THE PACKAGE WAS SO AWESOME!
I'll tell you what, the way to a Polynesian's heart is through sharing a bag of hamburger flavoured potato chips. Haha I could barely carry that box back to the residence but it was so worth it. Thank you so much! Everything is so great and I'm sharing it all (although I have to hide the unopened stuff now haha). The first day everyone left our room saying "Canada is sick man, I'ma find me a Canadian girl" hahaha it was great. I'm now kind of known as the Canadian and I love it.
You'll never go back after putting the Glerups on your feet.
It's so nice that the Gibbs are thinking about me! I loved being Brother Gibbs' home-teaching companion and being in Asia's seminary class. They're great. Tell them I'm doing great and that I can feel the love all the way at the MTC.
Oh let Madelyn and anyone else who's planning on serving soon know how to contact me if they have any questions. It was really useful for me to talk to Rocco and Braden and Branden before I left and I'd love to attest to how great it is being a missionary (yes I realize I'm still at the MTC).
That's so cool about getting to thin out some coyotes, and maybe getting a foot in the door for deer season. I miss fishing and camping and stuff even though it's only been like a month. There are a lot of Utah kids here who don't do any of that stuff. I'm going a little stir crazy. Our teachers keep telling us stories about Mad (supposedly we're going to be walking all the time) and it sounds pretty appealing right now.
Okay on to my week.
We got to do our first Skype TRC session! We skyped a member from Madagascar and talked to her for half an hour in Malagasy. Navofaly (NAH-FAH-LEE) was her name I believe. She was so nice and smiled all the time. She explained stuff that we didn't quite catch the first time she said it. It was just cool to actually meet a Malagasy! We talked about favourite ny Bokin'i Mormona stories and how we should share our fijoro ho vavalombelona (testimonies). Our language skills are improving faster and faster and our teachers say that we're ahead of the curve (sure doesn't feel like it sometimes).
Okay so Elder Soper lost his retainer (or Elder Timotao (sp.?) stole it or something - it's a long story haha) so we went off campus twice to an orthodontist. The orthodontists here are like theme parks!!! It was honestly Hawaiian themed! They had two x-boxes (don't worry we didn't use them), we sat in beach chairs, they had half of a Jeep to play in for the kids in the lobby, they sold candy and snacks and they give missionaries free slurpees after (which were actually really good!). What is this magical place called Utah!? Oh and the lady that fitted Elder Soper's retainer was like a supermodel too so all around a good orthodontist visit.
Sacrament meetings are really cool at the MTC. It's the only sacrament meeting where you can go and not have anyone on their phone, no babies crying or kids fussing. It's really cool to be able to just focus on the sacrament and feeling the spirit. It's also really cool to hear missionaries give talks in the language they're learning. We all have to prepare talks on a specific topic beforehand and then they choose someone but you don't know if you're chosen before they call your name. Haha I've been pretty lucky so far. It's all good if I get called though. Elder Soper will be the only one who can understand what I'm saying so I can pretty much talk about whatever I want.
So some information that I've gotten since coming here. Madagascar doesn't require us to have a visa before entering the country, but as soon as we get there they start the process of getting it all sorted out. It's kind of nice to know that my visa can't really be delayed, so I can't be sent to somewhere other than Mad.
I heard from a little bird that there aren't any more missionaries heading to MAD-ANT for 20 weeks! That's a pretty long gap compared to other missions. It's a rare calling. That means we'll be the "greenies" for a long time.
I've been singing in the MTC choir (most of the zone joins because all the Polynesians love to sing) and it's quite an experience to sing with all the other missionaries. We've sung Joseph Smith's First Prayer, Remember the Lillies, Hurrah for Israel and Precious Saviour, Dear Redeemer. That last one was my favourite. Try to find a video of the MTC choir singing it.
Thank you for the card and picture from Brady. They're taped up beside my mirror right now. I love that sort of stuff.
Okay to end this off I want to talk a little bit about Matthew Cowley. The building that has our classroom in it is named after him and he's a pretty inspiring figure. He was called to New Zealand in the Maori language in the early 1900's. He proceeded to go out into a field by himself in New Zealand (they didn't have companions back then), fast all day, and study a English-Maori dictionary and scriptures everyday for three weeks. When he came out people said he spoke the language fluently and he was able to teach the gospel. People like that are unheard of today, but I don't think that's because they don't exist. I believe that if we have enough faith and diligence, we can overcome anything. I want so badly to be a missionary like Matthew Cowley and I'm determined to have the diligence necessary to get me there.