Monday, June 25, 2012

am alive again! Woohoo!
Okay the name of the big holiday which is going down today is called the Vingt-Sis, which is french for 26th. Technically that would be tomorrow, but I guess a lot of the partying will be going down today too. It's way cool. Yesterday we actually saw a pretty big party going down in Sabotsy Namehana (our area) with tons of people around a big stage with two malgasies dancing on it. Pretty big parties going down in this place. But yeah, the 26th is the fetim-pirenena (or the national holiday), where they received their independance from France, if I am not mistaken. It's pretty sweet. they have tons of fireworks on sale on the streets and things, and apparently there will be a big fireworks show going down tonight, so who knows. Basically life is a party. I guess the most important thing to note today is that I was able to find a ciber to email you, so never fear. Bergera is here. 
Let's see... what else 'is the news...'
I picked up my new companion last Thursday! His name is Elder Marsh from Tremonton, Utah, and he's a really cool kid. Seeing him now in his p-day clothes I can now tell you that he's a real cowboy. He keeps me in on the quality on the cows we see too, for Madagascar has a lot of cows, if you didn't know. And they all have a weird hump on their back, but Marsh usually lets me know how they are doing. Suprisingly a lot of the cows here are skinny (not really suprising though lol). He's come straight to the mission field though, ready to work which is way cool. Definitely a good quality to have for sure. We've been working way hard since Friday, haha only three days, but we've been working really hard anyway. We've been actually been having a ton of people coming up to us, asking about the church. I don't know if it's because we are TWO white guys now, instead of just me (I haven't been with a non-malgasy in a while), but a lot of people have been coming up to us, so I am really hoping to see some growth in this branch. Yesterday we had a big branch conference with a lot of the other leaders from around Antananarivo. In the conference they talked about how we have to work really hard and get more people to church if we want to become a ward. My old companion Gino actually came to the conference because his bishop was coming anyway, so he tagged along. haha he told me how his last few days as a non-missionary has been, haha, he says being home is way weird, haha, but I told him that he's moving on to the next stage now! The first photo I attached is a picture of me and him a few moments before the office elders picked him up to begin the end of his mission. 
Oh yeah, you said you wanted more pictures of me, so I'll give you three. Yeah, I've kind of been gaining weight I think, but oh well, haha. I don't really know how, but it's happening. I've started a real workout though every morning here with Marsh, so hopefully we'll see some results soon. I'm just bulking up for this cold winter down here, hahhahahaha lol lol lol. 
The second photo is me and Marsh a few moments after we found out we would be companions! Way precious!
The third photo is a cool story. Well remember how I told you about the special branch conference? Well yeah, the night before, the APs asked me for directions to the church, so I gave them the directions obviously. I can't not. So I expected someone new to be coming to church, but I wasn't quite sure. Maybe them or something, but I didn't know. Anyway, about halfway through the sunday school in pops a vahaza head, and after a few minutes of really looking, I spotted the familiar face! One of my MTC teachers, Brother Jenkins! Ahaha, I couldn't believe it, haha, it was way crazy. I had no idea he was even coming here to Madagascar, super nuts. Apparently he is here for a month doing some non-profit organization work for something, I didn't really understand it to tell you the truth. I don't really understand things like that, but it was cool anyway. I was way stoked to see the guy. It super weirded out Marsh though, haha. Just imagine seeing a familiar face like that after being in the worlds longest flight and just experiencing everything that comes with a new country, haha. I was pretty surprised, but he was mega shocked haha. It was way cool though. He actually came with us for member help too for a few hours to teach some lessons which was way cool. I can understand his malagasy now, haha. It's way cool. Oh yeah, he had a really nice canon dslr camera with him, and he let me shoot some pictures. awwww mannnn.. so good. Way good. way good. 
that's all the pictures for this week though. I'll try to get some real doozies for next week. 
I think that about does if for this week though. Things are going real well and I feel I'm all up in the groove now. 
Give cat a good 'bro hug' for me.

