So for all LDS missionaries thier main method of communication with their families is through email or written letters. There are two dates that missionaries are permited to talk to their families, this can even include skype video calls for some. So as Mother's Day is one of those dates we were able to talk to Riley yesterday (not with skype) and it was great! I will try to write what we all talked about and hopefully I don't miss to many details.
He is sounding fantastic and he is getting the hang of the Malagasy language. There were a few times in the conversation where he would forget the english word for something and have to think about it for a second. He is getting along great with his new companion, Elder Prochnow, and they are working hard as the active Zone Leaders for now. Riley says they are living in what is considerd a very nice house for Madagascar, as rent is relatively cheap there and so it doesn't take much to be comfortable. A few of the siblings requested that he sing us a song, as his voice hasn't rung through the walls of the house for a while. So he picked "When the Stars go Blue" (not really sure if that is the actual title of the song) and belted it out over the phone lines for us, we all really appreciated it.
He had a lot of baptisms this past Saturday, nine of them I think. He said they have been busy teaching and tracking and it has truly blessed many people. Riley also reminded us of how studly he is looking these days, he has lost quite a bit of weight, and can now do two whole pull ups! Much of his weight loss was due to a parasite he was carrying, but he recently flushed it out and told me he figured that it would be about the length of his forearm all stretched out (ew), he also made it sound like there was more than one that came out of him (double ew). He assures us he is well and healthy now though, and even kind of missing is wormy friends as he says he feels "heavier" now, haha.
His mission will be getting a new mission president this summer, and I should have written down the name cause I already forget who it is. But I will try to remember to get the info from Ri in his next email. Riley is looking forward to meeting his new president but says he will miss the current one as he has grown to love and appreciate him.
*Mission Presidents for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints serve for three years. Riley has an Aunt and Uncle who were just called to serve in the Ukraine Dnepropretrovsk Mission, and will be serving there mission this July till July 2015.
Riley told us that it is currently winter in Madagascar and that the temperature stays around 15 degrees celcius. Riley says it doesn't bother him much, it's not that cold to him. But his companion thinks its pretty chilly as he comes from one of the warmer southern states.
At the moment their church meetings are being held in a barn.
He eats a lot of rice.
He still has a great sense of humour.
He is loving his mission,
and missses his family.
It was great to get to talk to him and we all miss him lots, but are very proud of him and his dedication and hard work. He sounds like he is a great missionary and blessing many lives in Madagascar. We are already looking forward to Christmas, when we will be able to talk to him on the phone again. But until then we will continue to write him and pray for him.