It seems as though Thanksgiving is closing in. This coming Thursday, all the good wonderful people of America will be taking part in this joyous festival of food, fun, and family. In Madagascar, the missionaries get $2.50 to celebrate with a special meal. So, those are my plans for Thanksgiving.
All this week Elder Peatross and I have gone to all of our people who have baptisms coming up soon. As of right now, there are 7 firm baptisms for the Ambohimena ward this Saturday. So our seven will be there, along with 23 from the other branches and
Ambositra making a nice round number of 30 overall. All the branch presidents are going crazy with preparations and excitment.
This week I was thinking about how I need to move myself to a higher level of teaching and preaching the gospel, I've become alot more assertive with my investigators. I've made the move towards this style slowly over the past month. I think it really started when we were teaching a man named Njaka and and his family.
Njaka had been leading us on for awhile and had been not coming through on his commitments. I love this family, so it hurt and saddened me when he regressed and lied to us. It was affecting his family in a sad way. I felt the Spirit move me to action, so I told him that he needed to grow up and leave his childish ways in the past with his childhood...where it belongs. I told him that he needed to become the mature leader of his family that his wife and children needed him to be. The whole time I was talking to Njaka, his wife Holy was just nodding like, "Mmmhmm. You tell 'em brother. That's the gospel truth to my ears." Afterwards I told him why I had been bold with him - for my love for them. I explained that I see sinners constantly, but I never speak to them like that. The reason for my holding back
with others is that they would not receive such words of boldness, but I love my investigators more than any regular person off the street.
Though he was very quiet, I could tell that the Spirit had touched him. The next day he finally came to church, has been coming ever since, and will be baptized with his wife this Saturday. Now that, is a gift of the Spirit and a true miracle. As true, if not, more powerful than a healing, or a divine manifestation. Those are the miracles that your mission is made of. Other things are cool and work to strengthen your testimony, but I feel strongly that it is the simple things I will remember most.
I'll share with you one other experience. About a month back or so Elder Peatross and I gave a woman a blessing. This woman miraculously received her healing. And yet even after witnessing and receiving this miraculous event, she would not leave her old church of choice. She told us that she knew our church was true, but that it would be to hard to leave the Lutherans. It just reminds me of when Laman and Lemuel saw an angel, and then asked how the Lord could possibly destroy Laban and his fifty.
Well, it seems as though my English is starting to go the way of all missionaries that are long in the tooth (as Dad says). My speech is always sprinkled with Malagasy and sometimes I just have to switch. There are some words like amin (in, at, to) or ny (the) that I will sometimes say on accident, and then I have to finish my phrase in Malagasy. Most of the missionaries these days are pretty young, so when I say things like 'ny ankabiazany (the majority)' they just do not understand. And, sometimes I can't remember what those things are in English. If I'm talking to another missionary, I just slip into izy'roa (both). Plus, there are some words that just don't make sense in English - now that is annoying.
And no, I haven't gotten the hump day package yet. We only get stuff indray indray (sometimes...I had to ask for help on that one) because someone from the mission office has to take our packages with them when they come down for meetings and the like. So, hopefully I'll get my package this Friday. It'll be a nice after-Thanksgiving surprise.
About the coup and possible military junta: yes that is definitely happening. The missionaries are working in Tana right now, but sometimes they have to go inside for the day or be on lockdown because of riots and shootings and stuff. The story that I got from the Malagasys is that a group of generals told the current president that
he must leave, or be killed - an ultimatum. All the Malagasys are saying things like, "The shizz is gonna go down soon." That is pretty much exactly what my friend said in Malagasy, and then in English.
Btw, I'm going home on the 17th of November 2011. No extensions and no early home date. Don't worry about me. I'm safe. Just got the word that I'm being transfered next week back to Tana to an area called Sabotsy Namehana. It is right by Ivato.