Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 32 - Ankorondrano - The Rains

So... exciting week, exciting week. Let's start off by taking a moment to appreciate the rain...

Ok, now we're done. Yes, it's rained a lot this last week, which is nice, it really is. See, the day after it rains, my shoes get really muddy walking through all of the mud and sludge, so then I need it to rain again to  clean my shoes off again. So this last week has been way nice! Other than the rain, the rest of the week was good too. It started on Monday when we went to a ridiculously expensive hotel called the Carlton.

The outside of the Carlton.  I think it looks sketchy.

My entree at the Carlton.  You can see the nearly empty thing of bread in the corner.  
That was the real meal!!!

It was Elder Hardy' year mark, so we splurged a little... or a lot. Anyway, it's supposedly a 5-star hotel and it was very very good. And it cost me $16!!! The crap is this! It was sooo goood, especially the ice cream. Down side was the food was very small... Good news was they had free refills on your bread basket, and then I bought some street food after we were done, so it was all good.

Then we got on the wrong bus and ended up stuck in traffic far from home for two hours. That was poopy. Upside to that is we got to talk to a very interesting man who was telling us why Malagasies don't like people from India. Then he was talking about how Malagasies don't discriminate. Literally he said, "Ny Malagasy tsy tia karana." (Malagasies don't like Indians) then two sentences later it was, "Tsy manavaka ny Malagasy." (Malagasies don't discriminate). Anyway, he was a delight. Then it was just work as usual until on Friday we were eatin lunch at a cheap, but very nice place that sells grilled chicken, when the guy at the table next to us bought us a drink. We got Sprite, of course, don't get too excited. Then we started talking to him and the owner, they're good friends, and we found out that if we bring sister missionaries next time, they'll give us a free cake. Unfortunately, none of the sister live close...

Then, as we left, we passed a fountain in the middle of one of the busiest roundabouts. What was in the fountain? Five 10-year olds taking baths. Nice one Madagascar. Nice one. Haha everyone else was just going on like nothing out of the ordinary was happening, which is probably how it is... haha...

Nice, clean natural looking river, no?

Then Sunday was fantastic because so many people came to church! I'm so proud of some of our investigators right now, especially Norbert!!! He is my favorite grandpa aged investigator by far! I love seeing how much he's growing!

A quick Malagasy Morsel for the week is Mazotoa. (technically mah-zo-TOO-ah, but it usually ends up sounding more like mahz-TOO)  I write this sometimes at the end of letters, so I figured I'd teach y'all what the heck I was saying. It's the active command form of the word Mozoto, which means dilligent. So it means, "Be dilligent!" It's a nice traditional Malagasy goodbye. So yeah, that's neat.

Mmm... Not quite...

That's about it for this week, I just want to let you all know that this gospel is still true. And we can always get better at something. That's not a bad thing that we're not perfect yet, it just means we get to be in the excitement of growing all the time! Love you all, and have a fantastic week!
Mozotoa e!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Week 31 - Ankorondrano - Meeting Joseph Smith

So, I totally forgot last week. My bad. Anyway I am in a place called Ankorondrano. It's in the middle of the capitol city of Antananarivo. The ward I am serving in is called the Tana first ward. The ward is crazy awesome and I love working with the members!

Anyway, I left Antsirabe at 8 in the morning and got on a taxi-brousse. Essentially a very tightly packed van. Elder Rice and I squished into the front seat together and then, after a long wait, we left. The drive was about four hours long. Then we got to Tana and got dropped off in the very muddy, very large bus stop. Oh, it had been raining the whole day. Then, about half an hour to an hour later, the office elders finally came to pick us up. It was about 2 or 3 at this point and I was supposed to meet up with my new companions at the office at 1. Then as the new office elder was backing out, driving stick for the first time, he hit a taxi-brousse. So then we had to wait for about 3 more hours to get that all figured out. Then we drove to the mission office, but since it was now 6:30, my companion had left to go get some food. So then they came, I got some food, then we went to bed. It was a great day!!!

