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#100 – 4th of July, Ady hevitra with Zoky, and Baptism!

This week was crazy.  For the 4th of July we went to this restaurant at night and get some pizza and asked them to play the star spangled banner and Whitney Houston started singing.  It was a sweet moment when we were eating pizza and drinking milkshakes.

Better than that was the most intense story of the transfer.  Saint-Michel wasn’t able to get his papers for marriage so he didn’t get baptized last week, that was pretty sad.  However, Isidore and Nathalie had everything ready to go to get married on Friday.

Prerequisite knowledge before this story makes sense and you understand the magnitude of this miracle.  In Malagasy culture they have cultural weddings which are very important to them.  In the specific tribe of Antanosy, for a man to marry a woman he must purchase one cow (about 600,000 Ariary = $200) to give to the woman’s father in gratitude for his wife’s hand in marriage.  In some countries this is similar to a dowery.  I will refer this Malagasy culture as “Fomba Gasy.”

Anyways, so Thursday evening, we got a text from Isidore saying that there was a big problem with their marriage.  We quickly ran over to his house which was pretty close and talked with him.  He arrived first and then his wife wasn’t there, so he went and got her.  We sat in their house and talked.  Previously, when we had taught Isidore and Nathalie about the law of chastity they decided to get legally married to keep god’s commandments because it would probably take them more than 2 years to save up money to buy a cow and get married fomba gasy.  They still wanted to do fomba gasy because that’s their culture, but they also wanted to get baptized and they didn’t think that it would be a problem.  When Nathalie was inviting her family to come to their marriage, her father found out and told her that if she got married legally before she got married fomba gasy they would disown her.  Going back to Thursday evening, we talked with them and decided to go out together and talk with her father.  They live 45 minutes drive into the countryside and we called one of our taxi buddies to take us out there.  When we got out there we went into their house and the Zoky (Elder/Father) called all of his kindred from surrounding palm tree wooden houses.  We all sat in meet with the father, Isidore, Nathalie and their family.  They all knew why we were there.  We asked if we could start with a prayer and share a spiritual thought before we wanted to talk.  I shared Deuteronomy 6:7 which talked about parents teaching their children to keep the commandments of God and we explained the law of Chastity and God’s commandments concerning legal marriage.  Elder Jackson explained that we weren’t trying to diminish fomba gasy, but we were trying to help Isidore and Nathalie follow the commandments of God.  Well the Zoky didn’t really accept.  He said to all of us if they get married the ‘white people way’ before you get married the ‘malagasy way,’ it means that you respect white people more than you respect your own culture.  That was a pretty big stab to the heart, we were losing confidence that we could get permission from Zoky to get Isidore and Nathalie married.

Well, the mother wasn’t there so they called her on the phone and Zoky was talking with her.  He said to her that he wasn’t agreeing to them being married legally before fomba gasy was completed.  He handed the phone to Nathalie, she talked.  She handed the phone to her brother-in-law who talked to Nathalie’s mom and he went outside while he talked to her.  He was on our side the whole time and voiced his opinion in helping them keep the commandments of God.  When he came back into the house a few minutes later he walked right up to me and handed me the phone, she wanted to talk to me.  I tried to give it to Elder Jackson, but for she wanted to talk to me.  She railed me in their native tongue for about 3 minutes straight on how we were trying to make the ‘white people culture’ about malagasy culture.  In my most respectful way, I explained to her the law of Chastity and how we honor the law and government and that we are to follow the government and Elder Jackson reminded me to promise them blessings that their children would receive.  In a calm manner, at the close of my conversation with her, I asked: “Will you allow your daughter to keep the commandments of God and be legally married?” She gave me a five word response: “Omeo ny telefonina amin’ny Zoky” which means ‘give the phone to Zoky.’  I was hoping that I didn’t offend her in any way.  Elder Jackson and I are stressed out of my mind while Zoky is talking with his wife.  Dramatically, he sets the telephone down and says, after the longest 10 seconds of my life, “Mahazo”.  Which means they are ‘allowed’ to get married.  It was the biggest miracle of all time because the entire time we were discussing with Zoky he was so against them getting married, but something touched the mother that helped her convince Zoky to allow them to get married.

