Monday, March 27, 2017

Week 34 - Rano Velona

What's up chumps?! It was another great week here in the greatest place on Earth! The work is going and not slowing down!! We have had some open time to tract since we have had some baptisms lately so we have been praying and asking for success tracting and this week we saw it!! We tracted into and scheduled times with 18 new investigators and 3 came to church after the first lesson! It was so great to see that!! Also we are all set and ready for the baptism on the 1st. We have 8 that will be baptized: Anni, Eric,Vero and their kids, Tolotra and Nirina, Tolotra and his wife Tafita along with Tolotra's sister Hensoa. It is going to be a great day and I am really looking forward to it!! They are all ready and have strong testimonies!! Should be a great experience!! This week was full of great stories and experiences. All the way from a drunk guy getting us a family referral and me bribing kids with candy to take us to their house if their dad is home haha. The second one sounds a little creepy but I promise it is not like that. I want to share something that stood out to me a lot in my scripture study. I read John 4 about living water. In this chapter, Christ is at a well and a Samaritan woman comes to draw water. Christ tells her if she drinks of the living water he can give her, she will never thirst. They continue to talk and the woman says I perceive thou art a prophet. Christ tells her he is the son of God, the Savior. She believes him and goes and tells others about the Christ, that he is here. Others believe her testimony and go and listen to the words of the Savior and they too believe he is the Christ. I love this story. Christ tells the woman to drink of the living water and believe in Him. She does. Then she goes and bears testimony to others and she becomes a well of living water for others. I learned a lot from this story. We need to strive to share the Gospel with all and we need to become wells of living water for others. We need to help others along the way and bear testimony and help people find the truth of the Restored Gospel. We all can be as the Samaritan Woman and bring others to Christ. In John 4, it also talks about how the person bearing testimony or sharing the gospel and the person receiving it are both uplifted. I know that is true! I have been blessed so much to be able to go out everyday and share this Gospel. I feel so lucky and love this opportunity! I know that as we strive to help others and share our testimony, our own testimony will grow and we will come to know our Savior better and on a more personal level. I know He lives, I know He loves us, I know we can return to Him as long as we truly love Him and do what he has asked of us. I hope you all have a great week!!! Veloma!
Me with some kids and chameleons. I have two tiny ones in my hand and the kid has two on a stick.
 Me with some of my favorite little kids. This little girl hugs me all the time haha. She reminds me of Nakai and Presley! 
This is what happens when schools is over and the white guys happen to be walking by just then.

 Some cool views.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Week 33 - Mahay Raha

What's up people of the USA? Life is good here in Madagascar. Hope you all had a great week! I did!! First off, funny story from today. Elder Stromberg and I went to Tana today and looked around at some shops and just explored some. Stromberg found a shirt he liked and it was really expensive. But some guy and his friends selling women's t-shirts on the side of the road said they would go buy it for him as it would be cheaper since they aren't white. So we did it. The catch was we had to sell the women's t-shirts in their place with their other two friends. I think I found what I wanna do for a living after the mission haha. People thought it was so funny. Everyone was laughing and Stromberg and I quickly became the talk of the street. I was yelling, "These were made in America and all the women in America wear them!" and the guy I was selling with was telling people I would adopt their kids and take them to America if they bought one. I told them no obviously haha. It was a good time. Got a pic I will send in a little bit! But on a serious note we had a great week and are seeing tons of success right now. Elder Passey and I are balling out, you could say haha. Our next baptism is April 1 and we have two families being baptized. That is 8 people for sure but could be 10 if two others decide to get baptized as they are ready just need to decide so we will see! It has been amazing to be working in this area with these amazing people! I feel so blessed!! I learned a lot from Rachel and Claire this week, our two recent converts. They were asking me about giving to the poor and how much they should serve people and give to others. I was so amazed by their amazing selflessness. I felt so guilty as I thought about them and how people with so little are willing to give so much. They are well off for Malagasies but it is still nothing compared to America. I feel I have learned so much from these people. I have been humbled more than I could ever imagine after living in this amazing place which sadly is one of the poorest countries in the world. But they are also some of the happiest and nicest and most genuine people I have ever met. I feel so lucky to be able to learn from these Malagasy people and be apart of their lives. I know this Gospel is true, I know this church is the restored church of Jesus Christ here on the earth again. I am not good enough at Malagasy and good enough at convincing people this is true. The success we are seeing is because of the truthfulness of this message and of the Spirit testifying to these people. There are many people that get baptized in this mission and it is because they are humble and the Spirit can enter their hearts and teach them the truthfulness of this great message. I hope you all have a great week!! Veloma!! 
 A sweet sunset and view of our area.  
  Some kids!

