as normal down in beautiful sunny Fort Dauphin for the first part of the week: taught people, visited people, went about doing good. And then we had thanksgiving on Thursday! I treated myself to a nice American style Thanksgiving dinner with three packages of crackers and a liter and a half of Grenadelle Fanta. Mmm Just like home!

Then I left Fort Dauphin.

We went to the airport and watched the new studly missionaries walk off the plane. Elder Delbar, who replaced me, and Elder Bassett, and Elder Lenherdt. Hopefully I didn't butcher the spelling of their names... Anyway, they are studs, and I wish them luck.

Then we flew to Morondava, land of the baobabs and I saw hundreds from the windows of the plane as we were going down. Then we got to get out and have a short layover, then we went on to Tana. Then we got picked up at the airport by our fearless AP's who took us to the mission office and then I got out of their car, and into another van and drove to Tamatave for eight hours. It was a pretty fun ride, just got to sit next to Elder Glazier the whole time and listen to him snore...Then I got to Tamatave at midnight and went to bed.

So... Tamatave... is hot. A lot like Fort Dauphin, but it stays hotter at night I feel like. Good news is we have air conditioning. That stuff is so nice! I forgot what that was like! Tamatave's also a lot bigger than Fort Dauphin, but it's way flat. No mountains this time. Then we had a pretty good week as far as stats go if you take into account that the missionaries were in Tana, but not working in their area from Tuesday to Saturday... So it was a poop week. BUT, this next week is going to be way good! Elder Glazier and I are way pumped to be working together, and we're going to do some way good work over here. I'm super pumped! It's super weird to not be on first name basis though... I'm still not a hundred percent used to not calling him Brandan, but it's all good!

Malagasy Morsel for the week is vizaka, or dizaka, or rokake, or valaky, depending on which dialect you want, and they all mean tired. Exhausted. And I am a little bit of that right now. But that's all good, that's what the holiday season is all about anyway, wearing yourself out.
Have a fantastic week and don't forget!!! Christmas is only 25 days away!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Rasmussen

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 71 - Moving on Out

We've been having some good thunder this last week. You know what I love about Fort Dauphin? Watching the lightning over the ocean and then hearing the thunder bounce around off the mountains and last for way long. And then you've also got the sounds of waves breaking on the beach. It's pretty nice.

The bummer is... it's not going to last. Transfers were this week and Elder Rasmussen is heading out!
But we'll get to that later. I wrote a way long email today, so you'll have to read all the way to the end to find out about that!

First we'll have a rundown of this last week!
Since this last week was my last full week in Fort D, we decided to do what everyone does their last week and just stay at home and sleep.

And yeah, that was pretty much the week...

Nah. Last week is work week! We probably had the best week I've ever had on my whole mission. We caught so many people at home and we got so many of the coolest investigators! One of the big focuses lately has been finding the elect. The people who are already prepared and all set to progress really well. And boy have we found some of them!

We've got G. and C., who have 12 children, 8 boys and 4 girls. Funny story: so G. was a docter before he retired and his boss sent him to a planned parenting seminar or something like that because he figured G. could learn something from that...

So far we've got four of them to accept bap dates (all of the ones that live at home) and we'll have five this week when we catch B., their son who is the most dilligent and has already started institute. They all took notes on our first lesson and will correct each other if someone prays wrong. And they're coming to church!

Then we've got R., who came up to us as we were talking about where to go next after a time fell through and asked us what church we go to. We answered him and he asked if he could go there too because, "I'm looking for a new church." We jumped the fence and dove into his house to teach him about Joseph Smith. He came to church, the next time he taught the Restoration to his family and explained the Book of Mormon and he's being baptized with his family in January!

Then we got V., an older man we found who used to be in the police. He read the first pamphlet that we gave him and at our next time told us all about how the real church that Christ founded was lost, so Christ brought it back again. He's going places.

Then we have C. who teaches school and when we went back to him the time after having given him the Bokin'i Mormona he had read to Chapter 15 and told us all about the way cool story that he read! He's also getting baptized in Jaunuary.

It hasn't all been flowers and sunshine though, there's been some tough parts too. We went tracting and our member help asked me a question, so I turned to him to answer and the door opened and Elder Brown greeted the person, so I flipped around with a greeting and asked how she was doing. She said, "fine." Then my mind went blank... And I just blurted out, "Canwecomeinandshareaspiritualthought?" She said no. And then I felt like the biggest idiot in the world! Elder Brown laughed at me all the way to the next door and I did too. It was just the most awkward thing in the world. Like, hello, uh... can we come into your house and teach you about Jesus? I probably would have said no too.

Then there was a really hard lesson with a less active who hasn't been coming to church because he needs to pay for his school by the end of the month so he's been working really hard, but it looks like he still won't have enough money. So we talked about trusting God and putting him first even though we don't know how ends will meet after that. It was a really hard thing to ask of him, but it's true. Doing God's will bring blessings every time.

Then we went on splits on Thursday and I got to go with Elder Wiscombe. We had a pretty bad day with lots of not very good times, but we got some good done and we managed to have lots of fun. We taught this one family and the spirit was so strong, but whenever it was peaking she would try to change the subject or make a joke and chase away the spirit. I know she was feeling it.

The split was lots of fun though, someone tried to remember Elder Wiscombe's name and called him yogaboy. The Elder Wiscombe was attacked by a small child. He was just walking along in front of me and WHAM!!! A kid flies out of nowhere and nails him on the side. Then he just stood there staring at us. He was also foaming at the mouth... Not sure what that was about.

Then as we were walking to English class Saturday morning we passed by a condom parade trying to spread public awareness for AIDS. Not exactly what I was expecting to see...

Malagasy Morsel for this week would be maharitra hatramin'ny farany. It means to endure to the end. It's way important. It's so discouraging sometimes to work with less active members who used to be on fire and they just became lazy or they don't really care anymore. It breaks my heart. Activity in Christ's church brings so many blessings and it's so sad when people who used to be getting those blessings all the time turn their back on them.

Then since Thanksgiving is this week we will have a bonus Malagasy Morsel that's way easy to use. Misaotra means thank you. And I'll even throw in a pronounciation guide so y'all can use it! Mee-soh-chah.

Then we'll talk about the last part of the week. We had 215 people at church! Elder Brown and I sat on the floor!!! There weren't enought chairs! And 21 of those people were from our area, and 17 were from the other area! It was so cool! I would sit on the floor every week to see that. It was way cool.

Then, on Saturday, at about 5:00 in the evening, we got the transfer call. Elder Rasmussen is leaving Fort Dauphin after only 6 months. That's only a quarter of my mission! Elder Delbar will be replacing me. He's probably in the top 3 studliest missionaries on the planet and he was in the MTC with me. I'm not worried about how my Amparihy will go, it's in good hands between him and Elder Brown.
And I'm going to Tamatave. To an area called Mangarivotra. And my new companion will be...

ELDER GLAZIER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm a little bit excited. So, Elder Rasmussen and Elder Glazier will get to work together after all. We're going to go kill it in Tamatave, I'm so psyched!  I'm super sad to leave Fort Dauphin, but working with my best friend will be a pretty good perk!

But yeah, that's the transfer news. I hope you all enjoyed my freaking massive email and I wish you all the most sambatra week ever.

Love y'all,
Mandra-pihaontsika indray

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Week 70 - Sick People All Around

So... this email is coming at y'all a day late because the cyber died on us yesterday and stopped having internet... Bum deal.

Anyway, this last week was fantastic! Every area in Fort D taught more than 40 times and we had like 33 investigators at church between the two areas in the Amparihy branch. That was way cool. Then we were just working and having a blast all week long.

News from Fort D... It's way hot.

Yeah, that's about all I've got.

But holy cow this church is true! I love finding new people and teaching them about eternal families and the restoration! We've found a lot more people this last week and started sharing the gospel with
them and it's just the funnest thing in the world. People here are so happy and loving and I love that so much! But I love it here in Fort Dauphin so much! I know I'm going to be missing this place so much when I leave, so just go hard now, right?

