Monday, April 27, 2015

4/27/15 - Transfers, Conference & More Missionaries!

Hey y'all!  Hiala aminny tamatave i zanavavako.... TSY METY!!!

So, this week was transfer week and I found out that my daughter is leaving me already!!  Noooo! Yah, Elder Gariki is going to freaking Tamatave!  So not fair!  He is going to see the beach.  :p haha Nah nah I'm excited for him.  I had such a fun time serving with him.  He knew how to spread the aloha to those he served.  I will be getting a new companion on Wednesday.  His name is Elder Mumford.  I don't really know anything about him yet except that he is from Utah...  It seems like almost all of us are from Utah!  My first two comps were from Orem, then Gariki was Tahitian, then back to Utah.  I think I heard Elder Mumford is from Draper?  

Another cool thing to report is that we had General Conference this past weekend!  Woot woot!  It was way good!  I loved hearing all the wonderful talks from our leaders of the church.  One of my favorites has to be from Elder Anderson.  He talked about hearing the music of the gospel.  Incredible talk.  In applying that to missionary work it reminds me that you can preach to people all you want, you can place all the doctrine in front of them KANEFA (but) if they don't learn to listen with the spirit then they won't hear the message and progress.  They could learn all the steps in the dance but they need to hear the music to make the performance superb!  I love it.  Elder Holland gave an amazing talk as well!  Elder Coleman (haha) was so funny.  In his GC notes for Elder Holland he wrote, "Wow.  Just read this talk." haha!  Holland never disappoints!  We all fall short of the glory of God, but Christ rescues us.  He suffered the atonement because he loves us.  I know that is true. We should be using his everlasting atonement everyday so that we may be able to get over the cliff to eternal life.  Dang, the talks were incredible.  President Eyring also gave an amazing talk about fasting.  I love general conference. 

WORD OF THE WEEK!  I didn't forget. :p  So the word is, "Fihoana be."  This means, "General conference."  The direct translation is, "Big gathering." Pretty cool.  So the verb of 'fihoana' is 'mihoana' which means 'to meet' as in 'to meet up with someone.'  'Be' makes it a 'big' meeting.  Cool right!?  Yah.  Malagasy rocks!

This week was a way good week.  This is the last week for a couple of our elders serving here. Elder Fox and Christiansen go home this week.  Their missions are done.  Crazy.  Every companionship in Antsirabe is changing.  Crazy.  We did a few splits this week with other elders. I got to go on a split with Elder Nohaingoinaina on Wednesday which was rocking.  Then me and Elder Thompson went on a split on Friday.  Went way well. 

The members are all doing well.  They were all super excited for general conference.  After conference we went to work and that was all the members were talking about.  It was amazing.  They loved talking about the talks.  Investigator wise things are going great as well!  We have one family who is so close to baptism but they have a problem.  The wife is actually legally married to someone else so she needs to get a divorce and then get legally married again to be able to get baptized.  They go to church every week and understand everything super well.  It is great teaching them. They live in Morarano which is a little far from Saradroa where the church is but they still walk every Sunday to get there.  For them it's probably about an hour and a half walk.  Insane!  Our young men's president and his family walk two and a half hours to get to church every week!  The members are incredible.  One of their sons helps us every week when we go there to teach. He is working on his papers right now for a mission!  So awesome!  The people here are incredible.  Oh my gosh, so we just found out from the young men's president that there is another investigator that's been coming every week to church and has been wanting to learn from the missionaries so he could get baptized! He walks 18 km to get to church every week!  This Friday we are going to find their house and teach them!  I am super excited!  The work is going well!  I love it here in Andranomanelatra!

I was super excited to hear about everyone getting their mission calls in our ward!  Tell McKay, Tyler, Bryson, Jessica, and Riley congrats from me.  And Tana has her papers in?  That's crazy.  I call Tonga! haha  Send Aida back to the islands!

Y'all have a great week! Bisou!
-Elder Mack

Elders Christiansen and Fox!

Elder Coleman!  Bisou!

I got to see Elder Lehr's area - Fort D!

Splits with Elder Thompson

General Conference time!  Woot woot!

Monday, April 20, 2015

4/20/15 - 8 months, Sick, & Miracle


Miss me yet!? :p  It's been 8 MONTHS!!!  Dang!  I received a letter from my family today and they told me about my 8 month mark and I was like, "What da ish?" haha.  Time GOES!!  It doesn't stop! Then my lovely sister Lindsay emailed me and says school year ends in 6 weeks!  I'm just blown away right now! Crazy! So, how y'all doing!?  Things going well?  Hope so!  Time really does fly so enjoy everyday.  Elder Fox sees his family in a week.  They are coming to pick him up.  They will be here next Sunday.  He says he can't believe how fast it has all gone.  Then he'll go to BYU for summer semester. 

