30 September 2016

Full On Survival Mode

Manahoana Fianakavian sy namana!

So to kick things off I just wanna say that I got a cell phone so if anyone wants to call me or something the number is 911. Just kidding but I really did get a phone cause I got called as zone leader!!!!  Which I'm terrified now haha. We have one of the biggest zones in the MTC with just about 100 Elders and Sisters. We also have 7 different languages which is pretty cool. We have Malagasy, Tongan, Samoan, Marshalese, Kirabati, Fijian, and American Sign Language (I have no idea why they're in our branch but we love them). Anyways, this week the Tongan, Samoan, Fijian, and Kiribati districts are all leaving which means we're losing about 50. On Wednesday though, 65 new missionaries are coming into the MTC which is insane. So me and Elder Passey get the opportunity to take all of these missionaries through orientation and all of the getting-to-know-you stuff so wish me luck! 

Our investigator, Jacques, turned into our teacher. His real name is Brother Evans which is a real surprise since I was convinced that he was really from Madagascar and not a 24-year-old white returned missionary. Really the whole district was shocked... but we got a new investigator who's name is Solo (o's are pronounced like oo). She's been our teacher for the last two weeks so it's kind of weird teaching our teacher but she's a way better investigator than Jacques! We never got anywhere with Jacques but after the 2nd Lesson Solo already committed to come to church with us and stuff which is awesome especially considering that we're not allowed to use any notes so our whole lesson consists of a lot of hand motions and ummmmms. 

Brother Evans got really sick this week and is in the hospital for a few days but we've had some good teachers come in and teach us. The ASL teacher came in yesterday and taught us some good stuff. He taught us how to sign "I'm stupid" and since I'm like the first person all the new missionaries meet I'm going to tell them that it means hello. It's ok because their teacher told me to do it.

I'm getting so sick of the food here but I've gotta force it down because at this point I need every pound I can get. At lunch I turn onto full-on survival mode because every pound I gain will make it so I can survive that much longer out in the harsh wild of Madagascar. I'm not planning on dying out there so I'll need as much of a fat reserve as possible... So far it's not working though cause I haven't gained weight yet... Hopefully when I leave I'll be fat and ready to take on the world. 

That's it for this week so thanks for all the packages and stuff! If you want me to survive please send me fattening foods. It's for my survival I promise...

Tiako Ianareo. 

23 September 2016

Week 300290239409


So it's only been a week and a half but it feels like I've been here forever! The MTC's been pretty good to me. it's been tough but I'll get over it. This last week we really started to crack down on the whole language learning thing. It's pretty crazy trying to cram all of this info into your head in such a short amount of time. The language is coming though. 

We teach an investigator named Jacques every day and he's the most difficult investigator ever. He's a Catholic pastor from Madagascar. AKA a 25-year-old white dude who probably went on his mission there. But he just makes the discussions so hard! For example, the first few lessons went pretty well and he seemed to like the idea of eternal families and stuff but when we got into the restoration of the preisthood and the whole idea of three distinct beings in the Godhead, he started throwing scripture refrences and trying to disprove our preisthood line of authority saying that the priesthood line was never lost and that the priesthood power never left the earth. 

Now this wouldn't necessarily be a problem if, 1. we knew how to talk about all of that stuff in Malagasy; 2. If we could actually understand and address his concerns. And to make matters worse when we start talking about the Word of Wisdom, of course he drinks and isn't willing to give it up. He also won't come to church because he has to teach his own congregation on Sunday. But I think he'll come around. He's just giving us a tough time and trying to help us deal with stuff we're going to encounter all the time out there in the field. Funny story is that the first time we taught him he asked me if I was married, but I thought that he said how many other kids are in my family so I said 3. Turns out I may have just fueled the whole Mormon polygamist thing haha. 

