"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, October 29, 2012

Rain rain goes all day!! - Oct. 29, 2012

Sorry for no email last week. I guess it just didn't send through. But that means that you get TWO emails this week! Woohoo! Lucky you! 

So on Monday Elder Austin and Elder McLaughlin played soccer with a bunch of other missionaries and then me and Elder Galbreath went to the office to take care of some other stuff. The next day, Elder Austin and McLaughlin were two red lobsters! That were also super sore. Elder Austins forehead started to blister; it was so sunburned! So me and Elder McLaughlin went half the day in our area because he needed to show me someones house and then I went half the day with Elder Galbreath in their area. It was so fun to see the investigators and people I knew in Itoasy. Also, I got to go to a dinner appointment and then the members that were their gave us a ride home. Super sweet.

Wednesday marked the beginning of the rainy season. And man, did it get a running start! The first half of the day was sunshiny goodness. We taught some times close to the house and then we had to take a little five min bus ride to our next area. While on the bus it started to drizzle, and then rain, and then pour! I was rushing to put everything in the plastic bags that I brought. I was trying to get all of it into bags before our stop because everyone gets a little grumpy if they have to wait at a stop longer than they need to. So we get to our stop and it is just like a huge bucket of water being poured that has no end. I'd say that it was one of the biggest rain storms I've been in. We were kind of in a country side part where there were no buildings, just rice patties. So it was prime wind blowing location. The rain felt like hail with the wind giving it more speed. It was funny because we get out of the bus and Elder Austin doesn't have everything protected in his bag, so me and him crouch behind this little stack of bricks for protection from the rain and I give him some bags for his scriptures, etc. We get to the persons house and they are just surprised as can be that we came to their house in a rain storm that bad. That's what I love about this place. The people that have lived here their entire lives, just do not like the rain at all. Everything shuts down if its raining. But its the perfect time to catch people inside their house. Haha! 

On Saturday our branch president had a birthday party! So we went to that and had some delicious food and talked to some of their family. It was super fun. Its pretty much the same as an American birthday party except when they introduce the gifts, the person giving it goes up, says a little something and then gives the three cheek kiss with the present. It could get a little long if there was a ton of presents. 

On Sunday, we did absolutely nothing! Elder Austin was sick, so we had to stay inside all day. But good news is, is that I did all my laundry, wrote some letters cleaned the kitchen and made two different kinds of rice (he meant popcorn maybe?). I couldn't find brown sugar here so I decided to use the corn syrup I had and just pour it on. It worked out pretty well. And then the other kind was just normal salt and butter. It was really cool switching off bite after bite. Also there was another huge rain storm. And I took some pretty cool videos of lightening. 

So that was our week here in Mada. How was yours? Love you all!

2 lbs. meat - $3.50

vegetables - 75 cents

sweet/salty popcorn

Monday, October 22, 2012

Let us all press on - October 22, 2012

Well like you Mom, am kind of shooken up from change, but we must all press on and trust in the Lord. For he knows what is the best. It looks like I have a huge responsibility put upon my shoulders now with being the only missionary in our ward now. I'll fulfill it well! 

So this weekend we had General Conference! Back when it happened in the beginning of October I was probably the most excited I have ever been in my whole life for General Conference. You could say that I was almost too happy. So on Saturday all the Tana missionaries went to the office and watched it in English. Except I was so confused because Pres. Adams started with Priesthood and I was almost about to question him when I decided that he probably knew what he was doing. And it turned out to be my favorite talk of conference. D. Todd Christoferson. Look it up! I took so many notes on conference. The most I have ever taken before. I was getting spiritually overwhelmed with the spirit. On Sunday morning we actually had a baptism! Woohoo! We snuck it in right before the morning session. Three people got baptized. It is one brother and two sisters. And they are in their thirty forties age. They are going to be really good members. Elder Austin baptized all three. I could tell he was a little nervous because when you walk out to the baptismal font (which is not inside the church) you usually just wait for the person conducting to call the baptizee's name and then the person baptizing them but Elder Austin and one of the people getting baptized had already gotten into the font before anyone else got outside. But he did well, he didn't mess up on the prayers or putting them in the water. After we just went straight into general conference in Malagasy. To be honest, I could understand a lot but Malagasy is just not clear. And the translator doesn't get everything. In one of Pres. Eying's talks we literally listened to a whole story before the translator started again, to just talk about the doctrine after it. Also American humor is different than Malagasy humor so no one laughs. But its ok because we watched it later that night in English at our house. After the morning session we all went again to the office and watched the last session in English. It was all so good! That was probably my last conference here in the mission because I might leave before or if I don't it won't be translated before I go home. Well It was a good one. Just like the others haha! 

