Thursday, September 25, 2014

9/25/14 - (MTC) Last email from the MTC

Manahoana ianareo,

So this has been a pretty awesome week! This will be my last update in the states! I leave Monday! We go from Salt Lake - Dallas - London - Johannesburg - Madagascar! Its gonna be a LONG trip! Madagascar is the farthest misison away from Salt Lake church headquarters.  Wish me luck! So this week we got to hear from ANOTHER Apostle! It was Awesome! We got the privelege of hearing from Elder M. Russell Ballard.  He talked about a whole lot of good stuff.  He told us that he would talk to us just like your grandfather would.  It was great!

This week, Elder Tiu got an infection so we had to go to the health clinic OUTSIDE CAMPUS! It was awesome! We were walking on the sidewalk and there were so many people who honked and waved to us. Oh we felt like heroes. haha There were also those people who weren't so nice on the street.  One guy said "you guys are slaves". It was fun! But it was so weird being in the outside world!  haha

So this week we were told that the Elders are going to sing for general conference for priesthood session.  The week after I leave.... soo not cool.... They are doing a couple of my favorite songs too! 'Nearer My God to Thee' and 'I Know That My Redeemer Lives'.  But I guess to look on the bright side I'll be in Madagascar free to go wherever I want to go - in my area. haha.  

This week me and Tiu got another role playing baptism! woot woot! This guy was hard headed!  It took like how many lessons but he finally agreed to baptism! And its in malagasy too so it made it extra hard.  We also got a new investigator.  Brother Bingham played one of his investigators named Jean Pierre.  He was actually a less active member.  When we found out the problem, we didn't know what to do at first.  Kinda came as a shock.  He lost a child recently.  We were able to get him back to church after the second lesson so that was good! Oh my gosh so another companionship was teaching Jean Pierre for the first time a couple days ago.  They asked, "How are your kids and how old are they?" Jean Pierre said, "I have a 4 year old, 6 year old, and a 7 year old but she just died."  One of the elders didn't know the word for 'died'.  So he just said "tsara" which means 'good' in Malagasy.  Brother Bingham face palmed them and kicked them out.  They got a second chance yesterday and did well. 

Well, on Sunday we got to hear a talk from the previous MTC president.  He talked about being 100 watt light bulb missionaries. He gave us a lot of great tips so we're not just 30 watt or 60 watt but 100 watt! It was awesome!

Brother Bingham showed us alot of pics from his mission yesterday and it was so cool! I'm so excited to go! He even played a song for us! It's called 'Ravoravo' by Mika and Davis. Look it up.  It's beautiful! Well, I'm excited to leave! Till next week! Madagascar, Here I come! Woot Woot!

Elder Mack

Mika and Davis, a folk-fusion music group from Madagascar

Elder Price has a really cool feature on his camera.  I decided to advertise the jellybeans you gave me.  haha

Jordan with Brother Bingham - one of their really awesome teachers. 

Yes dad, I got a haircut

Elder Snell

Testing the creative settings on my camera

Jordan trying to fly?  I think he's with Aussie Elder Arthur (going to Indonesia)

What is this?  The top of the mountain that he can see from the MTC maybe?

Elder Snell and Elder Mack posing in front of the temple

A bunch of missionaries from the zone

Thursday, September 18, 2014

9/18/14 - (MTC) Travel plans & Elder Scott

Manahoana Ianareo,
This week has been awesome! We are getting so close to departure and we are super excited.  We get our travel plans tomorrow so hopefully everything worked out and we got our visas and we are ready to head out to Madagascar. I'm not very excited for the thirty something hour flight though haha. It'll be cool though that I am with my whole district on the flight unless we don't get our visas and then we'll have to get reassigned to English missions for another transfer.  Let's hope that doesn't happen! A missionary in our zone didn't get their visa and they are a little upset but they are okay.  They are going to Indonesia and that mission rarely has problems but I guess they were out of luck this time.  I really hope everything goes well with ours.  Well this week we got a new teacher/role playing investigator! His name is Brother Burton and he is so cool! He is an EFY counselor and went to Madagascar for his mission.  He tells a lot of cool stories and is really good at teaching the language.  His investigator name is Lilaina and we started teaching him yesterday and he is very interested in the gospel and he's committed to reading the Book of Mormon and praying for the truth about it and Joseph Smith! I love teaching! It's sooo much fun! I can't wait to do it for real! What's cool though is the teachers are acting as one of their investigators that they had on their missions.  Same story and same problems! So it is really good practice.  The language is coming along great.  Me and Elder Tiu are at a good start for it and overall we can understand our investigators and say what we need to.  There is still ALOT I need work on but I feel I am somewhat at a good start for the field.  This week we got to hear from an Apostle! The MTC hasn't had one in like 12 weeks! Richard G. Scott spoke to us about prayer! He is such an awesome man! The first thing he said when he got up to the pulpit was, "Missionaries, don't just have a good mission, have a BLAST!" So cool hearing that from an Apostle! Well, overall, it was a great week! Can't wait for this next week! GETTING CLOSE TO DEPARTURE WEEK! WOOT WOOT!

