Monday, February 24, 2014

Fosas, Crocodiles, and Lemurs. Oh my!!

Hello once again!! How is everyone? Hope all is well. It's been another good day for me here. To be honest, the weeks have been flying by so fast that it's hard to think back to anything interesting that has happened. Every day  is pretty much the same story: get up, eat, study, eat some more, go to work, eat, and sleep all repeated 7 times. Haha. But I'll try to get some good stuff in here.

The highlight of the week would definitely have to be going to the Croc Farm last P-Day. It was so cool! It was just like a zoo you'd find in America, only a little smaller. There were, of course, crocodiles. Lots and lots of them. Except they were all locked up in these big exhibits so we didn't get to touch them. Oh well. I survived. Ha ha ha. I'm so funny ;) They had a huge-o turtle there too! If I were to curl up in a ball, I still might not be as big as that thing. Crazy! Saw some fosas too, they were in cages also, but they were still pretty interesting to look at. They look basically just like giant rats! The best part of it all though was definitely the lemurs! I finally got to see some up close and personal. There was a little area where they were all jumping around from tree to tree. It's stunning to watch it in real life. They're incredible! They weren't the type of lemur that climbs all over you. But I still got them to come down and eat from my hand! Their little hands are so soft! Haha. It was a way fun experience. Hopefully I can get some pictures up this week. But if not, I'll try soon! We also got to go with a few other missionaries from our zone. So that was fun. The airport is right next to the Croc Farm, so there were planes coming in and out. One of the older missionaries tried to pull the whole, "So how far away do you think that plane is?" Luckily Elder Moulton warned me of that ahead of time, so I straight up said, "18 months" and they were totally stumped. Haha so that felt good. I also got to hang out with my boi Elder Rice, and it was nice to be around him and catch up a little.

The rest of the week was kinda uneventful, other than the awesome teaching we got to do of course. We have some pretty mazoto investigators that have consistently been coming to church and progressing, so our bap program for the 29 is looking promising. One of my favorite investigators is a younger-ish couple named Michelle and Ninah. They had just started learning by the time I got here and since then they've been very involved in the church. Last week we noticed that they had some alcoholic beverages in they cupboards, so we went ahead and taught them about the Tenin'ny Fahendrena and they were very accepting of it. They said the drinks weren't theirs but someone else's that lives nearby. I still don't get why they had them, but at the following time, there wasn't a trace of them to be found. Ninah drinks coffee, but she's quitting now. It's just so cool to have people like that who are so ready to change. And I know they're going to be blessed for it. So there you have it, the investigator spotlight of the week. Haha.

Not much else to say, just still chuggin along. Randri has had me lead more and more of our times, and I'm getting pretty comfortable that I could hold my own if I had to. It's good preparation for when I get a trainee next week! Haha kidding *knock on wood* This transfer news likely won't affect me at all, except that's what I said last time and look what happened. Haha. Guess you never know! It's insane how fast this transfer has gone. I feel like yesterday I made that extremely long bus ride from Tamatave. Time is ticking! Anyhoo, the language is still coming along, me and Elder Randrianantenaina are still workin hard out here. All is still well here! Hope y'all have a dandy week!! Tiako ianareo!!!

-Elder Mum

Monday, February 17, 2014

Another Day Gone

        Manahoana indray! It's been another good day. I say day because it really doesn't feel like it's been a week at all. Time definitely hasn't slowed down a bit. But things are still going good here. Ampitatafika is still treating me pretty well and I'm still very much alive and kickin! (Not literally, no worries).

     The work is still going very well. We're teaching lots of solid investigators who are progressing and making their way up to baptism. The attendance at church absolutely errupted! The head count was 200. I haven't seen that many people in one room since sacrament meetings at home. We had to keep pulling in chairs from other rooms until the chappel was absolutely stuffed. I eventually had to share a chair with Randri. Haha. It was so great! And 18 of those were investigators, so hopefully they keep comin.

     We did have 8 baptisms scheduled for the 8th of March, but we ended up rescheduling all of them for the 29th, just cause of vita soratra problems and whatnot. But now we have 12 scheduled for then, so hopefully out of all those we'll have a full bap program for that day. Hopefully the people will just get married and just get it done. Haha. But patience is a virtue! It's a very common problem here. There's lots of people who want to get baptized, but they only get married "fomba gasy" and not legally. The only thing we can do is just keep encouraging them to get it done and show them the blessings that will come from that sacrifice. Hopefully they'll pull through on that. Ho hitansika.

      Ankoatr'izay, not much else to share. Another kinda quiet week as far as interesting things happening. This past week was really good for the language. I just made the decision to be more dedicated to it and give it a 100%. My planner has been full of words I've written down that I didn't recognize. And with the help of my companion it's all up in my noodle now. Still learning, but I'm feeling more and more mahay with each day that passes.

      I'll try to get more up about investigators next week. We're kinda in a hurry today because we're going to the Croc Farm soon! Haha. It's a place with crocs obviosly and lemurs!! I'm way excited for it. My camera will be pretty busy today! Anyways, sorry if I don't get to all of your emails. But just know that I love you all and that your support means everything to me! You guys are the best. Have another great week! Tiako ianareo!!!

