Monday, June 29, 2015


This week I learned two very important words in French that a foreign traveler ought to be able to differentiate (sp?). They are gasoil and essence. Gasoil means diesel fuel and essence is regular gas. You do NOT want to fill your Citroen Berlingo with gasoil or it will make the car not so happy. Don't ask me how I learned that this week. That's not important...

This week was the 26 of June. That's Madagascar's independance day from France. And here that's celebrated more than anything else, including Christmas. When we were driving we could see a bunch of semi trucks full of beer and other zava-pisotro mahamamo on their way to Antsirabe. It was pretty obvious what they were preparing for. People celebrate hard here. At the beginning of the day, we went to go get our rice and loaka at the hotely Be Sofina (literally 'lots of ears') and on their TV was a parade going on in Tana with just the armies marching around and it was pretty boring to watch. Later that night before getting home at 7 (we got a curfew that night) we stopped by a small shop to grab some ramen and on their TV was the same setting, only it was the very popular singer Stephanie on the stage in front of a crazy audience. As the day went on, people just got gradually more and more drunk. Luckily we didn't have to put up with too much of it out in the wilderness. On the drive we saw a man laying face down in the middle of the road and we asked our member help if he was dead and he said he was just drunk. Haha kinda sketchy stuff happens on the 26th. Even the police and officers get festive. We were walking to one of our times and this officer in camo starts yelling at us in French and he was clearly drunk. I told him hi and that he was drunk and I guess that was not very 'ca va'. He started following us and we were still just going to the time we had. We got there and I told the family that we had a plan and for them to play along. The officer got there and greeted us again and me and Elder Stringfellow spoke straight English, pretending we didn't have a clue what was going on. The officer told our member help and the mother of the family to translate for us, but they had no idea how to speak English. The guy was clearly just trying to get some money out of us, but when he saw that he couldn't do anything he threw some colorful words at us and was off. It's a pretty weird experience playing dumb when you know exactly what they're saying to you. But it works. So that's my 26th story :)

Vaovao mahafaly!! So President Daniel (the branch president) is currently on his way to South Africa to get sealed to his wife. The first members in Andranomanelatra to go through the Temple. That's pretty cool, and it should help other members here get more motivated to go having another person in a similar situation having been there. Way cool! Oh man. I'm pretty dang excited to get to go back to the Temple. Something else, I think I've told y'all about Rob. He's an investigator out in Sarodroa who's been learning from the missionaries for a while. He always comes to church even though he lives far away. His problem has been that he's still in the same house as his ex wife and they haven't been able to work out any other living arrangements. But we got news that his ex wife is willing to learn from the missionaries and that they've been talking and they might get back together. So if all works out, they'll be vita soratra and get baptised together! If not, he says that she'll be moving out. So either way, he'll be able to be baptized sometime soon! It's kindof a miracle. It's gonna happen in the foreseeable future!!

Other than that, not a whole lot to ambara. The work is still going good out here and I'm a happy boy. Isn't it weird that I'll only have about 3 more letters to write until I'm home? Weird. I'll go out and make the best of this short time I have left! Keep the fort down in the meantime. Love you all. Have a great week!

-Elder Mumford

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dia ahoana baina??

Hey hey hey!! How's everyone doing this week? Hope all is well. It's still way cold out here and no rain. That's your weather update for the past month.

Well today is the 22nd, which means in exactly a month from this moment I'll be in the office getting all my stuff ready to get on the plane home. One month. It's like the last few seconds of a game in a clutch situation. It's such little time, but a lot can still happen that can impact the game. That's kinda how I'm looking at things right now. I've had a great mission so far up to this point. Do I relax and coast the way through this month, or do I play is smart and get the most out of it and drain a 3 ball from the corner pocket? Anyways, I'm starting to get a little carried away with that ohatra. Raha fintinina, I'm still gonna go hard and finish this thing off right.

