"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, January 30, 2012

The Spirit - Jan. 30, 2012

Just some pretty scenery
[I sent Brad this quote from the movie, We Bought a Zoo - "All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, and I promise you, something great will come of it."]

You are so right about the 20 seconds of courage to make a difference. You definitely need a little extra courage when speaking another language, to go up and contact someone. Luckily I'm already a pro at the language, so I don't have that problem ;) Ok maybe sometimes I still get a little nervous. But that's what the Spirit is for. To help us teach and testify.

This week went by so super fast! This week we had Zone Conference. We were taught by President Donnelly, the Assistants and Sister Donnelly. Pres. Donnelly has focused on P.O.I.N.T. It is Positioning. One Size Doens't Fit All, Inspired Questions, No Messing Around, True Prayer.
"P" you get to know the investigator, let them know why you're there and you want to help them.
"O" you teach according to their needs even if you change what you planned.
"I" you ask inspired questions.
"N" you don't waste time, you give them commitments, give them a baptismal date the second even the first time you teach them.
"T" end the lesson in a kneeling prayer.
You should never be afraid to any one of these things. If the Spirit is there, they will do the right thing. They will feel compelled to do what you ask them. That is one thing that I have just barely realized. You can't be afraid to ask them to do something. The Spirit will help. That's why it is so vital to teach with the Holy Ghost. It always has to be the three teachers there. And you really don't even need the other two. The Spirit is way more important than I've ever realized before. SO that is P.O.I.N.T.

I also played the piano for the conference. But the piano was electric so it had this special function where you could plunk any random key and it would play one set of chords, so then you just had to play the rhythm of it. I promise I practiced before to see if I could learn quick enough to play both hands but they only gave me a day's notice so I got scared. Sorry Mom. BUT! I also played the arrangement of "God Speed the Right" by Aaron Waite. And it went wonderful. Then after we all bore our testimony. I talked about faith in God. If we believe he can help with this or that, it will happen. Sometimes I think people don't realize how close he is. How fast he can help us. We need to ask first though.
Anyway, last week I said that Eric was supossed to be baptized because it got pushed back from two weeks ago, well he forgot about it and went off somewhere into the city so he couldn't make it. SO, he should be baptized THIS week. Hopefully. Then the week after that, two more women should be baptized. One is just the most excited about the gospel and the other is so humble because she can't read and the excited one reads the Book of Mormon and pamphlets to her. Hopefully the excited one can keep going to church because she is moving in with some people who are Catholic. And I guess they won't let her go to our church and also learn from the missionaries. I absolutely don't understand that but maybe it's a Malagasy thing. I'm really pushing the bishopric to help me talk to the people to see if she can still learn and go to church.

I love to hear those experiences of missionary work. Like I said before, if you have the Spirit, don't be afraid of anything. Offering a prayer, asking if she'll come to church or whatever. Here in Madagascar you can kind of be a little more straight forward and don't have to beat around the bush when you want to say something so it isn't too bad when they say no. But if you feel prompted, do it. The Spirit is just my new best friend, so I have to talk him up ya know? ;)

Well I love you guys like always, study the scriptures!

Do you go out teaching at night? If not, what do you do during that time? We usually get home between 7:30 and 8:30 which is the latest we should be out but we just do nightly planning, get changed, eat and do whatever. Read scrpitures, write in your journal, play Monopoly deal, which is super fun by the way.
Do you have a microwave in your apartment? Yes
What are you doing for Pday today? Going into Tana to pick up Landons PMG from the book binders. I'll send a picture next week of mine that I got done.
How is Elder Landon coming along? Getting braver about speaking? Yeah he is slowly progressing, I'm going to try and push him a little further though.
Does Elder George have a real companion yet? Nope. Still has his Mini missionary, but this coming Sunday is transfers so hopefully he gets a real missionary.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hello Family! - Jan. 23, 2012

How is everyone doing this wonderful week?!

