"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, December 31, 2012

Dec. 31, 2012 - The big man now!

So my time in Ampitatafika is now over. After one month with McLaughlin and four months with Austin I have been called to a new area. It is called Antsirabe, which means the land of a lot of salt. But in reality it is the land of everything! They have almost all kinds of fruit, they have the main factory where they make the soda in the country, and they have a huge dairy farm down here! It is also the coldest place in Madagascar. Right now it is perfect because it is still in the summer part of the year here.
Electrified! He "grew his hair out" so he could show us on our Christmas Day Skype.

Brad and Elder Austin having fun at a ward activity.

Merry Christmas, Dad. Golf tribute.

Brad, Elder Austin, Brother O'Day and President Georges and family

Christmas hat chess

My new  companion is Elder Beau Chandler Waters and he is from Winter Haven, Florida. And is also the tallest missionary in the mission right now at 6'6". And yes, we are both the zone leaders for the five areas here in Antsirabe - itself and then one area in Ambositra, the two areas in Fianarantsoa and the one area in Toliara. Elder Waters has been here for only a month so we both are learning the area, how the zone leader thing works and everything else down here. haha! 

We are living with two other elders, Elder Randriamamonjisoa (he's Malagasy if you couldn't tell) and then Elder Kumar. He is Fijian but I think he is very closely related to India because he speaks Hindu, along with the Fijian, English and now Malagasy. And Randriamamonjisoa also speaks really good English. So we have a fun house. 

The church here in Antsirabe is a little... it needs some work. It turns out that the district president doesn't work well with the branch presidents and the branch president doesn't work well with the members and the members don't work well with the district president. All in all, it's the gossip and being easily offended that is tearing the people apart. So hopefully we can work with President Adams and get this long time problem to go away in a short amount of time. But on a good note, some of the members are way super cool!! I can't wait to try to get to know everyone before I go. 

I only have a little time left. I just want to let you guys know that the 27th of Feb. is not set in stone. And don't be too sad if I come home a little later. I'm happy to come home early too but I'm also kind of scared. So I'll work really hard for you guys and make sure that I don't have any regrets. I'm glad that Pres Adams gave me this opportunity for the last bit f my mission. I love this new area and can't wait to make some positive changes here. I'll try to get some pictures up next week of the area, the new comp etc. 

I love you guys and hope you have an awesome New Year's!!! Talk to ya next year!

Elder "Zone leader big man" Walker (I'm still working on the title)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas call - Dec. 25, 2012

Doesn't he look good?

Can he look any happier?
Brad went to his branch president's house to Skype this time which made it really nice for him not to compete with all the noise of a cyber cafe.

We were just finishing our Christmas morning breakfast when his call came in. I rushed down to the computer and in my rush answered just regular and not the video so we could see them, but they couldn't see us at first. Anyway, his MTC teacher Brother O'Day has been in Mada the last few months building lower cost housing there. Brother O'Day tried to pull a fast one on us and tell us that Brad had been transferred and he'd have to call us in a couple of days. I wasn't buying any of that!! Finally he said, "Well, it's time to open the presents..." and Brad came into view. It was fantastic!!

He got a chance to meet his nephew and niece and also future sister-in-law. He was so happy and upbeat. We got to say hi to his companion - Elder Austin, Brother O'Day and also the branch president's family.

Brad told us that he had some little news and some big news to share. So we asked for the little news first. Turns out he is being transferred on Dec. 27th to a place I can't pronounce - what else is new? He then said that he was going to be a zone leader there. So, we thought that was the big news. No, he then went on to say, "I'm being released on the 27th of..." and I shouted, "March?" No, February!! He warned us that it is not set in stone because it is 5 weeks early and the mission president has to get permission from the First Presidency if it is over a month early. I did notice that other elders who were supposed to go home in February are coming home two days after Christmas so I guess it really could happen!

We also asked Brad to bear his testimony and it was so sweet. He got emotional and choked up and we could see such growth and a wonderful spirit about him. He is still the same Brad but has more confidence and maturity about him.

It was a great experience talking to him - I love Skype! Being able to see him is the greatest!

Later in the day we all opened individual letters from Brad that he had secretly sent home through me. We were one big cry fest as we all read our special letters. It was a great Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve! - Dec. 24, 2012

The Skype thing sounds good. I think I'll try to go over to the Pres. Georges' house to Skype. But I'll still do it at the same time.

Don't let Taylor [Hartman] scare you. He couldn't handle a measly spider bite, of course he thinks its scary in Africa! I'm fine over here. [We went to the Hartman's homecoming yesterday - their son, TJ, reported too. It was great!]

I might email later today if I have time. I actually have an interview with Pres Adams so I'm pressed for time right now. 

I have big news for you guys tomorrow. [Release date maybe?]
Elder Walker

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas is close! - Dec. 17, 2012

Christmas is close and I am so excited!! We have been counting down the days here in Madagascar. I don't know if you guys have it over there in America, but there is something about the last day being on the 21st of December. It has kind of stolen the thunder of Christmas. But Christmas is a strong fellow so I think he is going to pull it out in the end. Another funny thing about the 21st, every single ward/branch is doing a little open house/contacting thing on the 22nd of December. Once everyone realizes that it is actually not the last day then we swoop in and catch everybody in our salvation giving net. I can't wait, it's gonna to be fun. 

Lately we have been teaching lot of recent convert/ less active times. It is just a little different focus than what I have been doing my whole mission but I guess it is just what I feel this branch needs. The lesson that I taught last week, I mostly wanted to focus on just love between the members in the ward. Just so they can start to love each other enough to serve each other. Hopefully they feel the Christmas spirit and start to do better. 

We did get this one family as a referral from the Branch President  It is a mom and four kids that are really well off and the dad is always working and never home. They have been taught a lot before by missionaries and they can't come to church because of family problems but they are so willing to learn and they just love the missionaries. They want to feed us so much too! That has become a highlight of my mission, not just the getting fed but just being in that environment with Malagasies. I love it when we can just talk and have fun. They are a super nice family, hopefully their problem can be fixed and they can start coming to church. 

On Saturday there was a little activity going on in one of the areas of the branch. So me and Elder Austin went to it with a lot of the young single adults in the branch. The members that were there was the family whose house it was at and then us with the young single adults. IT was still good. We learned about prayer and the comfort it brings. It was also fun with the young single adults there. 

Church was nice and organized. Nothing too crazy happened. After, we headed out to work and got dogged a lot! It was just tough because it started to rain and then Elder Austin wasn't feeling good so we ended up heading home early. Missionary work can be hard but by now I know that it brings happiness. So even when it gets tough and hard and whatever, if you push through even after no success with the extra effort done, Heavenly Father will bless you for it. 

