Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 16 in Mahajanga

“The rains came down and the floods came up, and the house on the rock stood still.”  How about a little hurricane action?  And some pictures!, presumably from the new camera.

Subject:  "Ye best start believing in ghost stories, Ms. Turner. You're in one!"

So we got a call from mission president yesterday that started something like this:

Elder Marsh: "Hello?"

President: "Hello. How are you doing?"

"Good. And you?"

"I'm good. Just wanted to let you know that there's a hurricane coming your way."

"Uh... oh! Okay. That's good to know."

Selfie.Apparently it's a pretty big storm, but still decently far from us in Mahajanga. We should be fine. It's been raining something fierce the last day or two, with some pretty strong winds. But don't you worry. Elder Marsh and I are not going to let a little thing like a hurricane stop us from emailing.

Our week has been pretty good. We got some good member help, which made us happy. Some of the members here are super diligent, so we like having them with us.

Ulrich, for instance, gave us a referal this week (his second one since getting baptized in December). The kid's name is Sandratra. He actually learns in our English class, but had a couple questions about the gospel and asked Ulrich. Ulrich directed Sandratra to us, and just like that he has become a progressing investigator, with a few members of his family on their way to follow suit. They are a very nice family, and we'll be going back to teach them this Tuesday. More to come.

Edmond and Nirine, investigators whom some of you might remember, are still going well. Nirine is in Tana, apparently pretty sick but getting better, but we stopped by Edmond this week. His daughter and her friends have been coming to church for a month or so, but Edmond has been bouncing between here and Tana and hasn't had time, until yesterday. He came to church, and had a pretty good time. Side note about his daughter and her friends: they've only been present for a few lessons, but they started coming to church and just haven't stopped. Now they come to youth activities and even came to clean the church on Saturday. I think that at least a part of that comes from the fact that they have friends here, so they enjoy coming. Why can't the older members be that good at helping new people join?

DSCF0283Most of the older members here in Mahajanga just go to church and go home. They aren't very social. However, there is one sister, named Sr. Vero, who is VERY good at welcoming new people. We had this investigator come to church, Pathy and her son and daughter, and we were afraid that nobody would talk to them. But as soon as sacrament meeting ended, Sr. Vero grabbed and went with Pathy to the next meeting, and Vero's daughter carted the kids off to their classes. Excellent.

By the way, we had figured that Pathy wouldn't even come to church yesterday because of the rain, but she did! It looks like she and her family are going to progress very quickly. She's not married, but as long as she stays on the right path, she can repent later.

Elder Marsh and I spent some time contacting, but in a way that was pretty new to me. We found a bunch of former investigators in the area book, who were written down as being awesome, but then the records stopped. The people stopped learning for some reason, but we have no idea why. It just wasn't written down. So we called them up to see if they are still interested in learning. And out of fourteen people that we called, three of them set up appointments then and there, five or so couldn't give a time right then but would later on, and the rest didn't answer. NOBODY said that they just didn't want to learn. So we now might have a bunch of "new" investigators, and we didn't have to knock a single door!

I've been doing pretty well here in Mahajanga. It's been very hot for the last while, but with this rain and wind we've been pretty cold. I'm actually shivering. My shoes are also full of water, but I'll survive. Actually, all of my three pairs of shoes are still water-proof, but that doesn't do much good when you have to walk through puddles deeper than your ankles. But still. We made a good investment in buying these shoes.

DSCF0277We had an opportunity to serve this week. Fr Gaetan, Fr Gerald (recently returned missionary), and their mom are moving to Tana for work, so we helped them pack some things in a truck to be driven down there. That was pretty bittersweet. Helping them is good, but they were really good members, serving in tons of responsibilities, including: branch family history specialist, young mens president, institute teacher, temple prep class teacher, and relief society president. We are sad to see them go.

However, another family moved INTO Mahajanga at exactly the same time. Hery, along with his wife and two kids, has been a member for about a year, and just got the Melchizedek priesthood. They are super nice, and should be a great addition to our troops here.

For the last couple weeks, we had been getting text messages, with scriptures written on them. The scriptures were always things like, "soon we shall meet again," or "I shall rise up to meet you." And we had no idea who was sending them, or why. It turns out, it had been Hery this whole time! That guy.

DSCF0289Last Saturday we got a call from this girl, a member in Tamatave. She said she would just text us her message and hung up quickly. Her messages started coming in, telling us that she would tell a secret, and not even the missionary's companion could know. Elder Marsh, who had the phone at the time, laughed as he read it out loud to me. "That's just not going to happen," he said.

Finally the lady got to the point, "do you like Malagasy girls?"

"OH NO!" My companion texted back, "we're not going to talk about that. If you have a message, just say it." What a stud.

It turns out that the lady had a referal for us, that she would bring to church the next day. But they never came. Oh well.

Still, Elder Marsh was just a boss in how he handled it. He explained to me that he has been aware of too many people that kept secrets, and ended up making huge mistakes afterward. After all the texting was done Elder Marsh just laughed one more time, "you're not getting me that easily, Satan."

So there you go. My companion is awesome, we've had some people coming to church this week, and life in general has been pretty good, in spite of the afore mentioned hurricane.

Thank you for your emails, and know that I love you all!

- Elder Arrington

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