Monday, July 16, 2018

Week 102 - Mody Ny Misionera Fa Mijanona Ny Filazantsara

Salama e! Wow...this doesn't seem real. Last email home as a missionary...first off the baptism of Paula, Noela, Henintsoa, Sarah, Valerie, and Vola was awesome. The spirit was so strong, lots of members came, the primary sang the "I love to look for rainbows" song, and some of my favorite people are now members of Christ's restored church. I couldn't be happier. As many of you can imagine, I have lots of emotions right now. The first thing is that I know without a shadow of a doubt that this church is true. I know it's true as I have seen it bring peace and happiness not only into my life but the lives of many others. There is nothing that can convince me that this is false. I have seen pure and true happiness in my life these last two years. How could I see such great happiness by sharing something false? And how could those same lies bring such great happiness into the lives of so many others I have come in contact with? I know its true. It's all true. There are so many things I wish I could say in this email. I guess I will just say that I am grateful for every second I have been a missionary. I remember when I got my mission call through the time I was in the MTC, many people asked me why I decided to serve a mission. I would always say something along the lines of, "I know Joseph Smith is a true prophet and the Book of Mormon is true and Christ is our Savior and I am willing to sacrifice and give up two years to help others know that also." Man, I didn't have a clue back then. I don't think I can call my mission a sacrifice or me giving up two years of my life. Because I have been given and blessed more than anything I could ever give. The Gospel of Jesus Christ requires sacrifice but it's funny that no matter what we feel we are sacrificing the Lord repays us back ten fold. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I have felt the power of His Atonement in my life. And I have seen it manifest in the lives of others also. I love the 2nd verse of the hymn "Savior Redeemer of My Soul": 
"Never can I repay thee, Lord,
But I can love thee. Thy pure word,
Hath it not been my one delight,
My joy by day, my dream by night?
Then let my lips proclaim it still,
And all my life reflect thy will."
I am so grateful I was willing to come and serve my Savior and the people of Madagascar for two years. During these last two years I have learned that that isn't enough, but I want to give my life to Him. I feel so blessed. I want all people to be able to feel what I am feeling right now. I know this is all true. It brings true happiness and peace in a world of sadness and confusion. Even those in the hardest and most challenging circumstances can live each day of their lives with a smile on their face knowing that because of their Savior they can have everlasting joy. I hope and pray that all people can feel their Heavenly Father's love for them. I know this is true and I can't say it enough. I am going to miss this great place and these amazing people. I don't think I have ever thought about heaven and the Celestial kingdom as much as I have these last two years. Goodbyes are always hard for me but I am so grateful for the things I have learned and experienced throughout my mission. This scripture in D&C 18 has meant so much more to me over my mission "15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" I look forward to the day when I meet with all of these great people again in the Kingdom of God. I am grateful for the foundation of faith I have built and will move forward with faith and hope to the next chapter in life. I will see you all soon. Have a great week. I won't be emailing much today just a heads up. Love you all. Mazotoa!
 Sunrise at the Rova. Breakfast after the sunrise. Lunch with the district. Kids make these kites out of trash and they fly better than ones sold in america haha. Solofo and Vivians family. Dinner with Lalaina and Lafatras family. Fish stand. Mirado and Monde. Crazy kids and kids on roof. 

Paula and her family and Jeremia and Alfredines family. Me and Lala she accepted to be baptized in august this week! Me and tolotra and solofo who have a bap date for august. Pics of the baptism!! And pics of us at lunch/dinner after with each family. They are all such great people. It was an awesome day!  

  Me and Lala she accepted to be baptized in August this week! Me and Tolotra and Solofo who have a bap date for August. Pics of the baptism!! And pics of us at lunch/dinner after with each family. They are all such great people. It was an awesome day! 

 Goodbye pics with Jules a deaf man in our ward who is awesome. Andry, Sarah and Valerie, I love them so much! Patrick and Odiles family. Feno and Rovas Family. And Vonjy and Velosoas family. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Week 101 - Hafaliana Foana Tsiky Lava

Akory aby!! Tonga soa aty ambanivohitra. Nandeha tany Antsirabe izahay ary mangatsiaka be mihitsy any fa tsara ihany. I hope you all had a great week. This week was great! We went to Antsirabe will President and Sister Duckworth and that was cool. The best part of the week though was definitely getting all the baptismal interviews done! Everyone is locked in and ready. We will have 6 baptized this Saturday. I'm so pumped! Nirina still has some things to take care of but he will be baptized in a couple weeks! I cannot imagine a better way to spend my last Saturday as a missionary than seeing these great people baptized. I'm so excited. This week was lots of thinking and just sitting back and wondering how I'm so blessed to be here and have the opportunity to be a missionary. I have LDS youth album songs on my phone and listen to them in the mornings sometimes and this song came on this week and it was just perfect for all the things I've been feeling lately. Part of it is this: 

From all the things I’ve seen
I couldn’t even guess
Why others are in need
and I’m so blessed.
When hearts are crying out
I want them to believe
That life can be a beautiful thing
This light that I feel has opened my eyes
Now I wanna give
All my life
All I am
And everything I have
I’ll give away
All the truth
I’ve received
Wasn’t just for me
So I’ll give away everything

I love the words of this song. We are promised blessings as we live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I know that the blessings we are given are not necessarily for just us to enjoy but we need to share them with everyone we can and use them to bless the lives of others. I cannot bear a stronger testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel and the happiness it brings. I hope you all have a great week!! Mazotoa!
 Last P-day sights. 

 This kid knew how to whip. 
 Guys smashing rocks for a living.

 More pics from P-day last week! 

 Public transportation in Madagascar.
  Walked past our investigator family and they were burning trash and then sang happy birthday to me haha.
  Pics of our P-day activity with Pres Foote before he left.  

 Me and Bishop Olivier. I never served in his ward but he is way cool and the nicest guy. 
 Daughter of an investigator jumped off the stairs onto my shoulders like this and I had  to take a pic. Glad she didn't fall. Haha.
 Pics on drive to Antsirabe

 Missionaries favorite place to eat in Antsirabe be sofina. 

 Me and Elder Razakarison on a pous-pous.
  2nd counselor in district presidency and family in Antsirabe.

 Church building in Antsirabe. 
 Selfie with members in Antsirabe. 
 Us at lunch at be Sofinas. 

 Saw Jessica and her family who are from Fort D but recently moved in Antsirabe. Awesome to see them!