Wow that seems like so much good news of late. I am so proud of all of you! The Meiks (who are actually Cryers), the Valdez' (same story), Brady, Dad. You guys are just the best! Everything is going well here in old Mada. Closing in on my seven month mark. The thing that when you grow up you start to realize just how much your parents actually know is so true! How dumb I was when I was younger. O well can't look back on the past.
When you were talking about your past week flying through your head as you are in the temple, I feel like I can relate. Now that I am a leader of sorts - though the smallest, most humble type to be sure - I think about things like that all the time. Am I doing this right? Is what I'm doing affecting the work? I feel like it is me, Elder Touli, and the Lord out here alone....O wait....that's what it is. But fortunately, as long as one of us is the Lord, any group can conquer all. It is still kinda scary sometimes, like, I could easily make or kill my area.
Just yesterday, actually, I was feeling pretty down about myself and my area. I was talking to my friend Elder Rawilson (Malagasy) about it and pretty much just having a pity party. He told me I was doing great, gave me encouragement, and did all the proper things that a friend should say in order for another to feel happy again. Regardless of my worry, I felt better. Pretty much everyone in my group is feeling somewhat similair to this. Three of us are leading our own areas and another is just having alot of trouble in his. It is frustrating, hard, slightly depressing; but most of all, rewarding. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the whole world.
Thankyou so much for the package mama. It was amazing - as always. I especially enjoyed the pancake mixes and the instant brownie things. Just so you know, if it ever becomes too much trouble to send packages, then don't. Keep your money, buy something nice for yourself, Woman. I don't want to be a burden on the other side of the world. I was already a burden enough when we were in the same house.
I'll tell you about a really amazing experience we had last Monday. It was late Tuesday night and several of our times had fallen through in a row. We were trying to do a mixture of tracting, contacting, and visiting people to try and salvage the day. As we go to our last time with Aindry - a member - a girl who is learning from us came in and sat down. I asked her where her mother was and she said the she was
very sick and consequently could not come to the lesson. I felt the Spirit prompt me quite strongly to offer aid. So I told her we could give her mother a blessing. She accepted and we scrapped our last time and went to the ladies house. In a little upstairs shack that you have to climb through a sketchy trap door to get to, her mother lay on the bed. There was one little candle on a humble table and the light was shadowy. Lucy, the mother, looked like she was near death. Sweat beads
rolled down her forehead and she looked like a wax model. I got pretty scared right then.
I asked her what the problem was and she said that is was her heart and stomach. I don't know what illness could effect both of those, but I'm not a doctor and Malagasies say their heart hurts for everything. I asked if we could have a prayer to invite the spirit and she accepted. I gave the opening prayer and then explained about priesthood power and the healing blessing. Before Elder Touli gave the anointing, I also told her that because neither of us was still very good at Malagasy, we would be doing the blessing in English. Her face crunched down in an almost inperceptible sign of sadness. She agreed anyways and Touli went on. After he finished, I laid my hands upon her head and felt the Spirit take over. This was not like any other blessing that I had ever given before. For confirmations I can pretty
much just memorize the whole thing, but this was different. Though my intention had been to deliver the blessing in English, I did the whole thing in Malagasy. It was an unbelievable experience for me.
Afterwards, she bore powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and the feeling that entered her home when we were there. I explained that it wasn't us, it was the Holy Ghost. I told them that if they desired it, they too could have the Holy Ghost with them always. When Lucy began speaking again she had tears in her eyes and gave thanks to God for sending us.
It is experiences such as this that I will look back on someday and mark my spiritual progression. I feel like I take little tiny baby steps until one day I take a mighty leap. When I land again I am on a higher plane than before. Still, nothing to write home about (ha!), but better than before. The hard experiences and trials that I face after those jumps of valiance move me up and down that point, but I never return to old ground.
So this week - since Thursday at least - we have had Elder Rawilson with us. His normal name is Gino - as I've mentioned before. He is suppossed to be in the Ghana MTC right now but his visa has been delayed. President Donnelly had already set him apart so he couldn't really go home. He came up to us after lunch in a suit, dragging his bag behind him, his family across the street, and begged us for help. I didn't know what to do so I called President and asked if Gino could work with us and stay at our house until he left on Tuesday. President said, "Yes of course. That would really be the best thing to happen. I would call the AP's and have them set it up but there are in Tamatave right now. Can I look to you to organize that?" I was like...uhhh, yes? There was nothing hard about it but I still felt like I was being
put on the spot, tested. Everything has turned out alright but it was still a little scary when he said that.
It has been great to have Rawilson around. He is Malagasy so that is always wonderful to have on your side. He loves to talk and so do I so that has been fun. No, he doesn't speak English really at all. So that is fun and has been some great practice. He can't really speak English but he does have an interesting vocabulary. If you don't happen to know a difficult word in Malagasy, just say it in English
with a French accent, there's a good chance he'll get it.
I love you all and miss you a little (or alot!).