Monday, June 29, 2015

6/29/15 - New Mission President, Finding People

We tracted up a mountain one day and wow, what a view!
ALOHA 'OE!  Hawaii no tsara be kanefa Madagasikara no toerana tsara indrindra!!!

Hey y'all!  So, this week is kinda gonna be a sad week for the missionaries.  President Adams goes home this week... :(  I love him.  We will be receiving our new mission president on Wednesday I believe.  His name is President Foote.  I don't know much about him but President Adams says he is going to be a great leader for us so I'm excited to meet him.  We actually have mission president interviews with President Foote planned for Saturday.  I'm way excited! 
I am way good! We had a good week but a little stressful.  We had about 40 lessons planned but ended up teaching only 15 of those.  Kinda stressful but eh, still good! :)  So let's break down my week a little shall we? :p

Tuesday: We had a wonderful full day planned. We had tracted very hard to get these times scheduled and then... down the drain.  Only one time did not fall through.  We've had to do a lot of tracting in this area.  This was kind of a harder week too just because of Independence Day here.  I hope it goes better this coming week!  The one time we taught was to Sarika and his family.  I don't know if I have ever talked about Sarika but he is way cool.  He has been coming to church with his Grandpa and has been wanting to learn from the missionaries.  The only problem is he does not live in our area.  So we got permission and have started teaching him and his family.  Both his parents want to come to church now!  I'm really hoping they will come!

Wednesday: Freestyle :p worked hard finding people
Thursday:  I think I have told you guys about Joseph and Nina. They are a couple that are not legally married but wants to get baptized. They used to be way good about coming to church and now they don't come.  They say it is because of money and they can't take the bus. It kinda made me a little bit frustrated.  Back in Saradroa we had people who had nothing but every Sunday they would walk about 3 hours to get to church. You remember that one bebe who walked 60 km to Antsirabe for district conference?  She is like 80 years old!  So we taught them about faith. We taught them about the story of Elijah asking food from a poor women and when she had faith, she received immeasurable blessings.

Friday: We went to maman Tendrys house Friday morning and painted her house.  The paint was a very low quality but it still felt good to do service! Today, we found a way cool family! Their names are Mamy Nirina and Meltina. They are a younger couple that have two adorable kids. The dad was fishing when we tracted into them. They took us in and listened to our message. It was a great discussion and they felt the spirt, they understood the need for a living prophet with power and authority.  We gave them a Book of Mormon and I thought the wife was gonna cry.  She was just like, "Oh, thank you!  Thank you!  Today you answered a few of my questions and I have the desire to continue with the lessons!"  Yah! :p  We also taught Fanja today who is a recent convert.  She's the lady that went with us to Tsimbazaza.  Her neighbor is a recent convert too.  His name is Fetra and he is so funny.  When he learned the Joseph Smith story the missionaries asked him, "Who appeared to Joseph Smith?"  He said, "Umm, Jesus and Christ."  *facepalm*  He knows the right answer now.

Saturday: We taught English in the morning.  It was a way good lesson!  We had a new family come!  The dad is Alexander and then his son also came and learned with us. Alexander found the church on his own and he just started coming on his own and he has been waiting to be taught the gospel. The lesson went way well!  He already knew the Joseph Smith story and he has already read a lot of the Book of Mormon!  Way cool!  He'll get baptized fo sho!  We are teaching Edward still (the catholic teacher) and from what it sounds like he wants to try and come to our church.  He likes the lessons but the way he gets money and supports his family is through his job at the catholic church. His church is at the same time as ours.  He is very welcoming with us.  He has not received a Book of Mormon yet but we asked him, "If we give you a Book of Mormon would you read it?" and he said, "I really will."  So we will see where things go!

