Monday, May 25, 2015

5/25/15 - The hand of God and an angel

Bon Jour, misy olona be dehibe izay mieritreritra fa mahay amin teny france aho fa diso izany. 

It's been a great week!  I feel like I truly saw the hand of the Lord in the work this week.  I couldn't have been more happy with how this week went!  Me and Mumford worked till we dropped.  We set some high goals for ourselves.  We wanted to make 25 lessons, 10 families, 5 new bap dates, and 28 hours of pros time.  Our average has usually been about 15 lessons, 15 hours, and 3 families. This week, in my father Elder Lehr's words, "Was CRAZY SAUCE"!  Miracles were seen :) Let's go to those shall we. First of all, BROTHAH ROBY IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!! WOOT WOOT!!!  I have prayed and fasted for how his situation would play out because it just seemed impossible.  It seemed like other people were just not allowing him to be baptized and it was so hard to see a solution.  At the beginning of the week, Elder Nohaingoinaina asked me where to find a certain story in the bible.  I told him it was somewhere around this place but I am not very Bible smart yet... :p  He asked me if he could come with me and do a split to Saradroa and of course I said , "Heck yah!" We went and visited Roby.  The situation was still the same.  We had taught him everything we could and I didn't know what else to teach him and how to help him.  Elder Naina felt impressed to share the story that he was searching for earlier.  He was able to gain Roby's trust and Elder Naina dug deeper into his story.  We came to find out that day that Roby is still living with his ex-wife but is not together with his ex-wife.  Everything is separated. We had not understood that important fact.  We were not going to deny him the atonement any longer so we gave him a baptism date! :) He is so ready!!!  We're super excited!  His wife still needs time but this was God's plan for Roby right now. :) Elder Naina taught like an angel.  I have heard that God works in mysterious ways and that it is usually through others that he works. 

We also found some great contacts and great families this week that were very accepting of us.  It was so nice!  Remember the member that asked us to teach her husband and he already started coming to church?  He is freaking awesome!  His name is Alfred.  They are such a loving family. They are one of our poorer families. We teach them Tuesday nights. We got to their house this past Tuesday night and they were just about to eat.  It was just the two of them and they had two full plates of food. We told them we could wait for them to finish but they insisted that we come in. They both gave their plates to us.  I was astonished.  The malagasy people are so loving and generous!  We felt a lot of love in that house. Of course we couldn't take it all but if you don't eat a little of what is offered it is  thought of as very rude.  So me and Elder Mumford shared one plate and they shared the other plate.  Right before the lesson started he told us straight up, "I want to be baptized and I promise to learn. "We were like, "YES!!"  This week just shows us that God prepares his children beforehand to hear the gospel. We taught a great lesson and then we set a baptism date! :)

Okay so this weeks stats... 29 lessons, 30 hours of pros time, 10 families, 5 new baptism dates!  Not bad right!? ;)  We met some incredible people!  We also met some not so incredible people... haha. One guy in particular was just being a smart aleck said some mean things about the church.  Eh whatevs.  Can't bring me down :p  We also met a family that was learning about the church before, they had moved, and now they've moved back recently and they were wondering when they would see missionaries again.  We are excited to teach them too! woot woot!  I'm so tired.  haha.  That's a good thing right!? :p  Well, I love you guys!  Hope y'all have a splendid week!  Bisous bisous!!

-Elder Mack

pictures from Elder Mumford

Monday, May 18, 2015

5/18/15 - Staring, Pushing ourselves, Finding lost souls

Elder Mack and Elder Coleman at Lake Tritriva for P-day

Salama Ianareo, efa sitrana aho, aza manahy!

Hey y'all!  How's it going!?  I'm sorry if I have not been able to email some of you lately.  I'm so busy but I promise that emails will be coming.  So this week was probably one of me and Elder Mumford's most successful weeks.  It has been one of my better weeks here in Andranomanelatra.  I'm stoked to tell y'all about it!  But I'm going to start off with a little word of the week!

The word is "mibinjina".  It means, "to stare".  A fun missionary line is, "Aza mibinjina vehivavy." I'm not translating... :p (Mom on google translate:  It sounds like when the missionaries are walking down the road that they would say this, "Even the women are staring."  Foreigners get stared at a lot.  It sounds like it's irritating when the men stare but maybe not so bad when the women stare?).
So this week me and Elder Mumford pushed ourselves a lot more and we were able to teach 18 lessons this week with 24 hours of pros time!  What what!?  Yah we felt cool. haha  We had some fun lessons.  We went to visit Roby and his wife.  She was not in a good mood that day because of something that her son did that was maditra. haha  We will try her again this week.  We will see.
Suzanne and Raymond are trying to do what they need to do to get baptized.  Suzanne actually went to Tana this week so we didn't get to teach her but we taught the rest of their family the covenants made in baptism.  It went well.  They are excited but they just have to endure a little longer.

