"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 25, 2013

It's Come to an End - Feb. 25, 2013

I'm what malagasies would say "faly sahirana". Which basically means that I'm happy and sad at the same time. I can't wait to see my family, be in America, wear normal clothes and such but I'm sad that I'll be leaving Madagascar, their culture, the other missionaries, the people and lots more. I loved serving here for two years. I have grown so much. I have seen what God has blessed me with, and his amazing mercy and love that he has for all of his children. I have learned how powerful the Book of Mormon is. I know without a doubt in my mind that this church is true. I don't know really know what to say. I'm thinking too much about these next couple of days. I'll be sure to share with you all the scary stories that I experienced during my mission. If they are not scary then they are definitely exciting. 

I have learned to be patient in all things. Now, sometimes I forget that but I have learned it. We must always follow the Lord's way and try not to force ours because we will not grow that way. I have learned how powerful the Atonement is in our lives, how repentance and faith works. It is all very interesting and it is impossible to just write down in one email. This gospel is so simple but can be studied forever. I have learned that by showing respect and loyalty that our love for someone may grow immensely. I have learned and found out that I can love someone so much that they become like family. I have been so sad each time I have left an area. 

This past Sunday I bore my testimony and yes I did tear up but no drops came so in two years I have made almost no progress on the crying part! I have gotten pictures with everyone that wanted some taken with me. It has been hard just to leave this area, that I've only worked in two months. I'm sure the sadness is mixed in with the leaving Madagascar all together. 

For my birthday I went over to my favorite members' house and they fed us food and a little lesson and what not but what happened after is the fun part. So the Malagasy tradition is that on your birthday that you have eggs smashed on your head and then flour thrown on you too. Turns out that I went through my last initiation to become a full Malagasy. I had about five or six eggs smashed on my head and a bunch of flour thrown on me to celebrate my 21st birthday! It was a blast! I loved every minute of it! I passed out the candy that you guys sent me and I filmed them eating the pop rocks. It was really funny, I'll show you when I get home. They loved it, I loved it, ir was all good! We rode home and I got some looks from the people left over on the street. At home I went to go take a shower and... our water is not on!!! So I had to try to wash out dried eggs and flour out of my hair with dripping water. It was definitely an adventure and I'm glad I won't have to worry about that again, at least the no water thing haha! 

I'm going to miss Madagascar so much. I hope they have felt my love for them. 

I love you so much and I can't wait to see you all again. Be sure to have some extra smiles in the house. That is something that I have not forgotten to do. Love you all!!!!!!!

For the last time, Elder Walker

Monday, February 18, 2013

Feb. 18, 2013 - Happy Birthday

February 20th is Brad's 21st birthday!

This Monday Elder Waters and I went to Ambositra again to do a bap interview. It is always fun to spend time with the two elders down there. We came back Tuesday morning and then taught only four times that day. We are teaching these wonderful people right now. The wife is the only member out of all of them. We are now teaching her husband, the wife's little sister and her husband, her seventeen year old brother and now her older sister is now wanting to learn from us too. They are quite the bunch. And all of them come to church every week too! except the older sister cuz she just started learning but she has actually been to our church before but got a little discouraged because her ex-husband wont agree to divorce for some reason. So since she can't get a divorce she can't get married to her current husband so she can't get baptized. It is very frustrating how much a marriage costs and even more ridiculous how much a divorce costs. Hopefully it will go through. Later that night me and Elder Waters went on splits with these two members. But when we split up, Elder Waters had the phone, and the member I was with didn't have a phone. But we didn't realized this until it was too late to go back and ask where and when to meet and such things like that. Anyway, after me and my member were done with our times, we got on our bikes and what do ya know, he has a flat tire! Now the area that we were in was the furthest part of our area. Luckily the way back was mostly on a paved road. So we got to walking. We walked to the members house that Elder Waters was with and tried to walk in but their gate was locked! So what you usually do is yell "odio!" and they should come out. So I did it but no one came out. I did it again, louder this time, but still no answer. So we headed to where this member has family to see if we could use their phone. But when we got there, their gate was locked too! And the same shpeel happened again. So then we decided to just go to one of the missionary houses and see if we could use their phone to call Elder Waters. We got there and luckily one of the companionships were already home so we used their phone, but when we called, it went straight to voicemail... The phone was dead! I kept trying and trying and finally it went through. Turns out that Elder Waters and his member were in that first house but just couldn't hear. And they found a charger to fit our phone so we could call them. Also to add a cherry on top, Elder Waters got a flat in both tires, so we waited at the missionaries house until the companionship that had the truck, could take us home with our bikes.
Wednesday, we contacted this referral and it turns out that she reminds me of my favorites member here in Madagascar. She is so smart and she sees so easily that this is the true church and that she need to be baptized. Granted, she said all that the second time we taught her but not the first. Her older daughter started learning too; and they both came to church yesterday as well. They are definitely on the fast track. So there baptism is going to be the 14th of April. That is the earliest we are allowed to do it. The investigator has to come to church for at least two months before they get baptized. But I know that she and her daughter will be ready before that time comes. 