Transfers were last night and nothing happened in our house, like was suspected, and we might actually be getting two more people in our house! One of the areas are going down to two missionaries. The two missionaries that left that area are opening up another area in Tamatave I think. And the other is moving into our house!!! And he is training! And it is Elder Hansen! So he is doing what is called white- washing. Which is going into a new area with two new missionaries. And he is training so we'll get another new Elder. It sounds really exciting! But our house is already full, like their is now room for them to sleep of study, literally! So we'll see if it is really going to happen. You don't hear any complaints from me. Oh and also Elder Fryer who has been my comp two separate times is going to my birth area in Tamatave, Ankirihiry, after being Zone leader for six months. He really wanted to go to the coast so he got his wish. I know he will love it just as I did. 

The area is going good with a lot of good member help. We actually have filled up our schedule all the way from it being half full two months ago. It probably could have filled up faster if I was better at planning but I tried my best and now its filled up anyway. I went on exchanges with my district leader Elder Waters. He came into my area with Elder Austin and I went into his area with Elder Rasoanaivo (he's Malagasy :) if you couldn't tell) His area happens to be the one with the tallest hill/mountain in it. We started at the Rova (the kings palace back when there were kings here) (look it up on google)and just walked down and sometimes walked up the hill/mountain.  And my calves were sore the next day. Definitely not used to walking up and down steep stairs all day. You know, Malagasies for being extra short, they have extra big stairs! 

So that was the exciting part of my week. I hope you got excited reading it. Love you all and talk to you next week. 

I will also try and get pictures up, sorry I know I have been slacking. 


Monday, October 15, 2012

A Hard Week - Oct. 15, 2012

Well I myself am kind of bummed about the ward change. I guess I'm just gonna have to visit all of the people that are in different wards now. 

Well I have to be honest, this week was not the best. But it was still good because ya know, I'm in Madagascar serving the Lord. 

So on Monday, we did this Family Home Evening with this less-active family. It was a hit! We had the one of the members with us share a little spiritual thought and then after Elder Austin and I shared the lesson. Honestly I can't remember what we shared but I know it was good. Really good. :) Then we it was time for the game. This time I decided that it was time to pull out the magic tricks! I did about three different magic tricks and it amazed every single one of them. It was hilarious to see their faces haha! They were amazed/angry that they couldn't figure it out. After that, they fed us this delicious rice and beans. I know that's what I've been eating for the past year and a half but it's really good! The only thing that was kind of a bummer was the rice water was cold. NOTE: For those of you who don't know, they have this rice water here. After serving the rice, they throw in more water and burn the rice that's still in the pot. And then they serve it hot. And it is delicious! But it's kind of weird if it's cold. 

Wednesday we had interviews with Pres. Adams. [He's the new mission president since July.] And it was probably one of the most special times on my mission. I just felt like he really cared about me. It was really like the first time that we talked. Everything went well and I feel like my mission is gonna go better now. 

Friday we were teaching the Ten Commandments to this mom and daughter. We got through all of them, the hand signals and everything. We taught a little why we needed to keep them and then we asked them if they knew all of the ten commandments. So we would hold up our hand and they would tell us which one it was. So I held up 1 and the daughter said "don't use the Lord's name in vain", the mom said "don't kill people." Both wrong. We move on to the second one. Same answer from both. Both wrong. We move on to the third one, (this is "don't use the Lords name in vain") So this time the mom answers first "don't kill people". Nope wrong. the says "don't commit adultery". Wrong again. So this goes to the fourth and fifth commandment. The daughter has taken the jump around tactic bound to get some right. And the more experienced mom is sticking with her "don't kill" answer, determined to get one right. So now me and Elder Austin were a little disappointed but so excited that we were on six now (don't kill). So we hold up number six and Elder Austin gives a good excited gesture to let her know that she will get it right and she says "don't covet". How could she change her groove?! After that the daughter just cheated and looked at the bible, and the mom stuck with don't covet until the end. So eventually she did get one right. You just gotta love missionary work. 

