Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 93 - Talk Remix

And we're back! How's everybody doing?

The last couple of weeks have been so great! Tamatave is really starting to pick up a lot and the missionaries are getting way pumped and so are the members. It's beautiful! We had a couple meetings this last week that were great. First we met with President Paul, the district president. He's awesome. I love meeting with him, he's such a solid member and he know how the church runs so well! Meetings with him always make me feel really optimistic about where the church is going here.

Then we had a meeting for "Project Black Plaque" a missionary prep fireside that we are working on. We talked to President Paul a couple weeks ago about how there's barely any missionaries out from Tamatave and having a mission prep fireside was our solution, so we're now on a commitee that's planning the fireside and we had a meeting and set up the whole program and we've got a mormon message that will be translated into malagasy and refreshments planned and everything! It's gonna be big! We're going to blow their minds with a good ole American style fireside. That meeting went really well too. I'm excited about that fireside, even though I might not be here for it.

So the last week or so we've been having a lot of success with some of our families. We started off by tracting in to two families who's parents are active members... Coincidence? NO! So we're way excited about them, and then we've got a story that's kind of the opposite of that, because one of the kids is a member and his parents are learning.

So there's this guy named Jean Luc, he's not active. He works all night at a night club and can never come to church or be caught during the day. So we started teaching his dad. His dad came to church that week and helped clean the church on Saturday. We told him, "You should bring your wife!" So then his wife came with him. And then his other son starting coming with them. And they're so converted already! They bought glasses so they could read the Book of Mormon, they came to every session of conference which is way more than you could say about the members, and they come early to church every single week! They're perfect. So we went in to teach them about the law of chastity so they could get started preparing to get legally married and Elder Johnson talked about how we see lots of young people just living together before getting married and that's wrong, and they both nodded their heads and agreed. Then he said, "And I know that you said that you're not married yet, so what will it take to get you guys married?" And they jumped in, "Woah there! We're married! We've been married for 20 years!!! What are you taking about?!" It's was like there was a choir of angels singing, it was so beautiful on my ears. Then we taught them about the word of wisdom so they could start working on that too. They both drink coffee. But before, Modest, the husband, smoked a lot. But as soon as he came to church the first time, he just quit cold turkey on his own. THIS MAN IS INCREDIBLE!!!! They're doing great. We asked about the coffee and they assured us that they'd stop right away because they want to get baptized. They're doing fantastic.

Then our other families are coming along great too. Jerry came to church, but Ercyla was pretty sick. Olivier and Angela were out of town. Bertello and Rogette were at their neice's house trying to help them out because their neice and her husband have been having some problems, but Jeannot and Vanessa came to church. So really, only like 2 1/2 of our families came to church, but the other ones had some pretty good excuses.

Then at church the sound system was having some problems, so there were some really gnarly echoes going on whenever someone talked, so Delphin, our brave, fearless recent convert turns around to me during one of the talks and tells me that the speaker is doing a remix and putting some weird effects on his voice. Haha I just reread what I wrote there and I promise it was waaayy funnier than it sounds there!

All start with our spiritual thought tidbit then go into the Malagasy Morsel after that, but on Saturday, when we were at the church waiting for the rest of the commitee to come for the meeting, we were translating the mormon message into malagasy and we were on on the study notebook thing doing that and I saw a quote that I really liked: "Gratitude is the key to obedience." -Nathan Rasmussen, April 3, 2014. Out of the mouths of babes. Haha alright, I was 17, but still. It was kind of cool to read that though, I think it was notes from seminary or something and the whole idea is that if we're truly grateful for all that our Heavenly Father does for us we have no desire to not be obedient. And I really liked that. So I wrote that on the back of my planner and I can look like a tool for the last two weeks of the transfer and have a quote from myself written on my planner.

That leads into our Malagasy Morsel of fisaorana which means gratitude. I really do think that being grateful for all the things that we have and not getting focused on the few things that we don't have right now is the key to happiness. I almost hate writing out things I'm grateful for because it takes so long! But I'll do a little bit now just for fun even though this email is already long.