Thursday we went out to Saordroa again. We had a wonderful time with the investigators out there. And the members were so nice to give us corn before we had to hike back. Some of it was a weird red color... Madagascar was so kind to hold off on he rain until we decided to walk out the door. But the members were kind enough to give us coats and hats to keep us warm. We got safely to the road and hitch hiked back. 

Friday we went to the church to set up what is called webex for the zone leader council that is this Thursday. Its kind of like Skype. After that we went back to the house because both me and Elder Waters were not feeling so well. We studied a little and then I conked out at 5:30. And then I slept straight until 5:30 the next morning. We think that it had to be the questionable corn that we ate the day earlier. Whatever it was, it was gone by Saturday. It felt good to sleep that long, but I think it made my back sore haha! 

Saturday was like a replay of Noah's flood, so we didn't go out to work until the 5 o'clock. But we still got in four times before the night was over. 

Sunday, we got dogged  five times. And the times that we did go to the people were drunk. Yes it was discouraging but that doesn't mean that the world is over. We just always need to remember the eternal perspective and just keep enduring until the end. We need to endure with ourselves, and endure with others.

Well I only have 9 more days until I leave Madagascar. 10 until I get home. It's close. This is my last full week in Madagascar. 

Elder Walker

Monday, February 11, 2013

The rest of the story - Feb. 11, 2013

Well sorry I couldn't finish the email last week. We were too busy helping the new missionary couple get settled in and the computer was freezing while I was typing so it was a little frustrating but its only an email so whateves.

 But how the story goes is that everyone was fine, no broken bones or anything. My right hip and right arm were really sore for a couple days but they are good now. The people tried to get us to come back tomorrow and go to court and see what the judge says but we said "no, it was her fault that she wasn't looking, she only has two scratches on her foot and I'm fine too, bye" I'm shortening the story of course but at the end we just had to ride off because they wouldn't drop it. I was surprised that she was walking around faster than me. I mean I thought I hit her hard. It's kind of funny now that I'm looking back at it. When we got back, that's when the couple arrived from America. Elder and Sister Todd. He is a very successful mechanic Engineer and they both have the biggest amounts of faith I've ever seen. Wednesday through Tuesday we spent some time if not all the time with them. Just trying to get their situation set up. So not much else happened that week but just learning a lot from them. 

I think that Madagascar is trying to give me a very unusual farewell gift. It's trying to show its thanks through raining every single day of my last month here. Sometimes is show a little thanks, sometimes it shows A LOT of thanks. But I'm just soakin' it in one way or the other. Because I know that once it's gone I'll miss it. 

