The audiovisual experience of this Halloween season just got a whole lot more visual. I hope you've got galoshes on, because they're a great fashion accessory and you're about to wade through a digital miasma of image files. It also got more audio, as its going from completely silent to embedded video level. Check this out if you want to hear what Malagasy sounds like:
First things first, i want to explain anything that might be unclear to people reading this blog who aren't super familiar with the LDS or just don't know me very well. I've been called as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I will remain so for 2 years. Right now I live in Provo at the Missionary Training Center, or MTC, where I'll remain for four more weeks before shipping out. I'm serving in the Antananarivo, Madagascar mission and I'll be speaking the Malagasy language, which I'm currently learning. While I will be performing a lot of service there, this is not a simple humanitarian effort or supply dump. I'm to immerse myself in the Malagasy culture and get to know the people of the country intimately. I'm to preach to them the gospel of Jesus Christ and try to serve them on a personal level, and help them turn their lives around. an example of this would be that missionaries often work with local people to help them quit their addictions, to smoking or alcohol or any such thing, and invite them to study the gospel.
Ugh. that was dry. one last thing, in the last post I mentioned General Conference. General Conference is an event that's broadcast worldwide where the leaders of the the LDS church talk to its members throughout the world, and it is available for anyone to see publicly. I particularly enjoyed Jeffry R Holland's talk from the most recent conference (hint hint.) It's also the time of year when all Mormons get together and perform the dance of the druids at the peak of the autumnal equinox (a secret solstice known only to believers) and bathe in moon tears.
Now to the photographs, or "photos" as the kids call em.
I tried to take a pic of these beautiful mountains but this temple got in the way
Cyusa's been converted twice now, once to the church, and second to America
Squad at the temple. the other two are Elder Jasperson (18, from Utah) and Gagarin (22, Philippines) who are both going to Indonesia speaking Indonesian. Jasperson can do a standing back flip off of literally any surface and has an oddly aggressive yet subdued was off speaking that may or may not be a result of his ear infection. Gagarin is the most impish person I've ever met and claims to have a civil engineering licence. None of the other Filipino missionaries think he looks Filipino. His claims and ethnicity remain ambiguous, his volleyball game dirty, and his giggles constant. All very cool guys. Heiden has yet to take an attractive looking picture. One of these days I'll catch him unawares and you'll all realize he looks like a thinner Daniel Radcliffe with better hair.
Since when is BYU in Provo?!
lets play a game: windows xp desktop background or Utah sky?
some really cool assorted South American missionaries I met whose less cool friend did not want to take a picture
a nice landscape marred by my oversize load
can't wait to get to Africa!
talk to the hand, D. Todd
story time: missionaries are organized into groups called zones, districts, etc by what language they're learning and where they're going. Trouble is, Cyusa, Heiden and I are the only Malagasy speaking missionaries here, so our companionship constitutes its own district. A district of three is absurd, most districts have at least six companionships in them. so to create our zone, they lump us together with all the other obscure language learning missionaries like the Indonesians, the Armenians, the Georgians, etc. with the loss of the Armenian missionaries who shipped out this week, our zone dropped from about 30 missionaries to 10. ours is a lonely existence. Our companionship was really good friends with these two Armenians, Elder Galorath is the bro looking guy in the gray suit, and Elder Kay is the bro looking guy with the ginger hair. I'm the back lit waif in the middle. I like to think these two own a lot of tank tops back home.
did i mention we get up at 6:30? on our day off we get to wake at 6:00 so we can go to the temple
this is Calvin Carpenter, 18 and going to the Dutch West Indies. Cally Carps and i go way back to when i lived in little ol' Nazareth... PA not Israel. Here I am pictured going to play volleyball and Calvin is pictured doing the lords word to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Were pretty tight, but our mothers ride together and die together. they went to Hawaii without us. Calvin is 1/4 Japanese, he says the only time you can see it when he smiles. Calvin is the most naturally athletic person Ive ever met, but that doesn't mean he doesn't do this stupid run where it looks like hes punching the air. Cal's game here is four square, and i think he might have broken an elders leg playing it cause he goes hard. i would beat him at Pokemon though.
At this point my thoughts turn to my constant companions, Austin Mahone and the Santinas girl.
Pre-public restroom entry warm-up selfie
Koala Kare has an insane corner on the baby changing station market #PublicRestroomSelfie #PubbyRestie
Post-entry cool-down phase public restroom mirror selfie
creating brand synergy between the #LDSchurch and #ThugLyfe
this laundromat inspired piece summons our final story: this is Elder Turley (18, from ???) the most unfairly endowed person on the earth. He just barely turned 18 but hes already been going to Princeton for a year. that, and hes like 6 foot infinite, hes speaks Russian and his first names Nikita, and he doesn't even have the good grace to be jerk. he has like the most friendly, prone to laughter disposition of anyone you'll ever meet. you don't get to be smart AND big. that's just not fair. He's going to Lithuania, speaking Lithuanian (what else) and is our new room mate cause hes messed up his knee playing soccer.he was supposed to leave with Armenians but now hes staying with us for another two weeks. all in all hell have probably been studying his language for 11 weeks before he touches Lithuanian soil, so hell do really well. He has a Star Wars episode 1 themed pillow case, original print.
If you've made it through all that, you can also check out a whole bunch of pretentious landscape shots i took. i have no experience with photography but I'm trying to practice framing and whatnot before i get to Mada.