I'm having the time of my life here. I can't believe I've already been here about 2 and a half weeks! My departure date is Feb. 15. THAT MEANS I'M ALMOST HALFWAY THROUGH MY TIME AT THE MTC. The last few days, I've been thinking about the time I've been gone and it actually made me sad, but I was sad because I thought of how much closer I was to having to end my mission! I love the people here (especially the island zone), I love the atmosphere here, I just love being a missionary. I think what I love about it the most is the sense of purpose I feel. I feel like I'm part of something bigger than me, that I can make a difference. I mean, I feel like the people of Madagascar can actually use me, you know? Like at home, the UofA doesn't NEED me, the Canadian Forces don't NEED me, Atmosphere doesn't NEED me, but the people of Mad NEED to hear our message. I know that you guys love me and all that, but you get my point right? It kind of feels like the MTC is a throwback to basic training for WW2. We're all training for one essential purpose, we are all kind of brothers in arms, and no one sits there texting or playing games on their phone all day. It really is amazing how many friends you can make if you just talk to people. I don't miss all the distraction at home. I miss the distractions but not the distraction haha. Does that make any sense?
Okay, so about my week. Elder _____ from our district (supposed to go to Florida speaking Haitian Creole) went home to Kansas early this morning. It kind of hit me hard. I loved him. Him and Elder Duvinston were probably the people who we hung out with the most. He struggled because he didn't really have a testimony before he came, and I guess he couldn't gain one quick enough. He said that he's never felt the spirit before. He said he came on a mission because of the pressure he felt from his younger sister who looked up to him. I felt for him a little on the younger sibling front. I just hope he doesn't regret going home for the rest of his life. I'm sure he'll be fine. Could you guys pray for him for me?
Elder Simiskey and Elder Hamon (from Texas and Australia, both heading to Fiji and are our residence mates and zone leaders) are leaving on Monday for their missions. I'm going to miss them and the rest of the Fijian Elders and Sisters. It's hard to get so close to these guys, learn their stories and what they've had to overcome to get here and then watch them leave. They're the best examples to Elder Soper and I, and we're going to strive to be just like them. They're also hilarious. I die laughing like 50 times a day here
Alright so the language. Here's what I find difficult about the language:
- What I talked about before about the vocab being so similar
- The fact that there are active (I eat the apple), passive (the apple is eaten), and circumstantial (under the tree I eat the apple) verbs. Depending on the type, the verb is completely different, and for passive verbs there is no way to convert from active. Essentially I have to memorize 3 times the amount of verbs as English has. Oh command verbs are different too. Make that 4.
- Pronunciation. You know how if I took off the last letter of every word in a sentence you could probably still understand what I was writing? Even if I spoke that way too? Well that's standard in Malagasy. Most of the time, instead of pronouncing the last letter, you kind of blow out air and make the shape with your mouth to say the letter.
We are getting better though. We can teach the first lesson pretty well now, and our grammar and sentence structure is improving. I still struggle a bit with vocab. Bloody Elder Soper and his photographic memory. I'm just kidding, we complete each other pretty well.
Thank you for passing along Fitzner's email! It was so good to hear from him and see him at the MTC. Any chance you could send me his email address? He gave me some nibs (the long kind) and I shared them with the zone and they went crazy. They'd definitely appreciate some more if you could send any haha.