I love being on a mission. It is tough and pushes you to the very edge. I hope that every man makes the choice to go and serve. 

So I guess that's all for this week. Not much to report. I hope all of you can get you shopping done this week. And if you are really in the Christmas mood, you can buy me a Christmas present and save it for me for when I get home. 

Elder Walker

1. How many missionaries are there in your mission? Any sisters? Any white sisters?
There are about  70 ish missionaries here in Mada and no white sisters. They only send black sisters here. 
2. Would Christmas eve be a better time to call? Or Christmas later? We could have you get on Skype anytime Christmas night and it would be our morning. So, how late is the cyber open? Could we set it up for 7:00 p.m. Christmas night for you? It would be 9:00 a.m. for us which would be perfect! Could you still do that or do we need to go earlier. We're flexible so I really need to know how things work on your end. Last Christmas we just called and so it didn't matter as much but now that you have to be on a computer we want to make sure it all works out. I LOVE that we can Skype because then I get to see your smiling face! You have to answer with a time because we only have one more email to do this. Can't wait!!
I think Christmas night for me would be the best. Except could we do it at 6:00 PM for me instead? That would be much better and safer for me because the cybers here close a little early. 

You can call me just to confirm the time and make sure it is all set up. I actually might have to set up a new Skype account because I forgot my password and username... So That will be settled before next Monday haha

PS: I have not gotten any packages yet so hopefully they will be there today when we go to the office of next week on Pday.

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012

I'm sorry f this email is a little short. The keyboard is being really crappy!!!

So I'll start on Thursday. Nothing happened. There are three companionships in the house with only two sets of keys. We were the last ones to leave and had no keys. By the time that we figured anything out both the missionaries were way too far to come back to the house. So we just spent the whole day inside almost about to go crazy. The next day me and Elder Austin were so restless we could barely sit down for personal study. 
For Friday, we went over to this member's house because the wife asked us to come over. Turns out that they are in some pretty bad financial trouble. They raise pigs and then sell them for meat. But since the pigs they had were American pigs and not Malagasy pigs they were really prone to getting sick. So the income they were going to receive got cut down to one third of the original price when most of their pigs died of some sort of disease. It is really tough to not give good people like that some money. But they are going strong and still active in the church. They have some really good faith. 
On Saturday we went over to the church to buy some pizzas! The young single adults were making some pizzas to raise some money for their trip they are taking. I bought five pizzas on my own and Elder Austin bought four. He actually bought six but sold two of them to Elder McLaughlin. I actually ate three of them right there on the spot. I was really hungry. And it was for a good cause. 
So here in Tana the missionaries go by what is called "taxi be" which means big taxi. With Malagasies it can hold up to 27 people in it. But sometimes that isn't even enough. We needed to take a taxi to this far out place and it just so happens that everyone else needed to get there the same time as us so we actually didn't get the chance to go out to these awesome members and investigator. But they weren't mad when we saw them on Sunday so everything is OK. 
The rains decided to pour on Sunday, our busiest day of the week. But before we get to that part I have to tell you about one of the best moments on my mission. It was the Primary program! Oh my gosh I was so happy. Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a crier. I didn't cry during it but I was getting close. Kids like that just have such a pure spirit. Nothing will be able to top that for awhile. 
OH I almost forgot! I taught Priesthood class. Our branch here in Ampitatafika is slacking on the home teaching so I wanted to get them a little more diligent in completing that. I focused mostly on charity and how we can't let our own family perish spiritually. I thought it went well, let's hope that it makes a difference. I was pretty scared to do it before but it turns out that Malagasies just love to have some input so something was always being said. 
When we actually got out teaching the rain decided to start. And like always, it comes hard! Always. But we still got to some times and had some wonderful lessons. I can't forget but we had a couple, not just one but a couple less actives come back to church this last Sunday!!!! Sunday was just an awesome day! 
Well the weeks are winding down but I still need to work hard. I wonder everyday how many people can I give the gospel to in the amount of time I have left. It helps me work just a little harder. Especially as it is winding down. 

I love you all. Please give to someone. Have the Christmas spirit with you. It always feels good to give. 


Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving - Nov. 26, 2012

This week was really good! Well the week went pretty normal up until Thursday. We had some good times with people. I just love going out and teaching people. Even if they sometimes don't listen haha!

Well last Sunday Me and Brother O'Day cooked up an ingenious plan! We agreed on doing a dinner with him and Pres. Georges (branch president) family. We would just chip in a little to pay for the bunch of American style food. O'Day said that they were super excited to celebrate an American holiday. Last year when we bought a turkey, killed it, gutted it and badly cooked it, with mash potatoes and corn. So yes I was excited for this year. Brother O'Day did most of the cooking because 1. he had time and 2. he is apparently way good at cooking! I list off what we had.
  1. A chicken( because the turkeys are all small and there is more meat on a chicken)
  2. LOTS of mash potatoes (one of the daughters  blended them up so they were kind of creamy haha) 
  3. green bean casserole
  4. plenty of delicious rolls
  5. very splendid gravy that I mostly made :)
  6. pretty dang good stuffing
  7. We had three pumpkin pies 
  8. And a delicious delicious cheesecake!
The  meal was almost too much to bear, but the three Americans put down a lot.  I was surprised how much I couldn't eat. I guess my stomach is just used to eating rice haha! It was very good to say the least. I'm not that persnickety so it ended up being a great Thanksgiving! (Elder Hansen has an English dictionary, I've flipped through it a couple times to make sure I can sound somewhat smart when I get back) And all  that we ate was stuff bought here and made from scratch. So I will safely say that this Thanksgiving was a lot better than last year. 
Wow! What a spread!
Brad with his mouth full of good food!
Saturday  was the next big day.  At eight o clock in the morning we headed to the church to meet with the young men of the branch. Then we walked to a place  in our area called ambodiafontsy. As we walked we invited all the guys that wanted to come with us to play a big game of soccer! The missionaries in Itaosy came with us so we split up the four missionaries and had a seven on seven game. We actually had two sets of soccer going. The young men with other little kids and then the missionaries with the leaders and other older boys. We had a good clean game, no one fighting or getting hurt. All in all my team won 5-2! And I had assists on two of those goals. You can just go ahead and call me the John Stockton of soccer. It was a fun morning. 

