"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, April 23, 2012

Transfered? - April 23, 2012

No I did not get transfered. I'm still staying in Toliara for another month. As for Fryer... He is now serving in Tana.  My comp down here is Elder Liam Baker Smith. He is from Sandy Utah. He lives only about five minutes from our house. I think he lives really close to Sarah our cousin. So yes he went to Hillcrest... But that was only a little bump in our relationship. He is actually really cool. His dad was a mission president in Chile so he is perfect at Spanish too. He has been in country for only two months and is awesome at the language! I'm still better at the dialect here in Toliara though so ha!

The work here is going just as much as it has been before. We started having a mini priesthood meeting after church just to let the members know their responsibility. It has been helping a lot. President Donnelly is coming down in May to see the progress of the church here, and possibly make it into a branch! I hope it does, that would be awesome. We as missionaries are really pushing the members (who are all recent converts) to further heights. We just really want to have people ready for when Presdient comes. The work here would go so much faster if it was a branch. I think if people have a calling they are more willing to come to church too. Right now, we cannot find a new building but we keep looking. We will not give up! Our church right now is ridiculously small, maybe we need to stay there to find some family, I don't know. I guess there is always a reason for something, I just hope we are looking hard enough to absolutely know if we need to stay or not.

We had an activity this last Saturday. It was awesome. First we opened with prayer and then Me and Elder Smith taught a new song to them because I was tired of singing the same four songs over and over. so we taught them the Spirit of God and We thank thee O God for a Prophet. Elder Smith and I demonstrated by singing alone in front of everyone first before so they knew what it sounded like. It was a little tough after a while because I have a little cold right now so I couldn't really sing but I tried my best. Haha! After that we had a wonderful lesson taught about the Book of Mormon from one of the members. And then after that we had a game. It was like soccer but on a table with pingpong balls and straws. It is two on two and you blow the pingpong ball into the goal. Pretty basic and way fun!!! It was so fun to see people get red faced from blowing so hard! And yes, even Malagasys can get red faced. Haha! I'm laughing right now as I'm typing, it was so funny. We also before the activity made a bunch of cookies. So that was a nice little treat at the activity. I'm a cooking master now, of course it was just with the premade stuff but still, I'm pretty good at it.  It was a hit. People love me because they think I can cook really good cookies. I even tried to explain to them that all the ingrediants are already in one thing but they still don't understand. So I just give up and let them think what they wanna think.

People are really sad that Fryer left. They get so attached to the missionaries when they come that they kind of get mad when thy leave. I hope that people here don't get baptized because of the missionaries, because it is not good to see the aftermath when they go. That is why we make sure that the people are absolutely ready for baptism before we do it. And then they are super solid after they are baptized. Even though Toliara is the newest area here in Madagascar it is going to be the leader of the church. They are going to have the coolest members here. Toliara is just awesome, I never want to leave this place!

I hope that all of you have a wonderful week! I love all of you. Even if you don't email or send letters.

Elder Walker
  • Did you get transferred or did Fryer? ...Fryer to Ankorondrano
  • I just sent another package to you this week. Let me know when you get it. Yay!!!!!! I love packages! I imagine them as boxes full of love. I'll be sure to let you know.
  • Have you gotten any letters from anyone besides us lately? I'm still getting caught up on DearElders. I'll try and do more tomorrow.Yea I have got some from Shai, Miranda, Maddie and you. That happens to actually be  the same people on my "extra awesome people" list. That's weird how that happens sometimes. I just got a bunch two weeks ago when they sent us some stuff.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Church growth - April 16, 2012

This was a wonderful week! We had the four baptisms as planned. Three women and a little boy. They are going to be awesome additions to the church here.

This week we've had some awesome times. We extended baptismal dates to two crucial families and they accepted! One family has this dad that is mister intimidation. He is super dark, tall, low voice, teases you a lot and gets things done. He is super scary the first time you meet him but once you start teaching him he turns into this different person. He gets all quiet. He listens really well and is really humble. We asked him and his wife if they would get baptized on the 26th of May. They were both a little hesitant but accepted it as a goal to reach. They are both awesome. The mom is super nice and basically a "Mormon mom" without the church. She is so ready but a little scared because of past experiences in other churches. I can't wait until they get baptized!

