Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 67 - 20 Weeks in Paradise

So. Week 20 in paradise. Haha that sounds pretty good if I say so myself.

Fort D is still doing great baby! This last week was probably the worst week I've had for like six months as far as stats go. But we had to get sheets made and buy propane and watch conference. Hah. "Had" to watch conference.

Conference was so freaking cool!!! I love all those guys that talked to us! And the sisters were spot on too! We picked up the new missionaries Saturday morning at 9, which is when conference started, so we were a little late, but we watched that session in Malagasy at the church, then the next session was on the Tanambao church's computer in English. Then the power died on the priesthood session, so we turned on the generator and kept watching. Conference don't stop for nobody.

Then on Sunday we watched the morning session with our branch again in Malagasy and then watched the afternoon session in English at the Tanambao church again. So many good talks. I love that stuff. I feel it's like the biggest sports game you ever watch on TV and I just get so pumped up for it!

And then y'all might have noticed that I dropped some stuff about propane and the new missionaries. Yeah. We got propane finally!!! It was so nice. Then the new missionaries!!! They're studs. I'm really impressed with the two of them. I haven't worked with Elder Wiscombe, so I'm pretty sure he's a stud, but I worked with Elder Brown for four hours on Sunday, so I know he's a stud. He's way new in the mission and he's been out here in Madagascar for about three months. That being said, he's way better at Malagasy than I was expecting and he's a solid teacher. He's just a huge stud and I'm super psyched to get to keep working with him for the next four weeks or so.

We had a way bummer time though, our family who should be our next baptism had a little fight and neither of them came to church to see conference. We went to their house and asked them how they were doing and they were feeling pretty bad about it all. We asked the dad if he smoked and he just kind of gave this embarrassed laugh thing and my heart just sunk. We talked about how he felt about it all and referenced a talk that would have helped them out if they would have gone to conference and they saw pretty clearly how much the gospel would have helped them there. They're pretty awesome though. I can't wait for them all to be baptized.

Did I mention that Fort D is way awesome? Haha it's going so great and I love all of the people. I'm gonna be so bummed if I leave this next transfer, but President already pretty much told me I'd be leaving. So it's all about killing it for the last four weeks!

You all have a great week and go read some of those conference talks again! They're so stellar!
Malagasy Morsel of the week would be porofo. It's pronounced proof with a rolled r. Guess what it means. Yep. It means proof. What a shocker. And conference is such a great proof that the Fiangonan'i Jesoa Kristy ho an'ny Olomasin'ny Andro Farany is true. So go watch it with an open hear and you'll come so much closer to God and learn what you should do to become a little bit better!

Love y'all! Have a great week and Mandra-pihaona from Fort D!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 66 - Reflections

So I'd love to tell you at this point what a stud my new companion is, but he still hasn't made it down here... Awkward... I'm just hoping the plane schedule will screw up way bad when I have to leave so I end up staying here a few extra weeks!

So this last week was just the usual deal: doubled up times and lots of chores to do to get ready for the new missionaries. But you know what? All we really need now is sheets and blankets and we're all ready!

We had some great lessons this last week. I'm gonna miss working with Elder Price. Good thing I might still be with him a while  before the other missionaries finally make it here!

Big news this week is conference on Saturday. I'm psyched. I'll admit though, I totally cheated and I've already read a ton of the talks and I'm listening to it on another tab while I type this. Conference is so great! It's almost like all of those old guys were chosen and inspired by God or something. Pretty crazy stuff. But did I say I was psyched???

This last week for district meeting we went to Tanambao's church and watched a mormon message that I want to say is called reflection or something like that. It's about a guy who's caught up on himself and always blames other people for his problems and is just miserable. Then he finds joy in helping other people. It's way good. And true too, coincidentally. I'm so much happier right now as a help people than I ever was with an iPod and a computer and good electricity and ice cream and fridge that was magically full of food all of the time, and big toilets, and cars, and air conditioning, and naps. Haha had to get my #ThirdWorldProbs in there somehow... It's been a while since I threw that in there. But really. I'm so happy right now and it's because I'm helping other people and it's great!

Malagasy Morsel for the week is Mivavaka in official Malagasy and Mivavaky in Antanosy. I know, big difference.  (It means prayer) But that's some important stuff right there. Like REALLY important stuff. I don't really think I need to say anything more about it actually!