We got back to the house showered got ready and went straight to the church to help set up the baptism! woohoo! We were supposed to have three but one of them didn't show up. The two people that got baptized were one child of record and then his older sister that is nine years old. Both of them are way super smart and way funny too. It is just a hoot every time we go over there. I baptized the none year old girl Manitra (which means sweet smelling) and then Elder Austin baptized the eight year old boy Sarobidy (which means precious or valuable). I know they are going to be in the Celestial kingdom someday. 
Manitra on the right of me, Sarobidy on the front left of me
 After the baptism we straight up started a branch activity. We taught about the plan of salvation and family and temples. I really likes how it all panned out. It is fun to teach members sometimes. All times actually. I just love the members here haha! After the refreshments were dried somethings, I don't even  know what they are called, little cookies and soda. While everyone was eating I snagged a pictures with everyone. It is really starting to hit me that I might not get the chance to return here so I need as many memories as I can get while serving here. It was a very fun time. 
The branch activity
Later that night we taught a recent convert, Hery. He was baptized a  couple weeks after I got here. He had a rough spot with having no work and some other stuff but  now he has a job, is diligent in coming to church every week and is just has happy as ever!!! They have five kids and they all are going to become the best people in the whole world. I love them so much! 

On Sunday we had the most turn out than I have ever been here. Not a lot of investigators per say but just a lot of members coming back. 134 was the total count. It felt really good. Hopefully we can keep it up. One of the  times that we taught was the chef and his wife. It was super weird because this was the first time that we met him. He walks in and immediately says "Hi elders". I was a little put off but thought that he must just be an old investigator. Anyway, he goes on and he actually is a member!!! And he was baptized in 1992!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is a year after the church had missionaries here!!!!!!! I was so amazed you cannot even imagine. He is only forty or so, not even that old. He must have been baptized when he was like twenty. So that was the biggest surprise of the last five months. Pretty good. 

That is basically all the news for the week. No I did not get transferred so I am staying here until at least January 9. That is when the next transfers are. They are starting the six week transfers now. So we should start to try to figure out the whole Skype thing now for Christmas. And yes I did get the padded envelope thing. Thanks for the decorations, they are really nice.  Elder Galbreath is just a fanatic about Christmas so he will make sure all of us have Christmas spirit. Christmas will be a fun one. Can't wait. Janet, you  better fill i my spot well ok?! Just try to be so goofy and weird that it is almost over the top.  But just almost.

I love you all so much you have no idea!!!!!!! I would say more thanks but I have to go out and work bye bye é!!!

Elder Walker

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nov. 19, 2012

Brayden Miller - first day home from the Rome, Italy mission (with Mike and Les)
Well that picture of Brayden is probably the best thing I've seen! That got me really trunky but I still loved it! I hope that I have matured or at least will show some difference.

To answer your questions from last week.  
Did you feel like you were prepared emotionally to live away from home? I don't think I had too much homesickness, just the normal amount. I guess it would be a little bad if you didn't have a little homesickness, right?  
Were you prepared to talk to people? I feel like I could have been more prepared with social skills. Like just with talking to random people but hey, I guess that what a mission is for, because I have no problem with that now. I think I'll be a little too straight forward now haha! I guess it's just the culture here. You can just walk up to someone and after saying "hello" you can ask them where they go to church. I guess it helps that we are white and any Malagasy just loves a white guy that can speak their own language. To get a conversation started with someone here is not the hard part, you just need to be careful with your words to make it sound that letting us teach them is the best idea in the whole word. I love being on a mission. 
Were you homesick at first at all? There was this one card that you sent me in a package in the MTC, and it said "Bradman" and that got me super homesick. But now it helps me to work hard and to finish until the end. I've been here for a while now that I can't remember much about home. Just the family is precious to my heart. And will be forever!

I feel like I was well prepared for a mission. If you were to pick one thing to bring on a mission it would be a testimony. If you had nothing else to start a mission it would be your testimony that would keep you strong. And that was one of the things that you guys helped me to grow. Through your hard work and just by pure example! I am so grateful for the amazing things that you have done in my life. So if a boy wants to go on a mission, it can be a lot easier if the boy and the parents work together to prepare him. Show him how to grow a testimony and follow the commandments as you do. And amazingly, while you follow the commandments, your love for each other will grow into an inseparable bond that can drive you to finish your mission. God is one smart cookie, you should really just follow the simple things he says and everything will work out. And I mean EVERYTHING! I'm continually amazed with what he has done and does for us daily.

Not much to report this week, the work is just going on its own. We tracted into this house and we just met the wife and she is really cool. She really wants to learn. We haven't met the husband yet but apparently he works for the turkey embassy as a chef. What, dinner appointment?!?! We'll see where that goes. Right now we are just contacting and tracting to find a lot of new people. I think that it is  fun to just talk with a lot people. Like I said the people are really friendly and just want to talk to us.

I'll talk to you guys next week, I love you all and hope that you just have the most fun every single day!

Elder Walker

Monday, November 12, 2012

Nov. 12, 2012

I don't know what to talk about today. I'm getting pretty trunky with having Payton in the house. It's just too fun, Payton is an awesome missionary. The missionary work is a little difficult right now. A lot of our investigators have all decided to go on a progressing strike. I don't know how they communicated without knowing each other's phone numbers or where they live. But they pulled it off. So, as of this following week, we are going to find all father led families that just have the coolest kids ever! They are kind of hard to find because they hide a lot but we'll find them!

This last week me and Elder Austin finished the 12 week training program. And as of right now he is already better at the language and missionary work than me. So I guess that means that I need to step my game up. It has been awesome to be with Elder Austin. He is such a good teacher already, and everyone in the branch loves him. It has been three months with him, and I've been in the area for four months. If I'm not mistaken, transfers are this coming Sunday. I have a feeling that I'm going to another area because They don't really keep trainers with their trainees too long, just so they can learn more. But if its anything that I've learned on the mission its that you can't always predict the transfer news haha! So we'll see. Check on the map of Madagascar and guess where I'll go. If I'll stay here in Tana or if I'll go somewhere like Antsirabe or Mahajanga or something like that.

On Wednesday, I went on exchanges with Elder Hansen (Payton) and we went into his area. It was really fun and that was when I realized that he is really really amazing at the language. All the lessons went well and I felt that it changed some people. It has been fun to be in the same house with these five other missionaries. Especially the two newest additions, Elder Horne and Hansen. Elder Horne is a fun character. He was a little upset when we found out that Obama stayed president. But it was funny to watch haha! This house is where the party is at during the night time. We always have a good fun talk when we have already come home planned and we are just eating dinner together. The mission has a lot of highlights and you just have to notice them.

I love all of you and hope that you guys have a delicious Thanksgiving. We have already gotten into the Christmas Spirit in our house because we got the December Liahona and have been listening to Christmas music all the time. Its probably not a good thing but I gotta get as much Christmas as I can get.