This week was pretty good. We were supposed to have Eric's baptism this last Saturday, but some things came up, and our bishop said the Stake President moved it to next week. So that was kind of a bummer but hey, he is still getting baptized.
On Sunday, our Stake President, Pres. Donnelly, and Pres. Mkabelah (I don't know how to spell his name, I tried looking it up on LDS.org but couldn't find it.) from the Seventy was all there. It was a really good sacrament meeting. The president of the Deacons Quorum gave a talk. It was really touching and he bore an amazing testimony that he started to cry. After everyone was done giving their talks, Mkabelah brought up the boy and commended him for his strong testimony, and gave his own and it was just an awesome meeting. After we had a pretty good investigators class. We learned about agency. Every time I learn about something here it seems to have a bigger impact on me. I don't know if it's me just being older or me just learning to see the blessings in my life or maybe I just learn better in Malalgasy. I am so grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he made for us. Twas a really good class.

In priesthood, President Donnelly came in and so did Pres. Mkabelah. Pres. Donnelly asked me to translate for him and Pres. Mkabelah. I just sat there stunned and doubting myself. I had no idea how to translate,
Malagasys and Americans talk very different in what words they use. Pres. Donnelly gave me some encouragement and I agreed to do it. Luckily Pres.Mkabelah had to leave early to get back to South Africa, so I only had to translate for one person. I surely wasn't proud of my performance but I got the job done. My brain was fried after. Elder Landon tried talking to me and I could not come up with a credible thought. Luckily, no one needed the missionaries after church so we just headed home to rest my brain for a little bit. After eating a version of top ramen called Sedaap, we headed out to teach. We were teaching this way diligent investigator Ihary, she always reads anything we give her, she is just great. But then her neighbor from above came down to see what was going on, so naturally I invited him in to learn with us. Him being a Malagasy on a Sunday, had nothing better to do, so he came in and listened respectfully. We taught about the Fall of Adam and the Atonement. This was actually only the second time I have taught the Fall of Adam and the first time was with Evans, my trainer, so I didn't do much talking. It actually turned out good, I got stuck in a couple places but I was patient and listened to the little promptings and they both understood the lesson. The neighbor Iandry, said that he wasn't free again until next Sunday so I just gave him my last two pamphlets to read before next week. I can tell that they are going to be good investigators. That experience really brought my spirits up from the no baptism thing.

I know that this church is true. I know that the Holy Ghost is real and testifies of truth. I love my Heavenly Father and I know he loves me too.

Elder Walker

PS: I'll explain the picture, there was some extra razors and shaving cream when Wilson and Bates left, so I decided to shave for the first time in my life. Of course I have the electrical shaver but this is the actual kind of pull razor. I got a little excited with the shaving cream but you should have felt my face after! Phil will protest but it was definitely smoothER than just the electrical. And I really think my hair is growing faster now... Sorry Momma, but I think you're gonna have two lumber-jacks when I get home.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Blessings - January 17, 2012

I can't believe the blessings our family has received. Melissa having a baby in March, Phil going to the temple, Nat having a baby in July! I guess we are still waiting on Dani for something :) Just kidding, love you! I'm just so glad that we have a loving Heavenly Father to help us whenever we need it. We are so blessed to know of this gospel. It is so hard to put into words the feeling I have about this wonderful gospel! There are just so many. I'll sum it up into one word. Awesome! I don't think I can thank Heavenly Father enough.

Yesterday, we got transfer news! So I am training right now and the plan is that you have to stay with your trainee for three months. I have been with him for only a month so it was pretty set in stone that we weren't going to move. But the other two people in the house, Wilson and Bates, is a different story. Wilson has been in the area for four months and Bates for three. Bates is Wilson's kid, and I have never heard of a trainer and trainee staying together for more than the planned three months. So our guess was for Wilson to go somewhere else and for Bates to get a new companion. Well me and Landon are still in the house and the area that Wilson and Bates worked in, is getting white-washed!!! Which means that there are going to be two new missionaries in the area. Wilson is going to Fianirantsoa, which is 9 hours south of Tana. And Bates is going to Antsirabe, which is 2 or 3 hours south of Tana. The missionary coming in is Elder George. He is the group ahead of me. The other missionary is going to be a mini. So he will have to get a member in his ward to be his companion. Elder George is also becoming a Zone Leader. Elder George just got a lot of responsibility all in one sitting. But he can handle it, he is a really good missionary. So that is transfer news this month.

