Elder Nelson has left Madagascar after a blitz of meeting after meeting for both us and all the rest of the church people that literally demanded his attention during his short stay. We got an entire meeting with him, including a mission picture, a hand shake, lessons and testimonies from Elder Mkabehla, Bishop Edgley and his wife, and then Elder Nelson and his wife. It was truly an amazing meeting, and one which I'm not going to ever forget. During Elder Nelson's portion of the evening we were actually given a very special question and answer time. The part that he actually taught us was fantastic.
The point at which I also got to sing for everyone was also quite interesting as well. As soon as I got on stage Elder Nelson and his wife got of the stage and sat right down in the front row, like seven feet away from me. All the crowd looked pretty shocked and on the edge of dire anticipation. So I sang the song: a simple, keyed up and higher rendition of 'Nearer My God to Thee' that Elder Sell and I had worked out ourselves. Elder Nelson and his wife rushed up to shake my hand and thank me for the song. It was a bit of a shock to be honest, but I'll take it. Afterwards Elder Edgley said some nice things.
The next day we had a huge All-Mada conference with the members, and then a training meeting with the APs and Zone Leaders. President Donnelly has been with Elder Nelson the entire time. After the training meeting we had a musical fire-side where I and many others sang and performed from the piano and even a clarinet. I sang
"Every Valley Shall Be Exalted" from Handel's 'Messiah'.
Today we had a giant finding activity involving all of the missionaries in the mission. It was centered in an area called Analakely, which is pretty much the epicenter of all the business and trade in the entire city. When we arrived we got the nearest zone-leader, grabbed a street board, and not knowing anything else to do went and soap-boxed. It was probably one of the coolest teaching experiences of my mission as at one point Elder Bates and I had at least 40 people gathered around,
listening to our preachings about our church. I was hoarse teaching all the people gathered around us. I suspect that in the space of an hour, we probably taught about 120-150 people. It was truly amazing, and even on that dirty, busy street corner I felt the Spirit so strongly. It was so exciting telling all the people about our church and the Word of Wisdom, which was the subject on our street board. From what I understand, some of the people we taught went straight to the nearest church and learned more from all the members and missionaries gathered there to teach them. Incredible.
Island Conference has been terrific thus far, though it is still continuing even now. I'm emaling with Elder Nash, as we have a couple of hours before returning back to the mission home for the last part of Conference. Elder Nash and I are on splits for old times sake because this is pretty much the last time that we're going to spend any time together. I guess that the first news is that I'm going back to Fort Dauphin on Wednesday, alone, as my current comp and the other Malagasy are going back
down tomorrow. Elder Peaden, the other American down there with me, will be heading to a new area in Tana and shall not be replaced down in Fort Dauphin. This means that his old companion, Elder Ravelomahefa, is going to be getting a 'mini-missionary' until I get home at which point the two Malagasys are probably going to be together.
This means that I will be with only non-English speakers until the very end of my mission. We have to be at the office in about an hour and a half. I'm going to have to say goodbye now as we are going to soon be late for the last meeting of the Conference. I love you so much and pray for all of you.