Monday, December 30, 2013

Just Another Good Week :)

       Hellooooo everyone!! First of all, it was so great seeing all of you on the Skype! Up until then it really didn't have the feel of Christmas... Just not the same. But seeing and talking to all of you totally turned that around for me. It definitely made my day, so thanks again!!

       On Christmas Eve, the branch put on a little Christmas program. It was a lot like what you'd see back home actually. The kids all had their little scripts they'd read off of, and there was a choir which I got to be in! It was fun and interesting singing in French and Malagasy. A little changeup from English, but it was fun. All the little kids sang too. All around fun party complete with a sudden power outage! It wouldn't be a Tamatave Christmas without one I suppose :) But we were able to work around that and still have a good time. We were even able to get some of our investigators to go, so there was some successful missionary work done too.

       Christmas Day we had our get together with the missionaries in the other house. We had burgers for lunch (not quite as good as yours, Pa!), a gift exchange, and we also watched a few church videos, like Only a Stonecutter, Mountain of the Lord, and my personal favorite Mr. Kruger's Christmas. In the gift exchange I got 3 of Elder Austin's old ties. Haha well at least they're new to me! It was way nice to be able to hang out with the other missionaries a little and get the spirit of Christmas going. After that, we went around to the times we had scheduled for the day. Only a couple of them were available to learn. But for Christmas Day, I'd still call that pretty decent. Christmas in Madagascar I've heard is a killer for teaching appointments because everyone is out celebrating and busy. So at least we got 2 in! Then came my favorite part of the day, the Skype! I know I've already talked about this, but I can't tell you all how much that meant to me seeing and talking to you all. I love emailing, but it's just not quite the same as face to face. It did not feel like we were on for just over an hour, time FLEW by. But I still felt like we filled it up pretty good. I'm already looking forward to Mother's Day! But I know if I concentrate and keep working hard it'll come soon enough.

       After Christmas it was right back to it. Which it really wasn't hard to adjust at all since Christmas was pretty much a normal day anyways. The rest of the week was the same story as any other, lots and lots of teaching, which is what I like doing most out here. I do have a cold now, which officially makes it my first illness in country! Wohoo! Haha. It's mostly just a runny nose, nothing that'll keep me in, so I'm just glad for that.

       Welp, I think that's about it for my week. Hope everyone is doing as good as you looked on Christmas! When I write next it'll be 2014... So weird to think about! Anyhoo, til then! Love you all!

Tiako ianareo!!

-Elder Mumford

Hey everyone, this is a picture from our zone conference. Thought you'd enjoy. Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Me and Fish crammed inside a posiposy! Fun stuff.

 Ampalibe! The name of this ginormous fruit.

Mine and Elder Morley's impressive Jenga match. Nearly 30 stories tall!

Rainy season has returned to Tamatave...

This is what the Christmas Candle ended up looking like. Y'll should be proud!

Christmas!! Loving the presents I got in the package!

Especially excited for this!

Thank you all for an awesome Skype!!! I love all of you to death! Til Monday!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Merry Madagascar Christmas!

        Hey hey hey everyone! How's everything back in the States? Things here are still going good. Feels nothing like Christmas to be honest... Haha. But the way I see it that might be a blessing in disquise. If it were snowing and everyone had lights up and everything I think I'd be trunked out of my mind! But seriously. It is hot and muggy and feels nothing like those Christmases in Utah where it's cold and dry. But. It's all good! I'm still trying to get in the spirit of it, those packages are definitely helping with that! Malagasies still do recognize that it's Christmas, but it's nothing like back home. Every once and a while we'll go to a house that has a Christmas tree or something, but other than that, nothing. We do have a little program that the church is putting on Tuesday night where we sing Christmas songs, so that'll be fun! It's all in French, so it'll be a bit different. But I'm still excited for that. Also for Christmas day us missionaries are planning to watch the Christmas Devotional and have a gift exchange. Plus I get to Skype!! I'm most excited for that :) It'll be a great Christmas, even if it's a little different.

        This week, winter decided to finally show up. And by winter I mean summer here. It's been pretty rainy the past couple of days, which I actually like! It's a lot cooler and I'd much rather be drenched from rain water rather than sweat. Haha. It's still been pretty warm for the most part, but I'm still enjoying it here.

        The work is still going and going well. We've picked up quite a few new peeps we're teaching and we've been cranking out bap dates. 7 just this week! Now if we could just get them to church... That'll be a challenge! But we'll just have to be creative about that. Me and Fisher are still doing good. We work pretty hard out there and I'm learning lots from him. It's good seeing a different approach to teaching and I'm starting to develop my own kind of style. Overall, all is still going well with the teaching and the language.