So then the next couple of days we went and taught and contacted people, contacting is one of my favorite things right now... Mostly Elder Tavo and I have just been following Elder Hardy around because we are still lost all of the time...

Analakely Baby!!!

Then on Sunday I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting and the bishopric told me I sounded just like a Malagasy, so that put me up on cloud 9 because Malagasy is one of my favorite parts of being a missionary here! Then we met a man as we were walking away from the church who told us he was searching for the truth and he was really confused because all of the churches said theirs was the true church. "How can I know where the true church is??!" So we talked to him a little bit, showed him the church, and asked his name. "Joseph Smith." Ok, ok, I see what's going on. You have a good day sir. Haha not very missionaries get to meet him! Then I went on a split with a member of our bishopric who is 26, an ex missionary from the Capetown mission, and he's just such a rocking member! I was blown away! He was just so Christlike and devoted.

Bunch of kids playing on a giant branch... Totally safe.

Then it was just work as usual. One of our favorite investigators wasn't home, his wife said he was visiting his girlfriend... Ok... So then we taught a law of chastity lesson on our next time. Then I drank some carrot-lemon juice. It was pretty weird. Then we were teaching a lesson and someone asked what day the sabbath is on (seventh day worship is big here), so we answered Sunday and we started to explain and it was a disaster, it went way bad. He was just trying to bible bash. Luckily, we got it under control, and he still wants to learn. Then, our very next lesson, the guy asks the same question. I was all like, hah! I'm not dumb, hang on a sec, we'll get there. So we finished about Joseph Smith and modern prophets and then I said, "You want a really clear scripture about why it's on Sunday? Alright, in the year 1820 God appeared to Joseph Smith..." It worked out wayy better than the first time. It was sweet!

Then, there's this girl who lives by us that's like 2 or 3. She's terrified of white people. Whenever she sees us she starts screaming and runs into her house to hide. So on Saturday, she saw us, she started screaming, and she ran to hide in her house, which is also a hotely. So Elder Hardy followed her and cornered her in the hotely trying to reason with her and get her over her fear of white people. So the result was she was screaming for like 5 minutes straight. Ahh, I thought it was sooo funny but felt pretty bad for her too! But yeah, lesson relearned, you can't reason with small children in hysterics.

Then there is this investigator we tracked into named Norbert. He is a baller!!! He is 70. And his whole family shares the building, it's like a small apartment set up, but he's the only one learning right now. Anyway, he's learned three times now, and he's already reading the BiM and all of the pamphlets, EACH DAY! He came to church on Sunday too! He has been Catholic his whole life and he told us he'd never let any preachers into his house before, but then he let us in and he doesn't know why. Then when we first taught him he kept throwing out that he's catholic. Like, "yes, that's very nice, but I'm catholic." "That's very interesting, but I'm a catholic." But then this last time he was talking about how he's working so hard to convince the rest of his family, but "they're catholic." It's so cool to see him change! The gospel does good things for people. He was so excited to get the BiM and when he came to church everybody was super nice and we set up some good friends for him. I have really high hopes for him and his family.

So yeah, that's my week! I mean my two weeks! Tana is alright, I like it a lot, but I do miss that little Antsirabe town every now and then.

Malagasy Morsel for the week is alika maty. ah-LEE-kah MAH-tee and it means dead dog. But don't ever say that to anyone because it's super offensive, near swear word level. So don't actually use that one, just read it and appreciate it!

Eny ary, mozotoa daholo! Aza hanadino ahy!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 30 - Ankorondrano - Welcome to Ankorondrano!

(Answers to questions this week)

(What is the difference between Ambohimena and Atsirabe?)
So Ambohimena is an area inside of Antsirabe. So each city is made up of smaller areas and they each have a little fokon'tany or little like township with a town hall and then police that work in that area. But then the one for the city is over all of the little ones. I actually never worked in Ambohimena, but that was just the name of the Branch because lot's of members were from there. The technical name of my area was Ambohimena 1 or North. Then if you go to and use the find the closest ward thing, then it goes to google maps and it will show you the ward boundaries and church buildings. So the official name of my ward now is the Antananarivo 1st ward, if you want to look it up.

