#47 Manakambahiny, Elder Soper, and Vicious Cactus

It was another incredible week in Madagascar.  On Tuesday night, the APs came and picked me up at my house in Antanetibe and took me to my new area across town in Manakambahiny.  It’s has been a great week with a few days of work and I am really impressed with the area.  This ward is definitely one of the strongest wards in Madagascar.  We had 13 investigators at church and truly the past missionaries put in some good work.  We have some of the best investigators, let me tell you of just a few of them.

The first, is Cesaire, he is a relatively old man (about 60) and really loves the message of the restored gospel.  He is working hard to get off his cigarettes, he’s down to 2 or 3 daily.  He came to church yesterday and as Elder Soper was playing piano for sacrament meeting, he was my buddy and I sat next to him.  He’s going to be off smoking in just a week or so and will be baptized on August 12th.  It’s going to be great and when I get my camera I will send a picture of him.  Mamy (father) and Josy (mother) and their two boys are another one of our investigators.  They are really sincere investigators and have been coming to church and really diving in to the Book of Mormon.  They were investigators for the Jehovah’s Witnesses for 7 years and never got baptized.  We are working hard for them to receive an answer to their prayers and help them find out for themselves that our church is the same church that Jesus Christ established during his mortal ministry.  Also in our ward we have a great set of priesthood holders that bring powerful maturity to the ward and the sacredness of the work.  So far, it’s incredible.

A big part of this new area is Elder Taylor Soper.  He’s really a big goofball and a powerful teacher.  We are constantly running to appointments because we have so many people that we are teaching.  He really is a power missionary and I’ve learned so much from him in these past five days.  I love the way he works and we truly never waste any time.  He’s really funny and has a good personality that makes people want to talk to him and enjoy the blessings of this church.  On Thursday we had a great zone conference that was held a day before 10 missionaries went home.  In that, President Foote gave some great counsel: “Finding new investigators is 90% personality and 10% the Holy Ghost.  On the flip side, teaching is 90% the Holy Ghost and 10% personality.”  I totally agree and that is probably a big reason why our teaching pool is so big and why we are seeing success.  As Elder Soper and I were tracting, it didn’t feel like tracting, it felt like we were searching for anyone that would like to hear about our message and accept us into their homes.  I love Elder Soper, he’s a great guy and from Orem, Utah.  He goes home in December and is doing very good.

This last story is about last night.  We were heading over to a soiree last night and were crossing some rice patties.  The phone died and so did our flashlight.  As we were trying to cross this treacherous terrain by the guiding light of the bright southern hemisphere moon, we found a dead end and turned back.  As we were hiking back up a little hill, a vicious cactus attacked my right thigh.  We didn’t see it nor notice it until is had already taken me as it’s victim.  On a 6 inch dirt path in the middle of watery rice fields, I pulled my pants down just enough to pull out the 3 thumb-sized pricks from my leg.  Quickly following the release of the needles, blood began to emerge little by little (mom it wasn’t too bad).  We made it to the soiree and my leg was pretty sore.  I think there might have been some natural poison in the cactus shards.  Anyways, we had a wonderful night and enjoyed the rest of the evening.

I went on a split with Elder Heo this past Thursday just after zone conference. We made it out to Tanjomabato just a little into the evening, stopped by a couple of their times and I went and interviewed a daughter of a family for baptism. They have a wonderful family of four that got baptized on Saturday and it was a great example of the work they are doing up there.  Elder Heo is a really cool Korean guy and has a great, enthusiastic, personality.  For the lack of a better term, he is dope.  We had a good evening.  That was my first baptismal interview that I’ve ever done and it was a great experience.  That is just a picture of what the missionaries of Madagascar are like!

I love Madagascar and everything about it!  Especially the lemurs.  Sorry my camera got stolen and I don’t have any pictures this week, there should be some next week!  Be SAFE!

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