We had some fun encounters with sick people this last week... taught a guy with tuberculosis, taught a family while a dude was laying on the bed covered in a blanket and he had malaria, taught a man with elephantitis maybe? taught a family while someone was in labor in the back room. Oh, and apparently polio is a thing back here again, so we got polio boosters this last week too. I'm hoping all of my shots will hold out.

But no worries! I eat lots of veggies, so I'll be fine.

This last Monday we had a pretty cool thing happen. We were walking back from lunch at this hotel kind of out in the boonies and the path is way narrow, so we heard a car honking at us from behind us and all started moving off the road. Then the car stopped when it came even with us and it was President Lahitonony, the first counselor in our branch presidency! He offered us a ride and we all hopped in the back of his truck. Then we just drove along the road past a beach, up on a cliff looking out over the ocean, and the down into town a little bit. Then he dropped us off and continued on his way home. It was way cool because I have never really gotten a ride from members because barely
any have cars, and it was also way cool because it was just such a nice beautiful trip. I love this beautiful world theat we all get to live in. And I love working in this part of it.

We'll keep it simple with the malagasy morsel of the week, fiara. Trondro or fia. Means fish. And I am thankful for fish. We've been getting more and more fish as the weather has been heating up. I'm not going to lie, before my mission, I wasn't a huge fan of fish, but I definitely am now.. Way good.

Anyway, that's all for this week, hope you all have a great thanksgiving and don't forget who to be thankful to!


Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 69 - Teaching Barack Obama

So this last week was one of my favorite weeks of my mission. I'll just throw that out there like that.
"Why, Elder Rasmussen" you may ask, "was this last week so good?"

Well, we had no baptisms. But we worked. And did we work! Holy cow we had to run to some times and we just always were chasing a time it felt like. So y'all might remember that my area split not all that long ago. Well this last week was the second week of the split and we had such a full program! The week before that we did a ton of contacting and looking for families and talking with members trying to get referrals, and this last week it all payed off! So I'll tell you about some of the cool families we found.

D., J., B., V., J., and D. were a family that we talked to after a time fell through. They live next to a bunch of members and we just talked to them and got a return time. The return time was pretty good. The Spirit was there, we were pretty quick and just nailed the important stuff and they loved it. Then D. was working on Sunday, he works security and it's on for 24 hours and off for 24 hours, but the rest of his family came. Ballers. We're teaching them tonight.

Then we've got M.. So background real quick, we're trying to get Melchizidec priesthood holders because Fort Dauphin is kind of low on those, and it needs them for the branch to split, so we're looking for men a lot. And M. is a way balling guy with, wait for it, 7 sons! He didn't come to church, but to be fair, we only stopped by and set up a time with him, but he will come!

Then we've got G., C., B., M., D., H., and a bunch of others. We found this family as we were headed to another time and we felt like we should go down this little path and talk to them. G., the dad, wasn't home, but there were adult sons there, so we taught a real quick lesson about the restoration, but because we were out of pamphlets we told them we'd bring one by the next time. We invited them to church and they were taking notes during our lesson about Joseph Smith and about how to pray. Then we got a package of Restoration pamphlets from the mission office and we brought one. G. was there, we had a great lesson. Then they asked, "nine o clock, right?" We were way confused, and they were all, "Church! It's at nine on Sunday right? We're coming." And they came. Then, did I mention that they have eight sons? Haha we've been praying to be lead to the elect and those who God has already prepared to strengthen the branch down here, and I feel like we've been seeing some success there.

The best story is all about R. We just had two times bail on us and we came out of the yard of the second house and paused in the path to decide where to go, and a guy came up to the fence and asked where we went to church at. We told him the name of our church and sidled up next to him. Then he asked what time church is at, we told him, and he said, "Oh nice. I'm looking for a new church." So then we took this as an answer to our prayer and taught him. He has a way cool story, he was charged with like treason during the coup back a few years ago, and was supposed to be executed, but some internation group stepped in and saved him, it might have been the UN. So then in gratitude he named his next child Barack Obama, he said, "if it would have been a girl, I would have named her Hillary Clinton." So  yes, I taught Barack Obama about the Restoration, but then he snuck out and went and played in the yard. Then R. was picking up way fast on prophets and all of that and looked at the pamphlet and saw the Book of Mormon and asked how he could get one.

He came to church. It was so cool.

Barack didn't come. Not cool Barack.

Then we had 21 investigators at church!!! After just barely splitting the area! There were a ton of new faces at church because the other area brought 9 too, and the branch was so great about being friends with them and sitting with them and welcoming them. It was beautiul. All of the areas down here had pretty balling weeks. I wouldn't be surprised if the three companionships from Fort D had better overall stats than some of the zones. It just felt great to be working way hard and seeing the Lord's hand in the work, then seeing the other elders come back from a balling day so pumped about having had some way awesome times and having seen the Lord's hand in the work! It's just so cool to see how much God does His work.

The stats were cool and all, but the best part from my week was from T., a way balling recent convert, and this is where I'll tie in the Malagasy Morsel of miraharaha. It means to care about. We were teaching T. and he was telling us how so many people persecute him for his beliefs because he shares them a ton! He said, "Be dia be gny magnaratsy... fa izaho tsy miraharaha azy." Or in English, "There's lots of people who talk bad about the church... but I don't care." It was just so sweet to see this awesome dude founded so strongly on his own personal testimony of the truthfulness of the prophet Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the truthfulness of Thomas S. Monson.

That's whay everything is all about, individuals gaining their own person, individual testimony, and working with their families to be together for eternities. I love being a missionary and doing my Master's work. It brings so many blessings to my life.

I love you all.
Tahian'ny Tompo,

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 68 - I Don't Even Know How Long I've Been Here

Well, this was like the first real week of having Amparihy split into two areas and we all freaking killed it. It was beautiful to see Fort D's stats this last week. Elder Brown is just a ridiculously good missionary, and it's so much fun working with him. We found a lot of new families this week.

Finding them went kind of like this: we walk around, see a dude, walk over and start talking to him. We ask about him, joke around, make him feel good and happy, and BAM tie whatever we're talking about to the gospel. Then we either teach him or set up a time with him and his family. We have not not gotten a time yet. Like we always get a time. The only problem on that is just sorting through the people that will actually progress, because everyone lets you in, but not everyone is willing to let the Holy Ghost in and change. But it's so fun just going around making friends with a bunch of people and just smiling and laughing a lot.

Anyway, mango season has started down here and they're everywhere and they cost like three cents each. So that's way nice.

Fun story real quick from this week, we were teaching this less active guy, he was drunk as always, and he can never remember my name. So Elder Brown introduced himself and he remembered that really well because it's one syllable. Then I asked him if he remembered my name. Nope. I asked him if he could remember who baptized him. He couldn't even though he had just said like three times that the Elder Rasmussen before baptized him. Then I introduced myself again and he was like, AHHH like the Rasmussen before!!! Yes. That's what I said, then we had a great time and had him pray. Then in the prayer he's thanking Heavenly Father for all of his blessing and thanks Him for the Prophet, Thomas S. Rasmussen. I may have started laughing a little bit... It was just like he could not remember it with his conscious memory at all because his conscious memory was drunk, but his unconcious memory just kept throwing it in there. But just so y'all know, I got promoted from Elder Rasmussen to President Thomas S. Rasmussen. It's all about climbing that ladder!

Malagasy Morsel for the week is mamo. It means drunk and there are lots of mamo dudes down here, but there's lots of guys not mamo too, so that's great. But really, living the Word of Wisdom brings so many blessings in every aspect of life, so don't forget that. It's almost like old Joe Smith knew what was up.

Love you all and I wish you all a great week!
Mazotoa e! Mahazoa fahasalama!
Elder Thomas S. Rasmussen

Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 67 - 20 Weeks in Paradise

So. Week 20 in paradise. Haha that sounds pretty good if I say so myself.