Saturday was a little different. Three of the times we taught the people were drunk. And they always talk about how it is so hard to live because they never have enough money. Well maybe it's because they are drunk at three o'clock in the afternoon. Its really hard to watch sometimes. Hopefully they remember something of what we taught that day. But I think the hardest part to watch was when we got out of our last time and everyone was looking at something. Everyone on this little street was looking at a member of our church, drunk. He was walking furiously up and down the street and yelling like crazy at people and how they are liars. And he was hitting people with a stick. It was probably the hardest thing I have ever seen in my life. So I immediately walked up to him and took the stick from him. Luckily he was nice to us, the missionaries. So I took him inside his house and talked to him for a little bit. Then I told him that he couldn't leave his house and that he had to go to sleep. From what I heard from his wife the next day he didn't do anything else. It's so tough sometimes because they have been having a hard time with money I believe. We visited them earlier that morning and they gave us some juice and bread. And he was perfectly fine. Life can be hard but I know if we trust in God and try OUR best to live his principles, our life will get better. 

Also on Saturday there were a lot of people bugging us and teasing us and just being rude to us, so we decided to get some ice cream at the end of the day. So we paid them and got our change and walked away. About the time we were home it finally clicked in my head that they didn't give us the right change. They stole a little from us! It was just a rough day in general. 

I love teaching the gospel. There is no way that any other church is true. I know that Heavenly Father loves us very much. I love the Malagasy people. I hope all of you have a great week! 

Elder Walker

Monday, October 8, 2012

Best meal yet! - Oct. 8, 2012

So nothing special this week. There was one thing that was really cool. Brother O'Day's mom came here to Madagascar. We didn't see them last week because they were somewhere on the beach (not fair). But last Friday we went over to the Branch president’s house where they are staying and had dinner. First of all I have to talk about the delicious dinner that we had. It was American style! O'Day's mom made this cucumber salad thing with another mango/pineapple salad that was really good. And then for the main course she made this amazing Macaroni and cheese! It was so so so good! Oh my gosh I must of had like three plates of just that. It was so good! And then to top it all off, we had brownies for dessert! But not just any regular brownies, they were expensive ingredient brownies just for us! And you can't forget the Hershey kisses that were in the middle of each piece! I almost couldn't have a second piece because that was so sweet. I don't think I can portray through email how much I loved this meal. It was probably my favorite on my mission, that's how good it was! What would have made it better was if there was some good American ice cream! 

Brother O’Day’s mom is really nice! So yesterday was fast Sunday and they bishopric asked if she would bare her testimony for us and O'Day would translate. She had a very moving testimony about sacrifice. About how everyone has different sacrifices but everyone has them. We must, in order to progress and grow. I really loved it. I laughed a couple times because of Bother O’Day’s translation. It's just impossible to translate directly from English to Malagasy. So it always turns out funny. She also talked about how just because some people are rich doesn't mean that they don't have struggles (she was talking about the branch president) because a lot of people tend to think that here. I liked it a lot. 

Well I don't have much time because a lot of missionaries are eating together for lunch and they are rushing us so I'll say that I love you and that will never change. 


Oh and for Christmas I was wondering if you guys could send me another dinner recording with everyone new. I loved the last one so much! If you can't though, I understand. And If I'm sending a letter to everyone I better get a letter from everyone. That means you too Janet! Even if it’s not that long, I still want one from you. And if you guys could buy me an Xbox for when I get home that would be great... The new black one :) You know just little stuff, I don't like asking for too many things. 
Brad with Daniel - maybe a member helping ?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Good Week - Oct. 1, 2012

