Monday, May 29, 2017

Week 43 - Mahay Raha Isika

What's up everyone?! I hope it was another good week! Happy Memorial day to all! This week was a great one! First off we had a talent show for all three of the branches here in Fort Dauphin. The talent show was by the far the most hyped talent show I have ever been too. Pretty sure the crowd was louder than the state 5a basketball tourney. haha...ok that was an over-exaggeration but still it was loud. There were a lot of funny talents that I wish I could send all the videos of but sadly 3rd world wifi isnt too fast. The missionaries did a Malagasy dance mixed with some classic moves from the good ole USA such as the nay-nay, the can-can, and the dab. It made the Malagasies laugh very hard and we were all just hoping they were laughing with us and not at us but still not sure on that one. Other than that we had a very good week trying to get this work moving here in the Tanambao Branch of Fort Dauphin. We teach a lot of amazing people that I love a lot and right now we are having to drop some as they may not be ready right now. Not the most fun to drop investigators but something you have to do as a missionary. This week I did a personal study on faith. I asked myself 3 questions I wanted to better understand about faith. First off, what is true faith? How do we show our faith and exercise our faith? And how do we increase our faith? As I read scriptures and studied these questions more there was one answer that was the same for all 3 of those questions. First off, what is true faith? We know faith without works is dead. So what is the definition of works? What came to my mind was obedience to the Commandments of God. So first true faith is obedience. Second how do we show our faith? Again faith is shown through works or obedience. Third how do we increase our faith? We know the blessings come after the trial of our faith so we must first obey the commandments and then we will receive blessings and that will strengthen our faith. So we increase our faith through obedience. I realized how inseparable obedience and faith really are. You can not have one without the other. It is impossible. Also my dad shared with me a quote that I really love and goes a long with this study I did. "Testimony is knowing or believing. Conversion is doing." So if we want to be converted to this Gospel we need to obey. If we believe only but do not exercise that belief, there will come the day that we will fall away. I know all those that nourish the seed of their faith like we learn about in Alma 32, will never fall away and we will be converted to this Gospel. I know that when we are almost obedient, we almost get blessings. If we want blessings we need to obey every word with exactness. I know as we do this we will be blessed beyond comprehension. Hope you all have a great week of Summer! Love you all!
 The new zone at the restaraunt at President's hotel that he stays at here in Fort D.
 Elder Blatter's first time at the beach haha.
 A morning sunrise.
 One of the Atandroy fisherman on their canoe.
  The zone at the "Tent Place" Friday night tradition.
 A pic of the talent show although it is not very good. Wish I could send videos!
  Me with one of my favorite people I have met on my mission. His name is Lahavelo and he is a baller. Young Men's President and he was baptized in Sept. This was after our talent that is why I look like a scrub.
 The zone after we made the crowd go crazy with our dance. I promise we preach the gospel better than it looks like we would.
 A member asked us for a blessing and then wanted a pic with us. This is at the hospital which I think I would rather operate on myself than go there.
 The sunrise this morning out our window. Be jealous.
Last pic is with Carlos, who is our investigator. He comes and plays ball with us in the mornings and he is awesome. He said he liked the Jazz and I told him I do too. Then he showed up with this jersey and he quickly became one of my favorite investigators.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Week 42 - Akory Irehe!

What is up in the good ole USA? And wherever else people may be reading this. This week was a good one here in Fort Dauphin! Hard not to have a good week in such a beautiful place in the world. Elder Nichols and I had a good last week working together. It was a lot of goodbyes and lasts and me telling him he better not be married before I get home haha. I am gonna miss him and all the good times we had but I am looking forward to getting to work with Elder Shelby from American Fork, Utah! We have had a couple days of working together and I can tell it is gonna be a good transfer and most likely two we will be together! We had some great success this week in finding new people. As a missionary you sometimes wonder why every door you knock on is not searching for the truth or why they don't seem affected by our great message. I read a scripture that I really like this week in Hebrews 4:2. It really made me think. It talks about how the gospel was preached to a certain group of people that were not exercising faith and so it did not profit them as it did the other people that had been blessed so much from it. I love this scripture. I have thought a lot about how some people can read the Book of Mormon, learn all the lessons, maybe even go to the temple or on a mission. And still fall away. It made me think of Alma chapter 32 and how we learn that if we do not nourish our seed of faith it will whither away and die. But it doesn't die because it was a bad seed. It died because we didn't give it what it needed. That is just like our testimony and our faith. We sometimes forget that the whole reason we came to Earth was to be able to walk by faith but not by sight. And we want to know everything and understand everything and be able to have all the answers and have life go so smoothly and not have any hardships. Well we need to remember that is part of the journey! If our testimony and faith is weak we need to do what we can to strengthen it. And I would say the first step of that process is to desire more faith and then ask God to help you receive that and how you can do your part to strengthen your faith and testimony. I love the scripture in Hebrews, two people can read the Book of Mormon or go to church every Sunday. But if the one is doing it with a faithful heart and the other is doing it because it is just what they are supposed to do or whatever. The one will eventually whither away as the other will grow into a strong tree as it teaches in Alma. I know that if we feel as though we have a weak testimony or faith, that we can strengthen it. I know mine is strengthened everyday as I share this great message and see others lives be blessed by this Gospel. I know the Book of Mormon is true. Please read it and pray with a faithful heart. That is the only way you can know if this is all true. No website or friend or anything else can tell you this is false. It all depends on that book and if it is true, and if it is, the rest falls into place and this truly is the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope you all have a great week! Veloma!
The trash pile by our house. This was two weeks ago it is a lot bigger already haha.
 Some crazy kids in our branch. These kids were throwing around grasshoppers and pulling their heads off and putting them on elder Shelby and I during Sacrament...not kidding haha I was trying very hard not to laugh.
 Last dinner with Elder Nichols and Donne and his fam! Gonna miss this!

