Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 73 - First Week in Andranomadio and My Companion's a Tool

So like I said in the subject line, this is my first week of working in the Andranomadio area and my companion is, in fact, a tool.

But that's not exactly anything I wasn't expecting, and the fact that he's your best friend helps get you over that...

This last week was exciting for sure!

We had life as normal down in beautiful sunny Fort Dauphin for the first part of the week: taught people, visited people, went about doing good. And then we had thanksgiving on Thursday! I treated myself to a nice American style Thanksgiving dinner with three packages of crackers and a liter and a half of Grenadelle Fanta. Mmm Just like home!

Then I left Fort Dauphin.

We went to the airport and watched the new studly missionaries walk off the plane. Elder Delbar, who replaced me, and Elder Bassett, and Elder Lenherdt. Hopefully I didn't butcher the spelling of their names... Anyway, they are studs, and I wish them luck.

Then we flew to Morondava, land of the baobabs and I saw hundreds from the windows of the plane as we were going down. Then we got to get out and have a short layover, then we went on to Tana. Then we got picked up at the airport by our fearless AP's who took us to the mission office and then I got out of their car, and into another van and drove to Tamatave for eight hours. It was a pretty fun ride, just got to sit next to Elder Glazier the whole time and listen to him snore...Then I got to Tamatave at midnight and went to bed.

So... Tamatave... is hot. A lot like Fort Dauphin, but it stays hotter at night I feel like. Good news is we have air conditioning. That stuff is so nice! I forgot what that was like! Tamatave's also a lot bigger than Fort Dauphin, but it's way flat. No mountains this time. Then we had a pretty good week as far as stats go if you take into account that the missionaries were in Tana, but not working in their area from Tuesday to Saturday... So it was a poop week. BUT, this next week is going to be way good! Elder Glazier and I are way pumped to be working together, and we're going to do some way good work over here. I'm super pumped! It's super weird to not be on first name basis though... I'm still not a hundred percent used to not calling him Brandan, but it's all good!

Malagasy Morsel for the week is vizaka, or dizaka, or rokake, or valaky, depending on which dialect you want, and they all mean tired. Exhausted. And I am a little bit of that right now. But that's all good, that's what the holiday season is all about anyway, wearing yourself out.
Have a fantastic week and don't forget!!! Christmas is only 25 days away!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Rasmussen

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 71 - Moving on Out

We've been having some good thunder this last week. You know what I love about Fort Dauphin? Watching the lightning over the ocean and then hearing the thunder bounce around off the mountains and last for way long. And then you've also got the sounds of waves breaking on the beach. It's pretty nice.

The bummer is... it's not going to last. Transfers were this week and Elder Rasmussen is heading out!
But we'll get to that later. I wrote a way long email today, so you'll have to read all the way to the end to find out about that!

First we'll have a rundown of this last week!
Since this last week was my last full week in Fort D, we decided to do what everyone does their last week and just stay at home and sleep.

And yeah, that was pretty much the week...

Nah. Last week is work week! We probably had the best week I've ever had on my whole mission. We caught so many people at home and we got so many of the coolest investigators! One of the big focuses lately has been finding the elect. The people who are already prepared and all set to progress really well. And boy have we found some of them!

We've got G. and C., who have 12 children, 8 boys and 4 girls. Funny story: so G. was a docter before he retired and his boss sent him to a planned parenting seminar or something like that because he figured G. could learn something from that...

So far we've got four of them to accept bap dates (all of the ones that live at home) and we'll have five this week when we catch B., their son who is the most dilligent and has already started institute. They all took notes on our first lesson and will correct each other if someone prays wrong. And they're coming to church!

Then we've got R., who came up to us as we were talking about where to go next after a time fell through and asked us what church we go to. We answered him and he asked if he could go there too because, "I'm looking for a new church." We jumped the fence and dove into his house to teach him about Joseph Smith. He came to church, the next time he taught the Restoration to his family and explained the Book of Mormon and he's being baptized with his family in January!

Then we got V., an older man we found who used to be in the police. He read the first pamphlet that we gave him and at our next time told us all about how the real church that Christ founded was lost, so Christ brought it back again. He's going places.

