Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I don't know if you all realize this, but I have been living in Madagascar over a year now! haha it's way crazy. It's odd to think that just one year ago I was beginning it all down in Antsirabe, haha. It goes so fast!
About the Christmas package.. no, I don't have it yet. The office people say that they will go and check for packages this week (they have to pick them up from some postage place), and hopefully it'll be there. I got talking to Sister Adams while she was up here about that, and now she is all ready and trying to make sure it gets up here to me on time, so that's been very nice :) but who knows. No matter when I get it, it'll be great. 
Elder Fox and I are planning on going and buying a little christmas tree today. We've started to see little christmas lights hung up in the little stores you see lining the streets, and people carrying christmas trees home on their heads. Things are getting very festive. 
Except the heat, haha. It hasn't been raining as much as I expected though, but as far as what people say, January and February are the big rain months. Which sound about right. 
A neat little story of something that happened this past week. Okay, so we got a referral from the A.P.s which led us to start teaching this older woman. She's not way old, but I suppose not way young either. Anyway, the thing about her is that she is the mother of a return missionary who recently got home from his mission. She goes to Tana a lot to sell diamonds and other gems she gets here, which makes it a bit tough to schedule a time with here, but she was given a Book of Mormon in 2008. It's not so much that she has grasped onto the teaching so much, for we haven't really even started teaching her too much, but it was just how proud she was of her son. She told us that he had ridden an airplane all the way to Congo, and you could just hear how amazing that was to her. I can't wait to see what happens once we really get the lessons going.
That's about it though, I'd say. Sorry if my emails are all short and stocky lately. I'll try to get a real nice meaty one soon.
I'll catch you all on Christmas Eve!

Elder Christmas 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

News this week.. Our Mission President came up and visited us up here this past weekend. It was really nice to know that we aren't forgotten up here all by ourselves, haha. He came up and gave some awesome leadership training for the branch up here, and we also saw a good increase in the number of people who came to church as well. We also got some really good help and advice for what we should do specifically for this branch. It was a really nice weekend, and they also brought us up 'The Legacy' for us to watch on Christmas, which I am really looking forward to. 
It seems insane that Christmas is almost here again. This week I will have been living in Madagascar for over a year, haha. It's crazy. Time goes by so fast. These last three months I have been in Mahajanga honestly feel like maybe one month, if that. A group of Elders who hit their year marks not too long after I got in country will be going home in the next few weeks, and we all just keep getting older in the mission. 
If you happen to see Michael this week, embrace him well for me. I am not sure what day he will be coming home of course, but according to my calcuations, it should be very, very soon.

Well, things are awesome, things are great. 
Keep on keeping on!

Elder ABG

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hello one and all!

Okay, I forgot to try out the new thing I was going to try. The problem I have a lot of the time once I get here to type my emails is that I tend to forget what it is I want to say. I get here in front of the computer and just.... sit. And think. Think. Think. Think.
"And the noise. All the noise, noise, noise, noise." Do you remember what that's from?
haha, but anyway, so I wanted to try to go throughout the week, and if I happened to see something, or think of something I wanted to tell all you about, I would write it down and make a list. That way by the time I got here to write you, I could get you a nice looong page in a jiffy. But lo, I forgot. Now I am stuck here thinking again. 
One thing I can easily remember though is the rain this week. Though we never got caught out in it, it came down super hard. One morning I woke up at about 5 something from my dream about bombs and war, to find the cause of these explosion-y dreams was due to the rain crashing hard on our metal roof. I attached a picture of the wall of our room. here you can see the water coming down the wall of our bedroom. our landlord said he would get a guy to come fix it soon, so we'll see how that goes. It wasn't too bad though, turns out humans are waterproof (who knew?). honestly though by the time we went out to work, the rain had stopped. Still though, the results of the rain stained the town still. In one area, the whole everything is just water. I attached another picture of one path we took. We ended up just walking through the water up to our ankles due to no other way. It's all right though, it makes a cool story I suppose. That was early last week, and even still to today there are some really muddy paths. One member told us that the water by her house gets calf deep in the heat of the season, so that should be fun. I'll let you know how that goes. 
As far as all the things.. the things are good. I got a letter from Eric this week. As I opened the letter, I got a bunch of hair all over my pants. He put his hair in it. And it made a mess all over my pants. Nice letter though.
Honestly though, the work is going well. We are still pushing for a lot of retention with our Recent converts right now, which we have seen some success there. 
Our mission President, President Adams, will be coming up here to Mahajanga this weekend. Hopefully the package you sent will be there in the office by then, so that he can bring it up. If not I might not get it before Christmas, but we'll see. It'll be the best no matter when I get it though. But yeah, we are looking forward to the president coming a lot. This branch up here is doing good, and I think his guidance for them will help them become even better and stronger. Elder Fox and I really put in our elbow grease as we cleaned this morning. We even cleaned the shelves in the fridge, so you know we were thorough. 

