Monday, December 2, 2013

Week 32 in Sabotsy Namehana

More baptism interviews!  And a little missionary baseball thanks to Elder Stokes!  It sounds like Michael will be leaving Sabotsy Namehana before long, and maybe to someplace really cool.  We should find out soon!

Subject: "If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nuthin' at all."

So Elder Stokes has invented this version of baseball that we can play in the house. All it involves is a pitcher, batter, ball, and a bat. We found some random plastic ball around the house, and just use a water bottle as a bat. Elders Stokes and Carrus and myself have gotten into something of a tournament, to see who the best player is. So far, I think each of us have won one tournament.

It's a fun way to pass the time on P-days.

We've also found these things called "Igloo"s which is basically a bag of frozen yogurt. A bunch of epiceries in our area sell them, for 200 Ariary (10 cents), so Elder Stokes and I buy them fairly often.

As some of you may remember, I am currently the district leader here, so I've been running around doing baptism interviews at every chance I get. Take yesterday for example.

There were no busses in the morning, or taxis, so we ended up having to walk all the way to church. Which is really far. We made it for the last half of testimony meeting, and then had to turn right back around and go to the Analamahitsy church. Fortunately there was a bus.

The Analamahitsy elders had told us that they had four people to be interviewed, so I got started right away. Then the APs showed up and mentioned that they also have somebody that is moving into that ward and also needs to get interviewed. Then it turns out that two of the baptizees from Analamahitsy actually weren't married yet (so why do they have a baptism date for this week?) so they didn't get interviewed.

In short, I interviewed three people, and all of them passed. We are still going on splits today so that the Ivandry elders can have four people interviewed, and that should be all for a while. Still, it's really fun listening to how ready some people are to get baptized.

One quick story. I was interviewing a man for Analamahitsy, and he mentioned that he used to be a Jehovah's Witness. His wife gave him a bunch of pamphlets and a Book of Mormon, and encouraged him to study them. Finally, AFTER HE HAD DECIDED TO GET BAPTIZED, he called up the missionaries to start teaching him. So they came over, taught him for a month, and now he's getting baptized. How cool is that!

We visited a less active member on Wednesday. His name is Raymond Marcel. He went inactive because of how some of the members were treating him and his family, and he's just tired of it. Raymond Marcel is now asking to meet with the stake president to sort out the problems. He wants to come back, but he's just tired of how the members don't take the gospel seriously. It's that sin of being lukewarm, and it really offends RM.

Anyway, we happened to be talking to Elder and Sister Cloward (a senior couple here in Mada) about Raymond Marcel, and they offered to come help us out. Perfect!

(Raymond Marcel's house is also an hour long walk after the end of the bus line, and the Cloward's have a car, so having them with us had extra benefits.)

Anyway, we got there, and Elder Cloward explained how his father had gone inactive earlier in his life after somebody had wronged him in church, later regretted it, and regretted not having all the blessings that the gospel brings. In Elder Cloward's family, part are members and part are not. Those who are members have good, solid lives with very few problems. Those who are not active members have many more problems, with kids into drugs and drinking and smoking and their families are just falling apart.

Elder Cloward just explained that the blessings of the gospel are so easy to see in his family, and he asked Raymond Marcel to come back. RM said that he will, eventually. I really hope that he does.

So that was a pretty cool experience. Plus I got to translate almost the whole thing, which was also cool. Just a really good experience.

On a lighter note, I also went on splits with the Ankorandrano elders, leaving me with Elder Razazaravohana in Ankorandrano, during which time I learned the Malagasy word for rainbow. Havana. So that's cool. We also walked for about a billion miles in that area. The poor missionaries there just have a huge area to cover. Fortunately their ward is way nice, and their bishop just got back from his own mission a year or two ago, so they are set. Some bikes might help them, but they are getting along with what they have.

Subject change. I've printed off our family picture and started showing it to our investigators, challenging them to find me. They point and guess, and finally I just show them. And they think that it is SO funny! This one girl couldn't stop laughing for fifteen minutes.

As for a quick weather report, yes, Dad is right about Madagascar's seasons when he said that "Madagascar has two seasons.  Hot and rainy, and mild and cool." We are now entering the hot and rainy one, so I walk out each day with short sleeves and an umbrella.

On that note, I was told by the assistants (both of which started their missions in Sabotsy Namehana) that I have "good things coming" this transfer. Which I would guess means I'll be going to Fort Dauphin, Toliara, or Mahajunga, all of which are blistering hot. Especially Mahajunga. But the missionary work there is flying and the people are way nice, so a little heat is bearable!

And just like that, I'm out of things to talk about. Next week I'll let you know how transfers work out. It's probably about time that I get transferred out, although I do love knowing the area so well. All the members, all the roads, and just everything. But when it's time, it's time.

Thank you all for your love and support, and especially the support that you are giving to your missionaries in your own wards.

Keep up the good work!

- Elder Arrington

PS: The black guy with the white shirt in the picture from last week is named Mamy. He is our branch mission leader, and probably my favorite Malagasy ever. Just a hilarious guy, that helps us out whenever he can. And WAY good at soccer. We love Mamy.

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