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.