Loved and noble ones: So, this week was one of the best weeks in mission. First off, we had baptisms on Saturday in which we had three investigators get baptized. Although, the planned 13 didn’t go through because people’s marriage papers didn’t come in time, a lot of them are going to get baptized on December 17th. So, you might be wondering how it was. Fortunately up here in Tamatave, we have a baptismal font and didn’t have to do it in a makeshift font. If there would have been a problem with the font, we would have had to baptize in the ocean, which would have been way cool, but unfortunately didn’t happen.
A few things about the baptism:
- First off, I got to baptize Bernard. He is a really incredible man that has really been converted to the gospel. Him and his wife Mariette got their family completed and they are all now baptized. Their kids were already baptized and two of the three are really strong in the gospel and consistently come to church. Bernard and Mariette have been trying to get married for the past four years so that they can get baptized and they finally got married and they completed their family and they are now a stronger unit for good.
- Second. There is no better feeling in the world than going into the font with someone you’ve known for three months and have come to love. You’ve shared the sweet presence of the holy ghost together during lessons and know that what you’ve taught and what they’ve learned is from God. You know that they are on the path that God’s wants for them and that through this journey, they will have copious amounts of blessings and happiness. You’ve seen them grow spiritually. This family is spiritually strong and are very humble and willing to our Father in Heaven. When enough time has passed and they have the money, they will make the travel to get sealed together as an eternal family unit. How wonderful the Lord blesses the lives of his children.
- Third, baptisms are a LOT of work. We had to make the program, arrange baptismal clothes, fill up the font (I’ll go into more detail), and organize people to give talks, prayers, and the music. It is a lot of work that goes in to making a successful baptism. About the font… the water pressure in Madagascar is really low, so it takes about 11-12 hours to fill the font. So, we have to send someone the night before at like 9p and turn it on, then someone the day of the baptism at 8am-ish to go turn it off. It doesn’t sound that bad, but when the church is far away and travel is difficult to find at night, it is not always successful. But, it worked out very well and we had a very successful baptism.
The second part that happened this week, is we got transfer news! During the afternoon yesterday, Elder Nelson received a call from the APs and found out that he is going to work in an area in Antananarivo and I’m staying up here in Tamatave. Although I’m glad to be staying here, it’s going to be difficult seeing Elder Nelson pack the bags. He was such a great trainer and helped me on every end of the spectrum spiritually, physically, and emotionally. He helped me understand perfect obedience and the blessings that come from it and how to do effective, successful and meaningful work.
In the next few weeks we are going to get a few families married and we will be having another set on December 17th, that’s the goal anyways. It is going to be great, I love Madagascar and although it has been four months, it has flown by. I love you all and hope that you have a great week.
EXCERPTS FROM PERSONAL LETTERS: It really is crazy how time flies on a mission. I feel as if I left the MTC 2 weeks ago and the length of the MTC was only a week. It’s crazy to think that it is Christmas time and how wonderful that time is. On my end, it just keeps getting hotter. With 90 degrees and 100% humidity, it doesn’t get much better than that. It will be really weird coming back to a cold Christmas after my mission. (NOTE: I sent him Hot chocolate in his Christmas Package….I clearly wasn’t thinking!)
- I asked about what he eats for lunch: We go to these small places called hotely’s and usually eat rice with some type of topping (vegetable and meat).
- I asked about the language around him: 75% of numbers used are in french and all manufacture packaging is in French or English. So, about 75% Malagasy and 25% French.
- Our washing machine broke last week, so I’ve been handwashing my clothes. It should be getting fixed today or tomorrow.
- I have had 1 lemur encounter outside of a lemur park. It was just perched on this guy that was walking and he let me pet it. THEY ARE SO SOFT AND CUTE. This brings to mind, I have a small homework assignment. Will you find out the laws of Utah and see if I can bring a lemur home, I think you can, but I’m not certain. AND what is necessary to have a lemur be brought over the border while flying. That’s it 🙂
- There is not much crime because everyone is poor together and if you steal and are caught, you go to a Malagasy prison, which means that you probably won’t survive. Thus, people don’t really rob or kill.
- I have not heard if my package has reached the mission home yet.
- We will communicate by skype. I will get more information about times as it get closer, but it will be on Christmas Eve.
- I am very healthy. I’ve been having some appetite problems, just not being hungry for a meal or two, but that was last week. I’m better now.
Testimony meeting sounds amazing especially because all 4 Stromberg boys bore their testimony’s yesterday. I bore mine in my branch and it was really cool, because Bernard, the one I baptized, also bore his testimony. It was a great day!