Monday, May 14, 2012

Hello there again Mother!
It was great to hear your voice and the voices of all the siblings yesterday! Sure crazy huh? The miracles of modern technology! Hearing all of your voices made these last seven months feel like they went by really fast! I don't know if you felt the same way, but that's just what it seemed like. Like you said, it's probably a good thing that the phone just cut off there, and yeah, I too felt it quite abrupt at the time, but it probably was for the better. I could've spoken to all you guys all night! I might be able to do Skype on christmas, so look into that if you can. I probably could have done it this time actually, but I didn't really think about it, but next time maybe!
Okay, I think it's high time I send you guys some pictures. Am I right? Okay, here are three:
(I actually typed all these descriptions for these pictures before, but the computer shut down and they didn't save. I swear though, they were way clever before. The best even. But now you just my second-hand efforts.)

#1 Here you see a nice wedding. Nice right? This wedding took place my first weekend in this area. The newly wed bride you see dancing there in the background is actually a member! Cool huh? Her husband isn't though, but apparently he has been investigating since they have been together, so you never know! He is actually from Reunion (hence why he is white). Also you can see me, right there up front, and my companion. I am the whiter one. Elder Raoilson is his name, which sounds like raa-wilson. He's a good ol' guy. One area which we teach once a week is one huge rice field away from his hometown; you can see it in the distance. He gets a little trunky when we go there sometimes, but he goes home next month, so we just endure to the end. That's what we do.

#2 Oh hello again. Here you see a nice new swimming pool I put into our backyard. We like to do things big here in Madagascar. No, no, haha. I only joke. No, but seriously this is a pool Gino showed me in our area, right in the middle of nowhere. Apparently a nice house once sat here, all nice and all, but what-so-ever happened, and now we are left with this! The deconstructors were nice enough to let this beauty hang around for any neighbooring swim enthusiasts. I must admit, even I was tempted to jump on in for a lap or two, but no no, we must obey the mission rules, you see.

#3 Funny seeing you here! Here we are at a secret, behind the scenes look at where I got my haircut this morning! Gino (Elder Raoilson) is getting his haircut in the pictures, and I caught the motion blur of his hand trying to block his face from the camera. Too late Gino! HaHa. Anyways, yeah. The haircut went very well. The straightblade at the end really brings it all together too. Slicing and shaving in just the right places, hurting so good all the same.

And that's all I have for you today! I hope you all enjoy looking at the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them! :O)

As far as everything else is going.. I got your package brittany! Thank you! The journals look super cool, and I am super excited to fill them up with all my words of wisdom. That big one means that I'll have to right more everyday during my use of it, which is probably good. I'll write more! That's always good. And your pictures are good! Mt. Loafer looks way good! I showed the temple pictures to all the other elders hanging around the office while I opened the package, and they all thought it looked really good! Well done!

The work is going well. We are going to try to do a lot of finding this week. A lot of investigators seem to have the desire to learn when we teach them, but they never come to church. So I guess the secret is just to try and find the people who are willing to come, and keep the commitments they make. That's the hardest part. I had sort of a thought this past week: our lives are really good in America. I mean, we don't have to worry about 'washing clothes' on Sundays, or having to get food cooked. Our lives are so free from the common worries of our ancestors, that we don't have to really worry about things like that. Sure, we still are busy and have our own worries in our american lives, but they are different. Coming to church everyweek is more of a 'being lazy or not' deal than 'having to do things' kind of deal. I am not giving these people an excuse to not come to church! They need to come! I am just saying.... life is good in America.

Our water comes from taps.

So, I encourage all of you to look down under your feet right now. I dare you. If there happens to be carpet under your feet, thank heavenly father for that. I haven't seen carpet in a while.. I miss carpet, haha. I dare you to look above your head, and if the roof ISN'T made of straw, then do the same. It's crazy how these people live, and it's crazy cool how lucky we all are.
I guess you could say it's a real humbling experience. Of course, the houses the missionaries live in are nice and all. Solid houses (no carpet). Though, come to think of it... the fleas would probably be way worse with carpet.. ha.

Anyways, I hope some of that made sense, and it didn't sound like rambling, haha. That's just what's been on my mind this week. Maybe next week I'll do another 'day in the life' thing, okay? Because my second area here is way different from my first.

