Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 85 - New Companion, Same Old Place

So like the subject line, I finally got a companion. He came on Wednesday night at like 7:30. I had no companion or member help on Tuesday or Wednesday, so I just tagged along with Elder Snell in his area of Ambolomadinika. He's great. Then Elder Snell and I had to go unlock the house when the mission driver came with all of the new elders. So we let them in and then went out to catch another time. Elder Johnson and I took Elder Brown with us (my last comp in Fort D) and taught Delphin, our very awesome recent convert. It was great! Lot's of fun. Then we settled down and got to work for the rest of the week. It was great.

So Elder Johnson is from Las Vegas, and he was in my MTC group, so we came here together! He's a great guy! He played volleyball in college for a year before his mission and he's 6'4" and right now about 185 lbs. He's lost a lot of weight since the MTC, but he's still a pretty big guy. We tower over all of our Malagasies, it's ridiculous. He's way funny and friendly and he's a great missionary! I'm way pumped to work with him. With him, I'm keeping my streak going of only having companions older than me. He's my eleventh companion if you count the MTC and the only companion that I've had younger than me is Elder Glazier. But it's great.

We'll just keep it short today and go for our Malagasy word of the day: Mahafinaritra. I may have already done this one, if so, awkward. It literally means pleasing or delightful. But it's also used as great or awesome or sweet. And life is just so mahafinaritra! That's also my little spiritual thought. There is so much good in the world! And we have so many blessings! I got a good fever of 102 Friday night and got a headache and chills and crazy goosebumps, then I was fine the next morning. It was great! It made me appreciate being healthy so much! There are so many things like that that we take for granted. Life is so great!

Y'all have a great week and just be happy!
Love you!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 84 - And She Gone!

Well. For starters, this week I got my right shoe!!! I was so pumped. I got the left shoe about two months ago, right before Christmas, and the right one came on Tuesday. It's brown. Just like the other one that's been sitting under my bed all by itself. So that was good. Then Elder Glazier left on Thursday, so that was not good.  Dream Team has come to a close.

Then this next transfer will have me with Elder Johnson from my MTC group! He's flying from Toliara to Tana today, and then he's driving up on Wednesday, so I should have a companion to work with again on Thursday. I'm so excited. Not having a companion is terrible. I've been going out with members every day, which is fantastic, but I'm so pumped to be with another missionary that knows what they're doing a little bit more.

So this last week was a little bit slow because we had to work things out with the members and stuff like that, but it was great! It all pulled together nicely without to much hassle. There are some way great recent converts who are preparing to go on missions that were way awesome to help out.
Shout out to Mom and Andrew and Timmy  for getting older. Happy birthday!!!

Then we have a fun story that made me feel like a boss. In Elders' Quorum yesterday they were teaching a lesson from the teachings of the prophets, which are not translated into Malagasy, but are only in French. So the teacher writes down the lesson name: "L’Adversité faite partie du plan de Dieu pour notre progression éternelle." Then he asked what it meant in Malagasy. Everyone just kind of nifampijery-ed and didn't say anything. Oh, that's the Malagasy Morsel for the week, mifampijery means to look at each other. So they nifampijery-ed and didn't say anything and then who translated it? Yours truly. Who knows jack squat of French? Yours truly. It's a good thing all the words look the same, right? Adversity, part, plan of God, for, eternal progression. Then I used my incredibly shallow grasp of connecting words and put it together. Win. Gift of tongues at work.

But it was a good lesson. Adversity is great. I don't always appreciate it as much as I should, but I have learned and grown so much because of the hard things in my life. God knows what He's doing, He's been helping His children become gods for eternity and He'll keep doing it for eternity.

Then another cool thing that I thought of this week as we taught a lesson about the story of Nefia and Lehia from the Bokin'i Mormona as they baptized 8,000 people then got thrown in prison and the soldiers came to kill them and the fire protected them then there was the mist of darkness and good old Aminidaba turned around to see them and their faces were glowing as they prayed/looked upwards. Then all the soldier looked at their shining faces in the middle of the mists of darkness and started their paths on the conversion process that lead to them believing the words of Nefia and Lehia and believing in Jesoa Kristy and going and teaching their Lamanita buddies and converting the greater part of them. How cool is it that all of that came because Nefia and Lehia were shining in the darkness? Well we shine in the darkness too, so we need to try to shine bright. That was pretty much what came into my mind while we taught that. Way cool story.

Anyway, y'all have a great week, I sure will!
Love y'all,
Mazotoa e!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Week 83 - Last Week of the Dream Team

This week has been great. Every week is great though, so that's really not saying much. But this week was pretty nice. We went on splits with the Ankirihiry elders, Elder Cyusa and Elder Maleka. I went with Elder Maleka in Ankirihiry. He's from Uganda and he is just about done being trained by Elder Cyusa. He's doing great. He can lead his area wonderfully.

