"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)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's so amazing - June 27, 2011

   It's so amazing how fast the week goes here! It's already been three weeks here;  it's seems like one week. Teaching has been going well. I'm actually teaching instead of bearing testimony or praying. This past Sunday was the Malagasy's Independence. On Saturday they had this huge firework show on the beach and everyone in Tamatave was there. So all the missionaries went and contacted as many people as we could. I didn't contact many people on the beach but as we were walking home I was holding out fanasan's (invitations) to cars passing by and the people would grab them. One person missed the paper and the whole car actually stopped so I could run up and hand it to him! It was really cool. 
   The baptisms that were supposed to happen didn't. The people didn't get married in time and so they couldn't get baptized. But don't worry, they are getting married this Friday and we will baptize them and their kid the next day. They are really cool, two of their kids are already baptized. We teach them everyday except Sunday and Monday so it's sometimes hard to find something new to teach because they already know A TON. The father is so humble and I just love them so much. 
   Don't worry about the rain coat. Elder Evans gave me an extra one to use. And it would just cost way too much to send. I could probably get the same quality at way cheaper price just because of ratio change, whatever you call it. :) Their largest bill is equal to a five dollar bill. Phil are you jealous that I can get a week's worth of groceries for ten or fifteen dollars? 
   I don't get any letters right now because I am nine hours away from Tana. And that's the only place they print them. They just bring them out whenever someone comes out to visit. But when I am in Tana, I can pick them up every other day or so if I wanted. But I still know you guys love me. 

Does your ward/branch meet in a church or what? 
     Yeah, there are two churches in Tamatave. Pres. Donnelly is thinking about buying property for future churches out here.
How many people attend? 
     Well last week our branch had 159 people at church. But this week (their Independence day) there was only 62. But the usual is around 130 or so. 
Do they have a keyboard or piano? Have you gotten to play?
     They have a piano sized keyboard that the right pedal is broken. They have a lot of people that can play and lead so I don't need to.
How many investigators do you have going right now? 
     We have around 10 to 15ish right now. 
How many live in your apt. and what are their names?
     Elder Walker(that's me)
     Elder Evans(he's English)
     Elder Roney(he's from Mapleton)
     Elder Wilson(MTC group, has no connection to the tennis brand)
I hope those are good enough answers for you ;) I'm working hard for you guys. Literally, riding through the sand is tough when you have... not the best quallity of bikes. Just ask Brian and Adam, they know. Speaking of riding bikes, the moon is not out right now so whenever we are riding home at night we almost crash into people because they are black and blend in with the dark! They are silent as cats and can never tell where they are. It would be more scary if any of them were bigger them me, but they aren't so everything is good :D 
               Elder Walker

Monday, June 20, 2011

Life here is amazing - June 20, 2011

My companion's full name is Simon A. Evans. I'm not going to ask what the "A" means, so deal with it :) The language is coming slowly but surely. I can almost say anything I want, it just sounds very simple. I can stay on the computer as long as I want, I just need to pay for it.

Now for a good story... I can't think of a REALLY good one. I'll tell you some things you might see regularly if you ever come to Mada.

1. geckos in your apartment.
2. huge spiders in the trees
3. little kids yelling "bonjour vazaha" (vazaha means foreigner or white person) because they think you are french
4. the ocean (if you are by the ocean, which I am...)
5. and amazing people
That's pretty much all of Mada right there for you. haha

   So it's the dry season right now, and it just rained like nothing I've ever seen the past two days! No offense to Mr. Mac but their rain coats cannot handle Madagascar rains. I was soaked by the time of our first appoinment. Luckily it was still warm so I wasn't freezing. But being completely wet isn't fun either. :)
   So I just had my first baptism ever! It was way cool. It was in the ocean, her name was Zoma Joseotte. I didn't know her very well but it was still awesome. We had 30 baptisms all together combined as a zone on
Saturday. Me and Elder Evans have another three next Saturday. I love it here. I'm trying to send a picture but the internet is really slow and everything is in French.

   Well everything is great here, me and Elder Evans are working hard just for you.

One of the spiders we found in the tree right outside our apartment. Don't worry it doesn't bite, I promise.

The beach we played soccer, frisbee, and football on.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tamatave - June 13, 2011

Following are questions I asked Brad at the end of my email to him. He answered SOME of them. Not bad.

1.  What is Elder Evans full name, where is he from and how long has
he been out? (I'm going to list your companions on the blog.)
2.  Tell us about your apt. and city.
3.  What did you have for breakfast this morning or dinner last night?
4.  How's the language?
5.  How long do you get on the computer on P-day?