I'll talk to ya next week! Don't get in too much trouble!   Ka mahery loha bibky! Fa kely avao!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Nov. 5, 2012

So a lot has happened back in America. Almost like you guys are having too much fun! Over here in Mada is about the same. It has been just a little frustrating because a lot of people are not progressing or they are never at their house of where we decided to meet or they don't come to church when they say they will after 3 times. But with all of that kind of stuff there are the awesome families that you come in contact with, way cool members that help so much with the mission work, and way good missionary friends.

On Wednesday, we were with this family that are mostly members except the kids that passed age eight before they could get baptized so now we take care of them. So it is a grandpa and grandma that are both members with their one daughter who is a member also. And then the daughter has 4 more kids; an 11 year old boy who is baptized, then a 9 year old girl, and a 7 year old boy who are going to be baptized on the 24th of November (a week after the boy turns eight) and then last but definitely not least a 3 year old girl. I'll have to take a picture with them because they are just the funniest bunch of people here in Madagascar. But the 3 year old daughter just kills me every time we go over. She is so smart! She can already write and everything. I don't know if that's normal in America but it's not normal here. She says the darndest things! It is so hilarious. Another thing that was funny was when we were teaching the Word of Wisdom is when we were going through the things we couldn't have the 9 year old daughter chimed in and said that we couldn't eat people. So I waited and thought a little bit and then accepted her answer. So now there is one more thing added to the list. Thou shalt not eat thy neighbor. It was so hilarious.

Just a little note, on Thursday we went into Tana for district meeting and then after we went out to eat. And there were not any restaurants open at all. I guess it was The Day of the Dead for the people not of the Catholic church and then It was the party of the saints if you were. And everything was closed. It was just a really weird holiday but whatever :)

We really have some cool people here in Ampitatafika.  We went over to this woman's house and she just received the Book of Mormon from the last time we were there. We asked her if she read and prayed about the Book of Mormon. She said that she did and that she has received an answer and that she knows its true! She also said that she got a lot of money the day she prayed so that just reaffirmed her answer to prayer. I thought that it was a little funny but hey, God works in mysterious ways.

Right now I don't have too much to report, we just need to do a little tracting to get some wealthy men. That is our goal right now. Pres. Adams is really focusing on centers of strength. I think he is really determined to make at least one more stake here in Madagascar if not two. I think he could do it. He is such a good President. He knows how to get things done. So I'll give you an update about the men. I really want to find someone that is just jaw dropping amazing. I guess it'll just come in time. :)

I really love being out here and serving the people here also. It is such a cool experience to be a missionary in a place like this. I love all of you and pray for you guys every night. I hope that you are happy as well.

Elder Walker

1. Just curious, do you ever get letters from anyone else anymore or just family? Sometimes that happens the longer you've been out. Especially since it takes so long for letters to get there. I sometimes get dear elders from Shai Haws or Miranda Jessee. I've also gotten a couple from James Blake. But it is usually just Maddie Rawle that still writes me. Woohoo! true friends :) just kidding I love you all!

2. Do you think you'll be transferred before Christmas? I'm just worried about your packages. We still have one to send you next week. I think I will be transferred but I don't know if it will be out of Tana or not. Hopefully they take them to all the missionaries before Christmas.
3. Now that you've been out for a year and a half, are there any life skills that you wish you'd had before you left on your mission? Or, do you think being an Eagle Scout prepared you pretty well, besides your amazing Mom and Dad? Do you mean like just surviving or like more social skills? I think that you guys helped me out a lot for like ironing, sewing, cooking a little, stuff like that. I've seen a lot of missionaries that are not prepared with stuff like that. And I'm glad that I was. 
4. So am I right you now have 6 in your apt? Where are the other two from and how long have they been out? Is it Payton Hansen? Wow! The two new elders are Elder Horne and Elder Hansen. And yes me and Elder Hansen get along great! Way fun to be with someone you knew before. Elder Horne is from Murray and Elder Hansen is in Olex's stake now. His family moved right after he left. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rain rain goes all day!! - Oct. 29, 2012

Sorry for no email last week. I guess it just didn't send through. But that means that you get TWO emails this week! Woohoo! Lucky you! 

So on Monday Elder Austin and Elder McLaughlin played soccer with a bunch of other missionaries and then me and Elder Galbreath went to the office to take care of some other stuff. The next day, Elder Austin and McLaughlin were two red lobsters! That were also super sore. Elder Austins forehead started to blister; it was so sunburned! So me and Elder McLaughlin went half the day in our area because he needed to show me someones house and then I went half the day with Elder Galbreath in their area. It was so fun to see the investigators and people I knew in Itoasy. Also, I got to go to a dinner appointment and then the members that were their gave us a ride home. Super sweet.

Wednesday marked the beginning of the rainy season. And man, did it get a running start! The first half of the day was sunshiny goodness. We taught some times close to the house and then we had to take a little five min bus ride to our next area. While on the bus it started to drizzle, and then rain, and then pour! I was rushing to put everything in the plastic bags that I brought. I was trying to get all of it into bags before our stop because everyone gets a little grumpy if they have to wait at a stop longer than they need to. So we get to our stop and it is just like a huge bucket of water being poured that has no end. I'd say that it was one of the biggest rain storms I've been in. We were kind of in a country side part where there were no buildings, just rice patties. So it was prime wind blowing location. The rain felt like hail with the wind giving it more speed. It was funny because we get out of the bus and Elder Austin doesn't have everything protected in his bag, so me and him crouch behind this little stack of bricks for protection from the rain and I give him some bags for his scriptures, etc. We get to the persons house and they are just surprised as can be that we came to their house in a rain storm that bad. That's what I love about this place. The people that have lived here their entire lives, just do not like the rain at all. Everything shuts down if its raining. But its the perfect time to catch people inside their house. Haha! 

On Saturday our branch president had a birthday party! So we went to that and had some delicious food and talked to some of their family. It was super fun. Its pretty much the same as an American birthday party except when they introduce the gifts, the person giving it goes up, says a little something and then gives the three cheek kiss with the present. It could get a little long if there was a ton of presents. 

On Sunday, we did absolutely nothing! Elder Austin was sick, so we had to stay inside all day. But good news is, is that I did all my laundry, wrote some letters cleaned the kitchen and made two different kinds of rice (he meant popcorn maybe?). I couldn't find brown sugar here so I decided to use the corn syrup I had and just pour it on. It worked out pretty well. And then the other kind was just normal salt and butter. It was really cool switching off bite after bite. Also there was another huge rain storm. And I took some pretty cool videos of lightening. 

So that was our week here in Mada. How was yours? Love you all!

