"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, 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.