Hey y'all! How's it going!? I hope this holiday season is treating you all well. I'm super stoked for Christmas! It's definitely not the same here. You don't see lights everywhere. You don't hear Christmas music everywhere, etc. But it's still a fun time to be here for Christmas in Madagascar. On Christmas Eve we are going to go back to that nice restaurant for dinner. Then on Christmas Day, as a zone, we're going to get together and make crepes and pancakes for breakfast, then some hamburgers for lunch, work for a few hours, then SKYPE at night! woot woot! Super stoked!
First things first, of course, the word of the week. "Mety" means "okay" or "possible". So for example you can ask, "Mety ve?" which means, "Is this okay?" or "Is this possible?" The response would be, "Mety ka". Adding "ka" makes it mean, "That's really okay" or "That's really possible."
I got my swag new companion this week. Elder Hammer is a baller and he is from Orem like Elder Lehr so that's cool. Orem represent! He got in on Wednesday night. He is from Elder Coleman's group so he is only 6 weeks more into the mission than me. Freaked me out a little that we're both so young in the mission but Elder Hammer is super good at teaching and speaking Malagasy. Elder Rigby, my zone leader, was his trainer.
So on Thursday I went on splits with Elder Kono so I didn't even get to go out with Elder Hammer that day. It was great with Kono though. He is from France so he taught me French numbers because no one here uses Malagasy numbers really. Then we went to do two baptism interviews because Elder Kono is the district leader now. Wilson and Mada both passed and I baptized them on Saturday! What what! First baptisms! It was great! They have been so diligent, so awesome, and so ready to be baptized. I'm very grateful that I have this opportunity to be a missionary and dedicate all my time to this work. All those countless proselyting hours feel so worth it. The baptism service was awesome!
So because Elder Hammer is new to the area I'm leading the area. That's hard because I feel so new but I guess the mission is all about being thrown out of your comfort zone right!? There's a couple of quotes I got from a special friend of mine that describe my feelings really well. The first is, "A ship in the harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are for." Sometimes we need to be thrown out of our comfort zones. When you leave your comfort zone that's when you really learn. You learn to do hard things. The second quote it, "The strongest storms test the strength of our anchors." The mission really does push you to your limits and sometimes a little farther but as we keep our Heavenly Father close he strengthens us. He is our anchor as we go through hard trials. The mission is so not easy. Being away from family for holidays like Christmas is not easy but God brings you comfort and strength.
I love being a missionary. I love the Malagasy people. They are truly amazing and it is incredible to see their lives change. Well, I hope everyone has a merry merry Christmas! Full of joy and laughter! Mele Kalikimaka with much aloha!