Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 37 - Ankorondrano - 8 Weeks Here

So, conference will be coming to all of you soon... I'm super excited for that! Unfortunately, that's still going to be a while for us over here in the Indian ocean... But it's coming, so it's all good!

We'll start with a nice Malagasy Morsel to start us off this week. It's another word that I just love: misolelaka. It means to suck up. So then, if you add a "p" after the "m" it turns into the doer of that verb. So a mpisolelaka is a suck up. Sweet, right?!

This week has been going great. And by great, I mean it was slightly subpar, but I'm in Madagascar, speaking Malagasy all of the time, so that elevates it to great. We just had lots of people who weren't home for our appointments so we walked a lot. Yes, there is a bus system, but the traffic is so bad that usually we don't use those too much. But on Thursday, when Elder Richard and one of our zone leaders, Elder Rigby, switched spots for the day a bap interview, we walked 10.18 miles!!! So that was neat.

We did have a great turnout at church though, 166!!! We be killin' it here! Haha it was actually because lots of family members came to see one of our investigator's confirmation. We still had a lot of investigators and less actives who came, so it was nice to see everyone showing up!

I saw Elder Glazier today!!! It's still really weird to call him that. Anyway, he's so fat!!! Haha he has gained a little weight, but he looks like he's having a blast! No I did not get pictures. We were too "caught up in the moment." And by that I mean we were playing soccer, so... It was way sweet to see him though!

That bap interview I talked about back up there was for an investigator who has been "learning" with the missionaries for about 18 years(his family got baptized at the beginning of those 18 years). He finally decided he needed to get baptized right before I came here. Our first lessons with him were not too great because he didn't really pay attention, so we had to keep reviewing because he kept forgetting. Once we got to the commandments, however, he had already progressed into a baller! It helps that he's been living all of those commandments for most of the 18 years. We did have some scary moments though, like when his daughter asked him how he felt back when he was always drunk. He just answered, "fantastic!" I was dying of laughter, but I was trying sooo hard not to show it! But he got baptized on Friday! His birthday! He's grown so much and I'm so pumped for him!

Then another quick story from this week. Wednesday we were teaching some investigators who are from Antsirabe. (They came to church this last week!!!) And their son came up. Turns out, he's from Ambohimena!!! My old branch!!! He's still not a member, but he learned from the missionaries a long time ago. When his dad found out he already had a Book of Mormon, he just turned away with a thoughtful look, and then said, "Read it." So there y'all have it. Read it. Don't pretend like there is stuff more important than that. Elder Scott threw down on that at conference and said that reading the scriptures is more important than work, school, food, etc... So don't shortchange your spiritual progression!

I love you all, and I hope you have a wonderfully uplifting General Conference and Easter!
Veloma daholo!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 36 - Ankorondrano - The Rain Stopped

So big news this week: It hasn't rained the whole week!!! That is an answer to my prayers, and lot's of other people's too, I'm sure because the water has started to go down. Some of our investigators were finally able to move back into their house that has been flooded for the last three months! Unfortunately, there's still a lot of people living in tents or little temporary shacks on the side of the road, but the sun's been doing it's job, so hopefullly that will all get worked out soon.

It says it's Noah's Ark

 One of my companions, Elder Richard (formerly Elder Tavo, but he changed his name to his first name because Tavo is a swear word in some of the Northern dialects) is from Vanuatu, which was hit by a pretty bad hurricane like two weeks ago. His island was hit the worst, and he still hasn't been able to get through to find out if his family is ok yet... We're all praying for him. He's super hopeful about it. He's actually beaming and laughing ALL the time. He's a huge stud.

Other than that, not too much is new out here in the Indian ocean. The work is still going. We only had 11 investigators at church last week, which was a big letdown after nearly twenty the week before, but that's still pretty good for this area. It's one of the oldest areas, so lot's of the people are pretty sick of missionaries now, so it's super great to see the members getting excited and helping us out so much! The last few weeks have been great for the ward. Three weeks ago we had 134ish people at sacrament meeting, which was a new record for the year, then two weeks ago was 174. So cool!!!! Everyone was way pumped about that! Then yesterday it went back down to like 141, which is a bummer, but we can't get too down because it's still the second best!

All my people in one picture!

My men! The highlight is that rockin' tie that I got for 16 cents!

Our investigators are doing great! We've had a couple scares, but as of right now, they are all doing great. We have a baptism this week, then one on April 11, then the one after that is on the 25th, and they are all progressing so well! I love 'em!

Fun facts that may have been missed in last week's email, we went to a military base and played basketball and volleyball with all three zones here in Tana. That was way fun. Then we went to this souvenir place called the dig. So it's pretty much just random Malagasy stuff for way to expensive. Luckily, haggling is very important here, so I had a lot of fun and didn't spend more than $10.

This guy sells pineapples for 24 cents! And he slices them into a bag to go! 
We eat these allllll the time.

Malagasy Morsel for this week would be mieboebo. It's one of my favorite words to say and I'll sometimes just be whispering it to myself as we walk down the path. It's pronounced mee-ay-boo-ay-boo. And it's like really fluid and smooth, so it just sounds ridiculously cool. It means like boastful or prideful. I don't actually use it a whole ton, but it makes me really happy when I get to!