        I really don't have much else to say... Haha. It's pretty much all the same, even on Christmas here. Just another day here. But I'll try to make the most of it, seeing as I only get two of them here :) Anyways, I'll get on to some other things and put some pics up of course. But I love all of you! Don't have too much fun on Christmas without me ;) Haha kidding of course! Tiako ianareo!!!

-Elder Mum

Hello again everyone! Got another lamo computer today which won't read pictures off my card, but I'll get them in on Christmas day before the Skype! Speaking of, it's looking like that'll take place at 9 o'clock AM Utah time on Christmas day. Hopefully that works for all of you. And if something crazy happens and it doesn't happen then, there's probably a good reason. The backup plan will be Christmas night at 11 for you guys. I'm hoping it'll all work out. There's a tiny chance with the elections and everything we could be on lockdown, but it's looking like it should work to skype on christmas. Sorry we haven't really talked about it and planned it out very well. But Christmas Day, 9AM Utah time. See y'all then!

P.S. It might be a good idea to have notifications up and going around then if I need to email someone. Anyways, love you all!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Change is not Bad

        Hey hey everyone!!! How's life? Nothing much going on here... Except a lot! Haha. It's been quite the week. Lot's of changes going on. Elder Moulton left for Toliara bright and early Tuesday morning. And Elder Fisher didn't get here until Thursday afternoon, so it was an interesting couple of days. I don't know if I mentioned this yet, but Elder Jensen also got transferred. He's AP now! Crazy stuff. But anyways, so me and Elder Austin were left companionless for a bit, so we ended up being on splits and kindof working both our areas. Which that went well. It was nice seeing some of the people in another area. Then Thursday finally came and I met Elder Fisher at the bus stop. He's a way cool guy from Riverton. Turns out he went to Itenerus with J.R. Landeen! So that's been fun to talk about with him. Our personalities are a lot alike too. A little more softspoken, but not in a bad way. Oh and he went to BYU for a year. Let's just overlook that fact... But I am looking forward to working with him.

      A lot of things were different about this week. I'm now leading the area, which kindof felt like an overwhelming responsibility for someone who's been here 3 months. But it hasn't been too bad. It has forced me to talk to people more. I feel like I've made the most improvement with the language this week. I've said before how my understanding has gotten pretty good, and now the actual speaking is coming along alright too! Still pretty rough most of the time, but I think the rest of my stay here in Tamatave will sharpen that out pretty well. I'm the one that makes all the phone calls now. Which every time I would call someone to confirm an appointment I'd use to always hand it off to someone else. But now I've been able to get through them just fine! So I'm pretty happy about that.

      No funky foods this week. When I got the call to Madagascar I was thinking I'd be eating crazy things every day, like bugs and stuff. But surprisingly the food has still been pretty normal. We're starting to enter into pineapple and peach season, which should be quite delicious! I love how we get all kinds of different fruit here all year long! I may not get Big Macs all the time anymore, but I've got plenty of fruit! Haha :) And lots of rice. Lots and lots of rice.

      So I guess the second round of the elections is coming up here on the 20th. This is where they pick the winner. So there is the possibility that things could get a little crazy sometime soon. I guess last time this happened back in 2009 there was a big dispute about it and there was some violence. But. Worse comes to worse, we'll probably just be on lockdown for a few days. I hope not, but we'll see! I'm just ready for all of that jazz to be over.

      Other than the change, I guess not a whole lot is new here. Like I've said, it's pretty much the same thing every day! Just lots and lots of teaching. Good stuff. No news specifically about the big Skype yet.. I'm guessing it'll probably be around Christmas night for you guys. But I'll let y'all know as soon as I find out more.

       I'm gonna get going on to some other stuff here. But thanks to all of you for your emails and all of your support! I can feel it even being 10,000 miles away! 

Tiako ianareo!

-Elder Mumford

P.S. Failure at taking pics this week... It's been kindof crazy with the changes, so I didn't think to take any.. So I'm sorry!! Next week I'll try to make up for that! Love you all!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas around the corner

       Hello everyone!! Another week down. And I'm officially 4 months into the mish. Crazy stuff! Anyways, quite the week here. It went a little slower this week just cause everyone was so anxious to hear the transfer news. And it's finally here! More on that later...

       So we also had a zone conference this past week which was really good. We had yet another 70 come by and speak to us, Elder Renlund. He's the head honcho over the Southeast Africa Area. It was great hearing from him, we mostly talked about the most classic topic ever: faith. But I learned a lot from his as well as from President and Sister Adams. Good stuff. And with the zone conference came the two packages from home!! Oh man, I can't tell you guys how excited I was!!! All the creative wrapping and everything! And the presents! Haha not that I know what they are or anything... Anyways, big thanks to all who were in on that! I'll definitely have my pjs on Christmas Eve!

