Jacob 6:2 And the day that he shall set his hand again the second time to recover his people, is the day, yea, even the last time, that the servants of the Lord shall go forth in his power, to nourish and prune his vineyard; and after that the end soon cometh.

Cutest video ever!

Cutest video ever...At the very beginning you hear Elder Morgan tell the kids to go find a chameleon (the Malagasy are afraid of chameleons because they think they’re poisonous so it’s always a big deal when the missionaries touch them). Taylor then tells the kids to smile “ Tsiky tsiky tsara”. That cute little boy in the front left is asking, “Is it a picture? Who? Who? Who?” And you hear Taylor tell him it’s a video.

More cute kids!

Ha, when I was talking to all the kids, we were just naming a ton of different "laoka" that they like. Laoka is toppings for rice, they have a ton of kinds, so we were just naming a bunch.

Stories, Comments?

If any of you have received any letters or great stories from Taylor and would like to share it, we'd love to have it and post it here. When Taylor is done we are going to make this blog into a book for him. So we would love to have any additional stories that he may send to you. Just email them to moultonfamily1@msn.com. THANKS!!

Feel free to make comments to the posts below, and they will be emailed to Taylor. He would love to hear from you. Even if it is a small comment.

Letters from Elder Moulton:

Monday, May 27, 2013

I love this place...the adventures never end!!

It was only a matter of time before the haircutter destroyed me. I'm pretty sure I said "I like to have it a little longer on the top" but I think what he heard was "Go ahead and just shave it all off". But he did it to Marsh, too. So we both look like fools together.

We live in a six man house. There are two 6 man houses up here. I live with Gaul, Tregeagle, Swindall, Andriamanganoro and Marsh. Tregeagle dies in June, and Marsh will be leaving.

Last week's P-Day was way fun. Marsh, Gaul and Tregeagle went to the beach. There was a big carnival going on, so Marsh and I ran off and went on some rides. I thought I had motion sickness back home, the rides here were so bad. They had a ferris wheel that they would push by hand. I was just sitting with my head against the bar and my eyes closed until they stopped, I was so sick. We didn't really think that through.

Another thing here.. well just Mada in general. People are pretty chill with being naked. You get used to it pretty quick back in Tana. But it's a little worse here. I don't even think a lot of people start wearing clothes until their like 10 in some places. I guess that's what comes with living in a stinking hot city right off the ocean in Africa.

I saw a dead body the other day, too. On my way home from splits, I was riding my bike and there was a little crowd forming. This guy was straight dead in the road, it was pretty graphic. I always wonder who takes care of stuff like that. Malagasies don't really have ID or family names. It's kind of just everyone for themselves.

Power always goes out here too. Not like back home where it's out for an hour or so. More like days at a time. The whole city. Everyone just uses candles. We had to have a few candlelit dinners at the house this week.

Candlelight soup date

I've never mentioned before. But Malagasies can never say my name right. I always just tell them my name is Moto, or they call me Mouton (sheep in french). They think it's so funny. My old nicknames from Tana have fallen away, and everyone either calls me Moto or Zanak'ondry (sheep in Malagasy).

What else.. the branch is way sick. It's nothing like an organized ward anywhere else. I love it though, everyone is awesome, and no one really has a clue what's going on cuz the church is still so new. It's sick to work here though, not many people these days get to help a little 70 person branch work everything out.

Playing ara-dimy

We only do baptisms in the ocean if there are a ton of people getting baptized, but normally we just fill up this little tub thing.

There aren't any flash floods here. It's flat as far as you can see here, and the roads are all really wide. Tana flooded really easy, but it won't flood here unless a storm comes in and the sea level rises. But I doubt that'll happen any time soon, that season is kind of passed by now.

I'm still learning the area, but we do have a few baptisms coming up in a few weeks. So I'll let you guys know how those come. Love you, talk to you next week,


A few more random pics for ya:

Working out way hard

Monday, May 20, 2013

Unexpected Transfer...mixed feelings, but lovin' it!

Pretty crazy hectic week.

