This past week was really something special. There were a lot of very humorous times, some very frustrating ones, and even a few incredible ones that make up, in my mind, the vast majority of a good mission experience. I feel like the vast majority of the good memories come from the times that touch your spirit the most.
One of the most crazy things that has ever happened to me on my mission occurred just this week. As Elder Nash and I were setting up an appointment with one of our investigators, who is actually getting baptized this week, a man shouted at us in Malagasy, "Hey you better get out of here right now! You guys are baby-stealers! Get out of here!" And then he repeated this sentiment in English, which was pretty strange. The guy I was talking to said that this guy was way drunk and that we should probably get out of there. So we told them goodbye and started walking swiftly away towards one of our favorite stores, because the guy was actually coming after us. I turned around when we were almost at the store to see that this same drunk man was now following us, shouting obscenities in English, being followed by a large crowd of on-lookers. As soon as I saw this, I knew we were in for some some fun.
Stopping us outside of the store, the man came right up to within 6 inches of my face, screaming his head off about how we were baby-stealers and that we weren't wanted in Madagascar anymore. He raged that the Malagasy people weren't going to be screwed around with like us Americans apparently had in Afghanistan and Iraq. Then he began shouting about the death of Bin Laden, saying that he wouldn't let the same thing happen here. After he said that our God wasn't wanted here, and that the Malagasy people already have their own god, I began wondering what had driven this man to such extremes. I now understand that he was a Muslim who was very disgruntled about the death of Bin Laden. The entire time he was screaming at us, a huge crowd gathered to see what all the racket was, and we just kept our faces straight not saying anything.
When he was done he stormed off, wobbling all over the place. Then the guy fell straight down on his face on top of a crowd of children. He just straight up dropped! The entire crowd died with laughter. Interesting eh?
Last Friday we were teaching a family at the house of one of my favorite members in Madagascar, Sr Silvy, and we had just begun talking about baptism. The Spirit was so strong and the non-members in the room all expressed their want to be baptized, but also expressed some of their concerns about it. All of them were resolved, and when the last person had given a comment, their was a short pause to let everone reflect upon what we had just talked about. It was at this time that Sr Silvy turned to the mother of the investigator family and said, "Hey girl, you can't get baptized if you're still chewing tobacco, like we did last time we joined a church." Everyone had a good laugh at this and we discovered that the two women's relationship had originally been started when they were investigating another church. That was just a funny/spiritual moment that my area seems to be full of ;D.
On Sunday we had a huge amount of investigators come to Sacrament Meeting. Most of those who came were first-timers whom we had taught for a very long time before that. This was a tremendous joy to finally see all of our work finally paying off. One of those who came was named Daniel. Daniel is an extremely humble man, in both character and circumstance. His wife died about two years ago and since then he has been stuck in a pretty huge rut. No real work to speak off, and no real purpose to his life until now that he's found the gospel. Anyways, him and his little girl came to church yesterday after walking for some 40-50 minutes through the city streets and muddy rice-paddy paths. The most touching part of all of this is that he and his little girl had no shoes on their feet at all. Daniel had borrowed a dirty white-shirt from one of his friends and the rest of his daily outfit was exactly the same...because he has no other clothes. And did this wonderful man show even a moment of embarrassment at his poor state? Even as others come in designer clothes and cars? Not for even a moment.
I love that man, and I love these people. These last five months are going to be the best, and the quickest. Therefore, some of the saddest. It will really be a major cut in my life to leave these people.
This past week Elder Nash and I have worked as hard as we could to really get the work moving here in Ankorandrano. A new goal we have in the mission is to contact 80 people per day as we are going out and working. This comes to forty contacts a missionary, and lemme tell ya, it works amazingly! We were only able to do it and actually keep count for one day this week, because we passed out every single one of our contact cards on that day. But for all the rest of the days in the week we had people coming up to us on the streets and asking us for the invitations to church, or just simply wanting to talk to us. This new method of finding builds up the friendship and trust that the people of an area have with the missionaries. So now our schedule is completely one hundred percent full and we plan on printing out upwards of 500 contact cards/invitations in this coming week.
I love you guys and pray for you. Miss ya.