I am still planning on going to a restaurant to celebrate my birthday. That will probably be some Monday in the future (probably before I am transferred from Antananarivo). Speaking of my birthday, the one picture is of me and flour. It is a Malagasy tradition to throw eggs and flour at someone on their birthday.
Today, I went back to that mall that had the Oreo shakes. I did not take any pictures this time, but it was just as American-esque as before. We went to the mission office today and my Birthday box was there! I am so stoked! And I got birthday cookies from Sister Adams, which are a missionary favorite.
I was a just little bummed that my box wasn't here by my birthday, but I was super excited for each card I received. I saved them to open on my birthday. Today, I was also shocked to receive over 40 emails, wishing me a happy birthday! You guys are the best! Thank you all so much, your support really means a lot! Thanks to Uncle Doug, Aunt Mi, Darien, Kristina, Dalya, Amber, Rachel Kats Cooper, Valerie Abelar and Sister Fagerburg for the Facebook messages that my mom screen captured and sent to Dropbox so that I could read them. If I forgot to include someone's name, you are thanked as well.
Two of the family members we are teaching passed their baptismal interviews, and another will hopefully be prepared before the 25th. A brother named Pascal (he is one of the counselors for the Elders' Quorum) said that he knew people the missionaries could teach. He took my companion and I to several people who wanted to learn the gospel, that was our tender mercy this week.
I am enjoying my mission now. I can teach in the mission language and I improve as a missionary each day. I am seeing the importance of living according to the principles of the gospel, as I have met many people who are seeking truth, as well as many who reject the truth, believing that they are perfectly okay without God in their lives. It was strange to not have a family birthday celebration or anything, but it sort of reminded me of the sacrifices we make to make changes in the lives of others. However overused the idea may be, missionaries really do give up two years of their lives so that others can find theirs. That is something that I do not want to take for granted. I don't just want to be on a mission, I want to be a missionary! I forget that a lot, when there are challenges or when I miss home. What am I here for? I know what I am here for. Now I just have to go and accomplish what the Lord has commanded me to.
Love to All!
Elder Evan Pinson