So, the word of the week!  The word is "marary".  This means "sick" but it could mean sick from like a little boo boo to like you're almost about to die. haha.  So this is a good word to know because when you say it then people ask how they can help.  So this past week I was sick.  Yah, first time.  It sucked.  I had a fever.  It lasted three days.  I couldn't work.  It hurt not to work but I needed to rest.  People were asking me and Gariki where we were.  I would say, "Tamin'ny herin andro, nirary aho." That means, "Last week I was sick."  Then people will say, "Mirary fahasalamana." This means, "I hope you feel better."

So this week had its ups and downs.  Of course the down was that I was sick and couldn't work like I wanted to .... :/  But I had some good ups too!  There were some less actives that came back to church on Sunday which was GREAT!!  And on Tuesday we kind of had a miracle.  It was something that  was definitely needed for us to work!  We were going to teach some recent converts and another new investigator on Tuesday.  On the drive there I realized something and told Elder Gariki, "Ah!  Elder Gariki, we need a member over 18 with us today." There is a missionary rule that you need a guy 18 or older other than a missionary at every lesson.  We were worried because our two usual member help was not in Andranomanelatra at the moment because they were taking care of family stuff.  But not even 30 seconds after that we see our branch president's adopted son Erik and he's waving to us. We pull over. Erik has had surgery on his left leg so he can't walk normally.  He came to us and said "Hey, you guys need help today?"  What?  What?  We were like "YES!!  But can you ride a bike?"  He said, "Missionaries in Antsirabe taught me how to ride even with this leg." So we took him and we taught great lessons that day!  That investigator has already come to church! And she brought her daughter which was great!  I turned to Gariki after we talked to Erik and said, "Wow.  That miracle didn't take very long." haha.  The work is going great!  I'm loving it.  We are teaching one new investigator.  His name is Bernard.  He is accepting the message well but the thing he has a hard time with is believing that we need a prophet.  He says in the Bible, Jesus assigned the Holy Ghost to lead us.  So we are trying to get him to pray about that.  That is the goal.  We could Bible bash all we want but it won't do any good.  Don't Bible bash, it's not worth it :p  Just let them pray about it. 

Everything is going great!  I love you all!  Have a great week!

-Elder Mack

This is what the people use instead of a blender

We got to go golfing for P-day!  :p woot woot!

Is this the right form?

Monday, April 13, 2015

4/13/15 - Problems but the view is beautiful

Yo yo tompko!!! Elder Mack ihany ity!!!

Shout out to my "bogosy" Father of mine, Superman! Happy Birthday Dad! 45 aint dat old... :p nah nah love you!
Hey y'all!  How's everything going?  I'm just here, loving Andranomanelatra, preaching the gospel, you know, the one that will give us eternal life? :p  Anyways, it was kind of a poopy week BUT "Mbolo misy zavatra mahafinaritra be" (there's still some awesome things that happened).  I'll start with the word of week first. :p
This weeks word is "sinoa" (shhh-new).  Super fun word.  We say this word all the time.  It means "asian" :p  I'm mainly saying this because Elder Liao is next to me right now.  Little kids always try to speak in English to us but they are so bad.  We joke around with them saying, "Amin ny teny sinoa ianao" (You're good at speaking asian).  haha
So, this week! We kind of had a lot of problems but we still had fun.  First of all, everyone was like on vacation or something because no one was home.  It was ridiculous...  Second problem, on Friday we had car problems.  We were going to drive all the way to work in Saradroa.  It is a 40 minute drive but our car was being dumb so we took it to the shop and it wasn't finished till about 4:00pm.  We missed all of our times on Friday.  We didn't have any other plans so we decided to still go to the Saradroa church building to discuss things with the branch president.  Saradroa is way cool!  We don't usually take this hike unless we have a meeting or a baptism.  The church is about a 30 minute hike after the 40 minute drive. The car can't make it all the way to the church so we need to hike part of the way.  We have to hike over two mountains to get there.  The view is beautiful!  We didn't have any time for lessons but we got a gorgeous hike and got some important business done.  So yay! 
Hey - I heard that one of my old Hawaii friends got baptized recently!  Just a shout out to him! Congrats Robert! 
Man, it's so cool seeing the conversion process of others.  One of our recent convert families has quite the story.  Olga, Felana, and Clara are incredible.  They have dealt with a lot of problems in their lives.  They moved here all the way from Fort Dauphin.  Their father left them and they didn't have much of anything.  They have gone to a few churches and have not liked them. Then two missionaries came to their door and they felt something they haven't felt with the other churches.  They got baptized!  They're awesome!  I feel so blessed to be able to see this change in people here in Mada!  Y'all be jealous!  That's the best thing in the world!  :p nah nah nah  Don't mean to be braggin'!  haha
Well, I think I'll stop here today!  Have a great week guys!  Bisous bisous!

