"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, August 31, 2011

All Smiles!!! - August 29, 2011

Well I don't know where to start... This week has been phenominal... (is that how it's spelled). I first heard that President Donnelly and  "The Psychologist" were coming up to talk to the missionaries. No one would tell me what their names were but I was praying so hard that it was The Hartmans. And I was right! I just lit up when I first saw them! They gave me cookies, candy, pocket Book of Mormon, they are so generous! Elder Hartman talked to us about a ton of stuff and I've probably forgotten a lot but it's planted in my head somewhere, so I can think of it later. I just love talking to Elder Hartman! He is so fun to be around, I just loved talking to someone I've known for a long time. Anyways, the Hartmans are awesome and an inspiration to me.

Second, uh!!!!!!! I'm an aunt!!! I'm so happy, when I read that, it was so hard not to yell for joy! I actually made this weird sound trying to keep it in and this girl next to me might think I'm weird now :) I am so happy for you Melissa and Brian! The sad thing is, is that Phil will have a year head start on being the fun uncle! I guess I can just claim the fun aunt title... sorry Nat and Dani. That is so amazing, you better give him/her a good name so I can give him/her a cool nickname; because if it's not cool, I'll just give him/her a nickname that has no relation to his/her actual name haha! I'm so happy for you guys!

So some other changes happened also, Elder Evans got transferred, and moved to another city. I got Elder Austin Smith as a new companion. He is from Boise, Idaho, he is in the second oldest group and he is so fun to be around! It was kinda stressful for like three days cuz me and Elbakri (Elder Roney left too) had to go to both of our areas for two whole days and cut out certain appointments. It was just hectic but now it is all good and under control. I am kinda just the senior companion because I am the only one that knows where all the investigators are, what times they are, what lessons they have already been taught and just learning how to schedule. But I guess you have to try everything for the first time anyways right? But we get along perfectly so it's great!

I have forgotten to tell you guys for like the past month or so but since the piano player for my branch is 15 and she went to Tana for school vacation, I have been the piano player for every Sunday. I only play the right hand though, because I can't keep up with the chorister but it's still good. They still ask me every week so at least I'm good enough to keep around :)

So the pictures show how much time we sometimes have during the day. I had to buy bananas and literally eat on the go in between appointments. When I get home you better expect "can eat bananas while riding a bike" on my resume!

  • How are your investigators coming along? They are doing good so far, me and Elder Smith are going to try to get a lot more though so we don't have any spaces in between appointments sometimes.
  • Any new baptism dates set? We are expecting at least three to be baptized on the 10th of September.
  • Do you work in a branch or a ward? I am in a branch.
  • How many stakes are there in Mada? There are two stakes and two districts in the mission.
Well I'm sure you have read enough of my silliness today so I'll end by saying something by Elder Hartman, "Motivation and confidence come by doing, not by thinking about it." He also talked about or it just popped into my head but also, not being so self conscious all the time, worrying about what people think about you. Just be you and try to strive for Christlike attributes. I can't remember everything I wanted to say on this but just try to please the Lord and please others.
Love,
Elder Walker

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Video!! - August 27, 2011

We are very blessed to have Taylor and Jean Hartman serving as mental health missionaries in Africa! They surprised Brad with a visit (the details of which we don't know yet) in Madagascar. We know they were going to go do some zone conferences there and worked out a way with President Donnelly to surprise Brad. Well, this video clip came today! How very fun for us. Just a peek but enough to see him healthy and happy!
video
Sunday, August 28, 2011
We just received this video today - about the same but always fun!! Yeah Brad!

video

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fanomezan' ny Tanana - August 22, 2011

First of all, anyone who can figure out what "Fanomezan' ny Tanana" means, gets a virtual high five through email next week!
This week was hot! It has not rained in a while so its really hard to cool down. But Elder Evans said that in the rainy season, it can rain for a week straight, constantly without stopping! Can't wait! It seems like if any Malagasy feels the slightest breeze or is not close to overheating, then they throw on a coat and a blanket while we are teaching them. And me and Elder Evans are just dripping with sweat, wishing they will turn on their fan or open their curtain for a door so a draft can come in! I am going to be freezing when I move back to Utah! If it goes below 70 or 75 it actually does start to feel cold.

This week we had a helping hands activity with our district. The branches split up and our branch fixed up a house that I still don't know what it was used for, something with the government... But I'll send some pictures of the activity.


Elder Evans and Brad - companions. Don't you love Brad's eyes?

This next Saturday, we were supossed to have at least three baptisms but none of them came to church, or don't know who Joseph Smith is after having three lessons dedicated to just him... There is a saying here in Mada, "Not all cows that go to sleep at the same time, wake up at the same time" meaning, everyone learns at a different pace. They have some weird sayings here. I'll tell you some next week if I remember to write them down.