Fort D is still doing great baby! This last week was probably the worst week I've had for like six months as far as stats go. But we had to get sheets made and buy propane and watch conference. Hah. "Had" to watch conference.

Conference was so freaking cool!!! I love all those guys that talked to us! And the sisters were spot on too! We picked up the new missionaries Saturday morning at 9, which is when conference started, so we were a little late, but we watched that session in Malagasy at the church, then the next session was on the Tanambao church's computer in English. Then the power died on the priesthood session, so we turned on the generator and kept watching. Conference don't stop for nobody.

Then on Sunday we watched the morning session with our branch again in Malagasy and then watched the afternoon session in English at the Tanambao church again. So many good talks. I love that stuff. I feel it's like the biggest sports game you ever watch on TV and I just get so pumped up for it!

And then y'all might have noticed that I dropped some stuff about propane and the new missionaries. Yeah. We got propane finally!!! It was so nice. Then the new missionaries!!! They're studs. I'm really impressed with the two of them. I haven't worked with Elder Wiscombe, so I'm pretty sure he's a stud, but I worked with Elder Brown for four hours on Sunday, so I know he's a stud. He's way new in the mission and he's been out here in Madagascar for about three months. That being said, he's way better at Malagasy than I was expecting and he's a solid teacher. He's just a huge stud and I'm super psyched to get to keep working with him for the next four weeks or so.

We had a way bummer time though, our family who should be our next baptism had a little fight and neither of them came to church to see conference. We went to their house and asked them how they were doing and they were feeling pretty bad about it all. We asked the dad if he smoked and he just kind of gave this embarrassed laugh thing and my heart just sunk. We talked about how he felt about it all and referenced a talk that would have helped them out if they would have gone to conference and they saw pretty clearly how much the gospel would have helped them there. They're pretty awesome though. I can't wait for them all to be baptized.

Did I mention that Fort D is way awesome? Haha it's going so great and I love all of the people. I'm gonna be so bummed if I leave this next transfer, but President already pretty much told me I'd be leaving. So it's all about killing it for the last four weeks!

You all have a great week and go read some of those conference talks again! They're so stellar!
Malagasy Morsel of the week would be porofo. It's pronounced proof with a rolled r. Guess what it means. Yep. It means proof. What a shocker. And conference is such a great proof that the Fiangonan'i Jesoa Kristy ho an'ny Olomasin'ny Andro Farany is true. So go watch it with an open hear and you'll come so much closer to God and learn what you should do to become a little bit better!

Love y'all! Have a great week and Mandra-pihaona from Fort D!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 66 - Reflections

So I'd love to tell you at this point what a stud my new companion is, but he still hasn't made it down here... Awkward... I'm just hoping the plane schedule will screw up way bad when I have to leave so I end up staying here a few extra weeks!

So this last week was just the usual deal: doubled up times and lots of chores to do to get ready for the new missionaries. But you know what? All we really need now is sheets and blankets and we're all ready!

We had some great lessons this last week. I'm gonna miss working with Elder Price. Good thing I might still be with him a while  before the other missionaries finally make it here!

Big news this week is conference on Saturday. I'm psyched. I'll admit though, I totally cheated and I've already read a ton of the talks and I'm listening to it on another tab while I type this. Conference is so great! It's almost like all of those old guys were chosen and inspired by God or something. Pretty crazy stuff. But did I say I was psyched???

This last week for district meeting we went to Tanambao's church and watched a mormon message that I want to say is called reflection or something like that. It's about a guy who's caught up on himself and always blames other people for his problems and is just miserable. Then he finds joy in helping other people. It's way good. And true too, coincidentally. I'm so much happier right now as a help people than I ever was with an iPod and a computer and good electricity and ice cream and fridge that was magically full of food all of the time, and big toilets, and cars, and air conditioning, and naps. Haha had to get my #ThirdWorldProbs in there somehow... It's been a while since I threw that in there. But really. I'm so happy right now and it's because I'm helping other people and it's great!

Malagasy Morsel for the week is Mivavaka in official Malagasy and Mivavaky in Antanosy. I know, big difference.  (It means prayer) But that's some important stuff right there. Like REALLY important stuff. I don't really think I need to say anything more about it actually!

Y'all have a great week and don't forget to be thankful for all the great blessings that your Heavenly Father has given you!
Love y'all!
Tahian'ny Tompo!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 65 - Baptizing in the Ocean

So transfers happened. But, as usual, you gotta wait until you get to that in the story.
Last Monday was epic. President Danielson's soiree did not dissapoint. We had a little testimony meeting where everyone talked about why they are a member of the church. It was really powerful. I got to translate and that was fun. Then the Foote's actually stuck around until Thursday. So we saw them again after that.

Tuesday was a great day. We had interviews in the morning. And that was way cool. I love President Foote! I really feel like he's just ripping through Madagascar right now and I love it! Then he let me know that I would be staying, and Elder Price would probably be leaving, but the area would be splitting. So I would be leading three elders in two areas for six weeks, then finally heading out. Well... ok? Then in his interview with Elder Price he let him know that. Price was a trooper about it, but we were all bummed for him. I was thrilled that I was staying though, six months baby!
Then we went and taught eight times. Hah.

Then the next day was slow, and we had to wait on the electrician for like half of Thursday but WE HAVE HOT WATER AGAIN!!! So... that's good. Then on Thursday morning Elder Price and I got up and went out to get dite and mofo for breakfast. Herbal tea and round bread things that are way good. Then we got back and were just sitting in the living room chatting. The other elders were... uhh...doing something in their bedroom. Then the front door opens and president walks in! He just walked over by himself from the hotel to talk to us. Then the other elders made it out of their bedroom and we all just chatted with him for 2 hours. We talked about the new stuff we'd need to get for the new elders, he gave me two fat wads of cash he had in his pocket so we could buy new beds and stuff, and then he told stories from his mission and talked a little bit about transfers. It was way cool! Did I mention it lasted 2 hours??? Haha

Then work as normal for the rest of the week. We had a baptism on Monday, but when we went to go get the baptismal font from the other church, the branch president informed us that the lock on the door to the closet where they keep the bap font was broken. So... we have to do it in the ocean? We texted President and let him know that we were terribly sorry and sad about it all, but we'd just have to do it in the ocean. So he said we could. And he didn't even ask who broke the lock!... So we baptized in the ocean.

My companion may have had to rebaptize someone 3 times because he kept mistiming the waves and going down at a low point... It was so funny! We were way out there because the beach is shallow and it was just me and the other witness from the branch and we were like "HURRY!!!" and he was rushing the prayer and then we'd get slammed by a couple big waves and the baptizee was thinking she was going to die and then he got hit by a big wave and dropped her in and then as he was pulling her out he got hit by another wave and got knocked over. So he took a little dip. And lost his badge... That's what you get for swimming Elder!!! I was dying laughing!

In this picture where you can see us in the background, Elder Price and I are trying to pull Lala out of the water. He was halfway through his prayer and a wave hit so she thought it was time to go under. We were like NOOOO NOT YET!!! And trying to save her. And it got caught on the camera. Well done President Danielson, Well done.  

Then Elder Rasmussen did it once and was done... Haha it was one of the funnest but most spiritual things I've done on my mission.

 This one is right after Lala finally got baptized and I was waiting for my baptizee to come out. You can see how stressful the whole thing was...

Then we got a call from President telling us the official news on transfers. Turns out plans changed and Elder Price is not leaving anymore! So we're splitting Amparihy and we're each getting some new elders. He's getting Elder Wiscombe fresh from Fianarantsoa, word on the street is he's a baller. Then I'm getting Elder Brown, who just got finished being trained by Elder Wiscombe in Fianarantsoa. Word on the street is he's also a baller. We're pumped. Then Sunday was good. Sunday is always good, it's just not as much of a day of rest as a missionary... We try to make up for it by running some hymns in the morning.

But... Fort D is treating me well. I'm loving it down here and I'm super psyched to be staying again. Bad news is President told me that I'm leaving after this transfer... So. Yeah. It will have to end some time, but I'm gonna be ripping it up until then!

