It was incredible to talk to you guys. Like I told Dad in his email, I feel like I hopped into a portal that took me straight back into our living room to have a nice chat with you all. The days of endless questions about the life here in Mada seem to be over - thankfully. For it seems that as I have gotten older and more mahay in the ways of Malagasy mission life, so to has my family. Now I just have a hop skip and a jump left to go, and it is so nice that I will be making this last stretch competely comfortable with everything.
This week, a large variety of things occured that I've already written down in my planner to share with you all.
This week I learned some simple conversation phrases in Chinese! The are a lot of Chinese people here that half-way know Malagasy, so I had them educate me as I was waiting for Slater to make up his mind about some fake-Air Jordans he saw. "Ni how!" "Yo sama shin one?!" On that note I also learned how to say hello in Arabic.
Me and Slater took some pictures in the pig-pen of our favorite friends - Herbert and Alex. We heard the bad news from some of our investigators and recent coverts that Herbert - the fatter of the two pigs - would be on people's plates by Christmas dinner, so we felt that we should properly say good-bye. R.I.P. Herbert, a dearly beloved, porky, friend.
We decided to cross some rice paddies to get to one of our times late at night in order to make up some time as we were already late. The rice paddy proved to be a mammoth thing, filled with maze-like, treacherous pathways that tested the bounds of our nerves. Apparently the test became too much for me though, when I was half submersed in the yucky water, falling from the dirt-ways. Twice I fell in in. At one point we had to make a mighty eight foot jump across a pitch-black gorge in the fields, in full-missionary gear. Surprisingly, we both made it through.
We had a really nice chat with a couple of Adventist buddies of ours this week. They were pretty astounded by all we had to say, but also pretty self-confident as they strutted around their scant knowledge of the Book of Mormon and the D&C. They are both well-educated in the Bible, so our discussuions have proved to be quite the enjoyable exercise. They'll come around though.
This week I've had to translate for President Donnelly, the Malagasy sister missionaries, and the usual Lehnharts. At one point on Sunday I let one of my really good friends from Antsirabe translate for Elder Lehnhart during the final meeting of the day. He is about as good in English as I am in Malagasy, so we were able to do a little bit of tag-team translating. Words like, "germinate," "disintegrate," and
"logistical outputs" are little difficult to make known in Malagasy. Regardless, we got creative and I'm pretty sure everyone understood the lesson.
I had to sing a solo as I already told you, as well as a special performance of the remixed "Praise to the Men (to the tune of Praise to the Man)" For one of the activities at zone conference we were split into different groups according to our abilities and talents, and then given creative tasks to accomplish. For my groups chalenge, we had to write a song that encomposed all of the qualities that we'd
like to see in our work. My favorite line was, "Drunk guys and vita soratraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, now fight us in vai-ai-ai-ain." We brought down the house.
Even though our call was cut a little bit short, I still feel like it was successful. Seeing as we did get to scream, "I love you! Merry Christmas! Bye! I love you!" about ten seconds before the whole thing went down, I don't really feel as though we were cheated out of our experience or anything. But hey; it was fantastic to talk to you!
That's all for now. The area is going great as we gain momentum for the new year.
There is your general summary of what happened during my Christmas. All I have
left to say is this: Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!