This week has been absolutely incredible and tiring. Honestly as a missionary, you get more tired as the days go by, but your love for the work increases, so its honestly the only reason I’m still going strong! I love being a missionary. It’s way simpler than regular life and is so much more rewarding. But it’s not a type of personal rewarding or feeling of accomplishment, but more like you are happy because others are happier. It’s really just a great feeling.
On Thursday, Elder Jackson gave the lesson during district meeting and it was incredibly inspiring. He taught about the power of fast and prayers in missionary work and gave a bunch of scriptures that directed the lesson (Alma 6:6, Alma 17:3, Helaman 3:5, and 3 Nephi 27:1). After the district meeting, we unanimously decided to fast and ask the Lord for guidance as we begin this work here in Fianarantsoa. We started it Thursday night and ended Friday night. It worked out perfectly that the entire day of Friday was just tracting (which was most of our program at that time). We were guided to so many families during that fast and we taught 4 lessons on Friday alone, but set up a bunch of return appointments that turned out very promising as we followed them up Saturday and Sunday evening. This really built my testimony about fasting and the power it can have in missionary work. It was very inspiring and the fast was very consecrated. We’ve seen finding miracles already happen thus far and all three of the areas and both of the branches are beginning to see a bunch of light and success.
Point de Vie (View point). Today, all six of us missionaries went and did some exploring in Fianarantsoa. We went to this view point that overlooked the entire city. A lot of pictures today are from that hike. It was truly breathtaking and we hiked along the other side of the mountain and the town completely flopsided and turned into a country side feel of red-bricked straw-roofed houses. I took a few minutes of taking in the view and it’s impossible to me to think that all of this beautiful creation came from just a so called ‘big bang.’ It’s just silly to me when I see all of the beautiful creations from God and the way the mountains and rocks roll in a landscape. I love Madagascar so much and God is real.
I don’t know if I’ve already shared this, but Elder Pace and I are supporting both of the two branches here in Fianarantsoa. Elder Jackson (he’s in my group) and Elder Modisakeng (I trained him) are working the Fianarantsoa Branch, and Elder Snow and Elder Beardall are working in the Tsianolondroa Branch. So Elder Pace work in both areas (3 days in Tsianolondroa and 3 days in Fianarantsoa). It’s been really great and fun to work and get to know all of the members down here in both of the branches. As part of our work here in both of these branches, Elder Pace and I have been taking care of the ‘Find my Sheep’ mapping stuff for both of the branches here in Fianarantsoa. Some of you may not know, but we have been looking for members houses on google earth and pinpointing them on the church website. We have over 200 left to do in both of the branches combined and it’s difficult because adresses in Madagascar are not organized and have no real distinction. As a result, we’ve been needing a ton of member help and it is coming along at a good pace. We have meetings setup for next sunday and we are mainly going to be doing that after church, as organized by the branch presidents. From my first sunday and not much experience, the Tsianolondroa Branch is very strong and has a great attendance at church. On the other hand, the Fianarantsoa Branch is struggling a bit on attendance. However, for the days that we are working in the Fianarantsoa area, we are mainly going to be doing a lot of less-active work in helping restrengthen the branch.
Elder Pace and I are doing well and continuing in exact obedience and fine tuning, the small things. He’s getting progressively better in the language and we’ve had many lessons where we both witnessed the gift of tongues in action. I love this part about training. I love Elder Pace’s drive for obedience and his steadfast desire to be a good missionary. We help each other in this part. He’s such a funny guy and I love being with him. I hope you all have a great week and take some time this week to go outdoors and do a hike or something like it.