Week 26, a full 6 months. And now comes the news that he is moving on…. He mentions a few pictures, which I have not been able to find on the server, so I’m not sure where they went.
Subject: "Squid launcher! Oh yeah!"
The weeks are just flying by like nobody's business. And this week has brought us a whole lot of news. Stay tuned.
First of all, the baptisms. Aina (the nine year old) passed with flying colors, except that she thought the Word of Wisdom said that we're not allowed to eat mangoes or bananas. But no real problems there.
Mario and Santatra were not at home when we stopped by for our prearranged interview time, and after a few phone calls we found out that Santatra was sick, so they took her to the hospital. We still haven't been able to interview them so far, but we're working out a plan to get it done so they can be baptized this weekend.
And Prinsia. Elder Rasoloniaina learned that she is fourteen, and suggested that we call the assistants to find out if it is really okay for her to be baptized. Her parents are lazy as cows, and being that young puts her at a good chance of going inactive. So that's a decent point. I called the assistants, and they said we should wait one more month, just to make sure she'll be diligent. She's already come just about every week for the last four months, constantly reads the Book of Mormon and has born testimony to us that it's true, and has friends in the church, so I really don't see her going inactive too easily. Still, you don't argue with leaders. So Prinsia has to wait for a little bit.
As for other people, I forget if I told you all about Noel, but he is a boss. His friend (Jeremy) invited him to church, and he's come once so far. We met with him, set up a program, and went to his house after about a week. Starting right into the first lesson, he stops us and says that he already knows the lesson. Oh really now? Elder Eppich and I kept trying to slow him down and explain it, but he just kept telling us that he understands it all and wants to learn about the second lesson (his exact words). Elder Eppich stopped and just said "okay, if you know the lesson, explain Joseph Smith to us". And boy did he ever. Noel explained the many other churches at the time, they confused Joseph Smith and separated his family, he read in the Bible, prayed to God, saw "the First Vision", and after a while he received the Book of Mormon to restore the truth to the earth, and later received the priesthood to lead the church.
After his explanation Elder Eppich and I just sat there, wondering how in the world this guy knows the lesson better than any other member in this country, before we even TAUGHT the guy. It turns out he was anxious to learn, so he kept bugging Jeremy and had him explain the lesson. Jeremy, being a returned missionary, tried to have him wait until our appointment, but Noel wanted to learn. Which makes us pretty excited.
After that, we gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and told him to study it before the next lesson. We came back a few days later, and he knew the Plan of Salvation just as well as the Restoration, and kept asking me for a Book of Mormon. Thanks to my brain, I had forgotten to bring one. But we gave him a book when he came to church on Sunday to watch general conference.
In short, this could very well be the most prepared-of-God guy I have ever heard of. And to top it all off he is only 20, which leaves him plenty of time to go on a mission of his own.
General conference was fantastic. I didn't really get all of President Monson's talk on Sunday morning (we watched that session in Malagasy), but I heard he was awesome. My favorite though was probably Elder Holland's. Of course. He's just such a passionate guy. Whether he's yelling at you to never go inactive or turn away from the church, or pulling you off on the sidelines to give you a few words of comfort, you can just feel the fire burning from him. One of my favorite talks of all time is his CES fireside talk to BYU a while ago. He talks about how in olden times God's people had to run away from Babylon. But now "you attack it!" Great talk. Great guy. The church is true.
And probably the most interesting news to all of you will be the transfer news that we got last night. This has been the first transfer that I've actually had a pretty good chance of going somewhere, and thanks to Elder Eppich's joking about it, transfers have been on my mind a lot. We figured that if I move, I'll probably start training in two months, and Elder Eppich won't. But if I don't move, I would move in two months and Elder Eppich would train.
The final word is thus: I am moving. Goodbye Ambohimanarina. And hello "Asabotsy Namehana". It's one of the closest areas to Ambohimanarina, if you care to know. And I'll be with a Malagasy, named Elder Razafimandimby. Or Dimby, for short. The huge irony here is that Elder Eppich's new companion will be going home in two months, and with twelve new missionaries coming in, there's a good chance that he and I will BOTH be training. So that's good. But let's focus on the here and now.
The work here is still going pretty good here. We're finding some way cool people, and although I won't be working here for much longer, I trust Elder Eppich will take good care of them.
Please keep emailing. All of you. I love hearing about your lives back home and how you're all progressing. Keep up the good work.
- Elder Arrington
PS: There's a few pictures for you all this week. Enjoy. There's one of Mario and Santatra with their baby, Tsiky. It means "smile". I stepped in some poop a while back and there's a three picture series of me scraping it off my shoe. And when we were on the bus today, this kid was staring at me, just looking awesome. So I pulled out my camera a snapped a picture of the little sucker. That's kids here in Mada for you. Cute as a bug in a rug.