I am grateful because:
The weather is great today.
My stomache is not having problems.
I don't have a headache.
I can email right now.
I have a great family to email.
The power is going right now.
This cyber has GREAT internet.
I'm a missionary.
I have a great companion.
My mission president is awesome!
I have clothes.
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith on a spring morning in 1820.
I've been to the temple.
Thomas S. Monson.
All of my stud buddies who speak in General Conference
General Conference.
A roof that doesn't leak.
Washing machines and dryers
A stove.
My bed.
My scriptures.
All the great education I've gotten.
The awesome leaders I had when I was younger.
Preach My Gospel.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
My camera
The members here in Madagascar, especially here in Tamatave
The other missionaries here in my zone
My parents were sealed in the temple and I was born in that covenant.
I've been healthy enough to do everything I could possibly need to this week.
The ocean.
Madagascar is a safe enough place for me to do missionary work.
the Malagasy language
The Malagasy people
and tons of other stuff! That was way easy, like three minutes, but I already feel more blessed.
I love all y'all and I really hope you have the best day/week.
Mandra-pihaona indraika!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Week 92 - Killing It!

This week was great! We had two areas in our zone get Fort D levels of lessons taught and one of them may have been Elder Brown and Elder Tangarasi and the other one may have been us. If it was us, we definitely would have had more time than Elder Brown and Elder Tangarasi... It was a great week though. We did a lot of work and we just caught so many people at home, it was fantastic. Lot's of families too.

There were lot's of great stories this week, but we had a zone activity with President and the AP's so we got to the cyber late, so this will be a way short email, so no stories. Good new would be that I don't think I got sand rash as bad this time and also going on splits with Elder Glazier was great. I love that guy.

But I will definitely make up for it next week, don't worry.
Love y'all, have a great week!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Week 91 - Conference!

We watched conference. AND IT WAS SO GOOOOD! I love that stuff. I had to keep reminding myself that the whole point of it is to apply it in our lives and not just watch it over and over again, because that's definitely what I wanted to do! President Nelson's talk in the priesthood session was so good! I love that stuff!

Then we've got some cool stories this week, on Monday we were in line at the checkout in Shoprite, a grocery store, buying some shampoo and a couple expensive food items, when the guy behind me was actually a member from the Philippines and he was wearing garments and all 7 of his siblings were return missionaries and two of his children are return missionaries and he bought my food. I imagine that's what serving a mission in Utah would be like. It was way cool though, we talked to him for a while and he actually works on a ship that was in port for a few days, and he's comes here fairly often, but he didn't know the church was here until just barely. So that was way cool!

Then the next day, we were meeting up with this guy named Jean Carlo who just showed up to church and said that a missionary told him to come. We didn't know where his house was, so we met up somewhere and he lead us to his house. On the way he was talking with us and we found out that he lived in Tana for a while and had been to church once there and gone to the missionaries' English classes before. Then he asked me, "Do you know Sister Moody?" I wasn't a hundred percent sure what he said so I asked, "Do you mean Sister Wooley?" Because she's the mission secretary and I know some of the couple missionaries teach English classes in Tana. He said, "Nope, Sister Moody. Do you know her? Because she knows you." At this point I was way confused, "She knows me and Elder Johnson?" "No, just you. She said you were way good friends." Turns out he had been looking at and somehow starting chatting with missionaries there, which turned into a facebook chat with Sister Heather Moody. I know her!!! And she told him that he should go to church and he did, then he told her that he met the missionaries, "Elder Johnson and Elder Rasmuseen." Haha close, but yeah, crazy right??? She just hooked me up with an investigator who seems way cool and gave us Sprite once the time was over. I was so amazed by it all.

Then I also got a letter this week. From Brother and Sister Williams in the good old 30th ward, it was a Christmas card... haha it may have taken a while to get through the mail system here, but it got through! I was touched by that.

