Monday, July 31, 2017

Week 52 - I Been Preachin Gospel For A Year Or So

Akory aby! Inona vao vao? I hope you all had a great week! It was another great week here and it has been a great last year for me! Can't believe it has already been a year this coming Thursday. Time goes by too fast! Definitely the fastest year of my life and hoping this next year doesn't go by too fast. We had a great week of work and seeing many blessings! First off, my man Dorgivier asked about serving a mission and says he has a desire to serve. Made me pumped! He is already good at English so hoping he might get called to South Jordan haha. He is a great guy and is already helping the branch here in Tanambao and he will be a great missionary! The mission is a great blessing and I feel so blessed to be able to know these great Malagasy people! I learn so much from them everyday. Such loving and kind and happy people. This week we talked about the importance of a good attitude in District Meeting. It reminded me of an English class I had my senior year. I don't really like to think about high school English class but this class was different haha. We kind of had a debate as we had read an article about depression. Many people were saying what they thought about depression and this and that. I just listened and kept quiet. One kid, who I will be honest was not at class most of the time and probably a little rough around the edges, rose his hand. He said "We are the ones that make ourselves depressed. We complain about every little thing and make our lives so much harder than they really are. People in other parts of the world have nothing and us in America are complaining and all depressed and look at us...." I am not saying anything about depression as I know that is a serious thing and a very real and true problem but I will always remember what that kid said as for the most part I agree. I remember a quote that said, "Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it." I love that quote. If we will focus on what is most important in life, which is the Gospel, all our problems will be put into perspective and we will realize that we have it pretty dang good. Jesus Christ had a rough time here on Earth. Yet His focus was on the love He had for all of us and for Heavenly Father. I think about the early church leaders. Must have been really hard for Joseph Smith and all of the early Saints to be kicked out and mocked and persecuted wherever they went. Yet their focus was on God and the Gospel and doing what they knew was right. As we focus on the Gospel it is sure hard to have a bad attitude! Look how blessed we are. We have the fullness of the Gospel. We have a loving Heavenly Father and Savior who are willing to help us if we just look to them. I know that a good attitude is the key to a happy life and the key to having a good attitude is focusing on the Gospel. We are so blessed and sometimes when we are having problems or hardships in our life we need to just kneel down and give a prayer of thanks for the things we have instead of all that is going wrong. I know that if we do that, it is near impossible to be sad or angry! I am so grateful for this gospel! I hope you all have a great week! Veloma!
 A cool painting on the wall that me and Shelby got a pic with haha. The Coke here is way better for some reason...I dont know, its weird.
  Went and built a swing for some kids last Pday. They were way scared at first but lighted up after a little while and it was fun!

 These next pics....paradise, nuff said. Gonna miss Fort D for sure.

 Some more beach pics. Found a way cool spot that has the coolest views last Pday!

 Crazy kids in our area that wanted a pic.
 Gave Nantinaina and her family some pop rocks from my package that they didn't like too much.
  Its been raining a lot the last week. 
 Some more crazy kids.
Saw these little kids outside our house. They were trying to get some fruit off the tree and kept falling as they weren't tall enough haha.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Week 51 - Miasa Mafy Vao Mikaly

