"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, June 18, 2012

Doesn't it get old? - June 18, 2012

Doesn't listening to me ramble on get a little old? I sometimes get sick of hearing myself talk.

Well not much to report other than that I love my mission. Things just seem to go your way. It is crazy how much more power you have in your teaching when you try to be more obedient. God immediately blesses you to know that you are doing the right thing. I love it!

One Saturday, we were teaching a family where the father is actually the one who is the most receptive. It is a little weird because it is usually the other way around. Anyway, the father went off into the countryside to go farm the family's rice and so we were just teaching the Mom who is I think the third or fourth generation of Lutheran in her family, the daughter who follows her mom and is skeptical about our church and then the brother who just plays basketball. The daughter, Hilda, expressed that she has been praying about the Book of Mormon but hasn't gotten an answer and it ended up that she actually hasn't been reading it as much as she should have. She also talked about her trials in life and that she sometimes gets really sad. We told her simply and powerfully that God knows every one of his children. He is ready to give anything to us. But first we need to keep his commandments and do the other things necessary to receive the blessings. Also that God doesn't immediately help us whenever we get sad or hurt but he helps us learn by waiting. We need to learn that we need to trust in Him and ask Him and thank Him. At some point during the lesson, Hilda started to tear up a little bit and Me and Elder Smith decided that we just made a big step with her. It was a really moving lesson. Next we are going to work on the Mom. She seems to like the fact that she is keeping the Lutheran line in her family more than the actually salvation aspect of it all.
I can't wait to teach them again tonight. I really hope that it is just as impactful.

I really love the scripture Mosiah 2: 20. (I hope that's right...) Basically that whole chapter talks about being thankful and always being indebted to God for the blessings he gives us. I just hope that all of us can be humble servants in the site of God. I am so grateful for my family and the things they have taught me. I am so grateful for the infinite blessings we get here during this mortal life. It is hard to understand fully the love of God. And I am glad that I have a good little while to get to know him before I can see him again.

I love all of you and hope this email edifies you in some way. Just remember that thanking God never gets too old.

Elder Walker

1. You haven't had any trouble with your packages being opened, right? Do you ever have to pay to pick up a package? From my recollection, I don't think any of the packages have been opened. The mission home picks up the package but then we have to pay the mission home whatever they had to pay the post office if we want to get the package. Since missionaries were being bad about paying they just take it out of the missionaries fund of that month they got the package.
2. Transfers are when next? Thanks for asking i almost forgot. Transfers were last night. Me and Smith are still staying in Toliara. That means that Toliara will be my longest area at five months and Smith as my longest comp at three months. Its a good thing that I'm staying because I didn't feel "done" here. Also I love the people here. The members are awesome!

Bags of rice

Elder Smith and Brad

Rice soup and meat

Monday, June 11, 2012

Oh Malagasys!! - June 11,2012

Just another normal amazing week in the mission field. We got new investigators, new investigators to church and three people baptized. And amazing food!

We are still working on our progressing investigators, because they are a little low. We are still trying to fill our schedule all the way. I think the stat is that every 7 investigators 1 is baptized. So if we just find a lot, we are bound to get a lot of baptisms, right? Hopefully! This place needs to grow a lot. I know it's a long shot but I want to come back in about five or ten years to see how much it has progressed. It is just crazy to see the progression from five years ago. talking with members and old missionaries. It is just amazing. It really is a marvelous work and a wonder.

 As we have gone through the week we have really been focusing on getting Father Led Families (FLF's). They are the key to growing the quickest. Being down here I have gotten a little more up front with people. Sometimes they start talking, thinking we don't understand them or they try to talk too fast so we can't understand them but then I just respond in a normal way. I say, hi, how are they and then ask them where they go to church. The culture is a little different here because going to church is a big part of their life but it is still funny to see their attitude from the first time they talk, trying to make fun of us, go to amazed when we respond perfectly, go to a little scared when we bring up the gospel. We have gotten used to it and have made it kind of a game to let people know we speak their own language. Sometimes we talk to someone and the conversation stops and then another person walks up and starts to talk about us and everyone else doesn't say anything but knows that we understand. It is so fun to know two languages! I don't know how I got by before my mission. Anyway, we are still looking to fill our shedule. 

