Monday, March 11, 2013

Other experiences. Just so that everyone doesn't think that our mission is just full of traveling to beautiful places, we do have some real challenges here. The third weekend of February we traveled to Tulear to formally establish the branch there. We have a great group of saints in that city of about 400,000. The new branch president has a PhD from England and oversees the agriculture for this whole part of the country. The first counselor is an engineer and the elders quorum president runs the port. This educated group is unusual in the church outside of Antananarivo.

While were in Tulear there was a large storm brewing in the Straits of Mozambique between Africa and  Madagascar.

A week after our visit the area was hit hard by a strong hurricane (cyclone in this part of the world) In addition to the city, many of the smaller villages were significantly damaged or mostly destroyed. Many of these villages remain without aid weeks later.

Our humanitarian couple, Elder and Sister Richards, drove two long days to coordinate the Church's relief efforts in Tulear. Working with this new branch, many families were helped. The members actually did most of the work identifying the needy, packaging and distributing  the supplies. In all 445 non member  families were directly aided by this effort.

This was an  earthen dam

The above photo was of part of the group waiting on the church grounds for the relief supplies consisting of rice, beans, sugar, candles and soap. Many others were aided in outlying areas.

During the rainy season of summer, downpours are common. At times, our missionaries get caught in flash floods like this one right here in Antananarivo. Elder Moulton did get a little wet.

We just completed a stake conference with Elder Carl Cook of the Area Presidency. It was great to have him and Sister Cook back in Madagascar. Six months ago we spent 11 days with them on our first mission tour. We had over 800 in attendance on three floors, including the parking garage,  of this church building. As of next week Antananarivo will actually have 2 new full-sized stake centers under construction.  This last photo is of a group of young single adults who were part of this conference.

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