Monday, February 23, 2015

2/23/15 - Menaka Masina, Incredible Lessons, 6 Months

ALOHA!!!! (The Malagasy working came over and was confused after seeing this word.  haha)

Hey Hey! Hows it going!? Things are going quite swimmingly here in Mada! Love love love it! So WORD OF THE WEEK!! The word is "Menaka Masina"(may-nuh-kuh mah-si-nuh).  It means "holy oil" or "consecrated oil".  For example when we are giving someone a blessing we would say, "Ho any benediction, mety ve raha mametaka ity menaka masina ity amin'ny loanao aho?"  Which means, "For the blessing, is it okay if I place this holy oil on your head?  Malagasy is so cool right?  Yah, I know! :p haha

So this week was honestly kind of a slow week... hate to say it.  We didn't get the usual amount of lessons that we usually do.  A lot of people "dogged" us this week. BUT!!! The lessons that we did get this week were INCREDIBLE!! Tarsile and Onja are still doing great! We asked them this week if they were ready for baptism and they said "YES!"  We made a date for them in April.  Then you remember Danny right!?  So we went to his house on Wednesday and we asked him how his reading was in the Book of Mormon.  He's in Mosiah!!  Such a balling kid!  So ofcourse we had to test him. We took out our picture book of the scriptures and showed him pictures from the Book of Mormon. He was pointing pictures out like, "Oh this story makes sense now."  "Hey, that's Mormon!"  I was just thinking, "Yes, he's another Wilson!!" haha  If you all remember Wilson they are pretty alike! They love learning!  I love that so much!  We teach Danny with his Grandpa and he's not into it as Danny is but still, Danny is going to be awesome for the church!  We gave him a baptism date in April too!  I'm sad I won't be able to see their baptisms but I'm doing my job right!?  Happy missionary right here! :p haha

On Friday, I got to go on a split with Elder Connault. Twas awesome!  He's got a super nice area!  I have pictures of it.  I'll try to send them, computers have been dumb lately. Nothing too big really happened this week!  Had some way good lessons, got some baptism dates, went on splits, 6 month mark just hit :p  I will probably leave in three weeks.  Yah, das it!  Y'all have a good week!  I love you all!

-Elder Mack


My ginger!  Elder Davis from Scotland

The force is strong with this one

Why did I let him do this to me?  Don't ask... (Mom:  blue stuff is window paint.  Silly elders.)

(Mom:  Elder Mack also sent pictures from last week's baptism.  I saved them on last week's post.)

Monday, February 16, 2015

2/16/15 - Surprise Baptism, Leave it Better, and We'll See Uncle Dave Again

AIZEEE!!!! Aona ny Fandehany!?

My beautiful family and friends! I had another great week! Can't wait to tell y'all about it!  But I gotta GOTTA do the word of the week first! :p duh! haha.  So today we are going to learn some "tena bondie" (teenager words).  The proper word is, "Aizeee".  That means, "How are you?"  The more common "bondie" phrase used is, "Aona ny Fandehany?"  Which means, "What's up?" That's it!
So on Saturday I had a surprise baptism!  Friday night I came home from work and Elder Connault turned to me at dinner and told me, "Oh, I forgot to tell you but you have a baptism tomorrow morning."  I got asked to baptize a member's daughter who just turned 8 and how could I refuse?  So I said "SHOOTS"!  haha  I'll have to send pics next week.  This computer is not being kind today.  yah yah, I know I look good in white! ;) nah nah!  She's a cute little girl.  Her name is Malina. She is Jean Chrys' daughter, our last Branch President.  The baptism went well but poor Malina was so cold in the water.
Yesterday we beat our record for investigators coming to church! Woot woot!  We got 8 to church! Tarsile and Onja came again!  Awesome right!?  They are progressing so well!  Onja is super shy and yesterday in the investigator class the teacher (who happens to be President Rakotovoa's wife, so AWESOME) got Onja participating in answering questions.  I could tell that he felt good when answering them too!  So great!  They even brought one of our other investigators!  They brought a kid named Danny.  Super cool kid!  He comes to English class a lot and has been interested in the church!  He also came to the baptism on Saturday and yesterday he told us, "I want to get baptized!" I can totally see him going on a mission!  I probably won't be able to see his baptism.  That makes me sad but if I can only help plant the seed... same with Tarsile and Onja.  I have a month left here (most likely) :p  I better make it count.  Something my mom would tell me when I would go hang at someone's house is, "Leave it better than when you found it." Something like that. haha.  But that's a goal for all of my areas is to leave it better than when I found it!  I hope I have done that for this area.  There are still many, many people who have yet to hear this message. Right now because I may be leaving soon, planting seeds is what I need to do.  Then maybe a couple of companionships later the area will just explode and the church will grow super fast!
On Friday I went on a split with Elder Fisher. Elder Fisher is the Zone Leader with Elder Rigby.  He is so so cool!  He has two more transfers till he goes home.  He just came from Fort Dauphin where the dialect is Atondroy!  It's not even Malagasy!  Sooo hard!  But he is definitely a missionary who has worked his tail off on the mission!  Great guy!  The split went well!  Taught some great lessons, etc. 

