Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Week 21 - Tratra Christmas!

Tratra Christmas Ianareo! Salama tsara ve? I had a great week and I hope you all did too!! My first Christmas here in Madagascar was a great one!! We had a great lunch with an amazing family in our branch! It was tons of fun and a ton of food!! They saved money for two weeks to give us a great Christmas meal which meant a lot to us! Christmas here is definitely different, mostly lots of drinking and definitely not too many presents under the tree. I saw a little girl running around so excited saying dada be noel came! Which is Santa. Then I saw three little pieces of candy in her hand, she was literally giddy with joy because she got 3 little bite sized pieces of candy for her Christmas...definitely made me think a lot. It was a little hard for me seeing that as I remembered what my Christmases were like growing up and hate to admit it but back when I was 6 years old and I got 3 pieces of candy I probably would've been crying with disappointment not crying with joy....wow. I don't know if I will ever go another Christmas without thinking about that little girl. I am so grateful to be serving here among these amazing people. I hope you all take time to ponder about the true meaning of Christmas this Holiday Season. I hope that we can all understand the real meaning of the season, that way if we get only 3 pieces of candy we can still cry with joy because of the great gifts we have received from our Savior. I am so grateful for my Savior. I know He lives, I know He loves us, and I know He suffered and died for us. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas! When you kneel down to pray tonight please thank your Heavenly Father for all you have and try and do something for someone else this Holiday Season. I know that is where the real joy from the season comes from. Not whether we get 3 pieces of candy or not. I am grateful for all of you and hope you have had a great Christmas!
 Me and my little friend haha.

  A classic drunk guy passed out on a canoe haha
 Our Christmas tree and stuff
 Our stockings (thanks mom) haha.
 All the food from our soire and couple pics of us with the family.

A pic of us with the branch president's family
 Me with the prank box my dad sent me hahaha.....
knowing my dad I wouldnt have been surprised if that was real hahaha
 Elder Wolfgram got me a painting that is dope. We had a zone secret santa. 
Mom sent me glowsticks in a package and gave them
 to the kids for Christmas and they freaked out! haha

Monday, December 19, 2016

Week 20 - It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Heat and Humidity

What's up everyone!? Hope you all have had a great week! Hope the Christmas season is going well and everyone is in the Christmas spirit! I had a great week! This week was great as one of the families we have been hoping can be baptized is so close to getting legally married! They have a bap date for Jan 7 and they said they are hoping they will be able to get their paperwork and stuff done before then! The dumb thing about Madagascar is to get their birth certificate, they have to go all the way back to where they were born. That can end up to be a lot of money too so it is hard. But Joseph and his wife said they are going to go get it soon and just are hoping the copies will be ready! I hope they are! I want to see them baptized as it is a good chance this is my last baptism in Tamatave. We will see though! Other than that it was a normal week of finding and teaching people. We have a lot of great people but it can be hard getting them to church so we have been doing a lot of lessons on faith and acting on that faith. I felt like I taught this principle a million times this week and it never got old. I always referenced the scripture in the bible that says, "Faith without works is dead being alone." I have thought a lot about that this week. If we truly have faith that there is a Heavenly Father willing to answer our prayers wouldn't we pray more? And wouldn't our prayers be more sincere? If we truly have faith that Christ suffered for our sins and we can be forgiven through the power of the Atonement wouldn't we repent? No matter how hard or scary our local Bishop is wouldn't we be so happy that we have faith and know we can be forgiven that we would just sprint to the church and confess and forsake our sins? By the way the bishop isn't scary ha. But that is something that really stood out to me. If we really have faith wouldn't we try a little harder to be a little better like President Hinckley said? President Hinckley also said this, "All that is asked of us is to try, but you REALLY have to try!" I know I can be so much better at acting on the faith I have and I need to do so and that is just something I felt I needed to share in the weekly email this week. But I hope you all have a great week and a great Christmas!! Love you all!
 Pic of the Ankirihiry branch Missionaries at dinner
 A selfie of the zone at our pizza place on Pday
  A baby lemur I got to hold and play with for a little while
The baby lemur up close. I think I am gonna try and buy it off the guy. It is just his pet..kinda weird.
 A family we tracted into that lives right by the beach and I asked if I could take a pic of the view so the kid grabs the pamphlet we gave him and stands in the picture hahaha
A lemur that was not on a leash and seemed to be wild. I thought lemurs were all cute and nice but this thing did not like it when I touched it, but that is a story for another time.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 19 - Go Hard or Go Home

