Monday, January 27, 2014

Tana Time!

       Manahoana daholo indray! Welp, I'm in Tana now. And I'm loving it so far! I'll talk more about it in a little bit. I don't even really know where to begin. Usually I have something in mind to write when I get to the cyber, but it's been such a crazy week I haven't really got it organized in my head what this email will be like. So it could be all over the place! But here it goes.

     So I got to be in Tamatave up until Thursday. So not a whole lot of time to say goodbye to the peeps. Plus Elder Fisher was still sick for some of that time, so I didn't get to say goodbye and get pictures with all that I wanted. But I feel like I at least got to the ones that I was most close to. It was so weird leaving behind my first area... It was a little more emotional than I thought. Tamatave was the only place I knew. I got very close to some of the guys I lived with and it was rough saying goodbye to them especially. But, life is full of changes and new adventures!

    The bus ride was very long and I was crammed a little bit. Plus I was all by myself going to Tana, so that was interesting! Haha but it wasn't so bad. The view on the way to Tana was so beautiful! Mountains and forests, all the things I missed the first bus ride because it was dark. Got a few pictures of the ride which I'll get out soon! After that long bus ride, I woke up and was in Tana. It was kinda weird! It seemed like I had been in Tana the day before, getting stuff taken care of at the office and whatnot. Yet I didn't recognize anything! It's such a different world out here. Definitely a more city feel to it. But I'm liking it so far actually. I work in a place called Ampitatafika, which is about as far from the main city you can get while still being part of Tana. It's in the countryside, so it has more of a farmland feel to it. I'm loving it. And it's cold!!!!!!! I was shocked. I didn't think Madagascar ever got cold. And everyone keeps saying it's been hot and I just look at them like they're crazy. Haha. I guess it's because I came from one of the hottest and stickiest places on the mission. But it's been very refreshing getting away from that heat. Everything here is made of brick too. No more grass huts, which I might miss. There's mountains too! So it kinda reminds me of Utah. Overall, I'm loving it here. Loved Tamatave and the coastal feel, but I think this kind of surrounding fits me better.

     My companion is Elder Randrianantenaina. He's from Antsirabe. He speaks fairly good English, but usually we communicate in Malagasy. It's been really good for me and the language! Even in just the past couple days that I've been here I've seen lots of improvement in the way I speak. Plus he's good enough at English that if I have something I don't know how to say in Malagasy, I can get it cleared up. So we communicate just fine! I can safely say that he is the nicest guy I've ever met. Soooo willing to help in any way and has just been so good to me. I'm getting taken care of real good out here. I also live with another Malagasy that I forgot the name of, and Elder Cannault from my MTC group. He's a French guy and he speaks good English. Missing my American buddies, but this is still good. I'm sure we'll all get along just fine.

     Another nice thing about Tana is that we work in a ward now instead of a branch. There's much more organization and structure to it which is nice. The members have all been super nice to me. Everyone has been saying, "Ah! Efa mahay amin'ny teny gasy tsara ianao!" Which I don't feel like I'm all that good yet, but it's been nice hearing it. People back in Tamatave were a lot more unforgiving and would always remind me I'm mbola tsy mahay, still not good. So it's been nice getting some encouragement. Haha :) Hopefully it's because I'm actually doing good and not just because they're way nice.

     Well, I don't really know what else to write for now... Sorry if I forgot something in your questions, I'll be sure to clear up some stuff next week. But for now I gotta get to other emails and whatnot. Busy P-Day ahead! But I love you all so much! Talk to y'alls next week! Tiako be ianareo!!!

-Elder Mum

Hey guys, I'm sorry but I'm completely out of time. Crazy day today, so much we had to do. So I'm sorry if I didn't get to your emails, but I read every one! Love you all again!!! And pictures coming up next week, this cyber is terrible and won't read my card or anything. Til next week!

-Elder Mum

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Curveball of a Week

       Whoa! I'm back at the cyber emailing again... That was fast! The weeks just keep flying by. It's almost a little scary how fast it's going... But I guess that's what happens when you're living it up and enjoying the work.

      Won't lie, kindof a crazy week! But I'll get on to what made it so crazy a little later on. You know me, gotta keep you all on the edge ;) So we officially have 5 baptisms coming up this Saturday, bap interviewed and all. Way excited for them! It's so cool to see people changing and preparing themselves to make this big step in their lives. And what's even cooler about it is that it's all them. They're the ones that make the choice to come closer to Christ. Yeah, we as missionaries might help them see the things that they need to do and invite them to be baptized, but in the end they're the ones that change their own lives. It's just so awesome to see that as a missionary. Anyways, super excited to say the least.

