So, about being DL and a trainer: I have experienced probably one of the biggest testimony builders up to this point in my life this week. When I got the new elder, as soon as we went to go and teach times, on our first day of work as a new companionship, I felt a change. With no other change besides a lot of prayer and a lot of faith, I became many times better in Malagasy. Astoundingly better, in fact. It has been the most insane thing to witness. I cannot even express my feelings about the whole thing. The only thing I can relate it to is when Nephi went back to
Jerusalem and he was guided by nothing but the Spirit, not knowing before how he would accomplish his task from the Lord.
The week has come to a close and I can now actually speak in Malagasy. I can understand everything - leaving out a few words that I can use context clues to decifer - and really speak Malagasy. Before I became a trainer, the language was a struggle. The Lord knows when the time is right, not us. These past few days have really illustrated that.
About my new companion: His name is Elder Touli and he is from Hawaii. He danced on the Tongan canoe and for the touring team at the PCC in Hawaii, so he is a pretty strong-looking dude. He is way fun and chill. I kid you not when I say that he knows more vocab than I do and that he is many times better than I was when I came. He doesn't speak often in Malagasy - a symptom of newness, nerves, and a combination of other things related to being in a crazy ultra-sureal experience - but when he does speak it is perfect. Contrast that to myself, who talked a lot for a new kid but made mistakes. He is very excited about the work and hasn't shunned the work or the challenges of the missionary way in the least. Very obedient.
Being a DL: I am taking stats, conducting District meetings, doing baptismal interviews, and other admin-type stuff.
We have three baptisms coming up this Saturday. The peoples names are Tahina, his sister (can't remember her name well enough to try spelling it), and Christiana. Tahina and his sister are the children of a couple who have been learning for years but cannot get baptized as of yet because of problems with an unfinished divorce that the man must deal with. Tahina and his sister have been coming to church religiously - ha! - and have been very diligent. So their parents gave them permission to get baptized with the promise that as soon as they (the parents) can get legally married they will follow. Christiana has been learning for four years and has not been able to be baptized because her family hates the church. But, she just turned 18 on the 25th and will be baptized on the 5th. Woohoo! We hopefully have a few more baptisms two weeks after this Saturday so I am seeing incredible blessings from the Lord. I am truly seeing the Lord's hand aid us in all of the things which we are engaged in; it is miraculous.
At the begining of my and Touli's time together, our program looked pretty grim. There were hardly any times at all and it seemed like it was going to be rough. We pressed on regardless and made the most of it, visiting families, tracting, stopping by old investigators; the Lord made it happen. We were led to some great people and taught some absolutely astounding times. One of these groups has promised to bring
the whole neighborhood and their familes to the next time. We'll see how that turns out, but how exciting!
Thank you all, family, for shaping me into the person I am today. I am still so far
from being a reasonably decent person, but I am better than yesterday and not as good as tomorrow. You have all left a permanent mark on me that will last throughout the eternities - a mark for good. I love you all so much and can't wait to hanoa fety when I get home. But for now, the work calls.