We also have this other family that is huge! They live in this "lot" which usually four or five different families live in but this is just one big family from the grandpa down to the grandkids living together. We first contacted the oldest of the kids and taught him a first. Then we taught him and his wife. And then we taught their whole family! Which is about 25 maybe a little more if you count the really little kids running around. We taught them a second and just loved it. The next lesson we taught them about baptism and of course asked them to be baptized on the 26th of May. They said that they have already been baptized by immersion so they didn't have to do it again. Then after that we re-taught authority and talked about if you don't get baptized by the spirit you are not done. Then they said that they will do that but they don't need the baptism of water. It was a little while until I said "you need to do baptism AGAIN" Then they understood and were totally willing. Another side note, we went to give them another Book of Mormon because there is a lot of them and when we got there, they showed us another tattered Book of Mormon. I just stared at them for about 20 seconds wondering where or how they got it. They asked if it was the same Book of Mormon that we gave them the first time. We asked them where they got it and they said they got it from this lady in Betsingilo (an area where we teach some people) We threw out some names but they couldn't remember who it was. So we just left wondering who the mystery missionary was.

On Saturday we had the wonderful baptism. One of the recent converts was going to do the baptism of his grandchild. Me thinking that he would wear a white shirt to the baptism like he always does to church did not bring an extra white shirt for him. Well... he decided to switch things up and wear a blue shirt to the baptism. I was panicking on what to do and it just came down to me and him switching shirts. So I sported a nice blue shirt for the baptism. I have to say I looked pretty snazzy. The baptism went well and I got to cool off with a half wet shirt for a few minutes. Also the grandpa and two of his sons of the big family came to the baptism! It was so cool to see them.

Brad's new baptism shirt?
On Sunday we had all the talks planned, people to do the talks, we even went early to sweep the church and set up the sacrament and chairs so everyone could sit down and feel the spirit. At nine o'clock when church was supposed to start, there were only five people! It was the worst its ever been! But like usual we waited until nine thirty for everyone to come. People slowly started to come. And by 9:35, 89 people were at church!!! It is the biggest it’s ever been! All of the huge family came, investigators who we have been teaching for a while came for the first time and almost all the members came too! It was so packed that they just told a bunch of kids to play out in the yard to make room for the adults. They even took some little primary chairs to sit on because we ran out. As a total we had 27 investigators! That’s the most I've ever had. I am so thankful for the many miracles that happened this week.

Well that seems to be all the news that I'm willing to type. I love you guys and pray for you everyday. Please pray for me too.

Elder Walker

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

One Down, One to Go - April 10, 2012

Hello Family! We meet once again. Sorry for the late email, everything was shut down yesterday for Passover. Apparently the way to celebrate Christ's suffering and Resurrection is through a week long party. It seems like Malagasys have a different way of doing everything. It's going to be weird going back to America where everything makes sense.

This week was pretty good. Lots of teaching and such. Every day I read and study the scriptures I see more and more of God's love for us. It makes me so happy. That's what keeps me going through the mission. When times get tough. When you see someone you've been teaching for a long time just stop progressing and don't want to learn anymore, it's saddening. But God is always there for us. He is always there to comfort us when we need him.

Right now we haven't been baptizing a lot of people, because we don't just want to baptize anyone and then have them go inactive. It is very crucial to have a good foundation for the church here in Toliara as it is starting up. But this Saturday we have four people getting baptized. They are going to be a good addition to the church here.There are some really solid investigators that are going to be awesome members soon. Some of them are super far away from the church, so hopefully they will be even more excited to come to church when they don't have to walk for two hours or so. The people here in Madagascar are really diligent. Sometimes I feel like the long time members of
the church start to get prideful in some way and start to slack off in some areas. We see it all the time in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. We need to be careful and be sure to stay humble before the
Lord. We cannot justify any sin. And also to remember to pray daily. Prayer doesn't just bring blessings because we ask for them, they come because we are following a commandment, also it reminds us of what is expected of us. We need to be sure to not make vain repetitions. We need to be thoughtful in every prayer. That is what keeps a latter-day saint true and faithful to the Lord.

We have some really cool people preparing for baptism right now. One is a family that me and Roney started teaching. They are super awesome. At first the father with his two twin boys (future
missionaries) came to church. They love to sing the hymns. But then we kind of "challenged" the mom to come to church and she did! I was so happy to see her when she walked in. The funny thing is, is that she is friends with one of our longest members here. She will be a great example for her. Right now we are working on them getting baptized. The paperwork system is really frustrating. They don't use any computers, just typewriters. They don't even have filing cabinets, just stacks of old, weak paper tied together by year. Hopefully we can get it done before their baptism.

This last Monday was "Monday Passover" (If the holiday lands on a Sunday, they have a Monday party too...) And since the cyber was closed along with everything else we had a lot of time to hang out with some members. So we went with some members to the beach to throw the football around. We got there and turns out that everyone else in Toliara decided to do the same thing for their day off of work. It was really funny to try and teach some Malagasys how to play American Football. Turns out, I have no idea how to teach football in Malagasy. All in all, it was a good day.

