How is it going everyone? It's been pretty good on this side of the world! So my mom thought it would be cool if I taught one word every week to you all. So the word of the day is "yo". haha. It is close to what we say in America except instead of it kinda meaning hello and starting a conversation, you say it to end a conversation here in Fianarantsoa. As you finish up a conversation with someone, you say your goodbyes then you say "yo" then you leave. haha. Have fun with it.
This week felt like it went by super fast but at the same time super slooooww! I feel like I'm not doing much right now as a missionary. I know my time will come where I can speak to the people and joke around with them and truly touch people with the message of the restored gospel but right now I'm struggling a little with the language. Elder Lehr has been the biggest help. He tells me that I remind him so much of himself when he first started here. It is kinda hard learning the language here in Fianarantsoa. The way they talk is like slurred. It's really really hard to understand them! Especially the hardcore betoleo speakers! It sounds like "mqslkfsheuozohnhfsml." My jaw drops. haha.
Well, it's been a good week otherwise! We got new investigators and we had a baptism service on Saturday for this family - a mom and her 3 little girls. It was great! Can't wait till I get to do my first baptism! It'll be awesome! Me and Elder Lehr were able to get 2 less active families back to church yesterday! It was awesome!
Well, just another hard working week. The work is really moving here. What's cool is that President Adams compared the membership here to how it was in the 1830s. Everyone is excited about religion. Kinda awesome! Hope everything is rolling smoothly for everyone. Till next p-day!
No pictures this week but we were able to catch Elder Mack when he emailed and chatted with him for a little. We got some more details from him this way. This is some of the conversation:
Mom: Where are you emailing from?
Elder Mack: I'm emailing from some internet place close to my home
Mom: What is the church building like? Is it a ward or a branch?
Elder Mack: The church building is like a big house sort-of-thing. Sacrament meeting is like in the garage. We all have to squish in sacrament meetings. The missionaries usually stand up on the sides to make more room. I'm in a branch. It is doing good. There are only two branches in this area.
Dad: That's pretty cool you meet in a little house. In ten years or so they'll probably have nice buildings and a temple. Enjoy the simplicity while it lasts.
Dad: Is your branch president Malagasy?
Elder Mack: We had a local malagasy branch president when I got here but we kinda had a bad situation with him so one of our senior couple missionaries is the branch president now. He's malagasy too so that's cool! He speaks no english! We joke aorund with him like calling him "elder president" and all that haha
Dad: Don't worry about feeling useless while you're learning the language. We all went through that. Keep your heart open and the language will come soon enough. It will click and things will get better real fast.
Elder Mack: The language is really the stress right now. I hate not being social! I went through 4 hours of meetings yesterday and didn't understand squat. I need extra long study time! haha. I can't wait for that click to happen.
Dad: I used to communicate with people with smiles and hugs while I was learning the language. Try making paper airplanes for the kids or give them candy. That translates love too without saying anything.
Elder Mack: Haha. That's really what I'm doing right now. The kids are so dang cute. They say there's no cuter baby than a Malagasy baby. The sad thing is when drugs happen and then the kids lose their teeth and go crazy.
Mom: Man - that's sad. Darn drugs. Drinking and drugs will only make a situation worse. It's an escape from a hard life for many people. It's sad that its happening in Madagascar
Mom: How many elders are with you and Elder Lehr in Fianarantsoa? Are you all living together?
Elder Mack: We have two other companionships here in Fianarantsoa. It's just us six here and we all live together. Two to a room.
Mom: Do you get to play the ukulele? (President Adams allowed Jordan to take his ukulele there)How are you eating?
Elder Mack: Me and Elder Lehr always sing hymns and I play the uke. Those chords on the Malagasy songbook you sent me are being put to good use! I'm eating good. Actually too good. haha. Elder Lehr is spoiling me.
Dad: I figured out a simple instrumental of "Nearer My God to Thee." I need to figure out how to teach it to you over email. I'll get it to you somehow.
Elder Mack: That would be so great!! Thanks dad! I'm using the uke alot here! Me and Elder Lehr use it alot cause we love singing hymns and I'm starting to take it to family nights we have with this one family whom we love!
Mom: Any news on when you'll get to watch/hear/read conference?
Elder Mack: No, not yet. Elder Lehr was able to download some of it so we have been listening to some of it this week. We're impatient.
Mom: Any fleas?
Elder Mack: Nope, no fleas yet! One of the elders in our house has them though.
Mom: Oh no. I guess fleas are normal there though.
Elder Mack: Yah, it's junk but he's fine.
Mom: Do you wash your clothes by hand or do you have a washing machine? a microwave?
Elder Mack: Yup. We got all our essentials. I've got to go mom. Have a good week. Hugs and kisses. Love you!
Mom: I love you my boy!