Well I think that about does it for this time. 
I don't know if I really wrote anything worthwhile today, haha. I hope all you enjoy it anyway!
Catch me again next week ;D


Thursday, November 29, 2012


So we've had another week come and go here. And this one was a doozy!
Last night we had transfer news, but absolutely no change here. Elder Fox and I will be likely together for Christmas!
The rain hasn't quite started yet. I have come to a reasonable conclusion however. I will never come back to the house dry while I am here in Mahajanga. I expect before too long for the rain to start making it's way, but as for now it is just sweat. Hopefully the rain will cool things off, as the people truly say it does. As I think back to the last rainy season, it honestly feels like a lifetime away. Being so new down there in Antsirabe.. it definitely feels like it's been a while. Although I still don't feel even close to being as mahay teny gasy as I want to be, I can see a huge difference now. I understand people a lot better now a days, but it's kind of funny too. I feel like the more and more you know a language, the greater you realize how much you DON'T know, haha. You kind of notice how much you don't sound like a local... haha. It's way good though. I love learning Malagasy, even though it has been the most humbling thing I have ever done. Sometimes I wonder if the human brain can ever handle the amount of words you could learn in this language. I suppose could though, you just have to work hard I guess. 
Long story short, Malagasy is fun. 
This week has been nice. Our plan to eat hamburgers and ice cream for Thanksgiving worked out well. I even had the man at this here cyber download the Thomas S. Monson movie onto a dvd for me, and we watched that as we ate. The hamburgers were lovely, and the ice cream even more so. I also re-learned of the amazement of the man Thomas S Monson . He was called as Bishop at age 22! I probably knew that before, but I forgot, and now that I am at the ripe age of 20, this fact has gained much new shock. I couldn't imagine being a bishop over a ward of over 1,000 members two years from now. Not only that, but he took that call and magnified it to the max. If that call had been ants, they would've been burned under the hot sun. That's how much he magnified it. He truly is on the Lord's Errand. I invite anyone who has one hour of free time to go and watch this movie on the church website. You'll learn the greatness of our living prophet! 
Other than this though, there really is tsisy vaovao. A missionary recently returned from his mission from South Africa here in Mahajanga. He started speaking to me in English the other day while we were teaching English Class, and I thought, "wow, this guy is pretty good!" Then another member said he had just returned from his mission, and he is a brand new ex-missionary, haha. While he gave a little testimony during Sacrament Meeting, he kept switching to english on accident. Some people thought he was just joking around, but I am not sure. I imagined myself doing that in my homecoming talk, but with Malagasy. It seems like a good idea. I might do it. 
Patrice and Janet came to church yesterday, which I was waaay happy to see. That was the first time Janet has come, and it sure made me happy. They are the parents of a recent convert girl that got baptized back in October. 
I don't know how time goes so fast in these emailing sessions. I will try out something new this week to try and get so I will write more next week. We'll see if it works.
Thank you for everything!
All for one and one for all!

I'll be back in December...

Bergera, Elder

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hello Mother!
All is going well here in Mahajanga. We woke up today to a very humid day, so you know that's good. 
The thing about living in a two person house as a missionary is that it is nice because the house stays pretty clean for longer, and if there is, for example, a mess that you didn't do, you know who did haha. The bummer about it is though on P-Day morning it takes longer to clean. A millepede once said 'many hands make light work,' and oh how right he was, which is why living in a two man house also has it's downfalls. Don't you worry though, Elder Fox and I are in tip top shape with our cleaning. We cleaned and swept the house as good as a whistle this morning.
I honestly feel like this may have been one of the fastest weeks of my life as of yet. I don't know, I just really feel like last p-day was yesterday. It's so weird. 
Today we will be buying stuff at the nice store Score Jumbo for our Thanksgiving feast. We decided, rather than to cook a turkey, to grill up some burgers instead, so that's what we'll do. We will also be going the extra mile and buying a liter of ice cream for the occasion. Ice cream isn't to cheap here, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices for Thanksgiving. It should be a real hoot of a time, and I am thoroughly excited. 
I don't know what it is like over there for all your northern hemispherers, but down here in the south things are getting wacky. The sun is getting up way early like I remembered from when I first got here, and it doesn't get dark until about 7ish, which is later than normal. I can tell that Christmas is on it's way. Honestly I can't though.. no one has told me Merry Christmas yet, but they do have christmas trees for sell at the aforementioned store. I may buy one perhaps once the yule tide greetings are a bit more yule-y.
I attached a photo of the back of Elder Fox's head and a little path close to our house. Where we live the whole plot is like a lot little blocks. It's pretty cool but way confusing for about the first month. The second photo is of those shoe insoles I had you send me. These two are from my birthday package I got in August. So pretty much if you ever feel like sending me any every 3 months or so, I'll be happy. The two from the last package are holding up great though, so don't worry. 
I am thankful to be in Mahajanga.
I am thankful to finally be understanding the Old Testament (sort of).
I am thankful to you all who read my letters every week. 
Feno fankasitrahana aho ho an'ny vary sy kabaka.