Okay, peace it out all on the other side, 
Secretly Sincerely,
Elder 'the fun don't stop' Pops Bergera

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hello Mother (and all others who feel so obliged to read this),
I am sorry I was not able to email last week. You see, usually we email in the morning, and it works out all right, but last week we tried to postpone emailing until the evening. But as the evening drew near, the prospect became more and more difficult due to traffic and other such eveningly happenstances that the point came to where the light hope of emailing grew dimmer and dimmer until it vanished entirely. Don't you worry though, as a missionary I learn new things every day, and part of learning is knowing when to take knowledge from failures. As you see, I am now emailing in the morning (or the morning here, yesterday night for all you westerners), and thus, my email is in existance once again. Thank you, thank you. I am back.
And that's why I didn't email last week! But another thing about not emailing last week is that I didn't get to email the Mission President, which isn't good. We are to do that every week, but I forgot. This is especially signifcant because he only has two weeks left now! My mission president right now is President Donnelly, a really cool man from Zimbabwe. I've really enjoyed having him as the president, for real. I'm going to miss him for sure. On July 2nd the new president will take over. President Adams from California. It'll be different, but who knows! It'll be good too, I mean, they are all called of God so you can't go wrong there. I'll miss the zimbabwe accent though, that's for sure. 
Okay, I also have a bit of news! Yes, so if you remember, my companion right now is very close to 'dying,' which is to say, he finishes his mission on Thursday! It's been a hoot of a time here with Elder Raoilson, but every mission has an end. Yes, so of course I will be getting a new companion, right? Okay, and I found out not too long ago that I will be training! My kid... yes. They will get here on Wednesday, and I will get to pick him up from the office on Thursday. I am way stoked! I will get to be this Elders first companion, so it really makes me want to just work super hard and let him have an awesome, successful first area, and first experiences here in the mission. It's way exciting! My only worry is that I am going from having a native companion who can obviously speak the language, to becoming the head speaker of the companionship. Just a bit of a concern, but I know that if I trust in the gift of tongues, it will all work out. I've got God on my side, so nothing should be a conern right? It'll be good though, I am way excited.
And I think that is the biggest bit of news this time, not too much craziness going on. Next Thursday is the biggest holiday in the country, so that'll be cool. It's their 'fourth of july' of sorts. I'm really wondering what it'll be like, haha. If there is anything you need to know about Malgasies, it's that they love rice. But the next thing would be that they love holidays. They go crazy. It's way sweet and only slightly scary.
So I attached a couple of photos, let's take a look shall we?
Photo #1 Washing Clothes
Here we see some malagasy women washing clothes in the river. They have a saying here which I forgot, but it says something about how this country wouldn't run if it weren't for the women. It's way true, they do so much work. I mean, it's the same everywhere, women are great. Yes. But here you see them carrying stuff on their heads all the time, and washing clothes in rivers. Next level kind of stuff. Then they always lay out the clothes to dry in various places. Sometimes they lay clothes out on very pokey, cactus-like plants which poke little holes in them, but they don't mind. One time I used a method they use to wash clothes to get oil out of my disney sweater when I slept on a Reeses once. It works.
Photo #2 My first companion
I have had the great pleasure of living with my MTC companion Elder Fox these past two months. Unfortunately, he will be transferred on Thursday. Thankfully, he is going to a mega sweet province called Mahajanga which is the northen most province open to missionaries, and right up on the coast. I am super stoked for him. Anyway, in this picture I just wanted to showcase one of his unique talents: Origami. He's pretty good at origami. 
Photo #3 Gino
My third companion, Elder Raoilson (aka gino), will be going home in less than a handfull of days. Here we see a picture of him yelling and scolding, just like normal. haha, just kidding, he never did that. He's a good guy. This was our sunday lunch spot for a couple of weeks there. Gino is a pretty mean cook, and he made us some sweet lunches on Sundays. We live too far from our house to go home for lunch on sundays, so we just packed it with us. Before he goes home he promised to teach me how to make a mean voanjobory loaka. It's a type of bean sauce to put on rice. Malagasies always think it's funny to hear a white vahaza say they like voanjobory, but it's way good! Voanjobory sy henakisoa for life.
Oh yeah, yesterday at church they gave all the fathers a tie for fathers day. They said missionaries count, haha. 
But yeah, that's about it. I can't think of much else to say this week. 
Rah rah roo!