2 lbs. meat - $3.50

vegetables - 75 cents

sweet/salty popcorn

Monday, October 22, 2012

Let us all press on - October 22, 2012

Well like you Mom, am kind of shooken up from change, but we must all press on and trust in the Lord. For he knows what is the best. It looks like I have a huge responsibility put upon my shoulders now with being the only missionary in our ward now. I'll fulfill it well! 

So this weekend we had General Conference! Back when it happened in the beginning of October I was probably the most excited I have ever been in my whole life for General Conference. You could say that I was almost too happy. So on Saturday all the Tana missionaries went to the office and watched it in English. Except I was so confused because Pres. Adams started with Priesthood and I was almost about to question him when I decided that he probably knew what he was doing. And it turned out to be my favorite talk of conference. D. Todd Christoferson. Look it up! I took so many notes on conference. The most I have ever taken before. I was getting spiritually overwhelmed with the spirit. On Sunday morning we actually had a baptism! Woohoo! We snuck it in right before the morning session. Three people got baptized. It is one brother and two sisters. And they are in their thirty forties age. They are going to be really good members. Elder Austin baptized all three. I could tell he was a little nervous because when you walk out to the baptismal font (which is not inside the church) you usually just wait for the person conducting to call the baptizee's name and then the person baptizing them but Elder Austin and one of the people getting baptized had already gotten into the font before anyone else got outside. But he did well, he didn't mess up on the prayers or putting them in the water. After we just went straight into general conference in Malagasy. To be honest, I could understand a lot but Malagasy is just not clear. And the translator doesn't get everything. In one of Pres. Eying's talks we literally listened to a whole story before the translator started again, to just talk about the doctrine after it. Also American humor is different than Malagasy humor so no one laughs. But its ok because we watched it later that night in English at our house. After the morning session we all went again to the office and watched the last session in English. It was all so good! That was probably my last conference here in the mission because I might leave before or if I don't it won't be translated before I go home. Well It was a good one. Just like the others haha! 

Transfers were last night and nothing happened in our house, like was suspected, and we might actually be getting two more people in our house! One of the areas are going down to two missionaries. The two missionaries that left that area are opening up another area in Tamatave I think. And the other is moving into our house!!! And he is training! And it is Elder Hansen! So he is doing what is called white- washing. Which is going into a new area with two new missionaries. And he is training so we'll get another new Elder. It sounds really exciting! But our house is already full, like their is now room for them to sleep of study, literally! So we'll see if it is really going to happen. You don't hear any complaints from me. Oh and also Elder Fryer who has been my comp two separate times is going to my birth area in Tamatave, Ankirihiry, after being Zone leader for six months. He really wanted to go to the coast so he got his wish. I know he will love it just as I did. 

The area is going good with a lot of good member help. We actually have filled up our schedule all the way from it being half full two months ago. It probably could have filled up faster if I was better at planning but I tried my best and now its filled up anyway. I went on exchanges with my district leader Elder Waters. He came into my area with Elder Austin and I went into his area with Elder Rasoanaivo (he's Malagasy :) if you couldn't tell) His area happens to be the one with the tallest hill/mountain in it. We started at the Rova (the kings palace back when there were kings here) (look it up on google)and just walked down and sometimes walked up the hill/mountain.  And my calves were sore the next day. Definitely not used to walking up and down steep stairs all day. You know, Malagasies for being extra short, they have extra big stairs! 

So that was the exciting part of my week. I hope you got excited reading it. Love you all and talk to you next week. 

I will also try and get pictures up, sorry I know I have been slacking. 


Monday, October 15, 2012

A Hard Week - Oct. 15, 2012

Well I myself am kind of bummed about the ward change. I guess I'm just gonna have to visit all of the people that are in different wards now. 

Well I have to be honest, this week was not the best. But it was still good because ya know, I'm in Madagascar serving the Lord. 

So on Monday, we did this Family Home Evening with this less-active family. It was a hit! We had the one of the members with us share a little spiritual thought and then after Elder Austin and I shared the lesson. Honestly I can't remember what we shared but I know it was good. Really good. :) Then we it was time for the game. This time I decided that it was time to pull out the magic tricks! I did about three different magic tricks and it amazed every single one of them. It was hilarious to see their faces haha! They were amazed/angry that they couldn't figure it out. After that, they fed us this delicious rice and beans. I know that's what I've been eating for the past year and a half but it's really good! The only thing that was kind of a bummer was the rice water was cold. NOTE: For those of you who don't know, they have this rice water here. After serving the rice, they throw in more water and burn the rice that's still in the pot. And then they serve it hot. And it is delicious! But it's kind of weird if it's cold. 

Wednesday we had interviews with Pres. Adams. [He's the new mission president since July.] And it was probably one of the most special times on my mission. I just felt like he really cared about me. It was really like the first time that we talked. Everything went well and I feel like my mission is gonna go better now. 

Friday we were teaching the Ten Commandments to this mom and daughter. We got through all of them, the hand signals and everything. We taught a little why we needed to keep them and then we asked them if they knew all of the ten commandments. So we would hold up our hand and they would tell us which one it was. So I held up 1 and the daughter said "don't use the Lord's name in vain", the mom said "don't kill people." Both wrong. We move on to the second one. Same answer from both. Both wrong. We move on to the third one, (this is "don't use the Lords name in vain") So this time the mom answers first "don't kill people". Nope wrong. the says "don't commit adultery". Wrong again. So this goes to the fourth and fifth commandment. The daughter has taken the jump around tactic bound to get some right. And the more experienced mom is sticking with her "don't kill" answer, determined to get one right. So now me and Elder Austin were a little disappointed but so excited that we were on six now (don't kill). So we hold up number six and Elder Austin gives a good excited gesture to let her know that she will get it right and she says "don't covet". How could she change her groove?! After that the daughter just cheated and looked at the bible, and the mom stuck with don't covet until the end. So eventually she did get one right. You just gotta love missionary work. 

Saturday was a little different. Three of the times we taught the people were drunk. And they always talk about how it is so hard to live because they never have enough money. Well maybe it's because they are drunk at three o'clock in the afternoon. Its really hard to watch sometimes. Hopefully they remember something of what we taught that day. But I think the hardest part to watch was when we got out of our last time and everyone was looking at something. Everyone on this little street was looking at a member of our church, drunk. He was walking furiously up and down the street and yelling like crazy at people and how they are liars. And he was hitting people with a stick. It was probably the hardest thing I have ever seen in my life. So I immediately walked up to him and took the stick from him. Luckily he was nice to us, the missionaries. So I took him inside his house and talked to him for a little bit. Then I told him that he couldn't leave his house and that he had to go to sleep. From what I heard from his wife the next day he didn't do anything else. It's so tough sometimes because they have been having a hard time with money I believe. We visited them earlier that morning and they gave us some juice and bread. And he was perfectly fine. Life can be hard but I know if we trust in God and try OUR best to live his principles, our life will get better. 