Thank you everyone.

See you next time on... the mish.

Elder Bergeraaaaa

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hello Hello Hello!
I am very glad to hear about the great snow storm which hit you guys lately. That's very good news! I do hope and pray you'll all get a much better winter than you got last year. I talked to some malagasies the other day about snow, and they said if they ever say snow coming down in Madagascar, people would probably think that the end of the world was near. 
As for the goings here though, they have been pretty swell. I have been sweating a lot, like normal, even as I write this email, but its good. It's just how it is now. Sweat. We are in the big heat though, and by that I mean I don't think it gets much hotter in the place than it does now, which is good. The heat is tolerable, albeit strong. The funny thing about this is that if you are in houses teaching lessons, it's usually all right. True, many houses here have metal roofs which turn the whole house into an oven, it still provides shade from the direct waves of penetrating heat. I still haven't lost weight here though, which I honestly don't understand at all, but it's okay, haha. It's all good in the hood. We are actually planning on beginning to run in the mornings this week, so I'll tell you how that goes. That's somethings I want to continue when I get home actually, running. Just that good activity. Anywho, we have plenty of time until that.
For some odd reason, the rain has taken a break. I expected it to start coming, though not at full force, at least here and there, but we've stayed dry thus far. We did have one strong hit on Saturday morning as we taught english class, and I feared lest it should continue into the baptism, but we found grace in God's sight one more day, and we had a dry baptisms. Except Elodie and Rebekah though, they had a wet baptism.
The baptism went well though! Fotoana gasy was in full effect. I am really stoked on Elodie and Rebekah though. They are just two teenage girls who have found friends in the church and have thus stayed strong in their short time they have been affiliated with the church. Just two kids who have just rosen above their circumstances. They could've very well have been lazy and not came to church at all, yet they did. They have also been taking part in Seminary, which honestly is not too well established here yet, but they are taking part in it nonetheless. Long story short, they have really impressed me. 
Elodie chose me to do her baptism; and Rebekah chose Fox. We both actually did both parts of their baptism. Neither Elder Fox nor I had given the Holy Ghost to anyone before this point, so that was quite a unique experience. I felt quite nervous to stand in front of the whole congregation and give a blessing in Malagasy, but hey, the Lord provides a way. And that way was by just doing it, haha. Giving blessings in Malagasy is cool.
Yesterday we had a fun little experience. We arrived at one investigators house to teach her. I don't know where her husband has been lately, but he wasn't there. They are both super diligent, and they only reason they have not been baptized is due to them not being legally married. It's the kicks. That article you sent me pretty much sums it up. Anyway, so we couldn't just enter into this ladies house without a man present, and we explained that to her. She walked off and came back a few minutes later with two people she had found. They looked to be a young couple, maybe in their twenties. They joined us for the lesson. The thing I found so remarkable about this is that's just how some people are here. I mean, you can just go find some random people, and they will totally be down to join your lesson. They don't hesitate at all. Side note, they guy in the couple though wasn't Malagasy. After he had been looking around seeming very confused, the girl explained he was actually from Comoros, and that he spoke no Malagasy, haha. I had met a few Comorians before, but never one in a lesson. Pretty interesting stuff.
Elder Fox and I are planning on cooking burgers for Thanksgiving next week. 
We are trying to find Less actives as well!

All is quiet on the [north] western front [of Madagascar].

Au Revior!

