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!