Elder Mpihinan-bary

Monday, June 4, 2012

 Yo yo yo yo yo yo yo yo yo Mother!
Okay, yeah, today is just a simple, normal p-day. No overly celebrated holidays, no visiting crocodile parks, nope. Just a normal p-day.
Oh, what was that? Yeah, that's what I did two weeks ago. Early in the morning we heard that some of the missionaries here would be going to an crocodile park, so we decided to go up with them! The ride took quite a while, and we had to change buses halfway through to get there. On the second bus, we had so many people on the bus that some of us were just kind of hanging on the back. Sort of. I was the last one in, and I just sort of squeezed in the back. Somewhere along the way, the guy who takes money (you see, in buses here you have the driver who drives, and a guy in the back who takes money who talks in really fast, nasel-y Malagasy), well the guy who takes money brushed up against me somehow, someway, and perfectly enough to brush my name tag right off my shirt and out the door. As the bus was going. This kind of bummed me out. You see, in an adventureous mission like this one, name tags get lost all the time. It's sort of a dream to keep the mtc tag your whole mission. Waay cool stuff. Then all the dirt and gunk builds up in the letters of your name, and you can proudly show everyone when you get home how dirty is here. Well... I lost it, haha. I'll be getting a 'south african' name! Which is a nametag made from the south african MTC, and for whatever reason, when they make name tags there, the font of the name is smaller. So yeah, I should be getting that soon. Right now I have just been using the spare that you usually clip onto suits, but it's just not the same.
So yeah, the crocodile park. Tons of crocs. I actually forgot to take any pictures of the crocodiles, but trust me, there were tons. I attached a video I took of some lemurs they had. This was the first time I've seen lemurs! Soooo stoked. I actually got super duper close to one and fed it some guava, but the video I took is way too long to try to send. Some Elders tried to get them down, but gave up. Then I held out some guava and it came down. No one else saw. Just me and the lemurs. It was so cool that it kind of scared me. Hopefully this video I attached will be able to play and stuff. They are so cool though, for real. The way they jump from anything to anything is sooo cool! Awww I love them. They make super weird noises though. If I hiked alone in the mountains, and heard these noises.. ughh. I would freak out probably. They are just weird screechy howlies. It's cool though. They had chameleons too, which were cool, and would be cooler if I didn't find those while I walked to teach sometimes. They also had a thing called Fusas, which are apparently the biggest carnivores here in Madagascar, but they arent too big. Kind of small, to tell you the truth. Kind of like a very small mountain lion. Still cool though. Oh yeah, and a HUGE turtle. Mostly likely over a hundred years old, I would think so myself. haha, he just sort of strutted over all the other turtles, and you could hear all their shells clanking and clonking all over the place. Way good. Hm... what else.. A ton of big fat crocodiles. They didn't really do anything though, just glop around. That's how I would described their lethargy, just gloppy. Oh yeah, and lastly this super colorful chicken, haha. I attached a picture of it, so hopefully you'll see what I mean. It's like a chicken found the end of a rainbow, and this is what happened to it. Pretty. Cool. Stuff.
And yeah, that's what I did two p-days ago. Along with riding buses for a long time, we actually walked quite a ways too, which ate a good portion of our p-day. I didn't really get to come on here, so I am on here now.
You asked what Pentacost was, and to tell you the truth, I don't really know. I know it has something to do with Jesus, but that's it. Maybe I should look it up. Maybe I should try to find the true meaning of it. Maybe I should've decorated a Pentacost tree. Maybe. I just don't know.
You commented on my picture of that sweeet, mostly non-disgusting pool, that it's such a hazard. haha. I forgot what America was like.
Also, don't worry, even though my haircut might look a big military... I don't want to do that. Um... nuh uh. Sgt Bergera sounds cool though. Actually...
That's way cool that the sisters all got together and made the yard look all nice for your birthday! That's way cool. Way to go! Our yard over here looks real good, tons of weeds and a big pile of dead weeds from before, so it's way good.
Anyway though, I hope this is a long enough email to keep you happy for this week!
I love you all!
Happy June! This is seriously a month I never thought would come, but it's here now.