Friday morning Isidore and Nathalie got married and Saturday afternoon they got baptized!  It was the biggest miracle.  As we were sitting in the baptismal program singing hymns, I looked and just saw Isidore and Nathalie with the two biggest grins on their faces so excited to get baptized.  I remembered all the changes they’ve made in their lives to get to this point and I was so happy for them.  It was a miraculous week.

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#99 Ambaosary & Parfait sy Beline

This week was great!  We had a very successful time teaching some of our incredible investigators.  Three of which are hopefully going to be getting baptized this Saturday if they all get legally married, they are all pretty close.

We taught this new family that came to church today–Parfait and Beline.  Beline came last week and they both came today.  They loved the teachings during Sunday school and all the gospel learning they get from church.  Our first lesson with them yesterday went great and they are definitely going to get baptized, they have been prepared.  Parfait has been to quite a few churches and he said that he prayed at our church for the first time and just the spirit that he felt, convinced him that it was true, and we hadn’t even taught him at that point.

We woke up at 4am this morning to go on a trip out to our branch president’s house and go to a park four hours away from Fort Dauphin.  It took so long that we don’t have any time to email today, but it was incredible and we got to play with more lemurs and see other breeds that I’ve never seen before.

Have a great week,

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#98 Mild Pneumonia and Lukaro & Efatraha

So this week was really interestingly full of ups and downs.  Tuesday and Wednesday, we had a full program and just a great day full of teaching the gospel and bringing joy into the lives of our investigators.  In all honesty we have a ton of super diligent investigators they are doing their homework in reading the chapters we give them in the Book of Mormon.  It’s been great!  Our two families that we are getting excited about are Isidore and Nathalie, Saint-Michel.  They are all heading for July 7th as their baptismal goal and they are hopefully going to make it.  Saint-Michel and his wife, who’s already a member, are waiting on getting married and they are having some trouble getting all their legal documents.  In his closing prayer the last lesson we had with them he asked that God would perform a miracle so that he could get baptized on that date.  He’s a really sincere guy.  Isidore and Nathalie are doing great they are also getting ready to get married and are a few steps ahead of Saint-Michel and his wife.  We taught them about the word of wisdom on Tuesday and they have a pretty incredible experience.  When they first got intially married (they moved in together and had children) they covenanted to each other that they would drink alcohol, smoke, chew tabacco, drink coffee, and basically everything that bad for the body.  From the time that they first got together up until now, they were prepared for the word of wisdom.  It’s incredible because you can’t go 50 yards in Madagascar without seeing a few drunk peope whether at 10 in the morning or 4 in the afternoon.

Thursday night our last two lessons were rough I started to get a head ache, my mucus snuffling cold that I got last week started to magnify and I started shivering heading to our last lesson.  We went home and I took a warm shower and headed to bed.  I woke up Friday morning and my body was feeling the worst.  I had a sore throat, mucus was shooting out my mouth and my nostrils sometimes at the same time, I had a fever, my lower back was ridiculously sore, when I blinked my eyes hurt and when I moved my eyes left to right it stung.  We were in contact with the mission doctor and long story short, I stayed home Friday and Saturday sick as a dog trying to sleep it all off.  It wasn’t a very fun couple of days, but Elder Jackson and I got a lot closer over those days.

I was recovered mostly by Sunday morning and we had a good day at church.  Then today, we went to Lukaro and Efatraha which is like literally heaven on earth.  I can’t send you pictures, because I don’t want to plug my sd card into the computer and it might get a virus, that’s what happened last week.  In a gist, we rented a motor boat, mom we received permission from President Foote, and went out to this village then walked for an hour to this beach paradise.  It was absolutely incredible and my description cannot do any justice.  When I get home I’ll send more.  Love you guys!

The pictures below are from Sister Foote’s Instagram of last weeks Zone Conference.  It was nicknamed “The Farewell Tour.”Week 98.5

week-98-4.jpgWeek 98.3

Week 98.2
Leading the music – God Be With You Til We Meet Again

Week 98.1

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#97 Sambo, Peak St. Louis, & Last Zone Conference

Week 97.5Sambo is one of our investigators.  Elder Jackson and Elder Monson had taught him before I got here, but he’s been learning for about 2 months. Within those two months he’s read the entire Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price and he’s going through the Book of Mormon again and it reading in Jacob.  He knows that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that the Doctrine and covenants is as well, but he refuses to ask God.  He’s says:  “Why would I ask God if I already know something that’s true.”  He prays at a Lutheran church in Fort D and he believes that it doesn’t matter where he goes to church because it’s not the church that saves someone, but one’s faith and devotion to God.  We had a rough last lesson, so we decided to get the 2nd counselor in the District Presidency, President Dimby, involved in the teaching.  He’s probably one of the best at the doctrine of the church here in Madagascar.  As we got into the lesson with Sambo, we started with an opening prayer and got to know each other a little bit and then we started discussing about prayer and receiving a personal witness about the Book of Mormon and our teachings.