We had a Zone meeting on Monday. It went really well. We talked about new stats that we are going to start to keep track of. How to help the Branch Presidents. Things we need to remember from Zone conference a month ago. And how to keep clean. You can never talk to much on that subject in this country. haha! Tuesday we helped the Todds with getting a hoe, the gardening tool. Except, they don't have hoes in this country. They just farm a different way. So we had to go buy the shovel head, the wood handle to go with it and then go to this place by our house that makes metal stuff like little cake molds, pipes, and any other thing and we asked them if they could make it into a hoe. (It was a lot of explaining and pictures and in the end, what won was saying "it's a metal rake with no teeth. There's no gaps") By now it's kind of turned into a game to try and explain things. During my mission I have learned to not get annoyed or discouraged and everything but just try to make it fun or at least learn from it. 

On Thursday we went up to Saordroa (a branch an hour north) with Elder Todd. We went ni his truck and not the crappy bus. Woohoo! We got to the point where we had to start heading up the unpaved road. Wow, was it bumpy! It's a good thing that Elder Todd is really good with cars or else we might have been in trouble. We went up there and taught some times and then headed back safely. That area is growing so much. I wish we had more time than just once a week to go up there. We taught seven investigators up there! And they are all from the members hard missionary work. Maybe if they weren't under the Zone leaders responsibilities then the missionaries could focus more on them. They should be having a baptism up there sometime in April. 

We didn't have much time to teach as we would have liked but we were helping other missionaries and getting stuff done for our house. But we are still working hard in this area, trying to make it better than it was before. That is always a good goal to have right? We have a baptism planned in the this area on the 23th of March. So yes I wont be having anymore baptisms during my mission but I wasn't expecting to anyways. At least there will be a lot of people prepared after I go. That's what I really want. OH! Cool story time!  While I was in Toliara Elder Roney and me found this one family. They were all really cool. The parents have an 18 year old daughter and two twin boys that were 7. We were teaching them really well. We didn't want to rush anything. Roney left, I was companions with Fryer, he left and then I was comps with Elder Smith. By that time we finally got everything done for their wedding. We got that done and then I interviewed both of them for their baptism the next Saturday. The Dad was super ready from the beginning. But when I asked the mom if she was excited to get baptized that Saturday she said "I'm not getting baptized this Saturday" I was so shocked! Anyways, we baptized the Dad. We never had problems with him not coming to church. We kept teaching them and trying to get the mom baptized. I left, the twins turned eight and the Dad finally decided to baptize them. (At first he thought that they were too young to make that kind of decision but came around in the end). So now let's fast forward six months, I got a call saying that she got baptized! I was so happy you cannot believe! It took her a whole year of being taught by the missionaries, reading the Book of Mormon and going to church every week to finally feel like she was ready. It was in that same area (Toliara) that I learned about enduring. We can't be in too much of a rush to get things done. It just doesn't work that way. God doesn't work that way. Everyone has their agency and we all need to respect that. Especially Missionaries. If the investigator is coming to church often, not even always but often, and reading to Book of Mormon then you cannot give up on them. They will come around. They have to. They are spending too much time around the truth to deny it. They will feel the Holy Ghost time and time again, and they will come to know that this is the true church. I'm so grateful for the missionaries that stuck it out with her. 

I love the mission. Its coming to an end and I'm sad about that. But I don't regret anything. I feel like I worked hard and that I've changed and progressed throughout my mission. I'm so thankful to Heavenly Father for everything that he has given me and helped me with. I know that he is involved with our lives. He will never leave us alone. 

Well today we are down in Ambositra again but this time we got to steal the missionary truck instead of going down in a bus. I'm hoping to avoid as many buses as possible these couple weeks haha! That is one thing that I wont miss so much. 

I love all of you guys! Make sure that there is plenty of snow for when I get home. I might regret that wish when I actually step off the plane and I immediately get frost bite! Talk to ya next week!

