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

Monday, November 17, 2014

The new squad in Mahajanga

Hey everyone!! How's it going? Hope all is cold and well over there. I heard there was some snow? What's that? Well whatever that is, we sure got none of it here. It's hot and only getting even hotter and more humid. Hoping we get some rain on Christmas though! Anyways, I'll stop complaining about the heat and get on with other stuff.

So this week all the transfers went down! And for here it all worked out about as perfectly as you could ask for it. On Wednesday night I took Razaza to the airport. We had some time before he had to board, so we waited and there came Elder Cartmill, on the same plane that would be taking Razaza out to Tana. So you couldn't really ask for a more perfect situation. I never had to be by myself. No, I didn't get to fly anywhere, just picked up Elder Cartmill from the airport, but it's all good. We got back to the house, dumped his luggage off and went straight to work with the time we had left that evening. So far it's been really fun working with him. He's originally from Utah, but has been in North Dakota for most of his life. When he's done with his mission he's gonna attend school at the U. We're both kinda dorks, so we've gotten along pretty well. He's american and speaks english, so it's been a little bit of a readjustment talking in English so much. But I'm getting better at it! He just got back from working down in Antsirabe where it's really cold. And now he's in the hottest place in the mission! So that's gotta be fun for him. He hasn't died yet, so at least that's something. But yeah, so far I'm loving the new change.

Let's see... I don't have a whole lot of news off of the top of my head that I can think of other than that. This is awkward... Uhm. Oh! Bebe and Dadabe finally made it to church! We were sitting there in the chapel and the sacrament had just gotten done. I had almost given up hope of seeing them at church when through the opening doors they walk in! That made me oh so happy. We had watched the Restoration DVD with them the day before and talked about how Joseph Smith got an answer to his prayer about the truth. He didn't decide all of a sudden to go out in the woods to pray and voila. No. There was a lot of stuff that happened before that. He had to work! He had to read the scriptures and study it out. He had to get out and attend different churches. He had that disire. The answer came because he worked at it. So that was a really good lesson about how faith requires work, and I think it really pushed them to get out and come to church. Way cool!

Let's see... I ate crab for the first time today. It's called foza in the official dialect, but here it's drakaka! I swear they have a different word for the most random things out here. Before the mission I wasn't much of a seafood person, but I think I'm now turning into a fish because I like it so much. Yummy :)

Anyhoo, I'll probably have more exciting adventures for y'all next week. For now we're kinda in a rush. Lots of stuff we have planned to do today, like deep clean the house, shopping. Oh yeah. It's gonna be a blast. Love you all! Have an awesome week! Enjoy the few pics I got up on the bucket too. Tiako be ianareo!!


Elder Mumf

Eating some drakaka! (crab)

A member's drawing of Elder Mumford! I didn't know I had earrings though

Monday, November 10, 2014

Another Transfer in the Boky

Akory aby jiabijiaby! Yes indeed, I have the news right here ready to type up. But like the mahazatra y'all will just have to read all the stuff I have to say about my week before that. Or ya know, just scroll down. But I trust you guys that you won't do that. Let's just say for now that the news is pretty mahafaly an'ahy.

I can't even believe another transfer is done... I'm already at least halfway through my stay here in Mahajanga. That's a really weird thought.. Anyways. I had a pretty good week. Last P-day after the cyber we went and just kinda wandered around Mahajanga around the beach, and it kinda rekindled that excitement I had about being here. When I first got here I was just out of my mind excited to be here in a place where not many people get to go, but then as the time went on the excitement started to wear off a little. But wandering around really made me appreciate this place. Not that I didn't appreciate it before, but it reminded me of just how cool this place really is. The ocean. The funky looking trees. The heat (yes, even that). I love this place.

