"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, 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)