This week was absolutely fantastic. Probably the first major thing that happened was last Thursday. That was the day that Hery and Nirina got married! Woohoo! They had a really nice, sweet, and very humble wedding at the local Commune (government building); them, and another couple actually. I guess the Commune was running behind so they decided to do two weddings at once. So goes the ways of Mada. The
ceremonies are very official. Everyone sits around a table and signs contracts, shakes hands, and then talks about the commitments of a lasting marriage. At the end
they actually got to do the whole "you may kiss the bride" thing. Hery and Nirina straight up made out. Plus, the wedding officiator lady even gave us - the missionaries - a personal "thank you" for helping so much in the preparation process of the wedding. That was cool.
After the wedding we all went over to their house and had a reception. It was nice. All of this delight and excitment led up to and was exceeded by their baptism on Saturday. I've baptized a few people in my time and am usually very happy to see them entering the waters of covenant with the Lord. But this one was different. These people are strong - absolutely tough as nails. I know they are going to be incredible members and probably even leaders in the church. Everyone present could obviously tell that they were taking this baptism deadly serious.
This baptism was different. The Spirit was absolutely present and truly making his presence known upon all the people there. Then Hery and Nirina bore their testimonies, and it blew everyone out of the water. Usually they just talk a very little bit about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, close in the name of Jesus Chrsit and then sit down. But Hery and Nirina bore full on, mature, and sincere testimonies. Talk about incredible. Nirina even talked about how much we - the missionaries - had helped their family and thanked us graciously. I've never even heard of this happening, so that was just fantastic. Overall, I'd say that it was one of the experiences and baptisms which I'll remember most from my stay in Mada.
Some more news of late - it seems like President is going to be giving everyone the choice on whether they go home a month early or a month late, as expected. Because of Thanksgiving and the majority of the Christmas season, I'm going home in October 2011. Just throwin' that out there for you guys. But, we've known this since the MTC.
Well it looks like I'm out of interesting things to say. I love you all and miss you less. Don't be offended by that - that just means that I love you a lot!
Full of Cheap Malagasy Cracker-Type Products, And Sincerely Yours,