Then we have C. who teaches school and when we went back to him the time after having given him the Bokin'i Mormona he had read to Chapter 15 and told us all about the way cool story that he read! He's also getting baptized in Jaunuary.

It hasn't all been flowers and sunshine though, there's been some tough parts too. We went tracting and our member help asked me a question, so I turned to him to answer and the door opened and Elder Brown greeted the person, so I flipped around with a greeting and asked how she was doing. She said, "fine." Then my mind went blank... And I just blurted out, "Canwecomeinandshareaspiritualthought?" She said no. And then I felt like the biggest idiot in the world! Elder Brown laughed at me all the way to the next door and I did too. It was just the most awkward thing in the world. Like, hello, uh... can we come into your house and teach you about Jesus? I probably would have said no too.

Then there was a really hard lesson with a less active who hasn't been coming to church because he needs to pay for his school by the end of the month so he's been working really hard, but it looks like he still won't have enough money. So we talked about trusting God and putting him first even though we don't know how ends will meet after that. It was a really hard thing to ask of him, but it's true. Doing God's will bring blessings every time.

Then we went on splits on Thursday and I got to go with Elder Wiscombe. We had a pretty bad day with lots of not very good times, but we got some good done and we managed to have lots of fun. We taught this one family and the spirit was so strong, but whenever it was peaking she would try to change the subject or make a joke and chase away the spirit. I know she was feeling it.

The split was lots of fun though, someone tried to remember Elder Wiscombe's name and called him yogaboy. The Elder Wiscombe was attacked by a small child. He was just walking along in front of me and WHAM!!! A kid flies out of nowhere and nails him on the side. Then he just stood there staring at us. He was also foaming at the mouth... Not sure what that was about.

Then as we were walking to English class Saturday morning we passed by a condom parade trying to spread public awareness for AIDS. Not exactly what I was expecting to see...

Malagasy Morsel for this week would be maharitra hatramin'ny farany. It means to endure to the end. It's way important. It's so discouraging sometimes to work with less active members who used to be on fire and they just became lazy or they don't really care anymore. It breaks my heart. Activity in Christ's church brings so many blessings and it's so sad when people who used to be getting those blessings all the time turn their back on them.

Then since Thanksgiving is this week we will have a bonus Malagasy Morsel that's way easy to use. Misaotra means thank you. And I'll even throw in a pronounciation guide so y'all can use it! Mee-soh-chah.

Then we'll talk about the last part of the week. We had 215 people at church! Elder Brown and I sat on the floor!!! There weren't enought chairs! And 21 of those people were from our area, and 17 were from the other area! It was so cool! I would sit on the floor every week to see that. It was way cool.

Then, on Saturday, at about 5:00 in the evening, we got the transfer call. Elder Rasmussen is leaving Fort Dauphin after only 6 months. That's only a quarter of my mission! Elder Delbar will be replacing me. He's probably in the top 3 studliest missionaries on the planet and he was in the MTC with me. I'm not worried about how my Amparihy will go, it's in good hands between him and Elder Brown.
And I'm going to Tamatave. To an area called Mangarivotra. And my new companion will be...

ELDER GLAZIER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm a little bit excited. So, Elder Rasmussen and Elder Glazier will get to work together after all. We're going to go kill it in Tamatave, I'm so psyched!  I'm super sad to leave Fort Dauphin, but working with my best friend will be a pretty good perk!

But yeah, that's the transfer news. I hope you all enjoyed my freaking massive email and I wish you all the most sambatra week ever.

Love y'all,
Mandra-pihaontsika indray

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Week 70 - Sick People All Around

So... this email is coming at y'all a day late because the cyber died on us yesterday and stopped having internet... Bum deal.

Anyway, this last week was fantastic! Every area in Fort D taught more than 40 times and we had like 33 investigators at church between the two areas in the Amparihy branch. That was way cool. Then we were just working and having a blast all week long.

News from Fort D... It's way hot.

Yeah, that's about all I've got.