To answer my dad's question.  The language is definitely coming.  I'm seeing progression everyday.  I am to the point where I can teach full lessons.  They are not perfect but I'm getting better.  The challenge right now is understanding what people are saying. 
This week I have taught the Plan of Salvation a lot.  I have really gained a strong testimony of it.  God loves us so much that he created this beautiful plan of happiness.  We can all live together forever.  Families are eternal.  It is super sad to hear about Uncle Dave passing away.  He was a great guy.  He was so fun.  That's one thing I love about this plan.  I know that we will see Uncle Dave again.  I know it. 
Well, that's it for this week!  Hope you all have an amazing week! Love you all!

-Elder Mack


Monday, February 9, 2015

2/9/15 - Transfers and a Miracle Story

Whats up "Tompko"?

My beautiful ohana! I love you all so much! I hope you all know that! :) This week was another good one! It wasn't our best ever but we put our all into it and did our best.  Me and Elder Hammer did witness a miracle this week and I'm excited to tell ya'll about it! :) But you all know what has to come first! WORD OF DA WEEK!  So the word of the week is "samihafa".  It means "different" like in separate.  So oatra, (example) "Mino izahay fa samihafa i'andriamanitra, Jesoa Kristy, ary ny fanahy masina".  Which means, "We believe that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are different". Like that.
So this week!  It was a great one!  Since Elder Coleman got transferred to Antsirabe (with Elder Lehr not fair), we got a new elder in our household!  Elder Davis!  He is such a baller! He is about 10 months into his mission and he is from Scotland.  He really is Scottish.  His accent is legit!  He loves his kilts. etc. haha  Super fun guy!  I'm excited to get to know him.
So - miracle time!  So last week we tracted into this Lady named Tarsile. Her and her son let us in to teach to them. The first lesson I could tell they were super iffy about it. The son didn't talk much and I could tell that he felt weird with us in his house. We left feeling like it had been a great lesson. The we went back on Saturday for another lesson. They let us in again and we taught about the Book of Mormon.  Then Tarsile told us that there was something about this church that she loves. She said something feels right about it. Then she told us about her son. He's protestant and is super happy with it.  And apparently he hates missionaries from other churches. Every single missionary that has come to their house, the son gets angry and mean and yells at them to leave. She told us that when we came he was calm and let us in. Because of that reason she decided to listen to our message. It was an AMAZING lesson!  They happily accepted a Book of Mormon. Then on Sunday they came to church!! Me and Elder Hammer were so happy!  We've never had an investigator come to church after the first invite too!  And they loved it. I'm excited to continue to teach them. That just proves how amazing the gospel is. The spirit calmed this man's heart so that he could listen to a true message that God loves him and knows him personally and that God wants him to return to him. He wants nothing but everlasting joy for him and his family. I love this gospel.  I feel so "sambatra" - so blessed to be able to see the gospel touch the lives of others. That's my miracle story this week! :)
Well, I love my mission.  I love the people.  I love Madagascar.  I love being a missionary. I love my ohana.  Have a great week everyone! I love you all so much!  Have a great Valentines day! Till next week! :)

Elder Mack

Elder Connault looking cool

My turn

This little boy was being "maditra" - naughty.  His parents thought that hanging him from the clothesline was super funny.  And he's still smiling.  Rascal.  