How do you say "Elder" in Malagasy? Eldera? It's just a made up word. They usually don't even say Elder they just say our last name or misioneras or vazaha (which is kind of rude if its an investigator or member that says it).
Take me through your typical day. I'm curious.  A typical day in Madagascar:  Wake up, eat, study, get ready for the day. Sometimes we have appointments at ten or eleven, but we come back for lunch. Go back out at one or two, usually have appoinments every hour until eight. If not, we don't street contact in Tamatave because we are on bikes and it is just weird if you suddenly jump off your bike and start talking to someone. It sometimes scares them and they run away, Apparently I can be very surprising... Anyways, we just stop at a "lot", its just a piece of land with five to however many shacks in it. So we just walk up and ask if anyone wants any help, they laugh awkardly because we are white, they let us in and they take some stools out of their house for everyone to sit on and we just start teaching. That's how it goes in Tamatave but in Tana they street contact because they are walking. But usually its random people that walk in to investigators' houses while we are teaching them and then we start teaching that person too. Also member referrals, referrals from other missionaries when they find someone that lives in our area. So that's what a typical day is.


This couple is so awesome! They have been to the temple and are so nice. They are like my parents away from home, don't worry, no one can replace you guys but they always feed us and I can tell that they still love each other so much. They do have one up on you guys because they have given us two referrals, and you haven't... The fact that I wasn't on a mission when I was with you or you don't live in Madadgascar has nothing to do with it.

Like I said last week, the finding part can be really easy if you want it to be. If you go out intending to tract, then the Lord will put someone in your path before you have a chance to tract and then you have a new investigator. But if you don't, then you will find yourself out of investigators pretty quick.

Well I am in Alma 13 or 14 now - somewhere around there and it is talking about Ammon and the sons of Mosiah and Alma with Amulek. Lots of missionary miracles happen with them. It is amazing how much courage they had. The faith they had in the power of God, how much desire they had for the church. I hope that I can be like them someday. It definitely takes a lot of courage to go on a mission but some of the things that they did were simply amazing! So take courage everyone! And have faith in God continually, however or whatever way you think or show your faith, DO IT!
Love,
Elder Walker

Monday, August 15, 2011

Good Week - August 15, 2011

  This last week was transfers. Everyone in Tamatave got a new companion... except Elder Evans and I. But Elder Wilson got transfered to Tana, so Elder Roney got Elder El'bakri as a new companion. He fits in well with this house, I have only met two of the four new missionaries that came up here last Thursday, but I'll probably see them today cuz its P-day.

This week has kind of been jumbled. We don't know when we want to baptize people because they either haven't finished the lessons, not following the word of wisdom, personally not ready, or they just barely tell us about a "special friend" they have been living with the week before their baptism. It has been a mess, but we are figuring it out. We have five couples that are ready for baptism but need to get married first. It is really hard because two of them, the husbunds are really hesitant, even though they have been living together for multiple years and have at least one kid, if not more. We have to get certain papers and if they were born in different cities or just far away, it makes it difficult just how the mail system is and just how Malagasys are...But we are working hard to get it done!
 
  Not much happened this week, just teaching, finding new families, doing missionary work. I love how easy the missionary work is here according to the finding. But the teaching all day in the heat, dealing with stubborn people, tons of people not married, bikes breaking down all the time, it sometimes gets to your head. But I think of the positives, of all the wonderful people that are way diligent, how friendly members are with their referrals and meal appointments, and how I'm in Madagascar for heaven's sake! It is so much better to think of the positives. If you find yourself in a rut of picking out the bad stuff in the day, stop and change your mind-set. And at the end of the day thank Heavenly Father for the many blessings he gives you, even down to the opportunity to see the good things in the day.

I have started to read through the Book of Mormon starting Tuesday, and this morning I was at Jacob 3:1. I suggest you read it and then never be ashamed for being LDS. I'm sure it gave Joseph Smith comfort in times of hardship.

[I told him that we had to figure out a work around to download his pictures last time because we couldn't see them.]  I can send the pictures the old way if you want. The difference is the first time I was using a card reader the  internet place gave me and this last time I just used the cord from the camera to computer. Just tell me if you want me to do it the old way.

I get letters and "dear elders" every time they either send something up with other essentials or every transfer with the missionaries that are moving. So at the very longest, every month. But I did get some letters in the middle of the month for some random reason I forgot. Sorry for not writing back Melissa, the post office here is really out of the way, maybe when I go to Tana it'll be closer. Update on the package goods, don't need ziplock bags, peanut M&Ms would be tasty. And if you really want to you can send the tin can thing cuz I have a can opener in the house, but you can also send those flat rate boxes or whatever you use to send and put pictures of Jesus on them. It helps them not get broken into... just sayin.

 The pictures are as follows:

Me standing on the beach, looking out into the ocean.

  There is a setting on my camera that opens the lens for a long time. So when there was a full moon, I decided to spell myname by moving the camera around to spell my name :)

  Well I love you all and I'll try to give you guys a good story for next week. Be an example to everyone.
Love,
Elder Walker

Monday, August 8, 2011

Finally!!! August 8, 2011

I will start off by saying, I'm sorry because I actually did get Natalie's email and I've been getting Dad's too. I'm sorry for not responding to any questions you had, I'll try better next time.
This week has been crazy! The people that I told you about in one of my first emails, they have been taught for more than five months now, but they can't get baptized because they aren't married. Well, they finally got married and baptized!! That's what the pictures are of. One is of the marriage place, I just thought it looked a little gloomy, but who am I to judge.
The other is of them kissing (obviously) and then of them on the day of their baptism, one of their kids got baptized with them too.

