So to kick things off, this week was pretty amazing! We had David A. Bednar come and speak to us this week for a devotional and it was awesome, the spirit in the room was amazing and it was an awesome talk about how to better learn and use the teachings of General Conference. Other than that it was a pretty normal week. We did our first skype TRC (teach real converts) yesterday and that was pretty awesome. It was funny because the lady in charge came to our classroom and said we'd be having it at 7 pm, which is weird because we thought we'd be skyping with people in Madagascar and 7 pm here is 4 am over there. Well we didn't skype people in Madagascar :( Actually half of our disctrict didn't even get to skype at all haha. They couldn't find enough people so only 2 companionships were able to skype. Me and Elder Passey got to but the guy that we skyped was a returned missionary who lives in Provo (classic). So we were just skyping this white dude while he was driving in his car to go shop for groceries or something so the whole time we were skyping him he was just driving (please don't skype and drive with a week old baby) and in a grocery store. It was still an awesome experience.
The language is coming along pretty well. It's still hard but I'm starting to be able to get a grasp on all of the new concepts and stuff. There's three different types of verbs in Malagasy, active, passive, and circumstantial. In English we only have active so it takes a little getting used to. But class time is awesome, Brother Evans has been teaching us some cool stuff about the culture of Mada. Apparently pirates are still a problem in the south which I mean I wouldn't mind being accosted by some pirates just for the experience. They are land pirates that pretty much just rob busses on the way to a city called Fotofana which is on the very south tip. It's not a problem anymore because missionaries fly to different areas now becuase the travel took so long. If you were going from Antananarivo to one of the cities on the coast it would take about a 16 hour bus ride, and flying down there is almost as cheap as taking the bus haha. So unless the pirates figure out how to hijack planes I'm pretty safe. Another funny thing about pirates is that aparently if there's civil unrest in Mada, we all get sent to Somalia which sounds much safer.
Another fun Malagasy culture fact is that apparently black magic is a pretty common practice over there. So our teacher told us that if anyone asks to take a picture of you and you alone in a creepy way DO NOT DO IT because they're most likely trying to use the picture to cast a love spell on you so that you'll fall in love with their daughter and give their family a white baby or something. This is one of the major reasons that white sister missionaries aren't allowed over their anymore... So apparently too many sister missionaries were being cursed or something.
Hearing about all of this makes me so excited to get out there. Not only the culture but the people. Our teacher told us that on an average day missionaries have around 8-12 lessons which sounds pretty insane. He also said that an hour of street contacting or tracting will result in about 55 new investigators (that includes their families) so wish me luck.
We get our flight plans today so I'm so excited to get into the field but I'm going to miss the MTC. It's a once in a lifetime experience being so immersed in learning not only the language but the gospel. I've been able to be immersed in the gospel day and night and it's amazing seeing how strong the spirit can influence your life. Please everybody read the Book of Mormon every day. I promise it'll bless your life. Even if you only read for like 5 min. so what harm can come from it (nothing) seriously only the promise of eternal happiness will come from reading the scriptures and discovering the truth of it, and that sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
Here's a short testimony in Malagasy
Fantatro fa marina ny Bokin'i Mormona
Satria Fantatro ity, fantatro fa mpaminany marina Joseph Smith
Fantatro fa afaka mipetraka miraka ny fianakaviansika isika
Fantatro fa mitondra fifaliana ny filazantsara
Ny fomba iverinananstika amin Andriamaniatra dia amin'ny alalan'ny fivavahan sy mamaky ny Bokiní Mormon
Fantatro fa Tian' Andriamanitra Ianareo
Miss you all and love you!
Elder St. John