"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, February 27, 2012

New building? - Feb. 27, 2012

I'm sorry about the pictures. The cyber here doesn't have a card reader so I have to use the cord. And it is slower here so I have to load the basic version of Myldsmail, so it loads pictures differently too. It is really frustrating. Could you help me figure out how to do that Costco thing again. Maybe that would be easier. I'll try and find a card reader for next week.

This week has been normal. Full of teaching sharing and working hard. We have been teaching this one guy, Oliver. He is so super funny and always teases me because I speak the Tana dialect. So I just make fun of him for the things he says, great relationship, haha! He has been coming with us to teach a lot lately. He doesn't really say much but he is a great help sometimes to make the investigators feel at ease. We mainly take him with us so he doesn't have an urge to smoke. But lately he has been going out of the times for long periods at a time... And now every time we go over to pick him up he has been too
busy playing poker with his friends. We are really worried about him because he could be a really great member. His wife is super super nice, his daughter is just the cutest thing in the world and we just don't know what to do to help him progress. There comes a point where the investigator has to pull his own weight. But on a good note, we are teaching his brother and his wife and they are progressing a ton. The only problem is that he works during the same time church is but that can be changed usually. Hopefully it won’t be a problem this time. And Oliver's nephew who is sixteen comes to church every week and really wants to learn too. So maybe after some of his family gets baptized he will too. We have a lot of those situations here. There is one person in the family who is a member who was baptized somewhere else a long time ago and then came here. So they help us to get referrals :)

We have kind of reached the capacity of our church building. We have some where between 60 to 80 come to church and we don't have enough room in our little church. We have a new building already picked out but we need the approval from the people higher up before we can move in. It is more in the city and a lot bigger. We are hoping that it will bring more attention to our church and people will start wondering what it is. That is one thing that is hard right now, getting people to church. Maybe it's the location right now but even if it's literally right across the street it is sometimes hard for people to come to church. We get a lot of people that come just one week and then never come again. I think that it is because they are used to the loud yelling, "praise the lord!" kind of churches and then they come to our peaceful church and just get bored. Satan has a huge hold on people here on certain things. It is so tough to get a Malagasy to change their routine. But once you get them to have the right routine, then they stay in it pretty well. haha!

On Saturday, we had an activity at the church. A lot of the members and investigators came to it. Some members talked about the "kilaza effect" a kilaza is kinda like a scythe. It is used to cut down bananas or any kind of fruit that is way high. The blade is compared to the missionaries and the members are compared to the stick. The bananas are the investigators. If you only have the blade you only get the bananas at the bottom. If you only have the stick you might knock some bananas off but it's not really effective. But if you have both you will get a lot of bananas. So it is very important to have member
help. After that me and Fryer taught them musical chairs. I think that this is the best country to play musical chairs because the grown ups are actually fun when they play it. It got really competitive but no one got hurt so it was just fun. I was the one that was starting and stopping the music and rigged it so the guy beat the girl. Boys rule, girls drool!

So that's the news from Toliara. Nothing special but worth a read when your sitting at home when it freezing outside, nothing to do. I wonder what its like to be cold? One year and a month to go to feel that!

Don't forget who you are and what you stand for. Yesterday we were walking home and got called some not so nice names for no reason. I got a little frustrated because after a while it just builds up. We got home and I decided to read my scriptures and in 3 Nephi... something (I can't remember the exact reference) it said that those who are persecuted for my names sake, the kingdom of God is theirs. It really helped me get past the bad name thing. Just remember that you are members of the only true church. And if you get teased or "persecuted" it's just because they're jealous of how happy you are. Don't give up.

Elder Walker

1. Do you know who your new mission president will be yet? President Adams, He is some kind of oral surgeon. Served in the French/Belgium mission. Married... Sister Adams who is from Switzerland and also served in the French/Belgium mission. Sounds like another one of your stories ;) They are coming here in July.

2. What do you love most about Madagascar so far? Of course the people. That's what first comes to mind. There are for sure A LOT of people who are not nice but there are some way cool people too. Saturday, one of Fryer's investigators came to the church right after the activity and started to clean all the weeds that were on our property. He worked about two and a half hours straight while us four missionaries switched off helping. He hasn't even come to church and decides to clean our whole property like that. Super nice!

3. Have you seen any lemurs yet? Nope, they are only in the reserved National Parks.

4. Are you enjoying being back with Elder Fryer?[One of his MTC companions] Yeah of course? Fryer is way fun. We just have a blast being in the same house.