But holy cow this church is true! I love finding new people and teaching them about eternal families and the restoration! We've found a lot more people this last week and started sharing the gospel with
them and it's just the funnest thing in the world. People here are so happy and loving and I love that so much! But I love it here in Fort Dauphin so much! I know I'm going to be missing this place so much when I leave, so just go hard now, right?

We had some fun encounters with sick people this last week... taught a guy with tuberculosis, taught a family while a dude was laying on the bed covered in a blanket and he had malaria, taught a man with elephantitis maybe? taught a family while someone was in labor in the back room. Oh, and apparently polio is a thing back here again, so we got polio boosters this last week too. I'm hoping all of my shots will hold out.

But no worries! I eat lots of veggies, so I'll be fine.

This last Monday we had a pretty cool thing happen. We were walking back from lunch at this hotel kind of out in the boonies and the path is way narrow, so we heard a car honking at us from behind us and all started moving off the road. Then the car stopped when it came even with us and it was President Lahitonony, the first counselor in our branch presidency! He offered us a ride and we all hopped in the back of his truck. Then we just drove along the road past a beach, up on a cliff looking out over the ocean, and the down into town a little bit. Then he dropped us off and continued on his way home. It was way cool because I have never really gotten a ride from members because barely
any have cars, and it was also way cool because it was just such a nice beautiful trip. I love this beautiful world theat we all get to live in. And I love working in this part of it.

We'll keep it simple with the malagasy morsel of the week, fiara. Trondro or fia. Means fish. And I am thankful for fish. We've been getting more and more fish as the weather has been heating up. I'm not going to lie, before my mission, I wasn't a huge fan of fish, but I definitely am now.. Way good.

Anyway, that's all for this week, hope you all have a great thanksgiving and don't forget who to be thankful to!


Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 69 - Teaching Barack Obama

So this last week was one of my favorite weeks of my mission. I'll just throw that out there like that.
"Why, Elder Rasmussen" you may ask, "was this last week so good?"

Well, we had no baptisms. But we worked. And did we work! Holy cow we had to run to some times and we just always were chasing a time it felt like. So y'all might remember that my area split not all that long ago. Well this last week was the second week of the split and we had such a full program! The week before that we did a ton of contacting and looking for families and talking with members trying to get referrals, and this last week it all payed off! So I'll tell you about some of the cool families we found.

D., J., B., V., J., and D. were a family that we talked to after a time fell through. They live next to a bunch of members and we just talked to them and got a return time. The return time was pretty good. The Spirit was there, we were pretty quick and just nailed the important stuff and they loved it. Then D. was working on Sunday, he works security and it's on for 24 hours and off for 24 hours, but the rest of his family came. Ballers. We're teaching them tonight.

Then we've got M.. So background real quick, we're trying to get Melchizidec priesthood holders because Fort Dauphin is kind of low on those, and it needs them for the branch to split, so we're looking for men a lot. And M. is a way balling guy with, wait for it, 7 sons! He didn't come to church, but to be fair, we only stopped by and set up a time with him, but he will come!

Then we've got G., C., B., M., D., H., and a bunch of others. We found this family as we were headed to another time and we felt like we should go down this little path and talk to them. G., the dad, wasn't home, but there were adult sons there, so we taught a real quick lesson about the restoration, but because we were out of pamphlets we told them we'd bring one by the next time. We invited them to church and they were taking notes during our lesson about Joseph Smith and about how to pray. Then we got a package of Restoration pamphlets from the mission office and we brought one. G. was there, we had a great lesson. Then they asked, "nine o clock, right?" We were way confused, and they were all, "Church! It's at nine on Sunday right? We're coming." And they came. Then, did I mention that they have eight sons? Haha we've been praying to be lead to the elect and those who God has already prepared to strengthen the branch down here, and I feel like we've been seeing some success there.