So we had a little nice little surprise this week. On wednesday morning a guy who works for the church named Marcellin drops by the house. With our new car... I guess they've been wanting to take the old one out to Tana to get some repairs done on it, but for now we got a pretty new one. So it's a car that the old office couple used to drive around. It's still a Berlingo. And it's still silver. But it's a lot nicer and a lot newer. From a distance you might not even be able to tell we got a new car. But once I got behind the wheel... It was a different story. For all you who don't know stick shift, you have to have your foot on the clutch when you're first getting the car started. Then as you're putting your foot on the gas, you slowly release from the clutch and you're off. In the old car you'd almost have to floor the gas before taking your foot off the clutch. And since that was the only stick I'd driven I thought that's how it was for every car. But nope. In this new one you barely put your foot on the gas and you're off. It was a very new experience feeling what an actual stick shift is supposed to feel like. So much power!! I can go a hundred km/hour (62 mph) in the blink of an eye. It's been so fun :) We had a funny experience with it on Thursday. The key we got with it was in pretty bad shape. It looked like it had been through a dryer. But there's key itself and the black part it's attached to like most car keys. We got up to go to District Meeting and when I turned the key, the car started, but the black part broke off. At the time I didn't think that was important. Then when District Meeting was done we couldn't start it up. We tried calling everyone seeing if we could get a mechanic because we thought there was either an electrical problem or the gas wasn't getting into it or something. We even got it pulled in to the Tolman's parking lot to store over night. (The Tolman's are a senior couple working here in Antsirabe). We get a call later that night from Elder Tolman saying they got the car going again and that it turns out the key had to be connected to the black part. Apparently it's some kindof security feature. Maybe our car is just way to smart or that's what it's like for every car... I dunno! But I learned something new that day. And I didn't think of this til now, but that's what the priesthood is like! If someone has the authority, that's like the key. But if you don't have the power, then you won't get anywhere. So for those of us holding the priesthood, stay worthy so you don't lose the power. Then you'll go places in life.

Not a whole lot of new or exciting things happened besides from that. Me and Elder Stringfellow are still getting along great and he's learning the area really well. We're still trying to find more families to teach, but we're still teaching a lot whether it's less actives or investigators. Life is good!

Well pdays are becoming scarce and every one is precious, so I better go make the most of it! Til next week. Toods!

Tiako ianareo!!

-Elder Mumford

Monday, June 15, 2015

Delighting in Fatness

Yo yo! So toy ny mahazatra I'm in a pretty big rush today. We gotta go get paintings ordered and all that utah jazz. So I'll just get right to it!

Elder Mack is officially gone to Tana in an area called Ambohimangakely. But last week before he left was the first time we had gotten pulled over by the fuzz here. He was driving and we were coming back from Andranomanelatra when a policeman signals for us to pull over. The police here just sit in one spot as people drive by and check busses and large vehicles and never pull over smaller ones like the one we have. But they did last Monday. And the police here aren't like American ones. They don't give a darn about your safety or anything, they just look for money any way they can. The cop pulls us over and asks for Elder Mack's license and our insurance and registration. Which up until that point we hadn't even thought about that or knew where it was in the car. So we had to look for it and he was giving us a hard time about not having it handy. We give him a folder with all the stuff in it and says there's not enough. So we call the mission and they talk to him and almost immediately the guy saw there was nothing he could do. In frustration he tells the mission in the end of the call to teach us malagasy and that's where I almost lashed out on him. Haha. I said something I probably shouldn't have and then we were off. So that's the one time we got pulled over! Yay.

Other news... We did have an oil leak so we got that patched. Good stuff. And I got my new companion who just got here from the tropics of Tamatave. From the hot straight to the cold. Elder Stringfellow is a great guy and we've been having lots of fun so far. He's amazed at how beautiful the place is, and even now it hasn't worn out for me. I love this place! He's also from Bountiful and he grew up playing football and baseball. He played at first base through high school. So we have some things to relate to with baseball :) He's planning on going back to UVU when he gets back which is a relief because everyone else and their dog are going to BYU so that was refreshing when I got that news :) He's redheaded and a big guy. He's like a big redheaded teddy bear. Way good at the language too, so we're just tearing it up out here one lesson at a time. So that's Elder Stringfellow amin'ny ankabobeny.

This week we had a fun activity with members in the branch. We went out on Thursday and went to visit less-actives. We had a team of about 10 which I thought was going to be overwhelming and suggested we split up, but they insisted on having the big group which ended up being really good actually. We got to about 5 houses and had short visits. And on Sunday we ended up getting most of them to church! Success.

