"Magicianary" - A missionary who does magic to bring joy and happiness as well as share the gospel with the people of Madagascar (According to Brad)

Monday, February 25, 2013

It's Come to an End - Feb. 25, 2013

I'm what malagasies would say "faly sahirana". Which basically means that I'm happy and sad at the same time. I can't wait to see my family, be in America, wear normal clothes and such but I'm sad that I'll be leaving Madagascar, their culture, the other missionaries, the people and lots more. I loved serving here for two years. I have grown so much. I have seen what God has blessed me with, and his amazing mercy and love that he has for all of his children. I have learned how powerful the Book of Mormon is. I know without a doubt in my mind that this church is true. I don't know really know what to say. I'm thinking too much about these next couple of days. I'll be sure to share with you all the scary stories that I experienced during my mission. If they are not scary then they are definitely exciting. 

I have learned to be patient in all things. Now, sometimes I forget that but I have learned it. We must always follow the Lord's way and try not to force ours because we will not grow that way. I have learned how powerful the Atonement is in our lives, how repentance and faith works. It is all very interesting and it is impossible to just write down in one email. This gospel is so simple but can be studied forever. I have learned that by showing respect and loyalty that our love for someone may grow immensely. I have learned and found out that I can love someone so much that they become like family. I have been so sad each time I have left an area. 

This past Sunday I bore my testimony and yes I did tear up but no drops came so in two years I have made almost no progress on the crying part! I have gotten pictures with everyone that wanted some taken with me. It has been hard just to leave this area, that I've only worked in two months. I'm sure the sadness is mixed in with the leaving Madagascar all together. 

For my birthday I went over to my favorite members' house and they fed us food and a little lesson and what not but what happened after is the fun part. So the Malagasy tradition is that on your birthday that you have eggs smashed on your head and then flour thrown on you too. Turns out that I went through my last initiation to become a full Malagasy. I had about five or six eggs smashed on my head and a bunch of flour thrown on me to celebrate my 21st birthday! It was a blast! I loved every minute of it! I passed out the candy that you guys sent me and I filmed them eating the pop rocks. It was really funny, I'll show you when I get home. They loved it, I loved it, ir was all good! We rode home and I got some looks from the people left over on the street. At home I went to go take a shower and... our water is not on!!! So I had to try to wash out dried eggs and flour out of my hair with dripping water. It was definitely an adventure and I'm glad I won't have to worry about that again, at least the no water thing haha! 

I'm going to miss Madagascar so much. I hope they have felt my love for them. 

I love you so much and I can't wait to see you all again. Be sure to have some extra smiles in the house. That is something that I have not forgotten to do. Love you all!!!!!!!

For the last time, Elder Walker

Monday, February 18, 2013

Feb. 18, 2013 - Happy Birthday

February 20th is Brad's 21st birthday!

This Monday Elder Waters and I went to Ambositra again to do a bap interview. It is always fun to spend time with the two elders down there. We came back Tuesday morning and then taught only four times that day. We are teaching these wonderful people right now. The wife is the only member out of all of them. We are now teaching her husband, the wife's little sister and her husband, her seventeen year old brother and now her older sister is now wanting to learn from us too. They are quite the bunch. And all of them come to church every week too! except the older sister cuz she just started learning but she has actually been to our church before but got a little discouraged because her ex-husband wont agree to divorce for some reason. So since she can't get a divorce she can't get married to her current husband so she can't get baptized. It is very frustrating how much a marriage costs and even more ridiculous how much a divorce costs. Hopefully it will go through. Later that night me and Elder Waters went on splits with these two members. But when we split up, Elder Waters had the phone, and the member I was with didn't have a phone. But we didn't realized this until it was too late to go back and ask where and when to meet and such things like that. Anyway, after me and my member were done with our times, we got on our bikes and what do ya know, he has a flat tire! Now the area that we were in was the furthest part of our area. Luckily the way back was mostly on a paved road. So we got to walking. We walked to the members house that Elder Waters was with and tried to walk in but their gate was locked! So what you usually do is yell "odio!" and they should come out. So I did it but no one came out. I did it again, louder this time, but still no answer. So we headed to where this member has family to see if we could use their phone. But when we got there, their gate was locked too! And the same shpeel happened again. So then we decided to just go to one of the missionary houses and see if we could use their phone to call Elder Waters. We got there and luckily one of the companionships were already home so we used their phone, but when we called, it went straight to voicemail... The phone was dead! I kept trying and trying and finally it went through. Turns out that Elder Waters and his member were in that first house but just couldn't hear. And they found a charger to fit our phone so we could call them. Also to add a cherry on top, Elder Waters got a flat in both tires, so we waited at the missionaries house until the companionship that had the truck, could take us home with our bikes.
Wednesday, we contacted this referral and it turns out that she reminds me of my favorites member here in Madagascar. She is so smart and she sees so easily that this is the true church and that she need to be baptized. Granted, she said all that the second time we taught her but not the first. Her older daughter started learning too; and they both came to church yesterday as well. They are definitely on the fast track. So there baptism is going to be the 14th of April. That is the earliest we are allowed to do it. The investigator has to come to church for at least two months before they get baptized. But I know that she and her daughter will be ready before that time comes. 