Elder Berger-Allemand

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hello Janet/Mom, 
Austin/Son here, clocking in for my weekly report. Wow.. that's weird. It's weird to be called Austin, haha. 
Anywho, enough of that.
So how are the things going down there? Elder Fox and I were actually walked down the street, when we went to a little ├ępicerie store and bought something. I cannot recall what we bought, maybe candy or perhaps water. Candy water even. The lady started talking to us in French, and we told her we didn't understand that, but Malagasy. She kind of did what some more upper-class people do and spoke really slow, weird malagasy mixed with french, thinking we'd understand it better. That's what they'll do sometimes if they don't think we understand malagasy too well. I accepted and tried to some contact with her, and what I did catch is some news about a hurricane having hit America, and how bad it is. Elder Fox and I didn't know if we should believe her, but we decided we would, and now I see it is true! 
There is some talk floating around here as well all about the US Elections. Of course us missionaries don't get into those type of heated discussions, but it's just been interesting to see how small the world is sometimes. Several people have asked me whether I have voted or not, which I have to tell them no of course. I guess I should've gotten one of those ballot things prepared before.. oops. Oh well, only four more years until the next one, right? I am sure I will found out who will be the next president before too long. 
This week though has been good. We have just been working really hard and covering all of Mahajanga, haha. We got a exclusive sneak peek at the 2012-2013 rainy season last night, way seek. It looks like we'll be having a good season on our hands. Last year put up a real good fight, so we'll see what this year has in store for us. It's always exciting to wonder if you'll get 'tratra' (caught) in the rain, or if you'll make it dry another day. I don't think that it is legitly in the actually rainy season yet, I think there is another month and a half until full-force, but we are catching the head end anyway. Way fun. We'll see how we do. Last year, all my shoes, jacket, backpack, etc was brand new. Nice and rainproof. This time it could get a little more exciting. "Don't carry anything with you that you couldn't handle getting wet" I always say.
Other than that though, it's been a pretty normal, hard-working week. 
We have two baptisms coming up this week. Two teenage girls, Elodie and Rebeka, have been super diligent these past few months, and so they will be taking the next step into baptisms this week. And on that same saturday also, we will be finished the section of conference that we didn't get to finish last time we tried watching it. The power goes out here too.
That's all folks!

Elder Bergera/Son

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hello Mother!
Don't worry about Elder Fox and i being so far from Tana, cause we are cool. That's why you don't have to worry. We are cool. Nah, but seriously though, things are going great. No worries here. We are teaching a lot, and receiving a lot of blessings so it's all good. This week has been one of those ones that felt reaaal long though. Like, I just try to think back a week ago, but it's hard, ahah. It's great though, just lots of hard work. 
Also, I got your package this week! Thank you so much for all the candy, it's super bomb. You know those special candy corn m&m's you put in there? Ohhhhh dang. I only let myself eat like two a day in hopes that they'll last me a while. It's all so good, and we are going to bake those cookies right after we are done emailing here. I am stoked. 
Oh yeah, you know that Madagascar thing you sent me from the LDS Living magazine (I think that's where it was from??), yeah, well if you read it you read about a town that takes a one hour bus ride, then one hour hike to get to. They also had photos of the missionaries baptizing in the river and stuff. Well that's where I worked in my first area, in case you forgot or something, so seeing that all typed up in magazine form was weird haha. Cool though. 
The October Liahona has a few different things about Madagascar too, which I found pretty coool.
You asked whether or not you should send the conference issue to me, and the answer to that is yes. I want it. It's true that they distribute them here, but it's also true that I want my own copy. If it is not out before you send the package, then that's okay.
I don't quite know yet if I'll be for sure able to skype or not, though I assume I will. It seems reasonable, but I'll find out more about that. 
A christmas list? Well did you get that letter that talked about that MoTAB cd? That's probably what I want most. And other than that.. maybe jerky, haha. Pictures or postcards. 
I'd seriously be stoked on anything. All I can think of is food and that cd, haha.
Okay, but yeah, things are great up here on the mission. Time goes by all the time, and it's sweet. People say Bonjour to me all the time, and who doesn't love that?
I am way jealous that it snowed down there, haha. Hopefully this winter will be a bit better than last winter sounds.
Maybe I should bring my journal with me when I write on these things, cause I seriously can't think of anything anymore. I know that cool stories happen all the time, but I don't remember any at all. 
We found some big dead cockroaches this week, so I guess that's cool.
Also, the power goes off about every night, haha, so that's pretty cool too. 

Well I hope you all have a cool week this week, for I will be sweating my head off. 
Until the sweat gathers in my eyebrow.
And then drops into my eye.
It happens.


Elder Bergera 4 lyf3

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dear Mother,

I am pretty sure you can still send pictures. I don't know why it didn't let you before, maybe there were too many or it was just being a silly dumb computer, but yes, you can still send pictures, for Chelsie sent me one this week. Maybe just try it twelve more times or something. I don't know. I don't know much about computers anymore, haha. My knowledge is already ancient, the way technology moves these days.

So due to popular request, I am including some pictures for you all to enjoy and look at.

#1 - Okay, I don't remember the order, but one of them is a picture of a house and some boats by the water. This picture is part one of an unfinished two part series. This picture shows the 'high tide' of it all. I think it actually gets a bit higher than this, but this is pretty high. I'll get a picture of low tide. It's pretty cool stuff, except when this is the path that leads to your investigators house. It pretty fun though, just one of those extreme nature phenomonons (i don't know how to spell that anymore). Tides are like turtle tsunamis.

