Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Week 69 - Tsy Misy Mafy Tsy Laitran'ny Zoto

What's up everyone? I hope you all are doing good! This week was a great week for us. This week we did a lot of finding, or at least trying to find. We had success though! We had two investigators come to church! I think the members were just as surprised as us haha. When Itema, one of our investigators at church, came to church our 2nd Counselor started talking to him. Itema told him we had visited him and our 2nd Counsellor replied with, "They are hard to understand." Itema said yeah but he has patience. Our other investigator was a 10 year old boy whose dad is an active member and mom is inactive and the boy isn't a member. We have been working with the mom and all 3 came to church! Man it was a great day! It was a great experience to have our first investigators at church here in Reunion. However, I will be transferred tomorrow and be going to St. Marie in the North of the island. I am excited for the new transfer. Yesterday we had a zone conference with President Foote. That guy is a stud to say the least. I wish everyone could hear him teach and testify and story tell. One part of the conference that I really liked was when President talked to us about the power of a good attitude. Yesterday, President talked about Nephi and Laman. Why was Nephi able to do so many miracles and accomplish everything without murmuring or complaining? He believed in God. When we have faith in God, it is a lot easier to have a good attitude. I thought about that a lot. We all believe God loves us and He wont do anything to harm us. So anything that happens to us or anything we might endure, we can have a positive attitude because God is at the helm and He steers the ship. We can choose to trust him and be like Nephi or we can choose to doubt and have a rough life of complaining and wondering why everything is so hard like Laman and Lemuel. President said this yesterday and I loved it, "We have all heard the quote, The Lord will make more out of your life than you can make out of your life. That is true, when we want him to." I love that. Nephi wasn't able to get the brass plates and build a boat and all the other things he did because he was simply large in stature. He accomplished all he did because he had faith in the Lord and the Lord made it possible for him to do all those things. And Nephi accepted that and because of his faith you don't read much about him murmuring and complaining. A good attitude is founded upon our faith in God and just doing what he asks. The thought and translation of this email is  "There is nothing difficult that cant be overcome with diligence." I love that and know it is true. It is a Malgasy proverb Dorgivier told me back in Fort Dauphin. Life is hard sometimes but it's a lot harder without faith. I know that as we trust in the Lord and know He won't let us fall that we will rise to the challenges in our lives and accomplish all that we need to and we will do it with a smile on our face. I am grateful for this crazy experience I have had thus far on my mission. I feel so blessed knowing all I gotta do is go where he wants me to go and all will  be alright. I hope you all have a great week! Mazotoa! 
 Last P-day watching Kite Surfers while eating lunch! 

 View of the area. 
 Thanksgiving lunch with Elder and Sister Boyle. A ton better than last thanksgiving in Mada when we had a dinner with a member cancelled so I ate top ramen haha. 
 Some kids that followed us around tracting, thought that only happened in Mada but nope ha. 
  Dinner with the Argien family! 
 Pictures of Rachel who was baptized in Fort Dauphin last week! Miss those people. 
 A pic I found on Stromberg's camera. First day here when I tried one of the other Elder's bikes...that was the moment I truly felt like a Mormon Missionary. 
Rachel's Baptism in Fort Dauphin

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Week 68 - Ataovy izay asainy ataonareo