Thursday we went out to Saordroa again. We had a wonderful time with the investigators out there. And the members were so nice to give us corn before we had to hike back. Some of it was a weird red color... Madagascar was so kind to hold off on he rain until we decided to walk out the door. But the members were kind enough to give us coats and hats to keep us warm. We got safely to the road and hitch hiked back. 

Friday we went to the church to set up what is called webex for the zone leader council that is this Thursday. Its kind of like Skype. After that we went back to the house because both me and Elder Waters were not feeling so well. We studied a little and then I conked out at 5:30. And then I slept straight until 5:30 the next morning. We think that it had to be the questionable corn that we ate the day earlier. Whatever it was, it was gone by Saturday. It felt good to sleep that long, but I think it made my back sore haha! 

Saturday was like a replay of Noah's flood, so we didn't go out to work until the 5 o'clock. But we still got in four times before the night was over. 

Sunday, we got dogged  five times. And the times that we did go to the people were drunk. Yes it was discouraging but that doesn't mean that the world is over. We just always need to remember the eternal perspective and just keep enduring until the end. We need to endure with ourselves, and endure with others.

Well I only have 9 more days until I leave Madagascar. 10 until I get home. It's close. This is my last full week in Madagascar. 

Elder Walker

Monday, February 11, 2013

The rest of the story - Feb. 11, 2013

Well sorry I couldn't finish the email last week. We were too busy helping the new missionary couple get settled in and the computer was freezing while I was typing so it was a little frustrating but its only an email so whateves.

 But how the story goes is that everyone was fine, no broken bones or anything. My right hip and right arm were really sore for a couple days but they are good now. The people tried to get us to come back tomorrow and go to court and see what the judge says but we said "no, it was her fault that she wasn't looking, she only has two scratches on her foot and I'm fine too, bye" I'm shortening the story of course but at the end we just had to ride off because they wouldn't drop it. I was surprised that she was walking around faster than me. I mean I thought I hit her hard. It's kind of funny now that I'm looking back at it. When we got back, that's when the couple arrived from America. Elder and Sister Todd. He is a very successful mechanic Engineer and they both have the biggest amounts of faith I've ever seen. Wednesday through Tuesday we spent some time if not all the time with them. Just trying to get their situation set up. So not much else happened that week but just learning a lot from them. 

I think that Madagascar is trying to give me a very unusual farewell gift. It's trying to show its thanks through raining every single day of my last month here. Sometimes is show a little thanks, sometimes it shows A LOT of thanks. But I'm just soakin' it in one way or the other. Because I know that once it's gone I'll miss it. 

We had a Zone meeting on Monday. It went really well. We talked about new stats that we are going to start to keep track of. How to help the Branch Presidents. Things we need to remember from Zone conference a month ago. And how to keep clean. You can never talk to much on that subject in this country. haha! Tuesday we helped the Todds with getting a hoe, the gardening tool. Except, they don't have hoes in this country. They just farm a different way. So we had to go buy the shovel head, the wood handle to go with it and then go to this place by our house that makes metal stuff like little cake molds, pipes, and any other thing and we asked them if they could make it into a hoe. (It was a lot of explaining and pictures and in the end, what won was saying "it's a metal rake with no teeth. There's no gaps") By now it's kind of turned into a game to try and explain things. During my mission I have learned to not get annoyed or discouraged and everything but just try to make it fun or at least learn from it. 

On Thursday we went up to Saordroa (a branch an hour north) with Elder Todd. We went ni his truck and not the crappy bus. Woohoo! We got to the point where we had to start heading up the unpaved road. Wow, was it bumpy! It's a good thing that Elder Todd is really good with cars or else we might have been in trouble. We went up there and taught some times and then headed back safely. That area is growing so much. I wish we had more time than just once a week to go up there. We taught seven investigators up there! And they are all from the members hard missionary work. Maybe if they weren't under the Zone leaders responsibilities then the missionaries could focus more on them. They should be having a baptism up there sometime in April. 