I love these kids

Monday, February 2, 2015

2/2/15 - Transfer News, Setting Goals, & Vazaha Count

Akoryabio ny ohana of mine!

Soooo, this week is transfer week and..... I'm staying here. haha  Still in my 1st area but I love it here! It's great but I was just kinda ready for some change ya know!?  I'm following in my daddy Elder Lehr's footsteps haha.  He was here in Fianarantsoa for 7 1/2 months.... He trained twice here! haha So 1/4 of my mish will be in this area!  It's so crazy that I'm coming up on 6 months now!  Where did the time go???  Elder Coleman is going to Antsirabe with Elder Lehr.  Not fair. Elder Johnson is heading to Tana.  Elder Connaults new companion is going to be Elder Davis.  He is from Scotland. I've heard good things about him!  I'm excited to meet him. 
Well, I better get the word of the week taken cared of.  The word is "Mampome."  It means "funny." If you wanted to say, "That's funny" then you would say, "Mampome izany."  I will expect you all to be "mahay" at Malagasy by the time I get back haha nah nah jk.
So, me and Elder Hammer had another amazing week! We worked this week as if it was going to be my last week in the area. When me and Elder Hammer first got put together we made a goal that we were going to get a 30 hour week and a 6 hour proselyting day. We had never done it before but we both wanted to.  On Saturday we had our day planned and we were ready for the 6 hour day.  We were actually supposed to do splits that day but it got cancelled.  We had our goal in mind and were so ready to go out and work. Then a couple of our scheduled times failed on us.  We tracted a ton to make up that time.  Then we had to take a bus to an area so we tracted while we were on the bus to get some time.  By then we had 4 1/2 hours.  We still needed an hour and a half!  Then our times in that area both failed so we took the bus back and tracted again while we were on the bus.  Only 1 more hour was needed and we had 1 more time scheduled.  It was 7:00pm and tracting is not really an option that late.  We went to the house and Bebe Terez answers the door. "Is Jean here?" we said.  She said, "No, he's gone.... but come in."  We told her, "No we can't, there's no guy at home."  She is a member so she should have known that.  "Come in, come in, COME IN!" she said.  "We really can't!"  Then Elder Hammer heard a laugh and Jean pops out from under a sheet and we were both thinking, "YESSS!!!"  Sneaky bebe... haha.  We were soo happy!  We got our 6 hour day!  Then yesterday, we reached our 30 hour week!  Obviously, it's not the numbers that matter.  Things will not always go the way you planned but our goal is definitely something that pushes us to get better and to truly want to help others.  Setting goals helps so much on the mish!  And it's a great habit to get into for real life.  Set those goals and go for it!
One more funny little story.  Me and Elder Hammer counted how many times we got called"vazaha" in one day.  Ready?  58 times!  Ridiculous right!?  I hear it's worse in Tana!  haha!  But yah, we had a great week!  Taught some great lessons!  Found some great people!  6 weeks till the next transfer!  We'll see if I get transferred then.  Elder Lehr was here for 5 transfers.  I love you all so much!  Have an amazing week!  The message I hope to send to you all this week is that goals will help you accomplish what is really important. Set goals for yourselves. Things that can really help you or others.  This will make you happy and will push you to do what you want to do. Veloma!
-Elder Mack
I was trying to get goodbye pics with people I want to remember from Fianarantsoa but I didn't get transferred after all.  

This is Fetcha.  She's about to get lickens.  Joke.

So cute...

Love me some pineapple...

Soiree with the branch president

On top of the world!