28 November 2016

Lazy Eyes Everywhere

Well let me paint a picture for you all... The beatufiul landscape of Madagascar, rice patties everywhere, cows grazing in the middle of the streets, free range chickens wandering in and out of houses, and FREAKING LAZY EYES EVERYWHERE. Litterally I've tried to go a day here without seeing someone with a lazy eye and it's impossible cause I think half the popoulation here has one. There are a few things that you can't go a day without seeing here. First is someone with a lazy eye, second is a woman just exposing herself to the world, and third is someone wearing a shirt with a really inappropriate or funny saying that makes no sense. Madagascar is pretty much the DI dumping ground of the world here so every once and a while you'll see a guy walking down the street in a BYU shirt or a shirt that just has the F word written all over it. Anyways that's my Madagascar cultural lesson for the week.

Life's going pretty good here in Ambositra. We finally got a water heater, the only problem is that it doesn't work... The electricity in our house ins't strong enough to support it so they're replacing the wiring in our house sometime this week. So yeah, still cold showers and hand washed clothes... I freakin love it though cause I'll like never have the opportunity to feel closer to the people of Madagascar. I bet 99 percent of the people here have never even heard of a water heater haha. But yeah the house is solid. We don't sleep with mosquito nets or anything cause it's not the mosquitos you need to worry about. The bed bugs and flees are getting more daring... The Malagasies are starting to make fun of me cause none of them get bit, so they think it's way funny that I'm covered in bites. They say it's cause I still have sweet American blood.

The work is coming along alright here. We got two baptismal dates this week, but here it's really easy to get baptismal dates. The hard thing is actually getting them to baptism. The culture here is that no one wants to offend you so they'll accept everything you say and act really excited and then the next time you teach them and ask them if they read the Book of Mormon or something they hardly ever will have. But it is really easy to tell the difference between diligent and not diligent investigators really quick. The only problem is finding the diligent ones. People like talking to white people here and they act really interested in our teachings so we have to keep coming back to them, but they don't want to get baptized which is such a bummer cause they're just wasting our time. It's never a waste of time though cause we're inviting people to come closer to Christ which is what this is all about. It's good practice for the first lessons though. I can understand and teach the first couple lessons no problem but the second we start talking about the plan of salvation I just get so lost haha. People here are either passive or extremely passionate about their religion. Really the only ones who are "passionate" are the 7th day Adventists and the Jehovah Witnesses. Most of the time they're not even passionate about their religion. They're just passionate about trying to make us look stupid. They're always trying to Bible bash us which is way funny. We never really bash back, but we do politely share scriptures that own them, and then invite them to study the scriptures and ask God.

Anyways that's about it for this week. Love you and miss you all!

Elder St John

21 November 2016


Well to start things off, this week I'll update all of you on my warfare witht he fleas. I found one and killed it but that's about it. It seems like it may have scared them off cause I haven't been getting bit quite so much, but I'm keeping my eyes peeled. I think they're scheeming something big cause this may just be the calm before the storm. I won't let my guard down and I will come at them with redoubled efforts. Wish me luck.

Anyways other than that it was a pretty uneventful week. It rained alot which is fun cause everyone here is terrified of the rain and all start runing for cover the second that they feel rain. Elder Olsen and I play chess alot before we go to bed and I finally won this week. Apparently I'm terrible at chess or something cause he's not even good.

Since everyone keeps begging me, I guess I'll talk a little about the food. Its rice... literally all we eat is rice out here with some beans or a mystery meat. I haven't eaten anything gross yet, but I really don't know what I've eaten haha. You just go with it and don't ask.

The work is coming along. It's been 4 weeks and we still haven't taught anything other than restoration and Book of Mormon haha. I've got high hopes for this week though. The people here are really nice and accepting, it is just impossible for us to get them to keep commitments so we have to keep reviewing lessons and all of that. I'm getting pretty good at tracting though haha.  Anyways that's about if for this week. 

Love you and miss you all.

14 November 2016

I Have Fleas

Well to start things off I'm gonna write about some bugs cause I know that's what you all wanna hear. The bugs here are insane. I probably have about 1000 flea bites, no joke. There's no getting rid of them, you've just gotta endure the pain. I always thought fleas and bedbugs were a myth. The people who say that the most real monsters are inside of your head have apparently never been harrassed by bed bugs/fleas cause those things make a grown man wanna cry. 

Another fun fact about Madagascar is that apparently there is such a thing as flying spiders. I was just sitting there at the top of this mountain after a hike we went on this morning and I was watching a spider and all of the sudden it started floating straight up.  No Joke. Like it didnt have a web, nothing. It just started floating straight up. I asked the ward members we were with what just happened and at first they told me it was dead and going to heaven, but then they told me that it's just a normal spider here and apparently they can fly haha so that's pretty cool. 

