Monday, October 31, 2016

Week 13 - Malagasy Halloween

What is up everyone?! How was your week? I hope it was good! Mine was great! Oh and Happy Halloween! Here in Madagascar they kinda celebrate Halloween but not really. Jealous of all the American candy you guys will be eating tonight, that's for sure though haha. This week was a great week for us! We worked hard and saw some success. One thing we have been hoping for is to find some families that are really serious about listening to our message. Here in Mada it isn't too hard to teach lessons but it is hard to find the people that are actually serious about learning instead of just the people that want to listen to the two vazahas (white guys). But we might have found some this week! Yesterday at church we had some people come that we tracted into and only taught once this week so we were very happy about that! I love Sundays here! I love standing outside the church anxious to see who will decide to come to church this week. We were happy with those that came and think there could be some great progressing investigators to come! It is the best feeling as a missionary when those you teach understand and see and feel the importance of this great message we have been called to share. There is one investigator who comes every week with his grandson and seeing them walk into church together with smiles on their faces gives me the best feeling ever. Who knows if they would ever get time to spend together like that if it weren't for this great Gospel! I love being a missionary and giving these people the opportunity to have such great joy in their life. That is the reason we are here right? To have joy!!! I love making people laugh here. This week we were tracting and some house had some really loud speakers and were playing some music really loud and as my companion and I walked by we started dancing and using all the white guy dance moves we had haha. These people saw us and started laughing really hard and so we just kept dancing for them and then after awhile they asked why we were here. They invited us in and we taught them the first lesson. I love how just being myself and having a companion do the same made it so we were able to teach a lesson. We were just having fun and that made others wonder why two white guys in Mada were having so much fun just walking down the street. I thought a lot about that and before my mission I got lots of advice to just be myself and that is why I was called to this mission and that just made me totally feel like I was called here for a reason! I love these fun and amazing people! I love teaching them and becoming friends with them. They already have a special place in my heart. Thank you all for the emails and the prayers. I pray for all of you and hope you have a great week!!!
me with a little kid
 me pulling a girl in a gas tank with a rope (they were doing this as games when we
came to them and so we thought it would be more fun if the big white guys pulled them)
 me next to a house of an investigator to show why I always hit my head on the houses here
 an action shot of the Malagasys' favorite thing ever a "dona" (fist bump)
 a pic of an albino Malagasy-she is a way funny little girl and always runs up and gives us fist bumps 
  me trying some weird Madagascar fruit but it was way good
 your classic malagasy people that are old and crazy
an old lady selling "food"...there are people like this all
along the paths trying to sell whatever they can
 looks delicious huh? haha
a cool view of a little house on the other side of a river
  me with some kids that thought I was a jungle gym
 a pic of me walking with a little malagasy kid who is way funny
  a couple of me on the roof of our house

 my first chameleon that I have
 seen in Mada...it tried to bite me but bit my watch haha
Me with a crazy drunk lady who thought she was a gangster
 a pic of a drunk guy who bought us some cokes
pic of us at a soire

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Week 12 - I'm a Gasy Man

What is up everybody?! Well I have survived one transfer here in one of the craziest countries in the world! I can say that as this week we met a man who has been to 70 countries apparently (I haven't been in school for awhile now so not sure how many countries there are in the world but sounds like a lot to me haha) and he said Madagascar is by far the craziest place he has been! This week was a great week! First off, I got to play basketball last pday in Antananarivo for 4 hours. That was like therapy for me. I had no mercy on the Malagasies from the ward haha. Tamatave is definitely a lot better than Antananarivo though! I love the beach and palm trees and it is not as crazy crowded as Tana is. So I am glad to be home :) We also had our first baptism this week! It was a great day! Also loved shoveling buckets of water for an hour before the baptism started as the water pressure from the font was struggling haha all part of the experience. 3 people were baptized and it was so amazing to experience that for the first time on my mission! I hope there are many more to come! We baptized Rene who is a great guy! His family was not baptized though as they have not come to church but yesterday they all came! They say they want to learn too! They have a big family so it would be so great if they all get baptized someday! We have lots of investigators right now that we are hoping will continue to progress and be able to be baptized. It is so great being here! I love being able to serve people everyday! One highlight from my week is we were walking home the other night and saw some ladies washing their clothes as missionaries we asked if they needed help which most people say no but they actually said yes! I was actually pretty happy when they said yes. Then I realized I just barely learned how to wash my clothes in a machine like 3 months ago so I am not sure if I can wash them by hand very well. But they stuck me on the pump duty so I would pump the water into their buckets to fill them up. That was a workout. It was awesome to just do some simple service and make some people smile though :) The language is still hard but this week I feel as though I was able to understand a lot more than I have been which was great for me! Some of our investigators even said I have become good at Malagasy really fast. Which I know I still have a long way but it was good to not have them look at me and laugh when I talk to them :) I hope you all have a great day and week! I know this Gospel is true!! There is nothing else in this world that can bring such pure and true happiness into our lives. I am grateful I get to go out everyday and give people the opportunity to accept that in their lives. Love you all and have a great week!!
An action shot from Pday basketball
 a great restaurant in Tana that is like Tucanos! I had my first crocodile there :)
 a view to give you the feel of what Tana is like
 our bus that broke down on the way back to Tamatave
 our district in Tamatave
 me playing guitar with this guy on the street :)
 The kids are probably my favorite part about Madagascar :)