        That awkward moment when you run out of things to talk about... Haha. Not much new other than the conference and the transfer news. Still lovin' the food here, teaching a lot of good times, and sweating like crazy! Haha. My malagasy still isn't quite up to it's potential, but I know it'll come soon enough. Still loving the people here. We have a pretty solid schedule where we teach the same people pretty consistently every week. The days never go exactly according to planned because at least one time falls through for one reason or another, but we're still able to fill up time pretty well, even if we have to tract every once and a while. But yeah, that's pretty much my life right now summed up in a paragraph!

         Anyways, the big news: Elder Moulton is going off to Toliary. That's one of those places that Mada missionaries dream of going, so I'm way jealous of him! As for me I'm staying right here in Tamatave :) Training... Haha kidding! I'll be getting Elder Fisher coming from Tana. I don't know much about him, but from what I've heard he's a cool guy. I'm pretty nervous about leading the area.. But hopefully I can get us to all the people we teach! Haha. It'll be a change that's for sure. But I know it'll be good!

         Sorry this email is kinda short, but we're kinda in a rush today. Elder Moulton is leaving tomorrow bright and early so we've got to continue our 'Veloma tour' as I like to call it, where we go out and say goodbye to a bunch of people. Oh and as for the Christmas Skype, we haven't really heard anything about the plan yet.. I've asked but I guess we have a schedule that we haven't heard about. But as soon as I find out I'll let everyone know. It should be within a day of Christmas. But anyways, I'll get up some pictures! Thanks everyone for your support for me! I love you guys!

-Elder Mumford

Keepin' the Mumford Christmas Tradition going!

This is me with a family of recent converts that we teach! These people are way legit.

We were at a time waiting for someone to join us, so in the mean time me and some of the investigator's kids drew a little bit! It's always fun to whip out a little drawing here and there.

Strawberry Vanilla ice cream. Not much that can compete with that! (Elder Morley in the background acting like he's gonna get some of it)

Monday, December 2, 2013


       Manahoana! Inona no vaovao any aminareo? Tsy dia misy aminay. Mbola mianatra ny teny gasy ary mampianatra ny olona ny filazantsara! Haha all I said was, what's new with y'all? Nothing new with us. Still learning malagasy and teaching people the gospel. Pretty much my life story right now, and I'm loving it!

       Is it December already?? Dang. It sure doesn't feel like it here! It's hotter than it's ever been since I've been here. It's hot! But I think one of the things I'm most thankful for here is air conditioning. It gets cold enough in our room now that I'm actually using a blanket! How crazy is that? Haha :) Speaking of thanks, our Thanksgiving feast was so good last Monday! The turkey was seriously one of the best I've ever had. And we even had stuffing and mashed potatoes. I was stuffed! There was a glimpse where it actually felt like Thanksgiving back home, it was that good. No pumpkin pie or grapefruit cocktail though. Maybe next year! Anyways, after the feast everyone just crashed and took a nap for an hour. One of the best Pdays ever! But when the actual thanksgiving day came it didn't feel like it at all. During the day I had to keep reminding myself, "Oh yeah! Today's Thanksgiving..." Haha. At least we celebrated it, even if it was a little early.

       Another good week as far as missionary work goes. Everyone is getting a little antsy cause we have transfer news coming up this Sunday. And it's extremely likely Elder Moulton is bouncing, cause he's been here 6 months and usually missionaries here don't stay longer. I'm a little nervous to see what's in store for me... There's a small chance I could be training. President Adams has been doing that a lot lately, having trainers that have only been in country for 12 weeks. But we'll see what happens!

        The language is still a work in progress. This week I was starting to notice that I'm understanding a lot better. Like people would just be talking and I was pretty surprised like, "What the... I know exactly what they're talking about!" Haha it's a pretty good feeling. Now it's just being able to speak that's still kindof rough, but at least I've pretty much got half the equation!

       Let's see... Not much else new. Just still teaching and sweating like crazy. I've kindof slacked on the 40 day Book of Mormon challenge. My goal was to get through Alma this week, but I only got to chapter 43. Oh well! Hopefully I'm on track to finishing in time. But I've really enjoyed reading it!

       Can't think of anything else.. I'll get some pictures up! Thanks for all your support! I love you guys :) Tiako ianareo! Mandra-pihaona!

-Elder Mumford

Our delicious turkey!