Hey Family! I'm sorry if my typing is a little off, the keyboards here are different! It  was tough getting rid of jet-lag but it's all good now :) Thats right, my companion is Elder Evans, he's British and he is awesome. He has been out for, I think, a year and 7 months. We slept in the AP's apt. for the first two nights. It's tiny! But the apt. that I am in now is huge! The city that I am in is called Toamasina, but a lot of people call it Tamatave, which is what I'll more likely say, but just in case it slips out, you'll know. I've had normal food so far. But then again, I haven't eaten at a member's or investigator's house yet :) A lot of their stuff is in Enlgish in the stores and stuff. The language is coming along, surely but slowly.
    The Malagasy people are really patient, they are usually never in a hurry. I have definitely developed patience over the last week. The bus ride to Tamatave was actually 9 hours! That took a lot of patience! And it's not like the big buses you take for long trips; it has two seats on one side, an aisle and then another seat on the other. And since Elder Wilson also came with me and is a big dude, he took up a lot of space. I think he was getting a little annoyed because the seats are made for short Malagasy people.
    Tamatave and the people here are amazing! The members are so fun! My nickname here is either Elder Pandeha-tongatra (which means walker in Malagasy) or Elder Cyclist. Because we always ride bikes here. I love it here, and I'm sorry, but if I could explain everything I see every day, you would be jealous!! Anyways, work hard everyone, and be diligent. Veloma!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

MTC Pics

Elder Landon Smart and Brad - kind of blurry but I thought it would be fun. We finally got all his pictures from the MTC!
Elder Matthew Meyer and Brad 
 His name tag - look at the name of the Church!
Typical picture for Brad. The comment on the back,
 "I thought my legs looked really long!"

June 9, 2011 - Letter from the mission president

This is part of a letter we received via email from his mission president. Here you can see where he is assigned and who will be his companion. We are sooo excited for him. A returned missionary from Mada told us that he is lucky because he is near the ocean! Yeah! I can't wait to get his first email on Monday.

Everyone, please continue to write him using Dear Elder. I know he loves those letters! Thanks for your support!

                   ÉGLISE DE
                  DES SAINTS

                         Mission de
                          B.P. 5094
          Antananarivo 101 Madagascar
   Téléphone 22 417 51 -  Fax 22.418.54

                       0000-10 / MM-SL


Antananarivo, 9 June 2011

 Brother and Sister Walker,

Your son, Elder WALKER arrived safely in Madagascar.  After prayerful consideration, I assigned him to labor initially in Ankirihiry with Elder EVANS. one of our best missionaries.  We will do everything in our power to see that your son’s missionary experience is all that it should be and one that will be a source of strength to him throughout his life.

As your son takes the gospel forth, he will have some new experiences, some of which will probably be a great challenge, especially learning a new language, being away from home in a foreign land and culture, adjusting to missionary life, and getting along with companions and other missionaries.  Experience shows that missionaries who lose themselves in the work quickly overcome any obstacles.

Your weekly letters will greatly influence his success and be an important source of emotional and spiritual support.  Please make letters to him cheerful and uplifting.  Family members are authorized to send emails to their missionaries, subject to the guidelines established by the brethren.

For any package you would like to send to Madagascar use the address below (very important) when using DHL or any other mail company:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints
Madagascar Antananarivo Mission
B.P. 5094
Dingana III

Each missionary receives the Missionary Handbook.  Your missionary has committed to living by the principles of this handbook.  You can be of great support to your missionary if you are aware of some of these principles.

Sean Edmund DONNELLY, President
Madagascar Antananarivo Mission

June 8, 2011 - First email from Madagascar!

Hey momma! Sorrry about the cut off on the phone. Just got here in Mada and it's awesome! It's totally different than I expected. But it's still the best mission in the world! President Donnelly is so funny! He seems like the best mission pres. in the world. 
On the car ride to the mission home, every time we stopped I said hi (manahoana) to every one I saw and they spoke back! It was so cool. I think that we are going to contact some people tonight. I'm a little scared but luckily the elders don't expect much your first day. :) 
I have barely gotten any sleep for the past 42 hours and I'm ready to work! This is just a short hello but just letting you know that I'm safe and happy. 
Oh and can Dani tell Shannon Timmons, that she sent a dearelder to Madagascar when I was still in the MTC. And I don't know how long it's been but just let her know I'll send her a letter. Love you all!!!!!!!
         Elder Walker

Phone calls from Chicago and also Johannesburg, South Africa

On Monday, June 6th Brad left the MTC. On his layover in Chicago he made his calls. Our family was all spread apart on that day so he had a lot to make. I was in Minnesota with Natalie so we talked to him together. We got him to speak some Malagasy and realized that it sounds nothing like it's spelled!