 we were handing out some candies and I got some action
shots and they have the biggest smiles ever!

 Pics of the baptism: me and Elder Nortje with Rene and his wife
  A selfie with Elder Bennett, Elder Monson, and Dez who was baptized also
and a shout out to Elder Larson and the Larson family:
saw this little kid wearing a Mariners jersey and had to take a pic for you guys haha

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 11 - Tamatave is the place to be

Hello Everyone! How was your week? I hope it was as good as mine! Right now I am in the capital city of Antananarivo and I miss my home in good ole Tamatave. Last night we rode a bus all night to get here to finish up some visa papers. Got here at 3:00 in the morning and running off of about 3 hours of sleep but hey that doesn't stop nobody :) Tana (Antananarivo) is good but it is too crazy for me. Tamatave is way better with the jungle and beach vibe haha. But this week was a good week. Went on two splits; one with our district leader Elder Parraga, which was great. He is very good at the language and helped me out a lot. One lesson he challenged me and said now Elder Shoemaker is going to explain this. I wasn't ready for it but I just started spitting out any Malagasy words that came to my head and went on for a while. Then when I was done, Elder Parraga looks at me and says atta boy and gave me a fist bump. Not quite sure what I said but it was something about the Book of Mormon and how we need to read it I think. But that made me pretty excited and it was cool to see the gift of tongues work a little through me as up until then I had been a little frustrated. But the second split of the week was the real challenge. Elder Bennett and I were on a split together. Elder Bennett was in my MTC group so we both have very little knowledge of the language but we worked hard and taught quite a few lessons actually. It was a great week. There are probably some people very confused right now about what the two white guys were telling them but they will figure that out when someone else that can speak the language goes back to teach them this week haha. I love it here! I love being a missionary. I love these people. I can barely talk with these people but yesterday I was sitting in church thinking about leaving to Tana and then thinking about when I will have to leave Tamatave for good probably and it made me sad. I feel so blessed to get to serve these amazing and humble people. One thing I have thought about a lot, is how I used to say I can give two years or I can sacrifice two years of my life to serve the Lord and these people. I do not believe me serving a mission is me sacrificing or giving anything. I feel as though I am gaining more than I could ever give and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here. Of course it is hard for missionaries to leave their loved ones and all they know but I feel as though we gain more than we could ever give. I love being a missionary especially in Madagascar! I hope you all have a great week!
 me with my favorite little kids in the branch
 me with some freaking amazing ice cream we found
(Can you tell they like the ice cream? ;) )
a cool view :)
This is a painting I got
me with the local shoemaker his sign is in french but cordonnier
means shoemaker in french wish it said mpanamboatra kiraro but oh well haha
 a pic of a cool view
 a pic of some rich French guys house that he called Villa Bel Air
 I had to get a pic cuz of my fav tv show Fresh Prince haha
a pic of a palm tree
 me looking out at the beautiful beach wishing I could swim hahaha
  a pic of a lesson we taught that over 20 people piled into this tiny house - it was awesome
 another cool view of Tamatave
a pic of me and elder parraga in our comorros t shirts we had made
a pic of the rice patties that I took in Antananarivo today
 Tamatave Missionaries with Mission President
 Tamatave Missionaries with Mission President
 Ankirihiry District Tamatave
P day at the mission office (today) - Antananarivo
P day basketball at the mission compound (today)
Snow cones at the mission home (today)