The actual language itself is coming along pretty well. I'm starting to understand and respond to the teacher while she's teaching which is cool. Everyone in my district makes fun of me because I have so many flash cards to memorize the vocab, but we'll see who's laughing when Jacques commits to baptism. The language itself is pretty simple but the words are insane. One word can have 2 or 3 meanings based on where the accent is placed so the word lalana can mean path or law and the word Masina can mean holy or salty, which is funny cause the teacher didn't tell us that we were putting the accent in the wrong place so this whole time all of us have been asking Jacques if he's felt the Salty Ghost touch his heart. The language just takes a lot of practice and a lot of listening. Because a word can be spelled one way and sound completely different. In a lot of words you just drop off the whole last syllable or two. A tr makes a tch sound and a dr makes a dch sound and a j makes a dz sound so that's a little odd. 

The teacher is hilarious though.  She's from Madagascar I think but she speaks French, Portuguese, Spanish, English, and Malagasy. One day we were talking about what it'll be like on Madagascar and she starts joking around with this pretty heavy kid in my distract saying how when he gets back he'll be skinny or "Kelly" which is small in Malagasy. Then she looks at this pretty buff kid and says he'll lose all his muscle. Then she gets completely serious and looks at this super skinny kid and stares him directly in the eye and says, "You'll be dead." It was the funniest thing in the world cause it was the first time any of us had ever heard her speak English. She just really wanted to make sure that we all understood it or something hahaha. 

But anyways that's pretty much it for this week! I'm gonna start writing my testimony a little in Malagasy at the end of my letters so that you guys can see what the language looks like and how I'm progressing!

Fantatro Fa marina ny Bokin'i Mormona
Fantatro fa velonampaminany Thomas S. Monson
Tsapako fa Tia Andriamantra Aho
Tsara ny filazantsara
Fantatro Fa velona Andriamantra sy Jesoa Kristy

Veloma! Tiako Ianareo!

Elder St. John

16 September 2016

First Couple Days in the MTC

I'm doing way good! My companion's name is Elder Passey, he's from Bear Lake, Idaho. If you wanna know what he looks like just imagine an 18 year old Spock from Star Trek. He's a cool guy but he's way quiet which has its perks. He's starting to open up a little bit.

We've got eight missionaries in our district. They're all guys cause I don't think that they have any Malagasy speaking sisters. I have a roomate who's this huge guy and he snores way loud but at this point it's starting to be comforting. Kind of like white noise or something. We never really get any quiet around here cause we're on the same floor as all of the island missionaries so we've got a lot of Polynesians singing and playing their ukes. It could be worse haha. But the other elders in my district are awesome. They're all solid guys with good testimonies who are willing to work hard on the language which is awesome.

The language is insane. The teacher only speaks in Malagasy which can be a little overwhelming when you don't understand much of it. It's coming along though. We've only had two lessons and we have to teach our first investigator all in Malagasy. I'm pretty pumped to make a fool of myself but you never learn if you don't try. The language sounds really cool. Its' got a lot of influence from island languages, but it also sounds a little French and somtimes middle eastern haha. 

A little language info is that all verbs start with M which is awesome until you start realizing that every single verb sounds the same. If you wanna change it to past tense all you've gotta do is change the M for an N and if you wanna make it future switch it to an H. Other than that everything's going awesome! 

I decided missionaries are the weirdest people on earth and it'll take a little while to get used to all of it but it's starting to grow on me. We still haven't really even started a normal schedule yet so I'm sure when all of this orientation and introduction stuff is over things'll feel a little more normal.

Elder St. John

14 September 2016

Hayden Enters the Missionary Training Center

We had our traditional last supper before a missionary enters the MTC.
We will miss him but wouldn't have it any other way. 

13 September 2016

He is Now Elder St. John

Hayden was set apart as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve in the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission by President Lake.  President Foote is lucky to get this fine young man.

His brother has set a great example.  

So glad Spencer and Hayden were able to spend a few weeks together between their missions.

02 September 2016

Bountiful Temple with Friends

Chris Schmidt will serve in the England Leeds Mission.
Logan Cook will serve in the Puerto Rico Mission.
Johnny Schmidt will serve in the Scotland-Ireland Mission.
And of course, Hayden will serve in the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission.

I love that Hayden has such great friends and love how he chooses to spend his time.

Logan's mother, Kim Cook posted this with a great caption:  Perfect Day! #brothers #armiesofhelaman #england  #ireland #puertorico#madagascar #gonnamissthem