Elder Walker

Monday, February 4, 2013

Feb. 4, 2013

The life in Utah sounds exciting and jam packed! You could call it exciting here too. So like you heard last Monday, I was 5O miles south in a town called Ambositra, doing a little zone meeting with the other two missionaries down there. That's why the email was really short last week (sorry!) Tuesday, we took a four hour bus ride more south to a place called Fianarantsoa. Where we did a zone meeting with the four missionaries there. Afterwards we went on splits with them. We taught some pretty good times but after that we were heading home on our bikes down this hill. The two missionaries in front of me were going a little fast, maybe a little too fast than they should've but I kept up with them anyways or else I would've been left behind and gotten lost. We were going in a row and I was last. We were just going and right after one of the missionaries passed these people, all of a sudden this Twelve year old girl just darts across the path in front of me! I didn't have time to yell or brake or do anything! So obviously I just crashed right into her. My bike went to the right with the girl and I kept on going straight. I felt like I flew 8 feet before landing on my right arm/elbow, and then rolling a few times. My biggest worry was dealing with the Malagasies because they try to take your money in situations like this one. I got up and talked to them, the girl had two scrapes on her foot, the bike was fine, [It stopped there - really?]

[And then later....]

I'll finish the email tomorrow morning. The connection is so slow that it is freezing when just typing and we have to go do the zone meeting here with the ten missionaries in Antsirabe. love you, talk to you tomorrow.

Elder Walker

Monday, January 28, 2013

Jan. 28, 2013

This was the first email he sent.....

This week was good. Nothing new. Just trying to work hard for my last month.

Talk to you next week

Elder Walker
20 minutes later he sent the REAL email. Very funny! I'm glad it was the middle of the night when he sent them so all I saw was two emails in the morning!
Sorry if my emails are getting a little short. I just get kind of tired of writing out my week on a computer for two years. 

We have been doing all kinds of Zone leader stuff this week. Elder Waters actually learned how to drive stick two weeks ago so we could take the car up to Tana for Zone Leader council on Thursday. It was... an adventure haha! We got there safely. We went up on Wednesday and went on splits that night. We had a meeting with all the Zone leaders in Madagascar and the two in Reunion. We Skyped with them and the two Zone leaders in Tamatave because their bus ride is nine hours long. The meeting was way good. Right now we are actually in a different city 50 miles south called  Ambositra to do a zone conference. After the Zone leader council we headed back down to Antsirabe Thursday night. 

Saturday we played soccer with all the members here. My legs are pretty sore right now haha! But it was way fun. 

Sunday was a good sacrament meeting. A lot of people including investigators and less-actives came. While we were teaching it started to rain like no bodies business. I think Madagascar is trying to rain everyday my last month that I'm here. 

So this week was not that exciting. I didn't really spend that much time in my own area. So hopefully next week will be more exciting than the last. The mission is just flying by so fast! I'm trying extra hard to write in my journal every night this last part. Just a little update, I got my package when I went up to Tana. It is very appreciated. Everything that I would be using for New years I'll just use for my birthday haha! My time here is just slowly winding down. I'm starting to realize all the things that I'm going to miss here. But it will be OK, life goes on. 

I hope that you all have a wonderful week talk to you next week.

Elder Walker 

Monday, January 21, 2013

What a week - January 21, 2013

This week has been wonderful!!! I've decided to try and finish the Book of Mormon before I get home. Right now I am in Mosiah 5. So we'll see if I can do it. I just feel so much better when I have a good study session of the Book of Mormon more than any other book. That is one thing that I have learned during the mission. The importance and power of the Book of Mormon. It is just so amazing. It's like it's from God or something... I love reading it. I know it will be something that will be hard to stop after I get back.
What I've learned this week is that if you don't be careful, you can get weak spiritually. We need to work continually to build our spiritual strength. Because if we don't, we will be in some danger that is above our power to overcome. The members here in Antsirabe have started to rely on the "church helping them" aspect of life instead of trying to be self reliant. Some have been converted to the missionaries or to the social status of the church but not to the Lord and his gospel. That is why reading the Book of Mormon can keep us safe from any harm that might come our way. It brings peace and power. There are many ways to build our spiritual strength. Just the good 'ol Primary answers but most of all, humility. Humility is the gateway attribute to the rest of the Christ like attributes. I know that if we try our hardest to be a follower of Christ, we will be blessed and guided in our life. We all know that this life is hard but only the people in our church understand how to make it the easiest. So be grateful! Be grateful that we have so much knowledge. That we receive so many blessings. Once you do that, help someone you love realize that too. This gospel brings so much happiness into our lives it is ridiculous! It is never-ending, literally! 
It is a dangerous world, so read your Book of Mormon! I love you all and I don't want to see you guys struggle more than you have to! Talk to you guys next week. 

