Two weeks ago we traveled by car to Antsirabe (three hours south) to reorganize the branch of Ambohimena and to create the branch of Andranomoneletra. I, with one of my counselors, spent most of the day interviewing for new branch leaders, and 18 priesthood advancements. The next morning in the Ambohimena branch we had 259 at sacrament meeting for the reorganization at 8am.
We then had to drive about 12 miles north to the Andranomaneletra group (which was started less than 2 years ago) for the branch creation. They are meeting in a rented house with a capacity of about 60 in the main room. The children were packed into a room across the hall. At this sacrament meeting we had 134 in attendance with many sitting outside the open windows. I have sent an urgent request to the Area Presidency in Johannesburg for the construction of a new building.
We spent Christmas with the senior missionaries and couples. Earlier we attended a Christmas party for the employees that work with and for the Mission. We also enjoyed video conference calls with of our children and grandchildren.
Yesterday Anna and I spent a few hours with Elders Ewell and Smith teaching lessons in the inner city of Antananarivo. We had a lot of fun. We were quickly surrounded by happy children where ever we went. This area is very humble and the people are really very nice. The homes we visited were each about 8x10 feet inside. The ally ways were no more than a couple of feet wide. I don't know how the missionaries find their way in these literal mazes.