Malagasy word for the day is Mijery or Magnenty. It means to look at. So look at these pictures of a baptism in the ocean and just think for a little bit about what a blessing the gospel is in our lives! I couldn't be more happy to be helping people receive that blessing!

Love you all!
Tahian'ny Tompo!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 64 - Best P-day Ever

So... I'll explain about the best p-day ever in just a sec, but first I want to talk about showers. Showers are way important here. Because it's so humid and it's starting to get pretty warm in the day, if you don't wash off all of the grime you can get pretty nasty pretty quick. They're especially nice right before bed, so then you're nice and cool when you go to sleep. However... there's been a little bit of a problem with our hot water recently, and when I say a problem, I mean there is none...

I just want to go on record and say that Elder Rasmussen does not like hot showers. There's not much refreshing about being covered in hot water when you are covered with hot sweat all day. It's like the same. Elder Rasmussen really likes cool showers, like slightly lower than room tempurature kind of a deal. But the glacial water imported from the icy peaks of Russia that comes spraying out of the showerhead isn't quite what I have in mind when I say "cool."

But we got our sink fixed. Kind of. And we got an electric stovetop. And we should be getting an electrician over early this week. I mean, like the plumber dude offered to do it, but like I said he "kind of" fixed the sink, so I think we'll try to find someone else...

The work went great though. The only thing is if you want to be really blessed in one aspect of life, I feel like you gotta take hits in other aspects. You know what I mean??

The highlight of the week was definitely President Foote coming down with his wife and his son, Kevin. They came down on Saturday, but they didn't really need us for anything, which was kind of nice because we had baptismal interviews planned in both areas, so Elder Razakamandimby and I both headed into eachother's areas and did some baptismal interviews. I love doing bap interviews! It's always so fun to talk to people about their faith! Then on Sunday the Foote's came to our Amparihy Branch. I got to sit up on the stand to translate for President and Mama Foote and Elder Price sat in the back to translate for their son Kevin. And because of that we didn't exactly get an accurate count of the investigators... It was "20+" but we missed some people... You'd think sitting up on the stand would mean you could see everybody, but it's not really as much of a stand as it is chairs facing a different way at the front of the room... It was way cool to see everyone's reactions when President Foote shared his testimony about prophets and let everyone know who the new apostes are... in malagasy. He's so cool.

Then after that Elder Price headed to Elders' Quorum to translate for President's lesson and I headed to... Relief Society... I was translating for Sister Foote and it was pretty weird... It was especially fun singing like two octaves below everyone else! I'd love to tell you all about the lesson, but Sister Foote made me take the blood oath to not tell any of their secrets... So I can't.

Then we went out to work after all of that.

Oh, we had 185 people at church. That's crazy down here. Like they pulled all of the little plastic chairs out of the primary room so they could fit everyone. And the chapel was already full at quarter till! One reason President Foote came down was to check out on the branch. It should be splitting before too long... Also the greatest area of Amparihy will be splitting this next week. I'm pumped out of my mind. Then I'll be able to keep track of investigators at church, haha!

Then today, we met up with the Footes and headed out to the Reserve Nahampoana. It's out in the jungle and it's a lemur park! So I got to feed lemurs bananas and have them climb over me and I got a bunch of them to kiss me. Then we got to watch them feed the crocs big chunks of cow meat. Then after that we went to Talinjoo the sweet hotel where I'll be staying when I come back here. We ate food there and I had my good old Hawaiian pizza with Zebu chunks. Did I mention that everything somehow ended up being on President's tab? That was pretty nice... Haha then now we're emailing, then after this, we'll be going to a big Family Home Evening at President Danielson's house with all four of the missionaries and the Footes. And Sister Danielson makes some of the best food in the world and I feel like she'll be pulling out all the stops for our dinner tonight because the Foote's are coming! So... that's what makes it the best pday ever! Haha I'm super psyched for dinner tonight! First I'll be taking another cold shower though, your prayers would all be appreciated!

Malagasy Morsel for the week is Mangatsiaka or Manara or Magnitsy and it means cold. Fort Dauphin is not mangatsiaka or manara or magnitsy, but the water is. Mangatsiaka is also how they describe less actives. Cold hearts. Let's all make sure our hearts aren't getting cold, because if we stop trying to get closer to God, we'll start moving away from him and before too long we won't understand why we wanted to be near him in the first place. Satan's a tricky little bugger.

I love you all, and I wish you all the most fantastic week!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 63 - Lights in the Bathroom

So I'll start out by saying that this last week has been fantastic. We got 31 investigators at church!!!
I'm still a little speechless at that one... they just kept on coming and coming. So did the less actives and just the people in general. We had a whopping 175 people in our little upstairs room we use for Sacrament meeting. No, their where not enough chairs. It was way sweet! The branches aren't super far away from splitting, and we're all super psyched for changes coming this week. But it was way cool!

The weather this week has been paradisiacal. You know, just another great week out here in the Indian Ocean. I'm loving it out here! Elder Price and I are just having a blast! This last week we had some balling member help going with us! So we found some former investigators and a good amount of less actives. It was fantastic!

I've got some crazy good news though: We are going to get a stove this week!!! We've been out of propane for a month and a half, and by "we" I mean the whole city of Fort Dauphin... So after lots of dry ramen consumed, we will be getting an electric stovetop to last us until someone in Antananarivo finally sends a truck full of propane tanks at us. I'm so excited for some cooked food at home! The only problem with an electric stove is that yesterday morning, half of our house's lights and plugs stopped working... It's not too bad, but our fridge is not refridgerating and our washing machine is not washing and there's no lights in the bathroom! You really need lights in the bathroom dang it!!! Haha

We had some way sweet stuff happen this week though! We were going to go sort out stuff with our power and water company on Tuesday because they claimed we had not payed, but we had, and we brought our member help with us, Fitahia. Then on the way back from that, he showed us some less actives that live kind of by the power company. We showed up and they were so pumped to see us! They'd actually had some random questions about their Book of Mormon reading, so the night before they prayed that the missionaries would come. And then we did. So that was way neat. It was also like "well... if you've got a question why don't you come to church and ask all of the people there?..." But it was still a way neat experience to be involved in answering a prayer.

The Malagasy Morsel for today would be fitahiana in the main dialect or Fitahia in Antanosy. (I know, they just drop the last syllable, way different...) but it means blessing. And it is coincidentally the name of the member help who showed us the house of the people who were praying for us to come. Blessings come in all shapes and sizes and I'm so thankful for all of the great stuff in my life that makes me so happy! Like lights in the bathroom... Haha there's lots of things we take for granted!

Love y'all!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 62 - Fruits From the Search

And just like that the transfer is halfway over... But that just means that Elder Price and I have three more weeks to rock the heck out of Amparihy! Literally. We are trying to get rid of as much heck as we possibly can.

But this last week was great! We had a poopy amount of lessons taught, but we definitely had some quality in there! We hunted down a lot more less actives and we found a lot! We've been focusing a lot on trying to get more Melchizedek priesthood holders because the church really needs those down here. We want it to grow down here, but right now we've got 12 active Melchizedek priesthood holders in the great Amparihy branch. We've also got like 7 that will coming in the next few months and we've got like three potentials that will be baptized next month, and we've been getting some more less actives coming too. Sometimes we'll have more investigators in Elders Quorum than actual elders... awkward.

Anyway, cool story with the hunting of less actives:
We heard about this less active named F. who lives out kind of far away right off the beach, so when we found a less active over by that general area we asked him if he knew her. And he did. Even better, he showed us her house! She wasn't there, but we set up a time with her family. So she lives there with her whole family, but just her, her 20 year old son, and her 13 year old grandson are members. So we got to them on Friday night. She was thrilled to see us and called us her children and told us how much she loved us and how happy she was to be visited again. She hasn't been visited in a long time... and she said her other kids and their spouses were ready to get baptized... and she said they'd come to church. And they did. So... I felt like we did some good work there. We got some new families and a less active back to church. It was great!