Elder Walker

1. So how are you adjusting to the responsibilities of being a zone leader? Do you like it or do you wish you could just teach people the gospel?
Being a zone leader is just a little hard. Its a lot of meetings with the higher ups. We have to meet with the branch president (obviously) the district president, and Pres. Adams often. We are actually driving up to Tana this Wednesday to have zone leader council with him and the other zone leaders. And then coming back Friday morning. And then on Monday we are going to go two hours south to Ambositra to have a little zone meeting with the two elders down there. We are going to sleep there and then head another five hours south to Fianarantsoa to have another zone meeting Tuesday. And then head up to Antsirabe after all that. So it will be a pretty good trip. I'll get plenty of pictures for you guys. So being a zone leader is definitely easier than being the President so there is no complaining here. 
2. Hey, did you ever get your bigger Christmas package? I keep forgetting. Did you like it?
I still have not gotten the Christmas package yet. We're going up to Tana this week so I'll let you know if it's there. Hopefully it doesn't get lost, that would be the worst! 
3. Did your whole zone go on your lake excursion?
Only two Elders and the two sisters didn't go to Lake Tritriva. So almost the whole zone, with the two AP's. That would be eight missionaries. It was a really fun trip.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Release date notification - Jan. 15, 2013

This is really happening!

15 January 2013
Dear Brother & Sister Walker,
This letter is to inform you that your son Elder Bradford Walker will be released from his mission in the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission on 27 February. This was, in consultation with the missionary department, just finalized only recently. We have a real challenge coordinating releases, arrivals and transfers with missionaries serving in three countries. We receive new missionaries from three MTCs, each on different dates, some of them never come to Madagascar but are transferred to the islands speaking French and not Malagasy. We hope this date works for your family.
You will receive an email with his travel itinerary soon from Church travel. We have appreciated your sons dedicated service to the Lord here in Madagascar.
Sincerely yours,

Sister Cornelius
Madagascar Mission Office

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 14, 2013

Howdy y'all! I know that your last week was great. I am so happy for you guys. That is so cool!!! It made me so happy to see the wedding pictures. I can't wait to see more next week. And don't forget the picture of my cardboard cut out. Unless you guys got lazy and didn't do it then whatever. That seven day cruise sounds like it's gonna be just a little too much fun. Hopefully Phil doesn't eat as much ice cream as I did when we went on a cruise! The wedding and party and reception and whatever else you guys had sounds like a blast.
Janet and Phil - Bountiful Temple
Could their smiles be any bigger?

I'm being gentle.
Two cute cousins - Camille Loris and Evan Glad
 Friday we went on splits with the AP's and after we visited one house and found out some people weren't home, we left and came upon someone in need. There was this man that needed some help pushing his car so it could get started so naturally as missionaries, we helped. We laid our bikes down and first pushed the van up this drive way a little so he could turn left down the street. After we pushed it down and as he turned right he rode right over one of the bikes, bending the frame a little and then decided to make the front tire into a taco shell. Luckily the guy was really nice and tried to help us fix the tire and such. But to no avail he couldn't do it. So he actually made someone call a bike fixer up the hill to come and fix it. He couldn't do it either. The man with the car had to go to work but he was so kind enough to give us 2000 AR which is an equivalent to a dollar but actually would be enough to straighten out the wheel, re-align the back tire and tune up both the bikes. Just to make this clear, it was not my bike! I actually take care of my bike, I've learned that it is better to spend some money on your bike to keep it new, than to deal with the problems that slowly creep in. Than right after the bike got fixed, Elder Waters' seat broke off! We were literally 20 feet away from the bike fixer! So then we found out that they had to buy a new screw and such. Basically, we had time to teach two times all of Friday because of bike problems.