Akory ziora! I hope you all had a great week this week. This week was good for us here. I sometimes wonder if I am in a different world. This place could not be more different than Madagascar. The French is coming a long and we are gonna get it rolling soon. Did some more tracting this week and trying to find people to teach. Found a few people. Found a family from Fort Dauphin. Man that was like catching up with family you haven't seen for a long time. They were so shocked I could speak Malagasy and when I spoke the dialect from the South of Madagascar they freaked out haha. They were very surprised I lived in Fort Dauphin and they asked me a billion questions and it was fun. Definitely fun when we find Malagasies here. They are just the best people in the world! Well this week I had a study that really helped me and I would like to share it! I read a talk from Whitney L. Clayton from the May 2017 conference. It was great. It talked about trusting God first and receiving blessings second. Or at least that's what I got out of it. It used two examples I really liked. The first one from John 2 verses 5 through 9. This is when Christ turns the water to wine. Mary says to the servants in verse 5, "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it." So Christ says fill up this water pot with water. And they fill it up to the brim. And then Christ turns the water to wine. The words Mary says to the servants are very powerful for me. It's that easy! Whatever he asks, just do it. Sometimes in our life we want the water to be turned to wine before we fill up the pot. We want to see the blessings and miracles before we obey. That's not how God or even the world works though. We don't get money before we work and we don't get smart before we study. We must always show our faith by our actions and then God has already promised blessings and we will always receive them. God doesn't go back on His word. Whether that is tithing, repentance, keeping the Sabbath day holy, or whatever it may be. Every commandment has promised blessings. So if we do our best to keep all of them, there will be countless blessings. If we keep some, we will miss out on all the blessings God has already promised us if we stay obedient. In the Pearl of Great Price, there is another example. In chapter 5 verses 5 through 9. Adam is commanded to worship God and offer up the firstlings of his flock for an offering unto the Lord. Then after awhile an angel appears to Adam and asks him why he offers sacrifices unto the Lord. Adam says, "I know not, save the Lord commanded me." Then Adam receives an explanation for the reason and need of the sacrifices. I love Adam's response. Sometimes we don't understand why we need to do this or why that isn't okay to do. As we first exercise faith in the Lord, our understanding and knowledge will be broadened. We will see the great importance of obedience. God loves us and He will never do anything to harm us or lead us astray. So if it is something He's asked us to do, just do it and we will understand why later. We will see blessings later. I love these examples. It has helped me a lot. I hope you all have a great week! Mazotoa!! 
 Some views of the island.  

 This painting is on the side of an apartment building and the kid reminds me of Madagascar. 

 Sometimes when you drive up in the mountains you just get in a cloud haha. 
 We were visiting a family when I took that pic of us in a cloud. This famly is way cool! The wife is a Malagasy and the husband was Mr. Reunion back in the day haha. He is way buff. They had us over for dinner last night and it was great!
Throwback to Madagascar! Got this pic from Elder Bowen. This is what we call a taxi be haha. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Week 67 - Miasa Mafy ny Mpikambana

Salama daholo! I hope you all are doing good and had a great week! Much like Bingham Football, the work of the Lord just can't be stopped. Today I received an email from the Branch President in the branch I served in down in Fort Dauphin before the evacuation. He told me that there is a baptism today for some of the people we taught! Wow! I cant even describe my excitement from that news! What a great example of member missionary work. I asked for them to send pictures so next week I may have some baptismal pictures that have no missionaries in it. What a great day! This week was good too! I'm not getting laughed at as much for my French so that's good haha. We had some great lessons and we are working hard with the members here to get this branch going. It has definitely been a transition getting used to Reunion, which seems like a whole new world. As different and crazy as it is here, the Gospel is the same, no matter where you go! This week I did a little study about virtue. President Foote did a zone conference in Fort Dauphin about virtue and I had been wanting to study that more and this week I was able to. Virtue to me is one of the most important Christ-like attributes that we can obtain. Virtue is mainly in our thoughts and what we truly desire. To me virtue is our focus; what we focus our thoughts, words, and actions on. Focus is a huge part in anything you do. In sports, you need to be focused to be able to perform at the best of your abilities and in living the Gospel it is no different. I read a talk that related the story of Peter walking out on the water with Christ, to our focus. Peter was able to walk on the water because he was focused on Christ. But maybe he looked down or back at the boat and lost his focus, then he began to sink. As we keep our focus on Christ, meaning that as we are virtuous and center our lives on Christ and His gospel, we can do amazing things in our life such as Peter walking on the water. While I was in the MTC, Chad and Michelle Lewis came and gave talks. Michelle talked about when she was first dating Chad. She said all he talked about was hurdling a guy in a game. She said that's literally all he wanted to talk about, they'd be walking down the street and he would jump over a garbage can just as he would a guy in a game. Back then, not too many people jumped over defenders in a football game. But Michelle said one day, she saw Chad do it in a game. She used that as an example that as we think and focus our lives on certain things, we become those things. What if we constantly thought and focused on the Savior? I know that would change our lives in ways we can't even imagine. I love the example one of the General Authorities talked about last General Conference. I don't remember who told the story of the young boy who died and then his parents found an alert on his phone that said "Remember to put Jesus Christ at the center of your life today." That should be all of our goal. Each day as we strive to put the Savior first, I know that we can become the people He wants us to be and there is no greater joy than that in this life. I hope you all have a great week! Mazotoa ary aza maditra!! Veloma.
 A pic of Josette and her kids and some other kids at her stand where she sells eggs and bageda (kind of like a sweet potato sorta thing). Miss these people. Josette's son emailed me this week and that made me way happy! 
 A pic of a sweet waterfall our first counselor here in Reunion took us to.
  And he took us to a nice beach also.

