Hey guys!Great to hear about life back home! I definitely miss all of you! Whenever I get here and sit down at the computer, I realize how much happens in a week! I can't write about all of it, but I'll try to get a few important things down. It's crazy how fast time seems to go on a mission when you forget yourself and go to work.
So a little background on the church in Fianarantsoa. Years ago, the missionaries had a pretty good program set up in this city. A branch or two were pretty steady. Then the branch presidency decided to steal money from the church. It led to a massive amount of people leaving the church, excommunications, etc. Bad stuff. Anyway, the church is now basically back to the point it was before and going strong although there are still a lot of really new members. Haha our entire branch presidency is made up of recent converts! Poor guys... Can you imagine that happening at home? On top of that, we were talking to the Branch President the other day (we go and teach him about the responsibilities of his calling, how to lead, etc.) and he told us that he hadn't been taught the lessons again after his family was baptized! Our branch president has received half the teaching of everyone else in the branch! So we started teaching the lessons to him and his family. It's kind of funny to see the branch president have moments where he's like "oooooooh that's what that means" during pretty basic gospel discussions. Him and his presidency are so diligent and faithful, I really look up to them.
We have another recent convert that we teach who lives out in a little farming community named Jean de Dieu. If there is a person in this world who perfectly personifies the character of Winnie the Pooh, we found him. He is the most lovable, round Malagasy I know. One of my favourite things about him is that he has two jobs. The first is he delivers babies. He's also a masseuse. Anyway, what I wanted to say is that all of the kids know about me who live around his house, and whenever I start walking across the rice-paddies they start to gather on the other side screaming "ELDAH SHNOOAH!". I normally play around with them a little and take a couple pictures with them. Sometimes when we teach I can't fit inside Frere de Dieu's house, so I sit out in the doorway on a tiny stool and like 10 kids come and gather around me in the doorway and listen to the lesson.
I just want to take a little time and say I love Malagasies. Can you start scouting one out for me to marry when I get back? First of all, they are the most beautiful people on Earth. Perfect skin, perfect skin tone, no make-up (don't need/can't afford it), age with grace, and they live to about million years old. And they work until the day they die. They are a simple, wholesome and happy people. They don't sweat the small things. Money isn't the center of their universe. Their diet consists of basically the exact model that our best nutritionists in the west have come up with. A little meat, lots of vegetables, natural, fresh foods. I could go on for days. If you have any specific questions about local life here, ask away. I feel like I'm starting to grasp what life is for the natives.
We are very busy right now, which is great. I wouldn't have it any other way. Brothers: If you are called on a mission to a place where you don't get cars, and if you are working like you should, it is going to be a workout everyday. Haha especially if you have a 25 almost 26 year old basketball superstar as your companion. We have a lot of people with baptismal dates, it's going to be very cool if they all pull through. We have baptisms scheduled for the 23 (Pierrot is one of those, ugh I love that man) and 30 of April and the 14 and 28 of May. And multiple people for each of those days. That's a lot of lessons to teach and a fair amount of pressure on our schedule, especially because we walk everywhere and we are in charge of half of the second largest city in Madagascar. Oh, and we're also trying to teach our branch presidency and every other recent convert a couple times a week.
Yes, this is the end of Elder Obioma's mission. It's so sad. He gets sad every time he is reminded that it's coming to an end. We're in the last 4 weeks now of our companionship and his mission. Time flies. The last week is going to be really crazy because we're going to be travelling to Tana for his farewell dinner with President Foote and then going to Antsirabe because he want's to visit the family we visited before (remember the girl that started weeping because she loves him so much, he promised her that he'd return one last time before he left) and then we'll return to Tana for his flight out. Then I'll return here with my new companion!! Yikes. I'm just hoping for a nice, obedient, clean one. Hopefully one that's good at Malagasy.
Today I got my first Malagasy haircut. Sigh... The poor barber looked at me, kind of shrugged in a confused way and then gave me a buzz and a line up. YES I SAID LINE UP. HEAR THAT DANNY!? Yeah they don't cut many white people's hair here. Elder Obioma said I look really scary and compared me to Eminem. He calls me b rabbit now. Sigh...
So I was thinking that maybe because dad's the YM president now I could send a little snippet of advice for the YM that he could read every Sunday? I don't know, tell me what you think. Missions are such amazing things, I want all of them to serve. My advice for this week would be to start reading Preach My Gospel!! Seriously dad, whenever you can, teach out of it during Youth lessons.
Thank you for sending me a quote in your email! I love that sort of thing.
I haven't gotten your package yet, maybe it'll be at the office when we head to Tana in a few weeks.
I love you all so much. Can't wait to watch that documentary with you when I get back and tell you all about this beautiful place.
|We woke up early and went hiking as our workout one day when it was really foggy.|
|We found this massive spider. It was so sick. |
You guys would have loved it.
|Possibly my favourite picture in existence of me.|
|The real spiderman.|