A behind-the-scenes look at Evan's two-year mission in Madagascar for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Monday, February 22, 2016


  Hello everyone! Sorry about not really sending an email last week. None of my emails sent last week because of Internet troubles and when they were actually able to be sent, I did not have much time to write. So I am still alive if anyone was wondering. Two Saturday ago I found out that I would be moving to Anjanahary, which is an area still here in Antananarivo. I am in a companionship with Elder Tambula, a green missionary ( just finished training.) He is from Uganda and is a really cool guy!
   Anjanahary is not like Ambohipo. We still walk a lot, but there are not many hills or stairs, so that is cool. It also is not very far away from the mission office.  I am learning sign language because we have a deaf member in the ward who is preparing to attend the temple so he has to learn American Sign Language. We also have an investigator that we are teaching in sign language. The sign language I am learning is a combination of American Sign Language and Malagasy Sign Language. It is like I am learning Malagasy all over again. Fortunately, the deaf member is teaching us and really wants us to understand sign language. Elder Tambula and I had to translate for him at sacrament meeting (I was confused and basically had no idea what he was trying to sign). On fast Sundays, he signs and has the missionaries translate for him (there are some other members who have already learned sign language, but he wants the missionaries to translate for him, so I am sure there will be a funny story a few weeks from now about how the congregation laughed at me.  We had eight investigators attend church this week, but I can't take credit for that because I just got here, but  I hope that we can find more investigators to attend church next week. There were about 129 people total at church yesterday, which is really good. 
  We also had a really good lesson with this guy name C. We went to his home to ask for referrals and we were able to learn about his life situation. He and his wife are members and had already been to the temple and then, after some time, his wife just started being disinterested with the church and now she has decided that she is going to attend a Protestant church and is probably not going to attend our church anymore. We told him that, whether his wife wanted to partcipate or not, we wanted to fast with him this Sunday. We talked about the power of faith and of fasting and how it can change not only our lives but the lives of others as well. He said he would fast, so we will be fasting this Sunday. Later that n , his wife came home and we kept teaching for a while and then we bore testimony that what we had taught was true. When we closed the lesson, Charles asked for a blessing (he was sick and had not been able to attend church), so we gave him one. As we gave him the blessing, his wife sat reverently near by (I believe it is because she still believes to an extent that the gospel is true). While she was there, she did not say anything unless she was spoken to, but, when we closed the lesson with a prayer, she said "Amen" as in approval of what we had said. That may not be too significant, but I strongly believe that maybe something we taught or said at that lesson helped her. We should be teaching a lot more in general this week and I will have more opportunities to learn and practice sign language. I am hoping we can have 20 to 25 lessons 
  I realized that today is exactly 4 months from when I will go back to America. If I had forgotten that the time is flying, I am constantly reminded by someone asking when I started my mission and when I go home. When I say "I have 4 months" they are always like "Kely sisa dia hody" which is basically "not too much time left and then you go home". Fortunately though, that has not seemed to affect my mission and hope it never will. I really want to work diligently until I go home. There are different challenges at different stages in the mission (learning a new language, homesickness, persecution, etc), but I believe that avoiding laziness is a major challenges for the older missionaries.
 A lot of people say that Anjanahary is probably the last place I will serve in Madagascar. If that is the case, I do not want any regrets. There are still investigators who really want to learn and members who want to fellowship those we teach, which I believe will result in great missionary work. I appreciate the prayers, you guys! 
Have a great week, everyone!

                      Elder Pinson

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