Week 97.4President Dimby has a pretty incredible conversion story.  He was living in Tana at the time with his wife and his life was kinda like Joseph Smith.  He wasn’t satisfied with the Protestant or Catholic churches growing up and he had been to tons of different churches seeking the truth.  The missionaries tracted into him and over the course of a year and a half he learned from the missionaries, finished the Book of Mormon and never was completely converted because he kept trying to understand it logically, like Sambo.  He’d compare the teaching and claims of the Book of Mormon with the Bible and he’d read them hand in hand together, but wasn’t converted until he humbled himself on his knees and asked God.  Spiritual things can’t be discerned by logical minds, but only those who are in tune to the Spirit.

When President Dimby shared this, it was poweful to Sambo, he still reverted a little back to his original remark that both churches can be true and then he shared some scriptures.  Included in those scriptures were 3 Nephi 27:3-8 and D&C 1:29-31 and lovingly explained to you that if a church isn’t called in Christ’s name, that’s one of the first signs that we know that it isn’t his church, and even if it is in Christ’s name, it’s not his church unless it’s founded upon his gospel.  It was incredible to see President Dimby and Sambo interact.  There was love, he hadn’t completely changed his mind by the end of the lesson, but the spirit was present, he invited us back next week and we committed him to pray to God about the truth of our teachings.  It was a powerful lesson, we used what he knows is true about the Book of Mormon to help him understand better our teachings which is really nice because he’s read it completely and believes in it.  Pray for him to have a desire to ask God about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith.

Week 97.1Brichard sy Edwine.  So we met this guy Brichard outside of his house a week ago and we were throwing sticks into this massive banana spider web outside his house.  We started talking to him and immediately knew he was drunk, not uncommon because it was around 8 in the evening.  He invited us into the house and we didn’t want to stay long because he was drunk.  We asked him two questions.  First, do you want to quit drinking alcohol and second, do you want to learn about the restored gospel and received blessings for your family?  Both him and his wife said a resounding yes. Then we asked a follow up question and asked if they were seriously interested they then positively remarked.  Well, we taught them one time last week, the world cup game was going on when we first walked in and it was cool and at first didn’t want to turn of the tv, but just muted it.  His back was to the tv, but Elder Jackson and I being huge soccer fans, knew we couldn’t teach him with the game going on in the background.  We asked him to turn it off completely and he had no problem.  It was a good lesson and as we were welcoming people into church on Sunday morning, Brichard walked up to the door in a which shirt with slacks.  Elder Jackson and I were pretty surprised, but he enjoyed church a lot and said that he’s going to try and bring his wife and daughter next week.

Isidore sy Natalie.  They both came to church even though Isidore was sick, he’s a baller.  They’ve been working on getting their marriage papers and they are friends with the newly called Elder Quorum president of our branch and is helping them get everything they need to get married and baptized.  They are the best!

We had my last zone conference on Saturday and it was incredible.  6 of the 8 people in that conference will be going home in the next two transfers, so he gave us advice on how to keep good habits after mission and some other stuff.  He told some incredible stories as he always does.  He also talked about the sacrament and how we can perfect our weaknesses to become stronger people and servants of God.  It was a special conference and one of my favorites thus far.  Man do I love President Foote, he’s the best mission president ever.  He finishes his mission on July 1st and this conference was the last time I got to see him.  We had a good interview and it was kinda like an exit interview.  I’ve gotten really close to him on mission and he is one of my biggest role models other than my parents.  When we were on the way to lunch President Foote’s son Dave who got back from his mission last year from Russia, was telling us that sometimes you are called to your mission president more than you are to your mission.  In my situation it was definitely true for both of those.