This is what my plate looked like: mashed potatoes and gravy, some alfredo, stuffing, petit pans, and the turkey of course. Way good meal!

So I was playing around with my camera and found all these crazy settings I had no idea were there! This is a panorama I took of the balcony of the church. Pretty nice view of Mangarivotra.

This is what a pineapple plant looks like! I had no idea how they grew before.

We got up super early today to go watch the sunrise at 5. It was kinda cloudy, so not the greatest, but still a nice sunrise!

Today we went to this one place with these way funky trees. They're huge!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gobble Gobble Gobble!!

       Salama daholo indray! Another week just disappeared. But it's been a good one. Kindof like last week, not too much new. But we are celebrating thanksgiving today!! More on that later.

      So this week we had our first district meeting since I've been here. We had President and Sister Adams come up as well as someone from the Seventy. But now I'm beginning to think it's a former seventy cause his picture isn't up along with all of the general authorities... Anyways. I don't know his name, just that it was something weird. And he's a big guy from Africa. He was way cool though! Funny little story. He went around shaking all of our hands and he got to me and read my name tag and said, "Mum". I told him it was MumFORD and he said to me again, "No, just Mum". Haha. So there y'all have it. I'm just Elder Mum now ;) We had three meetings, a priesthood and a general one on saturday and another general session yesterday. To be honest, I was pretty bad at paying attention... The Seventy's accent was kindof hard to understand, plus President and Sister Adams spoke French, so... Yeah. And everything was being translated into Malagasy, so it was hard for me to keep going back and forth between languages. But I still enjoyed it. Haha don't have much else to say about that!

     The language is still coming along. Did another split this week with an Elder from the other house named Elder Horne. Didn't go quite as smooth as the one with Elder Jensen, but I was still able to lead the area pretty well. And like I said in my last letter, things are starting to become a little more automatic for me as far as what to say in malagasy. Still learning all the time, but It'll come. I know it will!

      So this letter might be a little rushed because we're all kindof in a hurry to get on to the thanksgiving festivities, but I got a few questions so I'll try to answer them! At least the ones that I know. You can get about anything here in Madagsascar. It's just a matter of how much you're willing to pay. They don't really have white shirts or good pants to buy, but pretty much anything else as far as clothes go you can find if you look for it. Most of the missionaries are in three areas: Tana, Antsirabe, and here in Tamatave. But there are a very select few in a couple areas. There's only two in Fort D (The place that every missionary dreams of going) and two out in Toliary, another cool place. And there's a few up in Mahajanga, which is one of the very few places in Mada that you can see those Baobab trees. As far as the work goes, we have a pretty full schedule with lots of appointments. We've only tracted maybe twice now. We teach a lot of recent converts too. It's fun! And drinks, there's a lot to choose from. Coke pretty much has a monopoly here as far as beverages. The soda here is SO good cause they use real sugar. You can get Sprite, Fanta, and lots of other stuff. The fruit juice is also amazing here. Anyways, hope you guys found some of that interesting!

    So for thanksgiving, YES, we did get our own turkey! We got a live one on friday and kept it in the back. And if any of you are worried, yes it got approved. And yes, we did kill it this morning. I wasn't there to witness it. I'm not really squeamish, it's just something I didn't really have a need to see. It's in the oven as we speak! I'm way excited for it. No one celebrates thanksgiving here except us vazahas. Won't be quite like dinner back home, but it will do for now!

     Anyways, I can't really think of anything else to say... But I'll get a few pictures up. Everyone have a great thanksgiving!! You guys better miss me ;) Haha I kid, but hope it's a good one! Love you all! Tiako ianareo.

     -Elder Mumford

Our pet turkey!! Well it WAS our pet... Haha!

Can never go wrong with a nice sunset picture.

A very muggy morning here in Toamasina!

I was talking about these earlier, they're posiposys! It's the main way people get around. Pretty slow, but it's nice to ride around in one sometimes.

Elder Razafimandimby just chilling on the roof. Crazy kid!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Work is Heating Up (pun intended)

        Salama é! Inona vaovoa anareo? Not a whole lot new here this week to be honest. I know I probably talk about this a little more than I need to, but it is getting HOT here. And it's way humid. And the funny thing is it hasn't even rained here in like a month, but it still manages to be so wet. And as I'm typing this I have sweat dripping off of my nose. Which I'm sure all of you needed to know! Haha but it's not terrible, just one of those things I gotta get used to. Plus we got our AC fixed in the house finally! So that's a nice early Christmas present I guess. It's so funny how I took little things like that for granted, but now that I'm out here it makes a world of difference. Anyways, there's my little shpeel on the heat.