5. What do you do for P-days in your new area? What we have done is fix holes in the font tarp, find new church buildings, buy little souvenirs down buy the beach, do service buy digging wells for members, go back to the house and sleep because it is just unbelievably hot, fix our bikes, and look for seashells on the beach. (Disgusting by the way, at least by the city. Roney says that it gets a lot cleaner further away from the beach.)

Sorry about pictures - I'm trying to figure it out.

Monday, February 20, 2012

One Year Older and Wiser Too! - Feb. 20, 2012 - Brad's 20th bday

Hello everyone!!! I am 20 years old. I kinda cheated because I'm a day ahead over here. I don't have much to say and don't have time because the cyber here is really slow because of the cyclone. Even though it is sunshine outside right now... weird.

We had a baptism this last Saturday - four people. They were all in Fryer's area but originally Roney's investigators before the area split. It is going to grow so fast here if we keep working hard. Right now we are just a group but once it becomes a branch we can give people callings and more people will come to church and start bringing their friends. We saw a new bigger church building kind of more in the middle of town and once we move in it will grow faster too. If you didn't know I am officially the fifth missionary of our church to go to Toliara. It is really cool to be in such a new area - except everyone thinks we are Jehovah's Witnesses - I don't know why. All the Jehovah's Witnesses here are Malalgasy, carry briefcases (don't ask me why) and don't ride bikes.

Teaching here is a little different. You have to be really bold and sure of what you're saying. I've learned that if you talk louder and with confidence people will listen and think you're good at the language. I'm slowly getting better at the dialect.

So because this area is so new, there are not a lot of members here, especially ones with the Melchizedick priesthood. So on Sunday, me and Fryer gave the Gift of the Holy Ghost to two people each. It was really cool even though I was a little scared because I felt pressured to use Vezo (Toliara dialect) but I didn't force anything and it went well.

I can only send one picture because the connection is really slow. Just a really cool sunset in good 'ol Toliara
Elder Walker

1. Tell me the details about Elder Roney, first name, where he's from, etc. Elder Hayden P. Roney. From Mapelton, Utah. Oldest of 8. And way super cool and good at the language.
2. How is it riding a bike again? I love it. My butt hurts if we ride a lot in one day though haha!
3. Did you have any after effects of a cyclone that we heard about? Some rain, wind, no phone service for a couple days. Slow internet connection right now :(
4. Who are the assistants to the mission right now? Elder Curtis, going home in April. Elder Touli going home in march with Roney.
5. When do you have a zone or mission conference again? I heard that there is a Zone conference in March. But I am in the Antsirabe Zone, so I don't know if they are going to fly us to Tana and drive us down two hours or just keep us in Tana or have us drive up from Toliara which would take around 15 hours.

Friday, February 17, 2012

3rd Area?!?!?! - Feb. 13, 2012

So how is everyone? So transfers were last Monday... and yes, I got transfered! Landon is staying in Ivato or Talatamaty, whatever you want to call it with El-Bakri. And I am moving to Toliara with Elder Roney! Toliara was opened in September with Roney and Slater. Then it split into two and Fryer (who is in the same group as me) went with Slater and Galeai went with Roney. This last transfer Fryer got a mini missionary and I went with Roney because Galeai is going home today.

So on Monday through Wednesday we just did normal working days telling everyone that I'm leaving. On Thursday I was SUPPOSED to leave for Toliara but the assistants were too busy with other people so I stayed in my area for one more day. So we went to one of the counselor's houses of the stake presidency to have a meal appointment. He was taught in 2001 which is the oldest I've ever heard of someone being baptized here in this country. (There was someone in Ivato that has been a member for 19 years but was baptized in La Reunion.) It was super fun and just had some delicious rice and bean thingys, I don't know what they are called in English.

On Friday, I started my two day BUS ride to Toliara. Left Tana at 10 o'clock and rode for 9 or so hours to Fianarantsoa. Stayed the night there with the other missionaries (Wilson is down there). On Saturday I left at 8:30 on a 10 hour ride to Toliara. Gladly, the ride to Toliara is A LOT straighter than the one to Fianarantsoa. Got there at 6:30 and was just swarmed by pouse pullers. All the pouses here are mostly pulled, they are not the bike kind like in Tamatave. But the thing about Toliara is that they speak the most different dialect in Madagascar. I could not understand a word! I felt like I was starting my mission all over again. But at least I could talk to them and they could understand me. But they don't really like people from Tana so I'm kinda scared to speak Merina (Tana dialect) So right now I am in a hard core learning phase. There are two different dialects here, Vezo and Atendroy. They use both but mostly Vezo. Only the pouse pullers use Atendroy all the time. It is kinda tough to understand but I am catching on quick. Some simple changes are, they really emphasize the "h" in the word, they normally take out the "z", they change all the "d's" to "L's", if the word has "na" in it they just take it out, and they change the endings to "e" instead of "a". Other than that, they just have a whole new vocabulary.

