"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, November 28, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving - Nov. 28, 2011

  Hey everyone (Mom)! That is crazy that Chris is home and has lost 30 lbs! [His cousin just came home from Paris, France.] I've already lost twenty pounds from the MTC, So now I'm back down to 135. I'm a tiny little guy but I don't think I'll go lower than that. With all joking aside my testimony actually might take a little bit longer [than Chris's at his homecoming on Sunday] if I do it in Malagasy because of the long words haha! Are there still a lot of people at the holiday parties at G&G's or is it kind of dwindling down a litlle? I remember when I was litlle and running around the pool table when playing tag with the cousins and then Grandma or Grandpa telling us to be careful or stop. I can't wait to do that when I get back.
   So Thanksgiving here was pretty good. There wasn't as much food as home because we didn't have a lot of money but it was still good. We decided to buy a live turkey. So we got it, killed it, plucked it, gutted it and cooked it. I'll only send the before and after pictures to save anyone who gets squimish. It looked great! But...since it's a turkey in Madagaascar, they don't get that big. There was barely any meat on it. But the meat that was on it was pretty dang good. We also had these mash potato packets that Goff left behind and then we bought some green beans and corn. And then had a soda pop of our choice. It wasn't much but it was still a blessing to me. So for our first time cooking a turkey with no knowledge whatsoever of how to do it, it turned out alright.

This last weekend I went up to Ankazobe with Elder Bates this time. There was this little girl getting baptized and Elder Bates got to do it. The people that were there was the Group leader, the only other Melchizedek priesthood holder and then 5 kids counting the one getting baptized. We walked down to the small river and Elder Bates and the little girl were already in the water before we even started with a prayer haha. So we said an opening prayer, Bates baptized her and then I said some stuff about baptism before the closing prayer. The spirit was so amazing there. It was just so simple, and quiet there. I liked something that Dani said in her email to me, "this gospel is simple, not easy". There are five steps in the gospel of Jesus Christ: Faith, repentance, baptism by water, baptism by faith, and enduring to the end. With those five simple steps we can receive eternal life. But it is not easy. But eternal life wouldn't sound so good if it was easy to get. But I know that if we do those five steps and continue to keep the commandments to the best of our ability, we can receive eternal life. We will not be tempted above that which we are able, given a burden that is too heavy.

Elder Bates baptizing in Ankazobe
Our questions to Brad:
Did your zone do anything special for Thanksgiving or was it just a regular day? It was just us four as a district.
Will you be able to Skype for Christmas? I am not sure, I'll ask today.
Who is Elder Wilson's companion? Elder Bates

I love you all and hope you remember to continually have faith and repent everyday.

Elder Walker

Has Andrew Jessee or Cody Adam turned in their mission papers yet? Anyone else in the ward?
Any news on the name of the baby?
Who loves me the most?

Brad with his mini-mission companion, Hermann - who has been called to Salt Lake City!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Forgotten? - Nov. 21, 2011

I got a little sad when I didn't see an email from you. Luckily I was still on the computer when I got your email.

So this week Goff my old companion went home to Malta, Idaho. He was a great missionary. 
Elder Goff and Brad - a member gave them those shirts cuz he thought they were cold.
Then on Tuesday and Wednesday I had a mini missionary. On Thursday, I got my new companion! He is actually a Malagasy from Antsirabe, and technically not even a missionary. He is just doing a mini mission for a month before his actual mission in SALT LAKE, UTAH!!! He wanted to get better at his English before doing an interview with the U.S. Embassy. He is already way good at English though cuz he has been helping the missionaries for two years now. His name is Justino Hermann Raharizoandrinirina but he just goes by Hermann. I laugh every time I think about people trying to pronounce his last name haha! He is way awesome and already pro at being a missionary. Too bad he is my companion for just one month. Next transfers he is going to go back home and I'll get a new companion. So now we know I'll stay in this area for at least two more months. Everyone thinks I'm gonna train in December, because whenever someone has a mini for a month it usually means you are training. But so many people think that, President Donnelly may throw a curve ball and give me an older missionary instead. I'm fine with both... It's still tough to understand when they talk super fast or when their questions are super long but I guess that's what I'll get good at if I train.

On Saturday Me and Elder Wilson went to a place called Ankazobe. It is this way far out place, it takes about three hours to get there. And the buses are crammed with four people to a row, so that was a fun three hour ride. 
The crowded bus to Ankazobe
So we went up Saturday and taught some times and then went walking around to go find the nearest houses to teach. Then slept in a hotel and went to church the next day. I'll give you some quick stats: They are a group, they use 1 room of a building for church, 24 people at church, 8 adults, 4 priesthood holders, the chorister is 12, they use a stereo to play the hymns, the 1 deacon they have is crippled so it's hard for him to walk, and they are the most amazing people I have ever met in the world. It humbled me so much when I walked in to the chapel. They are out in the middle of nowhere so the houses are so spread out. Some members have to wait for awhile for the bus to fill up to go to and from church. I can't really explain how amazing they are. Then we got back into Tana around 6 o'clock.

I do check my friends' blogs to see any cool pictures but I don't usually have time to read them. I did send Ryan [Wells] a DearElder, I think it's approved, I got a DearElder from TJ [Hartman] that way. I'll ask President Donnelly about the picasa thing, I'm sure it will be ok though, since it's from family. I hope Alex and Jean are ok. I'll be sure to pray for them.   If you could send some deodorant, that would be nice. They don't have any anti-perspirant here. And by the way, the last package was perfectly fine, no damage, nothing opened or missing and nothing melted.

Love you all and urge you to study the scriptures tonight. Don't just read them but look up the footnotes, ponder a little, anything. I know it will help you somehow. The scriptures and this gospel are super amazing!

