Whew! That was a close call. We didn’t hear from Michael on Monday. We didn’t hear from him on Tuesday. Yea, we were going to go get on a plane and chase him down. Luckily, we did hear from him on Wednesday morning. Nervousness aside, this letter was worth waiting for.
Subject: "I only laugh to keep from weeping."
We had a bit of trouble getting to the cyber on Monday and Tuesday, so I'm sorry this week's email is so late. Dad said that he waits every morning for the email to come in, and I'm thinking, "that's a long time to wait". Sorry about that.
Part of the problem on Monday was me being sick. I guess I ate something bad, because I woke up and threw up. Repeatedly. It wasn't the best morning of my life. And it really sucked because we had a bunch of stuff planned for the day, and I just about fainted every time I stood up. And honestly, I have no idea what I might have eaten that would have caused that.
Anyway, stuff still had to be done, so after a couple hours of sleeping I got up and told Elder Andriamanganoro that we were going to the office, the cyber, and back home to sleep. Maybe two hours out of the house. Boy, was I in for a surprise.
As we showed up at the office, President Adams greeted us and said that there are some elders that just got set apart and have to wait a day or two before their plane takes them to the MTC, and he needs us to take one of them to eat, since the poor kid hadn't had a chance to eat all day. Okay, we can handle that. To make a long story short, "taking him out to eat" turned into walking him Soixante-Sept for the rest of the day to buy a suit, along with any other things that he needed. So we're walking around Soixante-Sept (ranked as one of the dirtiest cities in the world, mind you) while the new kid looks through shoes, sandals, pants, shirts, suits, and anything else he might need, while I still think I'm going to hurl at any moment. I figured that on the bright side, me throwing up there really wouldn't make it that much dirtier, so I wasn't TOO scared. Still, it was not the best way to spend a P-day.
After that fiasco we took the new kid home with us and went off to a soiree that we had planned for that evening. We had a pretty good time, and I managed to keep some food down.
All in all, not the best day ever, but life goes on.
The rest of the week has been pretty good. I finally figured out why missionaries are supposed to be afraid of dogs. I always knew they could be scary, but this one dog tried to eat me alive.
We were tracting and found this gate that was sitting a little bit open, and decided to try there. We knocked and peeked in to find a dog the size of West Virginia staring at us, which then jumped up and charged the gate. I slammed the gate shut while the dog barked its little head off, trying to eat our feet under the door. That was quite terrifying.
There was another dog too that just started barking at us for no reason. It was all nice and everything, smelling us like a good dog. Then we started walking away and the thing started barking like it was on the hunt. Have dogs always been this ridiculous and I'm just realizing it, or what?
I also had a fun time with the language a while ago. There are two words in Malagasy: vala, which means fold or group of sheep, and valala, which means grasshopper. So I was explaining John 10:16 to this one family and how Christ said that he has other sheep "that are not of this grasshopper". Boy, did they get confused after that. Fortunately I realized the switch and we all had a good laugh about it.
We had tracted into these two guys awhile ago, named Faniry and Riana, and came back at our return appointment. The two guys were gone, but their mom was there, and she let us in. After we asked her why she had let us in, she started explaining that her dad had died a while ago, and she's been bouncing from church to church trying to figure out what happens after we die. My companion and I looked at each other and thought "awesome!". We introduced her to the Plan of Salvation, giving her the pamphlet and a picture of the actual plan. We emphasized the Spirit World, clarifying that her dad does not have to burn in heck forever, but still has a chance to repent and get his work done in the temple. She looked at it and said "I like that". We stopped by her house again yesterday, just to drop by, and she said that she already read all of the pamphlet. Which nobody does. But for some reason, she kept talking to me in French. And I'm like "we talked for over an hour in Malagasy, and now you're dropping into French? What the fruit!" But we'll be going there later today for a real teaching appointment, and we're pretty excited about it.
Another lady we tracted into saw me and immediately asked "do you guys teach in French or English?". Elder Andriamanganoro and I both answered her "MALAGASY". She looks back at me and says oh, you're Malagasy!
I certainly am.
People here are just funny. One last story. We have a new elder that's being trained in our house right now, named Elder Lee. He is Tahitian and working with a Malagasy comp. Now, his companion is way funny, and we call him "Pig" or "Big Head". One day I turned to Elder Andriamanganoro and asked "if Elder Andrianjarasoa's nickname is pig or big head, then what is Elder Lee's?" He told me that they had already discussed that before, and decided on "Chong", since the kid looks Chinese. And I'm thinking "isn't Lee already a Chinesey name? We've got Jet Li, Bruce Lee, JackLY Chan... It seems like calling him Chong is just redundant!"
We have a pretty awesome time whether we're working or talking at the house.
All in all, the work is going pretty well. Solo is still learning, and my companion is edging him along the path to baptism. Setra, who I think I already talked about, is still learning, and he and his family are awesome. We're also teaching a guy named Jean-Christophe and his wife Midra, and they are way cool too. And there's others. So we have a ton of cool investigators, and we're having a lot of fun here.
Thank you everybody that worked on the missionary challenge (especially Dad for spreading the challenge to the ward), and I continually ask that you all work on that. Joseph Smith said something to the affect of, "after all that has been said, the most important thing is to preach the gospel."
And thanks to all of you that had a chance to email this week. I always love hearing from you all.
Have a great time,
- Elder Arrington
PS: Mom and Dad, thanks for the pictures! You all look great. And Steven's biceps look about as big as my head right now, so I'm officially scared of how big he'll be when I get back.