Monday, December 29, 2014

New Surroundings

Hey everyone! How's it going? Hope you all had a great Christmas. It was so great to see all of you on the Skype!! It's always so good when I get to see all of you and hear your voices. But next year we won't have to talk through a computer. So I'm pretty excited about that :)

As far as this week goes, it was kinda uneventful. I got more settled in to the area. The place is pretty small compared to past areas I've worked, so I pretty much already know it which is nice. I'm still just trying to look for the good in it. I have to look pretty hard right now, but it'll come I'm sure. We're gonna go buy some dirt cheap ties today! So I'm excited for that :) We have a good ward with good leadership, especially the ward mission leader. I've never had one in the past that's been so on top of things and understands his calling. So that's been a luxury. Still getting to know the people a little better. We have a few investigators now, they've just been out of town for the holidays. So the program has been pretty empty this week. And what do you do when that happens? Tracting! :) Haha. I've said this before, but I actually don't mind it that much. I get to know the area better and it's fun just to go around talking to people about random things. I've found that it always leads into the talk about what we do and what we're all about. So that's actually been fun. Let's see... We got flipped off several times and called racial slurs by an old drunk lady! So that was interesting. Even the people around us were just so embarrassed to be malagasies at that moment because they're usually the most polite people. It's also been fun talking to people because they compliment me on how good my malagasy is :) Sometimes a little bit of teny Mahajanga will slip out and they'll be so shocked saying I've really been around and stuff. I'm not trying to brag or anything, it's just been nice to see the improvement with the language and how I can talk so freely with people now.

Anyways, I was sick for 2 days this week with a fever, so we didn't get as much work done as we would've liked to. But today is the start of a new week and we're gonna get out there and rock it! So that's how I'm planning to kick off the new year. Even though the end of the mission is coming up, I'm not gonna let up at all, just keep going at full speed until the end.

I think that's about all I have for now honestly... I'll have more to share next week I'm sure. I'll try to get those pictures up, but there's a chance it might have to wait another week for a better cyber (sorry!!). I love you all though! Have an awesome week!!! Tiako ianareo!!
---eLdEr MuMfOrD

Monday, December 22, 2014

Tratry ny Krismasy!!

Tratry ny Krismasy everyone!! Hope you all have a great week :) Well I guess I'll be seeing most of you anyways so I'm pretty excited for that!

Where to start this week... Lots of stuff going on. I had until Friday before I had to leave Mahajanga. I think I made the most of the time I had there. Said a lot of goodbyes. I always hate those to be honest. I hate goodbyes!(what movie?). It actually wasn't all that bad. The worst was saying goodbye to Bebe and her family. She started crying! And then I started watering up. It was hard, but I'm kinda glad it's all over with. We went to the beach last Monday and I got to see the giant baobab one last time and catch the ocean breeze. Man I miss that place. The work there was hard, but we still were able to find success. Those were the hottest days of my life, but also some of the most memorable. And funny thing, the week I left is when it started pouring rain! There was one investigator we weren't able to get to because their house was completely surrounded in waist deep water. There's supposed to be canoes coming in and that's how people will be getting around, but it was interesting maneuvering around all those lakes! After all, lakes are basically just holes in the ground. Let's see. Not a whole lot else happened that I can think of while I was there. I just really really want to go back... Hopefully someday though!

Friday night I flew back out to Tana. It was kinda cool seeing Mahajanga all lit up as we started heading south. I looked and I knew all those streets like it was my backyard. I whispered my final goodbye to Mahajanga and after a few minutes I was back in Tana and was greeted by the APs and taken to my new house. Turns out I'm living in Itaosy! Yep. I worked there once upon a time when it was combined with Ampitatafika. Except it's a different and new house. So it's kinda interesting coming here and already knowing basically where everything is at. I'm working in 67ha, which when it's spoken it's just the number in french. So like, soixant sept or something like that. I'm back in the city, this time it's more like the Bronx of Tana as some people say. It's pretty run down and dirty, but I'm trying to find the best in it. It might just take a little bit of time. Haha. My companion's name is Elder Tiu. Yep, he's an asian dude. Except kinda not really. He's from San Jose, California and he doesn't speak any Chinese, just straight up English. So I was relieved when I found that out. He just gone done with the training program. His 'Dad' is now in Ft Dauphin and now I'm his 'Mom'. So the malagasy is still coming for him. Whenever he makes mistakes I just kinda smile to myself, not because it's funny, just because it reminds me of how I probably was when I was first in country. It'll come like it has for me and I'm doing my best to help him on the way. We live with 4 other Elders in the house, all of which are still pretty new. I tell people I have 7 months left and they're always telling me I'm old and going home in no time. Haha so I'm the old fart around here! Oh and I'm District Leader too, so hopefully I can be a good help to these youngsters and help them with things I've learned in my experience.

