My companion, Elder Ratsimbarison and I get along okay. He knows very little English. And the English he does know is pronounced mostly wrong, so I have to decipher it. I guess we can say the same for my Malagsy. He's a nice person. He is very insistent on doing things the way he wants to do it. And sometimes he doesn't really consider things ahead of time. I was going to cut my hair today, and it's already difficult enough because I don't know when the power will be on, but I didn't get to. I wish we could do more to help me learn the language beside making me teach The Restoration to our investigators. He asks me if I have questions, but we can't communicate enough with each other to tell.
Sometimes when we are out he just disappears for a second, and I have to go find him so we aren't separated. On the bike, he likes to speed ahead, and at the beginning, I would lose him a lot. We use the LED lamps, at night, but they don't really work well. I don't know why.
The members are very nice, unfortunately, we don't really get see them outside of church. We do have branch missionaries who come on splits with us, they are of course, native and I can't understand them so much either. We have baptismal dates set, they were already set up before I came to the area. We have a branch president, and we see him maybe twice a week (on Saturday and Sunday). He seems to be a nice guy. I can't understand what he says, so I'll just assume. Lol! The language is still very difficult for me.
I guess the ward has maybe 130 members? We counted about 117 yesterday, so I'm not sure. We do have a stove but only half of the units work. I'm not sure what season it is. It rained almost every day this week, and the power went out nearly every day, but I think it is still winter, even though it is fairly warm. I'll try to send pictures, but the internet is slow. Tamatave could be a beautiful place, but the poverty is very evident here. It is so sad.
It is not easy to get real, sustaining food here. President Adams increased our allotment so we wouldn't have to eat at hotels and we could get "high quality food", but real food "cheese, meat, etc." is super expensive. Sodas are cheap. I get coke a lot, because I imagine that parasites are sort of an issue here. There is a place called Shoprite where they sell the quality food I buy, but it is hard to get food that you can spend time cooking when our schedule is not very lenient.
I got an email from Josh sometime this week. That was nice. That's cool that Brother Fagerburg is the 2nd counselor now. I wish I had more pictures of the outside, but we can't take pictures when we proselyte and we ride bikes so that isn't easy at all. I do have other pictures though. Thanks for the prayers. I appreciate them. There are a lot of challenges here as a missionary, but I will try to get from week to week. I will have been out for 2 months tomorrow! That's a landmark. Well have a good week! Love you Mom. (Tell everyone "Hello").
-Evan (Elder Pinson)