Here's a little story of something interesting that happened this week. So we had just got dogged by a time and we were starting to head out again when a man running at full speed zipped right past us. This struck me as weird at first because Malagasies are NEVER in a hurry to do anything, let alone running full speed. But then I got my explanation. Another man followed running full speed pointing to the one in front shouting, "MPANGALATRA!! MPANGALATRA!!"(mpangalatra means thief). Then out of nowhere everyone within earshot dropped whatever they were doing and started chasing the guy. It was a pretty interesting site! A huge group of people were gathered in literally two seconds running after this guy. They didn't end up catching him. He was too fast. But lesson: Never steal anything in Madagascar or you will get hurt. Well. Don't steal at all! Haha. Anyhoo, just another glimpse into Malagasy culture for ya. They take that very seriously here.

The work is still going. We're still in kindof a rebuild mode, getting a more solid program. We've started to do more stuff with the members like visiting them, sharing spiritual thoughts and asking for referrals. So far not a heap load of success as far as getting names, but I think it's done more to gain the trust of the members and it's helped us get closer to them so that they'll be more willing to have their friends learn from us and whatnot. Still looking for some ballin' investigators. We already have a lot, just like what I've said before, lots of marriage problems and different things keeping them from being able to get baptized. But we're doing our best mixed with a little patience and hopefully we'll start seeing things moving more. I've got a couple little mini spiritual experiences from our teaching this week. We taught an older man named Rajaonarison and his family. He is one of those that I mentioned before, where he's ready in every way, just not vita soratra yet. Anyways, we taught about missionary work and who is responsible for it. Immediately the answer came that we are all responsible for the preaching of the gospel. Almost everyone in their family out of nowhere started bearing testimony about how the things we have taught them has blessed their lives. One his daughters said that since we've been teaching she's been praying for her husband to stop drinking and that her prayers have been answered and that she's having a better relationship with her husband. I thought that was pretty dang cool. We are all so blessed to have the gospel, shouldn't we share it with others? Yes. Another cool experience I had was teaching a middle aged couple. We've taught them for a while. Leonie and Paullin are their anarana. They still haven't made up their minds about baptism, because Paullin is still not convinced that this is right for him. Well it was my turn to lead the lesson this time and I had nothing prepared. They started off with a question about that one scripture in Matthew about making the Lord's paths straight and what it means. We discussed a few things it could mean, but that one way is through repentance and through baptism and how that's where it all starts. From then a scripture came to mind in Mosiah 18 about Alma when he went and baptized the people in the waters of Mormon. He said if the people had a desire to serve their fellow men and to make a covenant with God, then what is keeping them from being baptized? They didn't decide then to get baptized, but I could tell it touched them and that they're gonna pray about it. I'm just grateful that even though I didn't have a lesson plan or anything that I was just able to go with the flow and let the spirit take over. Heavenly Father really does look after his missionaries!

We also had some baptisms! I already talked a little about it before. It was for two primary aged girls that we've been teaching. I got to interview them and they passed with flying colors. Baptizing in the ocean... Never gets old. I could stay out there forever. But I still have work out here to do on the shore so that more people can come in the water with me. Each baptism is so special to me and I'm forever grateful that I get to be a part of it all. That's when those days of getting out in the heat and putting in the sweat and blood (okay maybe not blood) pays off. I love this work!

Anyways, this letter is very long! And we have a busy P-day to get to. I love you all so much. Keep looking after home while I'm gone. The time is flying, but I'm still here and I've still got work to do. Have a great week everybody! Tiako ianareo jiaby!!

-Elder Mumf

Oh and transfer news!! Almost forgot... Haha. I'm staying in Mahajanga!! (no surprise there). Elder Razazarohavana is heading back to Tana. So I'm getting a new companion, who happens to be in the same MTC group as me. You might remember that picture at the airport in London that a man snapped with me and that other Elder. Well. That's my new companion!!! Elder Cartmill is his name. We're already buds, so I'm way excited that he's coming out here!! It's gonna be a pretty fun time having him around. So yeah, there you have it! Love you all!