        Like I mentioned earlier, I don't have a whole lot of news to share this week. So this may be the shortest e-mail, but I'll try to squeeze some kind of news in this. We're getting excited about thanksgiving that'll be here soon! We're planning on celebrating it next P-day with turkey and everything! How we're going to do all that, I'm not sure yet, but we'll figure it out I'm sure.

        Random thing in the world of food, yesterday I had some Ravitoto at a member's house. It's basically just mashed up leaves on top of rice. Haha nothing too special about it. But when I think about how little the people here have, it's just fine by me. Another thing is that we now have Lychees! Ah! They are soooo good. Best fruit I've ever had. And Tamatave is the only place that grows it in Madagascar. I don't quite know how to describe it. It looks kindof like a strawberry on the outside, but white in the middle. It tastes kindof like a raspberry with the texture of a grape. We've been teaching a little about the tree of life this week to a few people, and I thought about it a little. I had never tried a lychee before in my life until this week, and I am convinced that it is the fruit that Lehi partook of in that dream. Seriously, so good. One of the benefits of living in an extremely hot and humid climate I guess!

        I heard about the 40 day challenge Sister Mumford is doing, and I've decided I'll do it too! Hopefully the time I get to study in the morning will be enough, but I can also read at night. I'm looking forward to it!

        I honestly can't think of anything else to write... Pretty uneventful week. Just like the last minus the Baptism and the visit from the Seventy. Just teaching and teaching and doing some more teaching. That's been going well though. I've started to notice that things are becoming a little more automatic for me in the sense that I don't have to think so hard about what to say. I'm trying to get out of the habit of translating everything into English and just being able to associate things directly to Malagasy. So I think that's helped a lot. And I've found that I'm a lot more prepared with things to say when Elder Moulton hands part of the lessons to me. Overall, still making progress!

       Welp, if any of you have some questions please ask them and I'll do my best to cover them in emails! For now, I think I'll go ahead and move on to other emails and get some pictures up. Love you all! Tiako ianareo!!

-Elder Mumford

A view of the house from outside the gate.


Rice with some henomby! (beef). This is at a muslim place that we found. Way good food!

Burnt Rice Water! Hated it at first, but now I love it. It's amazing how it grows on ya. 

Bike riding through pure sand. Story of my life!

This is the milk that we have here. It's UHT pasteurized (Whatever that means) but it's pretty good. Nothing like the good ol' Maid O Clover you get at home, but still not bad at all.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Well into Novambra!

       Another week gone by. I'm definitely feeling the time starting to pick up. I don't even know where this week went! Guess that's what happens when you're getting used to things more and more. And when the language is starting to click more :)

       Anyways, things have still been going well here in ol' Toamasina. I don't know if I mentioned this before, but every city in Madagascar has two names: the french name and the malagasy name. Toamasina is the Malagasy one and Tamatave French. Kinda cool, but confusing at the same time. Haha. The dad in that family we baptized a couple weeks ago got baptized this week! So that was kinda cool to see the whole family again and watch the baptism. Elder Moulton baptized him. It's cool to see a whole family joined into the church! I know they will do awesome things for it here in Tamatave.

       This week I got to go on a split with one of the zone leaders, Elder Jensen. Plus, I got to lead the area for my first time. Not gonna lie, it was a little overwhelming at first since I had to remember all the times we had scheduled for the day. Not to mention the Malagasy! Haha. But I was very surprised. We were able to get to all our appointments. AND I was able to carry the lessons pretty well. I was speaking Malagasy! Haha I was so surprised! I realized that I knew more than I give myself credit for sometimes. Not just with the Malagasy, but teaching. Sure, it was still a little rough at some points. That's where Elder Jensen would take over, but for the most part I was able to hold my own out there. Elder Jensen said he was way surprised at how well I was speaking with not being in country for very long. It was a great feeling and confidence booster for me. It was also a testimony builder that we really do have the gift of tongues! All those things that I've been studying were finally starting to click in my mind and I was able to speak pretty clearly. So yeah, that was my awesome experience for the week!

      We also had Elder Cook from the Seventy come and visit us. He came for some priesthood leadership meeting at the church here, and to meet with the young single adults and we sat in on that. Apparently he's over 35 countries! Lots of work. He talked to us about how he's been getting phone calls from mission presidents in places like Botswana saying they need more missionaries. I couldn't help but think about Colton Williams and how he'll be a part of that! It's so cool how missionary work is opening up everywhere. Elder Cook also talked to them and challenged them to pray and ask 2 questions: Would you have me do missionary work? And is now the time? I really liked that he gave them that challenge. Basically he said that we need more missionaries, and how true that is! One side note, I wanted to get a picture with him, but he was in a huge-o rush so no one was able to.. Oh well. I hear we'll have another Seventy coming in December for a mission tour. So maybe then!