On Saturday was a baptism. No not in my ward. But Wilson's area. So there is this family that Wilson found and he first baptized the Mom. Then we baptized two of the four kids and now he just baptized the father. They are a full member family, besides the two younger kids that are just too young. That is a pretty cool experience to baptize a whole family. They are going to be great people in the church, I can tell. And their two youngest daughters are just the cutest little things I've seen in this country. Anyway, the baptism was scheduled to start at Three O'clock. But the father getting baptized was a half hour late. But that wasn't even the worst part, the branch president for Wilson's branch was a full hour late! I guess he had some problems with his motorcycle. Well the baptism still was great. I was folding the programs and noticed my name was put as the opening prayer. It was quite a surprise because he didn't even ask me to do it, but at least it is not as bad as last time when he put me as doing the prayer and giving a talk.

Well this next Saturday Elder Landon and I will have a baptism. His name his Eric and he is 13. Hopefully I can get people to give talks and such.  I just love days when people are getting baptized. The day just seems so much brighter!

I finally got G&G's package. Even though it was a stocking, the contents inside were still appreciated, very much. All the Hershey kisses and mints are already gone along with the chocolate orange. And I got the package on Friday. The wind up snowman is my new favorite toy. I love it all! Thank you very much Grandma and Grandpa, love you! I also loved the letter inside, it helped a lot.

Well that was just a brief summary of the week. I don't have enough time to write all the really fun times in between of what I tell you already. But you just have to take my word for it that it is always fun!

I love you all, even the people that read this on the blog!
Elder Walker

P.S. I forgot my camera at the house, sorry no pictures :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rain, rain, go away!!! - January 9, 2012

This past week, it has rained every single day, it has been cloudy every single day, I have wished for it to go away every single day. It was not kind of cold too. Would you say that 70° is cold? I would! I think it even got down into the sixties!!! I even wore a long sleeve shirt on Sunday. I looked pretty good in it too; it was extra white because it was the first time I wore it here :)

So this week was alright. It could have gone better if more people were home when they said they were but hey, those rice fields aren't going to harvest themselves! Right now, everyone is harvesting their rice fields. It kinda looks like wheat but it is still green. They cut off the stalk like thingy (I don't know what they call it) and then they put down a huge vase or something that is round, and then they just beat it against the vase, so the rice comes out. I didn't get a picture of it, but I will for next week.

Are guys jealous that I knew about Nat's pregnancy before you?! I can't believe that you guys found out about it from Jean, that's hilarious. I can't wait to have two nephews or a nephew and a niece when I get home. And possibly a sister-in-law... Maybe... yeah you're right, probably not. :) If Phil's not careful, he is going to have a sister-in-law before me. I wish I could see those home videos. I bet I was hilarious when I was five!

Elder Landon is awesome. He just tries his hardest to learn this language. Honestly, I should've done more language study when I first got here, luckily I still became good enough to train haha! I remember the times when I was with Evans and I didn't understand a thing. We were teaching a time in a small house, it's hot, late at night, and you can't talk to anyone, and you start to fall asleep. It happened multiple times. Just be sure to notice the word "start", I never once fully fell asleep. :) I've caught Landon dozing off sometimes, it's funny to point it out to the investigators because they just laugh and then Landon wakes up and doesn't know why they are laughing so he just chuckles too haha!

On Saturday, Wilson and I went on splits and we taught one of his investigators, Pascel. He is just one of those amazing people in this world. Wilson teaches him on Thursdays and Saturdays but his wife can't learn on Thursdays so whatever they teach him on Thursday, he teaches to her before Saturday. You can tell that he is a hard worker and really smart. He has a daughter that is nine years old, and reminds me of Dani a bit. Because she is so mature for her age haha! She is so smart and just laughs a ton. She loves learning the lessons and going to church. The parents were telling us that one Sunday, they said that they were not able to go to church because they were just too busy. And the daughter got upset and basically forced them to go to church. She is so awesome! She gives the most amazing prayers too, I love it! I love it when you find amazing people like that. They are really rare in this country because most of them have already become members :)

I did not know that you sent another package! That's awesome, but I still have not gotten it. I still have not gotten G&G's package yet. I really hope that it didn't get lost in the mail. I heard from some other missionaries that sometimes that happens and you don't get it for six months or something. But I'm sure that it will get here eventually. I haven't met anyone that has working internet in their own home so I'll just head over to the cyber café for mothers day. I'll probably be in another area by then so hopefully I can find a place that has a camera.