-Elder Mumford

Monday, February 10, 2014

6 Months In???

       Another week gone like that. Not gonna lie, some days are slower than others, but the weeks keep on flying, each one faster than the next. It's so weird.

    Haha anyways, hello everyone! How are all y'all doin? I'm still loving it here. Ampitatafika is still treating me well. The work is going well and we're making real progress with the paroasy (ward). But nothing really out of the ordinary happened this past week. I caught a cold, nothing too bad though. Trying to think of other things, but I'm stuck... And because I'm still kinda stuffed up I don't feel like thinking all that much. Haha. So maybe for now I'll talk a little bit more about life in Tana. That alright with you? Well hopefully it is cause I'm going for it anyways.

     We live on the second story of a pretty nice house. It has no A/C anywhere, but that's because there's absolutely no need for one! We have screens on our windows too. That's been super nice! I know that's a random thing to be stoked about, but it's amazing the little things like that you come to appreciate after you've lived a while without it. So yeah, we get a nice breeze without the bugs because of that. I like our house, not as big as the other one in Tamatave, but still nice. I'll have to get pictures up of it one of these days if I can remember. Oh and we do live in our area again which is way nice. But it's a big enough area that we still have to take busses everywhere, so not much different than if we didn't live in the area. The streets are a little more dirtier and there's more annoying vazaha haters here, but it hasn't bothered me much. I still like being more in the hills and mountains. And I love looking out at the seas of green rice paddies. It's nice and cool here. People are always saying how hot it is and I just think they're crazy. Guess that's what happens when you come from working in one of the hottest places in the mission. And every time I feel the heat coming on I just remind myself of those three syllables, Ta-ma-tave, and I instantly feel colder. Works like a charm!

     P-days in Tana are a lot different. There's so much more to do here and so little time. In Tamatave P-days were pretty chill, but here they're almost stressful. Haha. I shouldn't say that. It just requires a lot more planning and time management. It's mostly just the cool shopping places that are around. And we've been talking about going to a lemur park next week, so hopefully that goes through! And if it does, I'll be sure to get lots of pictures.

      I think that's about all I have for the week. I know, kindof a lame short email. Just nothing too exciting happened and I'm still not quite 100% to feel like getting into a whole lot of detail... But next week will be different, I promise! Everything is still going well here. Still getting along with Randri, still making lots of progress with the language, and still working hard. And just keepin on keepin on. I think that'll do it for now. Love you all! Have a great week! Tiako ianareo!!!

-Elder Mumford

P.S. We're at a better cyber today so I should be able to get pictures up on my photobucket. I'll also try to get a few sent out in emails, but if not that then they should at least be up on photobucket. Enjoy!

P.P.S. Happy Valentine's Day!!!!!!

-18.935790, 47.485769 The location of our house in Ampitatafika!

Gidro! (lemur) Saw this guy leashed up near an investigators house. Cool huh?

(Some more pictures from photobucket)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Rainy Week in Ampitatafika

       Manahoana daholo io! Hey everyone! It's been another good week here in my new area. And it's been raining every day! I'd say it's already rained here more than it ever did in Tamatave which is weird, but true. Aside from it being muddy, I'll take the rain any chance I can get!

      The work is still going well. I'm still getting to know my way around this place. It's weird replacing my bike with bus rides and walking everywhere, but I'm liking it just fine. There's a lot more roads and things for me to remember here, but I'm gettin there! I don't really know a whole lot about our investigators yet, so details on them might need to come in another letter... But we have lots of new ones on our program. I didn't mention this last week, but we were actually working two areas, here in Ampitatafika and in a place called Tanjombato. That area was closed, so we've had to stop by there a little. It's been hard cause it's a good hour bus ride away. But we got the news this week that we'll have missionaries back over there. Wahoo!!! Haha. Lots of stress off our shoulders. It's been nice just focusing on Ampitatafika now. There's about 30 missionaries working in Tana I think now. But Tana is huge, so it's all divided up. Our area is about as far away from the office as any area in Tana, but I'm still loving it.

      I also forgot to mention we had a baptism last week! I left 5 baptisms in Tamatave, but I still got to be here for a few. Plus I got to baptize a kid. It's such a cool experience! Pictures to come. As far as I know, the baptisms all went through in Tamatave. Haven't heard anything yet, but we'll see. And yesterday we had special visitors come to church with us! Sister Cloward and Elder Cloward that work at the office, Elder Jaques something of the Area Seventy, and a couple others that I can't remember the names of from Salt Lake. I got to sit with them and be one of the Translators, which was stressful at first, but I then realized that I my understanding in Malagasy has gotten way better. There were gaps, but I was at least able to get the main ideas across. So that was a great experience for me! I'm glad they were able to come with us.

      Other than that, not really much new. Just still doing good here in Madagascar. I know this email was pretty short, but I'd like to get some more personal emails in this week and try to get pictures. I love all of you! Have a great week everyone! Tiako ianareo!

-Elder Mumford

Me with some of our visitors we had at church! I forgot their names... So maybe if you recognize them you could tell me.