Well, sorry that I didn't send an email last week, Elder Schroedter spent most of his last P Day here saying "Good Bye" to people as he prepared to depart. Right now I have a new companion. His name is Elder Evans. So far he seems great, we get along just fine. Elder Schroedter went to a place called Mahajanga, it is on the coast by the beach and is way hot. I am still going to be working in this area for the time being. I am still here in Ambohimanarina.
In other news, last week I did my first Baptism ever. I was just a tad bit nervous to say the least, I was really worried that I was going to say the Baptism prayer in Malagasy wrong. Thankfully I did in fact say it flawlessly (I have confidence in my claim as not a single Malagasy laughed while and after I was performing the baptism, I was very proud of myself). The baptism was completed in a nice little squarish box thing. The water was nice and cold (I was glad that I was dunker and the dunkee, only my legs got wet). The font was also a lot cleaner than our last baptism, our diligent DMB (ward mission leader) decided to clean it before the meeting this time, bless his heart. Instead of being a certainly peculiar shade of refried beans brown, this time it was the friendlier color of "used" kiddy pool green. I baptised a 14 year old young man named J-- M---, he is a friend of M---, who is a friend of P---, who is a Recent Convert in the church. My well-thought goal for these next few months is to baptize someone who is above the age of 17, hopefully I can accomplish such a extraneous feat.
Lately I have started hating rice a little less than usual. Before I could only eat a little bit of it before it got boring (I would occasionally even gag if I put enough of the tasteless stuff in my poor, discriminating mouth), but now I am usually able to finish a plate. It still has no taste though if there is no meat with it, a minor setback. Now that I am on the subject, the difference in flavor between fried rice and plain white rice is tremendous. I still look forward to the day I return and get to once again taste fried rice from Panda Express... but for now I will just have to settle with good ol' fashioned sticky rice I suppose. I do like the meat and beans they put on the rice though. Tsaramaso and these peanut like things. They are pretty good, and they make it possible to consume the rice - a nice little bonus. You don't really realize how much you appreciate fast food until it is gone. I have gone many a day waiting for my rice to arrive at my plate while secretly lusting over Subway, Taco Time, Wendy's, and McDonald's (to name a few). A lot of commodities in America are definitely taken for granted by the people there, me included. My eyes have really been opened since the time I have arrived in "The Second Poorest Country in the World". Not a single McDonald's in site.
This week Elder Evans and I have been contacting a lot. We are trying to get our program 100 percent full, a noble task indeed. Just yesterday we ran into this nice little fellow and I shared a small spiritual thought that led into a brief introduction of the Joseph Smith story. As soon as I stopped talking about Joseph Smith, M---, the dude, started laughing. His laughing made me feel a little strange, I started thinking that I said something incorrect during the lesson and took a look at my companion to confirm my fears. But before I could correct some mistake that I must have made M--- announced to us that he, like Joseph Smith, also has been praying to God to know which church was the true church on earth, as there are loads of churches in the world today. So I guess the rumors are indeed true, some people are prepared spiritually for the missionaries beforehand. I was taken back just as much as all of you. Most of the time we contact into families they either aren't interested or are too committed to their family religion. But this bloke actually had been praying and asking the same questions that Joseph himself asked, and received the missionaries as his answer. I could tell that he was really relieved and excited about our message and he gladly told us that we could return next week. It seems that our hard work that day did pay off in the end. From the moment I saw him I could tell that something was different about him, I hope that he makes it in the end (I hope that all people make it in the end actually, I do have charity). Oh, and the weird feeling that I felt was probably the Holy Ghost, that's what I am hoping for at least (although at first I was scared that he was laughing because he thought we were preaching laughable content or that he was laughing at my poor attempt to communicate with him in his native tongue).
That's all I can think of for this week, there was probably more but my memory is certainly rubbish. The last thing I wish to say is that I now have a burning hatred for fleas and mosquitoes, and all bugs of that nature. I have quite a few bites all over my legs, it is rather annoying. Whenever I see one of the little devils I will shout out in Malagasy and murder the beast by whatever means necessary. Afterwards I will quote to the remains of the beast (Mark 14:21), "It would have been better for that man if he had not been born". I still am not sure what God's intent was when he created the mosquito, probably just to add to our trials in order to make us stronger.
Goodbye dear friends, until our next meeting.
My trainer Elder Schroedter, Elder Covey, Elder Schroedter's trainer's trainer Elder Weber, and me Elder Anderson
Elder Schreodter and I with the three kids getting baptized last Sunday. I baptized the oldest one, Jean Mikeal, on the far right. Malagasies don't smile in pictures because they are self conscious of the gaps in their teeth haha, that is why they all look a little depressed in this photo.
Santa Claus in Malagasy looks very scary, the frown and umbrella combo next to the kid, gets me every time. :)
Elders in Benjamin's house before transfers, from Elder Hein's blog.