We didn't have much time to teach as we would have liked but we were helping other missionaries and getting stuff done for our house. But we are still working hard in this area, trying to make it better than it was before. That is always a good goal to have right? We have a baptism planned in the this area on the 23th of March. So yes I wont be having anymore baptisms during my mission but I wasn't expecting to anyways. At least there will be a lot of people prepared after I go. That's what I really want. OH! Cool story time!  While I was in Toliara Elder Roney and me found this one family. They were all really cool. The parents have an 18 year old daughter and two twin boys that were 7. We were teaching them really well. We didn't want to rush anything. Roney left, I was companions with Fryer, he left and then I was comps with Elder Smith. By that time we finally got everything done for their wedding. We got that done and then I interviewed both of them for their baptism the next Saturday. The Dad was super ready from the beginning. But when I asked the mom if she was excited to get baptized that Saturday she said "I'm not getting baptized this Saturday" I was so shocked! Anyways, we baptized the Dad. We never had problems with him not coming to church. We kept teaching them and trying to get the mom baptized. I left, the twins turned eight and the Dad finally decided to baptize them. (At first he thought that they were too young to make that kind of decision but came around in the end). So now let's fast forward six months, I got a call saying that she got baptized! I was so happy you cannot believe! It took her a whole year of being taught by the missionaries, reading the Book of Mormon and going to church every week to finally feel like she was ready. It was in that same area (Toliara) that I learned about enduring. We can't be in too much of a rush to get things done. It just doesn't work that way. God doesn't work that way. Everyone has their agency and we all need to respect that. Especially Missionaries. If the investigator is coming to church often, not even always but often, and reading to Book of Mormon then you cannot give up on them. They will come around. They have to. They are spending too much time around the truth to deny it. They will feel the Holy Ghost time and time again, and they will come to know that this is the true church. I'm so grateful for the missionaries that stuck it out with her. 

I love the mission. Its coming to an end and I'm sad about that. But I don't regret anything. I feel like I worked hard and that I've changed and progressed throughout my mission. I'm so thankful to Heavenly Father for everything that he has given me and helped me with. I know that he is involved with our lives. He will never leave us alone. 

Well today we are down in Ambositra again but this time we got to steal the missionary truck instead of going down in a bus. I'm hoping to avoid as many buses as possible these couple weeks haha! That is one thing that I wont miss so much. 

I love all of you guys! Make sure that there is plenty of snow for when I get home. I might regret that wish when I actually step off the plane and I immediately get frost bite! Talk to ya next week!

Elder Walker

Monday, February 4, 2013

Feb. 4, 2013

The life in Utah sounds exciting and jam packed! You could call it exciting here too. So like you heard last Monday, I was 5O miles south in a town called Ambositra, doing a little zone meeting with the other two missionaries down there. That's why the email was really short last week (sorry!) Tuesday, we took a four hour bus ride more south to a place called Fianarantsoa. Where we did a zone meeting with the four missionaries there. Afterwards we went on splits with them. We taught some pretty good times but after that we were heading home on our bikes down this hill. The two missionaries in front of me were going a little fast, maybe a little too fast than they should've but I kept up with them anyways or else I would've been left behind and gotten lost. We were going in a row and I was last. We were just going and right after one of the missionaries passed these people, all of a sudden this Twelve year old girl just darts across the path in front of me! I didn't have time to yell or brake or do anything! So obviously I just crashed right into her. My bike went to the right with the girl and I kept on going straight. I felt like I flew 8 feet before landing on my right arm/elbow, and then rolling a few times. My biggest worry was dealing with the Malagasies because they try to take your money in situations like this one. I got up and talked to them, the girl had two scrapes on her foot, the bike was fine, [It stopped there - really?]

[And then later....]

I'll finish the email tomorrow morning. The connection is so slow that it is freezing when just typing and we have to go do the zone meeting here with the ten missionaries in Antsirabe. love you, talk to you tomorrow.

Elder Walker

Monday, January 28, 2013

Jan. 28, 2013

This was the first email he sent.....

This week was good. Nothing new. Just trying to work hard for my last month.

Talk to you next week

Elder Walker
20 minutes later he sent the REAL email. Very funny! I'm glad it was the middle of the night when he sent them so all I saw was two emails in the morning!
Sorry if my emails are getting a little short. I just get kind of tired of writing out my week on a computer for two years. 

