Today is a hello from the big city of Antananarivo (Tana), Madagascar. Yep, I’m at the capital. I loved my time in Tamatave, and it was well spent. I got to my new companion on Wednesday and finally met him, got to my area, and settled in. Elder Tshuma (pronounced ‘Chuma’) is from South Africa. He was converted to the church when he was 20 and went on his mission when he was 22. He’s a really great guy, and he’s been here for about 2 years. This is his last transfer in country and he’s ‘dying,’ as to say in missionary terms his mission is over. I’m excited to work with him this transfer.
My area of service is Ambohibao. It is a ward and one of the few ones in Madagascar. They have around 115 people on average attendance and are struggling a little bit. The area has some great members with an especially great youth and bishopric. We had a baptism this Saturday and added 4 members to the ward. They are really strong recent converts and I’m excited for their journey in the gospel. This was all Elder Tshuma’s work. Our area is kind of on the outskirts of Tana and is far away from a lot of stuff and has fields of rice patties, it’s really beautiful.
Quick story about the baptism. That was a crazy day. So, we headed over to the church Saturday morning, with the goal of filling up the font. Upon our arrival, none of the water in the church was running. We found a hose on the property and ran it all the way through windows to the font. The water pressure was pretty low. The baptism was at 6pm so we thought it might be alright. After we had finished teaching English for two hours, we looked in the font and found that there was only a foot of water. We went to lunch quickly at this really good fish and chips place and then returned without delay. We went to an alternative nearby hose and started hauling buckets of water. The primary was having an activity at the time and when they finished, all of the little kids came out and helped us haul the buckets. It was really cute. We ended up being okay by 6pm after a few hours of hauling buckets of water! It was a great help from the little ones from the ward and I got to know a lot of them better.
On Friday we had a zone conference. Once a year, a member of the Seventy comes and does a mission wide tour visiting every missionary in the mission. Elder Ellis, came and gave us an especially great one. I learned a lot about missionary work and how we can be more successful missionaries when we work with members. 2 missionaries in the ward or branch is great, but 150 missionaries is far better. When the ward or branch combines together with the missionaries, the strength of the ward doubles and the missionary work goes 75x better. We also had to study 2 Nephi 9 prior to this conference, and prepare a 3 to 5 minute talk knowing beforehand that two people were going to give it at the conference. There are 30 missionaries in Tana and I, along with another, were chosen to do it. It was great and I loved sharing what I learned about this study in that specific chapter. Sister Ellis is especially great as well and she’s just one of the kindest people I’ve ever met
Anyways, the big city is great, we are working hard to get a solid schedule together for our area and trying to strengthen the ward. I love it here Madagascar is great, I love it here. Have a great week!
OK, for those of you who have made it this far, here is a very simple story of how the Lord undoubtedly weaves little blessings into our lives. When Rebecca was serving her mission in Hong Kong she met a lady on the street who had just moved from Madagascar and was trying to find the church. Becca was able to help her out. Fast forward to this week when Jacob was just transferred to this new ward and she is a member of the ward! Somehow they made the connection right off and she remembers Sister Stromberg 🙂 ! Elder Stromberg is heading over to her home this week for a soiree. When Becca received the attached picture, she burst into tears.