Great letter this week. AND we get to talk to Michael on Christmas Day, which, of course, is tomorrow…. We’re counting down the hours. The downside is that there are no pictures this week. And I have no idea what movie his subject line comes from.
Subject: "Well I brought my dinosaur, who eats force field dogs!"
So I was sitting in a lesson this last week, just talking to people. In Malagasy. Because, I do that now. Anyway, I start hearing this kind of... flapping next to me. What in the world could that be? I turn, and it turns out to be a moth about the size of a bald eagle, just flapping its merry way along. After I finished screaming and swatting at it we continued the lesson without a problem. Fun story. Another random thing, I officially learned the word for zombie. I was talking to one of our members that helps us out all the time (Leonce, if you remember him and his awesomeness) and we started talking about the resurrection. They don't really have a word for resurrection in Malagasy, so they call it "mitsangana amin'ny maty". Literally, "to stand from the dead". And a while ago I had learned the word "mininginingina" meaning "to crouch". Switch that in, and you have "mininginingina amin'ny maty". To crouch from the dead. It makes sense that that would be a zombie right? You don't quite stand all the way from the grave, but you're kind of alive. It turns out they actually have a different word, but I think mine makes way more sense. Random word of the day.
As far as actual missionary work, things are going great. We have a baptismal service set for January 12th, with six people on the path to be baptized. First is Boto. I've talked about him before. He's super cool, always reads and asks questions, and he's just awesome. Unfortunately, he went to Mahajunga for three weeks and won't be back until about a week before the baptism. So we called the missionaries out there and got Boto connected with them, so he can still learn while he's gone. He's already heard all the lessons, but we just want to keep an eye on him to make sure nothing happens. So we've placed our Mahajunga missionary spies in position, so we'll see how it plays out.
Next is Hery. He's been learning really well, reading when he can, and is pretty diligent. But he has two problems: he works a ton, and he smokes. The work mostly just makes him super tired so he never has much time to read. But he usually still makes it through a chapter or so in a week. As for his smoking, he only smoked up to three cigarettes per day before (way better than some of the other people around here that smoke 30 or 40 each day), and last week we made a goal for him to only smoke two each day. He followed through on that, so now his goal is one each day. Hopefully he'll have the strength to make it through this, and he'll be able to completely stop smoking at least two weeks before the baptism. If not, we'll probably have to push back his baptism date.
The last four kind of all count together. Noel, Lily, and their two kids. Noel and Lily have had a problem getting vita soratra (officially married) for a long time, but progress is finally being made. They're planning to go to the commune and officially sign off all their papers and be married sometime this week. So they'll be ready for their baptism. They and their kids have been learning forever, are way diligent, and just a great family. Lily had a problem attending church because of her work, but she got to come last week. Then yesterday we were totally ready for her to be there, but she wasn't. We found out later that some things had gone missing at her work, and her boss blamed Lily. So she couldn't leave. Hopefully she'll make it next week.
Other than that, the work is going pretty good. We still have a bunch of other investigators that are doing awesome, but they just won't come to church! It's kind of annoying. All you have to do is come to church and then you'll feel the Spirit and know that it's true! That's it! But they usually find some reason to not come. Sad.
Thank you all for you emails. It's good to know there's someone out there that knows I'm not actually French. Mom and Dad, it sounds like things have been going pretty well back in the home I was born in, built by mine own hand. Make sure you're still there when I return. And get Steven to write sometime. I don't hear anything about that kid anymore.
Emily, I haven't heard much about the family of frogs, but from what little I know it sounds like things are going pretty well. Keep up the good work and get ready for this alleged baby.
Lindsay, work sounds tough. Enjoy what little breaks you get. But know that if nothing else, there's a missionary here in Madagascar praying that you'll get the bookings that you need. And as soon as I find him, I'll thank him for you.
Stacey, thanks for the updates. As short as they (and you) may be, it's always good just to hear that everyone is still alive. I have to admit I was kind of hoping you would have the baby on the 21st, because seriously, how cool would that have been?
Julie, keep up the good work. James sounds like he's becoming quite the puddle-jumping handful, but you seem to handle him well. Gold star.
David, it was awesome to finally have another message from you. And while it sounds like school is going pretty well, you clearly need to find a girl that's less spiritual. Or already back from her mission. I'll leave that up to you, but know that I've spent many a night laughing about the current situation. All in good humor of course.
And that pretty much wraps it up. I apparently forgot to take any pictures this last week, so you'll all have to binge off of the fruits of last time. We'll just say I got really caught up in the work.
Keep sending messages everyone, and know that I read ALL of them, although I may not be able to respond to everything.
Thank you all,
- Elder Arrington