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