A nice gentleman took a picture of Benjamin's Group at the Salt Lake City Airport! He texted it to all the missionary parents. It was so awesome to get a picture of him! We were able to talk with him once he arrived in Dallas. He is doing well. Right now he is on his way to London. From there he will fly to Johannesburg, South Africa. That is were his travel plans end. Madagascar is such a poor country that they only fly planes if they are full. Benjamin will stay in Johannesburg until there is a plane that is full and will take him to Madagascar. It is anticipated that it will take around 54 hours for him to get to Madagascar!
The following is the letter the Mission President sent to Benjamin when he got his call. It tells a little about the uniqueness of the country of Madagascar.
Dear Elder Anderson, July 23, 2014
Congratulations! We are happy that you have been called to serve with us in the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission in the islands of the Indian Ocean. Our missionaries are among the finest in the Church and your call shows that the Lord has great confidence in you. This mission is one of the most diverse in the world as it includes cultural influences from Asia, Africa, and Europe. It is probably one of the farthest missions from Church headquarters in Salt Lake City.
The Madagascar Antananarivo Mission includes the islands of Madagascar, La Reunion and Mauritius. Poverty is pervasive in Madagascar and living conditions here are more difficult than those to which you have probably been accustomed. Nevertheless, our missionaries are adequately housed and can follow established guidelines to maintain good health. The Church has grown more rapidly in Madagascar than on the other islands. Two stakes have been established in Antananarivo and the Mission looks over several districts and branches in Antsirabe, and in Toamasina on the east coast. There are also other branches in other areas in Madagascar.
We teach the gospel in Malagasy in Madagascar, but French is also spoken by most of the people in the main cities. The inhabitants of Madagascar are warm and hospitable. Many of them have been prepared and are waiting for an opportunity to hear and accept the gospel. You will grow to love them and to love your companions. We know you will experience great personal growth.
Before you enter the MTC, we encourage you to continue daily prayer and study of the Book of Mormon to prepare yourself spiritually, mentally and emotionally to serve in this great mission.
With love and respect,
President David R. Adams
Sister Anna M. Adams