Those aren't even the worst spiders though. There are ones that are, probably as big as my hand, everywhere. They don't bite which is cool they're just freaky as heck and not the good kind of freaky either. Except there is one spider that lives right outside of our apartment and if you tap his web he starts shaking his butt really fast so as of now he's the only good freaky spider that I know. When we leave we tap his web and sing the wiggle song by Jason Dueruelo or whatever and man that spider gets FREAKY. Well that's enough about bugs for this week stay tuned for more cool bug facts.

Well on to the important stuff... All the weird stuff that happened this week!!! First thing first is that drunk people here love white people and since we're the only white people here most of the time we're like a magnet. So this week this guy that was wayyy too far gone came up and kissed my and my companion so that's new. 

We also met this guy who claims to be 125 years old. I thought that was impossible, but the members say that it's not really uncommon. Apparently there's some guy who's 200 who lives in a village like 45 minutes outside of Ambositra so they said they'd take us there one day. I don't belive them at all cause nobody here has proof of when they were born really so you've just gotta go by word. I wanna beleive though so I'll just go with it.

The actual work though is going along slow still. We have a lot of investagators, but only two are progressing and one of them is moving. The other one lives with a member family so at least we've got one who's stuck haha. Finding people is pretty easy here. We can tract for an hour and teach three first lessons and get return dates.  The hard thing is actually getting them to show up to their return dates. They also never keep commitments and never wanna come to church either so that's frustrating, but it is easy to weed out the weak from the strong pretty quick. We went to another branch that is in our zone on Sunday in the city of Amjomakana (Amzoma for short/white people). Its a city that is way tiny and pretty much as ambonyboitra (farmland) as it gets. It was way cool though cause everyone there was ready to learn about the gospel. It was funny though cause the branch president was teaching some false doctrine   The first councelor straigtened it out at the end though so that's all good. Anyways that's it for this week! Love you all and miss you!

Elder St John

07 November 2016

Naked People Everywhere

Hayden at Church in Ambositra

Hey everybody! Things are going great here! The area is still way tough and I still have no idea what I'm doing but I'm getting used to it! 

I'm gonna give you guys a little bit more detail of my area cause I didn't write much last week, but my area is called Ambositra. There haven't been missionaries here in like a year and a half so we're pretty much starting from scratch. Every once in awhile we will run into someone who was taking the lessons before they closed it, but not very often. 

The house is pretty nice. It doesnt have hot water so what I do is boil a pot of water and pretty much give myself a warm spongebath cause I'm too big of a baby to handle a cold shower. I bet all of you think that I'm probably dying of heat over here but you're WRONG! It's soooo cold haha. I wake up every morning and have to like force myself to get rid of the blanket. We also didn't have a working phone until yesterday so they literally just droped us off here without hot water, no phone, and no washing machines. We have to wash all of our clothes by hand because the washing machine doesn't work. 

But yeah, it's a pretty nice house, probably one of the nicest in the city. A majority of the people here live in pretty much a 10 square foot cement room in a complex of like 20 other houses. Some people have nicer houses but that's pretty much average. 

Ambositra is a pretty cool city. It is famous for its wood working so I'm gonna get some pretty cool souveniers. It is also a huge farming town so there's a lot of people who are farmers here.  But most people just sell stuff on the side of the road or are carpenters here. The people are all really nice here. A lot of times you just knock on a door and hear "mondroso" which means come in, so that is pretty awesome. What isn't awesome is how often you get a return appointment and they aren't there. Pretty much 50 percent of the time they're not going to be there which is really dissapointing. It also feels like I have been tracting for the last 500,000 years. I've taught the first lesson 29 times this week and we've only taught about the Book of Mormon twice haha. I'm way good at the first lesson though haha.

Something else that is funny is that they've got a huge problem with modesty here haha. Like we'll be sitting in a lesson with an investigator and they'll just start breastfeeding without batting an eye. The first ten times I saw it I was a little taken back but by now I'm pretty used to it. One time we were trackting and this lady answers the door with half her chest hanging out and she didn't even realize it for like 5 minutes haha. But yeah that's just Madagascar for ya. 

Me and Elder Olsen are getting along way well and the work is coming along. We're finally starting to get a little bit of a program so we don't have to keep tracting all day every day, but still we've got a long way to go haha. The members here are awesome. They gave us a list of like fifteen referrals so that'll keep us busy for awhile. They're way excited to have missionaries here again which is soo cool.

But Yeah that's about it for this week. I love you all and miss you a ton!