Saturday, October 24, 2015

First Week in Antsirabe

Hi family!! So crazy being here in Madagascar! I've only been here for four days but I love it. The flights were insanely long and at the same time they went so fast. President and sister Foote picked us up at the airport with the APs and we stopped at an ice cream shop on the way back to the mission office. Then we had to get our permanent visas which wasn't actually hard. They usually are but I guess the Goverment was being super chill that day. The government here is crap they basically just enforce whatever laws they feel like at the moment. And Tana was insane!!! That's the capitol city. There are cars and motorcycles everywhere but there aren't actually any traffic laws so its just nuts. \it was a cool city but I'm glad i'm not there anymore. That night we met with president and had dinner and the next day we met the trainers. they didn't actually know who was going to be comps with who until later though so we just went through training as a big group. My comp is Elder Koplin and he's a really great guy. He's been out about a year and a half so he's way Mahay at the language and he's helped me a lot. He's actually from idaho falls and he actually has family in fielding! so weird to go half way around the world and find someone who actually knows where Tremonton is. He's a really cool guy too he thinks exactly like me. We are  in a town called Antsirabe right now, which is pretty much awesome. I was the only one in my group not getting trained in Tana which I am extremely grateful for because that city honestly kind of scared me. Antsirabe is really more of a farming community which suits me just fine. But I am getting off topic. after the training and after we got our assignments we dropped all the other new guys off at their houses and me and Elder Koplin went to the bus station. That's where I had my first real close up encounter with the poverty here. You can obviously see it everywhere but this was the first time I actually saw it really. We're not allowed to give money here or they'd throw us out of the country but we were standing by our bus waiting to leave and this little boy walked up, maybe 5 years old. His clothes were all tattered and he was filthy and just looked so sad and he walked up and he touched my hand and he looked at me with those big brown eyes and asked in a real quiet voice if I could give him some money, and I had to tell him no. He didn't leave though he just stood there holding my hand until the bus left. I think I died a little inside that day. Our bus ride was about five hours south of Tana so we didn't actually get to Antsirabe until late at night. And by bus I mean it was really a little tiny van. And there was like 25 people piled into it. That was a somewhat uncomfortable 5 hours. Anyways we have been whitewashing this area so we got here and basically have no idea what is going on here. We didn't know any of the members and there were 0 investigators so we basically have had to just tract. We tract out most of our area the first couple of days. One thing about the people here they're super laid back and super faithful and have nothing to do. Basically what I'm saying is that everybody has time for a message about Christ. We almost always get in the door. Not that I'm a lot of help with the lessons but I do what I can. Elder Koplin is really good though so we've taught the first lesson maybe 10 or 12 times in 3 days to probably 30 people. We actually met one really cool guy yesterday!! His name was Rolando, and his story is awesome. I thought I understood a lot of it when he was talking but it sounded too crazy to me so I asked Elder Koplin after the lesson and it turns out I got it right. Rolando is a pastor from another church so we figured great, he's just gonna bible bash with us. NOPE!!! He wanted to learn. He said that if he finds something more true than his church then he will join. And it gets better!!! Apparently he talked to the missionaries a few months ago! They taught him about Joseph Smith and then found out that he was a pastor and just kinda got scared and left him alone. Anyways we taught him again and now he says he wants to learn more about Joseph Smith!! We're going back wednesday and we're going to give him a Book of Mormon. Then at the end of the lesson he told us not to be surprised if we see him at church next week!!! I'm super excited about him. We have return appointments with about everyone we've taught so Things are going pretty good. And the food actually isn't bad!!! They literally eat rice with everything. I think I am going to developed  a Coke addiction here. But things in Antsirabe are great. The people are so happy and I love it here in Madagascar. Love you all so much!! I'll talk to you all next week!!

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