Salama aby! Hope everything is going good with all of you! Life is great and just gets better here in Fort Dauphin! We had a killer week! First off Dorgivier and Pascal were baptized and it was a great baptismal service. They are both studs and will be great members and a big help to the branch. They both gave great testimonies and it was awesome to be a part of! Then the next day was just about as good! We had lots of investigators come to church and lots that we have been working on for awhile finally came! One particular couple that I we have been praying for finally came! As they walked in late, I had to restrain myself to not get up and give the guy a chest bump. I was so pumped! It was a great day at church with lots of great lessons also. Looking forward to another good week to keep this great work moving along. One thing that has amazed me is how faithful these Malagasy people are. Those in our branch have to walk a long ways to the church building as there is still not a building in our area. And yet we have been seeing great success lately and it has been awesome. I know Elder Shelby and I are not that good at convincing people to walk a couple miles to go to some church service for 3 hours. I know it is the Spirit as this is the true work of the Lord. It is a great blessing to be a part of it! I feel so blessed to share this great message everyday! It is amazing to see how many people and families' lives change as they accept this message and are baptized into Christ's Restored Church. A lot of times we talk about self-sacrifice in the church. It is true we must sacrifice some things of the world to follow Christ and to be able to accept this Gospel. But I am sure if we could understand and see how many blessings we have received and will receive because of this Gospel we would not be calling it a sacrifice but more of an investment. All these investigators and members here in Tanambao Fort Dauphin walk a long ways to get to church. And I know that they will be blessed more than they can imagine because of it. As we submit our will to the Lord we sometimes sacrifice things we might want to do. Although I like to think of that as more of an investment rather than a sacrifice. You put something away and after some time you realize you have more than you could've ever given at first. That is how God's promised blessings work. As we follow Him, we receive blessings though not always right away. As Gordon B. Hinckley said, "What appears today to be a sacrifice will prove to be the greatest investment you will ever make." I know that if we could all see the future of what our lives would be like in this church keeping the commandments versus out of the church, we would choose to follow the Lord and the modern day Prophets. Although hard at first, it will be the greatest blessing and choice we will ever make. I am grateful for this last year of investment I have made. It is by no means a sacrifice in my mind as I have learned and received more blessings than I could have ever given. I know that is how the Gospel works. It takes faith to make an investment. But the Gospel is the most secure investment we could ever make. It is 100 percent guarantee as long as we do our part. I know this message we share everyday is true. If you will listen and search with your heart you will find that truth also. I hope you all have a great week!!
 Last P-day we went to this little village outside of the main town of Fort D and it was beautiful! The kids and people were scared of white people but then we had tons of fun with them! It was sweet! Here are a ton of pics from it!

 Went to the pig farm. Pic of the water tower we helped build that is now finished and some pics of when we climbed up on it.

 The missionaries in our house and I were talking about how our standards on good food has changed. This is a meal I ordered this week that I really like. It is leaves from a tree smooshed up and some onions and other stuff mashed in and some beef. Pretty tasty haha.
 We found these two studs from the Amparihy Branch going around teaching people about the Book of Mormon in our area. Just like us missionaries! They teach them and read with them and if they wanna learn more they tell us about them! They are studs and I had to take a pic with them! True example of Member Missionaries right there!!!
  These guys work at this little restaurant we go to and they wanted a picture haha...knuckleheads.
 Went and taught Mbola and his huge family. They live out in the middle of nowhere. They are the people President invited to church. Mbole hand-carves souvenirs for tourists and sells them at the airport so that's how President met him. Two of them came to church Sunday and it is forever away from their house! Really cool.

  A pic of some of the carvings I bought for cool souvenirs.
 Baptism! Dorgivier has the glasses and Pascal has the buzzed head. Solo is the other guy who was baptized in the other branch! All of them are studs!! 

 Dorgivier and his mom who is also an investigator. We gave her a Book of Mormon at the baptism. She held it up and kissed it she was so happy.
Pascal and his friend...sad but no one from his family came to support him.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Week 50 - Manimba Raha

What's up everyone!? Hope you all are doing good! It was a great week here! We had lots of success with investigators at church and finding new families! We had two of our stud investigators pass a baptismal interview so that was exciting! We will have a baptism this Saturday for Dorgivier and Pascal. They are both in their twenties and are ballers. Dorgivier is someone I will never forget for the rest of my life. He has a limp leg. Basically his left leg is shorter and undeveloped unlike his right leg. He lives in a house that can barely fit me, my companion, and him during our lessons. I am not joking. If I laid down straight in his house, my feet would touch the one end and my head touch the other and the other way I wouldn't be able to lay down straight. Dorgivier is one of my favorite people I have met thus far on my mission. He gives us so many referrals and shares the gospel with so many people. Yesterday he came to church late. He told us sorry cuz he invited a family to come with him and they said they didn't want to so he was sad and that is why he was late. Oh and on top of that he has to walk forever to get to church every Sunday. Literally forever. I still haven't figured out how long it is but my guess is close to a couple miles...with a limp leg...baller. He also was with us in a first lesson with one of his referrals and he taught the whole first like he had been a member for the last 20 years. He shared a beautiful testimony about how he prayed, and I imagined him in that little humble house of his, and told God he believes this is true but he needed to know for sure and he needed God to tell him. And he bore testimony that he received that answer and knows this is the restored Gospel. I am so excited to see him baptized this week! It will be an amazing day! Pascal is another baller too! Pascal is a more quiet guy but reads the Book of Mormon like a mad man and always comes to church and has great questions. His aunt that he lives with told him he can't be baptized into our church. He said he wants to be baptized though and he is ready and I know he is. These two studs will help our branch out a ton and I am so happy to see them baptized! This week my little spiritual thought is on gratitude. In our third hour lesson in church yesterday, the teacher shared a little quote and story that I think was by Gordon B. Hinckley, if I remember right. Basically it talked about someone that was real sad and frustrated that his shoe broke and he only had one shoe now...then he saw a man with one leg and realized his problem isn't too bad. This explains my life the last year. These Malagasy people are some of the happiest and greatest people I have ever met and their problems are greater than most of us can even imagine. As we love others as ourselves and look to serve others instead of focus on our problems, we will realize our problems are not all that bad. The Gospel is the solution to any problem anyone might have. I know that as we center our lives on the Savior we will realize just how much we really have been given and how blessed we are. I am so grateful for our Savior's atoning sacrifice and all he has done for me. Please look to serve others on days where your problems seem overwhelming. That is was the Savior did. This Gospel is true! I hope you all have a great week!!
 Some good views of Fort Dauphin.

