Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014 When It Rains It Pours

Hey everybody!
This has been a crazy week! So I guess I'll just start from the beginning. 
Monday after we got letters and did all our shopping and stuff, our whole zone went to a beach with a bunch of shipwrecks. It was really cool. 
Tuesday Elder Baker was trying to say good bye to people. We had a really good day. Even though it was really hot and a lot of people weren't available.
Then Wednesday is where the fun begins. So we had a zone conference Wednesday morning, so we left the apartment at 8:00 to go to the Bailey's apartment. It had rained all night and flash floods were all over the city. There were two spots where a river had formed and was going across the road. It was almost 2 feet deep! Needless to say traffic was really bad and we didn't get to the Bailey's until 9:30. The Baileys had been up since 1:00 am because their parcel had filled up with water because their road had turned into a river! The water came just up to the bottom of their doors, but luckily it didn't flood their house. It did flood their truck though. The inside had a whole bunch of water in it. Funny story though. In the water in their parcel there was a 6 inch centipede. The Bailey's in their best french told the guardian that there was a "little snake" in the water. He immediately ran into the shed, grabbed a machete and sneaked up on the centipede with a terrified look on his face. Then with all his might he killed the centipede! haha He was completely terrified of it! Anyway, so we had our zone meeting, the Baileys fed us taco salads, and then we had a farewell testimony meeting because Elder Lundberg and Elder Morin were going home. It was an awesome experience. We all shared our testimonies and talked about mission experiences. The Spirit was really strong. Then we said our goodbyes. That's also when I said goodbye to Elder Baker because he was going to spend the night at the Baileys' because he had to leave really early in the morning. So me and Elder Hatch were companions for a day haha. We did our best to navigate the water logged roads and still had a couple appointments that day.
Then Thursday we met up at the Baileys' at 11:00 to pick up our new companions from the airport.
So here's the scoop. My companion is named Elder Ndayizeye. He is 25. He was baptized 3 years ago. He speaks almost NO English! He is among the second group of missionaries to come from Burundi! He's a really awesome guy. And amazingly enough we can communicate! We even managed to do weekly planning and everything without any problems! I realized that when I am forced to speak French without help, I can actually get by pretty well. It seems like instantly I can understand everything anyone says, and I can express everything that I need to say. It has been a really cool experience so far. Elder Hatch's new companion is Elder Rakotonindriana. Yep. Long. But it's said more like Rakutuninji. haha Don't ask where the other letters went. He is from Madagascar. Which means he is Maligash. He speaks English very well. He has also been exposed to Western culture a lot more. For example, the adjustment to food has been much easier for him, and he loves cookies! haha My companion is still adjusting but he seems to be liking it so far. Elder Rako is really cool too. He even understands our jokes! The missionaries have these gangster jokes. One example: what did the gangster say when he saw 2 missionaries knocking on doors? Dis-tracting! haha. We have been having a really awesome time. Elder Ndayizeye is a little quiet. Unless we're in lessons, then he could talk the entire lesson without taking a break haha. But he's really cool. We joke by telling him that by the time he leaves he is going to love American food. Tonight I'm going to make corn chowder with bread bowls and cinnamon rolls. That'll convert him! haha. The first night we had biscuits and gravy and Elder Rako said "I can tell we will be seeing something every night." haha. It's been really cool. It takes a little adjusting. As you can imagine, it's basically pairing two missionaries from a different culture, different language, different diet, different teaching style, and practically a different mission. So we adapting, but it's going really well.
On Friday we had a bunch of lessons. Everyone was really sad that Elder Baker left. Not very many people got to say goodbye because he only had Tuesday to say goodbye to people. So that was a little rough, but they all said that it's ok because at least I'm still here.  Isabelle Louzolo told her daughters Pendore and Bartou that they need to hurry and get baptized cause they want me to baptize them so they have to be baptized before I leave! haha. We'll see how that goes. We've got 7 more baptisms planned between the 29th and the 5th of April. Lots of cool things happening!
Saturday we had some more lessons. There wasn't a baptism this weekend, so that was kinda weird... But we made the most of that time. Surprise gave us a bunch of avocados again! Yes his name is Surprise. His oldest brother is Welcome. Then Donna (meaning given). Then Surprise! haha Africans have the funniest names... Anyway, then we went to the church for English class, but it was raining so no one came. 
Sunday was an awesome day at church. It rained again so attendance was kinda low, but we still had 9 investigators at church! Two weeks ago we had 20... But 9 is still good. Funny story. So it was our new companions' first day at church, and Elder Ndayizeye forgot his badge! haha So everyone thought he was just a member! He said that the only other time he has forgotten it was at a zone conference with President Cook! He told him that that would be the last time. Then he forgot again, so he was really embarassed haha. But we still had a good day. 
Today we went and played basketball. Elder Ndayizeye has never played it before, so he was nervous to try, but we got him to play and he's doing pretty good! Elder Rako though. He said he had played a little bit. Then he totally was destroying everyone on the court! 
Anyway, it has been an awesome week. Lots of new things! Lots of cool things! Sounds like you guys had a good week too. I'm glad you're studying the scriptures. It's true that if you make it a habit, it gets to the point where it's no longer a chore but an opportunity. Since I began my mission I have read the Book of Mormon, the New Testament, and now I'm working on reading Doctrine and Covenants. I'm already through Section 77. I'm also almost half way through Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage. That is an incredible book. It is the best thing short of canonized scripture. I have learned so much from these studies. I also keep a list of cool scriptures that I liked. I have like 20 pages front and back filled with references! haha It's really cool though. It's an awesome experience. That is really interesting about the women petitioning. They obviously didn't listen to the talk by Carol S. Stevens at conference. And they either haven't been to the temple, or didn't understand it. Because if they did, they wouldn't be petitioning. That's just ridiculous. Anyway, I encourage you to keep doing scripture study. It really is awesome. There are always cool things to learn. Have a great week!
Elder VanAusdal

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