March 21, 2016
Hey everybody, so I have a bit of a surprise for you all this week. Last monday went great, the last two people passed their bap interviews. Tuesday we got dogged by a lot of people but it was still a decent day. Wednesday was just a little bit diferent. About 3 o'clock I got a call from President Foote, so of course my first thought was "I swear I didn't do it." Apparently he knew that because he actually had some news for me. I have been emergency transfered to a place called Fort Dauphin (Tolognaro in Malagasy) and I am never ever coming home. It is literally paradise. It is a little city right on the southern coast of madagascar. It is also right on the most beautiful coast in madagascar. Not only that, it is the best running area in the mission. We taught 62 lessons last week with no member splits. Also if I'm not wrong we have 35 progressing investigators, most of whom are going to be baptized in April. My new companion is Elder Coleman. He has 2 transfers left, about 3 months, and I will probably be his last companion. Here is the biggest part, he wasn't actually in Fort D. We got emergency transfered here a week and a half before transfers so that we could learn the area and take over at transfers. Which basically means we're whitewashing but not really.
Instead we have about a week and a half to learn this whole new area plus the names places and faces of every single investigator. To top it all off they don't really speak malagasy here. Ok that's a lie,
they do. They speak 2 seperate dialects, Antandroy and antanosy. Thing is neither of those sound anything like my malagasy and I am back to square 1, not understanding anything that anybody says. So now we get to basically learn a whole new language again! It sounds so cool though I am way stoked about it. I'll be sure to include some pictures for y'all, but just know that I am in paradise and will never ever leave hahaha. Love you all so much,
Monday, March 14, 2016
Dear family,This week was another great week here in Madagascar. Elder Gariki's foot is still in rough shape, but he toughed it out and we made it through the week without any further accidents. We definitely moved a little bit slower than usual which I think was rough on both of us. It was good though, we taught a lot of good people and still had a fairly solid week. 6 investigators have passed baptismal interviews, with 2 more tonight! That means baptisms this week!!! Way, way excited for these people to join the Church of Jesus Christ. It is a huge step forward in life for them. We should have 4 baptisms this week and 4 more next week, so it should be a busy time! We also had one of the best Sundays ever yesterday. We had 16 investigators come, with 2 more who went to a different branch because they couldn't make it back in time. 18 of my freaking investigators went to church yesterday dude. I'm pretty sure there are only 2 or 3 other areas in the mission that have done that it was so cool. 2 of them we've never even taught. We talked to them for about 5 minutes Saturday and then there wasn't a guy there so we couldn't enter the house. We invited them to church and they came!!! Coolest day ever. Umm, that's about all I've got for this week, but I will try to be more interesting next week. Love you all!
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Well everybody, sorry I am late. We actually just got out of the hospital, so sorry about that. Hopefully we will be more on time next week. We were playing soccer this morning and Elder Gariki decided to play barefoot. He ended up like splitting the web on his big toe and it left a really deep cut. Anyways we took him to the hospital and he got 4 or 5 stitches in it. Just so y'all know, Malagasy hospitals are kind of insane. We got him there and they gave me this slip of paper and told me to go to a different building and give it to someone. I went to the building and there were about five stations all doing diferent things and I had no idea what was going on and it took a minute but we finally figured out what was going on. All this time we had to find one specific surgeon because our mission doctor told us to and it was just insane. Then the doctor kept trying to give us instructions and stuff in English and I kept telling him to just speak Malagasy because he sucked at English (no one here is good at English). Anyways I finally figured out what the flip he was saying and we got that taken care of but it was an adventure for sure. I think we're going to be in for a slow week though because I don't know how well he will be able to walk so we will have to see how that one turns out. Also had a way cool breakthrough this week with Sitraka. I don't know if you remember her but she's 18 and she's the one who hasn't been allowed to get baptized because her parents are from different faiths, but they refuse to sit through lessons with us. Lately she hasn't been allowed to come to church because her mom heard a rumor in the Catholic church that the Mormons worship the devil on Easter. It has been way hard on her and on us just because she was so close and we didn't know what to do about it. Saturdaywe went to teach her about a commandment or something I don't really remember our lesson plan. Anyways we got there and when we started her mom happened to be in the room. This was about the first time we've had the chance to confront her so I switched the lesson up on the fly. I was planning on talking to her about the history of the early church and just confront how there have always been rumors about the church and how they can destroy people’s lives. We didn't actually end up getting that far. Her mom cut us off as soon as we finished our brief summary of the apostasy. I guess she didn't like that I told her Christ didn't start the Catholic church (which is true it was Constantine in 313 A.D.) She was kind of mad. She went off about how all missionaries are the same and we just want to come in and force everyone to follow us. Anyways we fought back and forth for a long time, but she just wasn't having any of it. Somewhere around the middle of the "lesson" Sitraka jumped in and totally stood up for the church. It was way awesome to see her stand up for what she believes in and her testimony because she has been way scared to say anything to her family. Anyways we for sure won the argument. Final score: Missionaries 1, Mean moms 0. So yeah it was a pretty good week. Love you all!!
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Life is still great here in Antsirabe. Here are a few things I learned this week.
1. Missions rock (Already knew that)
2. The church is true (Also knew that)
3. Dogs here are mean
4. Dog bites here suck
5. Tahitians are great cooks
6. Missions go by way too fast
Firstly, missions rock. Like I said, already knew that one, it just kind of gets reestablished every week. We actually had to push back the baptisms from the 5th to the 19th. It kind of sucks, but none of them were quite ready yet. It's ok though because of the second thing, the church is true. Always knew that one, but it's still nice to get a refresher. I feel like every time we teach anyone it just comes more and more clearer. There is no other way to eternal life, but the gospel of Jesus Christ. We see it every day here, these people are all missing something. They don't know what it is, but we do! It's the greatest thing ever. Third thing, dogs are freaking mean in this country. If you are out late at night they will bark and follow you the whole way home. Normally it's ok though because they are scared of people. If you go to pick up a rock or even just flinch at them they will turn and run away. Anyways, this week we found one that is not scared of people. At all. And Elder Gariki got bit by a dog. It actually wasn't too bad it just kind of left a little cut just below his calf but it sure scared the crap out of us. Anyways dog bite protocol for missionaries is that we have to be able to track the dog for 10 days to make sure he's not sick. We got lucky in that it was actually someone's dog and not just a stray, or we for sure would have lost it. Anyways, if it disappears in the next ten days, we will have to go to tana and get him a rabies shot. We went home for a minute after and I fixed him up with some Hydrogen Peroxide and a princess band-aid (thanks dad), and we were right back out to work. So basically y'all can just call me Dr. Elder Jensen from now on. Thing fahadimy, Tahitians are great cooks. Elder Gariki fixed us up some beef stew with rice yesterday and it was freaking amazing, one of the best meals since I've been here. And finally, missions go to fast. On Wednesday I hit my 6 month mark. It seems like just yesterday we all said goodbye, it's all going so fast. Love you all so much,