#2 - A baobab tree. These are pretty common here, but they are a different type of the ones you may see in Madagascar Advertisments. There is a huge old fat baobab here that I will most likely get a picture with one of these days, so look out for that.

#3 - I added a picture of Elder Fox and I on our year marks. It's way weird that I've been out here a year now. The actual yearmark was really just another day of work actually, but still a little weird floaty feeling that mark the day's uniqueness wifted the day. I tried to make the picture match the one I sent home to you guys last year, so you can see how much different I look now, haha. My hair made me look really young back when I first got to the mtc. It's all good though now. I am a man.

#4 - Here we see a few missionaries walking their way to the ocean for the baptism last Saturday (the 13th). My companion Elder Kovacs walks along with Elder Hansen on the hot sand down to the shore. Baptisms are cool.

#5 - I attached also a cool picture of me sitting in front of a cool tree. This also took place on my year mark.I found out yesterday that I will be watching conference this weekend, so pray that I'll be able to focus to malagasy enough to get some good messages. I am not as worried this time as I was six months ago though.Anyway though, things are good. I love you all. I'll try and write more next week!

Elder Cruise Control Bergera

Here is a picture my companion Elder Kovacs took last week. We walked down a path as a school got out, and this is what followed, haha.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I am glad you saw my matureness in how I wrote last week despite of nothing to reply to. Quite mature of me indeed. 
Haha I talked to a Malagasy lady last week who said she could read and write english very well, but just had trouble speaking. She wanted to practice speaking more. I invited her to come to our english class that we teach every saturday. She kept repeating, "Thank you very much indeed." haha. 
Oh yeah, you know that one email you tried sending with pictures? Well I got the email, but it didn't come with any pictures attached, but I appreciate the thought behind it. That's what truly matters.
I will try really hard to take lots of good pictures this next week and get some real good ones for next week, okay?
This will be a good week anyway. It's like you said, I will be hitting the noon of my mission. Pretty cool stuff. Pretty weird stuff. It goes by so fast and so slow, haha. It's good though.
That new age thing is way weird, but good I suppose. It'll get people right out after their missions, and quit lollygagging. I think it's especially good for the sisters. 21 is a long time to wait for a mission, haha. 
Okay, quick answer sesh:
1. It is not yet rainy season, so it is not rainy yet. It'll start next month and go through until April-ish. Way fun.
2. The sun sets at about 6:30, so yeah, I get to see the stars everynight.
3. I don't know what the southern cross looks like, though I would like to. Help?
4. Taylor Workman has another kid! ahaha cool! Okay, that wasn't really a question, but that's way cool. Good for him. I'm proud.
5. New things in my area? Well I hear the muslims praying about 5 times a day, but that's not new. This town was settled in by Arabs of some sort, so there is a muslim background. Kind of a cool cultural thing.

But I have to go now, but I promise to get lots of sweet pics you and a nice juicy email. Mmmmmmm.

I love you all, thank you for the letters and love.

Elder Austin "Back When I Started My Mission, You Had to Be 19" Bergera

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hello Family and Friends!
Hello Hello Hello! 
When Malagasies answer phones, they say 'hallo?' haha. It's like they are speaking english and they don't even know it.
Hm.. I really don't quite know what to say today.
Last week we have tried to sort out the people who are really trying to progress and come close to God, and the people who just.. well sort of say so. I actually read a really good talk about this sort of thing in the November 2007 Conference Issue Ensign this past week. The talked titled 'Do It Now' spoke mostly about procrastination and laziness. The speaker talked about how those two things are the attributes that slow down and block mankind the most from really pursuing excellence. We all have so much potential within us, each and every one, yet there is that little tick that tocks inside us that prevents us from really magnifying that potenial. If we were to really buckle down and do then we could do miracles. We'd reach places we never would've expected to be. Raging rivers of opportunties could flow to us at immense speeds; crashing with turbulent success and experience. 
And yet, the coo-coo clock of idleness seems to tick tock its way into us all.
That's the most disappointing thing I have seen on my mission so far. Way cool families who could benefit so much to what the church has for them. People who are latching on to worldly things because they don't quite know what else is in store for them. People who feel the spirit during lessons and even sometimes tell us that they know the church is true, yet they lack the umph to come to church and really dive in to the whole experience. I know it can be scary at times, getting into something new (especially about one year ago this month, I knew that quite well), but God has such cool things in store for us all, you know? We just have to put trust in Him, and do. 
I can't believe how much time I used to just waste before in my hip teenage days, haha. It's crazy wack. 
Maybe that's just 'missionary me' and I'll be all hip and lazy again someday.. haha. Who knows. 
Other than that schpeel, I don't know what to say.. haha. I got all talking a lot again. 
I've been studying some Conference talks a lot lately, and just trying to get all prepared for conference. It looks like I will likely not be watching conference in English.. again, but I expect my Malagasy comprehension has improved this past six months, so we'll see. It'll probably still be about 3 weeks until we get it anyway too.