Week 97.2This morning we woke up at 3 am, rolled out of bed and grabbed an early morning taxi to head over to go hiking this biggest mountain peak–St. Louis.  We wanted to get there before the sunrise so we headed out early with flashlights and it was incredible.  We got to the top a half our before the sun rose, and it was really cool to just chat and be around some of my buddies.  I love being in Madagascar, it feels like I’m just on a huge adventure.  We are pretty tired after we finished.

I hope you loved this email mom and every one else.  Have a great week!  Happy Father’s day dad!  You are a stallion and I can’t wait to get home to see you and to take out in soccer again.  Have a great week!

Posted in Fort Dauphin Area, Uncategorized

#96 Isidore sy Natalie, Baptisms & Lemur Park

Week 96.16So I arrived in Fort Dauphin on Tuesday and ever since then time has been running.  My new companion Elder Jackson and I just barely split Tanambao with Elder Monson and Elder Beardall, for most of you that won’t mean anything.  Anyways, Elder Jackson, Monson and I are all finishing our missions on the 18th of July and Elder Beardall will be taking the area and re-combining it after we all leave.  So our goals for the next five weeks is to build up both of the areas to get like 40 investigators each and then give them both to Elder Beardall.  He’s the chosen one.

This past week we taught a lesson to this newer investigator named Isidore.  He’s about 27 years old and his wife’s name is Natalie and they have two cute little girls 6 and 4 years old.  Natalie was in the countryside, but we taught Isidore about the last part of the plan of salvation and where we are going to go after we die.  When we were teaching about the three kingdoms of glory, it really hit him.  He realized that he really wants to get to the Celestial kingdom and asked how he could get there.  We explained to him the importance of baptism and keeping God’s commandments.  We had originally set their baptismal date for July 28th, then he asked if it could happen any sooner. He will be getting baptized on June 30th.  Him and his wife weren’t lawfully wedded and we explained to him the importance of chastity and when his wife got home he talked to her.  When we came back for our next lesson, they had read the Law of Chastity pamphlet together and prayed about it.  They decided to not do the traditional Malagasy marriage before they get lawfully wedded because the tradition requires Isidore(dad) to give Natalie’s father an entire cow and they live in a wooden hut, so it will take them about 10 years to save up the money. To end off this part of the story, they both came to church yesterday and it was the first time for Natalie and they loved it.

Week 96.8
Baptism of Prior Missionaries in Fort Dauphin

We had 10 baptisms in the Tanambao branch yesterday.  It was a lot of people that Elder Jackson and Elder Monson had been working on for the past while.  It was really cool.  There’s a picture of me and Jackson hugging a guy and his name is Ronaldine. He’s a baller and was so excited and prepared for his baptism.  He was originally supposed to get baptized on May 12th, but he messed up with the word of wisdom and had to get his date pushed back.  His wife and son went ahead and got baptized anyways with out him. On Saturday, his family was completed and his testimony about change and repentance was incredible.

This morning we went to the Lemur Park.  Have you ever seen wild lemur documentaries and you see them jumping from tree to tree in the jungle, well how about having them jump on you and play with you for 2 hours in a park full of them.  They are so playful!  It was literally heaven.  The pictures don’t give it justice, but some of the videos do.  I’ll see if I can send you some videos.  Anyways, Madagascar is incredible. Fort Dauphin is paradise.  Have a great week!

Week 96.1

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Week 96.22
That’s fresh meat on the handcart…
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#93 Pentecost, More Finding & Baptism

Week 93.2This week was great.  Today is a holiday in Madagascar which I found out is also a Christian holiday.  I didn’t know the actual meaning until an investigator explained it to me.  It has something to do with the day that the Holy Ghost descended upon the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ.  I feel like Malagasies just search for any way that they can get a day off of work because today everything was shut down except for downtown.

Week 93.4This past week we’ve been finding a lot more people and two of the new families that we’ve found came to church yesterday!  Hervean, 18 year old son, and Lanto, his mother, were tracted into by Elder Dunham and I.  It was really cool because Dunham was tracting this door.  We only had a few minutes to teach because we only had a little spare time until our next lesson and we found them.  They had moved up to Tana just a few weeks earlier from one of the Southern Provinces.  They were really cool and interested from the very first moment.  Hervean came to English class on Saturday and they both came to church on Sunday and they really enjoyed church from what they said.  They got a bunch of new friends which was really good for them because being new in the area they felt accepted.  They also had read the Book of Mormon since our latest lesson with them which is a good sign!  I think they will get baptized.

