This past week was pretty great for us. We tried to work harder and harder, and were simultaneously met with more and more obstacles. Regardless, the work progressed and is moving on. Not too many investigators are coming to church, but Sacrament meeting is full of recent converts from the past six to seven months. To me, it doesn't so much matter about the number of investigators showing up to church, but combining that number with the total number of recent converts and less actives as well. The work of the missionary does not, or should not, end at baptism. So we get pretty stoked when we see our recent converts getting the priesthood, receiving callings as teachers, and becoming some of the most diligent seminary and institute students in the ward.
From one of our times with Silvy and her daughters: Little Finoana (Faith) is an adorable child and often likes to express her loveliness with hitting people, sometimes on the arm and softly, and sometimes on the face and quite forcefully. We were teaching some way awesome investigators about the Atonement and the need for all of us to repent. We got onto the subject of infant baptism and after teaching them what Mormon had to say, I said, "Just look at Finoana! That little girl couldn't possibly be capable of sin!" And then she socked her sister straight in the side of the head. Everyone had a good laugh, and the violence of little Finoana served to illustrate how small children cannot be blamed for their mistakes.
My next experience occurred just yesterday at the time of our recent converts, Julienne's family and friends. We taught them and about four of their friends about the Plan of Salvation, which we had already covered in part at a previous appointment. They received everything well, asking very astute questions and showing their understanding by their profound comments. The best one came at the end of the lesson when we had taught them all about the Three Kingdoms and about the importance of setting the Celestial Kingdom as our number one goal. Julienne raised her hand and said softly, "The things the missionaries have taught me are things that I know are true, and things that I absolutely never knew before. I had the Bible and went to church before the missionaries started teaching us, but we never had any ideas about these things. I'm so grateful for the teachings of the missionaries and what the church is in my life." Somewhere towards the beginning of her words the Spirit jumped from an already high state to cloud nine. I love these people so much! Elder Nash and I are constantly high-fiving and bumping it from the sheer quantity of awesome people and lessons that occur here. Four months left is hard to swallow.
Ok last one: So, as of late we've started teaching this one guy named Liva and his family. The lessons are Spiritually-charged, they readily accept the doctrine as if they've known it their entire lives - which in a way, they have for much longer -, and they are so ready to accept and fulfill commitments. The most incredible thing about all of this, however, is the fact that Liva is completely crippled and only has use of his neck and head. Happiness and hope lights his countenance. In a way he reminds me of Brady, of Frere Jules, and many others who have been given a tough lot in life, but never let it get them down. They can be sad or discouraged from time to time like all of us imperfect humans, but the rate at which they bounce back is astonishing and a true miracle. One of my new challenges for the upcoming week is that when I feel down, or about to give-up, to think about these literal heroes in my life and follow their examples.
Yesterday, interesting eating experience: For dinner we had a bowl of rice and cabbage. Sometimes cabbage loque is ok, but this time it was downright disgusting. Seriously. So me and the member who came with me - a way cool guy named Faniry who's preparing for his mission - ended up eating our entire heaping mound of rice dry. Afterwards Faniry and I could not stop talking about the sheer horribleness of the food. Oh well, Mazotoa is what I always say. Mazotoa is what you say before everyone starts eating. It means, diligence!
This past week we worked hard and were met with a lot of success. On the flip-side however, as we tried to accelerate we were met with a few bumps in the road. We had some sickness, on Saturday all of our times dogged us, I got punched in the family jewels by a five year old, and we didn't have the best turn out to church. O ya, and it is extremely cold. But hey, the work moves on and so does our time here. Sure don't have time to be standing around feeling bad for yourself. "Put Your Shoulder To The Wheel...."
Today we are getting transfer news. Seeing as both me and Elder Nash have been in Ankorondrano for ever, we're both ready to go. We're happy though, so if we both stay I'm sure we'll be content for another month.
I love you guys so much. Miss ya too. Praying for you, as always.