On Saturday, we had three women get baptzied. A mom and her daughter and another girl. It was a little stressful because the baptism was supposed to start at 2:30. A lot of members showed up before or at that time but none of the people getting baptized were there yet. All three of them showed up about 15 min late. That's Malagasy time for ya. I bapized the little girl and Smith baptized the other two. It went really well. We used string with the duct tape to hold the baptismal font together and it did well. Even though the water over flowed a little bit so the ground was all muddy in front of the church, it went really well.  Later that day we went to a investigator family's house. The dad is really open-minded but the mom and the daughter are a little hard headed. We got to teaching about the New Jerusalem and how Joseph Smith got revelation that it is going to be in  America. The dad was a little unsure but warmed up to the idea and actually saw that it made sense. He cracks me up because the time always starts out with him a little hesitant and then him helping us convince the mom and daughter. 

Sauline, Fa, Noro
On Sunday, the three baptizees were late again! We have been trying to start church on time despite how many people are not there, but we are kind of forced to wait when these three people need to receive the Holy Ghost. Anyway, they showed up 15 min late again. We started, everything was good. I gave the Holy Ghost to the one mom. It is really cool to be led by the Spirit like that. I hope I can get better at it later on. In Sunday School we had a question arise, who is Jehovah and who is Jesus Christ and who is God? which is which? We had a fairly recent convert stand up and supposedly recite the first vision. It wasn't even close. He was just throwing in Jehovah left and right. Proving that God was Jehovah. Then a past branch president corrected him very nicely on the matter. That recent convert just really likes to throw in his two cents even if he doesn't know anything about it. He will be a great member once he knows his stuff but for right now, I just hope he can restrain himself. 

I would say a little lesson I learned this week is that we need to stay humble. No matter how you good you are at the language or teaching you can't do anything without the help from above. So just remember to constantly ask for help and be grateful for everything. I love all of you and hope you have a wonderful week!

Elder Walker

1. Do you get the New Era magazines ever or just Ensign? Or do you just get conference issues? We get it every month. If we live outside of Tana we get a couple every couple months.
2. Any other great stories to tell us? We made delicious banana smoothies. We used bananas with pineapple juice and sugar with ice. Very simple but Jamba Juice quality! Very very very good!!!
3. Any luck finding a church building or have you stopped looking? No we have stopped. No good enough place.
4, How are you and your companion getting along? Great! no problems whatsoever. i can't wait to talk to him after the mission. 
Soccer warm up.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Happy French Mother's Day! - June 4, 2012

Hello everyone!!! This week was amazing. Tena mahafinaritra! (I just wanted to be cool like everyone else and speak a language that none of you will understand.) This past week we have been throwing out baptismal dates left and right. We decided that we weren't following Preach My Gospel fully and so now we have started to give people a bap date in the first or second lesson. It is amazing how the spirit works on people when you are bold and try to bring them closer to Christ. 

So I'm basically going to talk about the last two days of the week. On Saturday, we started our fast and to be adventurous me and Smith decided to try something new for our last meal. We ordered this Misao special. And the regular misao is just noodles with meat and carrots and other vegetables. But the Special is all of that plus shrimp a special sauce, an egg on top and to just make it the best thing ever, OCTOPUS! Unlike the octopus Mom and Dad had on their mission, this was cooked. And actually not that bad. it kind of tasted like shrimp but that might have been from being cooked with it. Other than that it wasn't that chewy and kind of tasteless. It was kind of weird when you eat a tentacle with the suckers on it. Spiders are still creepier. Altogether it was delicious. 

On Sunday we had a pretty good testimony meeting. So I have talked about this person before. He is someone who is really passionate about the gospel sometimes. He got baptized on the 26th of June [does he mean May?] and when he came out of the water he said "I am resurrected". It was pretty funny but kind of killed the mood because his wife was after him. And then when he bore his testimony he ended by saying "amen, amen, amen forever!" After he had received the Holy Ghost we have seen him calm down a lot. I mean a lot! It has been like a whole different person. It seriously amazes me every time I talk with him. But on Sunday the Holy Ghost just got him too energized and he literally started to pound the pulpit with his Book of Mormon at the end of his testimony. We're still working with him :) 

110 year old Bible

After the meeting we taught a investigator who is getting baptized this Saturday. She told us about when she prayed and asked God when people were going to come to her house and bring the gospel. That was ten years ago. And she took us missionaries as her answer to prayer. It was so cool to see her faith in God. She also showed us a Bible that came from her Grandpa. He received it from the first missionaries that came to Madagascar. She said that it was 110 years old. I definitely believed her especially when dust spurted out when we closed it. It was exactly like Harry Potter style. Then we went to a members house and they offered us food. We had noodles with shrimp and then rice with shrimp and tomatoes. It was quite filling. Halfway through we got a text from some investigators that they needed to move the time from 5 to 2 o' clock. So right after eating with our members we went over to our investigators who were also going to feed us. There we had rice with chicken, steak and pasta. And for dessert we had pineapple and flan. It was so delicious! This has been the first time where I have wanted to eat so super bad but couldn't fit any more in! I was so frustrated that I couldn't eat more. As the famous Aaron Lloyd would say I was "Stupid full!" So that was super nice from them especially because they are only investigators. 