      Got asked a few questions about day to day life, so I'll try to answer some of them! The bathrooms. They're... interesting. Haha. Me and Elder Moulton have our own bathroom except for we don't have a toilet. But that's where we take our showers. And it doesn't drain all that well, so whenever we're done we have to take a squeegee and push all the water down this little drain. There's also the main bathroom that we all use. It's basically the same as a bathroom back home, except we don't use toilet paper! We use a little sprayer. I'll spare the details of that... But I think it's way better than tp. In my dream house, I will have a sprayer. Haha. We do have running water here. It's pump water, so not really safe to drink. So we have to use a filter with the sinks. And we do have electricity, but it goes out almost every day randomly. Candles come in handy a lot here! Almost everyone has a phone here. It's kinda weird cause some people will have all these phones and gadgets and fancy stereo systems while they struggle to feed their families. Some people just don't have their priorities straight sometimes I guess! Missionaries do get sick here. But it's usually just because the food did something weird to them and after a couple days they're fine. I've been lucky not to be sick! But I'm sure it'll happen sometime. Hope y'all find those random things interesting.

      Not much else to say this week. A lot of times have been falling through with people out of town still worshiping their dead ancestors in ambany volo (the countryside). But all in all, things are still going well. Hotter than heck, but whadayado. I'll get some pics up! Tiako ianareo!!

-Elder Mumford

Hopefully I didn't send this one last week... But if I did here it is again! Another turtle we found in front of our house. This place is like a zoo sometimes!

People playing soccer. Very popular here. Just wish they had basketball somewhere! 

The whole family is now baptized! Well, except for little Fabrino there. But I'm calling it now, he'll be a future missionary for sure! Oh and this picture is kindof awkward... It looks like me and Elder Moulton are holding hands. Promise we aren't!

The chicken bbq we had! It was way good. That's Elder Jensen and Elder Moulton on the guitar!

Rockin' sunset pic

Monday, November 4, 2013

Manahoana daholo!

       Hello again everyone! Another week down. And boy, it was a hot one! It is so hot and humid here right now. And everyone has been telling us to just wait til December and that it's not even hot right now... Haha. Hopefully it won't be too terrible, but I've survived it so far.
       So aparently the elections aren't even over. Everyone that we talk to says something different about it, like the results are coming in a few days. And then there's people that say this was only the primaries and that the real one happens in late December. I don't know what to believe anymore, but I'm thinking the latter. And then it might get pushed back even farther and maybe it won't even happen while I'm here. Haha so complicated and no one knows what's going on. But if we get information from a good source, I'll let y'all know.
      Halloween was this past week. I honestly wouldn't have known if someone didn't mention it in our house. No one celebrates it here. But people do this thing where they go and pray to their dead ancestors or something. I forget the name, but kinda weird. Anyways, we didn't do anything for Halloween. Just a normal day for us! It'll probably be the same way for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but hopefully a little more festive!
      So our area is 'Mangorivatra'. And we live in it, which is way nice. I guess most other missionaries out there have to take a bus or ride their bikes quite a ways to their area, but not us! Most of the people we teach live just along the main road or close. But every once and a while we'll have people that live a few miles out in the middle of nowhere. That's where we see the bamboo huts with the grass roofs mostly. It's kindof weird how things like that are just normal to me now with the sand everywhere and grass huts. It's surprisingly like what you would see in Gilligan's Island or something like that! It's way cool. I pretty much have to duck everywhere I go. I can't tell you how many clothes lines I've run into! Haha but I'm getting better at avoiding it. In maybe most of the houses I can't stand straight up in. Guess that's what I get for being a tall guy in Mada! By the way, the other Elders in the house told me there's another 6 foot 5 missionary in country and that he's leaving pretty soon. So I'll probably be the tallest missionary in Madagascar soon! Haha I think that's kinda cool at least ;)
      Not much interesting has happened this week. There was a mpangalatra (thief) incident that was kinda weird though. We were riding down the main road and all of a sudden we hear this lady screaming at the top of her lungs. Then she jumped out of a moving posiposy (How people get around, I'll get in a picture soon) was rollling on the road, got up and just started running in the middle of the road. I guess someone just took her purse right from her. So that was interesting! Definitely the weirdest thing I've seen while living here. We've had more drunk people come up and talk to us. It's weird because we'll tell people in Malagasy that we don't speak French and they still just babble off in it. And I'm not talking just about drunk people, it doesn't seem to register with anyone! It's a little annoying, but oh well. Guess that's just something to get used to!
       If I think of anything else to report on the week I will when I get some pics sent! I love all of you!! Have a great week everyone! Tiako ianareo!

