Hello everybody! This has been a crazy week and a lot has happened.
On Tuesday we had our 3 month interviews with President Adams. He is supposed to interview each missionary every three months and our zones turn was on Tuesday. That went very well and we had a good chat. On Tuesday night we had Sister and Elder Shupe join us for the evening. Sister Shupe is the mission nurse and Elder Shupe is the jack of all trades in the Office and helps everyone out. They were a lot of fun to hang out with and it was good getting them to experience the Madagascar culture and the work of the missionaries.
Wednesday and Thursday went well. Friday morning we got a call from our DMP (ward mission leader) that his younger brother had just pased away. Our DMP had just finished his mission about a month before. His brother had been very sick and had been in and out of the hospital several times because of his sickness and the doctors had made a few mistakes which made him sicker. After battling for weeks he passed away. He was probably under 20 twenty years old. It was extremely sad, so on Friday we did a lot for them. We helped spread the word to the ward, and visted the family. We also went with the ward to the viewing and mourned with the family. I learned a lot about the malagasy culture and would like to share a little with you now:
When someone dies, things generally happen extremely quickly, because they do not embalm the bodies. Shortly after the death, the miandry faty begins which can be compared to a viewing. People can come and visit and the visits are like this:
The deceased is placed on a table in the home with white clothes. The deceased is dressed generally in white and has a mosquito net draped over them. They direct family sits in that room together, and other extended family members and special guests also sit in that room. When people come to visit they walk into the room, face the deceased briefly and then face towards the family. After facing the family there is some malagasy fombas that are said. I have a paper at our apartment that has written out exactly what to say. The oldest in the group visiting is the spokesperson, in our case the bishop did it (not sure if he was the oldest, but since it was the ward visiting, he was presiding). There are phrases spoken by just the spokesperson and some spoken by all visiting. In the encounter, the family also has a spokesperson, generally the eldest, the grandfather or the oldest sibling of the parents. After the conclusion of the words, all shake the hands of all sitting in the room, but it is very taboo to say Im sorry or anything like that. Very interesting.
Anyways Conference on Saturday and Sunday was very good. Saturday was marvelous, Sunday was OK because I watched it in Malagasy, but I am sure it will better when I watch it in English.
I still need to write President, so I need to be going. But P-day was fun going to Ambohimangarova and seeing the lemurs.