This week was pretty good. It was mostly the end that made it all worth it. So basically Monday through Friday was just normal. I'm not down playing the importance of teaching but just saying that it wasn't any different than the normal amazingness that it usually is. Actually, now that I think about it, there was these people that we were going to teach but when we got there they weren't home. So we asked the women sitting down in front of her house and the grandma if they would like to learn. They politely denied (which was expected) and I started to walk away. But at the time we had a member with us. And just some background info, this member was a pastor in his old church so he is pretty good at "preaching". So he kept talking to these two women and he said that who ever receives Christ's servants you receive Him. And then said that if you don't receive them, then you don't receive Him. And then he says a phrase that roughly but pretty much directly translates to "so what now?". He has used it multiple times now and it has not failed once! So yes, we taught them and when we got done teaching them we asked when we could come back and a man working on his house just spoke up and said that they couldn't learn from us anymore. And then the member with us said that everyone has their own agency. But then the man said that he was the spokesperson for them and said that they aren't allowed to change church's. So that was that, we just left a little surprised how straight forward he was but at least we didn't waist our time teaching them and then them rejecting us later. Oh well, I just wanted to share the part with the member's preaching tactic. I wonder if it would work in America. 

Then on Saturday we went to a new place of our area. We took a bus about 5 Kilometers out (3 miles I think) that cost 20 cents a person. Really cheap, even for Malagasys. And visited a member out there who had a referral for us to teach. And the place that we went to was B E A utiful!!! It was like a little valley that had some rice fields and a little town with a river. It was just so beautiful. I'll take a picture next week or you guys but remember that pictures wont do it justice. Anyway, we got some good new investigators but that's not what this story is about. It is about the member that gave them to us. He is about 60 or so and he is crippled. So he can't move his left arm and he can kind of move his left leg. He has been baptized for a little over a year now. He doesn't have the most money so he actually still goes around looking for work. But when he comes to church he sometimes doesn't have the money to go by bus so he walks!!! Isn't that crazy?! Also, he is always there on time! He is the one that always comes to the baptisms and all the activities. He is just an amazing man! He came up in our ward council meeting and everyone said that if you have any money that you should give it to him because he really and truly needs it. It was amazing to see because Malagasys are usually skimpy on money but they were really serious. It just showed some true love that is in our church. Brother Francois is the man of the year. He is my idol and he is definitely going to get his place in the celestial kingdom. 

Then Sunday just topped off the whole week. We were waiting behind the gate that went into the church. Just some info before. We have been teaching some less actives for a long time and no success in them coming to church. I guess that kind of ruined the story but a lot of those less actives came to church today! But it was like three less active people of different families and one of them even brought her husband! It was super cool! And then two men we baptized got the priesthood also. Also, a ton of the kids came back from vacation so church was packed! It was just an awesome Sunday! I loved it! It put a smile on my face the whole day. 

Well that was my week, pretty dang good! Thanks for the debit card, I'll be sure to spend as much as I can now. And yes, I loved the pictures that you sent me!

1. Did you happen to get a picture with Elder Cook when he came? That would be cool! No sorry I didn't feel like bugging him. He already had so many people asking him for pictures so I just didn't want to bother him.
2. Are you still taking vitamins? Are they gone? Do you need more? No I'm good on vitamins thanks though.
3. I hear there isn't a grocery store nearby you. What are you eating during the week? I had no grocery store anywhere for five months in Toliara, I can get by a couple days. And we go to the grocery store every Monday if it is something you can't buy at the little mini stores across the street. I take a picture for you guys next week to let you know what I mean.
4. Do you have any ideas of what you'd like for Christmas? Candy is always wanted. Spice things up this time and send me something else than peanut M&Ms. I don't need any clothes or shoes or socks like that. Send me funny pictures. I honestly have no idea. Just surprise me!
5. Do you get to hear General Conference in English again since you are so close to the mission home? Yeah; Two weeks after you guys watch it, we get it over hear in English. The people outside of Tana watch all five sessions in Malagasy with their ward. Just like I did in Toliara.
6. Dad was wondering how I find so much to write about. Are my emails too long for you? Am I taking too much of your cyber time? Nope; I love them when they are long.
7. We had 40 original pencil sketches of Norman Rockwell on display. Please tell me you've heard of him?! Nope, never heard of him. Good thing I'm half way around the world so you can't hit me on the arm. :)
8. How fun for you to be able to teach with Brother O'Day again! Was he surprised at your progress since the last time? So is he located near where you are now or does he travel all over to build houses? Is he married yet? How often does he go out with the missionaries? He didn't say anything about my language skills but he didn't say I was bad either so that was good. He lives close but he works far away. He has bought some land to build. He is actually building a whole housing complex so right now he's working in one place. Not married yet. He went with the missionaries a lot before but works a lot now.