Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Week 6 in the MTC

Three messages from Michael today.  Of course the second was just a note saying he was there.  Well, you’ll read it below.

Subject:  "Maybe next time you'll think twice before you freeze someone's head!"

Well, I guess it's been another week. Not sure when that happened.

But it's been a good one, and I have written down a couple things I wanted to make sure I told y'all about. Which I left back at my residence hall. We'll see how well we do for now.

For one, thanks to those who have sent me letters and such. Always great hearing from you, and trying to get more mail than the other elders. But mostly hearing from fine people such as yourselves.

Second, I extend a warm thanks to all the people in the laundry room here at the MTC, who felt it would be a good idea to get up just before me and start their washers together, so the rest of us had to wait at least an hour before anyone could even think about starting a load. Thank you, jerk faces.

Thirdly, I'll throw out another language lesson. Let's try describing something. Take a sentence like "Joseph Smith is a true prophet". Now, to order it correctly according to Malagasy grammar, switch absolutely everything. Our simple sentence becomes "Prophet true Joseph Smith" (they don't have any form of the verb "to be". So no am, are, is, was, were, or obnoxious little will be). In Malagasy words, it's "Mpaminany marina i'Joseph Smith". The random "i" in there is used pretty much whenever you use a proper noun.

Anyway, to use adjectives to describe something, the easiest rule is just to do exactly the opposite of English. "The red ball" becomes "the ball red". Stupidly enough, you could take a sentence like "the car is green" and you STILL have to switch it to "green car". So there's not really a way to know whether the adjective goes before or after the noun, just remember that what you do in English is wrong in Malagasy.

On another fun language note, we taught Miandry again. We've started teaching our investigators here about two to three times per week (and we have three investigators). I don't remember if this happened before or after my last email home, but Miandry threatened to stop letting us come teach him, since he didn't feel that we were being very nice. He'd try to start a conversation with us, and mostly since we had no idea what he was saying, we would just move on, kind of ignoring what he'd said. So we were kind of being jerks, but it wasn't entirely our fault. There's something of a lack of communication.

Anyway, that wasn't good. Fortunately he let us come back and we explained why we were here. We want to (and you can find this in Preach My Gospel page 1) invite others to come unto Christ through the restored gospel, by faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. That was just from memory, so I could be off on some of it. So we explained that, and he got really excited when we brought up baptism. Apparently I had said (later in the lesson) that after he's baptized, he can receive the power of God. So then he REALLY wanted to be baptized. Good going Elder Arrington.

So I kind of blew that up. We took him from wanting to drop us to wanting to get God's power for himself, which, as you may know, isn't a very good reason to be baptized. He let us come back AGAIN to teach him, and we were able to straighten everything out. We re-explained everything, and told him that we want to take a moment to just step back and teach more thoroughly. He calmed down, and in our most recent lesson (yesterday) we went through the Ten Commandments. With some pretty awesome hand motions to remember each commandment. So that's been good.

Life in general has been pretty good around here, and for those of you who have been dying to know (aka, everyone), I was in fact right about the words to the Mulan song. Thanks for that David. And I was right about the capital of Georgia. Atlanta. Take that Elder Horne. But now he thinks that the song in Aladdin goes "a brand new world". What a noob. CLEARLY it's "a WHOLE new world". Hence the title "A Whole New World". But don't bother sending that song. Maybe. Every time I tell him the truth he's like, "I'm about 80% sure that it's 'a brand new world'", and I'm like, "the capital of Georgia is STILL Georgia". And then I feel awesome.

Anyway, it's time for me to go now, so keep it real everyone, and I'll try to get on later (with my notes).

-Elder Arrington

Here’s the second letter.  I told you it was short.

Subject:  Quick

I'm on right now, if anybody is there and wants to talk. I'm here for you man.

And here’s the follow up.

Subject:  "First of all, there IS a 'Whipped' magazine. I didn't subscribe, they just found me."

You'll be pleased to know that I actually brought my notes this time, although looking back over them I realize that I've been much less... thorough than I had thought. Meaning I wrote down like one thing. But it's a good story.

So you remember Miandry and that whole situation? Well we taught him the Ten Commandments, as I said before, and during the lesson (the First Commandment, Thou shalt have no other God before me) he said there's one God. Which is a problem. You see, in Madagascar, they have this belief that ALL religions are true, and they have a phrase that basically says "there is one God, but many roads that lead to him". So Malagasy people will just be going off on some tangent somewhere, talking about whatever, and then they'll say "there is one God", and you've got to stop them right there and explain that that isn't actually true. Which is difficult when you can barely understand what they're saying. Anyway, that's an area we should work on with that little punk of an investigator.

As for the rest of y'all, it sounds like things are going pretty well. Although Steven clearly hasn't learned that it's easier to "accidently" injure the player in your way than to wait for a chance to play, it sounds like he's been having some fun. And waiting for his chance to get an... iPad Mini? Maybe I've just been on the mission too long, but isn't that just an iPod Touch? Weird.

And as soon as I leave the house everyone gets an iPhone 5?? Low blow. I hope it crashes on you. Not really. But good luck with those. You especially, Mom. But ye be warned, iPhones can be very productive, if you're not careful. Be sure to add some games on there or something to balance it all out. I would suggest Jetpack Joyride and Fruit Ninja.

Yes, it's true, today marks six weeks that I've been in the MTC. And no, I don't know how you're all getting along without me either.  Good luck. Basically, everyone just stay busy, but find time to write if you can. Anyway, they finally gave us our travel plans (well, they gave Elder Evans his, but it's the same for all of us). We leave... October 22nd. Monday. Our plane leaves around 8AM and will take us to some other airport (go figure), from which we'll fly to London, try not to get lost, then somewhere else (I KNOW I had these memorized. Just not anymore), then South Africa, then we pop over to the Red Island. Did you know people call Madagascar that? Weird. The people there are black, not red.

So it all totals to about 35 hours of flight time in about three days, with time between flights. We'll be sitting in the London airport for about twelve hours, so that's enjoyable. Funny people with even funnier accents.

Another fun accent story. Today at lunch we was all chillaxin' all cool, when five elders walk up and sit down next to us. It's their first day here, and apparently three were from England, and the other two were very much from Ireland. We had a good time listening to them say things. I have no idea what they said, but it sounded cool.

I pulled out my family photo album yesterday for the first time in basically forever, and my teacher (Bro. Burton) took it. And I was all "dang it..." But he started looking through it, and eventually came across the picture of me, Mom, Dad, and I think Julie and Dave at the BYU @ Oregon State game and he was like "I love this. This is awesome". The man loves his football. So that was fun.

Which reminds me, he's basically the funniest teacher I've ever had. And he's shared a bunch of stories about his experience in Madagascar. That's one of the great things about Malagasy. You can have a Spanish teacher from anywhere (no offense David), but learning Malagasy, you KNOW they served in the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission. Anyway, he's told us some good stories, most of which I'm not at liberty to discuss. Very hush hush, don'tcha know. Maybe I'll recite some when I get home. Or I could just tell you all my own, far cooler and more spiritual, experiences.

Well, it's pretty much time for me to go. Plus there's a devotional I kind of have to go to at 7, and if we're not in line by... right now, we'll have to go to the "overflow". Which is a different building. And this could be the week that they finally have someone from the Quorum of the Twelve.

TTFN, tata for now!

-Elder Arrington

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