Tuesday, July 30, 2013

They for sure have lava-lava type native dress cloths here! Are we not in Africa?? Haha yeah, but I will most certain get you one. It'll be purple too just like you like it. I have already bought a little array of keychains too, so you're on the ball with that one. 
I have not yet received the package yet though, but I heard that they may go and grab those tomorrow, so we'll see. It is okay though, even if it is a bit late. I will survive, haha. Heck, I still have some stuff left from the last one! It'll be nice to have some nice birthday supplies though. We are going to be having a reaaally nice birthay bash on my birthday though, and what I mean by that is we will be making hamburgers that night. You better believe it! On top of that, we will be eating something I have only learned of in the last few months: jello cake. Oh? What's that? Let me break it down for you:
1. Bake a cake. Simple enough.
2. Boil up some jello mix. Not too hard.
3. Once the jello is ready to be cooled, pour the hot jello-water mix into the cake. 
4. Refridgerate.
It is genius. I don't truly understand all the physics of the thing quite yet, but it makes something just short of magical. I don't know if Malagasies would like it much though.
Culture tip:
The Malagasy people like candy and other sweet things... to a limit. They thing our food is too sweet. That is a hard lesson to learn the first time. Many beginners bring their favorite brownie recipes to dinner appts with members only to found out the little children are crying because the too sweet brownies are making their teeth hurt. Ouch. But, if you make the brownies just right they will love you for life. Just take it easy on the sugar.
And that's your tip of the week!
We've been having a pretty good time here in the office lately though. This past week, two office specialists came in from South Africa to install completely new computers here into the mission home. The mission office is looking way nice now. Elder Aloi and I also spent many hours looking through old folders and throwing away those that were of no worth. You would have been so happy seeing how much stuff we threw away. Seriously. On friday I literally spent hours shredding old documents. The shredder eventually over heated and I had to resort to shredder #2. Oh office problems. Life is so hard. 
As far as the work is going, we have seen a real improvement in the work here! Well, really we actually just have a really solid investigator right now. Yesterday was the first time we had an investigator at church since our area split. All of our old investigators still come all the time, but they are technically in the sister's area now. The person who came yesterday is the wife of a less active man we found just a month or so ago. Their names are Narys and Hasina. Hasina is the wife, and she is a pretty golden investigator. She's really bright and used to be an English teacher actually. "Za te hahafantatara fotsiny ny hoe iza izany Mormona izany. Olona izy sa ahaona... tena curious be aho." haha. miteny vary amin'ny anana. They are very cool though, and accepting of everything we have taught so far. Yesterday at church, the first talk given was about Temples and it was PERFECT for them. After the meeting all they could say was that they felt happy. You can't help but be happy with them when they say that. They brought their little five year old daughter with them too. The little daughter doesn't actually speak Malagasy (something found in very well off families), but we've got solid people here in the ward who'll help her out. 
All in all, things are going really well here. And yes, time sure is running out. It's really weird.
To answer your question though, I would prefer to give my homecoming talk on the 22nd if at all possible. I think the closer to my actual arrival date it is, the better.
And thanks for cleaning me out some room in the pink room, haha. I appreciate it. 
I'll talk to you in another week!
Elder Bergera

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hello Mother it's your son Elder Berglera coming at your today on this great Saturday. You may be thinking, 'now what on earth is my son doing emailing me on Saturday rather than Monday?!' And let me lay out for you. There will be a computer specialist coming into the office here on Monday, and it has been decided that we will be here at the office all day that day. After asking President Adams, we got formal permission to do all of our 'p-day things' today on Saturday. I am sure you don't really mind getting an extra email from me today, but I must warn you that this means that you won't get an email from me on Monday. 
On a better note, my finger is doing better! We went to the doctor on thursday to get it checked out. I thought they would be going to try and pop they dang swollen thing or something, but they really just looked at it and gave me a list of medicines to take. I am a born skeptic so naturally I didn't think absolutely anything would happen. One big lesson I have learned on my mission is that I am often wrong, haha. Since I have been taking the medicine my finger has felt great! They still couldn't determine exactly what was wrong. The doctor who checked my finger out guesses that some sort of bug may have bit into it. Who knows. It feels good now though. I am even typing with it today! I haven't typed with it in over a week. I am excited to pop it and let all the pus ooze out one of these days.
Gross, I know. It's sort of satisfying too though.
I will have you all know that my journal keeping goal to write a ton is going extremely well. I am going to have so much by the time I get home.

*Birthday Countdown:*
11 days until I turn a full twenty-one years old.

I honestly don't know what else to say though. I mean, the mission is the best. I can't believe I have less than two months left now. Ever since I got into this area back in February time has just flew by. I feel like all I ever talk about is how fast time goes.
I have attached some random pictures I have taken this past month.
One is Elder Aloi petting some dogs.
Another is a member we found from Tamatave one day who just randomly decided to come with us and help us.
The other is Elder Lambson who went home last month. 

And that's all [he] wrote.