Saturday, Pres. Adams came down to Antsirabe for a zone conference. Now I already had this exact same zone conference up in Tana so I just translated for the two Malagasies that were there. It was still way cool to re-learn the same lesson again. Even if it was tough. It was tough because their vocabulary is not as vast as ours, you usually have to just explain the word that was used. So it's very rare that what you say in Malagasy, is what you actually say in English. And it is also rare for a Malagasy sentence to be shorter than an English one. I was translating for Pres. in an interview and I said something shorter than him, and he said "that's the first time Malagasy was faster" We all had a good laugh. For lunch we went to Chez Billy's. All 13 of us were there. It was quite the load for them to tackle but they handled it well. The steak that I got was HUGE!!! And they were cooked well. Not over cooked, not under cooked. And with that I had a bunch of sautèed potatoes. After I finished that I had the left overs of Sister Adams potatoes too. It was a lot to say the least. After we got back me and Elder Waters taught a little bit about how to get investigators to read the Book of Mormon. 

After that meeting the rest of the missionaries went to work and us as zone leaders stayed behind to be in the next meeting. Pres. Adams met with all the branch presidents of Antsirabe. It was basically about the responsibilities of the presidents and how to work with the missionaries. It was a good meeting for them because there are a couple presidents that are new so it will help them a lot. So after that meeting, Elder Waters and I helped President Adams with a couple interviews. We went to the church 8 A.M. and left the church at 6:30 P.M. We went to teach one lesson and then went home because Elder Waters wasn't feeling so well. 

Sunday was our branch conference. President Adams spoke about forgiving others and paying your tithing, which I think is perfect for this area here. Sister Adams shared an amazing testimony about forgiving also and I just loved the whole thing. Later in the day I went on splits with Elder Barclay, one of the AP's. While we were tracting, we were riding up this hill and all of a sudden Elder Barclay's tire got stuck. Long story short, the tire popped out and got stuck against the frame. We got that fixed, and then again, now 50 ft away, the seat broke off again. We put it in our bag and rode to the next time anyway. We taught this less-active family that is now just barely active about prayer and fasting. They really loved it and can't wait to fast next. I also shared my pictures of you guys. They always love how we white people always smile in every single picture. Its weird to them because they usually don't smile in pictures. After that, eight of the ten missionaries plus the AP's went to Madeline's house. That's the big active family. They always make good food. We had rice (of course) with potatoes and beans and meat. And you can't forget the Rano am'pango. Which is the burnt rice water. I have grown to just love that stuff. I drink so much of it now. Don't worry, I'll make it for you guys when I get home. 

And then today we went to a place called Lake Tritriva. It's pronounced "chichiva". It is this fresh water lake that is in this crater. It is so cool! We went down into it and took pictures by the edge. The water was so blue and clean! I'm used to seeing just straight brown water. And then we went up on the sides and threw rocks into it and it sounded like a gun shot if the rock was big enough. The echo inside of it was amazing! After that we hiked up the high side of the mountain and took pictures and took in the beautiful view. After we walked down the other side and took more pics of the huge landscape outside of it. It was quite the work out, its a good thing that I'm probably in better shape than I was before my mission. 
Brad, Elder Waters and AP's Elder Barclay and Steele

The hike
Elders Maua'i, Rakotoniaina, and Jensen

Most of the group there

Elder Barclay and Brad

Lake made from a crater

Such nice blue water!

A beautiful view from the mountaintop.

So that was our awesome week here in Mada!!! I only have six more P-days, its almost too close. I better make these last few weeks good. 

