It's been a good week. The work is still going incredibly and every week brings me closer to the time when I'll have to leave Antsirabe. This is a terrible thought. I love this place more than anything. It is seriously like heaven. So many good things happen but even when bad things happen, I say a quick little prayer in my heart, and then sing when we're cruising through the countryside and I feel better. There's me, blaring out "Carry On", "Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel", or one of the classics, "Carry On My Wayward Son", "Don't Stop Believing" or any of the other Journey masterpieces that are my favorite when we are on our way home. You can really let loose when no one is on the streets at night.
Zone Conference is goin down next week. I was going to sing "Whole Again" but it is far too difficult for my pianist, Elder Raoilson, to play. As soon as he saw it he said, "It would take me at least a month to learn this!" So, after I email, I'm gonna go to Sally Deford web site and pick one of the easier hymnal arrangments.
We had a baptism this last Saturday, and it went great! Except, of course, for the fact that one of our kids didn't show up at all. That was a major bummer, especially considering that the family didn't even come to church at all the next day. Though disconcerting, we can't really do anything about it until Thursday when we go out into the mountains. They just live too far away for us to go out there with our packed schedules. I'm thinking that someone is sick, or an old relative died, or there was a giant party/meeting that everyone in the area attended.
I'm trying to get through the Book of Mormon in Malagasy, which is a fun challenge all its own. I understand mostly everything, except for the weird word that my dictionary doesn't have. At those points I have to consult my English scriptures and find out the the word was some old verson of the word wickedness, or floating in the air, or some strange conjugation of the word, stuff like that. It is so cool to go through the Book of Mormon in another language, seeing how the translaters went about their work. Most things are not translated straight across, because that would be kinda impossible. But, the general thought of the phrases is always there.
Not much out of the ordinary really happened this week, but we did have quite the pleasant suprise at church on Sunday. One of the familes of a group of three that we have been working with for about three weeks finally came to church. Woohoo! It was especially peculiar because at our last time he had said that they would try to come to church, but they probably couldn't because there was an end-of-the-month neighborhood meeting. But they came! And the best part was that father was so active and upbeat about the whole thing. There wasn't a nervous bone in his body. He answered so many questions during the investigator class that Sister Rabenjarisoa literally told him that he couldn't answer or talk anymore - other people needed the chance to talk too! But no one else knew the answers to the questions, so he went back to being the prime answerer.
The other really cool thing about this family is that they are Catholic. Most Catholic people we talk to are really accepting of our message and diligent, at their church. Generally the Catholics never change for anything. They'll accept the Restoration, the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the whole sha-bang but they never take that next step. Their excuse is always inevitabley "Andriamanitra Ray ihany!" (God the Only Father!) That doesn't make any sense in English and by all means shouldn't in Malagays either, but what they are actually saying is, "God is the Father of all and it doesn't make a bit of difference where we go to church or how we worship, just so long as we believe." That's a lot of information in one little phrase, isn't it?
Concerns from last weeks email: I do have a headlamp actually, I just don't use it that much because the battery is always dying in it. Generally there is only enough life in the things to give me the blue light for any extended period of time. Though, I am definently recognizing the need for a flashlight. I hate more than anything riding through the mountains or over a thin strip of land beside a giant drop at night time, especially when there is no light from the moon. Riding through the many cactus walls in people's neighborhoods is not much fun either at night. Super super scary.
Thanks for the advice about the bulls. I didn't get chased again this week, which was a relief. But I was pretty much scared for my life every time I went by the bull running area. I found out why the bulls are so angry there. On the top of the hill there is the slaughter house :P. Me and Rakoto figure that they can smell the death and therefore get really crazy. I can't blame them though. If some aliens are leading me to the anal-probe room, I'm gonna be swingin my fists all the way. I forgive the bulls.
Miss you lots but I'll be home in no time at all. No time to waste. Have fun, go to church, eat good food. And don't be afraid to share your religious beliefs with the next guy.