I just want to give a shout out to my good ol' friends Reggie Brody and Mathis Trent. They'll be hitting their year marks soon, so rah rah roo to that! And don't worry Helper and Doug, you'll get there soon. 


Elder Bargara

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Here we meet again,
So this week has actually been a way cool week. Well, I shouldn't say 'cool' in that sense because really it has been probably one of the hottest weeks of my life temperture wise, but still. You know what I mean. 
But yeah, it's way hot up here. I don't really know what in °F it would be. I have no idea. I can't really remember too well all that stuff. What I do know though is that a lot of the houses here have metal roofs that do NOT cool down very well. Many a times this past week I have sat in the houses of investigators with sweat trickling down my face, and I just wipe it off and keep going. I've started to carry around a 1.5L bottle with me as I go around throughout the day, and even now I think I need more. It's good though. I love it so much up here. It feels like I am actually on an island now, you know? With big old coconut trees and sand and things. It's good. I really am loving it.
I am trying to pick up on the dialect as well. We worked with a branch missionary yesterday, and as we were walking around he taught me some of the Sakalava words. Sakalava is the tribe/dialect up here. They can all speak Merina though, like I think I said last week. So a missionary could really work here with just speaking the official language, but I think it's fun to learn the dialect. It's like you are learning a language within a language. A dream within a dream. Things are getting deep. Inception. No but seriously though, just for an example: Banana: Merina (official) - Akondro, Sakalava - Kida. Isn't that fun? "Ohatr'inona ny kida?" "Six Cent (that's french)." "Ataovy." A classic conversation.
Another fun thing about this week happened last saturday. We had a baptism last saturday, and Majunga is one of the last places here in Madagascar that still does ocean baptisms, so you know. It was at the ocean. Even cooler news: I did some baptism interviews last friday, and after we had finished up one little family, the Elder I was with asked them who they wanted to do their baptisms. The mother of the family chose me to do hers! Oh bless you maman'ny hiasana. Bless you! So, long story short, I baptized her last saturday. In the ocean. With waves, and sand, and shells, and boats, and all that cool oceany stuff you always dream about. I was there, baptising in it. Just an incredible blessing.
Enough about me though. These people up here are way cool. The little girls don't wear shirts until they are about 10 I guess. Everyone still thinks were are french. All in all though, things are good.
Things are good.
We have one branch up here, and there are four missionaries. The branch president is way cool. A way solid guy. I met him yesterday at church and he just really seems to know what he is doing. The english class up here has some really good english speakers in it which sure impressed me. 
it's like I said though, things are just good.
I think that's about all I have for this week though, for we are about to leave the cyber soon. 
I'll catch you all next week!