Quick spiritual side note about sacrament meeting. It's really important. That pretty much sums it up, but we brought some investigators to church two weeks ago and we missed the sacrament. It was terrible! The week after was so great! I felt so great! So this is just a quick reminder that if you go into sacrament meeting prepared and ready to have a fantastic spiritual experience, you will have one.

Love you all!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 35 - Ankorondrano - Late!

No big email this week. There's not enough time.

First things first: Happy birthday Opa! Have the most fantastic day! I'm always thinking of you over here!

Transfers came this week and nothing changes in our area, which is good. We will all three get to see the baptisms of our awesome investigators whom we love a lot! Elder Glazier is coming up to Tana in an area called Analamahitsy, which is in my zone and not too far away, so I'll probably see him next p-day!

Malagasy Morsel is tara. It means late and it's what I am right now, so I'll write you all next week!

Love you!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 34 - Ankorondrano - More Rain

So we had zone conference this week. That was fantastic! We got to see Meet the Mormons too! I feel kind of behind the times because y'all are probably pretty sick of that by now... But it's way good! The last segment was tough because it showed home everywhere... It was cool that that one guy went to South Africa on his mission, Elder Heine, our zone leader, went home together with him on the plane. Then he came back, obviously, but anyway, that guy was trying to say that South Africa was way cooler than Madagascar. FALSE!!! That's not true... James' area is probably as cool as some parts of Madagascar, but that's it. And that's only because there is Rasmussen blood working there! But yeah, life's going good here.

The water is still going up... which leads to our Malagasy morsel of trondradrano. It means like the water is going up or is high. (choon-jah-jah-noo)  (Note from mother: Cyclone Haliba went from the Mozambique Channel, across Madagascar just to the south of Antananarivo this week.  It is over the Reunion Islands now, and headed away from Madagascar.  This week will bring more rain, but then this cyclone should be done.)  Despite that, we had quite a few investigators at church on Sunday, which was fantastic. The ward has really been helping us out with them, so props where props have been earned.

That's the big government building with some sweet clouds. Tana baby!

Like James, next week is transfers week and speculations are coming out of the woodwork. I'm just hoping that I get to stay here and that Elder Glazier will be coming up here to work in Tana so I'll finally see him! That would be sweet. He doesn't want to though, but he'll come around. Living in the big city is pretty nice! You can buy everything your heart could imagine as long as it doesn't require first world factories! And sometimes there's some of that stuff too! I've really enjoyed getting my nice cheap ties! Oh, I got new bindings on my scriptures, but my camera is dead again (on the battery hunt again) so you can just wait until next week to ooh and aww about those.

Birthday shout out to those getting old at home! Keep going! Let's see... update on Project Get Massive is going... slowly... rice just doesn't always cut it, ok? But it's good! Still getting up there! On the subject of food, I had avacado juice and learned how to make it. Get pumped for when I come home!!!

That's all I've got for the week, but you all stay safe at home! Have a fantastic week and do something fun for me!


Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 33 - Ankorondrano - Baptizing in the, uh, River

Well, less than two weeks and it will be transfers again. Crazy. Anyway, Ankorondrano is doing swell. I love it. We had a baptism on Saturday!!! Funny story about that, we had the adult session of stake conference and then the baptism after that, and our ward mission leader didn't show up to take care of everything, so there was no water in the font... On top of that the font was covered in dirt from the last baptism. "Covered in dirt?" You might ask, "why was it covered in dirt??" Well, we're getting there. Anyway, the faucet on the font takes about five hours to fill up the font, so our bishop grabbed the fire house and used that to help fill up the font a little more quickly. Yes, I did make sure to get a picture of that, don't worry. Then the water was brown. Not just slightly brown, but very brown. It was so full of silt that not only could you not see the bottom of the font, you also couldn't see more than a foot deep. So you could say that we pretty much baptize in the river...

Who's excited to get baptized???!?!?

A quick Malagasy Morsel is tain-kintana, TINE-KIN-tah-nah. This is the word that was in the dictionary, so I'll just give a disclaimer and say that I don't know if malagasies actually use this word. It literally means star poop. So of course, it's a shooting star! I thought it was way funny because if you just use tay by itself it is a very crude word for excrement. However, if you use it with another word, other than person, it's just fine. For example, tain-omby is cow poop, tain-maso is the crap that forms in your eyes when you sleep. It's great!

I don't have a ton of time, so I'll just say that the rest of the stake conference was fantastic! The translators could have been a little better (President Adams and a seventy from South Africa spoke) but it was really good! Then we taught some Comorreans, people from Comoros, who were muslim. So when we asked if we could close with a prayer they brought out prayer rugs and turned our chairs to face Mecca... So we rephrased and asked if we could ask a Christian prayer and explained a little more about that. It was hilarious!

But yeah, good stuff. I love this mission! Anyway, next week.
Love you all!
Mozotoa e!

Elder Rasmussen