Sunday:  Church was good!  For branch council, President Nirina wanted to show a video from the apostles but it wasn't in Malagasy it was in French.  He wanted the missionaries there but we had no idea what was being said.  I could hear the apostles voice in the background in english but it was hard.  So today we found out that we have a ton of less actives so me and Elder Iata went on a search for them!  We found one!  Apparently she is a returned missionary and less active.  Way sad... but she is way cool!  She went to Africa!  She said that work has just taken over and she has just been exhausted from it but she promised to try and come next Sunday to church.  Then we taught Olivie and Liva (the couple that can't get legally married because the husband is still married to a lady that moved to France. Yikes!)

Well, I hope y'all are doing well!  Thank you for all the love and aloha.  I love you guys and I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Bisous bisou!

-Elder Mack
P.S.  The song "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic just started playing in the cyber! haha!

This is Feno.  His middle name is actually Jordan and he says his friends call him Jord.  Way cool.  :p

Monday, June 22, 2015

6/22/15 - Lemurs, Gaga Be, & Teaching like Angels

Salamanareo! Efa nitrotro gidro ve ianareo? Tena milay be izy ireo!

Hey yall!!  How's it goin?  Elder Mack has had a week and he is ready to talk about it!  Well first of all, shout out to the Mo' Bettah King himself and to all the fathers out there - Happy Fathers Day! Love you dad! :) and Happy Madagascar Independence Day this week on the 26th!  Guess what we'll be doing? :p haha
Well this morning we went to the zoo which was "tena milay be"!  We took some members with us and the Ampifiloha elders!  It was way fun!  We got to have lemurs crawl over us!  The lemur keeper just put some honey on us and then the lemurs just went for it!  You just sit there and let the lemurs do their thang!  We saw a bunch of cool animals!  Way cool!  I got to see my brother lemur species the "maki" lemur.  Way cool!  The members were telling me I should just join them. Haha no, aint about that life. :p
So this week we got a ton of new investigators.  The first week we tracted hardcore and then we taught them all this past week!  Some went well and some didn't. Well, we have one investigator who is a teacher at a catholic school.  He'll be a challenge.  We told him about the Joseph Smith story and he made the usual "gaga be" look that we get when we tell them about the first vision.  I wonder what goes through some investigators heads when we tell them that?  Their face look like, "Mormons are nutz!" or "Do they really believe that?"  YAH WE DO!  Nutz?  Nah, it's just da truth! :p
Church went well yesterday. We did get a little more people than we usually do. We got a couple of less actives back to church which was way cool because it has been a long time for them.  Then during sunday school class, the guy conducting said, "Elder Mack will teach us today."  And I was like, "Uhhhh, shootz!" :p  So I winged a lesson which was fun.  Taught out of a Malagasy manual!  Yup, I be pro! :p haha
On Thursday, I went on a split with Elder Bowler who will be going home the same time as Elder Mumford.  We had a way fun time.  I just remember him asking a lot of questions which made the people really think.  With one guy we taught about the prophets.  He was a little slow in understanding but he still came to church.  Elder Bowler was able to turn his brain on and he totally got it! haha!  It's way cool seeing Elders teach after being on a mission for so long.  They teach like angels.  I love it.
This area is a growing area.  We have about 5 Melchizedek priesthood holders in the branch right now with about 50 active people.  We're hoping to see a change soon.  I do love having an area where houses are so close together. haha!  Andranomanelatra was a beautiful area but the people lived so far away from each other!  The work is moving here.  I'm looking forward to another splendid week of proselyting!  Love you guys!

-Elder Mack

Everyone calls them Momma and Dad

Our favorite restaurant!

I went to the mission office and my car was there!  :)  Yay!

So there is a zoo close to the Mahamasina area.  This is Tsimbazaza Park.  They had a lot of cool and different animals that you don't see often but maybe only in the movies.

The gang that went today

Baby lemur and his family

So the owners just put honey on our hands and face and then the lemurs just jump on you and lick it off!

