Monday, April 7, 2014

Week 17 in Mahajanga

Computer problems appear to make this week’s message just a little shorter (and no pictures), but I’m still inspired by the stories Michael tells.

Subject:  "Well. It's not a prybar."

So I had just about finished my email home, when the internet browser closed for no apparent reason. I pulled my email back up, and the thing I had been writing had never saved. That's... unfortunate.

So here's the short version.

I'm exhausted because we spend probably five hours walking today, searching out what was supposed to be an awesome P-day activity, and something called Lac Sacre (which I think is French for Sacred Lake?). We went down the wrong paths, went down parts with NO paths, and found it in the end. Honestly, the lake was more of a pond, and less than impressive. But it did have like ten cool fish in it, which now I have seen. So if anybody asks me about the coolest fish that I've seen in Madagascar, I'll be able to answer that they were in Lac Sacre!

There's an investigator lady named Meme, who has been learning forever. The sad thing is that she can't get officially married, so she can't get baptized. But she can (and should) come to church, which she has not been doing. We've been working with her for a while, and she finally came yesterday! We just want her to keep being diligent in the things that she can do, even if she's not baptized.

On a more humorous note, Meme told us about her hometown. She apparently grew up in a small village in the northern part of Madagascar. And get this: the name of the place is Hellville. In English. Apparently Meme had grown up her whole life not knowing what that meant, but just recently somebody told her and the lady just about died laughing. She is a funny lady. From Hellville.

Some of you may recall Bernardo, the thirteen year old, super diligent member. He comes to church early every week. Of his own choice. He also attends the Preach My Gospel class that we teach. Again, of his own choice.

Some of the older members decided not to come to church last week because of the hurricane that passed by us. It really just caused a lot of rain and some strong winds, but it stopped some people from going outside.

Bernardo, on the other hand, will need more than a hurricane to stop him from going to church. The biggest problem is that the path from his house to the church is really muddy, especially when it rains hard. Bernardo didn't want to ruin his clothes, but he did want to come to church.

He showed up last week, even earlier than normal, dripping wet from the rain, wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and no shoes. Then he grabbed his backpack, which he had kept dry inside a plastic bag, walked into the bathroom, and walked back out dressed for church in his shining shoes, slacks, and white shirt and tie. The kid is a stud.

And by the way, he did that of his own choice. Bernardo is going to be a great missionary someday.

As a final story, let me mention Nirine and Edmond. We've been teaching them for a while, but I've been worried about Nirine. She doesn't really participate in lessons, and I wondered if she was even listening. Then she got sent off out of town, and didn't come back for almost a month. But when she did get back, she told us about some other preachers from another church that had started teaching her while she was out of town.

Apparently they got in a huge argument with her when she wouldn't accept their teachings about life after death. Nirine quoted what we had taught her about the spirit world and the resurrection, but the other preachers wouldn't hear of it. Finally Nirine mentioned that there is a book of scripture that proves what she was saying (the Book of Mormon). The other preachers got silent, and apparently the time ended with Nirine having dominated them. Nirine was just cracking up while she told us about that.
I guess Nirine really was listening to what we taught that whole time! That's a relief! She and her husband are progressing well, and will be getting baptized soon.

We've also gotten a ton of member help this week, which has helped us teach more lessons than normal. Which made us pretty happy. It was a pretty good week.

Thank you all for your love and emails! I love you all!

- Elder Arrington

PS: Congrats to DDR, Mike, and Kyle on their new job situations/prospects!

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