      This week has been mostly rainy, which I don't mind a bit actually. It's been keeping things cooler, so I'm all for it! Got some good teaching in and a full schedule up until Friday. That's when Elder Fisher got sick with a fever and different things. So the past couple of days have been interesting. One of them I got to go on a split with Randriamamonjisoa who works in Ambolomadinka. It was nice getting to see around a different area a little. We stopped by a wayyy cool member's house. We sat and waited for another guy to meet us there. While we were waiting, the dad of the member family pulled up a chair and sat next to me and we had a full on conversation in Malagasy. We talked about Madagascar and the U.S. and all kinds of random things in between for about 10 minutes. It was just like talking to an old friend! It just felt so great being able to just talk and not really have to think about it. Still not fluent by any means, but I've improved a lot! So that was my split. Then yesterday I stayed at the house with Elder Fisher all day. It was one of the longest days of my life just sitting in that house. Got some studying done and cleaned up a bit though, so it wasn't all bad. Sure hope he gets feeling better soon. Seems to be doing better today, so that's good.

        So we had kindof a bizarre experience with a drunk guy this week. Haha it was so weird! I figured I had to share it. So we were just about to walk into the gate of a house that we were going to teach, when a guy who was clearly wasted stopped us and wanted us to come to his house and teach him. He kept saying over and over in English, "I must hear the word of God." We kindly invited him to come to church and eventually we were able to get into our time. Well, halfway through the lesson, he comes back and just walks in the house, sits in the corner, and tells us to keep going. Everyone was weirded out at that point, but we let him be anyways. Every once and a while he'd say some random thing in English and me and Fish would be trying so hard not to bust out laughing. But we made it through alright! Then as we were leaving that house, Jerry (the drunk guy's name) insisted on having us come teach at his house. We tried getting out of it saying we had a busy schedule, but eventually we caved and decided to just go see his house. The funniest was when he'd say things like, "Come with me! If you believe in God, believe in me!" And just the way he said it was the most hilarious thing to us. It's just one of those things you had to hear for yourself. So we got to his house, exchanged numbers, read Esther 9:1 with him cause he wanted to, received his hand goodbye, and left. So that's my crazy random story for the week!

        I've been getting a few requests to talk about investigators more. I'll try to be better at that! But 4 of our baptisms coming up all live together and are all women. 2 bebes (grandmas) and 2 grandchildren. They were actually a referral from another missionary. They had already learned quite a bit, but recently they just moved to Mangarivotra. So we've been working with them and getting them set for baptism. Since there's no man in the house, we've had to get a lot of members to come and help us teach, which helped a lot I think. Then the other baptism we have is another girl that lives with the Elder's quorum president and his wife. Her name is Lily and she's from Tana. Kinda sad. Don't know many details but she's an orphan. But it's good that she's been living with solid members who have taken her in. She's 15 and a little shy. But she's opened up a lot to missionaries since the first time she was taught. So cool she's getting baptized finally!

         Okay. Now the moment you've all been waiting for... Transfer news!! So one of my best buds that's been living with us, Elder Razafimandimby, is going back home to Antsirabe since his two years are gone. Elder Austin is going to Toliary, that lucky duck. And then there was the curveball. The very last thing I was expecting. Apparently Mangarivotra, my area, is closing down. I guess there's just not enough missionaries to be specifically assigned there. It'll still get worked, just combined with another area. But still, it was a huge shock to me. AND. I'm getting transferred to an area called Ampitatafika. I'M GOING TO TANA!!!! I'm super excited about it. I've been kindof going back and forth between being sad about leaving Tamatave and being so excited about this new area I'm going to. I wasn't expecting to leave my first area this soon, no one was. But I'm excited for what lies ahead of me. Plus I get a Malagasy companion. I forgot his name.. but I'm actually very excited about that. It should speed up the learning a little, that's for sure!

        So yeah... My week in a coconut shell. Lots of changes coming up! But what I've learned from the past is that change is usually a good thing. My next email will be from Tana! So crazy to think. Anyhoo, better get going on some other stuff. Love you all!!!!! Tiako ianareo!!!!

-Elder Mum
A giant chameleon we saw on the side of the road!

Waiting on bap interviews for 2 hours. This is me being a good happy boy while I wait ;)


This is Mario. A member in our ward that helps us teach from time to time. Way cool guy.

My new planner! Found a good use for all those Starburst wrappers.

This morning saying goodbye to Elder 'Dimby'. Tena namako be izy! Gonna miss this guy.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Just your typical week in Madagascar

       Hello again loved ones! It's that time again, where I sit in front of a blank email and try to fill it up with the adventures I had during the week. Except it doesn't even seem like it's been a week since my last email at all... It went by suuuuuuper fast. Some weeks just go by faster than others I suppose.

       Not a whole lot of interesting things happened this past week. Not much going on other than the usual. Everything is still quiet after the election news, so that's a good thing. Still way hot here! It's funny, when I first got here, everyone was telling me that November is when it would really start getting hot. Then when November was up, it was December that it was really supposed to get cookin. Now everyone's been saying it only gets hotter into February. To be honest, I really haven't noticed a difference. Ever since I got here, all it's been is hot and muggy to me. Haven't felt it get hotter. Maybe I'm just kinda used to it now or something. The other missionaries have told me that Tana actually gets way cold. That sounds like heaven to me right now. Haha I'm not in any hurry to get out of Tamatave right now, but when it comes time to leave I'd be pretty down to bounce to Tana or somewhere else where it's cooler and dryer (which is practically anywhere else). Speaking of, we'll have transfer news by the time I email next week! The past 6 weeks have flown by... Crazy how another one is just about here. There's a small chance I could be getting transferred this time, but it'll most likely happen in the one after. It'll be exciting to see what happens in the next couple months!

