Monday, June 29, 2015

Week 50 - National Celebrations

First off, happy independance day! Our 26th of June over here (Madagascar Independence Day) was pretty good, we had a half and hour long firework show the night before which we watched from the balcony on the church and then everyone was out and about drinking/being with family on the 26th itself. We had a grand total of... drumroll please... TWO times taught that day! So that was poop. Especially because lots of people said they'd be home for sure even though it was a holiday. So we walked around a lot and had two way good times! And then this week is America Day!!! Have a good one of those all y'all. I will wear my American Flag sunglasses just for you. And my America socks.

This week was really great though! Sure, the 26th was kind of a letdown and to be honest, the day before was pretty bad too, but we still had lots of way good lessons! And we got a bunch of people at church too! Fort Dauphin is just the place to be!!!

Elder Pinson and I have been way busy this week, we've had a ton of times. I love being busy! The best part is that so many people are progressing and excited to get baptized. And we've got BAPTISMS on Saturday!!! They've been waiting for their birth certificates to come from way out in the middle of nowhere and they finally came on Saturday, then getting married on Thursday. I've only taught them for like three weeks, but they're way awesome! They are so pumped that everything's finally happening. It's so great to see a whole family super ready to get baptized.
Malagasy morsel for the week is intsony in the main dialect of Merina or sasy if we're going with Antanosy. It means anymore. So like, "tsy dia salama soa sasy 'zaho." Or, "I'm not super healthy anymore..." Haha I had some close calls this morning with stomache problems, but we're all good! Elder Rasmussen's still got his guts of steel, so no worries!

Just a small thought for this week: wake up a little early and go watch the sunrise! Heavenly Father has given us such a beautiful place to live here, and we could use a little more appreciation! Especially because gratitude is the way we get rid of pride! Know who you're grateful for and you'll see how much help we've got in our lives!

Love you all!
Tahian'ny Tompo,

Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 49 - Genealogy All the Way Back?

It was a fantastic, sunny day at the beach here in lovely Tolagnaro. I came right from the beach, and it says hello to all of you. It's beautiful as always. I would send some pictures... but I still can't. More explanation about that later.
Anyway, this week was great. We unfortunately only had 19 people at church, last week we had 22. I was still way happy though, let's be real. Elder Pinson, who's had longer to get used to it down here was pretty disappointed and kept searching for someone else at church so we could at least have 20. This week has seriously been way sweet though! Elder Pinson is way funny and lots of weird stuff happened this week so we had some great laughs. One of my favorites was when I was chatting with some members at a soiree and, talking about hiking up to the top of the big mountain by our house, I said, "I heard it's best to go up with all of the young women." I caught myself and changed it to young men, but it was too late. Good news was that it was in French, not Malagasy, but we still say it all the time. Ah well. It was way funny.

Then, the weather has just been perfect for working without having a rainjacket with you. We've gotten some mist and stuff, but mostly it's just been sunny and nice.
This morning we woke up and it was cloudy. We'd already planned to go to the beach, so I said a quick prayer that it would be clear. Five minutes later it was. Then when we got ready to go, it was manerikerika-ing pretty bad. Like drizzling mist. So we played a game of Scum, then the weather went back to just cloudy, so we headed over to the beach and it got way nice. It was beautiful. We walked a little while to a beach a little farther away then the one in front of our house, and it was beautiful. This morning when we were preparing to go, I found this old "Hikers First Aid Kit" red fanny pack. So I decided to wear it to the beach. It's perfect! There's one pocket perfect for my camera, one perfect for my planner and pen, then the other one fit my wallet, white handbook with my documentation in it, my socks when I went barefoot and my sunglasses and some spare money. It went beautifully and I may have looked like a retarded tourist, but it was just too perfect!

So that's my new p-day bag, from now to forever.

The only problem was I forgot to move my camera cord into the fanny pack, so I can't upload pictures... Awkward... Next week!

Anyway, if this picture comes out right, it will show a screenshot from my family search account. I was just chasing a line back today to see how far I could get and I knew I got it as soon as I got to "Judah ben Jacob King of Goshen" followed by "Jacob Israel ben Isaac." After that it was a breeze to get to "Adam Son of God Father of All Mankind" and his father, "God." So... enjoy this screenshot of my success. WE DID IT FAM WE DID IT!!! Hahahahahaha this made my day. Game over. Jkjkjk

But that leads us to our Malagasy Morsel of tetiarana. It means geneology and it's super important, because it's something that all of our wonderful members need to do to go to the temple and to help their ancestors recieve their ordinances too! It reminds me of a hymn that goes like: "Out in the desert they wander hungry and helpless and cold. Off to the rescue we hasten, bringing them back to the fold." There are still so many people out there that need to go home to our Heavenly Father with us! Don't forget how important family history is and don't get to lax about sharing the gospel with friends and family and everybody! We taught a lesson in Gospel Doctrine yesterday about missionary work and it is for everybody!!! If we really love those around us, we should at least give them the chance to start heading towards eternal life, and we owe it to them. I love you all, and I wish you all a fantastic week!