Elder Mack

This picture was taken this morning.  I'm rockin my lavalava.

Soooo this picture we were calling each other "foitra botos".  I don't know where it came from.  I think Cooley came up with it somehow then Brother Burton said, "Are you saying belly button scoundrels?" Then Elder Cooley said, "Ah, so were calling each other belly button scoundrels?" Haha we're so dumb! Burton was laughing so hard he wrote it on the board!

Elder Tiu and I were walking around and just decided to take pictures with statues.  In this picture we pretended we got run over by the bikers.

In this picture Elder Evans and I are trying to look like Joseph.
The Madagascar flag

I took this one because it reminded me of my Grandpa Poliahu.  He got a special blessing from Matthew Cowley when he was 11 years old and was in a terrible accident.

My modeling pose smolder. 

Elder Tiu's model pose. 
I saw Elder Christensen (Argentina) from my home ward after the devotional 

Same tie just different color.  Yup, we're twins.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

9/11/14 - (MTC) Cave man talk

Manahoana! (Hello)
This week has been awesome!  I feel like the language is starting to really kick in.  Me and my companion Elder Tiu are starting to understand our teachers as they talk!  We can give lessons pretty well but it’s still really hard.  But it’s coming.  The way we talk right now is kind of like cave man talk.  It sounds like, "plan of salvation good", "me and you want eternal life".  Stuff like that haha.  At least our investigators understand us right?  We’re getting better.  I read on a missionary blog before I came to the MTC that learning Malagasy is like talking Yoda.   It’s hard to always talk like that!  The grammar is very different too but it’s starting to sink in.  With 12 hrs of class each day it better start sinking in!  Well, this morning I was able to go to the temple again!  Oh how I love to go! Such a beautiful place!  This past Tuesday we got to hear from Elder Joseph Sahati from the 70s and he gave a great talk on staying out of the dark alleys of the world and remembering that you are a representative of Jesus Christ.  I know that I am a representative of Jesus Christ.  I also know that I am representing the Mack name.  I will make all of you proud and work my absolute darndest for the people of Madagascar.  I am still kinda living in my dumb high school mind but I know with the Lords help, he will give me the strength I need to accomplish all things.  Alma 26:12!  Hey guess what? I memorized that scripture in Malagasy! Cool right! haha  Well, I love you all!

Elder Mack

In a letter to Elder Mack this week I asked to see his bed, his room, his classroom, etc.  So that's why he took the pictures he did.  We got him a new camera this week.  Hopefully no more blurry pictures.  It came back with some videos on it.  Yea!!   :)  - Mama Mack

Testimony in Malagasy (video)

Elder Mack & Elder Snell singing 'Nearer My God to Thee'

Classroom and teacher
Elder Stringfellow

 My bed

Care packages.  Thank you everyone.

I found my twin - Elder Mack & Elder Snell

Can you tell we are dripping wet?  Outside for exercise and it was pouring.  With Elder Evans and Elder Kelsch.

9/4/14 - (MTC) Lifting weights likened to converts

Manahoana ianareo,

This week has been a good one.  We have been teaching this pretend investigator all week and after 6 lessons, we got him to commit to baptism! Woot woot! It's amazing how the spirit works on us to know what we need to say at the right time.  When we would teach our lessons, (we have to teach our investigators in Malagasy) words would just pop in our heads that we would think we would have never remembered and it would be the right words the investigator needed.  We had to stop using our notes too.  So it has really been helping us rely on the spirit more to help with our lessons.  So that was a cool spiritual experience.  Well, this last Tuesday, we had Don Clark from the seventy come to speak to us.  He talked about converts.  He talked about how after we baptize an investigator that that isn’t the last thing we do with them.  He gave us three tips for helping our investigators after baptism: 1) find someone in the ward to befriend them; 2) give them responsibility; 3) keep nourishing them.  It’s like lifting weights.  The more you lift, the stronger you get and the less you do the weaker you get.  I know this by experience but that relates to the gospel too.  They also have to keep exercising their faith.  If they are given responsibility in the church with having a calling, it helps build testimony.  Well, I am out of time.   Always so busy. haha

Elder Mack

Cousins:  Elder Anderson (Baltimore, MD) & Elder Mack

Elder Braden & Elder Mack sitting next to each other in the MTC choir.  Having flashbacks to Concert Choir when they sat next to each other.  Elder Snell on the left :)

Elder Mack with Lono Ikuwa, an MTC volunteer who is from Hawaii. 

Nametag and planner

Are they concentrating or sleeping?