Y'all have a great week and don't forget to be thankful for all the great blessings that your Heavenly Father has given you!
Love y'all!
Tahian'ny Tompo!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 65 - Baptizing in the Ocean

So transfers happened. But, as usual, you gotta wait until you get to that in the story.
Last Monday was epic. President Danielson's soiree did not dissapoint. We had a little testimony meeting where everyone talked about why they are a member of the church. It was really powerful. I got to translate and that was fun. Then the Foote's actually stuck around until Thursday. So we saw them again after that.

Tuesday was a great day. We had interviews in the morning. And that was way cool. I love President Foote! I really feel like he's just ripping through Madagascar right now and I love it! Then he let me know that I would be staying, and Elder Price would probably be leaving, but the area would be splitting. So I would be leading three elders in two areas for six weeks, then finally heading out. Well... ok? Then in his interview with Elder Price he let him know that. Price was a trooper about it, but we were all bummed for him. I was thrilled that I was staying though, six months baby!
Then we went and taught eight times. Hah.

Then the next day was slow, and we had to wait on the electrician for like half of Thursday but WE HAVE HOT WATER AGAIN!!! So... that's good. Then on Thursday morning Elder Price and I got up and went out to get dite and mofo for breakfast. Herbal tea and round bread things that are way good. Then we got back and were just sitting in the living room chatting. The other elders were... uhh...doing something in their bedroom. Then the front door opens and president walks in! He just walked over by himself from the hotel to talk to us. Then the other elders made it out of their bedroom and we all just chatted with him for 2 hours. We talked about the new stuff we'd need to get for the new elders, he gave me two fat wads of cash he had in his pocket so we could buy new beds and stuff, and then he told stories from his mission and talked a little bit about transfers. It was way cool! Did I mention it lasted 2 hours??? Haha

Then work as normal for the rest of the week. We had a baptism on Monday, but when we went to go get the baptismal font from the other church, the branch president informed us that the lock on the door to the closet where they keep the bap font was broken. So... we have to do it in the ocean? We texted President and let him know that we were terribly sorry and sad about it all, but we'd just have to do it in the ocean. So he said we could. And he didn't even ask who broke the lock!... So we baptized in the ocean.

My companion may have had to rebaptize someone 3 times because he kept mistiming the waves and going down at a low point... It was so funny! We were way out there because the beach is shallow and it was just me and the other witness from the branch and we were like "HURRY!!!" and he was rushing the prayer and then we'd get slammed by a couple big waves and the baptizee was thinking she was going to die and then he got hit by a big wave and dropped her in and then as he was pulling her out he got hit by another wave and got knocked over. So he took a little dip. And lost his badge... That's what you get for swimming Elder!!! I was dying laughing!

In this picture where you can see us in the background, Elder Price and I are trying to pull Lala out of the water. He was halfway through his prayer and a wave hit so she thought it was time to go under. We were like NOOOO NOT YET!!! And trying to save her. And it got caught on the camera. Well done President Danielson, Well done.  

Then Elder Rasmussen did it once and was done... Haha it was one of the funnest but most spiritual things I've done on my mission.

 This one is right after Lala finally got baptized and I was waiting for my baptizee to come out. You can see how stressful the whole thing was...

Then we got a call from President telling us the official news on transfers. Turns out plans changed and Elder Price is not leaving anymore! So we're splitting Amparihy and we're each getting some new elders. He's getting Elder Wiscombe fresh from Fianarantsoa, word on the street is he's a baller. Then I'm getting Elder Brown, who just got finished being trained by Elder Wiscombe in Fianarantsoa. Word on the street is he's also a baller. We're pumped. Then Sunday was good. Sunday is always good, it's just not as much of a day of rest as a missionary... We try to make up for it by running some hymns in the morning.

But... Fort D is treating me well. I'm loving it down here and I'm super psyched to be staying again. Bad news is President told me that I'm leaving after this transfer... So. Yeah. It will have to end some time, but I'm gonna be ripping it up until then!

Malagasy word for the day is Mijery or Magnenty. It means to look at. So look at these pictures of a baptism in the ocean and just think for a little bit about what a blessing the gospel is in our lives! I couldn't be more happy to be helping people receive that blessing!