-Elder Mack

The house!

My baby

This is where we have sacrament meeting

Imagine me on the beach but the sand is not sand, it's rice.  Haha!

My favorite little ones!

Me and Elder Gariki harvesting rice!  "Namboly ny vary izahay."

Malagasies carry everything on top of their head except for their children :p
I got a painting done of the Laie temple!! Woot woot!

Monday, April 6, 2015

4/6/15 - Easter, Thunder Thighs, & Conversion

Salama ianareo! (Hey ya'll!)  Tratry ny paska!! (Happy Easter!!) 
Hope you had a Happy Easter and a great spring break!  If you want to go to a big party at Easter, you gotta come to Antsirabe for that!  This place got sooo crazy during Easter time!  They have a three day concert here and everyone comes out for that.  Lots of musical artists were performing and then there were a lot of people drinking and doing drugs.  Crazy.  The streets were PACKED the last few days because of this concert!!  With the big concert going on I was surprised that me and Elder Gariki only had one person miss their appointment.  We were worried that most people would be at the party!  So that was cool!  One of the singers who was performing is named Stephanie.  She's a super "manja" (popular) singer.  It just so happens that our zone leader Elder Naina grew up with her and they are cousins!  Around valentines time, an elder named Elder Lee taught her, gave her a Book of Mormon, and got her contact number.  She told him that she goes on tour a lot and she said she was coming to Antsirabe.  Elder Lee gave her our zone leaders phone number and then gave us hers.  Elder Naina tried to call but she wasn't there and we had missed her... lame right!? :p That would have been cool.  
So for the WORD OF THE WEEK!!! Haha you guys thought I forgot huh!? :p  The word is "R1ms"(Rehm-z)  Yes, it is spelled with the number '1'.  This is a teny bondie (teen talk) word.  Elder Razakamandimby started to teach me a little teny bondie because apparently some people will try to speak that way to rip us vazaha off.  This word means "real fast" or "quick."  For example, "Afaka mampiasa ny findainao r1mz ve aho" means "Can I use your phone real fast?"
Easter was awesome for us.  On Saturday the elders got asked to sing at a district Easter activity.  It was so awesome!  We sang, "I Believe in Christ."  Me and Elder Lehr got to do a little duet on the second verse!  Oh how I love my daddy!  Then we watched a video about Jesus Christ.  Twas touching!  Elder Gariki made a little Tahitian dish that made me so Hawaii trunky haha but it was way good!  Our lessons went well this week!  We have a good, solid program right now.  Getting to our appointments are the hardest part because they are so far away.  Even though we have a car and bikes it takes forever.  On Tuesday we actually had to bike to our area because the Zone Leaders needed the car to drive to Tana.  Usually we drive to the chapel and ride our bikes from there.  On Tuesday we had to bike up the hill to our area!  It took us an hour!  When we got there we thought we were going to die.  haha  Elder Gariki turns to me and says, "Elder, we got thunder thighs!" haha "Yah we do!!"

To answer mom's question it is kinda hard for the youth to come to activities right now because of their school schedule.  School is from 7-12 and then they go home and return from 2-6.  It starts to get dark at 6 here.  The youth also do a lot of work for the family here in taking care of the other kids so we are trying to figure out what will work.  
Maybe I'll close my letter with a little spiritual thought?  Yah!  Cool beans.  So we had a zone meeting this past Thursday!  Twas amazing!  Our zone leaders gave a great lesson on being converted to the gospel and then bearing to others that you know those things are true.  Elder Fox said, "Don't just go through a mission, have the mission go through you."  So, a mission needs to change you before you can change others.  It is the same if you are outside of the mission.  You can't preach something that you yourself don't know to be true.  When you do know the truth then you can follow this formula in D&C 100:5-8.  First, lift up your voice to the people.  Open your mouth.  Then second, let your mouth be filled with words from the spirit. Third is solemnity of heart.  You must be absolutely serious and genuine when you bear your testimony.  Mean what you say.  Fourth, have a spirit of meekness.  After you testify then rely on the spirit.  Then fifth, the Holy Ghost will take over.  The Holy Ghost will touch the hearts of those you bear testimony to.  I know this to be true.  I know that as we allow the spirit to teach the people the church will grow and truth will continue to spread throughout the earth!
I love you guys!  Have a great week!  For those of you starting back to school today after spring break - finish strong this 4th term!  Bisous bisous!!
-Elder Mack