We do have a pretty cool church building. It's the biggest one in Madagacar. I think I already have pictures up of it from before, but I'll get more of it up in the coming weeks. It's big enough to be a Temple! And there's even an elevator and it's 4 stories tall. It's nice being in a ward again because of how stable things are with the leadership and everyone pretty much knows what's going on as far as I can tell. So there's a bright spot! Plus it's nice to be with other missionaries again.

Sorry if this letter is kinda lame like the last one. It's just been another hectic week and we still have lots of stuff going on today that we wanna get done. But I'm super excited to see you all on Christmas!! I'm still thinking it will be at about 8 o'clock AM Utah time, so we'll stick with that if it's all good with you. Hopefully nothing happens, but if something goes wrong I'll try to get back as soon as I can to make other arrangements. So if I'm not on in the morning just know I'm doing my best with what I've got but that we'll still get to talk at some point. But I think the morning should work just fine. So just keep you notifications on and such for Christmas morning!

Well I better get going. I'll have more news next week! Love you all! And Merry Christmas daholo!!! Tiako ianareo!!!

-eLdEr MuMfOrD

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ny Curveball Fahefatra

Hey there everyone! Well. As you can see by the title we've got another curveball. So last week I forgot to mention that transfer news is here earlier this time around because of Christmas scheduling. So raha fintinina, I've got transfer news. And I'm not even going to wait until the end to tell you this time, so here we go... I'm getting transferred to a place called 67ha. Yep. I'm going back to Tana. We got the news way late last night and I thought for sure it was just a prank they were pulling on me like they usually try to do. We called someone else to confirm what they had heard and sure enough I'm going. Haha so I didn't get much sleep last night. I'll be flying out Friday night, so at least I still have a little bit of time to say some goodbyes. This email will probably be shorter than most because I can't even think straight or even begin to remember the things that have happened this past week. Plus I want to get out and do some stuff here while I still can, so if you don't get a personal email back from me that's the reason. We might not be here too long today.

I'm so grateful for the time that I've had to be here in Mahajanga. And even though I'm leaving a little unexpectedly I've been so blessed with the time that I have been here in this amazing place. Mahajanga will always have a spot reserved right here in the heart! And while I'm not so thrilled at the moment to be going back to Tana, I'm just trying to look at the bright side and keep a positive outlook: I won't be dying of heat anymore. Haha. I know it'll all be good. Sorry this email is super short, but I'll be sure to get more up next week with my new area and all. I sure do love you all and so grateful for your support back there. Tiako ianareo!!

Elder Mumford

P.S. I'm thinking the Skype call will be at around 7 or 8 am Utah time on Christmas Day. Still not 100% sure, but if anyone has other preferences just let me know. Love you all!

This is a keeper

Pic I got when there was lightning to light it up

Monday, December 8, 2014

Akory iziao!

Hey everybody!!

Well it's that time again. P-days keep coming in faster and faster. But it's good. I'm still loving like out here in Mahajanga. I actually don't have too much to complain about the heat this week. It's been a little cooler here this week (well... relatively). Plus I went to the mpanety and got my hair chopped off, so I think that helped. Still not really any rain here though. People keep telling us it was supposed to have come by now, but nope. It's kinda like last year when I was in Tamatave when it was relatively dry for that time of year. Maybe wherever Elder Mumford goes there's just a dry spell. I think that's it ;)

This week we got to have another OLC. That conference they do between missionaries in outlying provinces. It was another good one, just not quite as memorable as the last. They mostly just talked about Mauritius and the Malagasies weren't really that big of a part of it. They did show us a slideshow about the history of Madagascar! I'll send it to y'all if I can. The branch here in Mahajanga was started back in 2009. So it's been here for a little bit now, not the newest place in the mish, but still fairly new. So cool to be a part of the work here! It's dang hot, but I'm still pretty dang lucky to be out here in such a cool place.

As far as the work goes, it's been a little slower than usual this week. We've been doing some deep cleaning with our program and freeing up some time that was being spent with people who just weren't getting anywhere. We got dogged by quite a few times which is always fun. The work isn't always easy, but one thing me and Elder Cartmill have made it a point to focus on patience. Sometimes people don't keep times. And when they do, some of them are way hard to teach. That's one challenge with the work in Madagascar. Some people might say, "It must have been pretty easy having a full schedule of teaching times!" As true as that might be, it's still hard mentally sometimes. The people aren't dumb by any means. I'm not saying that. It's just they haven't had as many opportunities to learn as us Americans. I didn't like reading while I was in grade school or reading comprehension, but I'm sure glad I worked at it and I can read through something and still remember what it was about a week later. Here they have struggles because they don't have that solid education we do. So sometimes it just takes a little more patience and going slow with them. And sometimes there's those people on the streets that say things at you that could easily be taken offense to. More patience. But there's one scripture I came across this past week that's one of my favorites. It's DandC 101:38 which says:

"And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life."

