This week was quite interesting. The first thing that happened, on Tuesday, was that we all went to a funeral. That morning, our Branch President said that we needed to go and visit the family of the deceased and share a spiritual thought with them or at least comforting words. When we got to the house, we had to wait for a bunch
more people to arrive before going into the house. During our hour long wait, I was very confused at why we had to wait for these people. Finally, after everyone had gotten there, we proceeded slowly into the house. It was at this point I knew something was different.
This was not your regular old visit with a spiritual thought. When we walked into the house, I was greeted by the body of a dead, old, clothed in white, Malagasy woman who had died. We all took a moment to stare at the body and then faced the deceased's family, who were all sitting in chairs around the room. Of course, I ended up being closest to the body for the whole time. We proceeded to say five prayers, chant some things I didn't understand, and then say to each and every member of the family "Aza misoska alahelo intsony (don't feel sad anymore)."
It's important to go with the flow and respect peoples cultures and traditions. All in all....what an experience.
I got my B-Day package! Thank you so much! Sure it came over a month early, but who cares? Now that I think about it, I probably shouldn't have opened it until my B-Day. But you knew when you sent it that I'd open upon receipt, so ha. The package was perfect! Candy, slick ties, some other goodies, and and amazing camera. Alls I'm saying is, you guys never bought stuff like that for me when I was home....guess
the mission makes the parents love the son more! Lol ;P. JKJKJKJKJK
We had two baptisms this past weekend, so that was great. We have another 7 scheduled for the end of the month, so the work is absolutely booming here. In fact, our Antsirabe Zone got 26 baptisms last weekend. Crazy! On Sunday we got close to 30 investigators to church, which is far crazier. Maybe I'm working harder; maybe the
rumors were true about Antsirabe being better than anywhere; and maybe I just have no idea about anything. I do know one thing though, and that is that I LOVE Antsirabe!
On Saturday, we had what I shall now refer to as "The Night of Blessings and Prayers." At a spiritually uplifting time with Frere Nirina and family, as well as with Lova and Hiasana's family, three different people decided they wanted blessings for a variety of problems. It was wonderful and it will go down as one of my favorite
nights of my mission. The words were heartfelt and certainly directed by our Father in Heaven. At the end of the time, all fifteen of us kneeled down in that six by six room - how, I have no clue - and Rakotoniaina offered a beautiful prayer. It was truly a gift from God to see the gospel affecting people so strongly. I know that this Church is true and that the message we bring to people is divinely created and truly blesses lives. Experiences like that confirm my already-large testimony of such things. I love my mission, and, I love these people.
As we were leaving the apartment buidling, feeling on top of the world, we were stopped by one of our other investigators (we teach at least five different groups of people in that building). She asked us if we could come in and pray with them. Of course, we said. We went in to find the husband on the floor, completely wasted. The
mother complained to us about how he had a devil from the alcohol and they couldn't sleep at night because of his crazy behaviour. My companion looked at the drunk man, who was now rising to a sitting position and said, "Do you love your family?" The man said yes. "Do you love God?" The man said yes again. "Who do you love more: God or Satan?" The man laughed and said God. My comp proceeded to say that his partaking of alcohol was ruining his family and that when he did it he let Satan gain a firm hold in his life. "You cannot serve two masters." Then I prayed for them, all of us kneeling, and asked God to bless that man that he would have the strength to reject Satan and get his life in order. Then my comp told the man that when we left, he
should poor out his heart to God and find his solution.
The next morning, as we were greeting people coming into the church, you'll never guess who walked up. That drunk man who was without hope and without religion wabbled up, ready to partake in the fotoam-bavaka (prayer time). He still looked hammered, but he had a smile on his face and he knew he was in the right place, on the right path. I sat by him in all the classes - to guide him and to keep him out of trouble because I'm pretty sure he chucked a couple of brewskies back before dawning his church clothes. At one point during Sacrament meeting, I had the beginings of a judging thought. I instantly felt ashamed and was then filled with a huge feeling that even that brother, whom was probably drunk, was loved by God. I know that no matter how far we range from the fold, God will always love us, and desire for us to return. No matter how much we have rejected his will and fought to destroy His wonderous work, He will always love us and feel our pain. That's the gospel. That's the Atonement. That's the tree of life. That, my friends, is the pure love of Christ and the infinite love of our Father all wrapped up in one incomprehensible package. Someday we'll be able to repay him, but not in the conventional aspect. It'll be by becoming like Him, and the Son. That's how he repayed his Father, and that's how our kids will repay us some day in eternity. This is really the magnificent principle of the family, if you think about it.
Thanks for the advice about training. I wrote a big thing about that, but then all the computers shut down and it erased my email.
Well I miss you paps and mama, and I love you. Take it easy. It's freezing here!
I love you guys and pray for you unceasingly.