 Me with some people that we tracted into and after they danced and sang for us. Wish I could send the video haha.
  Some weird green water idea but it was in the middle of the rice field haha.
 Rice Fields are sweet.
  Elder Passey and me!
 Malagasy fair. Man powered ferris wheel. You can see the guy walking on top of the ferris wheel to spin it haha.  
 Some awesome kids that wanted a pic!
 Me with some kids. This little girl was having a laughing attack and it was so funny.
 Pic of when we were building the house...not sure what I am doing in this pic haha.
And me with my future career of selling Malagasy women's clothing. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Week 32 - Mivavaka Sabotsy sa Alahady?

It was a great week here in Ambohimanarina! Lots of people have asked me about the cyclone. There was little to no damage done in the area I am in. I am sure it was worse on the coast but haven't heard anything too crazy! This was a great week. We had some great lessons and have a lot of people progressing! Gave out a lot of baptismal dates this week too which is always great! One cool experience I had was tracting. We tracted into this young couple. They were a little rough around the edges you could say. Both had lots of tattoos and the husband was smoking and had a black eye that looked like he got a right hook to the face when we found them. We told them who we were and they let us in. They had lots of broken and empty beer bottles on the floor of their house. My first thought was oh man lets see how this goes...but as I started talking to them and we started teaching I felt like I truly cared for this couple. I felt the spirit very strong in that lesson. I felt like I really loved these people I had just met. It was a weird feeling. We left and then taught them again a few days later. The lesson went really good again. I thought man I really want these people to get this, I really want them to accept this in their life. They said they are going to come to church this week which made me really happy! I thought about that little experience a lot and noticed a change in myself. I think before my mission I would've judged those people. I don't know if I would've wanted to talk to them about Jesus Christ or his Gospel. But in the MTC our Branch President told us to pray for the gift of love everyday of our missions. I have tried to do that and I truly feel it and definitely felt it in that particular lesson. The mission is teaching me to love all people no matter who they are or what they have done. That is what Christ did. He said he came to call the sinners to repentance but not the righteous. We are all sinners in different ways and we should learn to love all that we come in contact with. It is something I am continuing to work on. One thing I have realized is that missionary work goes a lot better when you love the people and they love you. If they know you love them and desire their happiness they are a lot more willing to listen. I hope that is something I can get better at as my mission goes on but I am grateful for that little experience I had this week! Hope you all have a great week!! Love you all!
 A cup with my pic and Thalias from Tamatave. She made me that and sent it down here with another missionary! Way nice of her haha.
 A pic of me in a rice field.
 The kids never fail to make me smile!!

  A cool sunset and view of our area! 
 A pic of sunset.
A view of our church and the US Embassy.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Week 31 - Dunking on the Court and in the Baptismal Font

What's up everyone! First off, I wanna give a shout out to my Bingham boys for taking state AGAIN! So pumped for all of you guys and glad you were able to experience that!! I had a great week too! Pretty cool to think about the same time Bingham was winning state again, I was at a baptism of 7 of our investigators!! That was a great experience and made me so happy to be apart of it!! Baptisms can be kinda hard when one is 85 years old and another one starts to hyperventilate when she gets in the water. But hey everyone was dunked so that's all that matters right haha. I had some great experiences this week! One of my favorite things was teaching Rachel and Claire about the temple. They were two that were baptized Saturday and we taught them about the temple earlier in the week. Claire asked how she is supposed to get there as the closest temple is in South Africa and they don't have that kind of money. Then Rachel said, "Well all we need is faith and we can get there." Dang I loved that!! These Malagasy people have such strong faith. I feel as though I learn more from these people than I could ever teach them. I feel so blessed to work with such amazing people everyday! Elder Passey and I are going to keep the Ambohimanarina train rolling!! Wanted to share a scripture I read in studies this week. Luke 9:62..."And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." You gotta be in the game or out. No watching from the sidelines. No checking in for the final seconds before halftime or the end of the game. We gotta give all we got and do our VERY best everyday if we want to become all that we can be and all that our Heavenly Father wants us to be. Hard times come and go but we can't look back, we can't doubt. We need to have faith and keep looking forward and everything will be taken care of by the man upstairs. I love this Gospel! I love my Savior and Heavenly Father! Have a great week everyone!! 
 Eric drew me and Elder Nichols haha.
A drunk guy wanted a pic...wish you could've heard his laugh hahahaha.  
African sunset.   
Building beds and houses all in one mission.
 My new tag Elder MpanaoKiraro (Shoemaker in Malagasy) haha.  
 Me and Eric.
  Me and Lydia's family.  
Me and Rachel and Clair.
Me and all 7 that were baptized and our member help Stephon who got to help baptize! Great day!!!  
Cool views of an awesome path I love walking on.

 A taxi we took this morning. The roof was ripping off but no worries the dude had some wire he tied to it and spun it around a couple times and it was hanging on to the roof of the car....Malagasy convertible haha.