Just wanted to let you know that Sam made it safe and sound. I am enclosing a couple of pictures with the group email, but if you want to see all of the pictures he sends they will be on his blog every week. You can see his blog at eldersammyallen.blogspot.com.
Thanks for all of the love and support and prayers in his behalf.
Dear Family and Friends,First off I have to type on a french keyboard so my emails might sound a little special until i get used to it. Also I actually don't get a lot of time to email each week so sorry if they are short, I wish I could write a lot. There is a lot to tell you.
The flights were very long, I slept the whole way on each flight. I was the only person whose bag did not make it. That is why I am frowning in one picture. So I went without it for a few days, but I have it now so don't worry.
The drive to the mission home was crazy. I thought we would crash every 10 seconds, because there are like no laws here. Everyone just does what they want.
Madagascar is not even considered a third world country, it is still in the developing country category. So it is very poor, very crazy, and very unorganized. I saw a dead dog and a guy pooping next to it on the side of the road on that drive. Also a box of free babies just on the side of the road. That was sad to see. There are a lot of things here that are heart breaking but I am going to keep this email positive.
Madagascar is beautiful, and crazy looking. People every where. It kind of looks like a mix of Rio and China I would imagine.
My companion is Elder Band. He is a great teacher of the language and the gospel. He is from West Virginia. There are six of us in our apartment. Our apartment is nice for Mada. I fill my bottle with filtered water from the apartment every morning and drink it throughout the day. The average day is: study in the morning and then go out teaching and meeting crazy people in Ampifiloha for the rest of the day. Ampifiloha, which is a suburb close by the city. It is where I am serving. I walk everywhere. I am getting used to it now but the first couple of days I was exhausted.
The first lesson i taught was in a small wood house that is the size of a car. There was a family of like six living there. The house consisted of a bed and a table right next to the bed. There is trash and sewage rivers every where so there are little wooden bridges that you walk on to get from house to house. It is so cool looking. I need to take more pictures. Everyone here is like kind of racist towards white people. Every single person we walk by yells, "VASA" which means foreigner in like a harsh way. But if we just smile and start talking to them then they are the nicest people. Sometimes...
I can't understand almost anything yet so i just kind of follow my comp around and say hi to people. I feel like Indiana Jones here, walking around through weird alley ways in between poorly built homes stacked on top of each other. I am teaching lessons about Jesus by a candle light that keeps going out. The pictures I have are in the nice nice part of town where I live so you can't see what it looks like where I tract yet. I will take more pictures. We take these taxi things called taxi bes which are basically a big van that you jump onto and cram in, then jump off when you get to where you want. They are so sketchy. Everything here is sketchy though.
I am sorry that I can't write everyone and respond to everyone each time, but I will try to answer everyone's questions here in the group email. Please continue to write me because I like to read about home. I just don't have too much time to respond individually. Keep telling me about your lives and if any one is interested in mine they can read the group email.
Love you and miss you Mom, Dad, Jess, Tanner, and all other family and friends. I will write more details about lessons and stories next time. I just wanted to get all the culture and first experience stuff out of the way.