Then we found a recent convert named S. He was baptized and then he just dropped off the map. The former Elder Fisher who is now just Brother Fisher emailed me and asked me how the area was going because he worked here like a year ago, and he explained how to get to S.'s house. And we found it! He's been way out in the boonies for a long time and had just gotten home the last week. He was pumped to see us and he should be coming to church this next Sunday. So it was cool to see that all of God's sheep are numbered and he knows where they're at.

Then we had some other less actives come to church. They live on the military base and we've gotten the dad to come before, but his wife, who used to be the Relief Society President, has never come. But we went with the Branch Council and had a soirée at their house and she came! Her husband had guard duty, so he couldn't come... but she did! It was awesome!

So we had a great week and it ended great with lots of less actives and investigators at church.
Our Malagasy Morsel is, of course, mitady. It means to search. And we were able to see some good fruit from that this last week.

The church is still true, by the way. And so is the Book of Mormon.
I love all y'all and I wish y'all a great week.
Mazotoa e!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 61 - Getting Colder

Well, there's trouble in paradise. It's getting cold.

But like really!!! I was freezing last night!!! I was all wrapped up in a giant blanket and I we checked the thermometer and it was 71.5 degrees!!! That's below room temperature!!! That was almost in the sixties!!!

Hahaha gosh dang it I'm going to die when I get back to Utah. I was so freezing. It was pathetic. Anyway, Elder Rasmussen likes the hot. Not the cold.

Other than that, it's still been pretty warm. I'm convinced my effectiveness as a missionary depends on the weather though... Wednesday was way hot and super clear and we taught 10 lessons. Thursday was a little cooler and slightly cloudly and we only taught 6 lessons. Then Saturday was drizzly and cold and we taught 1. We also had a baptism that started late and went kind of long, so yeah... There might be a different reason for that, but still... I feel like that's not a coincidence. But yeah... baptism!

We had a combined baptism with Tanambao and they had a couple who finally got married this last week so they got baptized. Then we had M. and we had a child of record who was baptized by his brother. That was way cool! We were supposed to have two other baptisms too, but they didn't show up to their baptismal interviews or church... awkward... so their date has been pushed back some. I won't say how long so you don't think I'm a crazy nazi about that, but let's just say it won't be this year... haha jkjkjkjk it will definitely be this year, but we are going over the Sabbath day a lot... They will be baptized before with our next batch though.

But yeah, the baptism was great! The water was cold! It rained on us! (Keep in mind the font is outside...) and it was fantastic! M. has actually been learning for like three years but never was really dilligent. He finally pulled himself around. He said he kept trying to fight against it, but he kept getting pulled back into the church and he had to accept it was true. His baptism resulted in him being disowned by his parents who will not pay for his school anymore. When he told us that, he told us he's got food and shelter figured out and he's been doing some odd jobs here and there so he'll be fine. He's a stud. I was very impressed.

This last week has had some more excercising. A couple of weeks ago on Pday we bought a bunch of wood and made parallel bars for doing dips. That was lots of fun because we just hauled the wood across town on our shoulders. We got lots of weird looks and some funny comments about how vazahas were working for Malagasies. (Elder Razakamandimby and Razafindretsetra were walking behind Elder Price and yours truly looking like they were our bosses.) It was way fun, but it's been fun to get a little more kotrana in here and there. I won't send a picture, but just imagine if Dwane "The Rock" Johnson had worked out a little harder and you'd be about right...

Malagasy word of the week is gidro. It means monkey. Down here in Fort Dauphin it is also slang for guitar. So... yeah. Cool right? So it brings more meaning to monkeying around...? haha

This last week was just way sweet and Elder Price and I have been having a blast. We've got some good work. Even with barely any lessons taught on Sunday and Saturday we still taught more than I usually did in my other areas. And we've been having fantastic branch councils too! The church runs so great down here! I love how commited all of the leaders are! We've been working with members to try to get to lots of the less actives. And since we have 33 recent converts who have been baptized in the last year, we've been teaching lots of members. We have also started to get some great referrals from all of that. I love it. The church is true. When people get other people going to that true church they get blessings.

Love y'all.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Week 60 - Finding New Families

So this has been a great week ending on a higher note. We did some way good work this week and found some great new families! Contacting here is so easy. We literally got into every house we went to. We usually try to do more contacting on the streets then going door to door because then we can find more families easier. I'm not going to lie, sometimes I dread contacting, but I love it so much once I get going! It's just so cool to meet some new people and learn all about them and become good friends with them! I love it. Plus it makes me feel like a baller because our program gets nice and full again. So that's way nice. But yeah, we had some way good days!

Then this week I was really looking forward for fast sunday. That was kind of weird, but it was way good! And then we had some of the most powerful lessons I've ever taught on Fast Sunday after we broke our fast at lunch. So that was all a win!  But there were just so many cool things that happened this week! We had a Family Home Evening with our First Counselor in the Branch Presidency and he is also a Colonal. Which means he's the second highest ranked military official here in Fort D. His family is so cool! His conversion story is way cool too! He was baptized in 2002 which makes him easily one of the oldest members here! He and his family have been to the temple, and he's learning English with his wife so they can be more effective when they go on a mission together. They still have a 7 year old daughter... They are way cool!

Then on Tuesday we had a FHE with M. and F. and that went way good! They're doing great! It was way fun! We played a game with them where you each have a fruit name and one person is it and they say their fruit then someone else's fruit and it keeps going around like that. Trick is you can't show your teeth... They were terrible. Missionaries won the first game in a minute and a half... They are just to smiley and happy! That was lots of fun though. Then we taught some way cool people and just had a great week!

Malagasy Morsel would be mahafesy (Antanosy) or mahafantatra (Merina/official dialect) it means know. And tena mahafesy tenga fa maregna itiky fiangonana itiky. There a lot of things that I know, and the most important ones go like this: I know that God live and He loves me. I know that Jesus Christ died for my sins. I know that the true gospel in its fulness was restored throught the prophet Joseph Smith. And I know that Thomas S. Monson is truly God's prophet in our day. And I especially know that it is in God's plan for me to have an eternal family and I am so grateful for all y'all in there. Teaching about the family is one of my favorite things to do and I know that our families are one of the biggest gifts God has given us.

I love y'all.
Tahian'ny Tompo

Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 59 - Staying in Paradise!

So I'll just hit up transfers real quick at the beginning. I'm not leaving. Elder Price is not leaving. Elder Razakamandimby is not leaving. Elder Tiu is going to Ankorondrano in Antananarivo! That's the area that I left when I came here!!! He's bummed to be heading out of Fort Dauphin, but he's not too sad. He's getting a way sweet area! Then Elder Razafindrasetra will be coming up to replace him. I've only met him like once, but he is a way balling missionary!!!  Elder Tiu and I came here together, but I'm pretty glad we're not leaving together! I get to stay here longer!

This week we'e been focusing on working with members a little more, which meant we ate with members a lot... I'm not complaining! I think I've finally gotten to the point where I love rice. I wasn't excited for that to happen before my mission for sure... In Antsirabe I would say that I didn't like rice, and I couldn't eat a lot. Then in Ankorondrano I tolerated rice and I couldn't really eat a lot. But now I think I can definitely say that I like rice. Someone will ask if we can stay and eat a little bit and my heart just starts pounding like they offered to name their first born child after me... And I like to think I can eat a lot of rice now!

M. and F., the family that got baptized recently invited us to eat with them on Saturday, so of course we politely declined, but they already had the plates all ready and full of rice and everything! They just had a little bit of loaka, stuff to put on the rice, so it was mostly just eating rice plain and a small nibble of meat every now and then, but I could not have been more happy. This family can barely afford to have one lightbulb in their house and here they are just so excited because the missionaries are eating with them! I love these people so much! They liked it so much that they asked if we could come teach them how to do a family home evening so they could feed us again. Some people are just the best, you know?