Monday, June 15, 2015

6/15/15 - The Great City of Tana & Elder Iata from Vanuatu

Me and my new companion Elder Iata

Salam-e! Raha nandika teny ity soratra ity ianao dia tena tsara fanahy ianao :p

First of all, a little shout out to my friend Rachael Hosman for getting her call to Atlanta Georgia! I am so proud of you! You will be a great missionary! :)

So I am in a new area... :p  I was SOO SAD to leave Andranomanelatra.  It was such a beautiful area. I miss being with Elder Mumford.  I totally thought I was going to be his last comp.  He is such a great guy.  I am now in the great city of Tana!  I have a cool area but I'm walking up and down hills all the time.  My feet HURT!  Going from a car in Andranomanelatra to walking up and down hills is a little bit of a change. haha!  My new comp is Elder Iata.  He just got done training and so I'm a mission momma again.  He is a great comp who really has the desire to work hard.  He's from Vanuatu, from the island of Tanna, and his native tongue is Bislama.  Soo sick!  I got to hear him on the phone with one of his cousins who I served with in Antsirabe and it was insane!  It made me wonder if that is what people think when I speak English?  He is learning some English.  We have been able to communicate just fine.  Elder Iata was in the MTC when the earthquake hit Vanuatu.  He said his family is fine. 

So my new area is about one of the farthest areas north but it is like 15 minutes from the mission home by taxi.  Oh yah!  That is something new for me.  I get to learn the taxi system. There are a lot of people here that try to rip vazaha off.  Ppff.  Losers.  One taxi driver last night was trying to get 20,000 ari ari off of us.  Ratchet.  The normal cost is like 8,000, maybe.  I've even gotten a taxi ride for 5,000.  A taxi bé costs like 800 ari ari.  It is a lot slower and it is packed full of people but you get to where you want to go.  I don't fit in most taxi bés. haha! 

Well this area is a way fun area.  It is pretty big.  It is also kind of hard to find people to accept us here.  In Fianarantsoa I remember people would just tell us to come in without even an introduction or anything.  Maybe they were just hoping for a handout.  But we've done a lot of tracting this week.  When I got here they had no program in place.  There were maybe 3 investigators and about 8 recent converts.  The cool thing is that we can build the program the way we want it to be.  We've been able to do bus tracting which is a lot of fun.  That's something I kind of missed from Fianarantsoa.  That is when people are forced to sit next to you and they can't leave when you're talking to them.  haha! We've found some neat people this way and also some weird ones.  Some guy was just blown away that we spoke Malagasy and he was trying to get us to swear.  haha!  He was like, "Come on.  Just whisper one in my ear."  So funny. 

The other day we were accepted into a house of this one family and it is way small. It reminded me kind of like Harry Potter's room in the Dursley's home.  It might even be a little smaller than that but they fit their whole family in it. We taught a lesson about the Godhead and that we should pray to God and not Jesus.  During the lesson the mom acted like she understood that and even told us, "That makes sense."  Then at the end of our lesson the mom prayed hard core to Jesus and we facepalmed a little. haha!  We have been working with some great families out here.  There are only about 5 men in the branch that have the Melchizedek Priesthood.  That makes things a little hard.  The Branch President only has one counseler. One family we are working with the children are members but the parents are not.  The parents are not legally married yet.  The problem is that the father was already legally married to another women.  They broke up like 30 years ago or something.  This family is very strong and they have been learning from the missionaries for about three years now.  They go to church every Sunday and they follow everything but getting that divorce for them is hard.  First of all the guys wife moved to France.  Second, to get a divorce without one of the spouses is big money.  They would have to pay seven million ari ari to get that divorce.  Yikes!  They are still going faithful though.  There are good people out there. 

Love you all!  Have a great week!
-Elder Mack

This is my new house.  It's huge but it was so dirty.  We took on the challenge of cleaning it and while we were cleaning we found some new souvenirs.  This is for my brother Spencer.
Yah - I was having a little too much fun with this...

I've mommed both of their mission kids.  Elder Stokes on the left.  He's from Lehi.  Elder Rice is on the right.  He's from Idaho.