An area close to where he is, from Google Maps

(It doesn't look there there are roads in the residential areas - just houses packed together.  How do you find your way?)
Yeah, there's not a ton of roads, just alleys in crazy mazes. It's pretty exciting.

(Why can we see Antsirabe listed on the map, but not Antananarivo until you zoom in more?  Is it bigger or more important?)
I have no idea why tana isn't out farther. Tana is waaaaay bigger. Antsirabe is kind of a little bit of a tourist place though. But not as much as a lot of the coast cities.

(How do you pronounce Ankorondrano?)
Alright, Ankorondrano is pronounced ahn-koo-roon-john-oo. And the r is rolled, not american. I will admit I still barely know my way around at all.

(Elder Coleman is taking your place in Atsirabe.  Do you have his old companion now that you are in his old area?)
I have two companions, Tavo and Hardy, but Elder Coleman's companion now is my old companion, so if you look up his blog you'll see my old area.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 29 - Antsirabe - Goodbye Antsirabe

Ela ela tsy hita!
Hey er'rybody! We'll start off quick with a small, easy word for our Malagasy Morsel this week. Learned this bad baby clear back in the MTC. Masoandro. MAH-soo-AHN-jroo. It literally means the eye of the day. So of course it's the sun. Neat, huh?

Now the quick rundown of the week:

Monday I kind of just bummed around, played some basketball, bought some food, emailed, all that fun stuff, then in the evening we had two times and ate some great rice and loaka. Ooh! I left my camera at the cyber too.

Tuesday when a drunk man in a pousse-pousse drove by and started yelling English at me, I did the natural thing and pretended I was French and didn't understand. He apparently believed he was one of the head honchos in our church and needed to give us an assignment. When we just kept walking he forgot about us pretty quick.

Wednesday I got my camera back from the cyber, I was super happy it was still there! Then we taught English and taught some new investigators and it was fantastic!

Thursday we ate rice with boiled squash leaves at an investigator's house. Delicious. Then we discovered a huge set of apostate beliefs in one of our part member families.

Friday we corrected said apostate beliefs and taught a lot of basic stuff about the temple, spirit world, and family. It was great stuff. Now we just have to go find the gospel doctrine teacher who was teaching all of that and have a nice lesson with him too. And then all of the other members too!
Saturday we taught my balling investigator that I found while I was on member splits contacting! We taught about the Book of Mormon and they promised to read it, pray about it, keep doing that, and then come to church too! Then they gave us mangahazo, which is boiled tree root, kind of like a hard potato but less flavor! Delicious. I'm gonna miss them a bunch!

Sunday we had church. When we showed up, 40 people were there. However, by the time the sacrament was over, we were up to 113, so that was pretty scary!!! That's called fotoana gasy, or Malagasy time! Then, the second counselor in the branch presidency tried to give me a talk. Bad news... I can't, sorry... (*Spoiler alert*) I'm leaving this week... That was the easiest I've ever gotten out of a talk!

Like I just hinted at, transfers are this week, and unfortunately, my four transfer stay here is over. I'm going to Antananarivo!!! My new area is called Ankorondrano and I will be in a threesome with Elder Tavo, who was in my group and from Vanauatu, and Elder Hardy, who has about six months left and I've heard he's a ballin' missionary, so I'm really excited! Elder Coleman, also from my group, is coming to replace me here in Ambohimena, so my area will be in good hands. He's a great missionary! I said a lot of goodbyes on Sunday, and then I have today and tomorrow and then I'm off on Wednesday morning to take a very long, crowded bus ride up to Tana, and then new area! I'm way excited!

Eny ary, izay ihany izao. Tiako ianareo tsirairay! Mifankatiava! Mozotoa e!
Alright, that's all for now. Love ya! Don't forget to keep your spirit nice and nourished!