 Saw the little kids that I have become friends with at the local hospital. They didn't say why they were there. I would guess they were just wandering around and ended up there. So humbling seeing these 4 little kids basically taking care of each other all on their own...I see their mother with them every now and then but not often. They wanted a pic.  They are the happiest, funniest kids and they have a place in my heart forever. The kid with me that has the name tag on is just a member help who likes a wear an extra name tag I gave him.
 Selfie in the taxi with our member help and Dominic whose mom was sitting in front seat...he was a little scared of two big white guys at first haha.
 When you go to put your pen on the table and your chair decides to break and knock over and break the glass table with all our stuff on it at the same time...gotta love those Malagasy built chairs...ha.
My view every morning...paradise.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week 49 - Ny Pamboly

Salama aby! Inona vaovao? Enga anie salama tsara ianareo. It was a great week! First off, President and Sister Foote were here and we did a District Conference. It was a great. We learned a lot from them and it was a good time as always. They were able to come to our Tanambao Branch this Sunday also and it was great to have them there. President is a great guy and I love talking to him and hearing his wisdom and stories. This week was a really great week of work also. We had a lot of investigators come to church and the work is starting to roll. Dorgivier, one of our investigators that is preparing for baptism the 22nd, gave us 3 family referrals last night and that was awesome to say the least. He is an absolute stud and I love that guy. There were lots of great lessons I learned and stories from the week but I want to share something I learned in my studies this week. I read the scripture in Ether 12:6. It talks about how we don't receive a witness until after the trial of our faith. I had read this scripture a lot and shared it with people a lot but when I read it this time I thought a lot about it and a story came to my mind. I remember hearing this story a long time ago although I don't remember where I heard it exactly. Its about two farmers that desperately needed rain as they were in a drought and the crops were dying. They both were God fearing men and knew that they could pray to God and ask for blessings. So they both prayed and asked God to send the rain for their crops. Then one of the farmers went and sat and hoped and wished and probably had some faith that since he prayed God would send the rain. But the other one went out and prepared his crops for the rain although he could not remember the last time he had seen the rain. Which one do you think God sent the rain to? This is exactly what we learn in Ether 12:6. Of course we need to have faith we need to pray and do all that. But when we get on our feet and work and do all we can to show our faith, that is when the blessings come. We must have faith and rely on God but he expects us to do some work too. I thought about this a lot. Every day and every night I pray for the Spirit and I pray for help finding people that are ready to receive this message and for help being able to know what they need to hear. As this story came to my mind, I realized that of course Heavenly Father wants us to ask Him for those blessings but I need to make sure I am doing everything to prepare my fields to receive those promised blessings. I know that as we show our faith we will be blessed with all He has promised us. This Gospel is true. And God wants you to be able to enjoy the fullness of it but He expects you to show Him that you want to enjoy the fullness of it. I hope you all have a great week! Veloma!
 My view from lunch last p-day.
 Pics from lemur park!

 Me with Richard and Lala's fam as most of these kids are leaving to live in the countryside with family for the next couple months and I will be gone before then. They are crazy but I love them!
 Me with President Dimby as his family as his kids are leaving too to live in Tana with their Grandpa for the next couple months.
And me and Sister Haingo who is our Relief Society President and her fam. Her youngest daughter is going to move to Antsirabe so we took a pic. Sister Haingo's husband isn't a member but she is awesome and we are trying with the husband.
We were supposed to teach a lesson before church started but the people came late so we took a pic with the kids that were there early haha.