Wow this is a great one! Major lifestyle change 🙂
This week was easily one of the craziest weeks of my entire life. There isn’t one that can be compared to traveling 53 hours exactly on the other side of the world, and going to a place 100% different than America. But might I add that it is one of the best places in the world.
So, we landed last Wednesday in Madagasikara and headed over to the mission home to meet our mission president, his wife, and the assistants to the presidents (APs). President Foote, is the funniest guy I’ve ever met and such an inspiring person. His personality well fits him and I love him to death! We had dinner at the mission home and Sister Foote really knows how to make some super good food! It was much better than the MTC food and really comforting. After dinner and being exhausted, we headed over to the APs apartment and all 13 of us crashed there.
The next morning we had another remarkable meal from Sister Foote and got assigned our trainers! I GOT ASSIGNED WITH ELDER NELSON!!! It’s so awesome to be next to a friend I’ve know for the past 3 years through soccer and school and I get the splendid opportunity to serve in Madagasikara with such a pal of mine.
We got assigned to the area of Ambolomadinika in Tamatave, Madagasikara. It in the North-eastern part of Mada, right on the ocean. After an eight hour bus ride from Antananarivo, we arrived at our apartment. It’s actually pretty nice, we have power 80% of the time and we have a fridge. Also, on the side of our house there are a bunch of Banana spiders and their webs. Th spider’s themsleves are little bigger than the size of a big dudes hands, and their webs are super strong and large and can catch small birds to eat. Overall, very freaky, and I’m not a big fan of spiders in general.
In our area, Elder Nelson and I are whitewash training. Whitewashing, is when two elders go to an area that hasn’t had missionaries in it for a while, and both missionaries have never been to that city. And training, is what Elder Nelson is doing to me. He is training me how to be an effective missionary, and help me understand and teach the language. Basically, in Tana, there is the base Malagasy language. In Tamatave, the dialect is about 60% different than the Malagasy in Tana. So essentially, Elder Nelson is trying to teach me a language that is different from the language I was taught in the MTC, trying to figure out how and where to find and teach people about the gospel, all of this while being able to sleep 8 hours a night. He’s my hero. It’s been a pretty stressful couple of days to try and get the area going, but it’s starting to go well after we had 6 hours of tracting this past weekend.
The houses in Madagasikara vary quite differently, but are similar in structure. Most houses are made of wood with a tin-paned roof top, wood or dirt floors depending upon whether or not the house is suspended. A family of 4+ usually lives in a one room house divided by a curtain, with a small, queen-sized bed for the family. The people are super kind, when you smile at them, otherwise, they think you are French and they give you a glare. With a simple “karakory,” or “salama,” mixed with “inona voavoa,” they grin with all their 9 teeth and you quickly become their friends and can talk about anything. It’s such a great culture.
I can officially tell you that I have never fallen asleep faster than I do here. I hit the pillow, and I wake up the next well rested, ready to start the Lord’s work. This area is difficult, but after tracting for about 6 hours, we’ve gotten the hang of things and we are starting to fill up our schedule. Tamatave is great, and the people are swell. I love the President Foote, and his sweet wife.
This week has been a blast, and I love every minute of it here. Even though I’ve only been here for 5 days. Madagasikara is the best, and I love the members and investigators of the church here. They are so humble and willing to listen.