-Elder Mumford

 Mango! Never was a big fan before, but they're so fresh and delicious here! Mmm. So good.

Just being artsy fartsy with my planner again! It feels good to start a fresh one :)

Another of our little friends here in the house :)

The baptism!! That kid in the front that isn't looking at the camera is the one I baptized! Very special day.

The little pool where we did the baptism :)

Fabrino! Such a cute little guy.

If any of you think you've seen a big spider back in Utah, take a look at this guy. They're huge here!

We were waiting to meet someone for a time at the church for a lesson and they were late, so we got to peel some stuff! I don't know what they're called. But those days of cutting corn off the cob and peeling potatoes came in handy!

Monday, October 28, 2013


     Manahoana everyone!! It's that time again! Man I love P-Days. Mondays are the new Friday for me!
       Anyways, it's been another good week. I guess I'll start with the baptisms! It was a way cool experience! We ended up having 4 for our branch. Originally it was supposed to be 5, but the father ended up having to go out of town for work... Which was kind of a bummer, but he's still planning to get it done. Maybe this week! Two of the baptisms were kids of one of the counselors to the Branch President. He asked us to teach them before they got baptized. The couple that I was talking about earlier is Mami and Laurence. Laurence and her son were baptized too. I even got to do one of the baptisms! It was for Laurence's son, Rahirinantenaina Gidio Aime (say that ten times fast!). It was so cool to do my first baptism! Well, I mean I've done baptisms for the dead, but to actually be the one baptizing was pretty special. I didn't even mess up on the prayer! Oh and we had the baptism in this little pool thing, you'll see it when I send pictures in a little bit. But yeah, everything went well! And I hope I can be a part of a many baptisms to come. It reminded me about my own baptism 11 years ago and having McWayne baptize me and how special that was. And now I can help people have that same experience. It's amazing to see people take that step of faith.
       The language is still going alright. This week I was having a little bit more break throughs with it. Like for one of the lessons we were going over the 6 don't dos in the Word of Wisdom and I was able to help the person understand and remember all of them without really having to think too much about the language. It was pretty cool! The sparks are getting a little bigger. Still can't really understand a whole lot, but I'm able to piece things together more. The whole language learning has been a humbling experience so far. It's weird how back home I kind of just took being able to communicate with people easily for granted, and now I'm in a place where that was taken away from me in a sense and I have to work to get it back. It's a bit of a struggle, but it's also fun learning this crazy language! I can't wait til I'm at the magical point where I realize that I speak Malagasy. Just gotta keep working hard and doing the best I can to get there!
       There have been a few lingering animal questions, so hopefully I can clear some things up! Still haven't seen lemurs here. And I probably won't while I'm here in Tamatave. But if I get transferred to Tana in a few months then these emails will flood with pictures of lemurs, I promise! Haha. There's a couple things I forgot to mention before about the animals here. There's stray dogs everywhere. And people here hate dogs.. It's kinda sad! There's a lot of goofy looking chickens around here. People will randomly have geese on their little lots too. We saw a big chameleon the other day! We don't see too many of them here, but they look way cool. It happened to be the one day I forgot to pack my camera... But I'll be prepared next time!
       The elections are done! At least as far as we know.. Now everyone is just waiting for the results to come in, which will probably be sometime this week. That's when things might get a little bit interesting... Hopefully things don't get too crazy around here, but if they do we might be on lockdown for a few days. Or worst case be evacuated, but I'm doubting that. We'll just see what happens! But whatever does happen, I know that we'll be safe.
       I realized I haven't really talked about the Elders that are in our house! There's six of us. We've got Elder Austin and Elder Jensen who are the zone leaders for Tamatave, Elder Razafamandimby who's almost at the end of his mission, and Elder Morley who was in our MTC group. And my companion, Elder Moulton, of course. Moulton, Austin, and Jensen were all in the same MTC group together and they have about 8 months left. We've got a great bunch of guys and it's fun living with them! It's fun talking with them after getting home from a long day. But yeah, we're all getting along just fine!
       Well I don't have much else to say this week. Every day kinda feels the same. Get up and go teach the gospel! That's pretty much what we do. But I'm loving the work here. And all is still well with everything! Anyways, I'll get some pics up. Thanks to all of you for keeping in touch with me! Sorry if I don't get to respond to everyone, but I do read all of them and feel your support. I love you all! Have an awesome week! Tiako ianareo!!!