It just really struck me and it's been one that I've thought about lately. If we're patient we'll get to see the face of the Lord! And have eternal life. I've found also that as I remind myself to be patient when things aren't going my way that I really start appreciating those tender mercies. This week hasn't been as hot! That was definitely one. Our program has been a little empty. But we've been going and strengthening the members and discussing they're goals to reach the temple. From that we've been getting referrals. That's been another one. I could probably go on and on about those tender mercies. The work isn't always easy, but Heavenly Father never forgets his kids! So yeah. I guess that's kinda my spiritual insight for the week. Patience! Pass it on.

In other news the teacher who had the lesson in Priesthood stormed out never to be seen again. Right at the beginning too! Nobody knows what made him so angry. Guess he just needed a break! We went to the beach last Pday, got buried, and my legs got way sunburnt! It was a weird feeling to have that again. I guess my arms and face are just kinda used to it and just tan. But that was fun! I'm still having a ball with Elder Cartwheel and we're working well together. I don't have a whole lot of details to go into this week. Sorry about that! But hope y'all enjoy the pics. I better get going, I still have to write President and then go to the market to get food for the week. I need more lychees too. Never can have enough of those :) Anyhoo, love you all to heaven! Have a terrifically wonderful week! Tiako ianareo!!

Elder Mumf :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Tratry ny Fanomezana Fisaorana!

Gobble gobble gobble! Hey everyone! How's it hangin. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I didn't really hear much about it, but sounds like everything went well! Guess what. This week was HOT. Surprise right? I'll probably be reminding you all of that every week, so don't you worry.

So we did celebrate Thanksgiving the best that we could. On Wednesday night we went and picked up a koloka (turkey) with our member help and then got back to the house and cleaned it up good. I did get pictures of it, but I think I'll spare the less appetizing ones. You get the point! We killed it, gutted it, defeathered it, and then the next day we cooked it! It was interesting because neither of us really knew how to go about it. We had no glass pans or anything fancy, so we had to improvise. We stuck it in a big pot in the oven and turned it over a few times and it was cooked! And pretty well I might add. Elder Cartmill is the master chef and made a gravy with coke it it! Plus it had a little kick to it. We honey-glazed the turkey and added carrots, potatoes, and onions and it turned out pretty dang good. Of course we had rice with it and Cartmill also had a box of chocolate pudding mix so we made that. Not your typical thanksgiving feast, but we did the best with what we had here. We finished the feast and then went out to work soon after. So yeah, that was our thanksgiving festivities here! Way fun.

As far as the work went this week, it went kinda slow. It was kinda one of those weeks where the program was falling apart on us left and right. It seemed like nobody was home or they were busy with other things and couldn't take us in. The branch is having a few new changes. Well I guess mostly subtractions, but no replacements yet. The 1st counselor in the Branch Presidency moved to Ampitatafika (hey, I worked there!) and our branch mission leader is getting all his stuff together and going on a mission soon. We've been trying to meet more one on one with the Auxiliary leaders in the branch but nobody seems too interested. In Branch Council a guy stormed out for basically no reason. Oh yeah. Fun stuff. Point is, the branch is still pretty young and still goes through growing pains from time to time. We're just doing the best with what we've got and trying to build up our relationship with the members the best we can. It's gonna take some work, but Mahajanga will be it's own mission in no time. Okay. It might need a little time still ;) But we'll get there!

I haven't mentioned this yet, but the lychees are back! Those red berry things that I fell in love with in Tamatave. I stop on the street and get a kilo every day. Elder Cartmill says I have an addiction. But hey, gotta take advantage of my last lychee season here! We've also been trying to learn more of the dialects that are spoken here. One is called Sakalava (literally long cat) and there's a few others that are just mixed together and called Teny Mahajanga. It's been fun learning all the new ways to say stuff and to get more of a connection with the people here. Yesterday we were talking to a member and learned that there are 14 different types of mangos! So we jotted down everything we could in our planners. It's been fun just taking in as much as we possibly can! Oh and remember the guy that was on a lot of stuff that I talked about last week? Well we saw him on the path! He's a pretty chill guy, but we're pretty sure that he's permafried and will never be 100% sober. He greeted us warmly and surprisingly remembered us. Got a picture and were on our way!