It's crazy that another transfer has come and gone. Elder Price and I were going through the numbers and we've taught 188 lessons in the last six weeks. Not bad... But you should be expecting big things from Elder Rasmussen and Elder Pearl of Great Price this next transfer!!! Haha

Malagasy word of the day is miveraky. It means to sag your pants. So if you see one of them gangster dudes swaggin down the arabe near you in Fort Dauphin, you just glance over and call out a friendly "ka miveraky ra!" And then he will look up with a smile, call "Thanks man!" and hitch his pants up to a decent height. At least, I'm pretty sure that's what he'd do... That's what I would do if I were him...

But really, I've been having a blast over here, and I'm not going to lie, my favorite thing this last week has been having some soirees with some great families and seeing how they all lift and support each other. The gospel is all about them families, so make sure that you don't take yours for granted! I know I've done that some. I'm so thankful that I was born in the covenant! I've taken that for granted a lot, but after seeing how much the members here are working to be able to go to the temple, I don't think I really take that for granted anymore. I'm so thankful that I've been able to be sealed to my family! And I'm glad that I've got a balling family that I actually want to be with forever!

Love you all!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 58 - Meeting the New Mission President

So I saw my mission president finally... He's way cool! He's super fun to be around and he just makes you laugh and feel way good about yourself! He flew in on Friday, and we were supposed to take him, his wife, Elder Cook (the Seventy who's the president of the Africa Southeast area), and Sister Cook around town. Their plane was late... which is usual for AirMadagascar... so we played scum in the hotel waiting for them. I won overall champion of course. Then we headed over to the church and had a real quick zone conference thing. It lasted like an hour and a half? Then we had a fireside that was way good! I had to translate the first part of it, but then we got a return missionary to do the rest... He didn't know what the Navy was, which was sort of central to a story that was being told, but he did way better than I would have! Translating is tough stuff! It was way cool to see all the members from both branches coming out on a weekday though! Then afterwards we got to go eat dinner at this place that we go to a lot... The lady saw us come in and started the hamburgers grilling... Haha I always get the same thing... Anyway, turns out that they had got a bunch of bacon, so we all had bacon cheese burgers. It was a little intimidating to have a Seventy right accross from me as I ate... but as soon as the prayer was done he grabbed his hamburger with both hands and got going, so it wasn't as scary after... It was way fun to meet with them though! There were four of them and only four of us, so we all got to talk a good amount! So that was probably the highlight of my week!

So we didn't actually work at all on Friday... The sad part is we still managed to get better stats than I usually got with a full week's work in my other areas... M. and F. and the fam is all doing great! They got their triple combinations and they're just the best recent converts! Haha I have to keep telling their kids to go sit with their parents in Sacrament Meeting, they always try to come sit on the ground by me. They are adorable.

Then this morning we played basketball at the military base. We teach one less active family in the camp and usually the guards try to give us a hard time at the base. This time, our first counselor in the branch presidency had booked the basketball courts for us and told the guards to let us in. He's a colonel. He's also the second highest ranked military official in all of Fort D. So the guards just got to glower at us as we skipped into the base... Haha. The colonel turned out to probably be better at basketball than me... I'm just taller. And my team was a lot better... We won eight games in a row. Then after that we headed out to another basketball place, one where all the cool kids hang out. We threw down on a team and then got beat by another, but hey, we were way tired at that point. So we left all of the marijuana smokers behind and headed out. Then we got rained on. Now here we are! It was way fun to play some ball again though... It's been a little while, like the whole time I've been in Fort D long...

One of my favorite parts about this week was back at the fireside with the President and Sister Foote and Elder and Sister Cook. Elder Cook asked me to have everybody who was baptized somewhere else to stand up, then I got to ask them all where they were baptized and when. The colonel was baptized in France in 2001 and our branch president was baptized in like 1993. It's so easy to see that they bring such a huge amount of spiritual strength to the church down here! I love super awesome gospel families! They make my job way easier down here! So make some great gospel based traditions and endure to the end, and you'll be working miracles in no time.

Love y'all

Last second Malagasy Morsel is mandra-pihaona. Until we meet again.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 57 - Batisa! Batisa! Batisa!

So we had three baptisms this week. M., F., and F. all got baptized, then T. will turn eight in November, so his dad will baptize him then. I love them so much! They are all doing great and they have got family scripture study and prayers down! They are all just so happy and cheerful all of the time and I love being around them because they're always just so excited to see the missionaries! The baptism went wonderfully! The water was way deep, so the actual dunking part went great. Then it was a little warmer than frigid, so that was way good too! Then we had lots of investigators and members show up to the baptism, so that was way cool.

F., Elder Rasmussenbogosy, F., and M. Some of my favorite people on the planet. 

Other than that, this week was just work as usual. Elder Price and I covered a lot of ground and each day just went really smoothly. Amparihy is going great. I love it here. We've started focusing a little more on working with members and getting referrals, so that means soirèes!!! Yeah buddy. I love Malagasy food. Including rice. I never thought I would say that... Oh well.

This next week should be way good too. I finally get to meet the mission president! He came on like July 1st, but he hasn't made it down to Fort D yet... So on Friday I will finally meet President Foote. I'm super pumped. Everyone loves him and he plays basketball with the missionaries on pdays! What more could you want?!?! He's coming with Elder Cook, the area president for the Africa Southeast area. Everyone's pumped because a Seventy has never come here before. So we're all pretty pumped about that!

This week's malagasy morsel will be way simple. Batisa. It couldn't possibly mean baptism... And since that's so hard, we'll give you an easier one: tempoly... Definitely is not the next step after baptism... Anyway, the church is still true folks. I love you all and I'm just having a blast out here. God's doing work. And he's still giving out a ton of blessings.

Love y'all.
Tahian'ny Tompo,

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 56 - What a Beautiful World!

Alright, sorry about the short email last week, but descending a mountain on a sprained ankle doesn't quite work out, so the descent was around 4 hours instead of 45 minutes. So time was kind of short last week, but now we are all good!

From the top of the mountain

So the week started a little bit slowly. We managed to make it to the cyber right before it closed and shoot off some quick emails, but then it was just time to work. So we just had one soiree at the branch president's house, and he's the boss of transportation for Rio Tinto down here, so he sent a bus to pick us up, which was way good. Then on Tuesday we went to the clinic to have Elder Price's ankle checked out, then went to the hospital on the other side of town for an x-ray on an x-ray machine that would have been sketchy during World War 2... Then we went back to the clinic to have them look at the x-ray. Then we went home and a very exhausted Elder Price got to go to sleep. Then we had to keep him off of it on Wednesday too. So we taught one time preparing our family getting baptized this Saturday for their baptismal interview. So Elder Price and I talked a lot about just about anything we could think of. Then on Thursday it was back out to work!!! Elder Price actually made a ton of improvement and we taught some way good times on Thursday. We taught some good times and did some good work this last week. Then today is his birthday, so happy 20th birthday Elder Price!

Another highlight of this week was going on a split with Elder Razakamandimby so he could do our baptismal interviews. Since Fort Dauphin only has four missionaries, the senior companion in the other companionship does the interviews, so I got to take Elder Razakamandimby around Amparihy and show him how much better it is than his Tanambao! It was actually a lot of fun to teach with him again. For those of you who don't remember, he was my second companion, so you could say we've taught together a lot before. We actually taught ten lessons and it was just a blast!

Then we had a great Sabbath and got to some good recent converts and less active member lessons. We also had a big surprise in Sacrament Meeting when three white Americans walk in... It was the former Elder Peadon (he's just brother Peadon now) and his mom and aunt I think. They are from Orem and Salt Lake, so it was a really weird thing to see, but it was nice to talk to them!

Anyway, Malagasy morsel of the week would be Riake, or Ranomasina. It means ocean and I love it a lot. We just got back from walking around on the beach and on the coral reef during lowish tide. It was a blast and we saw some way cool things! Pictures should be coming on that one...

