This week was, interesting. New Years proved to be a wash. No work, no nothing.
Just an added amount of drunks and crazy people to deal with. That was all.
Earlier in the week though, we were able to teach a lot of times and get a lot of work done - with a couple of adventures to boot. The first came when after teaching our regular afternoon times on Tuesday, we really just wanted to get some food. At that exact time, so did the taxi-bay drivers. So instead of working, they all just sped on by towards the hotelys and epiceries, not picking anyone up. Having enough of their shenanigans, we chased one down and jumped onto the back off it. Holding a thin piece of metal by the grit of our nails, we held on for dear life as the speeding taxi-bay towed us into town. We figure that they knew we were on the back of their bus, because I saw one of the guys turn around, laugh at us, and then speed up. The off-roading parts were especially difficult and hair-raising as the bus caught air over the dips in the path.
Towards the end of the ride, another traveler hopped on with us. Saying that he was in a hurry to get home to his kids, we made some room on the already cramped metal step which we were perched upon, so that he could stand with us. We got to know him, invited him to church, and then bid him farwell as we hopped off at our restaurant of the night. Later that evening - following the apparent theme of the day - we hitched a ride in the back of someone's glass-moving truck.
In other news, I touched a giant spider and it tried to bite my hand off. Actually, we saw a lot of giant spiders on Wednesday. Strange.
This week we were once again entrapped by the winding, perilous maze of the rice paddies. It proved far too much a chore for us as we both fell in again, multiple times, filling our shoes and pants with ripe mud of the pasture. The paths of the rice paddy have become more and more like tight-ropes...or maybe even slack-lines. When we finally made it to the other side of the valley, Elder Slater looked at me and said, "Ya! Man we conquered that thing for sure!"
To this I said, "I don't know man. I feel certain that we were only let off easy, and this is just the begining of our battles. Today, I feel conquered."
This week we found an amazing new family that lives right across the street from the church. The husband and wife are named Zino and Dina. We came into contact with them through their son who learned English from the missionaries awhile back and plays soccer with us every Saturday. Dina hasn't really been present at any of the two times which we've already had with them, but Zino and his son are thirsty for the gospel. The lessons have been incredible; the Spirit so strong! When we gave them a baptismal date, we were met with instant acceptance. On Sunday, the father didn't come to church but his two sons did show up. I feel certain that this is going to be a family to watch in the coming weeks.
Whew weee am I glad to see the holidays come to an end! Christmas and New Years back home were nifty and all, but on the actual working mission, they are horrible! The work gets disrupted, people become lazy, and we have nothing to do but just wait until everyone sobers up and comes home from the parties. For both the day before New Years Eve and New Years Day, pretty much no one in the entire mission was able to work. Elder Slater and I, thinking that we could fight the slump with good old hard work, were sorely disappointed when for five hours on Friday we went from house to house, appointment to appointment, nothing. The next day we tried to go play some soccer in our area, to no avail. No one showed up at all - not even the little kids who always follow us around. So we went back home, had a nap, went shopping (which was an experience in and of itself), and then went and had dinner at the Bishop's house in Analamahitsy.
Elder Slater and I are trying our hardest to be obedient in all things, and generally work as hard as we can. Consequently, our area is doing well and our companionship is fantastic. This morning, Elder Slater and I cleaned the house for two hours.
I pray for you guys. Say hi to everyone for me.