Well happy early pioneer day to you guys. In answer to your question no, there is no celebration. No one really cares about the pioneers over here. Like they respect it and I think some of them know about it, just nobody talks about it or celebrates it.
As for the new kid with Elder Jensen, yeah Jensen is in my group. Him and I think three other Elders from my group are training right now. Pretty cool stuff. I am just here doing my duty, trying to split an area. I am really enjoying working with another senior missionary. Two missionaries good at teaching and Malagasy, we get a lot of work done. Also we go on splits almost every day so I spend most days working with a malagasy kid who isn't even a missionary yet. So it's pretty good work out here. As for dialects we run into it every now and then but in all reality in Tana and Antsirabe, also Fianarantsoa you don't run into it too much. If you go to a beach province (Ft Dauphin, Mahajanga, Toliara, Toamasina) then you will see it a lot. In all reality though everyone inland speaks merina so you don't get much opportunity to learn it.
The mini trek sounds fun really, and yeah boys are dumb and eat too much. That I think is the reason boys are required to go on missions and girls are just encouraged. We need it more.
Yeah Wyatt told me all about the Dave Grohl concert that Paul McCartney opened for. Background, He loves Dave Grohl of the band Nirvana and at the Paul McCartney concert Nirvana came on stage and performed a few songs with him.
Sydnee is doing great, makes me happy to read about her enjoying her mission. Alyssa on the other hand pig feet are not that bad, just fatty. I really hope she gets used to the mission life and it starts going a little better. No lessons makes for a very hard day. I imagine a lot of those days would make for a very hard week. Fortunately here in Mada the amount of work that gets done is usually directly proportional to how hard you work. Obviously there are other factors but if you have two good missionaries doing stuff right then the work will go.
So you said you were DL, what does that mean for you. How many are in your district?
Being District Leader essentially just means that I take stats from the areas in my district on Sunday night and pass them on to the Zone Leaders, conduct District Meeting, assign lesson and spiritual thought for said meeting, go on splits and work with every member of my district at least once every transfer cycle. Also when transfers come in I pass those on to the areas in my district. Exciting right? Really not too much to do.
Are your branches running better? I think I remember you talking about helping them with getting better at paperwork.
They are progressing. The paperwork is basically what we are trying to get worked out right now but it is rough because it's not organized. It's the MLS records, the membership lists on the computer, that are the problem. They just aren't accurate. There are a bunch of people not in it at all, people in the wrong branch, people not updated (priesthood, callings etc) and stuff like that. So we are making headway but it's still a long way to go.
Anymore Baptisms on the schedule. I am so glad you have enjoyed the ones you have done.
We have one family getting ready for August 24th so hopefully they can make that one, and then some old people trying to catch October. They live way out of town so we are making sure they are fully converted before baptism.
Jonelle saw a thing talking about Mada and how one of the traditional religions there unbury their dead every three years to party with them. Have you seen or heard any of that.
Wow. When you put it like that it is a really weird thing. Maybe I can explain it and make it sound a little less tribal woogie-boogie. It's not a single religion, it's the Malagasy culture. They put their dead in a stone tomb and wrap them in a sort of cloth to protect them. They write all their names and birth/death dates on the stones and give them food and clean mats to rest on. Then every three years or so they open the tomb and rewrap the bodies in a new cloth, replace the mats, and the whole family gets together and helps and cleans up the tomb and everything. It's not a weird tribal thing, it's respecting your ancestors. Some religions do it to invite the spirits of their ancestors into their bodies but mostly it's just a respect thing. I have been invited to a couple, and they do it in the middle of the day so I am gonna try to go to at least one. It's really interesting because when they do it, as the time goes the bodies turn into just dust. So since there is a limited amount of space in each fasana (tomb) they condense the families. I'm not sure exactly what the rules are for that but basically they keep going and condensing and when it is too big of a stack to add too and the fasana is full they go until the bodies are all done. Then they seal the fasana permanently and make a new one for the next person. It's really interesting to me. I ask about it fairly often haha and I really hope I can make it to one of them.
Are your garments holding up?
Yeah they are good. I accidentally got a black sock mixed in with my last load so the tags turned gray but other than that no problems.
Do you want or need any spice things. Chalula, seasoning salt, taco seasoning?
Let's see, if you wanted to send me some cholula that would be nice. Other than that I am good.
and please tell me a story of an adventure Elder Galbreath and Elder Kumar had!
Hmm. Well this week went by really really fast. On Thursday night we went to a members house to say goodbye to the daughter, she left on her mission yesterday. Manchester mission, speaking english. Pretty cool for her. She is super excited. So that was fun. Let's see here. Pretty interesting adventure last night too. We worked through the day, normal. Had a soiree with our favorite member (feeds us every Sunday night) and that was cool and normal. Then we went home and tallied up our stats. pretty normal week. Then I called the zone leaders, told them the stats, they said thanks and good night and I hung up and went to sleep. About ten minutes later the phone rings again. It's the zone leaders. I was like "what could they possibly be calling about?" They said they had some news, I asked what it was. Lo and behold, transfers. Surprised everyone. Nobody knew it was coming. So I was pretty afraid because I really love my area right now. But I will follow the revelation that the Mission President gets because he is in charge and has the keys. So a couple people in Tana got changed around. Then in Antsirabe, Eler Kumar is working with Elder Landon, and Elder Galbreath is working with Elder Mosselyn. They aren't splitting the area though, only one of those companionships is in Antsirabe. It's me! I don't have to leave. Elder Kumar is going to Toamasina. Coincidentally this is the second time in a row he is replacing Elder Rakotoniaina. It's not normal for a missionary to stay and have more than two companions in one area, but here I am. Maybe my pleading with President Adams to let me stay and split the area made a difference haha. Either way I am super happy I get to stay here longer. So we are saying goodbye to members this morning and whenever we can basically. We went to the family that feeds us every Sunday this morning and the mom cried when we told her. I hate when people cry here, because all I can do is talk and shake their hand. No hugs allowed. The members have all said basically the same thing "No you guys can't seperate, the branch has gotten so much better since you guys got together." The Elder's quorum president in Mahazoarivo told us that all the members are happy with us because we work hard so that was all super flattering. So I will be working with Elder Mosselyn (hopefull I am spelling his name right). He is French, from France. So this is my third companion in a row that doesn't speak english as a first language. Also he is continuing my streak of companions not born in America. I had one American companion but he was born in China. Fun right? So looking forward to that. Also half of the district is now French. Elder Prouteau and Elder Mosselyn from France and Elder Galbreath and Elder Baker from Amurka. That's the whole district too. Big right?
You asked about leaving behind my shirts and pants and stuff for the members and missionaries heading out. I definitely plan on doing that; I will be coming home with suits and souvenirs and the cloths I have on my back. That is it. My shirts are so destrAoyed haha there is no way I can wear these in America. Same for pants. I might bring home a couple ties that I really like but those are mostly gonna stay here too. Shoes are coming with me though. Not giving up these bad boys. They have seen stuff.
Glad you found President Adams' blog, I'm sure it's interesting haha I am also positive his wife writes it. He is a really smart guy, knows a lot of stuff. Saradroa is not in my area, it's another place in Antsirabe. I think he might come to Andranomanelatra when it splits, or maybe when the new chapel comes, or maybe never. His visits are mostly to big places. I'm not sure why he went to Saradroa actually, but I am sure there was a reason.
Well other than that nothing too interesting.
I love you a bunch!