Okay, sounds good.
Thanks for joining me this time.
I'll catch you all on the flip side.
Don't take it too easy.
Ny lalany no ny lalako.

I love you all!

Secretly Sincerely,

Elder Mimi 'Wild-Cats'

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dearest Mother - I am quite well. So I have good news! I got your package! I picked it up last Monday right after I email you. I just want to thank you and Brittany and Chelsie for those wonderful cookies! They were way good. The one 'butter button' ones had a tiny bit of mold on them, I think it was because the cookies themselves are a bit moist in nature, but don't worry, they tasted fine anyway. So here is a lesson you can learn from this: you don't need to hesitate if you want to send me a package. It'll most likely get here, even if it takes a while, no big deal :) and yeah, we are fairly close to the mission home, we can get there in about a half hour by bus if we needed to, and we've been going at least once on p-day for these past few p-days.
Antananarivo is a pretty big town, definitely more than a million people here, and size wise, it's big. I think there are a little more than 30 missionaries here in Tana. There are two different zones, which means two different sets of zone leaders. As of what town I could compare it to up there, I don't know. It's just big. Not like huge buildings or anything, that's not what it's like here, just a lot of hills with a lot of... stuff. just things, everywhere. I think the best way to understand would just be to be here, really. The roads are tiny and the cars are many. And the people are many-er (i mean there are a lot of people).
We had a baptism on saturday! Those two teenage kids I talked about last week got baptized, along with a members kid who was 10 years old who hadnt been baptized yet for some reason. anyway, the baptism went really well. the baptismal font here is way better than the one in Antsirabe. Still a tarp in a metal cage, but there arent any holes in this one and the cage is nice and sturdy. Then yesterday, my companion did the confermations, and wow. He said that they would be going out and preaching the gospel on their own, and when he said that I just felt the spirit super stongly. He also said how one day they would get sealed to their families in the temple, and I know that anyone can just say these things, but when he said them in the prayer I just felt the spirit so strongly, like it would happen. so yeah, it was a good baptism.
That was the highlight of the week, I think.
I also went to a magical place called Score Jumbo last week. Wow. I was scared. You see, score jumbo is like wal-mart, execpt probably not as nice, but to me, a thousand times nicer. I freaked out, it was so big. Of course, it doesn't have like american stuff all up in there, but it has nice things. Like, i bought apple sauce last week. What a treat! And doritos too, which were kind of expensive but no big deal. Seriously though, I felt scared and slightly intimidated the whole time, for I haven't been in a place like that for a while. I didn't think they existed here. Going back to America is going to scare me.
But yes, I think that is about it. The days go slow sometimes, the weeks go fast, the months seem to go faster.
I think that's about it.
I love you all!

Elder "manao ny solomasoko amin'ny alina"

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Here I am again!
I am stuck using a french keyboard again... but maybe that is a good thing. Maybe this way I will be able to get used to it, then not even have to worry about switching it ever again. Let's hope so. I will give you a run down of the differences: the 'a' and 'q' keys are switched, along with the 'w' and 'z' keys. You have to push shift to get to the period. The 4 key is the ' key. The 'm' key is on the right hand pinky too, and that's about all the differences really; just enough differences to bug you.
I haven't gotten any packages yet, but I havent gone to the office yet, so let's hope they came :3
This ward isn't bigger than the last one, it's actually smaller. The area is the in the northern part of the Tana city (Tana = Antananarivo), and as I understand it, the area opened up only a few years ago, so it doesn't have a big base yet, but the members are super cool. Yesterday we had about fifty people to church; so no it's not too big, but I am going to get those numbers up! One of the biggest differences with this area compared to my area before is having to ride the Taxi Bes. A taxi be is a small, bus-ish type vehicle were they pack people into to get as many people in as they can. There are usually about five rows of seats, with an isle running down the middle. when things get really full, you pull out this little seat, or grab a plank of wood and set it in between the seats, creating your new seat. All nice and squishy too. Misy miala.
The investigators in this area are really cool too. There are these cool two teenage guys who we are teaching right now. They are way cool. I guess they had long hair before, but now they are all bro'n with rat tails and all the new boy-y rage going on. My companion thinks they need to get hair cuts and start looking proper, but I think they are looking cool. They should be getting baptized soon though.
I don't really have too much to say this week though, just basically getting used to the area and getting it all together.
Keep it on the easy!
I love you all.

Elder Smelder