All the people at the beach!
Now the bad part was that we had to walk there and back, and it was actually a really far walk. So by the end of the day our feet were really tired from walking there, playing football and walking back, all in bare feet or sandals. The next day my legs, calves, feet, back, sides were all sore. I didn't know I had so many muscles that could get so sore. I feel like a fifty year old or something :) ALSO, I forgot to put on sunscreen... I haven't put on sunscreen once while I have been here in Madagascar and now my body decides to betray me! My calves, feet, arms, neck and face were all sunburned.  It is not fun to wear a dress shirt with a burnt neck, but hey you reap what you sow.
The result of my fun in the sun.
Well it was a very good first year of the mission, hopefully its an even better second year. Please keep praying for me and sending me dear elders and what not. I love all of you and wish that you work hard to reach that Celestial Kingdom.
My year mark breakfast.

My favorite new shirt.

Monday, April 2, 2012

So this Friday I'll be out for a year! That is just crazy. It is cool to see the changes that have happened in just a year's time. I'm so grateful for the blessings that I have received during that time. 

Not much to report this week. I also have to hurry because me and Fryer are making pizza. Monday, we got a new investigator family. We first contacted the mom and daughter while walking. We shared a little bit of our message and gave them the first pamphlet to read. We went over to their house and turns out, they read the whole thing. They said that they don't reject our church, they are just not going to change... doesn't make sense to me some of the things Malagasys say. Well me and Fryer started teaching them anyway and by the time we were about to leave, the father walked in and was so surprised to see two white guys wearing the exact same clothes. He was so aminated and wanted to learn more, so what did we do, we started over and taught him. It was good because the rest of the family was helping us teach. We answered a few of the important questions they had and he was really interested to learn more. Let's hope they will change faiths. I think the mother said that they weren't going to change because she didn't want to go against her husband. Which is good if we get him convinced that this is the true church. They are such a fun family, we are going to teach them again this week. 

Short ceremony, lots of food and dancing

On Saturday we went on splits with two members. I went with Fryer's old mini [missionary] and Fryer went with a recent convert. Turns out the recent convert is already a pro at teaching. He wasn't shy at all. He's 19 and might go on a mission if he has enough money to buy clothes and stuff. Later that day we went to a Malagasy wedding.  There was a ton of people there! On one side is the wife's family and on the other the groom's side of the family. Once the couple is sitting at the front table, the grandpas from both sides talk money. They talk about who is going to pay for what and other stuff that I'm not sure about. I guess it is kinda like an unwritten contract., just having everyone as a witness. After that the groom takes water and rubs it on all the older men's chests on the bride's side of the family. We asked a couple people what that meant and even they didn't know. haha! Then they do the actual ceremony and "marry" them. Once all that is over the party begins. They break out all the soda and start the music. It was pretty fun to see more Malagasy culture. 

Sunday, was just a little stressful. Our group leader left town to visit some cousins and said that he might (which here means probably not) be at church. We weren't too worried because we had two other Melchizedek priesthood holders to lead church. So we called them and turns out that they are both gone too! So on Saturday we called our group leader back and told him that there were no leaders here so he drove back and made it in time for church. We could have led it but it just would have been a little sketchy. It was fast and testimony meeting this week so we all had the privilege to hear people's testimony. This one investigator started to walk up, and we were a little worried beause he got up last time and was just a little too "passionate". So Fryer told him the proper way to bear your testimony when he was at his house. But turns out that it didn't really sink in. Again he was just a little too "passionate" about his conversion to the gospel. Then in Sunday School we learned about Tithing and Fast offerings. Which can be a touchy subject when people here don't earn a lot. Especially when they only fish and don't get money just the food they eat. But we got through it and it was a good time at church.

So that is the update of the week. Remember to pray and study the conference messages. 

Elder Walker

1. Did you get to listen to conference? If not, when do you and will it be in English? No tana will get it in a couple weeks and then we will get it a little after that.
2. If I send a recording can you save our voice recordings to your digital recorder? I'll try next week, I didn't bring it with me.
3. What do you and Elder Fryer do for p-day? Usually sit around in the house,  cook something. Its just too hot outside.
4. What are your plans for the rest of today? Make pizza
5. How are you doing with getting investigators? very well, it's just getting them to come to church.
6. How is your little group doing? Growing? RIght now we are just solidifying the recent converts and members. But we should have a baptism 14th of April.
Malagasy soccer ball -made up of plastic bags and string.