So one thing I really liked that I learned about this week was the story of Nephi and his bow. He was going with his brothers to look for some loaka to put on their rice and his steel bow breaks. His brothers get way bummed about it because they had nothing to bring back to their family and they started pouting and getting upset. It's so bad that even Lehi starts murmuring. Meanwhile Nephi was being his mazoto self and decided instead of moping around to look for another solution. He builds a bow out of wood this time and asks his father hoe, "Where shall I go to obtain food?" and then they realize they have the anona that directs their ways as long as they're faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord. He followed what the anona was telling him and went and slayed many bididia and brought it back and the fam delighted in fatness. Moral of the story? When we have problems in life and a solution we try doesn't work, we should be toa an' i Nefia and actively be searching for other vahaolana. As we do so according to the direction of the Lord (A.K.A scripture study and prayer), we'll find what we need and be edified exceedingly. Anyways. Hope you got something out of that and even learned some malagasy.

This will probably be the last thing, but the other night we were going to a time we had with some recent converts. Olga and Felana, her 8 year old daughter. We were trying to be sneaky and surprise them at the door and there was something that almost made me cry. It was little Felana sitting in their small one room house by a candle, carefully studying the Book of Mormon. Not many people out here actually read that book, even members. So seeing an 8 year old doing that was just so awesome to me. She and her Mom have been through a lot. They moved to Andranomanelatra not to long ago from Fort Dauphin. When they got here the husband ran away, leaving Olga and Felana. To add to it, they had their house broken into a few weeks ago, taking their documents and pictures along with their cooking pots. All this and they're unphased and faithful members in the church. I love the people so much, and especially in this little branch. We truly have so much to be grateful for!

Well I better get going. It's not too late to send in more pictures to get painted, so feel free to keep sending them! Love you all so much and I look forward to talking to you next week. Ciao!!

-Elder Mumf

Monday, June 8, 2015


Yo yoooo!!! How's it goin everyone? Another week GONE like that. It never does get any slower. I do indeed have the transfer news, but you know me. I'm gonna make you wait for it ;)

So this week was another solid one. Taught lots of new people. I wonder how many times I said, "Ary raha misy ianareo tsy manam-pahendrena, aoka izy hangataka amin' Andriamanitra izay manome malalaka ho an' ny olona rehetra sady tsy mandatsa, dia homena azy izany." (Jakoba 1:5). I got to go on a couple of splits this past week. One with Elder Liao and the other with Elder Richard who both work in Mahazoarivo. Plus I got to lead Andranomanelatra both times :) Which I was fine with cause it meant I still got the car. Hehe. I'm having a hard time thinking about all that happened. We're kindof in a mad scramble today trying to get stuff done here.

The main thing that happened this week was zone conference. My last one! We had it in the Tolman's house (They're the senior couple that works here in Antsirabe) So it was a nice comfortable setting. I actually got to sit on a couch! Haha. There's 10 of us in the zone, so it's a little smaller. It was such a balling zone conference. We talked about that talk, the Forth Missionary and more about consecrating yourself and giving up your wants and desires for that of the Lord's. This was also President Adams' last zone conference and he gave us some great after mission advice. I think he was mainly talking to me and our one zone leader who is actually going home today. He talked to us about making the temple a very high priority and going often, being around good friends, avoiding pornography in all forms, doing my scripture studies with prayer, and so forth. I'm not ready to come home yet, but I'm grateful for all of his advice that I got written down. I got to bear my testimony too which was actually pretty emotional. I talked about how I remember the first morning when I got to my area at 3 in the morning, it was pouring rain, we got to the house and the power was out, and I just remember putting my head on the pillow thinking what in the world have I gotten into. That was so long ago! But yet it's gone by so fast. I'm grateful for what the mission has made of my life and I'm excited to finish off strong.

Like I said before, we're in a little rush. Because we got the news! And the news is that Elder Mack is heading to Tana... I'm way sad about it. I didn't want him to leave! We've gotten way close, probably closer than any companion I've had before. He leaves bright and early tomorrow. So... Yeah it's gonna be hard saying goodbye to him. On the plus side though, I'm going to be getting Elder Stringfellow (string-bean as they call him). He'll be coming down from Tamatave. I don't know much about him. I know he's buff, red headed, and from Bountiful. I've only heard good things about him, so I'm excited to have him coming here. It's gonna be fun :)

Oh and before I forget I want to get some paintings done for you guys!! And time is running out so I'll probably need pictures by next week. So please send in pictures you want to get painted and I'll bring them back! They're some of the coolest souvrenirs you can get here, so araraoty! I'm gonna go now. Love you all so much! Talk to you soon. Tiako ianareo!!

