Thursday, November 29, 2012

Salutations!

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