Monday, January 25, 2016

Week 81 - Antananarivo

This last week was great. And by great, I mean different, and pretty cool, and we didn't really work... Because Elder Glazier and I went to Antananarivo on Tuesday morning! It's about an eight hour drive from Tamatave to Tana, then we still had a half hour bus ride on a different bus from the bus station to the mission home. It was great.

Then we drove around with one of the AP's, Elder Covey, to drop off the Reunion/Mauritius Zone Leaders off at the Tana North Zone Leaders house so they could go on splits with them the next day. Then he took us out to eat at a way good hamburger place by the American Embassy, then we drove back to the office/mission home and got our stuff and went to the AP's apartment to stay the night.

Then the next day we went on splits with the office elders, I got to go with Elder Monsen who was in my zone last transfer. Elder Glazier actually trained him like eight months ago. He's way cool, one of my favorite missionaries for sure. That was lots of fun, but we didn't get to work together the whole day because we had to end early because Elder Glazier and I had to go to a meeting with President, the AP's and the zone leaders, then when that was done we watched the Worldwide Missionary Conference. SO COOL!!! I love all of the Apostles and the other way cool people that participated. I learned a lot. Meeting with President was way cool too. And so was seeing the AP's. Those two elders are probably among my favorite missionaries for sure... I may have given them a hard time every now and then, but they are way cool.

Then on Thursday we got invited to crash a zone activity and play soccer on a turf field like an hour out of the city. It was waaayy cool! Look at Sister Foote's instagram for pictures, I didn't have my camera, sorry! Then after that we had another meeting with President Foote and another meal from Sister Foote. WAY GOOD!!! I stuffed myself so bad both times so I could be weighing the most for when I weighed myself right after we ate. I've gained like 20 lbs. since I entered the MTC! Yeah buddy!

 Then the next day we drove to Tamatave. Then we went to work on Saturday and Sunday and got 12 investigators at church! That's the most it's been since I got here! I was way stoked about it!!! And yeah, Sunday's are great.

Malagasy Morsel for the week would be fanasan'ny Tompo, which means sacrament. And I love sacrament meeting. The last couple of months I've been trying to make the sacrament a very meaningful, sacred time for me and it has been fantastic! I love the chance to renew my covenents and ponder about where I'm at. It's so great. Then my favorite thing from the Worldwide Missionary Conference was all about being the Holy Ghost's tool. They talked some about how the Spirit isn't just something we keep on our toolbelt to use when we need him, but we are the tool and He is the boss. That's way cool, but it doesn't just apply to missionary work, we should be trying to be the tool of our Father in Heaven at all times, in everything that we do. That's a lot more satisfying way to live life. Anyway, that's all I've got for you guys for now. Have a great week and go kill 'em!
Mazotoa e!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Week 80 - Look Unto Me in Every Thought

So we'll start with my ponderize scripture from this last week because it's just so good! It's in Doctrine and Covenants 6:36 and it says, "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not."
Way good scripture, right? I just love it so much because if we're focused on Christ, we won't fear and we won't doubt. Because our faith will be kicking in at that point. Definitely one of my favorite scriptures.

Man, did we have a great week!!! We got down to business this week! The last few weeks have been pretty good, but not great with Christmas, then New Years wrecking our schedule, then the next week we hadn't caught lots of people for a few weeks because of Christmas and New Years, so they forgot about our times and it's just been a little bit of a mess. But not this week! As we weekly planned for this last week, we decided that we were going to have a much better week. So I called it "work week" and wrote that down on the first page of the planner for that week, and then Elder Glazier wrote one of my favorite quotes, "Kill 'em!" And we definitely killed 'em! We had a way good week and we had the Spirit with us and we found some WAY cool people! And we got eleven people to church!!! That's the highest either of us have seen here and we were SO stoked! We're starting to see some good fruits!

But before we talk about that, we gotta talk a little bit about the week that lead up to Sunday. Monday was a pretty good p-day: we caught a lesson and a family home evening with some fantastic members. Then Tuesday was just a nice solid day of work by the mission standards of excellence, which means an ok but not great day by "The Dream Team's Standards of Excellence." Then we hit it in gear a little better on Wednesday and didn't turn back! We were always either in a time, walking very briskly to a time, or talking to people. It was fantastic! We found some great new families!

Then Thursday started off great too! We caught a couple times, waited at the church for a time, he didn't show, but a recent convert just popped by and said she felt like she should stop by the church on the way from work because we haven't caught her for a while. Way cool! We are almost never at the church and she came at the perfect time.

She had a cool story too, apparently there was a kidnapping right by her work the night before and there had been some shooting and some people were killed and some got away. We thought it would be a good idea to give the AP's a heads up and then tell the missionaries who work in that area to avoid that particular area at night. So we called the AP's they called President, we started our time, then the AP's called back and let us know that all of the missionaries in Tamatave were in lockdown and had to go straight home and get enough food for two days on the way and then on the third day we could go out in groups of four or six to get food. We just turned to each other and were like: Well that sucks. So we let everyone know and headed home, then on the way we just let loose on all of the words that we've been trying to say less like "Gosh dang it!" and "this is freakin ridiculous!" So we were on lockdown for a day. Then, after calling the district president and the AP's a couple times we got permission to go out the next day like usual. It wasn't that big of a deal. But we took the elders whose area it happened in on splits. One with us and the other with the Morarano elders.

We went with Elder Smithson. While we were with him he complained a little bit about his chest all day long. So we made him call the mission nurse because he had an open heart surgery nine months ago. So now he's banned from doing anything until tomorrow and can't do any hard work. He just had to stay home in bed for the last two days just in case there's a problem. I feel pretty bad about it because we made him call and he just did some pushups and put some strain on his sternum is all. And it's our fault he can't do anything now... Oh well, better safe than sorry?