Also on Saturday there were a lot of people bugging us and teasing us and just being rude to us, so we decided to get some ice cream at the end of the day. So we paid them and got our change and walked away. About the time we were home it finally clicked in my head that they didn't give us the right change. They stole a little from us! It was just a rough day in general. 

I love teaching the gospel. There is no way that any other church is true. I know that Heavenly Father loves us very much. I love the Malagasy people. I hope all of you have a great week! 

Elder Walker

Monday, October 8, 2012

Best meal yet! - Oct. 8, 2012

So nothing special this week. There was one thing that was really cool. Brother O'Day's mom came here to Madagascar. We didn't see them last week because they were somewhere on the beach (not fair). But last Friday we went over to the Branch president’s house where they are staying and had dinner. First of all I have to talk about the delicious dinner that we had. It was American style! O'Day's mom made this cucumber salad thing with another mango/pineapple salad that was really good. And then for the main course she made this amazing Macaroni and cheese! It was so so so good! Oh my gosh I must of had like three plates of just that. It was so good! And then to top it all off, we had brownies for dessert! But not just any regular brownies, they were expensive ingredient brownies just for us! And you can't forget the Hershey kisses that were in the middle of each piece! I almost couldn't have a second piece because that was so sweet. I don't think I can portray through email how much I loved this meal. It was probably my favorite on my mission, that's how good it was! What would have made it better was if there was some good American ice cream! 

Brother O’Day’s mom is really nice! So yesterday was fast Sunday and they bishopric asked if she would bare her testimony for us and O'Day would translate. She had a very moving testimony about sacrifice. About how everyone has different sacrifices but everyone has them. We must, in order to progress and grow. I really loved it. I laughed a couple times because of Bother O’Day’s translation. It's just impossible to translate directly from English to Malagasy. So it always turns out funny. She also talked about how just because some people are rich doesn't mean that they don't have struggles (she was talking about the branch president) because a lot of people tend to think that here. I liked it a lot. 

Well I don't have much time because a lot of missionaries are eating together for lunch and they are rushing us so I'll say that I love you and that will never change. 


Oh and for Christmas I was wondering if you guys could send me another dinner recording with everyone new. I loved the last one so much! If you can't though, I understand. And If I'm sending a letter to everyone I better get a letter from everyone. That means you too Janet! Even if it’s not that long, I still want one from you. And if you guys could buy me an Xbox for when I get home that would be great... The new black one :) You know just little stuff, I don't like asking for too many things. 
Brad with Daniel - maybe a member helping ?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Good Week - Oct. 1, 2012

This week was pretty good. It was mostly the end that made it all worth it. So basically Monday through Friday was just normal. I'm not down playing the importance of teaching but just saying that it wasn't any different than the normal amazingness that it usually is. Actually, now that I think about it, there was these people that we were going to teach but when we got there they weren't home. So we asked the women sitting down in front of her house and the grandma if they would like to learn. They politely denied (which was expected) and I started to walk away. But at the time we had a member with us. And just some background info, this member was a pastor in his old church so he is pretty good at "preaching". So he kept talking to these two women and he said that who ever receives Christ's servants you receive Him. And then said that if you don't receive them, then you don't receive Him. And then he says a phrase that roughly but pretty much directly translates to "so what now?". He has used it multiple times now and it has not failed once! So yes, we taught them and when we got done teaching them we asked when we could come back and a man working on his house just spoke up and said that they couldn't learn from us anymore. And then the member with us said that everyone has their own agency. But then the man said that he was the spokesperson for them and said that they aren't allowed to change church's. So that was that, we just left a little surprised how straight forward he was but at least we didn't waist our time teaching them and then them rejecting us later. Oh well, I just wanted to share the part with the member's preaching tactic. I wonder if it would work in America. 

Then on Saturday we went to a new place of our area. We took a bus about 5 Kilometers out (3 miles I think) that cost 20 cents a person. Really cheap, even for Malagasys. And visited a member out there who had a referral for us to teach. And the place that we went to was B E A utiful!!! It was like a little valley that had some rice fields and a little town with a river. It was just so beautiful. I'll take a picture next week or you guys but remember that pictures wont do it justice. Anyway, we got some good new investigators but that's not what this story is about. It is about the member that gave them to us. He is about 60 or so and he is crippled. So he can't move his left arm and he can kind of move his left leg. He has been baptized for a little over a year now. He doesn't have the most money so he actually still goes around looking for work. But when he comes to church he sometimes doesn't have the money to go by bus so he walks!!! Isn't that crazy?! Also, he is always there on time! He is the one that always comes to the baptisms and all the activities. He is just an amazing man! He came up in our ward council meeting and everyone said that if you have any money that you should give it to him because he really and truly needs it. It was amazing to see because Malagasys are usually skimpy on money but they were really serious. It just showed some true love that is in our church. Brother Francois is the man of the year. He is my idol and he is definitely going to get his place in the celestial kingdom. 

Then Sunday just topped off the whole week. We were waiting behind the gate that went into the church. Just some info before. We have been teaching some less actives for a long time and no success in them coming to church. I guess that kind of ruined the story but a lot of those less actives came to church today! But it was like three less active people of different families and one of them even brought her husband! It was super cool! And then two men we baptized got the priesthood also. Also, a ton of the kids came back from vacation so church was packed! It was just an awesome Sunday! I loved it! It put a smile on my face the whole day. 

Well that was my week, pretty dang good! Thanks for the debit card, I'll be sure to spend as much as I can now. And yes, I loved the pictures that you sent me!

