Elder Scott Weber's mission to Madagascar. Check back for weekly emails and pictures of Madagascar!

Alma 26:12 - Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Another week! End of July!

Letter from Monday July 28, 2014
This has been a great week! 

Last monday after I wrote, we went and got a tour inside of our new church building that is being built. It looks EXTREMELY nice. It is like an American church in Madagascar. I will eventually get pictures for you. It is WAY nice though. Very big and roomy.

This week we contacted, and we taught, and we taught, and we contacted. That is a large part of our time here. Now on Tuesday I went on a split and did some bap interviews for one of our district leaders out in Ambohimangakely. It was a good split and I had previously gone on a few splits out there when I was brand new in country and it was good to see some of the people again. 

Wednesday we conducted a zone meeting, in which we discussed a lot of time effectiveness and a new stat we are measuring here that tracks time effectiveness. We are pushing everyone to be a little more effective with their time, we had found that missionaries werent where we knew they could be. We have now seen stats increase a good amount in the three weeks since the stats have been introduced. It was a very good zone meeting. We have a great zone right now. A good group of solid missionaries. A little young, but the whole mission right now is young. Besides one elder going home in 3 weeks, the oldest people in the zone are the two zone leaders (elder fisher and I) and the APs because they are in our zone (elders Christiansen and Fox). But I have an odd feeling that a lot of my zone will be training in the next two transfers. It may have to do with the fact that in August we are getting 14 new missionaries and then in October getting another 12. So 26 new missionaries in two groups only 6 weeks apart. Meaning that there will be 26 companionships in the training program at the same time. That means close to half of the mission. hehehe It is going to get really crazy really fast here in Mada. We also are going to have to open a bunch of new areas. Three this transfer, and then probably 5 or 6 in October. It is going to be good. I wrote you guys a long time ago saying that the mission was at really low numbers, but now we are going to get back up to some of the record highs for numbers here. 

Anyways, Thursday we had MLC (missionary Leadership Council for those who dont understand my slang) which consists of the zone leaders across the island of Mada and the zone leaders from Reunion and then the APS and President. Had a very informative meeting where we talked about A LOT of stuff, a lot that is probably means nothing to you guys so I wont share it. In August Elder Hamilton of the seventy will be here for a mission tour and we will have a good zone conference with him when he comes. 

The best part of MLC is the lunch afterwards. Anytime we get fed lunch by Sister Adams is a joy beyond measure. We had Chicken pot pie which wasz WAY GOOD! I love Sister Adams cooking! And then we took the long long long bus ride back to our area. And then Friday and Saturday weworked hard. Taught the english class on Saturday to sind Yesterday by the beetles and discussed the english principles and vocab in the song. And then on Sunday had a great day at church with 12 investigators attending. One of the investigators walked up to us outside of the church and asked where the Jehovah"s witness church is, and we told his honestly that we had no clue, but invited him into the church for our our services and he accepted. He was a great addition to the meeting. However, he is not form Tana and is going back home and so we wont ever see him again. 

And then more about our friend Norbert. We taught him on Sunday and brought the Stake President as well, and they were able to talk about some of his ideas. I think the Stake President presence was good for Norbert, but also Norbert was an answer to a prayer for the Stake President. The stake president has been having a problem with our new building and the hooking up the water for it. Norbert's wife, Isabella, happens to have worked a long time for Jirama (the water and electricity here Mada) and so they are going to talk today and get that taken care of in a hurry so we can get this building done. As my companion describes the encounter yesterday as, "They were happier than two kids on Christmas morning!"  
Mom Note:  I'm behind posting emails.  Check back and read the post for the letter written on 7/21/2014 to be introduced to Norbert.

It was a very good week! I am going to get a haircut today and go buy a new backpack because mine is broken, and try to get my camera fixed today as well. 

Oh yeah I wrote you mom, but i didnt tell anyone else, the back is getting better, slowly but surely, the pain isnt nearly what it was before. 

Elder Weber 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy Lundi d'Pentocoste

6/9/2014 Letter

Because its Lundi d'Pentocoste no cybers are open today, so I will write you tomorrow morning.

Elder Weber 

6/10/2014 Letter

I am going to respond to your letter and write the main email all in one, because I feel a little lazy today.  Mom note: This is why parts of the letter seem disjointed.  He was answering the questions I had asked in my email.

Back - The back still hurts sometimes, but its not like the time where it hurt way bad. Now its just sometimes and is annoying. But this leads me to medical story for this week.