So on Tuesday night, as Worthen and I were walking up the sidewalk back to the house after work, I got a call from Steele. He told me that they had some unexpected transfer news for me. He told me that I was leaving on Wednesday morning at 7:30 to go to Tamatave. I was freaking out. It came out of no where. I didn't get to say goodbye to anyone, kind of a bummer.

I was up all night packing, then the AP's picked me up, and dropped me and Gaul off at the bus stop. (Gaul got transferred, too.) We chilled at the bus stop for like an hour playing kabosy, then settled in for the 8 hour bus ride north. I didn't get a wink of sleep. The seats were awful, and the music was blaring. But the sights were sick. You would never see any of the views here back home. Cruising on the same path for 8 hours over rain forest covered mountains as far as you can see. And random groups of houses every half hour or so. It was a cool ride, but I was way happy to get it over with when we got here. It rains here a ton, too. I didn't think you could get more humid than 100% in Tana, but apparently they do it here. It's so humid.

Sickest part, I am comps with Marsh. We are having a blast. I love it up here. We live just a few minutes from the beach. We played soccer with some members the other day right off the Indian Ocean. That sounds kind of cool to say.

It is way different here as far as how the church is running. Ampefiloha was an organized ward, as far as Mada goes. This branch is only a few years old, and the building is puny. We got asked to teach two lessons, on the spot during church. We also got asked to teach a lesson at a youth activity last night. They like to kind of snag us last second here. We're getting really good at pulling lessons out of nowhere. It's fun. The members here are way sick.

We were playing a game with the youth last night, some weird Gasy game that I'm too lazy to explain. Long story short, if you lose, you get water dumped on you. I was the only one who made it to the end, and a bunch of them attacked me as I was packing up my stuff, throwing water at me and yelling "tonga soa" (welcome).

The dialect here is different too. I love it, but it's weird to get used to. They mainly just use different words for a bunch of things, the actual accent isn't too bad. The dialect here is called Betsimisaraka. The dialect back in Tana is Merina. But I'm catching on.

Marsh will have been here for 8 months by the time of the next transfer, so we're pretty sure he's leaving. So we only have like 5 more weeks together, but we're having a way good time.

They have a funny tradition here that I never heard of in Tana. It's called alavolonjaza or something. When a baby is three months old, they give him his first haircut, and they say that whoever cuts his hair will pass on his hair to the baby. Like the way it grows or something. They chose Marsh a while back to do it. It was so funny.

I'm not sure what else to go over.. Oh yeah, Mampionona got baptized (The girl in Ampefiloha). I wasn't able to do it obviously, but I was stoked. I also found out that Rivo, the guy I taught in Analamahitsy for a few months got baptized a few weeks ago as well.

Oh, I haven't ever mentioned. Yeah we don't have toilet paper, we just have a way high pressured fire hose. It's dope. And our showers here are usually okay, but the one in our house is just a giant tile floor with a shower hose. No curtain or anything, just an empty room with a drain we have to drag all the water into when we're done.

We don't have a dryer either. I might just start having people wash my stuff for me. Hand washing does so much better than machine washing. Right now we just hang everything up on racks, but it takes forever to dry because it's so humid here.

I really feel fine. It's just the fact that all people eat here is rice. It's not a parasite, pretty much every missionary has it. Your stomach just grows accustomed to lighter food. Americans eat really heavy food. It's not the fact that it's dirty food, it's just different and the stomach gets used to it.

We didn't teach English back in Ampefiloha because people were drawing on the walls in the church, so we had to stop. But we teach it here. To be completely honest, teaching English is pretty boring most of the time. Just a lot of weird questions. So I usually just sit off to the side talking one and one with people in English so they can practice, but as far as actually teaching.. I get burned out fast ha.

Yeah we still tackle patriarchal blessings. That was our on the fly lesson we got asked to teach yesterday. There are patriarchs here. I've never met them. I think there's one or two. It's hard here in Tamatave, because it's a branch, so we dont have any here. They have to go to Tana to get one I think.