As far as outstanding spiritual experiences go this week I'm kinda dry. It's been one of those weeks like I've said. But with thanksgiving and all I was reminded about how thankful I am for everything I have in life. A family that raised me right. Awesome friends. And I'm here in flippin' Madagascar, the coolest (yet dang hot!) place in the world. I'm a pretty lucky boy. I think about what President Monson said about living in an attitude of gratitude. I plan on doing that more, not just once or twice a year, but daily.

Anyhoo, I think that's about all I have for the week. Enjoy the pictures! Love all of you! Toods.

Tiako ianareo!

-Elder Mumf

Us with Frere Toky. And my awesome new shorts

The meal was a lot better than it looked

Me after the feast

It's Papan' i Eva!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Rats ate the pants, can't come to church

Howdy y'alls! How's it kicking?? Things here are still alive and well. It's hot. And getting hotter each and everyday. But that's not really news anymore. We did get some rain this week, but it always comes when we're sleeping otherwise I'd totally be out there dancing in it. And some of you might think the rain cools things down, but in reality it just makes it more humid and the paths are impossible to get through on bikes because it's so muddy. But with all that being said it's been a pretty fantastic week!

Elder Cartmill is still 19 years old but will be 20 in December. He's planning on going into medical engineering when he gets back from the mish and study at the U. There are 5 members in his family and he's the oldest and he has a dog named Gracie who is such a mutt that they can't tell what kind she is. He aspires to get into Jon Hopkins to further his pursuits in his field and he does a pretty dang good Boyd K. Packer impression. I'll have to get a video of that up soon. He enjoys long walks on the beach and he is single! So yeah. There's a little bit more about my companion. We've been having a pretty fun time out here. We both have the same vision and things we want to focus on in the branch, and we have so much fun which has had a big impact on the work too I think. So far it's been the change that I've needed. It's been way fun having an American again. We can just talk and understand 110% of the things we say to each other. Plus we're still in the same boat in Malagasy. Pretty good and can do everything we need to just fine, but still trying to master it in any way we can. So yeah, I've been having a pretty fun time here and still working hard. Our investigators for the most part are progressing. We've had a lot of clearing up confusions with people about why we're here and what we do and how baptism is the eventual goal. So that's helped a lot and we've had more people come to church. The work is still moving forward.

Random stuff. So this week we were looking for a less-active member but instead found her father with crazy straggly hair wearing just a cloth around his waist and was acting kinda weird. He told us to come in anyways and I had a little funny feeling about it, but we went in anyways. He then in a crazy dramatic way introduced himself as Papan' i Eva (Eve's father) and then without introducing ourselves he said we were all Adam and he was our papa. He proceeded to give us many fist bumps and it was pretty obvious he was on some stuff. Like. A LOT of stuff. So we got outta there as quickly and respectfully as we could and then right as we were leaving he started chasing us yelling at us to give him our names. Too bad we had bikes, hehe :) There wasn't really any danger, it was just funny. But I learned a valuable lesson, one that I already knew but had to be reminded of, if you have even the slightest bad feeling about something, just listen to the Holy Ghost and don't do it. Haha. Lesson relearned. Oh and there was one investigator who said he'd be at church last week but didn't come. When we came to teach him next we asked why he didn't come and he said it was because rats ate his pants! There you have it. Madagascar obstacles that keep them from church. But he did come yesterday, so I was happy :) Let's see... I asked someone where they thought I was from and they thought I was German. Which I guess is partially true? I know there's some Danish in my blood, just not sure about the German. Last P-day we went pants shopping for Elder Cartmill since one of his suitcases didn't make it. So! I ended up getting a pair too. I was deciding between two but then I finally told the old lady to just get the one. I paid for it, then I got back to the house to discover she still had put both in even though I had just paid for the one. So we went back and I explained what happened and I thought the old lady was gonna cry. She smiled at me, took my hand in hers and started calling me her child and was thanking Jesus. It was kinda weird, but kinda cool at the same time. Integrity, kids. Pass it on.

One other cool experience this week was we taught this younger guy named Richard. I'm not sure if I'd already mentioned him or not.. But we taught him for the second time this week and asked him if he had prayed about Joseph Smith. And with a smile he said yes and he said he felt something and that it was wonderful. We taught him about the Book of Mormon that day and he was excited to be able to read it and find out more. I love experiences like that where you can just see it in people's eyes that there's starting to be a change. And this is starting to come so soon! So, we'll have to see what happens, but looks like it's off to a pretty good start with him. So yeah, there's one story for ya.

Anyways, I better get going here, still lots to do! Ankafizo my pictures on the bucket! Love you all, have a week that is tena mahafinaritra be!

-eLdEr MuMfOrD :)

Who would do that??

The rains came down...

Teaching English!

Who is  that vazaha up there?

Me and Cartmill playing add-on

Madamission life
Translation: Will you come to church this sunday? Yes! I'm coming! If it's the will of God