Here's the picture that was coming

When we were sitting around the house on Wednesday, Elder Price and I got to look at the ocean quite a bit, and it was really nice just to look at what a beautiful world we have here! Plus climbing the mountain was way cool! That was also super pretty! Then we got up close and personal with the ocean this morning. God is pretty mahay. I think we should remember what a great blessing we've got here called Earth. I, for one, really like living here.

Anyway, the Indian ocean says hi to all y'all. Have a great week.

Tahian'ny Tompo.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 55 - Conquered the Mountain!

Almost all of Fort Dauphin - it's not huge.

So, we finally climbed the mountain! And it is so nice!

My name is now etched in stone on the top of Peak Saint Louis in Tolagnaro, Madagascar.

Pictures will be coming by next week... This computer is far from ideal. But because of an exciting incident with my companion and an ankle injury on the way down from the mountain, this email will be a little bit short today.

I love mountains so much!

This last week has been fantastic except it was the lowest number of investigators I've had at church so far... Sunday morning was rainy... So... yeah. Anyway, we got some great people to still come despite that, so it was a success. We also slayed this week. Elder Price has been a champ and has started getting used to the workload down here. He's a fun guy!  Hopefully his ankle gets better. It was quite the adventure getting him down the mountain... But we did it! And we almost broke my record for most lessons taught in a week, so things are going nicely so far...

Anyway, quick Malagasy Morsel is soa. It means good, so it's essentially the same as tsara, but it's used more down here. And this week has been so soa!

Anyway, love you all!
Tahian'ny Tompo!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Week 54 - Don't Be Mean

Well, I'd love to give y'all a nice rundown of my new companion at this point, but I'm not going to lie... I don't really know him yet. We just got together like six hours ago, so next week you can expect an intense profile of him, hah. Anyway, we were expecting the new missionaries to come as the old ones left, but the old ones left Thursday morning, but the new ones didn't come until today. So Elder Tiu and I have been doing member splits in each of our areas every day until now. But now we're done with that, it's a big relief! I do think that the folks up in the office were just trying to be inconvenient as possible because when the new missionaries finally came, it was when we were planning to climb the big mountain... So we cancelled that for the second week in a row, haha. But next week for real!

We were able to keep afloat this last week because of F. (He) is a recent convert who was baptized two weeks before I came here. He recently quit his job and his new job starts tomorrow, so last week he helped us all day every day. What a stud! It was way nice to still be able to get to my area even though we were short two missionaries. But yeah, shout out to people who devote themselves to God's work. I love those guys.

We're kind of rushed this week because we've still got some settling in to do with the new missionaries. But the malagasy for this week is vignitre (I'm not totally positive about the spelling and neither was the guy who said it, but that's how it was said...) the merina version of it is masiaka. And it means mean! So don't be mean! There, great spiritual thought. I really am a believer in kindness though. It goes pretty far.

Anyway, y'all do me a favor and have a great week! Oh, and happy birthday to Elder Glazier, he turns 19 on Thursday!!! Get excited!!!
Tahian'ny Tompo,

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week 53 - Staying in Fort Dauphin!

Yep, it's week six, which means transfers. Big bummer.

Anyway, I'll just cut right to the chase this time, Elder Pinson is heading to Fianarantsoa after only two transfers here in Fort Dauphin, and then Elder Hardy is also heading to Fianarantsoa. I'm kind of happy about that one, because I've been telling Elder Hardy that he would be going zone leader in Fianarantsoa for four transfers now and I WAS RIGHT!!! Hah. But I'm super bummed that I don't get to spend another transfer with Elder Pinson. That man is a legend. He's a great missionary and I have had a straight up blast working with him! It's also kind of a surprise that he's leaving, but new president, new transfer stuff! So it looks like we'll all be moving around a little more often than we were before. I'm not going to lie. I don't think I'll be ready to leave Amparihy after just two transfers, but we'll see how things turn out.

Anyway, this week has had some great things happen. Especially stuff involving the guidance of the Spirit. On Tuesday all of our times bailed on us at night. So we went and tried this investigator named L. We walked up to his house and there was a small crowd gathered around and there was a police officer standing in the door way. We were worried something big was going down, so we decided we'd go try someone else and come back after that. As we were walking away, we both felt like we should go back, so we turned around and walked back to his house. I walked up to the crowd and asked 'em all if L. was home, and they just parted and (he) was just sitting there, safe and sound. Turns out he was like editing music on his computer and everyone was just watching him, and the police officer in his uniform was just a friend. He just left his computer and came to learn with us. Then we sat down and he just straight up said that he hadn't been reading at all, but he would start taking his BiM with him to work, because he's got a lot of free time at work. There we go. Great lesson. Then, as we were walking to the time we were going to go to instead of him, we ran into a referral that we had lost. He was with his wife and little daughter and they invited us to their house. We followed them and taught a great little lesson. They are way prepared to learn and they really desire to change their lives! It's so great! But we never would have crossed paths with him if we hadn't taught L. first!

Then, one of my favorite families was not home at all this last week, because dad was working late and never home, so we couldn't teach them. But on Saturday, all of our times fell through in the evening. So we were sitting outside of a big metal gate at 7:30 with no program for the rest of the night. So we decided we would just go try some people. And as we were walking on the main road, we came close to the path that leads off to this families house, and I felt like we should visit them. Well, I just had a thought that we should, and immediately after that I felt super guilty. Like if I had felt like pulling a kid out of the street and not done it and watched him get nailed by a truck. It was pretty intense. And since I don't like feeling guilty, as we came up to the path, I told Elder Pinson we should turn down and go check on them. We did and they were all home. The dad, M., hasn't come to church for a while and we've been really worried about him. They were all way happy to see us and they all promised to come to church the next morning. And they did. If we ask, we shall be given. Those were some really powerful experiences for me, especially the second one. It was like Heavenly Father knew I was having a hard time following every prompting so he sent me an easy pitch to build up some confidence. It was so great.

Sunday was fabulous, even though so many people bailed on our lessons, we had a great church attendance and all of my favorite families came!!! I was ecstatic!

Anyway, Malagasy Morsel is mpisava lalana. That means pioneer. And I just want to talk a little about my pioneer heritage. Growing up in Utah I always felt like it would be way cooler if I had a sweet conversion story or a cooler reason why I was a member of the church than "my great great great grandpa was a member..." But after working with all of these pioneers in this very young part of the church, I am so thankful for the solid foundation my ancestors gave me! The church is not trying to just have a church full of first generation converts, the goal is a very strong, founded church culture. Back home the "Mormon Culture" always got a bad rap, but that's exactly what we're trying to establish out here. It starts with familes, and then spreads to friends and neighborhoods. Zion, that's what we're trying to establish. The real Zion isn't just members of the world that go to the Mormon church every Sunday, it's the society of people trying to follow Jesus Christ and his prophets and help other people do that too. I'm so grateful for all the pioneers and Latter-day Saints in my family tree, and I look up to them so much. There's nothing wrong with already having a strong foundation to build off of.

Anyway, have a happy Pioneer Day on Friday. I love y'all.

Tahian'ny Tompo,

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week 52 - Missing the Rain Jacket

Well, exciting stuff this week, the weather sucked! It was so cold, dang it! The best part is that I left my rain jacket up in Antananarivo... so I just got soaked in my BYU hoodie... Haha it was weird proselyting in a hoodie, I'm not going to lie, but it's like a church thing right?... BYU... Anyway, it got soaked and it's thick, so it's been wet for like three days since. However, it was only raining a lot on Saturday, so I was mostly good. Yesterday was a pretty good day, weather wise, and today is absolutely gorgeous. This week's work load was even better than last week which was a blast! The only downer is that it looked like it was going to be a rainy day Sunday morning, so church attendence was very low. I remember the AP's and President Adams talking about stats once and saying that the church attendence was one of the stats the missionaries had the least control over because the biggest factor with church attendence is the weather... Well... the church is still pretty young. A little more about Sunday before we get on to the rest of the week, we had a fantastic lesson about keeping the sabbath day holy. Elder Pinson and I asked for it the week before at branch council because we were teaching our investigators about the sabbath day, then they see members buying food on the way home from church... The lesson was fantastic though! Our first counselor in the branch presidency, the second highest military official down here, just laid it out very clear with just the right amount of humor to not drive people away from the church. We had a combined sunday school for it, so everyone except for primary and nursery was there. They had a Q&A session at the end and there were all kinds of questions and weird answers from various members. We got everything from questions about seventh day worship to "the sabbath only goes from six in the morning to six at night." Everthing has hopefully been straightened up by now though.