Well that's it for this week. I'll talk to you guys later, love you!

Elder Walker
The snickerdoodles we made. We were too lazy to make more than one batch so we did huge ones.
We found Gatorade in the store! We celebrated after.
We found little hats and had some fun.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Heading into the New Year - Jan. 2, 2011

Hey family! How is everyone?! My week has been good. Not much happened though. No special stories to tell. I'm glad you guys had a great week yourselves. I'll try to get a voice recording of myself to send to you guys. I was going to give one last week but the batteries were out on my recording thing. So I'm going to buy some this week and do it. I wish I was there to see Grandmas face when James talked to her over the computer. I bet she was so surprised. Landon is a trooper. I didn't tell him that they usually ask new missionaries to bear their testimony their first Sunday in the area. So when I told him to start walking up there to bear his testimony, because they just asked him to, he just got right up and did it. He is really good at Malagasy, he just sometimes gets shy and forgets some words. Elder Landon and I get along really well. He is really goofy and really smart. He is one of those people that know random information and tells you about it. He likes to play poker, what do you expect from someone who lived in Vegas. He said he was majoring in political science. I don't know, he likes to read, have fun, do missionary work. The usual :) 

This week I went on splits with my Zone leader, Elder Sell. He is just the most amazing missionary ever. He loves to work and doesn't waste a second. I learned a lot with the language, teaching and just being a missionary in general the one day we worked together. He is going home in March, so he is already great at the language. On Saturday, everyone in my Zone went to the mission office for the New Years Eve party. We had really really,really good ice cream. It was actual real ice cream, not the fake kind that almost all of Madagascar uses. And we had coca cola floats, orange Fanta floats and sprite floats. There is no Root Beer, so we just used what we had. The Fanta floats taste like creamsicle, it was good. Then after that we played the game, "Do you love you neighbor". It was fun, and just as dangerous as ever. And after that, we watched the Despicable Me. I love that movie! It is so funny! 

On Sunday, it was another hour of church. Just Sacrament meeting. The talks were good. At least I think they were, I still have trouble understanding talks in sacrament meeting. One, because the language they use is a little more formal and correct, and two, I'm still a little sleepy. At least I don't full out take a nap. And after I just talked with the members and talked about the crazy parties they had the night before. So that is basically what happened this week. Not much but I guess not every week can be crazy eventful for two years. 

1.       Did you get G&G's package? What did they send you? I have not gotten their package yet, but I can't wait to get it.
2.       How do the Malagasys celebrate Christmas? Just like everyone else. Have presents, are extra nice, go sledding... k maybe not that last one. But they are just like us, but with less money.
3.       Did you finally get to see the dinner table conversation or could you only hear it? Yeah I go to see it, it was hilarious to see Phil's expressions, and Mom's eyes shut when she smiled. Once in a while I get someone to call me Asian because my eyes shut when I smile too.
4.       Anything you'd like us to send you for your birthday? Socks, a tie, macaroni & cheese, pens, actual pictures I can hold in my hand, love letters from any girls, any random gifts that you think I would like. 
5.       When are the next transfers? Right around your bday? Oh you'll be staying there, huh? Great! Transfers are on January 13 or something, but after that it will be the week before or right on my birthday I don't know yet. 
6.       What are your Sundays like? details.... Just like any other day. Just go to church at nine. Get home around one, eat lunch, then go out and teach people. Nothin special.

Well I just wanted to remind everyone to pray. It is really important to talk to our father in heaven. And also to read the Book of Mormon. We can receive answers to our question if we read the Book of Mormon. I love this gospel and know it can save peoples lives.

I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Walker