Elder Walker
 Madagascar Ambanivohitra (wilderness)

Classic Malagasy life - Sitting by his house, with his cow, watchin' over his rice field.

The group leader's bull - he was nice.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Check LDS.org - Nov. 14, 2011

You said that you saw pictures of Elder Nelson talking to the people in Mada in that training meeting but did you know that there are tons of pictures and videos of when he was here on lds.org?! I know a ton of people that are on there! The connection between members here are so close. On one of the videos, there is an albino Malagasy, he is a past missionary that went home in September, his name is Nicholi and he is so funny. You should really check it out, it’s really cool.

We had 4 baptisms this last Saturday. And we already have four planned for the next baptism, they were just working during the baptism so they obviously couldn't get baptized, or they were never home to be interviewed before the baptism. The place that we are mostly working in is called Ambohidratrimo, the place is exploding because missionaries have barely worked there. We are working really hard to get a group started there because it is so far away from the church, you have to take two separate buses just to get close to the church and then walk after that.

Transfers are tonight. I'm really nervous because everyone is saying that I will go senior comp, if that happens I'm scared the people won’t be as accepting because I can't answer their questions as well and just all in all not good at Malagasy. I guess I'll just bring a member with me a lot then. Whatever happens, I know it is for the better. President Donnelly is an inspired man and knows what I need, my new comp needs and the people in the area need. Goff is going home on Thursday so he has been excited for that for the past month. Him talking about home keeps reminding me of stuff from home. That's why I really need a new companion quick haha!

I love serving the people here. Some people here are really racist and mean, but it doesn't matter whenever you see someone accept the gospel and be baptized. It is really hard serving a mission, being away from home but how can you grow if you don't do anything that’s hard. I love feeling the spirit, receiving revelation for my investigators, and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Most people here know that this is the true church, they just don't know that it exists. The people here are constantly searching for what they feel is right and when we come to them they are super accepting cuz they feel the power of the Holy Ghost. I know this church is true and that will never change.

Elder Walker

Did you ever figure out what town in Idaho Elder Goff is from? Malta, Idaho. And Evans is from Bristol, England. So you can change it from "Great Britain?" haha
How often do you go to the mission home? Every Monday for Pday, sometimes other days if we really need something before then. It takes like an hour and a half to get there by bus.
How do you get around? By "taxi be" which is just a bus. Are you doing a lot of walking? Yeah, we walk a lot, it’s hard to keep up with Goff and his long legs :)
We were wondering if you have to sleep with netting? We don't have to cuz there are barely any bugs in the house but we have them. I'm assuming you still take pills or whatever for Malaria every day, right? Yep, turns out that it helps with acne, so that’s a plus. But it doesn't let you get tan somehow, that’s why I'm still white as ever.
At a soirèe, eating a some bread recipes from Diego (a town on the north side of the island).

Just a little part of the Ambohidratrimo valley

Her name is Fanja and is an old convert. She is nice and feeds us a lot.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Rivers - Nov. 6, 2011

I miss having family dinners with all you guys! I would say that that is the thing that I miss the most while out here, or American fast food restaurants, I don't know yet. ;) I can't believe that Chris is going to be done with his mission in 15 days! I still remember his farewell, that was quick! That's hilarious about Uncle Merrill wearing two different shoes to the temple! I had a good laugh too when I read that. I can totally picture me doing that when I'm older.

This week went by super fast! Not so many things exciting happened this week but is was still amazing as ever. That's the thing about a mission, it's tough and hard every day, but you never regret any moment spent helping other people.

Sundays are hectic in this ward! They get things done, they are having meetings about doing less-active work, parties, members helping missionaries, getting a group started out in Ambohidratrimo. I swear they could get just as many baptisms if there weren't any missionaries if they really wanted to. And it's extra crazy because everyone wants to talk to Elder Goff and set up soirée’s with us because he is leaving in a week. Hopefully it slows down a bit, if not I guess I better just get used to it.

We have this one investigator family that is super awesome! Only the father comes to church every Sunday but they all are excited to learn when we come over. The father, Harivelo, always has amazing questions we usually don't have anything planned to teach him because he always has questions. And his questions go along with the things he needs to learn anyways, so that’s even better. His daughter is way diligent in learning too. We gave her a couple different chapters to read in the Book of Mormon and some stuff in Gospel Principles book and the next day she read all of it. She is super interested and loves to learn about the gospel. The Holy Ghost is an amazing feeling. It really is the true teacher. The power of the Holy Ghost is so strong. I can't even express how strong of an influence it is. I love it so much, and so grateful to have the opportunity to have it all the time.

We have another group of people that learn from us. They are all grown up but live in different houses right next to each other. At first we were just teaching one sister, then her other sister joined in, then the brother. And now we teach them, their mom, and two friends they brought from the last church they went to. I love doing missionary work when that happens.

We had a soirée with one of the stake patriarchs. It was really fun just to talk and have fun with his family. During the soirée, it started to rain. When we left, we were walking up this hill and all the water accumulated on the one path that we needed to walk up. So we were walking up this hill ankle deep in water. I love Madagascar

Not a lot happened this week. Transfer news is next Monday, Goff is going home a week from Thursday but leaving Tuesday to do something with President Donnelly. This area has a chance to explode with baptisms, I just need to work really hard, and that's exactly what I plan to do. I hope I get a senior companion to help with the language, if not, I predict my language skills are going to sky rocket... hopefully.

You guys are an awesome example to me. Please keep emailing me even if I don't respond always, I love hearing about your life and reading your personality in your email. (Dani, Phil, especially Nat) Don't forget to pray every day, a couple times.

Elder Walker
My best friend in the ward so far. He has a pretty cool rat tail, I might grow one out after the mission...