I love you all and can't wait t talk to you next week!!!

Elder Walker

When is my homecoming? If it's OK I would like it to be as soon as possible. The first Sunday I get home or the next would be prime. But whatever I'll do whatever is available. [It is scheduled for March 10th at 11:00 because the first Sunday home is a fast Sunday.] And then if it is that soon, could you tell me my topic? 

I had other questions but forgot them...

Monday, January 7, 2013

It is finalized!! - Jan. 7, 2013

The 27th of Feb is for sure the date that I'm going home! It is so close and it is kind of scary but if that is the date that I need to go home then I'll go.

Our New year's wasn't very exciting, we just went with the other two missionaries in our house to a dinner appointment at a member's house. It was really fun! The family has been members for a while now. They have four sons and three daughters. One of the sons is already married with four kids, and one of the daughters is married with one kid. But the next oldest daughter just turned in her papers and the next oldest son is still preparing but close. They are gonna bring a lot of people to Christ. They are such a fun family, they laugh and joke around a lot.
Thursday we had district meeting and then right after me and Elder Waters took a one hour bus ride to a place called Saradroa. It is a little group here in Madagascar. The bus we took there was THE smallest bus I've been on my whole entire mission! It had the driver with the two passengers up there and then it went back only three rows instead of the usual four or five. Elder Waters and I got shoved in the back because we were the last ones there. But the second to last row's seat was broken so it leaned back a little, and the end of the car leaned inwards a little as some do. And to top it all off, we had stuff put under and around our feet so we couldn't move them at all. It had to be one of the most claustrophobic times on my mission!!!! And saying that after I've been here for a good amount of time is saying something. But we lived through it so all is well right? Me and Elder Waters only had time for a couple times. We taught this almost deaf grandpa. Elder Waters was yelling right into his ear and he could barely hear sometimes. Then we taught the mom of the group president there. She could still hear so it was a less stressful time. After that we went over and had corn on the cob with some members. Here in Antsirabe, they farm a lot of corn and potatoes. So there are no complaints here. It's a lot better than having pig fat with the skin and little patches of hair still on it. And then at the end of the corn eating we had to depart and head back to Antsirabe. We stood by the road and flagged down any car we could get because we were literally by nothing else. So it took a couple minutes until an actual bus going back stopped for us. It was nice because this bus had only three people and was bigger than the one we took there. We also took some sweet pics. The ones on photobucket are just some of them.

Friday was pretty normal, we have been teaching some less-active families lately. We can't make a really solid program here with investigators because we are always doing zone leader stuff so we just go visit less-actives or members when we can. But anyway, we  had one time where this member took us over to her house to teach her two daughters who are in their twenties or thirties because they have never gone to church or done anything religious their whole life. So we got there and just waiting for the daughter to come down the stairs. It took a little bit for them to come and I was a little confused why. Then one of the daughters walks in with something one her foot. It looked like a cloth was wrapped around one of her middle toes, I couldn't really tell because it was getting dark and they didn't have electricity or any candles. So she put her foot on the table and kept on wincing in pain (I still don't know what it is) So we started talking with the mom and the daughters and the member that was with us. They were saying something but I couldn't understand them and I was partially distracted by the mystery thing on her foot. Well they went on to say that she got an infection two years ago and they didn't do anything about it because it didn't hurt. But this past year it has started to really hurt and grow alot. And then it clicked! What I thought to be the cloth was the growth from the infection! I have to say that the smell from it was not pleasant. They said that this past year it has been hurting way bad. And you definitely could tell because she didn't stop wincing from the pain once during the time we were there. Just imagine having to deal with that for a year! What I'm guessing and is probably the reason because it's the reason for many things in this country is that they don't have enough money to get the infection removed. It is really sad because she can't work and get money for her kid but has to sit inside the house all day and do nothing. It made me very grateful for the medical advances we have, and also just how clean our country is compared to a third world country. Hopefully they can get some money to take care of that. 