 Our dinner with the Jeankatt Family last Wednesday.
A pic of our group at the picnic last Saturday (Schy said the 1st Counselor in their Branch Presidency invited a less-active family on a picnic in the mountain and wanted the Elders to come along)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Week 66 - Fiovam-po Tanteraka

Akory ziora? Enga anie salama tsara ianareo! I had a good week and I hope you all did too! I am getting more used to missionary life here and life in general here. We are working hard to learn French and help this little branch in St. Pierre. The gift of tongues is real and such a blessing especially in situations like this. This week I read a scripture in Alma 5 verse 14, which I am sure a lot of you know already. I love this scripture! It says, "And now behold I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have you experienced this mighty change in your hearts?" I think my favorite thing about this scripture is that it is directed to "the brethren (and sisters) of the church". I thought a lot about this. We taught a man the other day and he decided he won't come back to church because the members here aren't loving and aren't humble. Statements like these frustrate me and confuse me more than anything. Our goal in this life isn't to become a member of Christ's church and become a Mormon and then think, "Sweet we are done we made it." That whole enduring to the end part is the most important part of the whole process. Like a quote I shared by my mission president not too long ago said, "Our goal isn't to make them Mormons. Our goal is to help them to become Saints. And the best way we can become Saints is through being a Mormon." The word become is a big word in that quote. That's the enduring to the end part. This life is for us to strive our very best to become like Christ. We need His love, His charity, His humility, His kindness, His obedience, His faith, His everything. We were given the Gospel to help us do this. No one in this church is perfect. I love that scripture because that is our goal. One thing that was very hard for me in Madagascar was challenging people to read the Book of Mormon everyday and then they tell me they can't read. It confused me and made me very sad. I thought about it a lot. God does not judge us on things such as reading the Book of Mormon or going to church, but by living what is in the Book of Mormon and living what is taught at church. Now obviously, we have to read and go to church to know what is taught but if we think going to church every Sunday is going to save us then we don't really quite understand why we are doing that. When we learn of the Gospel, we must become what we learn. We must strive to become all that we hear about and all that we learn and read about in the scriptures and at church. Going and reading is not enough. We need to apply and live what we learn. Testimony is going to church and reading the scriptures. Conversion is doing our absolute best to live what we learn when we do these things. The scripture in Alma talks about true and full conversion to me, spiritually born of God, his image engraven on our countenances, and mighty change in our hearts. These are all things that we can achieve and become as we strive to be converted to the gospel. No one in this church is perfect, but it is the right path. I know we can all achieve these things through the doctrine and principles taught in this church. What we learn each week from scripture study and church attendance and keeping the commandments is a start to becoming like our Savior. I am so grateful for this Gospel and this church. I know it is true. I hope you all have a great week! Mazotoa ary aza maditra.

#Shoutouttowolfgram If his mom reads this you should be proud of how good of a guy your son is.

  Our dinner with our second counselor and his family! 
 A pic of our house.
 And some pics of the views here.

 This is a member from our branch. He is not Malagasy at all but he speaks way good Malagasy. He was born there are lived there til he was 20. Way funny guy and makes me happy he speaks Malagasy.  
 Our dmbs restaraunt right on the beach way nice.