Anyway, we'll close with a malagasy morsel of mandehana which is a command form of go. Mandehana amin'ny tempoly. Go to the temple. I kept thinking about that all of conference and I'm so pumped to get to go again! So much good comes in and because of the temple. And back home I'm not even 5 minutes away! Crazy!

Anyway, love y'all and have a great week.
Mazotoa e!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Week 90 - After Much Tribulation Come the Blessings

Haha I hope you all are intrigued by the subject to this email... But first I want to make a big statement that no, I have not seen conference yet, and yes, I am way jealous of y'all that have. There.
I feel like I have a ton of stuff to write in this letter, but not a ton of time to write it and I know you all love huge emails a lot, so I'll keep it pretty short.

We started this week of really strong: on Tuesday we had four baptismal interviews that Elder Johnson and I did for Ambolomadinika, then we taught Erik and his family, Seraphin and his familiy, Jean Francois and his family, Ramiandrisoa and his family, and Alexice and his family. They were all great and we got some good times with members there building relationships with them too.
Then on Wednesday we taught Berthrand and his family, we tracted into Jean Jacques and his family, taught Lucianno, Tino, Thierry and Lidia, Jerry and Ercyla, then street contacted for a little bit at night.

Then on Thursday, we had a great last district meeting from Elder Snell about how to get awesome like Captain Moroni, then we taught Modeste and his family, Maroviavy's family, Jeannot and his family, Prisca and his family, Prince, Berthello and his family, and we picked up the new missionaries who came from tana for the transfers.

Then on Friday we taught Landry, Dadabe Francois and his family, Anthony, Ramiandrisoa and his family, Deni and his family and a less active woman whose name I forget... I actually didn't teach her because I was with the branch mission leader looking for Landry's house, which Landry said was right by the branch president's house, but turned out to be a two hours walk away. I loved that.
Then on Saturday we had times scheduled with 11 families who we were both way exited about AND a baptism! But then every time but one fell through, and that one was a referral from a member, it was his dad and he pretty much just plead with his dad to learn from the missionaries, but he wouldn't accept. That was probably one of the roughest days on the mission, but you know what? Even though a big part of me wanted to be way discouraged, I just couldn't do it. Being a missionary and not teaching anyone or getting let into any times is still being a missionary and that's so cool! So then it was late and dark and we had about an hour and a half of work left, and no times, it was too late to tract, so usually at that time we street contact. I've done lots of street contacting on the main street in front of our church but I've never seen any quality investigators come from it. Then yesterday, after a way hard day, we set up times with two families while street contacting, and we taught them both on Sunday and they were great. So that's where the scripture in the subject line comes in, because that was the start of the blessings.

Then Sunday came! That's my favorite day! You get to see everyone at church and take the sacrament and it's fantastic! And our three best families all came!!! And we had 24 investigators at church and 103 people total! That's the best week for a little while and it was so awesome! The members were making friends with the investigators and helping them out and the investigator class was great and way full! And then a ton of members want to help us this week. Sunday just made my week so much better.

Then another great story about Sunday, we have this recent convert named Delphin who is a huge stud. Elder Glazier baptized him before I got here and he's the one who called Elder Glazier the "key to his light" if any of you remember that. Anyway, Saturday night we were talking to him at the church (he's a security guard at the church) and he told us about how he broke up with his girlfriend because she wouldn't learn from the missionaries and was always trying to get him to move in with her. And he was telling us how since he broke up with her she's been trying way hard to get him back and coming to visit him and crying, he moved houses so she couldn't visit him and she went to his aunt and was trying to figure out where his parents lived so she could talk to them about him and he is just trying to get away from her. I thought it was way funny, but SHE CAME TO CHURCH!!!  And then he felt way awkward and came and sat by us so he wouldn't have to sit by her and it was SO funny! But I feel way bad for him. But anyway, I'll keep y'all updated on that for sure!

Malagasy Morsel is a word that y'all probably don't even use in English, but it's sognambo and it means breadfruit here in Tamatave.

Y'all have a great week, and hopefully next week when I email, I'll have seen conference!

Love y'all. The church is true. He lives.