Saturday we went to a place called Chez Billy. Chez is pronounced "shay" by the way. It is a hotel/restaurant. Before I went there I said "chez billy's" in a western accent because it sounded like a hick name. But when I went there it wasn't really western at all. The owner is really fun and loud. The two out of three servers are "rasta" which means they have dreadlocks, or just have the whole Bob Marley thing going on. But they make amazing steak there. That is the one thing missionaries have gotten there for at least a couple years now. There are some businesses here that have made some cash off of the missionaries over the years just because it is the only constant thing in this country. So that meal was very delicious.
On Sunday, I went on exchanges with the Elders in Manandona, to do some baptismal interviews. It was nice cuz they have a car. Their area is four little branches so they need the car to get to all the far away places. First we headed to the Manandona branch which is about a thirty minute drive which is about 50 kilometers and spent sacrament meeting there. There was a member that prayed to Jesus at the beginning of sacrament meeting. And that same member got up to bear his testimony and was telling another member that they need to repent for the bad words that were said to him. Luckily no names were said. But as you can see there are still some areas that need some work. 

Riding with Elder Moore to Manandona

On the way to Manandona

Right outside the church in Manandona

The river in Manandona they use to baptize in.

Outside the church in Manandona
After sacrament meeting we headed to another branch called Besoa. Which was about three of four miles back and another two miles off the main road. We actually had to stop and walk half the way because there was a sketchy bridge we didn't think could hold the truck. So after we crossed the bridge and went over a short hill we came to a part of land that was just full of rice patties. I'm telling you right now that I'm gonna be the best on the balance beam when I get back! We went and walked on the less than one foot wide paths that were separating the rice patties. It is a lot easier to balance on something when your life depends on it. Ok maybe not your whole life but at least my dry clothes life as we know it. No worries because we all made it across safely. When we got there it was a humble 28 people at church in a one room building. It was fast and testimony meeting so when we walked in late the group president made us two missionaries and the member get up and bear our testimony. After their sacrament meeting was over I went and interviewed the one young man. He was actually taught by his friend all the lessons and knew everything really well. Almost the best that I've seen actually. His friend just got his mission call to New Zealand! That's the first Malagasy I've heard go there. He was really excited, he is going to the Provo MTC on the 29th of Jan. I was thinking about visiting him in the MTC after I get home. Cuz he'll still be there until the 29th of March. But we'll see. 

After church was over we headed back to Antsirabe. We just went on split with the Manandona Elders in our area because it was already three o'clock and they can't go out into their area late at night. So we split up and sometimes went all four of us missionaries to teach some people. And at the end of the night we went over to Madelines (the big family with kids going on missions) again too for another dinner appointment.

And that was the week! I hope that you guys enjoyed your own because I sure enjoyed mine here! Remember to always read your scriptures everyday. They are a huge blessing to us, don't take them for granted. Just imagine what knowledge you wouldn't have if you weren't part of this church. It helps me to always to be grateful for everything we have.

I love you all, talk to ya next week!

Elder Walker


1. You said your companion is in the group after you so did you know him in the MTC? No because they go in one after another, they don't overlap. I left June 6th and he got there the 8th.

2. I had to laugh about Elder Waters being the tallest missionary in the mission. Have you been taller than any of your companions? I'm sorry I couldn't contribute more tall genes to your makeup! 
I was taller than my mini missionary (who was malagasy) other than that I think I was the same as Elder Landon, my first trainee.

3. Is there anyone in your zone that you see that I would know? 
I don't know anyone who says they are in Antsirabe, Ambositra, Fianarantsoa or Toliara are in my zone. I don't think you know anyone besides the secret friends you make on Missionary moms that I don't know about.

4. Where is Elder Wilson right now? 
He moved up to Tana the same transfer I moved down here, after being in Fort Dauphin for Seven maybe even eight months. He was in Fianarantsoa for four months and then went staright to Fort D. So he hasn't been in Tana for a LONG time.