The last is just me showing the happiness you have when serving a mission.
Anyways, it was a really good week! You can definitely tell the difference before they have the Gift of the Holy Ghost and after they have received it. I have never seen them smile so much.


It sounds way fun back home, I loved the picture of you guys at the temple, I feel like I am in Yuka's shoes right now. [visitor from Japan] Because she can only understand a little just like me, and she says no after she realizes what people are saying just like me AND she gets to spend time with the coolest family in the whole world.
Not much happened this week besides the wedding and baptism.
There was one other thing that I would like to talk about. Let me explain this investigator. He is only seventeen years old, he used to drink a ton, he lives 6 miles away from the church, he reads the BoM everyday, helps us teach other investigators that are close to his house, either pays for a pouse to get to church or walks. His name is Theodore and he is going to be a General Authority. It is amazing how much he has changed. This last week we taught him and I felt the Spirit so strongly. It is one thing to feel the Spirit when you are bearing your own testimony, or you hear someone bear theirs and it reinforces yours, but it is a whole other feeling when you give someone a chance to gain a testimony. Usually I just feel happy when I feel the Spirit but when he bore his testimony to us that he knew that the Book of Mormon was from God and that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today, I felt something totally different. It was a lot stronger than usual and more like love. This is the first person I have started teaching from the beginning and he is going to be baptized on August 20th or 27th. I really care for him and am really excited for him.
  • Are you getting Dad's emails? yes
  • Have you gotten any more Dear Elder letters yet? Yes, I got the blogs and two of Phil's Dear Elders
  • Do you have CD players or anything to listen to appropriate music? Yes, but it is Elder Evans' so it moves with him, but if no one buys it from him then he'll give it to me when he goes home
  • What are some things that you would like if we can send a package? Some more pictures of the family (I don't have any of Melissa and Brian) candy of any sort the sweeter the better, cookie mix or brownie mix just something to mix, put any letters in that people want to send, ziplock bags, and anything else you feel inspired to send
I love you all and have been missing you all, but not too much. Keep praying and give someone a chance to gain a testimony.

Love,
Elder Walker




Monday, August 1, 2011

Still happy as ever! - August 1, 2011

 Hello family and friends!! How is everyone? I'm doing great! Me and Elder Evans had a baptism this last Saturday. Her name is Lina and she is going to be a way solid member.
This week has been so fun! I went on splits with Elder Nash on Thursday, and then with Elder Roney who is Elder Wilson's companion. I was kind of scared to go with someone different for the first time, but now I know how to teach with someone totally new. It was a good experience. So on Wednesday, Elder Evans and I went to one of Elder Wilson's and Roney's recent converts for a birthday party. It was super fun! They fed us this noodle type stuff that they scrape out of a fruit and some other stuff that didn't sit well with me the next day, but it was good while I ate it. And at the end of the birthday party in Madagascar, they smash an egg on the person's head. And since Elder Evans was the only one to remember the egg, he got to do the honors. All in all, it was a good day.
But I do have to confess something. I don't know if this broke a mission rule or not. I held hands with this girl on the way to church yesterday... Luckily it didn't go any further than that, but she's really cute, she has dark hair (like everyone in this country) her name is Stelina and she is nine years old :) It was way cool. We went to pick up this family to bring them to church and everyone could come except the mom. They seemed to love church and the members just took them in right away. This week has been awesome!
  
My questions:
Oh, when are your next transfers? The next transfer news is next Tuesday or Wednesday.
Did anyone in your apt. change last time? No and I hope it never does.
What is the weather like right now? Hot! Whoever said it doesn't get above 85° has never been to Tamatave. The rain has died down too so that's good.
What do you and Elder Evans do for exercise? We don't... I have been doing push-ups every once in a while.
Are you writing in your journal? Not every night but at least every week.
Do you still love me? More than ever! (notice how I just slipped that in?)
Sry Nat but I never got an email from you, but I'll try to receive any revelation to answer you questions.

Cache will be fine going to Oregon, it felt like I didn't know any Malagasy when I got to Madagascar anyways. I think if you compare anyone to Dani, they don't seem outgoing. I bet Yuka [our visiting Japanese friend] is way fun to have around.

So I will be officially out on my mission for four months this next week! It has gone by so fast! People graduating, getting one year older, our house being destroyed and fixed. I had this vision of me after my mission and me coming down the escalator in the Salt Lake airport. And I see all of you and we start hugging and then I'm totally weirded out by this random girl that starts hugging me. But then I realize it's Dani! And she looks so different! You better not change, ok! You also better not have a boyfriend either! Unless it's Elder Evans' 16 year old half English half Philipino cousin. Just because I trust his choice over anyone you choose :)

I love you all and hope that you have the happiest, sunshiniest week ever!!!
Elder Walker

Oh and sorry about me taking out that much money from my debit account but everyone didn't budget their money right so we all had to take some money out. I didn't use all of it so I just have that as emergency money now, just in case something weird happens.