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!