Mozotoa e aby!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Week 48 - Welcome to Fort Dauphin

Well. Fort Dauphin is cool.


It has like all of my favorite things in one: a beach, nice mountains, jungly stuff, a crazy sweet language, and super awesome people!

picture from Elder Pinson's blog

My companion is Elder Pinson, and not only is he a crazy awesome missionary, he was also in the MTC with me! I love working with him. He's a stud and he's super solid in pretty much every aspect of missionary work. He was also dying this morning, but seems to be doing alright now, but should you so be inclined, a prayer wouldn't hurt.

So this last week was way tough. It was also super sweet. It was tough because I had to say goodbye to all of my family back over in the Tana First Ward. I'm going to miss them all so much! Then Elder Hull and I parted ways on Wednesday night, which was a bummer, he's been a great companion. He had to go to the office to pick up his trainee, so I was on splits with Elder Johnson and Elder Cooley, which was a blast! We were planning to make chili that night, but we hadn't bought any of the ingredients yet, so after our last time we sprinted like a mile to the Shoprite. We almost had to hijack a bus to get there, but one fortunately stopped for us and took us like half the way. Then we ran the mile. Good news is we got into Shoprite and got away with our beans and meat and vegetables. Bad news is Elder Johnson dropped his tag somewhere doing the run. So we walked back to look for it. Found it. Then we went home and had great chili. Then we all slept on the couch and a bunkbed that we moved into the living room.

Then I left the next morning at like 7:30. I got on the plane with Elder Tiu at like 1:30 and was in Fort Dauphin at about 3:20. It's so humid here! I love it. Then we got poured on, and of course, I left my rain coat in Tana. Haha whoops! Oh yeah, then for all y'all that tried to find Fort Dauphin on the map, the real name you'd be wanting is Tolanaro or Tolagnaro. Fort Dauphin is the French name. I'll make sure to send y'all some pictures next week, but the computer is not recognizing that my camera is plugged into it...

Yes, the beach looks good. It especially looks very good when I look out my window in the morning and it's right there.

Out their window - picture from Elder Pinson's blog

My area, Amparihy, is clearly the better of the two down here. I've already been on a split to Tanambao, and I can't lie: it's way cool. It's just not AS cool. It was fun to go with Elder Hardy again!

Malagasy Morsel of the week would have to be Miteny or Mizaka. It means to speak and the first one is in Merina, the official dialect, and the second one is in Anosy, the main dialect around here. And it is the Malagasy Morsel to show that everyone is not speaking what I learned in the MTC down here!!! Haha it's way cool and I'm so pumped I get to learn it!

Any way, have a good week all of you, wherever you're at, and don't forget that Jesus died for you and your family so you can be with them throughout the eternities. It doesn't hurt to be a little more grateful than we usually are.

Love y'all.
Tahian'ny Tompo

Monday, June 8, 2015

Week 47 - Leaving Antananarivo

So, transfers definitely happened this last week. And what's going down? You have to read this whole email to find out. No peeking at the end.

Anyway, this week was fantastic. I read half of the Book of Mormon. I also cleaned our house. Made bread twice. Cut my own hair (funny story...), and I read a lot of talks about cool gospel stuff! If you put all the clues together, you see that all of those things happen in the house. So yes, I was at home for a good chunk of the week... We went to Carnivore on Monday, this super good meat place like Rodizios, and then we had zone conference beginning on Tuesday morning at nine, then ending at 4:30, then we got back home at six, and then Elder Hull threw up. And then did it again. And we stayed home. Then on Wednesday, it all happened again. So I read from Mosiah and finished Alma, and made bread, and did laundry. Then on Thursday, it was all good, we had studies, district meeting, went to eat, and then he threw up again. So we went home, and he did it again. So we stayed home again, and I read through to third Nephi, cleaned the house, made more bread, and read all the talks in our big binder full of talks. Then on Friday we worked, Saturday, and Sunday too. It was a blast! I love working! It was sooo nice to get out on Friday, I was getting so jittery and jumpy, so I was working out for a bunch and just trying to stay a little bit active at least. But man, I love walking. I love walking so much.