Then Elder Glazier and I got to go to a wedding on Friday. Elder Snell's investigators were getting married and he doesn't have a companion right now, so we got to go with him! It was the two people getting married, each had a witness, and then the mayor performing the wedding and his secretary. Then Elder Snell was taking pictures while Elder Glazier and I watched. It lasted 15 minutes. It was a great wedding!

Then they got baptized the next day, along with 11 other people in our district. We had 13 total baptisms and two were children of record, so 11 investigator baptisms. It was way nice! Tons of members came out to show support and we didn't all fit in the room where the font is! Elder Glazier and I didn't have any, those are all next month, but it was way sweet to see how great our zone is going.

Then one of my favorite things this week is the lesson that Elder Glazier and I had with J. We taught a third, also known as the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You know, faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We both walked out of the door and told each other that that was the best third we've ever taught. It was probably mostly because J is such a raging baller and pretty much already knew it all. But we had scriptures, there were great questions, he talked a lot about how he understood it, we worked together well, and it was just great. The spirit was just flowing beautifully. Everything was simple and clear and it felt fantastic. The Book of Mormon is so cool. I feel like the whole reason that lesson was good was because it was all from the Book of Mormon which brought the Spirit and J is so balling that he just followed that Spirit and learned from Him while Elder Glazier and I sat there. Beautiful.

Then the malagasy morsel for this week comes from the Book of Mormon: Helamàna. Yep. It means Helaman. Sorry, really dumb one this week, but it's just because I wanted to share a scripture in Helaman and couldn't think of any way to tie it in to a different word... Just call it a lack of creativity. Anyway, the scripture is Helaman 5:24. It's the story of Nephi and Lehi, they'd just baptized 8,000 people then they get caught by and army and thrown into prison. Then they're starved for a couple days, then 300 people come to kill them. I feel like it's safe to say that they weren't having the best day. They probably felt like they were in a bit of a slump... But good news, God had his eye on them and surrounded them with fire that protected them but didn't burn them. Then we get to the scripture, it says, "And when they saw that they were encircled about with a pillar of fire, and that it burned them not, their hearts did take courage." That means that their hearts weren't taking a whole lot of courage before that. It's ok to get down a little bit. I don't feel like God expects us to be super pumped about hard things, I don't think God was disappointed with his two prophets for being a little bit bummed about being imprisoned and starved and about to be killed. But He helped them. And He always helps us if we're willing to let him do that. I love that. I know he loves us and He's always got our backs.

But yeah, y'all have a good week for me. I'm going to have a great week for all y'all--Elder Glazier and I are going to rip up this area for our last week together, so I should have lots of great stories next week.

Love you!
Mazotoa e!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 82 - Branch Conference

This week has been fantastic! We did not have to take two really long busrides to Tana and back, so we were able to put in some good work. It wasn't a ridiculous week as far as amount of work done goes, but it was solid. We may or may not have been leading the zone... haha but it felt great! The best part is we still did decent while missing out on some work because we had lots of crap we had to do that got in the way of preaching and teaching and working as missionaries do. But it was still important stuff, and we got it done, so it's all great!

This week was Branch Conference and Elder Glazier and I sang in the choir. It was beautiful. We had two basses on the back row. Coincidentally, Elder Glazier and I were the only ones on the back row... I think they weren't used to Elder Glazier's beautiful, masculine singing, because we got SOO many compliments on our performance. The talks were great and the lessons were great and I just kept writing stuff down in my planner that was coming into my mind. I loved it. My favorite thing was while we were having our Elder's Quorum lesson about Obedience. I just kept thinking about John 14:15, you know, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." And I was thinking about how Christ was such a great example of that! He didn't need to be warned of the consequences of sin, he didn't need to be corrected all of the time like the Nephites going through the pride cycle. He loved His Father, and He wanted to do His will because of that love. He wasn't looking out for Himself, He gave that up to do the will of someone that He loved very much. If we do that, obedience will never be a chore, it's a great opportunity to show our love for our Heavenly Father! He does so much for us and we can give Him back a little bit through our obedience. How great is that???

Anyway, we'll keep the Malagasy Morsel in line with that. Manoa means to submit as in submitting our will to the will of our Father. And that's how we get all those fitahiana (blessings)!!!

But yeah, Branch Conference was fantastic. We had 125 people at church! Our highest yet, then we had 14 investigators too, which is also our highest yet here in Andranomadio! It's great. I love being a missionary!

I hope y'all have a great week! Do something good every now and then and not just play Clash of Clans on your phone.

Love y'all!
Tahian'ny Tompo