Hello loved ones! This week has been another successful one in the mission field. We’ve had some awesome success with investigators and their growth in the gospel. I’m really seeing the work we are doing change lives, especially the ward members. Each week I can just see the ward becoming stronger and stronger. When we first arrived we had a little under fifty members at church and now we are at about seventy weekly! We’ve been able to go visit those members who were less active and have been helping them receive the blessings of the gospel which they have been missing. I love the members here and they are so kind and helpful in getting us referrals of people they love and want them to have the blessings of the gospel in their lives.
So, on Sunday there was a small number of priests and church and they needed either Elder Nelson or I to bless the sacrament. I quickly accepted and walked to the front with the other priest. This was such and amazing experience. I got to bless the sacrament water in Malagasy! It was a different experience than I’ve ever had. The power was out at the church and so the microphone wasn’t working. I had to sacredly yell the sacrament prayer so that everyone could hear it. Fortunately, I didn’t mess up, and that’s because the Holy Ghost was definitely helping and guiding my words. What a wonderful opportunity it was to bless this sacred ordinance for all those who were able to receive it.
Here’s a quick story about one of our members – easily the most diligent person I’ve ever met. There is this guy, Raymond, who’s about 45 and sit’s with us at church every week. We found out that he is a recent convert and went and set up a time in which we could visit him and get to know him. We met at his house which was very small and quaint. He had a twin sized bed, a small coffee table, a small dresser, and two chairs crammed into a 10 ft. by 10 ft. house. As we entered, he proceeded to tell us about his life.
He was converted and baptized in January of 2016 by another Elder previously. Unfortunately, his wife and he got divorced this last spring and took his kids with her. He hasn’t missed a day of church ever since he was baptized. He is retired and doesn’t have any friends except the missionaries and church members. His situation is really sad, but he is such a happy man! I didn’t understand what he did with all his time. Then, I found out that he just studies the gospel for upwards of five hours on end every day. He has one of the strongest testimony’s I’ve ever seen. He commented this statement: “I’ve been a good boy. I’ve been choosing the right, reading the Book of Mormon and other doctrines daily, following Jesus Christ, praying intently morning and night, but I haven’t been seeing the blessings.” It made me want to help him so much. Because of this experience, we’ve been working with him to get him some friends, some home teachers, and a calling in the ward. I love Raymond with all my heart and he is one of the greatest examples to me of someone having faith in the Lord no matter the circumstance.
We’ve also been able to teach another wonderful family whom the Lord has prepared to hear the gospel. One family in particular is Rudy and Jocelyn. We taught them a wonderful lesson yesterday about the plan of salvation and they are so receptive to the gospel. They’ve been studying and praying to know if our message is true and they are doing a wonderful job at expressing true faith. We extended a baptismal invitation and they graciously accepted to be baptized on December 17. What a wonderful thing it is to see the gospel change lives and families for the better! They are on the right path and have the right goal in their heart.
I love Madagascar, but I especially love the people. I am certain that Ambolomadinika in Toamasina, Madagascar is the best area in the world. I hope you all have a wonderful week!
When I asked him how the language was coming, this was his reply: I can speak the language pretty well, but my comprehension is pretty low because the dialect here is 75% different than Merina (original Malagasy). They can understand me because everyone can understand Merina, but I can’t understand them very well because they are speaking Betsimesaraka (the dialect here).
Also from another thread: I am very healthy and I’m please to report that I’ve been having solid poops my entire mission, fingers crossed! We are emailing from the church, that’s what we are supposed to do because cyber cafes have a lot of viruses and can wipe your sd cards. Sounds good! I want to email Nik!