Jean de Dieu and Onja.  We street contacted into Onja on a little rice patty path.  She’s pregnant and was really interested in the gospel.  She showed us her house coupled with her 4 kids, they were way funny.  They were way stoked to come to church.  Last week her son, Judicael came and he loved it!  Yesterday, it was incredible as we showed up at church 15 minutes early, they were already in the chapel.  Last week we had two times set up to teach them, but we really wanted her husband to be there before we actually taught them the entire message of the restoration. We’ve had mini lessons and basically just answered any questions they’ve had, but we’ve waited for the Jean de Dieu to actually teach them.

week-93-3.jpgSaturday we had a baptism of Patricia.  She was a referral that a member brought to church a few months ago.  She’s recently been incredibly diligent and just a solid investigator.  She’s 19 years old and has a bunch of friends in the young single adults class which is good for her.  I love seeing people get baptized, but better than that is seeing and taking a part in their conversion towards Jesus Christ.  It brings me so much joy, but surely they feel so much more as they are converted to Christ’s gospel.  I’ll attach some pictures, but it was a great week!  Love you all.

 

Week 93.1

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#91 The Grind

Week 91.2Well it was a big week of working – sifting out the diligent investigators and finding new ones.  It’s a sometimes quick and sometimes long process.  We’ve contacted some new people this week and we have programs set up with them for this week and hopefully everything goes well as we teach them.  I don’t have too many stories to tell you guys.

Gildas the guy that I told you about last week that we street contacted and came to church is a baller.  We taught him on Wednesday and he ate up our lesson about the Book of Mormon.  On Thursday he went out to a north eastern province to do a little bit of work, but is coming back tomorrow.  He said before he left that he would bring the Book of Mormon with him and that he would read it on the drive out there.  He’s a really sincere, cool, and energetic guy.

week-91-1.jpgElder Dunham is doing great.  He’s getting a lot better at Malagasy quickly.  He’s a good learner and diligent in his daily efforts to learn the language well.  I love being his comp and he’s a really great guy.

I might have lost my camera today so please add that to your prayers that I might find it.  Also, we went to the Lemur Park today for P-Day.

We’ve got another week of contacting and finding new people that are ready to focus their lives more on Jesus Christ.  I hope we find those who have been prepared to receive our message this week!  Have a great week as well!
Week 91.3

Week 91.4

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#90 Beth, Tracting & Gildas

This has been a full week.  It’s pretty tiring training someone just because you have to put a lot more effort in to helping them learn the language and also having great lessons.  I love Elder Dunham, he’s a really great guy and is trying his hardest to learn Malagasy.  His desire is there and he’s putting his work into the language and he’s already progressing quicker than I thought.

A month and a half ago we had this member Fr. Tax bring his British girlfriend Beth to church and she’s been coming to church ever since.  However, we hadn’t taught her until two weeks ago because she was a little bit nervous.  She’s in her mid-20’s and doesn’t believe in God and has a scientific background.  She’s in Madagascar for work and that’s where Tax met her–as coworkers.  Her first initial desire or interest to learn about Christianity is the joy that it has brought into the life of her Grandmother and as she’s seen by experience that Malagasies are some of the happiest people on the world and she believes that it’s because of their belief in Christ.  Our first lesson was just a question and answer session and we invited Elder and Sister Miller (senior couples) to join us in teaching her.  It wasn’t really going anywhere because a lot of our answers ended up with Faith or the power of the Holy Ghost.  She had some incredible questions like “If God was love, why are there so many people suffering in the world,” and we talked about agency.  Then, “The Big Bang Theory and Evolution.”  Eventually we told her that we had the answers to a lot of these questions, and that if we went in an organized teaching order, we could answer her questions and she would understand better instead of just jumping around different doctrinal topics.  So we invited her to read the Restoration pamphlet and we would talk about it more next lesson.

Our second lesson went really well, her heart was truly softened.  We talked about faith and taught her how to pray so that she can experiment and see if it would work.  She had each of us share our conversion story and to explain how we knew that God was real.  I explained mine being a feeling that was extremely warm and peaceful and sometimes brought me to goosebumps.  A few minutes after I shared that, she shared that sometimes when she was in England, she would go out into nature and would just be relaxing and enjoying nature and she would get this overwhelming feeling of peace and it would bring her to goosebumps as well.  We helped her make the connection that the Holy Ghost has been communicating with her throughout her life and she just didn’t realize that it was from God.  She accepted our answer and also accepted to read Alma 32 and to pray personally, with real intent and a sincere heart before our next visit.