Elder "I just started my third journal" Bergera

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hello Earthlings,
So yeah, I'd love to tell you all the cool new stuff I have been doing in my new area. All the cool coast things (yes, I am on the beach), and all the cool everythings, but I can't yet. Well I could tell you the little bit I have seen this morning, but that's about it. You see.. okay actually, we'll start on Friday night.
Last Friday night (not Katy Perry though), my new companion and Elder Marsh's new companion came down from mahajanga to attend the zone conference that would be happening that saturday. they came to the house, and we started the transfer right there. My new companion Elder Kovacs (who is, to answer your question, American) and I went out, caught a taxi, and after a bit of a journey went to the assistance's house to spend the night. The assistances have a nice house. The next morning we went to the office for the Zone Conference. Elder Cook, a regional Seventy for this area came down to Madagascar and attended our zone conference. Well, i guess he did a lot more than just attend it, but you know what I mean. He gave a really good talk about obedience and about sticking to the principles in Preach My Gospel. All in all, way good. Just a real motivator. It really gets your gears all back in order, if you know what I am saying. Elder Cook is a real smiley guy to, haha. I think that's his favorite thing to do. One of the most memorable things he said was "I love this book!" He said, referring to Preach My Gospel, "hahahahaha!" I wish I could be half as optimistic as this guy, haha. 
Following the zone conference I went on splits with a few elders and helped them work in their area, for I no longer have an area in Tana. This all went and according to plan. In the evening we returned to the Assistance's house for one more night.
The next morning we were at the bus station at 7:30 a.m. ready to go. We sat in the bus for about an hour waiting for everyone to get in and ready to go, then at 9 we finally took off. 
Twelve hours later we got to Mahajanga. Yeah, that was a long ride. I don't know exactly how long it would take to go 500km in America, but here its twelve hours. The whole ride was pretty much big snake bends the whole time. I must say though, I felt way blessed cause I really didn't even get car sick that entire time. And truth be told, the first nine hours weren't even bad. Yeah, we crossed some pretty sketchy bridges, but they were cool. I mean it's cool to not know if a bridge will hold out or not, right? Or to hear the metal plates holding the bridge together move and pop. These things are cool. Once the sun went down though, that's went the going got tough. I don't know why, it's as if my sanity were tied to the sun, and once it faded, so did I. But, as all things do, the journey ended. We pulled up to our house at about 9 p.m. and that was that. Now we are here. It is a lot hotter here though. I haven't even been here a day and I can already tell you that. 
Another thing worth noting is that they speak a bit of a different dialect here. I can tell that their conversations are different, and maybe one day they will make more sense to me, but as for now I just hear it. It's not too hard though, really, just different.
One the bus ride here though, I sat next to a lady and I didn't know what she was. she wore a thing on her head you know, like a shawl thing, and when she spoke on the phone I had no idea what it the world language it was. Maybe hebrew or jewish. Are those still living languages? She was pretty white, whiter than malgasies, but not cacausian. She spoke malagasy, but you could tell it was not her first or second language. Nothing more really to say about her, but she was cool and noteworthy anyway. She gave us some orange slices too, which was nice. Oh yeah, and she kept falling asleep and bobbing her head around, then the driver would do a sudden brake press, then she'd hit her head on the sit infront of her. I felt bad, but I didn't know what to do, so I let her sleep on. Elder Marsh actually did that in a bus once, super hard. I laughed a lot that time, but I didn't dare laugh at the lady. 
A cool thing about being on the beach is that we can walk around in sandles on p-days, which is way cool. I feel cool. And the sweat on my forehead feels cool too, haha.
Anyway, I think that about does it for this time. The heat is calling me.
I love you all so very much. Even though I am a lot further from the office now, don't cease to send me letters, haha. It's a cool things to do. You want to be cool, right?
Okay, thank you all for your support and prayers.
Elder IceBerg

p.s. I actually couldn't see those pumpkins you were talking about in those pictures. i believe that calls for more?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hey Mom,

I am stuck at a computer that I can't get to change into an english keyboard again.. it's way annoying to have to press the delete button all the time for when I forget about the key changes. I'm a lot better at it than I used to be, so its okay.
So about the transfer news....
Yes! I will be getting transferred! we got the news last night, and now i am way excited because i am going to a way sweet place. I will be going to a province called Mahajanga/Majunga (depending on the french or malgasy spelling), which is up on the northern part of the island. its the northern most part a missionary can go so far, and it is apparently the hottest place on the island as well. and we are now entering into summer. I am way mega excited though, way ready to sweat my head off. Its the one place that i actually really wanted to go to; and now im going! i am not too stoked for the 14 hour bus ride, but oh well. that is certainly a small price to pay for a super cool area. I should be up and all settled in by next week.
though I must admit I will be sad to leave ol' Elder Marsh here in Tana. and it is way nice to be able to go to the office every pday and look for the sweets.... again though; it's a small price to pay. 
I have seen a lot of good success here in my current area of sabotsy namehana. it's a small little branch, but I have really enjoyed my time here. 
all this moving around really just makes me think.. it's so crazy how fast a mission goes.. it really is! i mean I definitely dont feel as though i have been in my second area as long as i was in my first, but now here we go. I have been, and longer; and now I am already moving. Time is so precious, you know? (and it's too bad i have to waste it pressing backspace) but seriously, every day counts, you know? even if it feels like thats "just another day." but that day matters though! 
It's good. c'est bon for sure.
You asked if they had malagasy scriptures in large print: i guess. I mean, they are pretty large print to begin with. Just the standard copy, so I mean yeah. they are larger than the normal english script; which is good.
To answer a different question: malagasy missionaries can go to any number of the mtcs in africa. Ghana, South africa.. i have a feeling there is another one too in there but I might be wrong.

anyway though, i really dont know what to say anymore. this french keyboard thing keeps distracting my brain and then I lose tract of what I want to say. 
ya'll can be expecting postcards soon, i think. they should be getting close!
I love you all!