-Elder Mumford

Monday, June 1, 2015


What a week it has been here in paradise. I honestly feel like it is out here. The streets are so clean. The towns are just nice and quiet. The rice paddies. It's hard to describe what's it's like out here. So just buy a plane ticket already and come visit me to see what it's like!!(kidding). Except now we are in the winter season, and here in Antsirabe is where it gets the coldest. Right now I'm wearing both of the sweaters I have and I'm still a little chilly. It gets SO cold out here!! But yeah. That's the weather report for now!

This week we had a way fun opportunity to go and help a member build a house! Now I know what you're probably thinking. Some of you might be thinking the way we went about it was going around and chopping up some wood and doing it that way. Some of you might be thinking we layed bricks. Nope. We used straight mud! So here's how you go about building a malagasy house as far as my knowledge to this point. So first you dig a big hole and that becomes your mixing bowl so to speak. You keep cutting away at the sides to get the dirt and then you throw in some water and mix it up, with your feet! That was mine and Elder Mack's main job. We just jumped right in there and squished it all together until it was the right consistency. But that's not all! They throw grass into the mix. That's to keep the mud from crumbling up once it's dry. After that you literally just grab chunks of it and slab it onto the place you want your house. And about every foot you go up you add tree branches to the corners for added stability. We helped them get the walls of the house up high and next week they're going to roof it. So hopefully I'll get to go again and see the way they do that. But it's so interesting huh?? Malagasies. Genius.

In other news we got to go to church in Sarodroa this week. I thought the area was in the middle of nowhere. The church is even more tucked away. We parked off to the side of the main road and took a nice 30 minute hike to get there. It was very cold and we were even getting some rain, but it was still so beautiful up there. I left my camera on the charger and forgot to take it with me, so I'll have to wait til next time to get pictures. But they will come! The branch out there is actually pretty solid. They usually have about 80 people come to sacrament meeting in their humble meeting house. It's a building with one room maybe about the size of half a basketball court. That might even be pushing it. We get there a little early and watched as lots of people came in soaking wet from the rain with the biggest smiles on their faces. They don't have much in the eyes of the world. But in reality, they've got everything. We got to go and get to know some of the members out there and had a great time. We get to go there once every 6 weeks, so I'll still have one more trip! Have a told you that I love this place yet?

This week I came across a talk called "The fourth missionary". So good and I'd highly recommend it for anyone. But one thing that it reminded me of is the importance of living a consecrated life. It talked about how there's a lot of missionaries who go out on their missions, work hard and give great service, and then come home unchanged. Why? Because their heart was in the wrong place. It's all about where your heart and desires are. I think a lot of times we think of a great missionary as someone who just works hard and gives it all they got. Which is true. But a changed one is someone who surrenders. One who gives up. Haha that might sound weird, and I don't know if I'll be able to explain this right. But what I mean by that is that we sometimes have to give up and surrender things that are a part of us for that of the Lord's will. Whenever we disobey, speak bad of others, or anything against the will of the Lord, we're fighting his desires for the things we want for ourselves. And that's pointless! The only way to become a true disciple of Christ is to surrender to his will. And that might seem hard to people at first. But in reality it's the smartest thing to do. Only he can mold and shape us to reach our full potential. So that's something I've tried to remember and be better at. Whenever there's some little thing that might not be the best, whether it's getting frustrated with people or other things like that, I've been telling myself to just give up my anger and do what the Lord would have me do. Whew. Deep stuff! Haha. So yeah. That's a little insight of what I've been focusing on this week. Good on you if you stayed through the end of all that!

Well I don't have a whole lot else to say I guess... I'm still loving the life out here. Transfers are this sunday and Elder Mack could be leaving. I hope not though!! We'll see what happens. Anyways, ankafizo the pics that I put up. Have a great week everyone! Love you!!!

Elder Mumf

Split with Elder Rigby

Sitrake behind the wheel...

Who are the vazaha?

Makin mud

Gonna eat well tonight!