Our third and most recent lesson yesterday she told us that her parents called her the next day after our second lesson, telling her that they were getting divorced and after receiving that tough news, she decided to pray and ask for help.  She initially said that it helped a little bit.  Then we asked her if she felt peace and if her prayer had a positive result and she said that it had and that she had felt a lot more peaceful with the news after she prayed.  It’s been an incredible few lessons, they’ve all been in English and it’s been really fun.  I love teaching with the senior couples because they get to help us do some missionary work and we get to learn from some of their wisdom that they’ve acquired over their lives.  Beth had also read Alma 32 and loved the analogy that it made to a seed and a tree.  She loves nature and it was just perfect for her.  She had remarked that if we had been telling her these things about faith and God a few weeks ago, she would have thought it was rubbish, but her faith is growing.  I don’t think that she’s an atheist anymore.  We talked basically about Jesus Christ his mission and prophets in our last lesson and that we have a living prophet, we taught and bore testimony of the restoration of the gospel and had really been embracing our learning.  She still has a lot of questions and is very curious, but we’ve been trying to follow the teaching pattern and any question that we tell her we will answer later, she writes down in her notebook and when we start talking about it she can re-ask the question.  I think that she is progressing and will one day make the decision to follow Jesus Christ completely.  She’s come to church 5 times now and stayed for the gospel doctrine class yesterday for the first time and she loved it.

During Friday, we were headed to an area to start tracting and this guy on the middle of the path stopped us.  He wanted to know what we were doing.  I had initially started our conversation by saying hi to him and asking how he was doing.  It quickly led to our church and the message about the restoration.  He, Gildas, told us that he’s forty years old, born and raised in the Catholic church, but never got baptized because he said that he was searching for the whole truth.  He’s been to many churches and wants to get baptized, but he hasn’t been satisfied with any of the teachings of other churches.  As we told him about the restoration of the gospel and a living prophet and Joseph Smith, he said that this MIGHT be the right church and that he would come to church with us and he’ll try it out for himself we offered to pick him up and take him and yesterday he came.  It was great, he was welcomed right into the ward and greeted by the members and especially by Elders quorum and the men of the ward.  He loved gospel principles class and it was about “The Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days” and he stated “So if I understand the lesson correctly, the thing that differs your church from every other church is the priesthood.  That makes sense.”  We have our next lesson with him tomorrow and I hope everything turns out.

We still have a big week of finding ahead of us and it’s going to be fun.  I loving bringing new people to church and helping them find peace and happiness in this life.  Since we’ve split the area we’ve had a lot of free time and it’s been great.  I gave a talk yesterday about the Work of Salvation and shared Mosiah 28:3, Alma 6:6, and Alma 16:16.  It was a great talk and I got offered a job at the US Embassy as a translator after church was over because one of the members in our ward works there.  Pretty cool.

Life’s great, love you all!

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#89 Transfers & Filoha Roger Soiree

Week 89.6Well our trainees were initially supposed to come in on Tuesday night, but because Air France was having an employee strike, they came in safe and sound on Friday night and we had the training meeting breakfast Saturday morning.  There were ten people in their group and all of them served in different missions in the US (most being in California, Riverside or Florida missions).  It’s always fun when all the trainees read their call letters about which area they are going to and who their trainer will be.  It’s my third time training and each time is a thrilling experience.

Week 89.1So my new, not-so-new trainee is Elder Dunham.  He’s from Parker, Colorado and is a stud!   He was a big time skiier and skateboarder before his mission.  They were originally going to come to Madagascar, but because of the evacuation of missionaries in October 2017, they got temporarily reassigned. He served in the California, Riverside for six months during the evacuation period and the replacing of missionaries.  Although they weren’t in Madagascar, they all still studied Malagasy and they are really good at Malagasy.  Seriously, for not being in the country and just studying at home, they got really good.  When Elder Dunham and Elder Wonders (Elder Blatter’s trainee) bore their testimonies in sacrament meeting, they were so good!  Splitting the area has been kinda hard, but we are still trying to figure out everything.