E. Austin Boston

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hello Mamako, How are all of the sunrises and sunsets up there in the northern hemsiphere? They are doing pretty well down here. We ate a ton of voanjobory last night, and now I can feel the affects taking over my stomach. It is all well though. All is quiet on the malagasy front. No, I guess not really, it actually quite a noisy place, but it is good. Just the way I like it. To answer your question about rainbows, yes. I have seen rainbows here. Surprisingly enough, no, they do not actually have lemurs jumping around on them like I once thought. Nor do they have leprechauns with gold pots waiting at the end. Instead, there are 4' 6" old malagasy grandma bebes with little scraggly beards waiting with a pot of fresh voamagna (sweet potatoes, for all you vazahas) just for the first lucky finder. It's quite delightful, actually. Okay, yeah, no, but seriously. Things are going well. We are planning for another baptism this weekend, and the lady who will be baptized actually quite fits my description I just gave in my 'rainbow segment.' She's awfully nice though. She's just a little old lady who just wants to pray and come to church. Her memory isn't the best, so you just kind of have to take it as it comes. She always points to her eyes and apologizes that she can't read as much as she'd like, for the letters are too small. She always points to me and says "You, hehehehe. You. You. You." she says, cackling all the while, "you're the one who will baptize me." So I am the one who will baptize her. It'll be fun! And we are actually moving church buildings, here in Sabotsy Namehana. We will be moving to an opener, larger building (hopefully, for I have not seen it yet). This'll be our first baptism here in the new building, so we'll tell you how it goes. The new building is so far tucked back either, so we probably won't have to leave our house at 7:30-45ish to get to church for sure by 9:00. Buses are mad crazy on sundays, so we must plan for these things. In order to do the baptismal interview, we have to go on splits with the zone leaders. Usually we'd just go to the district leader, but that's me, so we have to go higher up this time. The funny thing is that one of the zone leaders was my trainer, Elder Watts. So this thursday I will be working with Elder Watts again, haha. I am pretty excited about it actually. It'll take me back a good 7-8 months time. Woooo. So September is coming this week, eh? The only month I haven't served in yet. Bring it on. Oh yeah, and you can keep sending me pictures of funny things. I like funny things. So any other questions? Comments? Concerns? No? Okay, next week it is. There should actually be transfer news again on Sunday, so I'll let you know how that goes. It was a quick one, eh? haha, it's because we have some Malagasy elders coming in. Anyways, I'll catch ya'll on the flip side. Elmer Bergera

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

There were no swear words, trust me.
Thank you for all the addresses too! I'll be filling up that address book you sent me in the mtc. It's coming in handy.
Thank you sooooooo much for the birthday package! I love it! I have been doing perfect pushups all week, for sure. I am loving it all so much. And I figured out that I absolutely love Jelly Bellies. They are sooo good. What other candy can you get that you can try a rootbeer one minute, then have some carmel popcorn in there the next? Oh wait, there are no others! Jellybellies 4 lyfe! and those warheads and poprocks are way good too. We had a malagasy mini-missionary try some and his reaction to both were very amusing. 
Wait, so in that mission week thing, did you already count sunday or not? I assume so...
Your postcard is getting sent out today.
The baptisms went really well. We had three planned but only two worked out, but the two were Kong Yen and Etienne so absolutely no complaints there. I freaking love them so much, they are so cool. I baptized Kong Yen and Marsh baptized Etienne. The water was way cold, and actually the weather has been pretty cold lately, but we prayed a lot that we could have good weather in hopes that the Malgasys wouldn't die from the cold, and it worked pretty well! The water was way cold, yeah, but the sun was out and shining all right, contrary to the majority of the week. Blessings there for sure. As far as the confirming, Marsh and I both stood in the circle, but the Branch President and a member did the confirming. Hearing Kong Yen bear is testimony gave me one of the best feelings. He's so cool. They really want to go to the temple too, of course after their year is up.
So yeah.. I am not going to lie. My baptism pants are getting pretty tight, haha. It's good though, I guess. At least I am not starving. But it's like I said though, I am pushing those perfect pushups hard, and I am hoping my next area will be a beach side province where I can sweat my ''rice belly'' off, haha. It's all good though. I figure that as long as I can bust out loads of pushups I am probably doing all right. 
I attached a bunch of pictures, but now that I think about it I can't remember what they were. 
I know that one of them is of the baptism. You can see Kong Yen and Etienne in their white bap clothes, as well as me in my bursting bap pants and good ol' Elder Marsh too. Another one is of me posing. And one with Marsh and a cow in a soon-to-be ricefield.
I really can't remember what the others were though.
I am sure you'll be able to figure it out.
Oh yeah, no I am not getting transferred yet. Which is good, cause Bebe Jacquilene wants me to baptize her. You'll find out more about her later. More around September 1st-ish. 
I loved getting little emails from Johnny, Jason, and Kamry, ahahaha. They are so cool.

Anyway, I think that about does it for this week.
Maztoa Daholo!

Elder "Spunkin' Around the Dunk Bunk"