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.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Life in Fort Dauphin/Tolognaro

Welcome to Fort Dauphin an island paradise.

So the flight went well, and I am here in Fort Dauphin. Lets start with the negative things. It is ridiculously hot here and I sweat pretty much from when I wake up until I go to bed, it gets slightly comfortable at night time, comfortable as in I sleep with no sheets at all. The heat is killing me, and I also have some nice heat rash to work with. The mission nurse said the best thing to do is to keep it dry, which is hard when you are sweating all day long. So I am also going to go try and find some medicated powder to help with that. But this place is so hot. 

Fort Dauphin is a nice little city located on the south eastern part of Madagascar. The infrastructure of this city is nicer than most of Mada and that is because of a mining group called Rio Tinto that owns and operates some mining operations here. They are also trying to help the development of this area. They were able to help make a new port that has increased production in this area. HOWEVER, when the port was opened a lot of inflation happened, and now the cost of living here is much higher than the rest of Mada. For example a 1.5 liter bottle of soda in Tana or Antsirabe is 2600, here in Fort D its 3500. Everything has a higher cost, it isnt extreme, but its enough of a difference that is makes quite a difference. So we find as missionaries it is more expensive to eat here, which means that we have to work harder on budgeting our money here. But unemployment here is still high, and that is because the mining operation that started not too long ago, didnt create that many permanent jobs, just a few so unemployment is still a problem. 

There are two branches here in Fort D. The branch I am working in needs some love and attention. It was hard before when there were only two missionaries to work the two branches to focus on both. But now that there are seperate missionaries, it is better for the two branches. We are going to put some nice long hard work into this area to make it ready to really take off. 

So we live right on the beach which is really nice. And also one of the church buildings, not mine, is also right on the beach. I will try to send some pics today, but we shall see. 

Since we are whitewashing we are trying to get a program set up and we are working to try and find new people to teach. We are hoping within the next few weeks to get a really nice solid program set up and start teaching more people. Right now we are still just working on finding people and figuring out our way around. 

Yesterday we ended up on a picnic with a bunch of members out at a waterfall, and then we also ended up building a sand castle on the beach. It was a lot of fun!!

Well until next week.
Elder Weber

Monday, April 14, 2014

'Cause I'm leaving on a jetplane, don't know when I'll be back again.

If thats not a catchy title then I don't know what is. Aza Manahy (Don't worry) I'm not coming home on a jetplane right now, but I am simply being transferred via jetplane.

I am being transferred to...... PARADISE!! Cue music, "Almost Paradise, I'm knocking at Heaven's door, almost Paradise....." For those that would like to know the name of Paradise it is Fort Dauphin, or Tolognaro for those that would like the official malagasy name.

So I will be leaving on Tuesday to go up to Tana, and then on Wednesday I will have a nice flight to Fort D, the reason we fly is because to go by taxi brusse it takes 5 days and is through a really sketchy area of Madagascar with armed robbers. 

If you get the chance, please google Fort Dauphin and just bask in the glorious paradise that awaits me. But its not only paradise as far as the location, but also the work. From what I understand and all the other missionaries understand is that it is the best place to do work, people are so ready to accept the gospel. Elder Fox recently said on his blog that they had to go contacting for the first time and they went 3 for 3. All three people they talked to accepted to learn, so contacting was done after those three people. Hahaha thats what I have looking forward to.

As far as companions go. I will be working with Elder Randriamamonjisoa (i think that is the correct spelling, Ill correct it next week if its not.) He is coming from Tamatave to work with me, and therefore we are whitewashing!! This is number two of the whitewashes I have done. But thats ok. 

As far as weather goes. Recently here in Antsirabe it has started to get a little chilly. We are moving into winter, and so recently it has felt like a nice October Breeze. Antsirabe is the coldest place in the mission, and so I will now be leaving to a nice warm tropical beach. Don't worry, Im bringing the sunscreen and I am intending on using it. We live right next to the beach, and running in the sand on the beach is a popular missionary activity. I will also be having some incredible P-day adventures coming up. Lots of hikes and great activities. 

So I am sad to be leaving my beloved Mahazoarivo, but I am happy to be going to Paradise. I have already had several missionaries, about 5, already tell me how much they hate me for going there, and I still havent been there yet. It really is the goldmine of the Madagascar Mission. 

There are a lot of Antandroy people in Fort D, and so I will get to learn some Atandroy which is a dialect of Malagasy. Im not sure if I have explained this before, but in Magadasgcar there are many different tribes and therefore dialects as well. Some of them are really similar, but some of them, are really almost different languages. I will teach you some more malagasy in the future weeks as I learn a different dialect. Maybe when you guys hear the two languages they will sound the same, but to us, we understand the one, but not the other. Antandroy is pretty different. I had some members in Ivandry that were Antandroy, and when they spoke to each other, I swear it was like Swahilli to me. But we shall see. 

Saying that this is the most that I have ever said about transfers, that might show you how special this transfer is. 

The church in Fort D is currently two branches. I will be working in one, supposedly the one not doing too hot right now. Before there was one companionship working both branches and they were more focused on the one, and then 6 weeks ago they split the area and added two more missionaries, and so now the other branch that wasnt so focused on before is the whole focus of the two missionaries. And that is my new area. We will whip it into shape. They did just have 9 baptisms on Saturday, and so we will be working to rebuild the program.

Mahazoarivo is doing wonderfully well, and I love this area so much, and especially the members. I will miss them very dearly and hope that one day I will be able to visit them again. We had 26 investigators at church again, and it was a blessing to me. 

But that is probably all for this week. I will write again next week, from Paradise. 

With Love,
Happy Easter, 
Happy almost Mothers day,
Happy I am actually about half done with my mission,
Elder Weber

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April showers

4/7/2014 Letter

Actually quite the opposite, the rain has pretty much stopped here with only an occasional rain. We are starting to enter the dry winter here in Madagascar.

Yesterday we had the opportunity to have our branch conference which was extremely well attended. The theme of the meeting was member missionary work. We also had a focus on the priesthood. Presiding at the meeting was President Jacqot, first counselor in the mission presidency. Also attending was the entire district presidency and also the branch presidency. We had an attendance of 217 people. Which is a lot saying that we normally average about 147 for sacrament meeting attendance. We were extremely happy and thought that the conference was a success for all those attending. 

Other than that this week was a fairly normal week. Working hard, saving souls, you know, the normal. We do not have any baptisms coming up this month, due to lots of problems with marriage and divorces, but we have a lot of strong investigators. We are working really hard?

The District has started a program this month that from now until the 3rd of May that every branch missionary has to bring at least one new investigator to church and to be taught by the missionaries. Since we have more than 15 branch missionaries, we are looking to receive at least 15 new investigators, but we shall see. 

The branch is doing so incredibly well, and I love the work here. I told President Adams today in my letter to him, that I would be perfectly happy serving here for the rest of my mission. I LOVE this area and this area is making so much progress. I feel like I am really making a difference here.

Anyways, I don't really have anything else to say, I don't know what I should talk about anymore.

Keep on keeping on.

Elder Weber