Malagasy's are way creative.  Look - the capo is a pen and string.
Bogosy le izy!

My new favorite little girl :p  Nilaina

I found this little guy too while we were cleaning.  And the hat I'm wearing!  Dibs!  See all the things you find when you clean a little?

Monday, June 8, 2015

6/8/15 - Going to Tana to be a Mom

Akoryabio, izaho no hankany Antananarivo!

Hey y'all!!  So, as I said last week, transfers were coming up, and we received them last night.  I'm being transferred. Yup, I will be leaving this beautiful area to serve the Lord in Ambohimangakely, Antananarivo (Tana for short).  I'm finally going to discover the Tana life!  I'm pretty excited!  I just really wished I would have spent another transfer or two here. I will not be Elder Mumford's last comp.  Elder Stringbean (Stringfellow) will be killing him (Mom:  that is mission talk for he'll be his last mission comp before he goes home). As for me, I'm MOMMING again.  My new companion's name is Elder Iata. He just finished training.

So this is what I have heard about my new area.  It is still country side!  Woot woot!  Avoiding the city again!  I will be in one of the few branches in Tana.  I may never see a ward!!  I hear that I'm in the same district as the APs and office elders I believe.  There are 3 sister missionaries. I have not seen a sister missionary here yet so that will be different.  I will also be living in a 2 man house. It will also be cool to be in Tana when the new mission president comes in July.  I'll let you guys know more about the area next week.  I leave with Elder Snell tommorow morning to go up to Tana.

So this week was great!  We had zone conference on Saturday and it was life changing.  I learned so much from President Adams.  He talked to us about being the "4th missionary." It's a talk.  I recommend it for all missionaries getting ready to go and who are serving right now.  The 4th missoinary is the missionary that does his best to serve the Lord and does it with all his heart, might, mind, and strength. Be that missionary!  President Adams talked a lot about the future after a mission - how to find a job, about finding "The One." haha!  Elder Lehr, so funny, he took some way good notes on that subject. :p 

So this week I had the opportunity of doing splits in Elder Liao's Area, Mahazoarivo. Way cool area!  But it was weird working in a city.  Yikes.  We taught some way cool people and some not so cool people.  haha!  We went to visit one family and I could understand everyone except for the dad and eldest son and then it hit me, "Dang, they're DRUNK!"  It was way funny.  The family was interested but the drunk one was trying to be a wise guy. 

Nothing else really major happened this week.  We have been working on investigators to truly commit to their word.  It's hard for people to keep commitments.  They find a BILLION excuses for not doing reading or coming to church.  We have been trying to get this one guy to church.  We went to his house yesterday right before church and tried to get him to church.  He had a mouth full of chewing tobacco and it was hard to understand him.  He said he couldn't come because there was someone sick in Ft. Douphin and his family members from Tamatave were coming down to take him with them to Ft Douphin.  The drive from Tamatave to Antsirabe is maybe about 12 hours.  He told us they left at 6 that morning so we knew he still had a lot of time to go to church but we couldn't budge him. We were pretty disappointed  We went to church and his kids, who are going with him to Ft Douphin were at church.  That guy! 

I am so sad to be leaving this area.  I've made a lot of friends here.  I almost cried at church too. We just met a balling new family.  Apparently the missionaries used to teach them but the missionaries stopped coming.  It might have been that they did not come to church but it was a long time ago and they still remembered a good bunch. We started with the plan of salvation because they wanted to finish that lesson but they never did.  They are way cool and I hope to hear that they get baptized someday.  Planting seeds.  Well, that's my update for the week!

Love you all! Bisous bisous!
Elder Mack

My 3 favorite little girls!  Kanefa tena madrita be izy ireo.

My favorite family.  Felana was crying when I told her I was leaving.  She sucked it up for the pic and then ran to the primary and continued to cry.  :(  She's a doll.  I'm so love.  :p

Me and Elder Snell will be dancing all the way to Tana apparently :p

I actually don't know these people.  They just wanted a picture :p  Haha!