In the middle of the night on Tuesday, June 7th (so I guess really June 8th) he called Mike and I from Johannesburg. He only had 5 minutes to talk but he sounded great! He said that the turbulence from London to Johannesburg was brutal and they saw three huge lightning strikes outside the plane window! He said his poor companion threw up in a bag and it had a hole in it! Luckily he was one of the few elders who had brought 2 suits so he was able to change. He'd only slept about 4 hours out of 42.

He really appreciated the piano music I had sent him just before he left. He played "God Speed the Right" in sacrament meeting his last Sunday in the MTC. I'm so glad he appreciates music and loves to play the piano!

We were cut off suddenly when the minutes ran out but it was so good to talk to him. Just had to shed a few tears afterwards. Sigh.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Phone Call & Letter to Melissa - 6/1/11

At 4:30 today, I got my phone call from Brad. He was in Chicago on his first of many layovers. He sounded really good and happy. He bore a short testimony in Malagasy, which just sounded like gibberish to me, but very cool nonetheless. I think our family is really lucky, because even though my Mom was in Minnesota with Nat, and my Dad, Phil, Dani, and I were all at our different jobs, he got to talk to all of us separately. I guess that's what happens when you have 8 hour layovers between all your flights. I got teary talking to him, but it was really great to talk and laugh with him. I just hope that 20 minute phone call lasts me until Christmas.

Then I got home today, and I had a letter from Brad! Double win!

Hey Melissa,

I am writing not on my P-day so I have to be quick.

Words with friends?! My friend Broc and I were the first ones to use that game! That's funny that everyone is playing it now. I could totally see Mom go "squinty eyes" and start crying after "jus zayin." :)

It's crazy, the snow here! Actually, I haven't seen any snow down here, just rain. I was just trying to be sympathetic. Me and you are or might be moving to places where it's gonna rain a lot! What a coincidence! Quincidence? Agh! I'm going to be the best speller after I got back from my mission!

How was Pirates 4? Movies now aren't as good as they used to be. Ya know, back in the good ol' days. :) Be sure to watch Kung Fu Panda 2, and tell me your favorite line from it though! :)

Well, I don't have anything wise to share with you. I guess, just read my last email. Ooo, and get a cool quote from it! I've always wanted my own quote. :) Because if I became famous, you could say, "Hey, I gotta quote from when he was 19, oh and he's my brother." But I'm sure people would care more about the quote. I guess I did have some wisdom to share. ;)

Well, remember to work hard, be obedient, be thankful, love one another and be patient. I'm praying for you.

Elder Bradford Walker
(Brad then tried to sign his name really spiky like our dad does.)
am I becoming like Dad yet?

Post script: Tell Momma thank you for all the extra sheet music too! Oh, and that Carol Campbell and Nyla Miller sent me some cinnamon rolls and made me a cool animal pillowcase.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May 31, 2011 - Excited to go!

Hey Momma,

I'm so excited to go to Madagascar! It's going to be kind of weird not seeing you for so long. I think the longest I have gone without seeing you is a week or two. You are so amazing. I want you to know that you have made me what I am today. I am so glad to have you as my mom. It seems like I have learned how to act around certain people, what to say, and see a different perspective so much more than most missionaries. So techinically, technacally, technically (too bad I wasn't better at spelling though) you are the one helping the people of Madagascar.

I knew Gentry [Anderson] and we were friends but we didn't hang out much. That's cool that he's going to Alabama. I've seen Cache [Guzy] and we actually have almost the exact same schedule. Everything is the same except TRC [Teaching Resource Center]. It's so good to see him 5 times a day but it's also bad. :)

My Travel Itinerary:

CHICAGO                  3:30  P.M.

ARIVE LONDON        9:45 A.M  JUNE 7TH

LEAVE LONDON      7:10 P.M.

ARRIVE MADA           2:10 P.M.

If I don't get the calling cards, Elder Fryer is practically nomadic, so he knows a lot about that stuff. I'll call you in...no matter where I call you, you might be at work. I have plenty of time, just tell me when you want me to call. Just expect a call 6/6/11 while I'm in Chicago around 6:00 p.m. That might be 5 or 4 in Utah. Tell me if you want something different, I have plenty of time.

I'm praying for all of you. I love you all!

Elder Bradford Walker