One little miracle that we saw this week happened when we were searching for less active members.  We printed out of member list and asked our branch president to mark the names that were less active.  We have about 80 in our branch right now.  Yikes...  So we go to the house of someone on the list and apparently this family has been less active for about 2 years.  They tell us that they switched churches.  They are very apostate now.  We left so disappointed but as we left, one of their neighbors called out of their house and they invited us in.  Apparently she was a member that I havn't met yet.  She told us that if we were looking for someone to teach that her husband is still not baptized.  He wasn't home at the time so we couldn't put a program together but she told us that she would try to get him to church and then we could talk with him.  He actually came to church!  We set up a time with him and we are excited to teach him. Yay!  Woot woot!

We went searching for these two other members that were less active and we found them!  They are awesome!  Their names are Todisoa and Sheena.  They said that they got way busy and then when they were not busy anymore they just never felt motivated to come back to the church.  They said that when we came to find them it gave them a reason to come back.  They came back to church on Sunday!  Yay!

Well sorry that this isn't longer but I'm gonna go now.  Have a great week everyone!  Bisous bisous!

-Elder Mack

Antsirabe and Ambositra elders

Monday, May 11, 2015

5/11/15 - Crazy Sauce, District Conference, & Interview with President

Salama ianareo! Tena marina, tena bogosy be i Elder Razafindresetra!  Ho'any ve vav rehetra, izy no malalaka. :p

Hey y'all! Soo, this week was CRAZY SAUCE (as my mission father would say :p ) Nah nah it wasn't all that crazy but it was a good week!  Yesterday I got the amazing opportunity to skype my beautiful mother and family for Mother's Day. :)  Twas great!  We also had district conference this weekend.  A bunch of elders come down for it.  We had the Ambositra elders (including Elder Snell) come here to Antsirabe which was awesome!  He's actually spending p-day here too!  We are planning to go to Lake Tratriva again just because it's that beautiful...  I think we will take Elder Snell golfing the next time he comes up!  The APs also come down from Tana! The new APs are such ballers!  One of the APs is Elder Morley who trained Elder Kelsch.  Then there is Elder Rigby who is my mission grandma! :p haha  It was great to see them! Then we also had President and Sister Adams come and the Rossiters, a mission couple.  President Adams did interviews this week and I feel like we are BFFs now.  Not quite on first name basis but yah the interview went well.  He gave me some great advice that will help me not only in mission life but for regular life when it comes again.  So that was awesome!

On Friday we had a Fisoratina which is when a couple gets legally married.  We were so excited for them!  The wife is the branch president's daughter and she has been with her boyfriend for a long time and they have a family.  The wife is super diligent in coming to church.  The husband needs a little convincing... :p  We're working on him.  The wife has already been baptized.  She has not been able to take the sacrament for the longest time.  She is way happy about being able to do that now.
Oh dang it.  I forgot the word of the week... :p haha  So, the word of the week is "mifohaza!"  It is the command form of "Wake Up!!" haha  I dont think I have to teach you guys how to use it but if you want to say, "Dude, wake up!" you can say, "Mifohaza ela!" haha  There you go.  Okay I've got that out of the way!

For some reason, this week all of our investigators were not home.  We had only two investigator lessons when we should have be teaching like ten.  We do have a lot of recent converts and less active lessons though which was good.  We were not able to go to see Roby's wife last week but we are hoping they will be available this week.  I think I have talked about Suzanne and Raymond.  They are the couple that need to get legally married after the husband gets a divorce from someone else.  The husband traveled far away to the place his ex wife lives and tried to talk to her to accept the divorce but she did not accept it.  So when that happens, people in Madagascar have to pay a lot of money to force a divorce.  So that is the new problem we have now.  Otherwise they are ready for baptism.  They want to be baptized.  They are so diligent in going to church.  So we are hoping for a miracle with that.  Prayers are appreciated.

Other than that nothing else is really new.  Life is great! :)  I'm happy! :)  I love you guys!  One more shout out for all the mothers out there!  You are amazing!

-Elder Mack

There are some talented artists in town.  If you give them a picture they will paint it for you.

Me and Elder Mumford being hicks

The new legally married couple

We be bogosy!!

We went to visit a less active member.  We drove for almost an hour and then rode our bikes another 20 minutes to find out the guy we came to see had moved.  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

5/10/15 - Mother's Day Skype with Elder Mack!