This week we had a big medical emergency in our mission. Elder Palmer, who was working in Ambositra, started having really bad headaches and started having fainting vision and other things. So he ends up in Antsirabe under a doctors care, and then they decide to send him to Tana, once in Tana with President Adams and other doctors, they decide to med-flight him to South Africa because there is bleeding in his brain for an emergency surgery. From what I have heard when I talked to the APs on Sunday is that the ordeal to get the medical evacuation took 23 hours from the time they decided until the plane took off. The plane got delayed several times for different reasons. They were calling the US Embassy and sounds like it was craziness for a while. Elder Palmer's surgery went perfectly and he is currently recovering in South Africa. We ask for prayers for him and his family. They said best case scenario he may return to Mada in a few weeks, or he may end up being re-assigned to a different mission, or who knows. 
Update on Elder Palmer: Unfortunately, the bleeding in his brain continued and he is on a ventilator and it sounds like they are keeping him in an induced coma while they try to stop the bleeding. Elder Weber said the Dr's said that it was a defect in a blood vessel that had been there since birth. After some delays with getting passports and flights, his parents arrived in South Africa and he was able to squeeze their hands which was a miracle because of the drugged state they were keeping him in.  Please remember Elder Palmer and his family in your prayers.

But our mission is shrinking and FAST. We are now down to an extremely low number of missionaries, with a lot of areas closed. However, we have large groups coming in soon, and we are not losing very many missionaries so we should get back up. We should be back up to about where we were when I got here to Madagascar. Back up to like 90 missionaries or so. I am excited. But it means in the next 6 months there will be a lot of new missionaries. About 65% of all the missionaries here in Mada will have to train in the next few transfers because of the large groups.

The transfer this month was a full transfer. I never tell you guys about the emergency transfers, they happen rather frequently. We had a missionary that was brand new, not even two weeks here already go home, so I never met him. In that transfer we ended up having most of my group being zone leaders. We already saw it coming but 6/9 of the elders in my group are currently Zone leaders or APs. Elder Christiansen is AP and then another 5 are zoneleaders. The other three of us are doing other things. I am here in Fort D, where there is no zone ;) hehe (we report straight to the APs) One is in Fianarantsoa a small city south of Antsirabe, and the last one Elder Roush, my MTC comp is training in Tamatave. So my group is very busy right now, and I don't think it is likely to change much until we finish. President is going to keep us very busy. 

Weather - weather has been good, a little chilly at times, but pretty dang nice. Glad I'm not freezing up in Tana right now. All the missionaries are complaining. 

This week we got our house lock replaced. We only had one key for the four of us elders, and then the other companionship lost it, so we spent a few days going in and out a window in our house.(yes, we know, security problem) and so then we ended up getting it replaced. The problem is that when we only had the one key we searched for a copier, but no one has a key machine here in Fort D. So now with the new keys we are sending one up to Tana with the next person that goes, and we are going to leave that one in the office, and so if someone loses a key again ,they can make extra copies up in tana and send them down for the missionaries. 

We frequently have soirees with the two branch presidents. Yesterday we spent the day with our branch president playing dominoes, hanging out at his house, the kids were watching cartoons, eating good food, I taught them how to make cockroach bread. (brownies) and all around had a great time. And then last night we had a dinner soiree with the other branch's president, which is always fun as well. We play a bunch of games that always fun, and so now I have a bunch of new games to play when I get back. 

Two weird things. One is these shells on the beach, ill send a pic next week. They are all identical in pattern. They have a swirl on the one side. They vary in size and color, but there are millions of them and they are all identical. Im not sure if it is some type of fossil, but we will see when I send home the picture. Someone can try and do the research. 

The other thing for someone to do research on. There is this guy at one of the houses of our investigator who is mentally sick. He has a HUGE basket of notebooks that are all full of scribbles and he reads them all day long, and retraces them and things. The people say that he was normal as a kid, but he tried to study to much in school and this is what happened because he was too stressed about trying to study for school. So they warn against studying to much. I don't really believe them on the cause and effect there. Because if that is true, then I feel that all college students in the US would get that disease, because we study just as much or more than he did as a kid. But now he is like 50 years old and just sits all day and reads and writes incomprehensible things on the notebooks. So the question is, does that kind of disease really exist? The study to much disease?

Also I forgot to talk about Ascension last week. The people here really celebrate Ascension which they claim is a big religious holiday in the US as well, but I haven't heard of it before. Is it true? And also this Sunday was Pentacoste which is also a big deal here and so yesterday on Monday no businesses open and everyone parties. That is the reason for the email on Tuesday. People find every reason they can to throw parties here. We also have 26th coming up which is their independence day and so it is a pretty crazy party from what I understand. 

Elder Weber