-Elder Mumford

       So... I'm using a different computer this week and it's been weird and I can't find where the SD card shows up in the files on the computer. So they'll probably just have to wait til next week. So I'm sorry! Next week there will be a LOT of pictures, so stay tuned! Love you all!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Another week, more adventures!

       Bonjour everyone!! Another P-day is here! I can't get enough of them. But things here are still going well. It's weird thinking I've officially been in country for a month. I can remember walking off that plane and thinking what a cool place this is. Man, it feels like that was forever ago! Haha but at the same time it feels like it was yesterday.
       Nothing incredibly new or exciting happened this week. But I'll just start with some random things. We had our first encounter with a drunk guy since we've been here, that was interesting! Haha. I couldn't understand at least half the things he said, but he shook our hands like 10 times each. Then he started running his hand through Elder Moulton's hair commenting on how beautiful and brown it was. Haha! I was just trying not to lose it. So funny. But then, the real reason why he came up to talk to us came out. To try to get money from us. It's kinda sad seeing people here begging for money, but there's not much we can do except tell them to come to church on Sunday. We had lunch at a member's house yesterday, and it was probably the grossest thing I've ever had. We had rice with what's called Henom'by, which is beef. It looked really good, but turned out to be pure animal fat. Yuck, I cringe thinking about it still. But I was mazotoa and got through that stuff. I thought I was going to lose it, but somehow I was able to keep it down. Oh and one thing I've learned is that when eating at someone's house and you don't really like it, eat it slower. When I first got here I would just try to get it down as fast as I could and get it over with, but then they will just pile more on your plate. So that's helped. Still getting used to the food a little, but I've done alright so far! 
       This past week we had an investigator couple get their vita soratra's!(America's equivalent of a marriage certificate). It was the first wedding ceremony I'd ever been to and it was interesting. There were some words said, the couple signed some papers, and voila! Legally married. One of the biggest things standing in the way of people getting baptized in the church is that they live with someone of the opposite sex and aren't legally married. They have families and everything, but they just don't see the point in going to a government building for a legal document. I've heard also that it's a little pricy to get legally married, so they just use the money for other things. But it was so cool watching this couple take that step so that they could be baptized this coming Saturday! And they plan on going to the temple in about a year to get sealed too. Way cool. Apparently they've been learning from missionaries for 4 years. Even though I haven't played a huge role in their decision, I'm looking forward to their baptism. I get to baptize one of their kids too! Booyah. We don't get to have the baptisms in the ocean, just in a big plastic pool type thing. But regardless, it's all the same really. Same ordinance, same blessings :) I can't wait. Plus there's two other kids of a member getting baptized too. So sweet!!
       We finally got to watch conference this week! I absolutely loved it. Plus we got to watch in English! How it worked was all the Malagasy speaking people watched downstairs in the chapel and all the English speaking missionaries got to watch it in the stake president's office upstairs. We had a nice little setup too, and watched it from a projector. I loved all the talks, but a few stood out to me. Elder Bednar's talk about tithing was very powerful. I guess Madagascar actually has enough members for a temple, just not enough full-tithe payers. So I hope they all heard that talk! I loved how he talked about how when we ask for success, like finding a job for example, how the Lord doesn't always just provide someone or something that'll change our circumstances for us, but rather helps us be more able to change our own circumstances ourselves. Uchtorf is always one of my favorites! I read this quote before in an email, but I loved how he said, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." I liked how he invited all to come and join us. The most entertaining talk award goes to Elder S. Gifford Nelson. He must've said "exclamation point" 10 times! Haha. I also loved Elder Holland's talk when he spoke about those with disabilities. He said, "I don't know if we'll be more happy ourselves by seeing their perfection, or if we will be more happy for them." It made me think about Claudia and how amazing and perfect she'll be in the next life. She already is both though!
       Well, not much else to share this week. Very hot. Haha I don't think I could emphasize that enough. Anyways, I'll get on to pictures and other things. I love you all!
      Tiako ianareo!!

-Elder Mumford

Us after the wedding ceremony! Awful picture of me.. Haha but oh well!

In all my notetaking I was still able to squeeze in some drawing. Guess who this is!


 I kind of failed at documenting conference... I forgot to take a pic while it was going. But this is our setup! Nice office and a projector. And Elder Austin's incredibly sweaty armpits! Haha ;)

Conference notes! I was a good little boy ;)

 Nothing like a nice warm bowl of soup and some delicious juice to finish a long day!

This is what a typical malagasy house looks like out here. It's like what you see in movies!