The best story is all about R. We just had two times bail on us and we came out of the yard of the second house and paused in the path to decide where to go, and a guy came up to the fence and asked where we went to church at. We told him the name of our church and sidled up next to him. Then he asked what time church is at, we told him, and he said, "Oh nice. I'm looking for a new church." So then we took this as an answer to our prayer and taught him. He has a way cool story, he was charged with like treason during the coup back a few years ago, and was supposed to be executed, but some internation group stepped in and saved him, it might have been the UN. So then in gratitude he named his next child Barack Obama, he said, "if it would have been a girl, I would have named her Hillary Clinton." So  yes, I taught Barack Obama about the Restoration, but then he snuck out and went and played in the yard. Then R. was picking up way fast on prophets and all of that and looked at the pamphlet and saw the Book of Mormon and asked how he could get one.

He came to church. It was so cool.

Barack didn't come. Not cool Barack.

Then we had 21 investigators at church!!! After just barely splitting the area! There were a ton of new faces at church because the other area brought 9 too, and the branch was so great about being friends with them and sitting with them and welcoming them. It was beautiul. All of the areas down here had pretty balling weeks. I wouldn't be surprised if the three companionships from Fort D had better overall stats than some of the zones. It just felt great to be working way hard and seeing the Lord's hand in the work, then seeing the other elders come back from a balling day so pumped about having had some way awesome times and having seen the Lord's hand in the work! It's just so cool to see how much God does His work.

The stats were cool and all, but the best part from my week was from T., a way balling recent convert, and this is where I'll tie in the Malagasy Morsel of miraharaha. It means to care about. We were teaching T. and he was telling us how so many people persecute him for his beliefs because he shares them a ton! He said, "Be dia be gny magnaratsy... fa izaho tsy miraharaha azy." Or in English, "There's lots of people who talk bad about the church... but I don't care." It was just so sweet to see this awesome dude founded so strongly on his own personal testimony of the truthfulness of the prophet Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the truthfulness of Thomas S. Monson.

That's whay everything is all about, individuals gaining their own person, individual testimony, and working with their families to be together for eternities. I love being a missionary and doing my Master's work. It brings so many blessings to my life.

I love you all.
Tahian'ny Tompo,

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 68 - I Don't Even Know How Long I've Been Here

Well, this was like the first real week of having Amparihy split into two areas and we all freaking killed it. It was beautiful to see Fort D's stats this last week. Elder Brown is just a ridiculously good missionary, and it's so much fun working with him. We found a lot of new families this week.

Finding them went kind of like this: we walk around, see a dude, walk over and start talking to him. We ask about him, joke around, make him feel good and happy, and BAM tie whatever we're talking about to the gospel. Then we either teach him or set up a time with him and his family. We have not not gotten a time yet. Like we always get a time. The only problem on that is just sorting through the people that will actually progress, because everyone lets you in, but not everyone is willing to let the Holy Ghost in and change. But it's so fun just going around making friends with a bunch of people and just smiling and laughing a lot.

Anyway, mango season has started down here and they're everywhere and they cost like three cents each. So that's way nice.

Fun story real quick from this week, we were teaching this less active guy, he was drunk as always, and he can never remember my name. So Elder Brown introduced himself and he remembered that really well because it's one syllable. Then I asked him if he remembered my name. Nope. I asked him if he could remember who baptized him. He couldn't even though he had just said like three times that the Elder Rasmussen before baptized him. Then I introduced myself again and he was like, AHHH like the Rasmussen before!!! Yes. That's what I said, then we had a great time and had him pray. Then in the prayer he's thanking Heavenly Father for all of his blessing and thanks Him for the Prophet, Thomas S. Rasmussen. I may have started laughing a little bit... It was just like he could not remember it with his conscious memory at all because his conscious memory was drunk, but his unconcious memory just kept throwing it in there. But just so y'all know, I got promoted from Elder Rasmussen to President Thomas S. Rasmussen. It's all about climbing that ladder!

Malagasy Morsel for the week is mamo. It means drunk and there are lots of mamo dudes down here, but there's lots of guys not mamo too, so that's great. But really, living the Word of Wisdom brings so many blessings in every aspect of life, so don't forget that. It's almost like old Joe Smith knew what was up.

Love you all and I wish you all a great week!
Mazotoa e! Mahazoa fahasalama!
Elder Thomas S. Rasmussen