Our family had a wonderful Skype with Elder Mack this morning.  It was so awesome to see him and talk with him.  What is different about this next picture?  Yes!  Elder Snell photo bomb!  Love him.  

Elder Mack shared his testimony in Malagasy. 
The whole file was too large to add so I am only including a portion of the video. 
Lia loves her big brother missionary

The two boys - Spencer & Elder Mack

Lindsay loves her best friend and brother
Happy Mother's Day to me!!

Like Father, Like Son ( a little Aida for you Mereb) 

Elder Snell and Elder Mack were on splits together today.  That was awesome.  Elder Snell came up from Ambositra for the weekend.  MTC buddies back together.  
We asked them to sing a song for us

Some of the members from the branch stopped by to see the missionaries families.  We got to chat with them a little.  We asked them what they thought about Elder Mack.  Elder Mack then translated, "He's handsome, cool, and awesome."  Not sure if that is really what they said... Haha!

Monday, May 4, 2015

5/4/15 - Cool new comp & prayers needed for Roby

Akoryabio!  Tena marina, ny namako vaovao de akaika maty.

Hey y'all!  So I've had a way good week. Transfers went well.  Every companionship in Antsirabe changed.  We even had one companionship from Antsirabe get transferred to whitewash in Tana.  Same companionship.  Elder Gariki left to Tamatave on Tuesday.  I still miss him a lot but I got a new way cool companion!  Elder Mumford came on Wednesday and we are getting along great and having a good time!  This is his last area before he goes home.  He has only 2 transfers left. Crazy.  I'm trying to make him super trunky right before he goes.  Joke.  He's not trunky at all.  He is from West Jordan and he is super tall - 6'5".  This is my first companion that's taller than me.  I'll include pics of course!
So I just got to give a little shout out to my Tongan sistah Aitana Alapa who just got called to CAVITE PHILLIPINES!!  Super stoked for you!  
Well next week is mother's day and I have to give a shout out to all the mothers out there! I am so grateful for all the women in my life and especially for my own mother.  You're incredible mommy! :) Next week, SKYPE!! woot woot!
So for the word of the week let's do 'sary.'  You say it like you would say the word 'sorry' but you have to do it with a malagasy "r".  I don't know how to explain that but it means 'picture'.  We as vahaza love to take pictures and malagasys love getting their picture taken.  So random malagasys, if they see our camera out, will say, "Hey vahaza - take a sary of me."  Then we try to tell them that the camera just died. haha  We've got to be careful here because some people will then try to get you to print the sary haha.
This week, as you all know, was transfer week.  On Tuesday I got to go on a split with Elder Nohaingoinaina.  He was waiting for his comp too so we got to spend a day together.  This is Naina's last transfer and then he is done with his mission. He is way cool.  He got his mission call to England and loved it there but he had visa problems so he asked if he could finish his mission here in Mada.  He helps us a lot with malagasy.  He said it was weird teaching the gospel in his native language because he had learned all the lessons in English.  I feel like it will be the same for me.  So just FYI, if you want a gospel lesson from me when I get home it may have to be in malagasy :p haha
The work is going really well.  We have an investigator in Saradroa named Roby.  He is so ready for baptism but he has a problem.  His wife did not want to accept the missionaries so they separated.  This happened before I met him.  They still live together so he is not able to be baptized.  He has been trying to find a new house so he can be baptized.  I thought originally that Roby and his wife did not love each other anymore and so we were encouraging him to find a new house for the last few weeks.  Last Friday me and Mumford dug a little deeper into the story and we found out that he still loves his wife and wants to get baptized with his family.  Totally opposite of what we originally thought!  We told Roby that we want him to try to share the story of the restoration with his wife.  We told him for fast Sunday we would fast that his wife's heart might soften so she would be willing to hear the message from the missionaries.  We are really putting our faith in this.  This next Friday Roby is going to take us to his house.  We have not been teaching him at his house because of the wife.  We've always met him at a member house.  So wish us luck and say a prayer for us.  There are a lot of good things happening here.  Me and Elder Mumford have a few new investigators and we are excited to teach them!
So I think I'll end right there!  Y'all have a great week!  Happy Mother's day again to all the moms out there!  Bisous bisous!!

-Elder Mack

Kung Fu with Elder Liao

We hiked to Lake Tratriva for P-day.  It is such a beautiful lake.  

Poses for days

Can you see me?  I'm cliff jumping Ma

Elder Mack on splits with Elder Razakamandimby

Elder Lehr and me say goodbye to Elder Fox!

Elder Christiansen on his way home

The Saradroa church building

Me and Elder Mumford