My mom asked about the "general characteristics [I] have noticed about most Malagasy children." Ummmmm...the biggest thing is they're just like normal kids. They love to play, and they come up with all sorts of random games to play with random things that they can find. For example, they will make kites out of random plastic bags and sticks. I've been way impressed with how well they can get those kites working. It's really impressive actually. Besides that, I love how all kids are ready to give you a "dona kely" or a fist bump. Every single person in Madagascar knows what that is and will give you one when prompted.
Second: what I mainly eat for breakfast. Usually my breakfast consists of a protein shake that I make from bananas, yoghurt, milk, some protein powder stuff, and peanut butter. Then I also have a cup of yoghurt to go along with that. It's not extremely filling, but I don't want to get way full in the morning. It's pretty cheap, tasty, and easy to make. So that's what I do.
Third question: The biggest thing that stood out to me this last week, especially teaching appointments was most definitely our time with Alain and Sarindra, a less active member who is currently living with a non-member and hadn't been to church since 2009. So we teach him (the less-active) and his non-member wife. When we first started teaching them, it seemed like they were really disinterested and everything. So we had a very straight-up talk with them last Saturday about church attendance, daily prayer, and daily scripture study and last Sunday and yesterday as well, they came to church. And starting with that, we have seen incredible progression in them. It has been a testimony building experience to me that the personal commitment someone shows to God through church attendance truly brings many blessings into their lives, as well as the commitment they show through daily scripture study and prayer. Because, like I said, when they first started learning from us, they seemed to be very disinterested and like they would not progress very far. But now, they have committed to pray as a family twice a day, and read the Book of Mormon each night together. They have come to church consecutively now for two weeks, whereas before that Alain hadn't come to church for years, and Sarindra had never been before in her life. I have truly seen changes in both of them already. Sarindra is now actively participating in the investigator class at church and answering questions with more confidence in lessons. The Spirit truly works in someone's heart when they are willing to open up to it.
Last question: What one thing has brought me closer to God than anything else on my mission. And I'll be honest with this question. Yes, I study the scriptures for hours a day. Yes, I pray many times throughout our daily routine. And yes, I have come to understand the gospel better than I ever have before, but the point in my day or week when I feel closest to God is when I am helping someone; when I'm serving them. Whether I'm walking to a time and I'm helping some Malagasy I don't know push a cart full of trash or bananas or cement or something, or whether I'm in a lesson with an investigator and the things I say are able to bring the Spirit into someone's life more powerfully than it ever has been before, then it is in those precious moments that I realize the importance of what I'm doing. It is humbling to realize when I am an instrument in God's hands to bring His Spirit more powerfully into the lives of His children, and it is at that point in time that I am closer to God than I ever have been in my entire life. When I am His instrument, and He is working through me to help someone else, then that is when I am closest to Him. That is when I am healed, strengthened, and empowered. And that is when God is with me. "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God."
Anyway, thanks again to all of you who are so awesome and great to support me as I am out here in Madagascar. Know that I love you and pray for you all.
Have a great week!
|Elder Francom and me at a restaurant on P-Day. Yeah, he's here in Tamatave now, in my zone!|
|Elder Francom, Band, and me in a tuc tuc ride last P-Day.|
|Elders Band, Rasmussen, Johnson and me walking home from a soiree (dinner appointment) with the first counselor in the District Presidency last night.|
|P-day Beach pictures|
|This is a sign that always makes me laugh. It says, "Only dogs pee here." It's trying to deter Malagasy people from using that area as their restroom.|