We have been doing all kinds of Zone leader stuff this week. Elder Waters actually learned how to drive stick two weeks ago so we could take the car up to Tana for Zone Leader council on Thursday. It was... an adventure haha! We got there safely. We went up on Wednesday and went on splits that night. We had a meeting with all the Zone leaders in Madagascar and the two in Reunion. We Skyped with them and the two Zone leaders in Tamatave because their bus ride is nine hours long. The meeting was way good. Right now we are actually in a different city 50 miles south called  Ambositra to do a zone conference. After the Zone leader council we headed back down to Antsirabe Thursday night. 

Saturday we played soccer with all the members here. My legs are pretty sore right now haha! But it was way fun. 

Sunday was a good sacrament meeting. A lot of people including investigators and less-actives came. While we were teaching it started to rain like no bodies business. I think Madagascar is trying to rain everyday my last month that I'm here. 

So this week was not that exciting. I didn't really spend that much time in my own area. So hopefully next week will be more exciting than the last. The mission is just flying by so fast! I'm trying extra hard to write in my journal every night this last part. Just a little update, I got my package when I went up to Tana. It is very appreciated. Everything that I would be using for New years I'll just use for my birthday haha! My time here is just slowly winding down. I'm starting to realize all the things that I'm going to miss here. But it will be OK, life goes on. 

I hope that you all have a wonderful week talk to you next week.

Elder Walker 

Monday, January 21, 2013

What a week - January 21, 2013

This week has been wonderful!!! I've decided to try and finish the Book of Mormon before I get home. Right now I am in Mosiah 5. So we'll see if I can do it. I just feel so much better when I have a good study session of the Book of Mormon more than any other book. That is one thing that I have learned during the mission. The importance and power of the Book of Mormon. It is just so amazing. It's like it's from God or something... I love reading it. I know it will be something that will be hard to stop after I get back.
What I've learned this week is that if you don't be careful, you can get weak spiritually. We need to work continually to build our spiritual strength. Because if we don't, we will be in some danger that is above our power to overcome. The members here in Antsirabe have started to rely on the "church helping them" aspect of life instead of trying to be self reliant. Some have been converted to the missionaries or to the social status of the church but not to the Lord and his gospel. That is why reading the Book of Mormon can keep us safe from any harm that might come our way. It brings peace and power. There are many ways to build our spiritual strength. Just the good 'ol Primary answers but most of all, humility. Humility is the gateway attribute to the rest of the Christ like attributes. I know that if we try our hardest to be a follower of Christ, we will be blessed and guided in our life. We all know that this life is hard but only the people in our church understand how to make it the easiest. So be grateful! Be grateful that we have so much knowledge. That we receive so many blessings. Once you do that, help someone you love realize that too. This gospel brings so much happiness into our lives it is ridiculous! It is never-ending, literally! 
It is a dangerous world, so read your Book of Mormon! I love you all and I don't want to see you guys struggle more than you have to! Talk to you guys next week. 

Elder Walker

1. So how are you adjusting to the responsibilities of being a zone leader? Do you like it or do you wish you could just teach people the gospel?
Being a zone leader is just a little hard. Its a lot of meetings with the higher ups. We have to meet with the branch president (obviously) the district president, and Pres. Adams often. We are actually driving up to Tana this Wednesday to have zone leader council with him and the other zone leaders. And then coming back Friday morning. And then on Monday we are going to go two hours south to Ambositra to have a little zone meeting with the two elders down there. We are going to sleep there and then head another five hours south to Fianarantsoa to have another zone meeting Tuesday. And then head up to Antsirabe after all that. So it will be a pretty good trip. I'll get plenty of pictures for you guys. So being a zone leader is definitely easier than being the President so there is no complaining here. 
2. Hey, did you ever get your bigger Christmas package? I keep forgetting. Did you like it?
I still have not gotten the Christmas package yet. We're going up to Tana this week so I'll let you know if it's there. Hopefully it doesn't get lost, that would be the worst! 
3. Did your whole zone go on your lake excursion?
Only two Elders and the two sisters didn't go to Lake Tritriva. So almost the whole zone, with the two AP's. That would be eight missionaries. It was a really fun trip.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Release date notification - Jan. 15, 2013

This is really happening!

15 January 2013
Dear Brother & Sister Walker,
This letter is to inform you that your son Elder Bradford Walker will be released from his mission in the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission on 27 February. This was, in consultation with the missionary department, just finalized only recently. We have a real challenge coordinating releases, arrivals and transfers with missionaries serving in three countries. We receive new missionaries from three MTCs, each on different dates, some of them never come to Madagascar but are transferred to the islands speaking French and not Malagasy. We hope this date works for your family.
You will receive an email with his travel itinerary soon from Church travel. We have appreciated your sons dedicated service to the Lord here in Madagascar.
Sincerely yours,

Sister Cornelius
Madagascar Mission Office