What's up everyone?! How was the week? Hope it was a good one!! I had a great week. I got my new companion Elder Kissi. He was born in Ghana but lives in Sacramento now. He is a cool guy and we work well together. We worked hard this week and we had some great success. We were able to teach 50 lessons and have 16 investigators at church! That is the most in those categories I have had thus far on my mission and it was great!! We are hoping to see some people progress towards baptism. We have lots that want to be baptized but they still need to get legally married and that can be hard for Malagasies money wise...but we read Nephi 3:7 with them and tell them if the Lord gives us a commandment he will prepare a way for us to follow it. I believe that with all my heart! We had a cool experience this week. We actually tracted into a really rich house that happened to be a man who is part of the Senate here in Madagascar. That is like teaching someone who is in Congress in the United States. Big deal haha. As I was teaching him I felt the spirit very strong. It was weird going into a big nice house after being in a little hut that I can barely fit it. But the message didn't change. This gospel is for all people. It doesn't matter how rich or poor or old or young or where you live, this gospel can change your life and bless you beyond comprehension. I know that to be true. I am so grateful for this Gospel and for the chance I have to share it everyday!! I hope you all have a great week!!
 Elder Kissi and I
   Some kids on the path where it flooded.
 A pic of a Malagasy stroller. An empty gas tank and a rope and the lady is pulling her baby in it ha.
 A pic with some weird dude with leggings and a wig haha.
 Some guy in English class that wrote this on the board and
wanted to know what it meant. I had to take a pic with him haha.
 Some people at this restaurant we usually eat at.
Reminiscing the good old days...had a dream about the replay of the championship game and I woke up pretty sad to be honest.  I miss basketball a lot.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 18 - Momma I'm Grown

What's up everybody! Well the title of the email is because your boy Shoe just got done training! First two transfers down and I am getting my new companion tonight and gonna ball out here in Tamatave for what will most likely be my last six weeks. I am pretty sad thinking about having only 6 weeks left in Tamatave. I have grown to love the amazing, humble, and crazy people of Tamatave. I feel as though I have known them a lifetime even though I can still barely speak their language haha. I know it is probably going to be harder to leave my mission than it was to leave home in some ways. And thinking about leaving Tamatave makes me feel that leaving my first area might even be harder than leaving home in some ways. It is weird being a missionary feeling like you have so much to give to these people and knowing you will one day have to leave and hope that those that haven't found their way yet will be able to find it. I love being a missionary! This week was great! We had another baptism; Thalia was baptized and man was she ready. She bore her testimony after the baptism and in sacrament meeting on Sunday and just said how thankful she is that she found this gospel and that she was able to change and be forgiven. There is no greater joy than seeing someone have that joy. It definitely makes it easier being away from the ones you love when you see people so happy because you were willing to give a little. This Gospel is true! It could have no such effect on a person if there were any bit of false in it. There is no greater path to eternal and pure happiness than this gospel and I love going out and sharing it with people everyday! I hope you have a great week everyone! I pray for all of you and hope you are enjoying the cold. I would kill for some snow right now, or just some weather that I don't constantly sweat in. :) haha. Have a good one!! Velome!
 Me with a very happy old man that kept saying Walla and kept grabbing my arm haha.
He just made me laugh so I needed a pic.
  I told this girl I would buy her overpriced peanuts next time so she came and found me next time we were in the area haha. People walk around selling stuff like this on their heads.
 Some kids that wanted a pic taken.
  The kids wanted me to do this pose with them in a picture haha.
Not sure what the pose is but I guess I like it.
 Me with Mofo Akondro Lady!
Mofo Akondro is deep fried breaded banana and I love it so freaking much haha.
 Some pics of some crazy kids.

  Me and Nortje with Thalia and Masako in lesson before Thalia's baptism. Thalia is better off than most Malagasies and so she made us some chocolate crepes which made me very happy haha.
 Baptism pic with Thalia and her daughter and two friends. The guy with his arm around me is Masako and he is being baptized Jan 7. We have become good friends.
  Me with my favorite guy in the world, Phileman. He is deaf and has no teeth so he talks really loud and is just the happiest guy and makes me laugh and brings a smile to my face. He can read lips so we teach him but his wife won't get married to him so he cant get baptized. I wish everyone could meet Phileman haha.
 Me with Claret and her son. They are investigators and Nortje told them we were gonna take a pic since he is leaving and she made her son get all dressed up fancy and she got dressed fancy too. So I figured I would take a pic with her since they got all nice. She grabbed my hand and put it on her shoulder which was weird but funny. And no I haven't grown 8 feet, she is just a Malagasy lady.
 Some kids building a little town thing with some toys in the dirt haha.
A pic with us and the staff at a restaurant we go to quite often.