Monday, October 27, 2014

Ny Fihaonamben'ny Fiangonana!

Hey hey everyone! Don't have a whole lot of time left before we need to go, but I'll try to get in a good update. Everything is still going well here and I'm feeling better. I just had a dumb cold that's been hangin around, but it's all but gone now. Just a little stuffed up, but that's all. It's still way hot here, but what can ya do? Still loving it out here in Mahajanga though.

So this week we got to watch Conference with our branch! It was good to finally get to see all the stuff you all have been talking about from it. I'll probably have to watch it all again in English to get the full experience, but it was still tsara! I was kinda surprised. Back in the days of the MTC when we listened to what a conference talk in Malagasy I didn't think I'd ever be able to understand anything. Well now I can pretty much understand it all. The thing about conference is they use a wide vocabulary, so there was still some things I learned from it which was good. But yeah, it was fun listening to it all in Malagasy. But at the same time listening to straight Malagasy for a long time was tiring, so I took some notes and doodled a little (jereo Photobucket). As you can see I was getting a lot out of it! Haha. But yeah, it started Saturday morning. Funny story, but kindof not, right before the person saying the prayer was about to close the conference with 'amen', the power went out. So everyone was kindof just sitting there awkwardly wondering what to do since the session wasn't officially ended. Haha. But we were all excused and came back two hours later to catch the next session and the power was still out! We waited for a little bit but still nothing, so we went out to work. It was kinda sad we missed the Saturday Afternoon Session, but we'll probably set up another time for everyone to watch it. The next day the power was actually working, so we got to watch all of Sunday and then the Priesthood Session for the men. During that one I was thinking about home a lot and what we'd do afterwards. Going and getting Jamba Juice... Mmm :) Just one more conference to go! How crazy is that?? I may have 9 months left, but that seems next to nothing to me now! Such little time. Gotta make the most of it.

Other than that I can't really think of a whole lot else that's new. The work is still going well. We've worked more through referrals and also returned to some former investigators that seem pretty promising in this go around. I don't really have a whole lot to share this week.. The mish is weird, if you don't write down specific things that happen, the weeks all fee l the exact same! So I'll be better at doing that. Part of it is just because I'm in a little rush right now and still not feeling 100%. But rest assured that I'm still alive and well out here. I love you all and hope you have a great week!! Tiako ianareo!!

-Elder Mumford :)

Talk about successful conference notetaking!

Robert D. Hales when he speaks malagasy...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Faith. The Principal of Action

Hey hey everyone! Hope everyone is still good and had an excellent week. I'm feeling a little under the weather right now and coming down with a cold. So this email might be kinda short so I can get back and get a little rest before tonight. Just a heads up there!

This week was a kinda weird one to be honest. Lots and lots of times fell through. People that are normally home weren't, so we were kinda all over the place with our program. But it still ended up being alright. I don't think I mentioned anything about this in my letter last week, but this week we had what's called an OLC. I forget exactly what it stands for, but it was a little conference put on for all the missionaries in outlying areas like this. It was between President Adams and the Assistants, us in Mahajanga, the four missionaries in Fort Dauphin, the two in Toliara, and four over in Mauritius. It was really cool, it was pretty much just like any zone meeting, just over Skype. I got to lead the music! It was kinda weird waving my hand in front of a computer, but still kinda fun. We did our little area reports and talked about stats and discussing ways we can better mampandroso the work in the areas. Some of it was talking about getting back to the basics. We talked a lot about commitments and how people aren't going to progress unless they act on the message we bring to them. Faith is a principle of action! It was a lot of that kinda thing. It was just so great to see some familiar face again. I absolutely love being out here in Mahajanga and I wouldn't have it any other way. It can just get a little lonely sometimes being the only white person in an isolated area. So it was really good to see everyone and hearing other missionaries and their voices. And I'm hoping soon when this transfer is up I'll get to fly to Tana with Razaza and pick up my new companion so I can say hey to everyone there. But. We'll see!

Like I said before, I don't have a whole lot to talk about this week. I'm not feeling good and just wanna sleep. Haha. Let's see. We have ny Fihaonambe'ny Fiangonana this week! General Conference. So it'll be fun hearing Dallin H. Oaks and all of them speaking Malagasy. Those men really do have the gift of tongues! Hopefully we'll have a decent turnout as well. I've heard lots of people come to the sessions in the morning, but then like 12 show up in the evenings.. So we've stressed that all the sessions are important, so hopefully they'll come to it. I'm excited for that though.