 Just got back from climbing trees and selling bananas. I wanna try and buy this from someone and use it as a bar for bench press....currently looking for someone that is selling. 
 Elder Nichols took goodbye pics with Firazana and his fam and then they wanted to take a pic with me reason for the pic but that. He is a returned missionary and really good. Lives far away from Fort Dauphin in the middle of nowhere but comes to church quite often which is awesome!
 Saying goodbye to the boys at the airport! Gonna miss these guys!
Me and Elder Shelby when we picked him up at the airport! Gonna be a good transfer!! 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Week 41 - Mothers Day :)

First off Happy Mother's Day to all the great mothers out there! I hope you all had a great day! It was great talking to my family! This email will be a little short but wanted to share a spiritual thought. Yesterday in church, our Branch President said something that I loved and never thought about. He said you can visibly see how strong your testimony is. I thought about that a lot. Such a true statement. If we have a testimony or believe something, it means we will act on it. So if we believe all this is true, it should definitely be shown in the way we live. We always teach that our message is a way of life but not just sharing of bible verses. It is great to feel the spirit and go to church every Sunday but if we do not change our lives to live according to those spiritual promptings and the lessons we learn at church then we are missing the real reason for those things in our life. We need to try and better ourselves every day to try and live as our Savior did and follow His example. I love that quote from our Branch President. We occasionally think that testimonies are a personal thing but really if we truly have a testimony, we would want to shout it from the rooftops and let everyone know. If we truly believe this Gospel is true, people will know, they wont have to ask you. It will be shown in the way you live, talk, act, and treat others. Not saying we should be perfect if we have a testimony but we should be trying. I am so grateful for the testimony I have gained while I have been serving in this amazing part of the world. I know this Church is true without a shadow of a doubt. I am so grateful for that knowledge and I hope to share it with others for the rest of my life. This is not something for just us and our families but for the whole world. I know we can strengthen our testimonies everyday if we truly have the desire. I hope you all have a great week this week!! Love you all!
This says Jesus Lives Repent. #Amen
 These guys caught this shark and me and Nichols asked to cut some teeth out of its mouth for souvenirs..pretty cool. Ended up eating shark two days later at an investigators and it was way good!  
 The Priesthood holders and a couple investigators in the Tanambao Branch.
 Elder Nichols last Sunday in Tanambao Fort Dauphin.
 The start to a bunch of pics from our Pday activity today. We went to a very secluded village which had a really cool beach! It was great and sadly pictures don't do it justice. 

Pic from our dinner with Nari who is a returned missionary in our branch. We grilled some kebabs or brochettes is what we call them haha.
Last Pday activity...last week we played a game where you buy your comp random clothes at the Market and he has to wear them in a picture haha pretty funny! 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Week 40 - Saika Maty

Akory koahy? Inona vao vao? Salama ianareo! Tena tsara be ity herin andro ity! Nampianatra olona mahafinaritra be taminy herin ary mivoatra tsara izy ireo. Mbola mamaky ny soratra masina ve ianareo? Mbola mazoto ve? Sa efa lasa camo be? Aza camo ary aza paleka satria tsy tsara izany. Miasa mafy izahay misionera. Miezaka mampafantatra ny olona momba in Filazantsara indraindray ny olona dia mafy loha na masiaka fa izay ny fianiana. Tena tiako be ny asa fitoriana ary misy fitahiana maro be avy aminy asa fitoriana. Marina ny fiangonana!
This was a great week and there were many great experiences! First off we had a baptism! The water was not working so we got to go to the ranomasina! (ocean) It was way cool but honestly ocean baptisms are over rated. The waves were huge and it was hard to baptize and the reverence wasn't the same as a normal baptism. It was really cool though and it was great to be able to baptize these 3 great youth! They will help out the branch here a ton! Jamela, Donacien, and Frederic are the names of those that were baptized. They are all around 19 years old and somewhat related to our DMB (Branch President). They are great kids and it has been great to get to know them. My favorite lesson this week was one with Jean Claude. Jean Claude came to church last week and there happened to be a lot of talks about the temple. So Jean Claude had lots of questions about the temple. As we answered, he smiled really big. It was really cool to see a father that loved hearing that he and his family can be together forever. I always tell people that the purpose of the Gospel is to bring us happiness by bringing our families together here on Earth and for Eternity. That is why we have the Atonement. That is why we have the Priesthood and the saving ordinances. To make sure we can go back to Heavenly Father with all of our family. I know as we strive to do this, that is where pure happiness and peace comes from. I am so grateful for this gospel and how it has blessed me and my family. I know there is no way I can come closer to my family and my Heavenly Father and Savior other than through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am so grateful for what I do everyday! I hope you all have a great week! Veloma!
 And action shot of a lemur licking my tooth while I am smiling for the camera. Way nasty but I am still alive ha. 
 Our hike last week.

 Baptism!!! Really windy and crazy day hahaha

 African Sunset

 The zone at our hike last week!
 Our dinner with a crazy family last night and the missionaries from Bazaribe.