Elder Touli taught me how to spin a stick like a fire dancer [He was a dancer at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii]. I am, of course, wretched. I stub my fingers on the stick constantly and, consequently, have some nasty bruises on the tips of my fingers. Wonderful. I'm fairly positive that someone got so frustrated with me dropping the stick on the floor that they decided to hide it from me. I cannot blame them.
This week we had two baptisms. One of the women was named Jaequline and the other Tina. They are both wonderful people and I am so happy for their decision to partake of the life-giving ordinance. As you might have noticed, they are both women. Elder Touli and I are running into the problem that most missionaries have in this country. Men, especially family-leading men that desire the gospel in their lives, are difficult to find. The single women and their children are the ones who are ready for the gospel. It can be frustrating at times. I wonder if some of our success in teaching is because of Elder Touli's extraordinary good looks. He's big, he's buff, his hair curls in the way every middle-aged woman wants her own hair to curl, ha, and he is dark enough to pass as a Malagasy. These people love him.
I've begun a diet rich in noodles and anything that is cheap and easy to make. I'll continue to work out every day - almost - and make meager attempts to control my food consumption, but it is just too hard in this country. Not only is it expensive to eat a high protein diet but it is time-consuming. I've finally converted to the way of food that most other missionaries in this country have already happily adopted. As long as I fit in my clothes, I don't care.
The weather shifts between very cold and just right.
The longer I'm here, the more normal everything seems. It feels like home.
Elder Touli and I had a really cool experience this week with Faby and Zafy (I wrote about their baptism a couple of months ago). Faby just recently received the Melchezideck Priesthood and is desirous to wield it for the good of those around him. How wonderful! I wish all recent converts would think likewise...so anyway, we were doing a time with him and he began to ask about how to give blessings and all the ins and outs of the procedure. Fortunately - well, really quite unfortunately - his wife was feeling a bit on the not-well side. So we taught him how to give blessings for the sick and afflicted and then walked him through the whole thing during a live blessing. It was hard for him; he was unfamiliar with what was going on and - probably feeling very nervous - stumbled a bit with the words. But I'll never forget the look on his face after he said amen. He was so happy, so filled with gratitude and wonder for what had just occured. From that point on to eternity, he knew how to literally bless his family. It is not always the baptisms that touch us the most.
I love you guys and miss you lots. Hopefully no one makes fun of you for being white or tries to steal your soda, your money, your camera, and if possible the clothes off your back this coming week. O wait, that's me.
Don't Wash Your Black Socks Because The Longer You Wear Them The Stiffer They Get,