One thing I've tried to do better at this week is talking to everyone, like it says in Preach My Gospel. Especially this past week we've had a little time for contacting, so we went out and kinda just wandered around talking to people in our path. And with me being a quieter person sometimes I hesitate to just go up to people and talking. But I've really pushed myself to just put myself out there and go for it. Whenever I've had the slightest feeling we should talk to someone I go up and just find something to make a simple conversation with. Then it just kinda naturally comes up about what we're doing here and it leads to talking about the church. If nothing else people know more about us and not wondering what this vazaha is doing in their country. But we've had people actually come up to us in the process interested in what we do. So it's kindof a win win just getting out there and talking. I've also seen my malagasy improve. Sometimes I'll get words that I've never heard before, but just from my knowledge of patterns and how malagasy works I can pick out the meaning right there and then without skipping a beat. I don't know, this week I've just felt a little boost of confidence like I've moved up a grade or something. Haha I don't know, I just know that no matter how good I am now that I'm still learning and working at getting better and the the Lord is there with me through it all. Tena tiako ny teny gasy!!

One kinda funny thing happened in a branch council. We were sitting waiting for everyone to get there, but in the meantime the Relief Society President commented on how dark my skin was getting. Face and all. And she told me I was literally turning into a Malagasy! Hahaha. So that was kindof a funny thing this week. I am getting a nice tan here. There's a good side of this place being freakishly hot! Let's see. I've said this before, but the power is always out. The power company here is having some problems I guess. So it's out quite a bit whenever we get home from work. So candles always come in handy. And it's funny when the power comes back on because you can hear all the little kids screaming "Yaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy!!!" I'll admit, I gave out one of those the last time it came back on. The AC depends on it!

Anyhoo, sorry if this letter is kinda lame. I run out of things to say sometimes. And I'm gonna try to go get some rest. I've decided technology hates me and won't let me get pictures up on the bucket anymore, but I managed to get a few up this week, so ankafiza! I love you all and you're always in my thoughts and prayers. Never forget that tall skinny white boy out in Madagascar. Still loving it out here. All is well. 'Til next week! Tiakoa ianareo!!

Elder Mumf

Monday, October 13, 2014

Another week Iany

Hey hey everyone!! How's it all going back there?? Things are still pretty good here in Mahajanga. It's hard to believe we're almost halfway into October. The time just keeps on going. And yes, it's still pretty hot here. I've heard it's only been about 90 degrees at the most. Sure feels hotter than that, but I guess thats humidity for ya. It really hasn't been all that bad, just drinking lots of water to stay alive. Haha. Everything is still going well here and I'm still loving the life.

The work out here is still going alright. We've made some changes to the program, got some new people in the mix and things are looking to improve with those we're teaching. The problem is that nobody is vita soratra here... It's kinda rare to meet a couple that is legally married. I've heard that's pretty common the further away you get from Tana. It's still kindof a new thing for malagasies and it's still not really the fomba or the way they do it here. They get married culturally but not officially. That's been one of the biggest obstacles we've faced out here, but we're still trying to be a good encouragement for them to just get it done so that they can be baptized! But overall the teaching is still going well. And we're finally getting somewhere with the home teaching. Lists and assignments have been made so hopefully it won't just be another assignment on paper left undone, but that they'll actually do it and we'll see more activity here in Mahajanga.

Let's see. It's kinda hard to think of new things every week to be honest. It all kinda just feels the same. But I'll try to get something. I got a job offer to go teach English! Haha. I was teaching English at the church and there was a comorian there and said I should go teach at some place where they learn English. I declined it respectfully of course. Sundays here are always an adventure. Yesterday was actually pretty good. Not too many mishaps were had behind the keyboard and the teacher for the Gospel Principles class actually taught it and not just the missionaries! So that was nice. There's always some kind of drama in priesthood. Voices start getting louder and then it kinda turns into a mess but always ends up calming down again and things are good. Still kinda sad, but kinda funny.

Had a funny experience the other day when we had a little time to do some tracting. We came across a mother and her daughter that wanted to speak to us, and so we told them about the church and set up a return time, which didn't actually go through, but yeah. We were talking and were wondering where I was from and I told them I was Besimisaraka (one of the malagasy tribes) and that I was born in Tamatave. They obviously didn't believe me based on my skin color and I finally broke down and told them I was American. They told me I may be American by skin, but I was malagasy by mouth and that I would speak really well. So that made me feel pretty good! It's always nice to get reminders like that that I'm good at the language. It's hard to come by here, people tend to be a little more unforgiving of vazahas in Mahajanga, so it was nice to get that!

