Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ambohimanarina, Madagascar Week 16

April 6, 2015

Well, this week seemed to go by faster than most. We have been doing a lot of contacting lately, as usual. The past few weeks it seems as though we have been only been teaching 1st lessons, nothing else. And I assume that it feels that way because in reality we haven't taught anything other than 1st lessons in these past few weeks lol. Also, recently I have been focusing on attempting to improve my language ability. I want to sound like a native Malagasy in my way of speaking and manner of speaking. I don't want to just sound like another vazaha from out of country. This computer has to be the slowest thing I have ever seen or used. I was a bit curious when I noticed that the keyboard and monitor that I am using were plugged into a toaster rather than a computer. I really want to master the Malagasy language, even though it literally has no use outside of this country. It is probably one of the most useless languages in the world though lol. Even in Madagascar you can get around the country just fine if you know French, you don't even need to know Malagsy here. 

This past week our zone had a nice little meeting. So it really messed up one of our schedules for the day. The place where we met at was an hour and a half drive from our house as the Taxi Bus drives, and you'd better hope we don't have one of those on our tail. The meeting was fine I guess. I learned a thing or two. It just really messed up our whole day though, we didn't get back to our area until 4 30 PM. We ended up only getting 29 Hours of proselyting time this week because of the Zone Meeting. 

Last Saturday I attended the grandest baptism in Madagascar yet. It was the first Baptism in our new building. A lot of people came to support a man named Frere Norbert. He has a position fairly high in the government, and because of that, he has a lot of friends in high-up places. He even gave a fancy invitation to his baptism to the President of Madagascar, he didn't show up unfortunately though. It was also one of the longest baptisms that I have ever attended as well. There was a song or hymn or musical number about every 15 minutes it seemed. The meeting in its entirety was 3 hours in total. There were a lot of speakers present, and they did speak much. It is safe to assume that I may have been just a little bit bored during some points, I never did succumb to the temptations of sleep though, so that is good. Afterwards I worked at a desk with a bunch of LDS pamphlets and Books of Mormon and talked to people that asked about our Church afterwards. We received about 23 names of people who were interested in learning more about our church. Hopefully that means that I will be doing less contacting. There were probably around 200 people at the baptism, if not more. Definitely the biggest I have seen.

Easter was pretty good, we didn't really do anything special, we didn't get to watch conference because we don't have it yet. My companion said it usually takes a month or two to translate to Malagasy and then to give out copies to all of the wards. But I did have a lot of chocolate and candy from my family to eat, so that was good. I do appreciate eating candy and chocolate every meal instead of rice, it is a nice upgrade. Rice... just has no flavor, not my favorite. But yeah, church attendance this week was very low, and probably because all of our investigators went to their old churches this week because they all have big Easter parties. Last Sunday I saw more people go to church in Madagascar than I ever have before, and usually lots of people attend so it was quite a spectacle. Sunday in Madagascar is the one day of the week people actually take showers, wear makeup, and wear nice clothes (anything not dirty with holes is nice here). So it is a fairly nice day here. But last Sunday there were loads of people walking down the streets, taking taxibes, and driving cars to church. Then on Monday they all have big parties to celebrate Easter. The streets were more crowded than I have ever seen before. It was a pretty good Easter.

This computer is really bad so the letter is probably bad quality as well.

Have a good week, 

Elder Anderson

Elder Anderson did not send pics this week, the following are from his companion Elder Evans and a mission facebook page. :)

Garbage pile near the police station.

The new Stake Center!

Inside the New Stake Center.

Weight room in Benjamin's apartment with cement weights.

Rice Paddies.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ambohimanarina, Madagascar Week 15

March 30, 2015

This week Elder Evans and I have been working really hard, we have done loads of tracting and have taught plenty of lessons. Our goal this week was to achieve 30 hours of proselyting time, and we did it. We even had 5 minutes to spare. This computer is very slow, I am typing the words and then they appear seconds later, it is slightly annoying to say the least. But we got our 30 hours, and it was no simple task. If we were outside of our house we were either teaching lessons to families or going door-to-door. The last week we have been trying to contact into the more wealthy families, Our success therein has been limited, more curtains have been abruptly shut in my face than in my mission as a whole (or my whole life even, most people in America have doors and not curtains as the one barrier guarding their front door). But I'm not even mad, because a few of them let us in in the end and wanted us to return. On another note, it seems that all of the drunk people here in Madagascar want to talk to and become friends with the missionaries. It does get annoying sometimes, I am just thankful that they aren't ever violent.

I don't remember if this has previously been mentioned, but our new Stake Center is done, and it isn't half bad. It is about a million times better than that cheap and moldy apartment building thing that we used before. It is a really nice building, probably one of the nicest in the whole country. It feels just like a church back in America, the only major difference is that there are no drinking fountains in the church here in Madagascar, a minor letdown. And if there were drinking fountains they would most likely not be safe to drink from, unless they had their own nice little filtration system that is. It would be fine for the Natives, but it would upset my bowels (I have had diarrhea since Easters here!), it seems that even if you just simply look at a glass of homemade juice with unfiltered water you get an upset stomach. But anyways, the new Stake Center in Ambohimanarina, Antananarivo is very nice. Upon entering the Chapel I begin to feel as if I am back home in America, but when I leave and see the small, broken, dirty roads and small little shacks that they call houses, the dream begins to fade and I start to think to myself, "Wait... this can't be Utah, there are only Black people here". And then it hits me, the chapel's soothing effect caused by it's American appeal is lost. But, I begin to gain hope as I start to realize that if I am in Madagascar that also means that I can buy a fancy meal from the top restaurants in town for around 3 US Dollars. My heart is content knowing that food here is good, usually, and practically costs nothing compared to the cost of living in America.

The last few weeks I have started to gain a mastery over my area (the layout and such). I can get anywhere I need to, and I know the most efficient route, I wasn't quite sure it would ever happen, I thought that I would be constantly lost in my exceptionally large area, but it seems that I have indeed accomplished the near impossible. I set records last week when I didn't have to turn around in order to find the correct path a single time. That must be the power of prayer, because the week before I had no clue where I ever was (exaggeration for effect, I wasn't entirely clueless when wandering the near-identical looking paths of Madagascar, just semi-clueless). But, I really do feel like I have improved loads this past week (good thing too, because my new companion hasn't ever worked here [obviously]) I finally feel confident in my area for once, and it is a pretty decent feeling.

This last week we have gotten a lot more strong investigators in our area (strong in this case suggesting that they (the investigators) remember and take to heart the main part of our message). I have seen a lot of people recently that all agree that there shouldn't be so many churches in our time right now, and that Jesus only created one church, so (by using deduction) we can safely conclude that there needed to exist a restoration of the fullness of the gospel in order to bring back to order the true church as established by Jesus the Christ. A lot of our recent contacts agree that there are so many churches here on the earth right now, because the true authority to act in the name of God was lost when Jesus and the Apostles died. I am eagerly waiting to see their progress.

Well, that is all for today.
Elder Anderson

​I stole this hat from a Malagasy missionary in our district and snapped a quick photo - lol, I can't choose the pictures that I send on this computer, it is pretty random.

This cute kid caught three birds with his bare hands, not bad I say. He was posing for the photo.

This lizard was fairly large, half of my forearm.