My first night here I went to this less-active guy named Anthony. He is Matees, which means he is part Malagasy part French. His Dad is Malagasy and his Mom is French. He and his family have been members all their lives but the son lost his way for a little bit. His dad is the district president in La Reunion. Anyway, went to his house had some delicious chicken and noodles. The house I am in is pretty nice. Right now we are still fixing stuff from it not having people in it for so long. Today we spent a good chunk of our time standing around watching the plumber fix our washer drain, sink drain, and our A/C drain. The first one was clogged and the last two were leaking. But now it is all fixed. The beds are new, the desks are new - everything works really well, oh and did I mention, we have A/C!? It feels so good. We have all the beds in this one big room that is closed off so it keeps in the cold air. It is so nice. I only use my little sheet when I sleep, it is so hot here. I don't think I've sweat this much in my life!

On Sunday, we went to this little building with one big room and two smaller rooms. It is just one branch so all four missionaries here go to the same one. Me and Elder Roney went and picked up someone to take them to church. It was this father and his 3 or 4 year old daughter. Roney carried him on his handlebars and I put the little girl on the bar in between the seat and handle bars. Everytime I pedaled I almost kicked off her sandal, luckily it didn't fall off. Sacrament meeting was nice, it was all in Merina(Tana dialect) so I could actually understand. After Sacrament we took a ten minute break from the heat inside the building and just talked outside. Then the kids had Primary outside and everyone else had Sunday School inside. And that is how church goes here. Only two hours not three. This was actually the very first Sunday that the missionaries weren't involved in church. They didn't have to help with blessing or passing the sacrament, give a talk, teach Sunday School, or Primary. So the branch is starting to take over their responsibility. Oh and Anthony came back to church for the first time too! I guess I'm just a good luck charm here. For P-day we fixed the house, went and ate , and then went to a member's house to help dig a well thingy. It is really big so it is kinda like a pool. Haha! And now we are emailing you guys so that is the update for the week.
So please pray for my learning and understanding of Vezo (which is pronounced "Vay-zoo" by the way). Also pray that I will be able to take over this area in a month after Roney goes home.

I can't wait for the Melissa's and Nat's baby. I am totally going to be the Funcle of the family!

Elder Walker

PS: Sorry but I can't get the computer to load pictures so next week will be a plethura of pictures!

So, my questions for the week:
1. I'll keep asking until I hear that you got one of our packages. Well? Nope, it might be a while now that I live on the otherside of the island.
2. Do you need a gospel art book with spiral binding? I heard a mom talk about that. I got Evans' old one which was falling apart and now I just got Roney's old one, which is actually really new.
3. Have you worn your crocs? With all the rain, I would've thought you would. Was that a waste of money? I don't think they let us wear them when it rains.
4. Do you use the picture intro book I made with your investigators or new members or was that just a silly thing? I always use that thing! That's why I want more pictures like that. Except if you guys could print the "brothers and sisters", stuff like that in Malagasy next time, that would be nice :)
5. Do you see Payton Hansen these days? Jill seemed to think that he wasn't too far away from the mission home - about like you but probably in a different direction. I can't find where you are on a map. No he is on the way to the office, but I usually just see him at the office on P-days. We are good friends now.
6. What's the other name besides Ivato? You know like Toamasina and Tamatave. Some names that they call it are Ivato, Talatamaty, Ambohibao. Just look for the airport right above Tana and that is where it is.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Waterfalls - Feb. 6, 2012

This week was pretty adventurous! On Tuesday Elder Landon must have eaten something bad because he was throwing up all day and we couldn't go out and work. I got a lot of cleaning done in the house :)

On Wednesday, one of the missionaries was sick so different missionaries were staying with him at the hospital while the other went with a mini missionary to work. So Elder Landon stayed at the hospital for the day while I worked. When I went to pick him up, me and Elder George with his companion took a taxi. It was pouring rain and parts of the streets were flooded to about three quarters of the tire of the car. I tried to get a picture of it but it was already too dark to tell. But every time the taxi slowed down or stopped, rain would pour through this little crack in the car and get me wet. My right arm was soaked by the time we got to the hospital.

On Thursday, Elder Landon was feeling better and we went to Ankazobe again. We usually go on Saturday and Sunday but we both wanted to be there for the baptism. While up there we taught a lot of people, contacted a lot on the street and tried to explain how to get to the church on Sunday. While going back to the hotel, Elder Landon and I heard this waterfall! So of course we checked it out and took some pictures by it. It was pretty cool.