Love you all!
Tahian'ny Tompo!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 64 - Best P-day Ever

So... I'll explain about the best p-day ever in just a sec, but first I want to talk about showers. Showers are way important here. Because it's so humid and it's starting to get pretty warm in the day, if you don't wash off all of the grime you can get pretty nasty pretty quick. They're especially nice right before bed, so then you're nice and cool when you go to sleep. However... there's been a little bit of a problem with our hot water recently, and when I say a problem, I mean there is none...

I just want to go on record and say that Elder Rasmussen does not like hot showers. There's not much refreshing about being covered in hot water when you are covered with hot sweat all day. It's like the same. Elder Rasmussen really likes cool showers, like slightly lower than room tempurature kind of a deal. But the glacial water imported from the icy peaks of Russia that comes spraying out of the showerhead isn't quite what I have in mind when I say "cool."

But we got our sink fixed. Kind of. And we got an electric stovetop. And we should be getting an electrician over early this week. I mean, like the plumber dude offered to do it, but like I said he "kind of" fixed the sink, so I think we'll try to find someone else...

The work went great though. The only thing is if you want to be really blessed in one aspect of life, I feel like you gotta take hits in other aspects. You know what I mean??

The highlight of the week was definitely President Foote coming down with his wife and his son, Kevin. They came down on Saturday, but they didn't really need us for anything, which was kind of nice because we had baptismal interviews planned in both areas, so Elder Razakamandimby and I both headed into eachother's areas and did some baptismal interviews. I love doing bap interviews! It's always so fun to talk to people about their faith! Then on Sunday the Foote's came to our Amparihy Branch. I got to sit up on the stand to translate for President and Mama Foote and Elder Price sat in the back to translate for their son Kevin. And because of that we didn't exactly get an accurate count of the investigators... It was "20+" but we missed some people... You'd think sitting up on the stand would mean you could see everybody, but it's not really as much of a stand as it is chairs facing a different way at the front of the room... It was way cool to see everyone's reactions when President Foote shared his testimony about prophets and let everyone know who the new apostes are... in malagasy. He's so cool.

Then after that Elder Price headed to Elders' Quorum to translate for President's lesson and I headed to... Relief Society... I was translating for Sister Foote and it was pretty weird... It was especially fun singing like two octaves below everyone else! I'd love to tell you all about the lesson, but Sister Foote made me take the blood oath to not tell any of their secrets... So I can't.

Then we went out to work after all of that.

Oh, we had 185 people at church. That's crazy down here. Like they pulled all of the little plastic chairs out of the primary room so they could fit everyone. And the chapel was already full at quarter till! One reason President Foote came down was to check out on the branch. It should be splitting before too long... Also the greatest area of Amparihy will be splitting this next week. I'm pumped out of my mind. Then I'll be able to keep track of investigators at church, haha!

Then today, we met up with the Footes and headed out to the Reserve Nahampoana. It's out in the jungle and it's a lemur park! So I got to feed lemurs bananas and have them climb over me and I got a bunch of them to kiss me. Then we got to watch them feed the crocs big chunks of cow meat. Then after that we went to Talinjoo the sweet hotel where I'll be staying when I come back here. We ate food there and I had my good old Hawaiian pizza with Zebu chunks. Did I mention that everything somehow ended up being on President's tab? That was pretty nice... Haha then now we're emailing, then after this, we'll be going to a big Family Home Evening at President Danielson's house with all four of the missionaries and the Footes. And Sister Danielson makes some of the best food in the world and I feel like she'll be pulling out all the stops for our dinner tonight because the Foote's are coming! So... that's what makes it the best pday ever! Haha I'm super psyched for dinner tonight! First I'll be taking another cold shower though, your prayers would all be appreciated!

Malagasy Morsel for the week is Mangatsiaka or Manara or Magnitsy and it means cold. Fort Dauphin is not mangatsiaka or manara or magnitsy, but the water is. Mangatsiaka is also how they describe less actives. Cold hearts. Let's all make sure our hearts aren't getting cold, because if we stop trying to get closer to God, we'll start moving away from him and before too long we won't understand why we wanted to be near him in the first place. Satan's a tricky little bugger.

I love you all, and I wish you all the most fantastic week!