So this week was very interesting, but not neccesarily as explosive as last week. One of the best things that did occur this week, however, was that a lot of the potential for growth which we observed in our investigators last week has come in large part to fruition this week. Many bap dates were handed out and promptly accepted. The 26th of Febuary will be a big day. When we talked to Joel yesterday about getting baptized, he immediately said,"If I could be baptized in five minutes, I'd do it. I know this church is true, and I know that I know enough to make this
covenant." And believe me, he does know enough.
Last Saturday we went over to his house to teach him about the Plan of Salvation. The tables got turned when we found out that he already got himself a copy of the missionary teaching materials, and had learned it completely. When I asked him what the term "Plan of Salvation" means to him, he proceeded to teach the entire lesson to us. At that point me and Elder Slater looked at each other, laughed at the hilarity and amazingness of it all, and then tried to find something else to teach him. In the end I ended up having to take Joel on a tour of the creation as we have it from the Book of Abraham. I couldn't leave empty-handed, so the deep doctrine got whipped out for a nice, and long, chat.
We've been having more adventures with the animal kingdom this week, but mainly with those of a creepier variety. Snakes, spiders, and all things crawly got in our way. The first thing that happened in this regard occured last Thursday at the time of Lova, Lalaina, Hasina, and Parany. As soon as we came in, Lalaina was bawling her eyes out and obviously distressed. Hasina refused to come into Lalaina's house because there was an uninvited critter lurking around. As soon as I heard the words "biby lava (snake)," me and some of the other neighborhood guys found the snake hiding in a length of pipe. I was one for shaking the snake out of the pipe and then cutting him to pieces at the first oppurtunity, but the Malagasys wanted to burn the guy alive.
The took the pipe and put it over a fire for a good five minutes, trying to get him to drop out. After feeding the fire to get the flames up higher, old snakey-boy decided to try his luck on the outside of the searing hot pipe. Out he came wriggling and slithering for an escape. The snake was maybe two feet long or so, pretty thick for his length, and of a variety that I don't know at all. As soon as the snake started making a break for it, the Malagasys backed up, not sure what to do. I remembered dad killing a snake with a shovel on the street in front of our house when I was little, so I put the same principle into action. Grabbing a knife off of the table, I stabbed for the head, trying to stop the snake before he could get away and cause more havoc. After a few stabs and slices, the body stopped its wriggling, its head having been removed. As the Malagasys say," Ny biby tsisy loha, tsy mandeha." Translated: The animal with no head, cannot go.
We also saw tons of poison spiders and centipedes this week, but that's another story for another time. Sufficeth to say that they do exist, are deadly according to some sources, and chicken spit can cure every ailment known to man. O, if only the worlds leading medical researchers had the knowledge of the common Malagasy man.
Madagascar is still pretty much in its hot mod, but things are cooling down fast. I remember last year at this time, it was absolutely miserable! Scourching! But now we usually have a good amount of cloud cover, rain to wet us down whenever we want - and especially when we don't want - and the temperatures seem to be pretty mild. So much for the whole global warming thing. As far as I've been able to tell, the seasons' worst just got pushed back a month or so. For awhile, Mada was in turbo drought (mosary? I don't remember how to spell that word in English anymore...) mode. Everyones crops were dying and the prices for fruit and vegetables were sky-rocketing. The rain has been a welcome rest from the dryness and a blessing for anyone that has any interest in eating food.
My ear drum is fine, just weird. I am pretty proficient at not getting a drop of water in it. Thanks for the Valentine package. We all tried the candies and were blown away - Sweet Hearts really did a bang up job. Also, I was very happy to see the rest of my paratoopers come in with this package. I officially take back all of
the rude things I've said about the postal workers of Madagascar. Well, only half because they did steal the twenty bucks. Garr...
I was gonna write about the translating aspect of my mission, but my time is gone. Next week, perhaps.
I love you guys so much and pray for you like no tomorrow.
We have become very efficient chicken catchers,