This doesn't make Mom nervous at all...
Please tell me I didn't see this.
On Friday we got up read our scriptures and went to eat at a place called a "hotely" for breakfast. It is a more casual resturaunt kind of thingy. I had a delicious omelette with fries. After we bought bus tickets and waited for two hours for it to fill up for us to get going, I ended up sitting next to a father with his sleeping 1 or 2 year old sitting on his lap. We are about 45 min. from our house and suddenly the baby just throws up all over my leg!!! So I automatically make weird sounds to get the father's attention and then he sees it and is yelling at the people in front to pass his bag back to clean it up. And as that is happening, she throws up again!!! Luckily, most of it just got on herself but still way gross, it had some distance. I didn't count the seconds but it seemed like I had this throw up on my leg for about abajillion minutes! It was already quite warm sitting in the bus and the throw up didn't make it any cooler. Finally we get the bag, he cleans it up, my pants are still wet and there is an acquired smell for the rest of the ride. The father was so nice, he kept saying over and over "this is so embarassing, this is so embarassing." Good thing was that I didn't even feel queasy or anything, I think I'm ready to be a father. We'll see when it gets on my skin or even worse... my face. I don't know about that.

On Saturday we had the baptism planned. Everything was ready to go. I was determined to get this 13 year old boy baptized! We go to the church to see if someone started to fill up the font, so we just asked the guardian of the church and he said that someone came early that morning. So we thought that it would be good to go. We get to the church at 3, and what do we see in the font, a whole whomping 4 inches of water! Someone did come but they forgot to close the drain so it was just going straight out!

We spent the next hour filling up buckets and cups to fill the font.

But we finally got it up enough and got the baptism done. I'd like to think that he is going to be an awesome missionary someday and thats why it was so hard to get him baptized. We can only hope.

Eric and Elder Walker
On Sunday, we went to church, Eric got the Gift of the Holy Ghost and the classes were all good. After church we visited an investigator who has been taught everything has come to church a ton and probably knows more than some members about the gospel now, but he hasn't come to church the past couple weeks. For some reason he is not ready to be baptized. I asked him why and he said that he was scared because members have said that it was hard to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. He said that he is scared to go inactive after 5 months or something. I asked him why someone would go inactive. I told him that it's becuase they don't have a true testimony. So I asked him how do you get a testimony. I showed him the second to last paragraph in the Book of Mormon introduction. It says we need to read, ponder and pray about the BoM. And if we do with sincere prayer, we will receive an answer. So right then I asked him if he was willing to offer a kneeling prayer and ask Heavenly Father if the BoM was true of not. So he did and I could not believe the presence of the Spirit that was there. It was so strong I started to tear up a little. After he was done we just waited there a little and felt the Spirit. Now that I looked back I wish I waited just a little longer than I did. But after I asked him what he felt and he said that he felt that the BoM is true. That this church is true and that the way of baptism is true, by the priesthood. He said that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God and he receives revelation for us. That Joseph Smith saw God and his son Jesus Christ. I asked him if he was ready to be baptized on 18th of February and he said "not yet". Ugh! I know that he doesn't understand something completely that is holding him back, I just have no idea what that is. Let's hope on Friday when we get back that he has made some progress. So that was my week here in Madagascar.

1. Did you get our small envelope package yet? What about our birthday box? I have not gotten either.
2. Did you get your baptisms this week finally? Are you getting some good new investigators? Yes, and we have five planned for the 18th of Feb.
3. Did you say you were in a ward right now? How big? There are about 115 people on average to church every week. I've seen it as low as 82 and high as 130
4. I have our Missionary Moms lunch this week. Any special messages for the moms of your friends? Just that I miss hangin out with them. :)

I love you all I hope you all have an awesome February month. Especially the 20th... :) [Brad's birthday!]

Elder Walker
Malagasy construction. I heard those are really strong wood poles.

Things to keep a roof down; bricks, tire, cement post, and a canoe.

My bound "Preach My Gospel"
[This is how he ended this week's email to his sister, Dani. Such a cute brother!]

I love you so much! I love you so much! I love you so much! (I typed every one of those sentences, no copy and paste involved, that's how much I care about you.

Your cooler, awesomer, older, better, immensely blessed to have you as a little sister, brother

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Funny, funny boy!

So these are pictures that Brad sent home to his sisters.
Brad's excitement every time he thinks about his two sisters being pregnant!

Brad's impression of feeling morning sickness.
 I guess he's trying to sympathize. What a goof!