-Evan (Elder Pinson)
(So "tantara" basically means history, story, or account....ie, Joseph Smith Tantara) Well I guess the most notable news from this week is that two of our investigators will be baptized this upcoming Saturday. Both of them are girls, Josinette and Erica. I am not performing the ordinances. But that's okay with me...it doesn't matter who baptizes as long as someone is being baptized.
Concerning General Conference, the resources are so limited here that we will probably be watching Conference a few weeks after it actually takes place, barring some miracle. So if y'all want to tell me about any major announcements or anything from Conference, that would be cool.
An interesting thing from this week is that I learned that this super nice white church being built very close to our house is going to house our branch! I don't know when it will be finished, but whoever gets to go to it will appreciate it, as the alternative is the building resembling a converted parking garage with multiple floors and classrooms.
I wish I could talk about a crazy experience I had this week, but life here is extremely uneventful. Sure, getting through traffic is a near-death experience in itself, but the business of the streets is counteracted by the simplicity of life Valpinson, Nord, and some of the other small communities in the Ankirihiry area. Just picture Elder Pinson sitting in a rickshaw slowly gliding through the streets of Tamatave, passing by random guys with machine guns, and having kids begging for food from him after he buys his food for the week. Then picture Me in a completely different rickshaw, when another rickshaw almost collides with the rickshaw he is in. These are actually scenes from this past week. Our rickshaw driver straight up Falcon Punch-ed the other rickshaw and tipped it over. And the two drivers almost got into a fight. The funny part is, our driver was someone's investigator. At least we were okay.
The uniqueness of this place just makes me laugh sometimes. Like, a "what in the world is this?" laugh. I guess you have to make things funny because the days are difficult sometimes. Add in the fact that half of the people think you are an authentic African, and the other half think you're French, you find yourself in a lot of awkward situations. For example, I was standing on the shores of the Indian Ocean, and this guy just comes up to me because I am the darkest-skinned person of all the people I am standing with and asks me in gibberish (probably Betsimisaraka...the dialect here or maybe French, because of lot of them speak French). And I try to go along with it all and just mumble some nonsense in Malagasy and he realizes that I am an imposter and walks away. I do attain some sense of achievement when I am actually able to make sense of what someone says, regardless of how fast they speak.
I know that Heavenly Father expects much of me. And so, this past week, I have been reading from Jesus the Christ and the Book of Mormon (in both languages). I was never a "studying" type of person, but I know I need as much spiritual support as possible. I believe it was Jeffery R. Holland who said (paraphrasing) that you need to know with conviction before you can teach with power. As much as I worry throughout the day, this mission is not even about me. it is about my service to the Lord and to the children of our Heavenly Father and building on my testimony is extremely important, because my testimony will become the testimony of my investigators before they find out for themselves.
I know that the Lord wants to have me serve in Madagascar and, therefore, he will qualify me, regardless of the challenges a mission presents. I know that I am meant to be here (I mean, there's a place called "Valpinson" in my area...it's obvious that I'm meant to be here), and I hope to make everyone proud (in a good way). Well I have to go. Have a good week, and stay safe!Love y'all (Tiako ianareo),