       A couple days ago I got to go on a split with another missionary in our district, Elder Eppich. He's a way cool guy. He came in the same group as Elder Moulton. We taught in our area, so I got to lead yet again. It's always a great learning experience for me though. It stretches me more with the language having to lead all the lessons for the day. The Malagasy is still a little rough. Like a cabinet door, just need to break a few edges, grind out the cross scratches with an orbital, and 505 and scotchbrite until it's nice and smooth. But I'm getting there. Everyone has been telling me that I speak very mazava and that it's very clear what I say. That's been a big boost of confidence for me. Plus I can at least get a good jist of what everyone else is saying, even with this crazy dialect. Overall, still learning, but still steadily improving too.

        Not much else I can think of to say. Another good week in good ol' Mada. Still keeping plenty busy with all the people we teach. It's looking like we'll have a few baptisms coming up in a couple weeks, so I'm pretty excited about that. Anyhoo, you guys are the best! Every week I have a fat pile of emails waiting for me which always makes my day. Thank you all for your love and support for me :) Talk at you all tomorrow! (Or at least it'll feel like tomorrow) Tiako ianareo!! Amin'ny herina indray!

-Elder Mum

Kinda failed at taking pictures this week... But I'll do my best to get a good collection for next time! This one kinda sums up the past couple of days well. It's been very cloudy and rainy, a nice break from the sun beating down on us all the time!

Our house! -18.148184,49.391629. If you type these coordinates into Google Earth, it should take you to the house I live at! Just a random thing I thought you guys might like.

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014? Already??

      Tratra ny taona vaovao daholo! Happy New Years everyone! Literally in Malagasy, it means, 'catch the new year' which I think is kinda funny. Guess you can't take this language too literal sometimes. It's so weird to think that 2013 is already gone. Can someone explain it to me? Cause I swear yesterday I was saying goodbye to 2012. Guess time just keeps a'flyin!

       This week was at least a little more interesting than last. New Years is more of a big deal for Malagasies than any other holiday. Ya know how Christmas is the big thing back home and then things are winding down a bit by New Years? Well it's the complete opposite here. Christmas is just the warm up for celebrating New Years. It was a much bigger deal, which made the day a little interesting for all the missionaries. All the times we had that day were dropping like flies. We still went out and tried to stop by a few people with literally no success. We had a whopping amount of 1 time. Haha. At least it's something, right? It was pretty much the same story for the other missionaries too. We did get the house cleaned up pretty good though! That's how we celebrated while everyone else and their dog was getting drunk. Haha okay so not everyone or their dog. But the streets were in no short supply of drunk people. All around interesting day that I'm glad is over to be honest. On New Years Eve, we didn't really do much. We planned to stay up til midnight, but we all just fell asleep while talking.. Haha. One of the Elders set an alarm for a minute before 12, so we got up, said Happy New Years, and went back to sleep. Kinda uneventful, but at least I didn't miss it!

        In other news, the elections are officially over! Yayyyyyy. The big winner is a guy named Hery. His last name is way too long for me to remember. I don't know anything about him, but he looks like a cheery guy from all of his propaganda posters everywhere. Haha anyways, hope he does some good for Madagascar. Things here were pretty quiet after the results came in. I heard there were a couple of small riots and some problems between the police and a gang, but I didn't see anything. So nothing big came out of the elections, at least here in Tamatave. Tana might've been a little more heated, but as far as I know, it was nothing like the results back in 2009 where missionaries had to get evacuated. Glad nothing like that happened. Glad all the election stuff is done and out of the way.

         Other than that, not much else new around here. Me and Fish are rockin the area. We now have 12 investigators with bap dates. We may only have about half of those work out as planned depending on if we can get a few of them coming to church. But still, that's 12 who have accepted the invitation to be baptized. Hard to get down about that! The language is still a bit of a challenge for me sometimes, but I've been able to get by pretty well with where I'm at. Still working and trying to get better all the time. I love lessons where we read from the Book of Mormon. I don't have a whole lot of strengths yet when it comes to Malagasy, but reading with decent pronunciation is definitely of of the few. I'm starting to really love this language and I'm gonna do all I can to be able to use it well.

        Funny story of the week! We were waiting outside an investigator's house for the guy to show up and while were were there, a random guy came up to us and started greeting us as the French do. You know, that thing where they 'kiss' both sides of the cheeks. Yeah. Very hairy, sweaty, and just awkward... haha. So there you have it.

        That's about all I have for the week. I'm gonna get on to other emails and stuff now, but Happy 2014 to everyone! I sure do love you guys. 'Til next week!

Tiako ianareo!!

-Elder Mumford

Random kids that came up goofing around with us while we were waiting for a time. Fun stuff :)

Another view of the our church building! Coolest one ever :)

The only Christmas lights I saw.

Me with those kids again.