After that we went over to these new people that we have only set up a time with. It is this couple that has been married for so long and have had five kids. The mom has gone to church all her life but the husband hasn't been to church since he was a little kid. We taught a simple First lesson and at the end I committed them to be baptized when they come to know that this church is true. The mom hesitated but they both accepted. After the dad said that he believes in the Apostasy and that he is going to follow us and that he trusts us. It was so cool! I love it when people say stuff like that. 

Then we went to a less active time. They were baptized in Tana in 1984. The father has already received the Melchizedek priesthood but after that moved to Toliara where there was no church. So obviously the father and one daughter went less active kind of by force. Now in September the missionaries started to teach them again to try to bring them back to church. It was hard because he used the excuse of him being in the military as why he doesn't have time for church. The daughter has come back to church and has no problem, just the father was a little hesitant. But when Pres. Donnelly came here, that was the first Sunday in 20 years that this father has come to church. It was a miracle to say the least! A huge step for this man. But sadly that was the only Sunday he came. Then today we got to their house. I knocked on their gate and yelled "Oh dee-oh!" (Which is normal by the way, you normally don't knock) I looked inside and saw that he had a cigarette in his mouth, and suddenly my heart sank. Turns out that there is a conflict between him and his daughter and he also had already drunken some beer too. I felt so sad for them and started to tear up a little bit just trying to plead with them to just drop whatever got in-between them. We can't judge others. I think Elder Holland's talk mixed with Elder Uchtdorf's talk is basically what I was thinking of and trying to express to them. At the end I just told them to pray together as much as possible. It ended well because after the lesson they offered us mofo balls (kind of like scones) and soda. 
Malagasy Book of Mormon - 1985ish
 The next time we taught these investigators about the work and responsibilities of the prophet and the apostles. And at the end of that time they fed us this delicious bread/cake. We were really fed well that day. It was Mother's Day on Sunday for the French and whoever has French influence (Madagascar). But apparently it ended up also being feed a missionary day!! Woohoo! I love it when that happens! 

I love this church and the miracles that happen every single day. Sometimes more than you can handle or would ever believe COULD happen in one day. With God, anything is possible. Believe it.
Elder Walker

PS: I hope this email made up for the last short email.

The new hymn books

We cooked a chicken from a member.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Another baptism - May 28, 2012

Yes, we did have a another baptism. It was only two. It was a couple that have six children. Sadly none of the children got baptized because they are fisherman. Which means they are kind of the laid back people that always swim and just hang out with their friends. But at the baptism some of their family came and then came to church the next day after that. Hopefully they continue to come closer to Christ.
But with the baptism, we bought a new hose because the one we had was super small and was a hassle to hook it up to the faucet and also could not handle the water pressure. We bought one and was actually almost too small to reach to the font, but luckily it was perfect length. We turned it on Friday morning and would usually leave it on for the whole day and just come back to turn it off at the end. But with this hose it was a lot faster so we decided to come back after two hours and when we got there it was already overflowing! And since the font that we have is already semi broken we used the duct tape that you guys sent me to reinforce the sides. If we didn't use it, it would've broken and we wouldn't of had a baptism. It must of been inspiration or something to send that. That is actually really useful so in the next package could you send another one.
This week was pretty slow, nothing really happened. We need to do some serious finding to fill up our schedule. Because we are baptizing some long time investigators, we are starting to switch out some people. 

Well I love studying the scriptures. Right now I am reading the New Testament. But am reading the "four gospels" in order according to the harmony of the gospels in the Topical guide. It is really cool to see the different perspectives and changing of words. I advise you to try it out on just a little bit of the New Testament. 

Well I think that is my short email today. Sorry there is nothing too exciting, hopefully next week's email will be jam packed full of good stuff!

I love all of you and hope that you build your faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Elder Walker