Anyway, other than saying that it's way cool to read the BiM through way quick, stuff that I learned this week was that if your water is too hot when you're making bread it kills the yeast and you have to go buy some more and knead it in. Also... there were a ton of way good talks, so that was way fun to read. I also learned last night that Elder Glazier is going to be training this next transfer!!! Get pumped for that!!! I'm so excited for him! Transfer calls were late Sunday night and I was super happy when I heard that! So the way transfers usually go down is everyone has to turn in stats first, so that goes through the district leaders to the zone leaders then to the AP's. Then once all the stats have been received, the AP's call the zone leaders who call the district leaders who call everyone in their district. I live with our District leader, Elder Johnson, so I got to skip a step. Then he just writes down every change on a piece of paper. He started with the Tana Ivandry zone, that's mine, and that's when I found out about Elder Glazier training, then it was Tana Manakambahiny zone, then it was Antsirabe, Fianarantsoa, then Tamatave. And at this point my name was still not written on the paper, and the only ones left are what's called the An-tany Foana zone, which is all of the areas that are way far away and you have to take a plane to get to. Then for Mahajanga, he wrote no change, Toliary, no change... So that leaves Fort Dauphin baby!!! I'm heading to the Amparihy area in Fort Dauphin with Elder Pinson, who's a way balling missionary from my group! Then I'll be down there with Elder Hardy, my last companion, and Elder Tiu! I'm so pumped! Fort D is on the very south of Madagascar and there are some crazy dialects spoken there. You are also very far away from any other missionaries... And there's a beach! And beautiful mountains! And a lot of awesome missionaries have been down there so the work is just screaming along! I'm super pumped, I'm going to the area that Elder Johnson left last transfer, so he's been full of a ton of good things to say about it! Anyway, that's transfers. I'm super pumped.

Malagasy Morsel is variana. And it means distracted, and I am super variana right now because I keep just thinking about Fort D. I am way bummed to be leaving Ankorondrano now though. Menja and Fitiavana are just about to get married, soiree des quartes are just about to get going, and Bakar and Fidy were just called as ward missionaries, and there are just so many people that I love, dang it! It's all good though. When I get back to Tana I'll have to visit them all, but for now, I'm just way pumped to be going on an airplane soon to Fort Dauphin.

I love you all, and I wish you all a fantastic week filled with tender mercies and little miracles.
Mirary soa!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Week 46 - I Love Elder Rasmussen Because...

So... this week was good...

It was mostly just a lot of hard work, which was great, but then... drumroll please... on Friday we get a text from the AP's telling us to start a fast now, it was like three in the afternoon, and then they would tell us why in the evening so it didn't mess with our day at all. We immediately though, "Poop. A missionary is probably super sick or hurt. Or maybe there's some crazy political thing going on and we might have to leave Madagascar." (There's been some mild political unrest. Something about throwing the president out again, no big deal.) So we were worried. Then, at about five, they texted us again to remind us to just text them as soon as we got home so they could call us back and fill us in on the news. So... there are like 80ish missionaries here in Madagascar right now, and only two AP's... So at this point it became obvious that this was something that just pertained to us. Nice, right?

So when we finished up our program just before nine and started heading home, we were pretty anxious to see what the deal was. Then we saw the AP's car parked behind a wall kind of by the house. At this point, I decided that they were trying to prank us or something. So we walk home, all of the lights are in, and we walk into the apartment to see the AP's lounging on our couch talking with Elder Cooley and Elder Johnson, who live with us. Turns out they made us dinner. And brownies. And brought kool-aid. They just wanted us to not eat before we got home so they could have a cool surprise! It was way nice, they're big studs. They said to consider it a little reward because our two areas have been going pretty well lately. It was way cool, and it definitely made my day!

Then the next day we taught English in the morning, and usually we have everyone introduce themselves first, so Elder Delbar, a missionary who was in my group, wrote down a 1, 2, and 3, and then gave options to say in each one. Here's what it looked like:
1. Hello/Howdy y'all/hola
2. My name is.../Me llamo...
3. I love Elder Rasmussen because...

Haha it was super funny, even if I thought it was pretty dumb at first, but some people gave some pretty lame reasons... I didn't get an "I love Elder Rasmussen because he's jacked out of his mind" once!!! Psh.

And then we had a BAPTISM!!! It was great. I baptized. The water was very cold. It was also green, but the cold was the worst part. D. stepped down into the water and almost stepped out so I dragged him down in, then baptized him. And as soon as he came rushing out of the water he was rushing up the steps to his towel and warm clothes... Haha it was also a very spiritual experience too though!

Malagasy Morsel kind of goes together with that: Manatsoboka means to dunk in water. Then atsoboka means to BE dunked in water. So while we were waiting for D. to come, our Ward Clerk says, "Efa tonga ny mpanatsoboka, kanefa, mbola tsy tonga ny atsoboka." Or, in Anglisy, "The dunker already came, but the dunkee has still not come." Ah yeah!

Then church was interesting. The confirmation went really well. He was glowing all day long. But then, because our new stake center was being dedicated in Andranomena, not very many active members came to church, but because it was Malagasy Mother's day, lots of less active females came (they hand out treats to all of the mothers...) Then we had combined block because it was a fifth sunday and we had a lesson about birth control of course! So, yeah. It was just a great day.

Anyway, the church is still true. I have to keep praying and checking, you know, just in case... But no worries! It's still the right one, thank heavens!

I love you all and I wish you a fantastic week wherever you may be!
Mozotoa e daholo!