So heres the deal:Ambohipo is past and gone. They whitewashed it, so that means even Elder Te'e left to a different area and they got two new missionaries. What does that mean for me? I got shipped down to Toliara, a port city of 150,000 on the southwestern tip of madagascar on the dge of the desert that dominates this province. Even weirder than that, im hooking up with my prior companion, Elder Garcia, for round 2. As our mission president said, were gonna light the place on fire.
Toliara rocks on. We had a miracle this week. It was truly unbelievable. We had a time with these two people, Andre and Evelyn, at five o' clock, but we showed up and they weren't there. So then the classic question...what do we do now? My failproof answer: tract. So we went over to the next door on the left where a woman was selling cuts of goat meat in her yard. Her name was Augustine and she told us her husband was going to be home in thirty minutes. So we deicded to teach and contact her until her husband would get home. We had member help with us, a guy named Rostin who helps us all the time, and so we did. At about 5:50 her husband Velombita showed up and so we talked to them for about ten minutes. They are Roman Orthodox and he works as a part time guardian and plus driver. They have several young children and are a lovely family. We taught them that they should pray and ask God about the truthfulness of the message and that they should read the pamphlet and that they should really come to church. And they promised to. But people always promise to come to church and most of the time they don't. We had to get to another time at 6 so we left it at that. That Sunday, just two days later, I look over to my left and Velombita is sitting there! He came to church having learned for ten minutes! His wife couldn't make it that day, but she promised to come next week. He stayed the entire time and in Elder's Quorum, near the end, he said, "You know, I just love this church and I want you all to know that if it is God's will I will be here every Sunday, and I want to walk with you all and come close to Jesus." It was so beautiful. We had some spare time last night so we went to teach them again and we taught them the 1st lesson in its entirety. They understand so much already that wasn't clear and it looks like it is only unward and upward from here. They are excited about coming to church this Sunday, getting ready to get legally married and getting baptized. A testimony to me that the elect are just waiting to hear the word before they will accept it, and that there are those who are kept from the truth, only because they know not where to find it. Elders Garcia and McCrary Toliara
Totally true. Thankfully Garcia is better at writing about spiritual stuff than me.
probably my favorite thing about toliara is that the population is almost entirely vezo, with some other southern tribes like Mahafaly or Antainosy mixed in, plus your occasional Betsilao. But there's almost no merinas, the big tribe in the capital whose dialect is "official" malagasy,(the fact that they won a big war a long time ago might have something to do with it). Anyways, vezos have a bit of a tempestuous relationships with merinas, or as they call them "amban'ny andro" (beneath the day). Vezos think all merinas are arrogant and they hate theyre dialect. Its funny, cause what vezos always say is that vezos dont hate merinas, but merinas really hate vezos and the vezos are just reacting. but during my year in tana i dont think i ever heard a merina so much as mention the vezo tribe. So because of that, vezos really like to speak in theyre dialect and dont appreciate people speaking in "teny amban'ny andro" so ive been having a blast learning teny vezo, its really fun.when i used to take notes on new words, it would just be "duck=kanakana" but now i have to make a whole chart like "duck=kanakana(amban'ny andro) or garaday (vezo)". i said "youre all still crazy" to a group of kids the other day and realized that none of the words were the same as how i would have said it two weeks ago (mbola adaladala ianareo rehetra vs mbo gegigegy rozy jiaby)the hard part of living with all the vezos is that being so far from the capital people are way more into the traditions and fombas down here. mostly thats cool, especially when your tracting, because a fomba malala-ing vezo would never turn away a visitor, but it makes helping people get married really hard. Probably the single biggest obstacle to the work in madagascar is that you can baptize some one who isnt legally married, or vita soratra (finished writing). And in mada, its really hard to get vita soratra, you have to find or make a copy of your birth certificate, and most people dont even know what year they were born, and that always takes money, sometimes a long trip to your birth town, and often times a little bribery. then you have to pay a fat 20,000AR to the government, while most people dont have two pennies to rub together. i talked to a guy this week who was renting his (rather nice) grass hut for 25,000 AR a month, or about 8 US dollars. But to make all this even harder is the problem of vita fomba gasy (finished in the way of the malagasy)
1 Hitako Maso: the people must see you going together and living together. someone who is not your family must call you "mpivady" (spouses). this step is easily completed
Black Nadia is the Lady Gaga of mada and she personally founded this salon in toliara garcia got his hair washed at. walking into a building this lux was a weird experience
garcia and i bought a chicken and brought it to an investigators house to kill clean cook and eat it
The post meal traditional vezo dance video
i actually learned the male part of this dance, but i forgot to ask someone to film it. Nohirina said that my father must have secretly been vezo.
I guess this is goodbye to everyone from your boy in paradise