Monday, January 12, 2015

1/11/14 - Aloha, Bebe, Branch President

Aloha O'e!
It has yet again, been another beautiful week here in Madagascar.  Skies were blue, birds are chirping, lemurs were making whatever the sound they make...  Just loving it here in Madagasikara.  First things first, word of the week! Yay! so the word is... (drum roll).... "aloha". haha  So it's not the "aloha" we are all used to.  The meaning of this aloha is "before".  For example, "Taloha ny fiainana'i Jesoa Kristy" (I think that's right haha I'm still learning).  I added a 'T' before the 'aloha' because it's past tense but this should mean, "Before the life of Jesus Christ".  But yah, the Hawaiian meaning is still cooler. 
So this week was a pretty good week for me and Elder Hammer.  We were working hard, got some great contacts, and taught some great lessons.  I was looking through the area book at the list of former investigators. I found a record for a couple named Jean and Corine.  I read through their progress and apparently it was going really well. They were coming to church a little.  I guess there was a problem and it stopped their progression and then the missionaries stopped visiting them.  It was a year ago and I wanted to find them again.  There was no address or phone number but under fellowshippers, it said "Bebe Marie, John's mom" (bebe means grandma).  If it was the same Bebe Marie, then she is a member and I know where she lives.  She's an older lady and is a little crazy.  Me and Elder Hammer went to her house.  We asked her if she knew a Jean and Corine.  She said, "No, I don't."  We were bummed and told her that we have this missionary book with the names of all the investigators.  We told her it has the names Jean and Corine and it says that Jean is Bebe Marie's son.  She said, "Hold on a second."  She went in her house and grabs her Book of Mormon, gives it to us and says, "Where are those names?"  We were just like, "Oh my goodness."  Elder Hammer then asked, "Bebe, do you have children?"  She said, "Uh no.  I don't have kids."  We were so confused so we asked Bebe's sister to come outside to talk (because she is a little more sane).  We told her our story about Jean and Corine.  Then she said to Bebe, "Bebe, you have kids, Jean and Corine, they live right next to you."  Then Bebe said, "Oh yah... Jean!"  We face palmed internally and then went to talk to Jean.  He is super cool!  Even though the missionaries stopped coming he continued to read the Book of Mormon.  So me and Elder Hammer are reviewing again with him.  Super awesome guy with an awesome family and he's a potential Melchizedek priesthood holder.  I'm excited to teach him. 
So like I said, great week this week.  Good things are starting to happen.  Our new Branch President is awesome!  President Rakotovoa has an awesome conversion story (Mom: I will ask about his conversion story.  See picture of President Rakotovoa in last post 1/5/14) and he has done amazing things. For one, he was asked to translate the temple endowment session into Malagasy.  That's how cool he is.  He was flown to Salt Lake to do that.  He speaks way good English.  He worked as a temple worker in Johannesburg, South Africa for 3 years.  I'm still learning about all the cool things he has done.  He is so awesome!  On Thursday, he came with us to teach.  Me and Elder Hammer were having a bad day.  All of our times were falling through.  It was frustrating. Then President called us and asked if he could join us so he could visit some members.  He wanted them to get to know him better.  We said yes, of course, with the day that we were having. Then he picked us up in his car. It was a super nice car. We were going from lesson to lesson. We taught 6 lessons that day! The spirit was super strong in all of them! President really helped those members and investigators.  He is definitely a blessing for this branch. 
So yesterday Me and Elder Hammer tracted into this guy and he wanted to learn. We go to his house and there were a lot of guys there - like 7 or 8.  We asked if they were family.  They said, "Yah, we are all brothers."  Then Elder Hammer asked how many brothers they had.  They said, "16". There are 16 boys and they are between the ages of 13 and 30!  That's insane!  And no girls?!  One mom!  Crazy!  Both me and Elder Hammer were thinking that if we got this family baptized, we could split the branch!  Just that family alone can start a branch!  haha.  So we taught a lesson with them then they asked if they could come to church next Sunday.  Ummm.  We said, "OF COURSE!" haha!  I love being a missionary!  Greatest calling in the world!  That's it for this week!  Work is moving!  Have an awesome week everyone!
-Elder Mack
(Mom:  I mentioned to him that I missed getting pictures last week.  His response was to send a whole bunch.  Thank you Elder Mack.)
This is some of the family that we call the Brady Bunch

These girls... haha!

Believe it or not there's a house in there.  A tree house.  Haha!

Me and Elder Coleman on splits
I put my new shoes on today

My custom suit

My desk

One of our investigators that's moving to China for a few years

Last week we went to Ranomafana National Park again so some of the newer elders to the area could see it.  We went to the tourist area this time along the river.

Bananas!  Yummy

While we were there we ate a super super nice hotel

Lia - I drew you some pictures pretty girl!  :)

Another picture from Wilson's baptism two Saturdays ago

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