1. Did you happen to get a picture with Elder Cook when he came? That would be cool! No sorry I didn't feel like bugging him. He already had so many people asking him for pictures so I just didn't want to bother him.
2. Are you still taking vitamins? Are they gone? Do you need more? No I'm good on vitamins thanks though.
3. I hear there isn't a grocery store nearby you. What are you eating during the week? I had no grocery store anywhere for five months in Toliara, I can get by a couple days. And we go to the grocery store every Monday if it is something you can't buy at the little mini stores across the street. I take a picture for you guys next week to let you know what I mean.
4. Do you have any ideas of what you'd like for Christmas? Candy is always wanted. Spice things up this time and send me something else than peanut M&Ms. I don't need any clothes or shoes or socks like that. Send me funny pictures. I honestly have no idea. Just surprise me!
5. Do you get to hear General Conference in English again since you are so close to the mission home? Yeah; Two weeks after you guys watch it, we get it over hear in English. The people outside of Tana watch all five sessions in Malagasy with their ward. Just like I did in Toliara.
6. Dad was wondering how I find so much to write about. Are my emails too long for you? Am I taking too much of your cyber time? Nope; I love them when they are long.
7. We had 40 original pencil sketches of Norman Rockwell on display. Please tell me you've heard of him?! Nope, never heard of him. Good thing I'm half way around the world so you can't hit me on the arm. :)
8. How fun for you to be able to teach with Brother O'Day again! Was he surprised at your progress since the last time? So is he located near where you are now or does he travel all over to build houses? Is he married yet? How often does he go out with the missionaries? He didn't say anything about my language skills but he didn't say I was bad either so that was good. He lives close but he works far away. He has bought some land to build. He is actually building a whole housing complex so right now he's working in one place. Not married yet. He went with the missionaries a lot before but works a lot now. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sept. 24, 2012

So on Friday, a member came with us. Brother O'Day my old MTC teacher came with us. He is staying here for work. He just started a company building houses. It seems to be going really well. Anyway, he came with us for about half the day. We just started teaching this one lady a couple lessons ago, that in my opinion is just a little sassy but she just loved Brother O'Days charm. We taught about the BoM. After two years of missionary work and two years of MTC teaching, Brother O'Day is pretty dang good at teaching. I've already been teaching with him once back in Tamatave but at that time I didn't really understand anything. Hopefully she will progress really well now. 

On Saturday we had three people baptized this week. Hery, Kevin his son and Aina. Hery was the one that had to be pushed back because he smoked to close too his baptism. But he was super ready for this one. The baptism went perfectly. The person doing the talk was there, both the prayers and the branch president also. And of course the three people getting baptized. I baptized all of them in my stylish coverall baptizing suit. The water was freezing cold!!! But there were a lot of people there to support them all so that was good.
Brad and Aina
Bakoly, little sisters and Aina with Brad and Elder Austin

Pres. George next to Brad and Hery's family

Pres. George, Brad, Kevin, Hery and Hery's brother

After the baptism we went straight into the activity. Me and Elder Austin taught about the Word of Wisdom. It was really fun! We taught in the sacrament chapel and I even had a microphone that I could walk around with! I almost felt like an motivational speaker for a little bit. And then after that we had a game. Sorry to say but it was the same game as the one we did in Toliara. We played soccer with a ping pong ball and you had to blow through the straws to score. It was super funny to watch. I asked people if they were getting tired and if they said yes then I would tell them that they weren't keeping the word of wisdom. Of course any game, any team I was on I won. After that my cheeks were super sore from blowing the straw so hard. And then of course we had soda and snacks after. 

And then on Sunday I gave the Holy Ghost to Aina. I've given it before but it is just really cool each time. Missionary life is so awesome! You get to serve so much! And you love it! Yes you do get tired doing it but it is so worth it. 

Not much for this week but I hope it was good for all you guys. I love you all!

I got my package with the debit card in it. I actually got it two and a half weeks ago but kept forgetting to tell 
you. :)

  1. Can you buy Madagascar vanilla there and is it something you can bring home? I'd love some! Ya, I'll grab ya some, I'll get you a lot if you want. I don't think that it's expensive at all. We'll see.
  2. Have you been keeping a journal? Ya, but I could write in it more though.
  3. Do you need any new pages for it? No I have plenty
  4. Have you thought about where you want to go to school when you get home? I'll probably have to submit applications for you before you get home so be thinking of where and we'll talk about it later. The only idea that I have is SLCC, to start my generals. But I don't know. I might just do that and then see what all my friends are doing after that.
Brad showing us some poses for his brother Phil's wedding

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sept. 17, 2012

So the week kind of started of a little slow. On Monday I was kind of losing my voice, I thought it was from singing too much with our investigators. So I just thought that I wouldn't sing with anyone Monday night. Well we didn't and then Tuesday morning came and I completely could not talk. It was super weird and really frustrating! Since Elder Austin would have a big load on his shoulders speaking for the both of us with being here for just three weeks, we decided to stay home. We figured it would have been too tough for him to understand the Malagasies and my sign language the whole day. 

Wednesday was a lot better. It was a little hard to talk but I didn't want to stay inside a whole other day. So we started off teaching English and it tuns out that I learn just as lurch Malagasy as they lean English. I was acting a little silly in class and they said a word that I had never heard before. I asked them to explain it and it best translates into "goober" haha! Its my new favorite word. Later in the day I had to depend on Elder Austin to take over some of the lessons because my voice was going again. I'm very lucky to have to best future Malagasy speaker in the mission. He even got complimented by the other elders in district meeting when he said the opening prayer. 

On Thursday we headed of to district meeting and it was just a good meeting, nothing special. But after Elder Austin and I went to this new fast food restaurant. There is only one other fast food place that I know of and it is owned by Chinese people and it is really expensive and not that filling. So this new place was supposed to be a lot better. You could get a good sized burger with fries and a drink for 7000 AR which is like $3.50. I'll tell you what, I'm going back there today! It was super good, of course it didn't compare to burger king but it was definitely better than the Chinese place. It is just the place to fatten me up before I go home. 

Nothing special Friday besides Elder Smiths (my comp Toliara) birthday! Happy birthday!!! The big 2 0.

On Saturday we went with the other two elders in the house and played soccer with their ward against another ward in Tana. It was super fun. I did not do the best because I didn't wear my cleats and it was like this dirt/grass field and it was really bumpy. I'm just making excuses, I'm actually just horrible at every sport now. I'm too weak to do anything haha! 

On Sunday, for a couple Sundays now, we have been getting a solid ten investigators to church. It is so cool when you have devoted people. You can definitely tell if they are converted or not. We have been taking a new stat, and it is seeing how many recent converts are still active. We started from January. And it was super weird this week because last week we had almost everyone there but this week we had about half. The retention rate here in Mada is about 74%. Our goal is to get it up to 85% by the end of the year. If we just baptize correctly instead of too fast, that goal should be easily met by the end of the year. 