But other than that, this last week started off fantastically, with a grat Monday evening program. We taught a recent convert who doesn't know how to read the sacrament prayers so he can use use his newly acquired priesthood. Then we had a great family home evening with our newest family of converts.

Then on Tuesday we just had great clear, warm weather, and we got to almost all of our times and got to a lot of my favorite families we teach.

Then on Wednesday we were supposed to go on splits with our home teaching companions but they did not show up... We've been helping to get the home teaching going. So then we just went through as many times as we could get to, because we had kind of double booked that day, anticipating some splits...

Then on Thursday, July 9, we had terrible weather. We managed to get to lots of times but it was cold and I had to wear my hoodie. However, we got to a new family and had a great lesson with a less active famly too.

Then on Friday it was cold again and I wore my hoodie again. That day started off terrible. We taught this young college student who just wanted to argue and criticize our Malagasy. He hadn't come to church for like three months, and was not reading or keeping any commitments, so we told him that we would have to stop teaching him, but he knew where to find us at church every Sunday if he ever wanted to learn again. After that we had a much better day. We had a great spiritual lesson with a guy who we dropped just like the first guy a couple weeks ago and then he came to church. Then we just had great times after that. We had a soiree at the night to end it off. And we taught about the Sabbath day to some members. (It's kind of been a theme this week...) They are all active except for one of the daughters, and we pretty much just asked what the sabbath day was and then their 20 year old son who is also the young mens' president taught the rest of his family. He keeps the Sabbath day. Haha
Saturday was a terrible day. Well, it was a bad day for being on a mission in Madagascar, so it was still a really good day by other standards! It poured rain. I got soaked as soon as we walked out of the house after language study and lunch at 12. Then we tried to take some recent converts to an activity which was a bust because of the rain. It was a lot of fun to  watch Elder Hardy and Elder Tiu play musical chairs and get down to just them, then break the chair for the grand finale! I almost cried I was laughing so hard! That activity really messed with our program though, so we didn't teach much.

Which was ok, because Sunday was a great day! We started off with church at nine. One of our investigators brought his german friend with him... He knew some english but I cannot talk with white people dang it!!! Oh, and that one investigator that we dropped came. Hah, works every time! Then I gave a big boy talk about the Atonement. By big boy I mean it lasted twenty minutes! The youth speaker before me has been a member his whole life and he started off talking about the sacrament, and I was like, "Sweet! This will go on and on! There's so much to say about the sacrament!" But it was seriously just like this: "Today I'm giving a talk about the sacrament. The sacrament is important and Jesus started it at the last supper. And this is why we don't use wine anymore... Amen."

So pressure was on me to fill more of the time, but let's be real, the Atonement is the easiest topic to speak about, there's just so much good stuff about it! Then the last speaker didn't show up so our first counselor in the branch presidency, the same studly one that talked about the Sabbath, just gave a quick talk about how the sacrament and the Atonement tie together. It was way good. Then Elder Pinson and I had to go on splits after church to get to all of our times and that was fantastic to go with some recent converts who are progressing so well! I love doing this stuff out here!

And now I get another week to do some more of this, it's great. Anyway, a quick Malagasy Morsel for y'all, Magnanika if you want the Antanosy version and Mihanika if you want the Merina or official dialect version. It means to climb. Like a tree, mountain, or the side of someone's house... And it's all about that! We're all somewhere in our climb in this life and it's all about just getting a little higher! Sure, you could say climbing is hard work, but you get such beautiful views! So don't just hang in there, but climb a little bit higher this week. We can do so many good things with our potential, so just try to do that a little more this week. That's all I've got for y'all.

Tahian'ny Tompo!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Week 51 - Can't Keep Up

Already been here four weeks, and I'm still lovin' it! Today has been fantastic. We started out by cleaning some and taking care of stuff around the house. Then we went to get haircuts, and we are looking so fresh now. Actually, Elder Pinson is looking fresh, I just have shorter hair... It was actually one of the best haircuts I've had so far on my mission! Pictures might be coming out next week. Another win for Fort D!

Then we went to this hotel place and had a hawaiin pizza with zebu meat instead of chicken and we asked for them to hold the corn (no, I have no idea why corn would be included on a hawaiin pizza...) And now, here we are, at the cyber.

This week has been fantastic! We had A. and V.'s marriage, baptismal interviews that I did for the Tanambao elders and A. and V.'s family's baptism!!! Then we had 25 investigators at church not including Andre's family. So really like 30. We are running into a big problem though...


 We've got 30 recent converts we need to visit and 25ish investigators who come to church each week, so 50+ people who we really need to visit! And that's not counting the investigators who still haven't come to church quite yet and all of the less actives that we want to be visiting too! So we need more missionaries. We need to let more people get to work here! Haha I know, that's like the best problem in the world to have, but I really think the area needs it.

I know what you're all thinking: Poor Elder Rasmussen, he's just sooo busy... The work sounds so hard down there...

Well, it is what it is, alright?! We've all got different trials.

In other news, President Adams has left Madagascar for his long trip/vacation that will eventually land him home in America. Big changes are afoot in our mission... haha because it's President Foote... changes are afoot... Oh well, any way, President Foote came! We called him to send him our greetings and he sounded very cool! And he also apparently schooled the AP's in basketball...

I'm super excited to meet him.

He should be coming here within the next month to tour the mission, so that will be fantastic!

Other than that, this week was just a lot of teaching and finding ridiculous things to laugh at this week with Elder Pinson. He has yet to not be a stud, so things are going very well here. I feel like we are a pretty good teaching team, and we get along really well still, so that's great. We are also fantastic at demolishing the Tanambao elders when they try to say their area is better than our Amparihy. Please.

We are also on the phone hunt right now because ours is held together with a rubber band, the speaker doesn't work and it must be in speaker phone in order to hear someone, but hearing them doesn't mean you can understand what they say... I think our phone just has a weird virus that turns any speech that comes through it into Chinese. So... new phone! Yay!

The fourth of July was fantastic. Elder Pinson and I went out to eat at night to celebrate. We were enjoying our pizza until they brought a microphone out and turned the lights down and then turned on the colorful lights and little disco ball... Dang it! Not karaoke night! Not just that though, we crashed a karaoke birthday party!!! So we scarfed down our pizza and ran out of there as fast as we could. Happy 4th of July e'ry body!

Malagasy Morsel this week is brought to you from the MTC. Mamaky means to read. So when your investigator malala has not been reading it is an important thing to know. Quick testimony about that, with the exception of one person so far on my mission who could not read, I have not had a single investigator who progressed well and got baptized that did not read the Book of Mormon dilligently. Then there are these four things that are often associated with each other in the church: faith, repentence, baptism, the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. Well, you can't really gain a strong faith that this church is true without the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon also teaches us all about true repentence. Joseph Smith's reading of the Book of Mormon was what brought about the restoration of the power and authority to baptize and confirm the gift of the Holy Ghost, and we can't honestly think we are enduring to the end if we are not consistently nourishing our soul with the good word of God found in the Book of Mormon. So, it's like kind of a big deal... So... Go read it.
It's true, I promise.

But if you doubt that promise, go read it anyway and ask God if it's true every day and you will know. That's my little piece of anatra for the week. It really is great though, and I love reading it and teaching about it!

That's probably about it for today, sorry for the ridiculously long email.
I love you all and I wish you a fantastic middle of July!

Tahian'ny Tompo.