Safidy - such a baller!

The N'dremas family

Monday, June 1, 2015

6/1/15 - Will I stay or will I go? Splits and Updates

This is my favorite little girl Felana.  Felana means flower pedal.

Akory abio! tena tiako ity faritra ity kanefa, misy transfer amin'ny herin' andro.

Hey y'all!!  How's it going!?  Things rock over here!  Me and Elder Mumford had a great week!  I love this area!  It is so incredible!  But transfers are next week.  We will find out whether I stay here for a 3rd transfer or leave this transfer and Elder Mumford to finish his mission with another comp.  If I stay then I will get to send Elder Mumford home, and I will have a different companion for one transfer, and then bounce.  I hope this is the case because I'm in love with this area. I've heard a rumor that I will be transferring to a new area next week.  I was not excited to hear about that. I want to stay here so bad.  Two transfers is not enough for one area but wherever the Lord needs me, I will go. 
The APs came down for splits this week.  Me and Elder Mumford got Elder Rigby!  He is such a baller!!  He was my zone leader in Fianarantsoa and we had a way fun time!  The split went awesome!  Elder Rigby loves this area.  It is just so country and he's from Logan where it's kinda like that right?  Hmm, I could be wrong haha.  We taught Papa Charl who lives by these train tracks in the middle of nowhere.  It is so green around there and it is beautiful.  He has had problems with chewing tobacco and just recently me and Elder Mumford had him write a promise down for himself and sign it.  We taught him the lesson outside and Elder Rigby was just like, "WOW!  I feel so sambatra (blessed happy) to work here."  Elder Lehr always says that the Dona rocks but I think Andranomanelatra rocks!!  Bam! :p haha.  Papa Charl hasn't chewed tobacco in a week so that's great progress! 

Last week was definitely a week of miracles.  We found a lot of good people wanting to learn and we taught many of them this past week. Roby is doing way good!  We are just preparing him right now for his baptism interview.  We are reviewing everything.  Bebe Terez, the grandma that walked 62 km to district conference, remembered the Joseph Smith story last week!  That is progress. Yes!!  Alfred is learning well too!  He came to church which was awesome!  Teaching people here is so hard.  A lot of people are very loving and welcoming but they are not educated so it is very hard to teach. There are many people that cannot read. Getting people to be baptized is hard because they forget a lot of the things we teach and getting the teachings to click is hard. One of our recent converts took lessons from the missionaries for 2 years before she got baptized.  She could not read so members would read to her.  She was coming to church and trying but it was hard for her.  She is so great!  I love teaching her and her family. We are still working with the husband.

We did not attend church in Andranomanelatra because we went to Saradroa branch but we heard that there was 2 investigators that came to church whom no one recognized. We will go and find out who they were.  We also tracted into this guy this week who is a baller!  We knocked on his door, he saw us, and was just like, "Hey come in!"  Then we were like, "SHOOTS!"  When we got into the house he pulls out a pen a paper and was just ready to learn!  I love that!  He took notes the whole lesson.  He just knew he was going to learn something new!  So I am way excited to see where we go with him!  Well that's a little update for you guys on that!  Love you guys!  I sent mom a bunch a pics so go check those out!

Bisous bisous!
Elder Mack

Lake Tratriva pictures from Elder Mack.  Here he is with Elder Coleman.


Sunset in Mada
Teaching primary

The force is strong with this one

Mommy - I'm dirty...

Can you tell which are the missionaries feet?

We helped a member build a house!  It was awesome and creative.  Their houses are literally made out of dirt.  They dig up the dirt, pour water all over it, mix it up using your feet, add grass so that the house doesn't fall apart, grab chunks of it and then stack it.  Bam!  Malagasy house!


We hiked out to Saradroa for church this past Sunday.  It was freezing!! But it was way fun...