Monday, August 14, 2017

Week 54 - Akory Ziora

What's up Everybody?! It was a great rainy week here and I hope you all had a great week also! Fort Dauphin is the place to be and it just gets better every single week. This week we had some great lessons and found some awesome new families that we are very excited about! One couple who we found, first talked to missionaries in 2005 in Tamatave. When they first moved to Fort D, there weren't missionaries or a branch here and they lost track of the church. They read the Book of Mormon everyday and it was amazing when the wife comes up to us as we had just tracted into her cousin's house. She was holding a really old Book of Mormon and my comp and I were shocked. She said they have been reading everyday and she led us to their house and we shared the first lesson with them. I am very excited about them!! We have many investigators right now that are so awesome and it is very exciting! This week I have thought a lot about the Atonement. Sometimes as we teach people about the Atonement and what Christ did for us it is a very deep and hard thing to understand. It is amazing that one person could be filled with so much love that He would be willing to suffer and die for all of our pains, sicknesses, sadness, loneliness, mistakes, and everything else we could ever feel. As we teach about the Atonement I often share a story I heard a long time ago but don't remember where. It is about a school class of boys. They were very rowdy and disobedient. Finally one teacher told the class they need to come up with ten rules. The students came up with ten rules they thought were fair to follow. The teacher then said if there is a law but no penalty then the law is pointless. What is the penalty for those who break these rules?' The students decided that those who break the rules would get beaten ten times across the back without their coat on. A few days later Big Tom found that his dinner was stolen. The class found out who the thief was and it was a little boy named Jimmy who was very small and very hungry. The teacher said, "Jimmy, you broke the rules you get the punishment; ten stripes across your back." Jimmy pleaded and told the teacher he could beat him but to please let him leave his coat on. The teacher said, "You helped make the rule, take off your coat." Little Jimmy took off his coat and the teacher saw he had no shirt under and just a skinny bony little body. The teacher thought to himself that he couldn't beat this poor little boy, but he had to do something to earn the class' respect. Just then, Big Tom steps up and says, "Teacher, I will take Jimmy's beating." The class and teacher agreed that if someone else accepts one's punishment it is acceptable. Tom took off his coat and the teacher beat him across the back. Little Jimmy jumped up and hugged Big Tom. He said, "I am so sorry Tom! I was so hungry. I will love you til the day I die. Thank you for taking my beating." I love this story and example of the Atonement. We are all little Jimmy at one time or another in our lives. How blessed we are to have a Savior that was willing to take our beating so that we can be forgiven and return again to our Heavenly Father. A day without repentance is a day wasted and I am so thankful for the Atoning Sacrifice of the Savior. I know He suffered and died for us but then rose again. All He asks is that we love Him and follow Him. I know this Gospel is true and as we follow the Savior we will have true and everlasting happiness. I hope you all have a great week! Veloma!
 Some pics of our walk we did last P-day right before we went out to work. The path we took is just right behind our house. Like a 15-20 min walk right by the beach. Sorry...not trying to make you guys jealous. Haha.

 Some pics from Mbola's house. This is some of Mbola's family. His dad is a Mpiambina Omby and his family makes charcoal. That is what the big hole in the ground with smoke is.  

 A pic of the path out by Mbola's house.
Elder Hunter was transferred to Tamatave and we took a goodbye pic. This is right outside our favorite restaurant here. It is owned by a French couple and it is so good.  

Monday, August 7, 2017

Week 53 - Akory ilahy toy

Salama dudes and dudettes. Hope you are all doing good and it was a good week! It was a great week here especially as I received news that I don't have to leave the paradise of Fort Dauphin for another transfer! I am excited to keep working in this great little branch some more! This branch has a special place in my heart as many of the members make many sacrifices just to be able to make it to church each week and it is a blessing to be able to work side by side with them. This week we had great success tracting and finding people as well as teaching our investigators we already have. We have many people and families that are amazing and it is great to work with them! We teach a great young couple that we found on a P-day a couple months ago. They are very religious people and read the Book of Mormon like crazy but still haven't come to church. We are working hard to help them have the courage to come. The wife shared with us that her father is not a fan of our church and she is scared he will be mad. We are hoping and praying they can come to church soon! They would be a huge blessing to the branch! This week I also listened to a talk and I can't remember who it was by or what it was called I am sorry ha. But the speaker talked about how one day when he was a kid he came home from a basketball game they had lost. He was upset and mad. He told his mom he didn't know why they lost as he had faith they would win. He then related the faith he had when he lost the b-ball game to that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the Old Testament. King Nebuchadnezzar was trying to force the people to worship idols. Shadrach, Meshach. and Abednego said they would not worship the idol and the King said he will throw them into the fiery furnace if they do not worship it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego then said we will not worship your idol and if you throw us into the fiery furnace our God will preserve us. BUT IF NOT, meaning if God does not preserve us, we will not worship your idol. The speaker related the difference in the faith the 3 men in the Old Testament had and that he had after the ball game. Sometimes we have faith and we have a lot of it but things still don't go the way we thought or planned them to go...but we had faith right? Why didn't it go the way we wanted? All things are dependent on God's will. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that. They knew and had faith that God could preserve them but they also knew that maybe it wasn't His will and maybe He had a different plan for them. Faith is trusting the Lord. It is knowing that whatever happens, it is in the Lord's hands and it is for our good. Perfect faith is not just having faith that everything will go the way we want it but it is having our will swallowed up in the Father's. As all he does for us is for our good, even though we may not understand it at that time. I know that as we fully trust the Lord, our eyes will be open and our minds broadened to be able to see from his point of view. To see how He is trying to bless and help and strengthen us. As we exercise faith such as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we will have peace and comfort knowing our lives are on the path Heavenly Father wants us to go. The Gospel is true! Hope you have a great week! Veloma!!
 Some pics of the year mark day! Had district meeting and took a bunk bed pic. Burned some shirts on the beach, a year mark tradition for missionaries.

 And had a dinner with this great member family! This young man on my right is named Mirant. He is our branch clerk even though he is 18. A couple weeks before I got here, he was walking home from the church after doing his calling. It was later at night and he actually got jumped and beat up...he lost half his teeth and was a little shy for awhile. He is starting to seem like his normal self and he is an awesome guy. Studs like him are what make the work of Salvation move along!! He is preparing for a mission and the family is preparing and saving money to go to the temple. They are great people!!

 Mbola and his family wanted to take some more pics. They are the family of the wood carver who lives in the middle of nowhere. We visit them every Saturday morning. Some pics of his family and him carving. They are great people!!

  My view from lunch Saturday of the couple I talk about on voice recording. The really nice and rich place they bought for us! Very nice people!
 My view to my left while teaching the youth Sunday school class on Sunday.
 The sunrise this morning! Love this place!!
 Pics of our P-day last week! Went on a rainy hike to a cool waterfall basically in the middle of the jungle and it was sweet! And this pic of us at like the nicest restaraunt in Fort D. This waitress who has become our friend, will not be working for awhile as she is having a baby and so we took a pic with her!

 Some more pics from P-day!!
 Elder Hunter snapped this candid shot of me with this cool natural infinity pool thing haha.
 We went on the hike with some members. This lady is a single mom and she makes each of the missionaries a big bottle of juice each week! She is way nice and we decided to invite her and her fam to the waterfall with us!