Things different about the church here.. everything. America is organized down to a tee. If someone doesn't show up. it gets taken care of pretty flawlessly. Plans are made for things. Here, the church is only a few years old. EVERYONE is first generation. So we have to correct a lot of little flaws, but I'm not too worried, it all just takes time. As far as people being more teachable.. true kind of. People are willing to hear the lessons, but as far as applying things, not so much. Humans in general are just lazy. So when we bring this new lifestyle of being actively serving and stuff, it's usually kind of rejected at first. But like I said, it just takes time. I'm sure the church in America was the same back when it was first restored.

Being out in province is way cool. Marsh and I are going to the beach to skip around in the sand in just a little bit. Love you guys! Talk to you next week.


Pics to enjoy...

w/Ramahafadrohana for the day

toto'ing some ravinkazo

eating ravitoto at Miki's

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Skype!!

Sorry guys...there is no actual letter from Taylor this week since we got to talk to him on Skype! He is doing great!! It was so fun to see his cute little face and hear his awesome little giggle. I LOVE his laugh!! That really is my favorite part of being able to talk to Taylor! What a great Mother's Day present!!

Let's see, here are a few highlights of our conversation:

Taylor loves the Malagasy people and says Madagascar is the perfect mission for him. He has been out now for almost 11 months now and loves the language. He feels super about his ability to speak Malagasy freely. Taylor and his companion have a baptism coming up this next weekend, with several more expected in the next month. They are still waiting and excited to live in a new home at the end of June with 5 other elders. They also had their third run in with their new friends (the lamest criminals ever) that had tried to rob them twice before. Really...he pretty much just laughs at them! Taylor weighs about the same as when he left, but all that really sounds good to him is rice now. He is shocked that Tanner is almost as tall as Neil.

Taylor is excited about the Mada adventures that await him!! He is loving his missionary experience!! There have been rough times, but he is grateful for the opportunities he has had so far that help him to grow and learn each day.

We're glad that as Taylor learns and grows he is in the watchful care of our loving Father in Heaven. Only He knows those things that he needs most in order to become his best self. We are so grateful for this amazing opportunity that Taylor has been able to have as a missionary in Madagascar. He loves the people so much...he has much to teach them, and in return, they have much to teach him too!!

We love you Taylor!!!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Gotta love dirty and the people of Mada!!

We have been having pretty bad luck lately. Literally every single person we teach has gotten up and moved without saying anything. Not literally every one.. but it's rough. Most of the people we teach are pretty new to the program now.

I can't think of anything too exciting that happened this week other than stuff that won't gross people out back home. It was a very dirty week. Let me say this.. a Honeybucket outhouse on a construction site back home would seriously be a palace compared to some of the dumping spots in this place. That's nothing new, but I got to know them really well this week.

We still teach the Muslim family. They definitely have an interesting faith. Most everyone here is Christian, so they already believe the same basic fundamentals, but I've been learning what this family believes. It's pretty interesting. The stuff they believe in makes sense, and a lot of times I have a hard time explaining certain things, because I've never thought about it they way they do. They're an awesome family, and they love feeding us. The dad yesterday told us that he didn't believe we were really missionaries though. He said he thinks that the USA's "Agency of Secrets" sent us here to watch people and report on what we see. I was laughing so hard. 

Oh, I got to give my first blessing this week. I don't know how I made it this far without ever giving one. But it was way cool. A girl we teach has been way sick the past week. We visited her last night and she told us that she hadn't eaten in 5 days. Anything she tried eating she would throw up. We taught her a short lesson about the priesthood and offered to give her a blessing and she asked me to do it. It was cool. It's pretty hard to explain giving a blessing in another language. Trying hard to just let the Spirit talk, but having to make the Spirit adjust to my Gasy vocabulary.

The girl we have set for baptism is the fiance of a guy already in the ward. He's been a member forever. Their family was one of the first here in Mada to be baptized. But she's still set for baptism 2 weeks from now.

Lalaina's green card got denied. Bummer. He is applying again in October. He's not too bummed though, he still has plenty of stuff to do here. He can't get his patriarchal blessing until he is a year baptized. But I've been getting really into teaching members about it. No one here really knows about the blessings, so I've been trying to tell everyone to get one. I'm not sure why it's been so looked over here.

We will be moving into our new house next week sometime. 

That's all for now. Talk to you next week.