Later that day we went to these investigators that have been taught twice, a husband and his wife. They came to church so I was already surprised about that because most people don't do what we say until the forth or fifth visit when they actually know that we keep coming to their house. We went by to teach them on Saturday because that was the scheduled time but the husband Claude was working so we taught the wife Lorette anyway. We taught about the Book of Mormon and since they already came to church I wanted to see how diligent they were so we gave them the whole introduction to the Book Of Mormon to read before our next time which was the next day right after church. So we came back the next day and they actually read it!! The husband too! We asked him what he liked about it and we went paragraph by paragraph summarizing it. Without even looking at it! He was so specific as to the day of when Moroni gave the plates to Joseph Smith. I was so super surprised and extremely happy!!! He is going to be an awesome investigator! Later that night we went over to this less actives member house. The husband stayed active long enough to get the Melchizedek priesthood but then the whole family went inactive. The three kids went to Toliara for a year and have just gotten back, so they all knew the dialect down there. So as you can imagine I was excited beyond belief. I was trying to remember all the words again and it was super hard to change back. It was really fun to talk to them but they don't seem that serious. I just asked them why they stopped coming to church and they simply said that they were lazy. We'll see if that is the only problem. It just makes me sad that people know the truth and then turn away from it. I don't think that they understand that this is concerning their salvation. I think that word is thrown out too casually. It means a lot more than just a place after we die. It is eternity of a state of happiness or not. Hopefully I can get that across better when I teach now. 

Hopefully you all can do some pondering and think of what salvation is. Think of what you are doing and what you are lacking to receive the happiness that you want. I know that families are forever.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Big news!! - Sept. 10, 2012

Well I don't know what to say. Oh Phil's engaged!! (I had to keep the trend going) I think that Phil should just write something and that should go on the blog. He deserves all the attention he can get right now. I've been stealing it for 17 months.
Well it is super cool that all of you have completed or will complete your homework assignments. I guess I was already being a missionary before I realized it, committing people and following up, and having hope that it will happen. [Brad gave everyone goals: Melissa and Nat to have babies and Phil to get married. Dani is supposed to be funnier than Brad when he gets home - so that one is still to be determined.] Well, I will take this time to officially welcome Janet into the family.

WELCOME JANET!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anything before that didn't count and anything after doesn't matter; you have "the Brad approval" (I was going to say "Walker" but that applies to everyone) I can't wait to see you in person. 

I was going to give a detailed email of the week but today was a start of my 12th planner so I don't have a record of last week with me but I'll try.

Tuesday we had a pretty open day so we decided to go contacting in this area that already had members in it but we thought there should be more to create a stronger network kind a thing. So , we went out and started walking about. We talked to plenty of people but its trying to find the fathers and the other people that can lead the church that is hard. We got a couple good people, but not many. But we also found out that in this small closed off area there are a lot of pretty wealthy people. I think the one that tops it off is this house with a huge gate, security cameras and a huge tennis AND basketball court, with lights for night games. Ya, I was pretty amazed. 

Don't mess!! - Elder Walker and Elder Austin
So Elder Galbreath (one of the elders in my house) got sick for his first time in country! Woohoo! I count it as a special mark on the mission haha.)  I stayed with him for a half a day while Elder McLaughlin and Austin went to the office to pick him up some medicine. We have this magnetic dart board in the house so me and him got pretty good at that while they were gone. 

On Friday we had this way awesome lesson with this pat member family, who the rest is going to be baptized on the 22nd of September. We basically went there to teach the littler kids of the family. We taught and acted out Lehi's dream. Austin read the little kids book and I acted out each scene. It was way fun, they all listened, it was clear and very uplifting. I loved it, I think we might do it again sometimes soon.

On Saturday we went to the office to have a meeting with all the missionaries and Elder Cook from the Seventy! It was way super cool. He talked about how we can better manage our time, who to look for and how better to keep recent converts in. He said that right now in Madagascar is the 1830's of the church. It is way new and we need to get it right now and not fix it later. SO we decided that we need to get more of the members involved in home teaching and just missionary work in general. I thought it was a way cool conference. 

These last couple of weeks got me thinking of going home. Not going home early but like when I go home. It finally seems like the mission ends. Its weird. I just know that a lot of new stuff has already happened. I'm excited, I just know that I'm going to miss this place so much. I'm sure every other missionary can understand. You get so attached to something you worked so had for. It doesn't even have to be a mission but anything. I just know that it will be so hard to leave because I haven't worked for anything else harder than this. But I guess that can be counted as a blessing. And I definitely have received a lot of blessings while serving here. 

I know that God is our Father. Literally. That has grown to a very firm understanding. I know he answers prayers. I know he blesses us as much as he can. He loves us and that's why he has given us prophets to guide us and the scriptures for knowledge and the Holy Ghost to comfort us. 

"Because I Have Been Given Much"

Elder Walker

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sept. 3, 2012

So this week was just the same old same old. But I guess I'll try to tell some interesting stories. Oh yeah! We take this canoe across this river to get to an area! It is super sketchy when it is full because it sways back and forth so it feels like we almost tip over. But we never do so it's all good! 
So Elder Austin is progressing rapidly at Malagasy! I am teaching and sometimes when I just take a breath he just jumps in there and teaches a good solid principle. It is actually very nice to have a companion that can learn extra fast. I'm sure my trainer wasn't so lucky. haha. 

So this week we went to the ZOO!!!! Again! It was still just as cool and that is actually going to be the pictures on the computer. Because my first visit is on the other SD card. I tired to send a video of the lemurs crawling over us but it took too long so you'll just get pics. It is so fun to go there and have the lemurs crawl over you. They are so human like it's crazy. 

The lemurs like the honey.

I can still get the ladies!
[Referring to something I wrote him in my email:] Pop and even clean water is a luxury here. That's why I'm so excited to have those bottomless fountain drinks myself. 

So I can't really remember anything that happened this week. It is pretty slow right now because we are trying to fill our schedule but hopefully that will change when we start getting member help this week. 

One funny thing that happened is Elder Austin was sharing a spiritual thought and he shared Ether 12: 27. And instead of saying "we all have strengths and weakness'" he said " we all are naked and have weakness'"! The people were nice enough not to start laughing but I corrected him and everything was alright. It doesn't help that the two words have a one letter difference. I can't say that I haven't made the same mistake either haha! 

Another thing that happened this week was "Attack Squadron!" So there are some tribal hats in our apartment and Elder Austin and I decided to wear some hats. So first of all they started off as study hats but when studying is over we go into attack mode! My hat is defense and Elder Austins is attack. And together we rule! And yes we still study the full time. 
Study mode

Attack mode!

This week we cooked banana pancakes like three times. They are just so flippin good! So one night I decided to go all out and put chocolate frosting on with sweetened condensed milk and sprinkles! I only did that once because it was so sugary! I think that is going to be something we are going t eat a lot when I get home! You guys will love it! 
Banana pancakes
I'm sorry, this might make you mad but I don't have anything else to say. Just to let you know I DO have spiritual experiences, I just can't remember any today. Next week will be good!

Elder Walker
Elder McLaughlin and Brad - the kids love him!

Branch President and his family with Brad, Elder McLaughlin and Brother O'Day (Brad's MTC teacher)