Other random stuff... I did get to play basketball for a few minutes one night. We were coming to a time we had set up, but the investigator still had some visitors over that were about to leave. So we waited for a few minutes and since there was a basketball court just outside I figured why not? So I joined a couple of guys and just shot around. Everyone would not stop commenting on how tall I was and that they were jealous. I didn't know how well I would do since I hadn't touched a basketball in forever, but I did better than I thought. I wasn't really on fire with my shot, but they were all in line to go in. Nothing a little shooting around at the Stake Center won't help when I get home! Other random thing. One of the young men in the branch knows my trainer Elder Moulton, now not 'Elder', but anyways. He's been facebooking him and I guess he's now in Uganda shooting a film. So I thought that was kinda interesting! I would love to come back to Madagascar one day and do nothing but take my camera around and take all the pictures as I want. But now as a missionary it's kinda hard to do that. But I'm still trying. Oh and sidenote, the computer is being dumb again and won't read my card. So more pictures might have to wait until next week... Sorry about that! Next week though I'll do everything I can to get them up.

Well other than that I think that'll do it for the week. Still going along just fine here with Elder Razazarohavana. Still eating lots of mangos and I'm a happy boy. Love you all! Have an awesome week! Tiako ianareo!!!

-Elder Mumf

Monday, October 6, 2014

already ôctôbra!

Ma famille et mes amis!

I don't know if my French was right up there or not. But I think you understand my tiako tenenina amin' izany. I can't believe it's already October! Haha even I'm getting sick of myself saying this, but time is going by way too fast sometimes! And I also heard it was conference this past weekend? What's that?? Haha kidding. No we did not get to watch it out here and it'll still be another few weeks. But I'm getting ahead of the ball and downloading all the talks right now. So ha! But yeah, everything is still going good out here and I'm still loving life :)

So like I said before, it's October here, the month everyone says the heat REALLY cranks up. I haven't really felt a difference yet. It's just  been dang hot from the time I stepped off the plane here in Mahajanga. Everyone says October and November are probably the hottest and the next few months after that, except by December we're supposed to start getting rain. I'm way excited for that, I still haven't seen a drop of rain here! Kinda makes me wonder how so much stuff still grows out here. Kinda weird.

The work was kinda interesting this week. We almost always have member help with us, but this week that was hard to come by due to other schedules and whatnot. So a lot of the time it was just me and Razaza fending for ourselves. Still got a ton accomplished! Had about 30+ lessons taught and we could've had more if we had the help, but we gave it our best. As far as highlights go I don't have a whole lot that stood out. We have some new peeps in our program that look like they have some good potential. Let's see. I guess one highlight is that we got to teach Sylvia's bebe and dadabe! (grandma and grandpa). I love every time we get to visit them. Bebe is my favorite little old lady! I wish I had a picture to send now. She has never eaten any pork in her life cause she hates the bad breath it gives people. She can never remember how to say my name, but she's starting to get it! I just tell people to either remember 'mum' or 'ford' the car and they usually can get it from there. Anyways, I was able to take her and dadabe through the Plan of Salvation with them understanding all of it! Which is quite the accomplishment seeing as how they have a hard time hearing. Haha. So I felt kinda proud of that. But yeah. I guess that's the one highlight I can think of. The language is still a work in progress, even now. But the more I go along the more I'm starting to feel like a native speaker. Still a little ways from that. But I'm not gonna stop learning no matter how good I get.

In other news I think I've developed an addiction to mangos since this past week. I've eaten so many of them lately. It seems like every day I have to buy another sack of them. Mada mangos... such a good fruit it should be forbidden! Let's see... Other random stuff. I saw a witch the other night. Like... literally there was some weird stuff going on. We get back to the house one night and this lady is just putting handfuls of the most random stuff places like a vazaha's car. I don't know much about that stuff, but it wasn't quite normal... Haha. So there's that! Oh and I may or may not have bought a guitar. It's a small, cheap, and kinda crappy one and I hardly ever have time to play it outside the nights when I get home and even then I usually just shower and go to bed. Haha. But at the very least it's a nice little decoration.

Anyhoo. That's about all the news I can think of for now. Sorry if these emails are kinda lame... I'll do better next week to get more experiences in. I'm just kinda drawing a blank here as usual. But. I love you guys and I'm so grateful for all the support I get from everyone! Tiako ianareo!! 'Til next week!

-Elder Mumf

So I was uploading the pics this week onto the bucket when the computer shut off randomly.. So I don't know how many got up, but I'll be sure to get more up next week. Outta time. Love you all!