Week 89.7Last night, one of the members of our ward hosted a family home evening and dinner for any of the investigators that were living in his area and recent converts. It was really fun. We were able to take Faly sy Charlina & their family (baptized on March 31st) and their referrals who are our investigators Gregoire and his son Fetra, and two of Fetra’s cousins.  Sadly, Gregoire’s wife wasn’t available to come, but it was really fun and successful.  We all enjoyed some good conversation and the members gave tons of words of encouragement and positive influence for the new investigators. If you could pray for Gregoire and Nivo and their family for the desire to come to church and read more in the Book of Mormon, that would be most helpful.

Because we split the area and a bunch of people got baptized, we have a lot of time in our program available and we are going to be finding a bunch of people in the next few weeks.  It’s going to be awesome!

We played basketball today and my team beat Elder Shoemaker once, then his team beat us.  I still need to get better at basketball.

That’s it, it was an awesome week.  Have a great week to the rest of you!Week 89.4Week 89.8

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#88 Baptism & Zone Conference

Week 88.6 (1024x749)This week was incredible.  A few things made that the way it is.  First off, we had zone conference on Friday morning.  Both Elder Blatter and I gave a little presentation, but the best part of it was Listening to Elder Shoemaker and President Foote.  President Foote counseled us on helping the new missionaries that are going to be coming to our mission in the next few months.  He gave a powerful motive “Show how, rather than tell how.”  This can be applicable in all teaching circumstances.  Yesterday in a lesson with Zanogna, who got baptized on Saturday, Elder Blatter helped him learn how to use the Index of the Book of Mormon when he’s studying and we went through a few practices and showed him how to us that and his footnotes.  It was a wonderful way that we’ve been applying the teachings in our missionary work.

Week 88.3 (1024x764)However, above zone conference, the best part was the baptism we had on Saturday.  This baptism we were more successful with having members do the baptisms.  The first pictures is of all the baptizers and the people getting baptized.  In the picture of all of us in white here are the names (parenthesis will be the baptizers if they were getting baptized). Front row, left to right: Zanogna – boy (Elder Stromberg),  Lova – girl (Fr. Marc Adore), Fr. Marc Adore, Miary – girl (Fr. Marc Adore).  Top row, left to right: Elder Stromberg, Cesaire – boy (Fr. Amede), Mamy – boy (Fr. Rawel), Fr. Amede, Fr. Rawel.  It was one of the best baptisms on my mission because so many people had an opportunity to participate and it’s so much more powerful when members help recent converts in the waters of baptisms because they will be able to stay there for the rest of their life and be a support system.

I love serving in the Lord’s vineyard and in Manakambahiny it is truly ready to harvest.  Each of the baptees were so ready to be baptized and as they all got out of the water, I’ve never seen bigger smiles on their faces.  Then on Sunday, they all got confirmed a member of the church and then the three men who were baptized received the Aaronic priesthood after church.  I love each of these men and women.  They are powerful examples of being faith-centered in their lives and their determination to follow Jesus Christ.

Week 88.7 (1024x747)Also, our foreign investigator from Zimbabwe Mitchell, was able to come and watch the baptism.  She said that she loved every bit of it and she watched the baptism with the Senior couples Elder and Sister Boyle and Elder and Sister Miller with Elder Blatter translating the program for her.  She has been really brought in and at the service she said that she would like to get baptized.  We have two lessons with her this week and we are inviting her to get baptized on May 19th.  Hopefully everything with work out!  She’s awesome and when she watched general conference with us last week she said that she loved everything about it.  She’s awesome, we’ll send a picture with her next week.

Week 88.14Vincent and Hanitra recently moved out of our area and we gave them as a referral to another area in Tana.  It’s really sad that we won’t be able to visit them anymore, but somewhat of a burden because they weren’t really progressing when they moved because they’ve been busy with their new baby and everything.  I hope everything works out with them and they start going to church in the new ward they are in.

We also got transfer news and Elder Blatter and I are going to be splitting Manakambahiny and we are going to be split-zone-lead training a group that was in the MTC for Malagasy, but didn’t come because of the bubonic plague and evacuation of the missionaries last year.  So now they are finally coming back.  We are both super excited.

All in all, it was a solid week.  I love being a missionary.Week 88.2Week 88.1Week 88.11

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