But that was our excitement for the week... Then we had great days after that. There's nothing like not being able to work that makes you want to do lots of work!

Then a fun story: we were going up this path and a bunch of punks were walking down towards us and yelling at us. They got in there way and seemed like they wanted to start a fight. So we just walked through. One of them jumped right in front of me and made me stop. He took a nice big breath from his cigarette and tried to blow it in my face. Jokes on him, I'm 6'6" and he's probably like 5'4"--Elder Glazier made him look tiny--so he ended up blowing smoke on my tie knot. We just walked away and didn't do anything but part of me really wanted throw him down with his little buddies. So that brings us to our Malagasy Morsel for the day: faharetana. It means enduring, but it also means patience. I kind of like how that works: enduring to the end becomes being patient to the end. And it just reminds me of my favorite scripture, 3 Nephi 27:27: "Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am." Jesus Christ was patient. Jesus Christ didn't throw the little men that spat on Him down to the ground. As a missionary I get to wear his name over my heart every day, and I feel so honored for that. But I feel even more honored that my Savior wears me every day. On His hands and on His feet. I'm so grateful for my Savior and the perfect life that he lived that we can look to for an example of how we should live. Then the last scripture, another one of my favorites about the Savior, D&C 76:22: "He lives!"

I love you all,

Mazotoa e hatrany

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week 79 - If You Want the Blessings...

Happy first week of the new year. I hope you all enjoyed it. Because we did! We had a way cool week and we had a little bit of rain in the mornings but not in the day and it's still way hot. I love it. Way rather be hot than cold! WAY rather! So it's great, but the rainy season is already overdue and it probably won't be long and we'll be in the middle of it and wading through water again. I can't wait. 

Just a real quick story for this week about S. and O. We found them my first couple of days here when we were waiting at a time and this guy next door heckled us a little and was very surprised when we responded to him in Malagasy. So then he talked to us a little bit, found out why we were wearing white shirts and ties and wondering around his neightborhood and he wanted us to come visit him. So we go to his house and teach him. His wife had just left him with his kid, he had a drinking problem and was out of money and had no job. Turns out his wife's parents had her and wouldn't let her go back until he had 40,000 ariary, about 13 dollars to his name so they knew that he could take care of her. So we kept coming, then they got together, they're reading the scriptures, they are way happy all of the time, and we went to pick them up and take them to church yesterday (they hadn't been yet) and we show up and he's dressed up like a blackjack dealer in Vegas, got a black shiny button up shirt, looking so good! Then we walk back to his house, his wife's all ready, and nailed next to the front door is the Family: A Proclamation to the World that we gave to him. They loved church, made some great friends, it was fantastic!

Selfie while riding a bike with no hands!

I'm loving Madagascar. It's just so fantastic, every day just brings some way cool things and I love it!
Malagasy Morsel for the week is manoa which means submit. And if we submit to God, we get huge blessings! I love that! I feel like it's pretty hard for us imperfect people to submit to the will of someone else: we've got stuff that we want to do, but we came here to be tested, and if you want to do well on a test, you don't color wherever you want, but you color in the bubbles. In life, if we want to do well on the test, than we have to stay in the bubbles. We're not here just to do what we want, we're here to get into the Celestial kingdom, so we gotta follow the rules to get there. The best part is that if we do that, then we get help throughout the test and then we get eternal life with our families. Nothing is better than that!

This sunset looked way cooler in real life, like way close and 3D.

I love y'all and I wish you a great week!
Mazotoa e!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week 78 - Lobster and the Beach

So I'll start with transfer news real quick. I'm still with Elder Glazier. Then just about no one in our zone is going anywhere. Elder Hammer is headed back to Tana, and so is Elder Monsen. The original plan was for Elder Monsen to stay, but he got way sick this last week and the AP's are taking him back to Tana so he can be close to the mission nurse. He's lost a lot of weight and I'm hoping he'll get feeling better in Tana soon.

This last week was full of excitement with some splits and New Years! No one was home on New Years. They were all at the beach. Except for the missionaries, we were wandering by their homes looking for them. 

I went on two splits this week, one with Elder Tshetu from South Africa, and the other with Elder Cyusa from Rwanda. They are both big studs. With Elder Tshetu we stayed in my area and we went into Ankirihiry with Elder Cyusa. We also biked way out in the middle of nowhere to teach this family that comes to church every week. They should be getting baptized soon and they're way cool!
Then on Saturday, President and the AP's came up. They did interviews all day, and Elder Glazier and I were last. I love talking with President. And Sister Foote. And the AP's. Elder Covey and Elder Herrin are so cool! Then on Sunday we went to church and then had a big meeting with the branch presidencies, the stake presidency, and President Foote. So we only taught once on Sunday. But the meeting was really productive. I'm excited for the future of the Church here in Madagascar!

Then on Monday we went to a beach about an hour or so to the North of Tamatave and played football and volleyball with President and the AP's. We also ate lobster and I turned into one! Way red! I think I'm allergic to the sand or something, because my skin just got way raw and red after being outside for a couple hours. It was way weird, I don't understand at all. Elder Glazier told me it's sunburn, but everyone knows redheads don't get sunburned. I think I'm allergic to the sand... But we got back way late from that, so the AP's said we could email today. So that's why I'm emailing today.

Malagasy Morsel for the week is Talata. It means Tuesday, because that's today, and I was running out of good ideas for words... But, the church is still true, and I'm just loving serving the Lord every day out here in Tamatave. The Lord knows what he's doing and if we trust him, everything will be fine. I get so much peace and love from trying to follow Him!