Elder Austin James Bergera

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Thank you for the email! Even if it was difficult to type on your phone and the email was short, it's okay, haha. I appreciate it. 
I too should probably apologize if this email will be short. I currently am typing this whole email without using my left hand index finger. I am not exactly sure what happened to it, but it just starting hurting a whole bunch these past couple days. I am pretty sure I got a sliver inside the corner of the nail, but the thing is I can't recall that in the slightest. I trust it'll go away soon though, so not to worry. It is just giving me a bit of a handicap here in my writing abilities. 
It's crazy that I have my travel itinerary now though huh? I will be taking the exact same route I took when I came here (which isn't really surprising), but my layovers are a lot shorter so I'll be there in no time. I think going back will be nicer, for time will be reversing. My nearly nine hour flight from Chicago to London will truly only take two hours. Isn't air travel just the best? But yeah though, I can't really believe how fast it's coming though. I mean look at this month for example! It's already half over! This month is okay even if it is half over though, for that means we are half way to the best day of the month. Cool. Harry Potter Day. 
We are preparing for the new incoming couple now here in the office. They should be here in about two weeks or so now, so we are trying to get all ready for them. The office work has been going nicely. I've been on top of it scheduling all the flights for who we need to fly and what not. It's been really good. I actually really like working here in the office. Although it can be a bummer that we can't go out and teach for most of the day, but you know we all just have to do our duties. And be happy.
We went to the big mall today, and one of the Elders we were with was all freaking out, haha. I would think that compared to back home this would be a fairly small place, but it's crazy nice for here. I had already been there a number of times, but Elder Mitchell, one of them that came with us, was just going crazy, haha. It's really interesting because whenever I am in a really nice place now days I always feel really out of place. I feel, like, dirty haha. I mean I am not literally dirty. I take showers at least once per day. I just mean that I don't feel like I fit in at all. I fit in going and teaching in little homes and places where the cook rice on little wood stoves. Not where t-shirts cost $30... haha. That's crazy. I mean they have an Apple store (computers, not produce) in that mall. That's crazy. 
Going home is going to be weird, haha. I apologize in advance for being in culture shock when I come home.
I don't really know what else to say. Life has been going well lately. The mission is going really well. And I am trying to write a whole bunch in my journal starting now until I get home so I can even have a chance to finish my fourth journal before I get home. It's the fourth and by far the biggest. I'll go write my heart out. 
If anyone wants any specific souvenirs they better tell me soon! I already have some little owls for you Mom. One little wooden one looks like a mix between an owl and a cat. I can't tell if it's good or not, haha. 
Okay, thank you in advance for the package too! I look forward to my birthday and that package. :)
Much Love
Elder Austin Bergera

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hello Mom!
Well you know, life is going pretty good. 
I'm still here in good ol' Betongolo, and I honestly wouldn't be too surprised if I were here 'til the end. Things here are going very well too. You have no idea how much I love working here in a ward! I will hit five months of working here this month, and even though we haven't seen an amazing number of baptisms, the members here are the best. They know so much about the church compared to.. well.. all the other places I've worked, haha. In our ward here now we have two young men who just received their calls as well! One is going to the Ivory Coast, and the other to a country called Benin, which is located pretty close to Ivory Coast. Both of these countries speak french, which is the second language here so they'll do fine. Work is going pretty well, although it has been building slowly. We've been trying to visit all of the members that we know of in our 'new' area, and that's been going well.
Other than that, everything else has been going pretty well too. Now I don't mean to be all boring, but it's true. I will be making banana bread tonight. 
One of our new elders here is apparently the beat boxing champion of Tahiti. We've done some beatboxing together and guess what? I impressed him! How great is that? Now i wouldn't say I have necessarily been practicing my beat boxing a whole lot here on my mission, but I've gotten better for sure. i don't know what to thank for that. It's hardly on my list of proselyting activities. Elder Lee Chip Soa and I have been tearing it up though on the few occasions we have met. Cool.
Just to answer your question to our mode of transportation to Disneyland, "Just curious, would you rather fly or drive?" I would thus answer whichever is more cost effective. I don't know about renting one car out for all of us like we did last time though.. but even so I will happily go. 
Anywho, thank you in advance for the birthday package which you will/did send. I can't believe I will be 21 years old in just a matter of weeks. Time goes by so fast!!

I love you and i hope you have a great week!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy 4th

Hey Mom! I got the package! Thank you so much! I love all the little dinners and things mixed up inside of there. You have no idea how flavorful those potatoes where to me. I have never tasted anything so good in my life, I swear. Those little 'Idaho Potatoes' were the best. If you are continually wondering about whether you should send me a birthday package, well then the answer is yes. If you insist. I won't refuse. Really though, thank you also for all the little articles about Cody Towse that you sent me too. I had one night before bed this past week that I just read all those and thought about him. It was sad, but it was good too just to have a little time to mourn. Mourning is not really all bad. And yes, all of the transfers went well and we got all of the new elders to their new areas. Here's a little bit of news, we are now working with Sisters in our ward! Our ward, Betongolo, received two sisters as well to help the work progress. Our area was split in half, and now we don't have to worry about the area struggling due to the fact that we are always working here in the office! Nice! Sister Patterson, one of the sisters, is the first white American sister that has worked here in Madagascar (on the actual Madagascar island, not in Reunion or Mauritius) in years. I don't know how many, but at least a good handful. It's a pretty momentous occasion if I do say so myself. Well sorry, but we went to the croc farm again today and I have no time at all to write anything. I'll send you a suuuper good email next week, I promise. With pictures even. Just remind me. Life is good. A pink bedroom will be good. Good. I love you. Elder Bergera