Monday, August 31, 2015

8/31/15 - Transfer news, a baptism, and Elder Cook

Hey guys!
I don't have a lot of time today because Zone Conference was this morning and this is Elder Thompsons last P-day to do what he wants.  He will be going home on Wednesday. Way sad.  I had a great time with him and I am gonna miss him a lot. 
Ready for some transfer news?  I'm going to have a son!  Haha!  I will be training and I will be getting him on Thursday.  I'm way stoked.  It was pretty funny when President called me.  He told me, "Well Elder Mack I'm gonna have to give you a new comp now because you killed the last one."  Haha!  I love President Foote.  He is a great Mission President and I look up to him a lot.  On top of that he asked me to be District Leader.  I have that overwhelming feeling right now that I remember having in the MTC when I was District Leader.  Training and leading.. :p save me!  Haha! 
On Saturday Ernesto was Baptized! :)  Yay!  I will send pics next week along with pics from a Famadiana which means "turning of the bones".  It is a Malagasy tradition that families have every so many years where they open their ancestor's tombs, gather the bones together, and then hold them in the air and dance with them.  It was way fun!  Some of the members invited us. 
Zone Conference was incredible.  Elder Cook of the 70 taught the lesson and it was amazing. He taught about conversion.  I loved the talk he used by Elder Bednar, who will be here for the next zone conference!  Elder Bednar used the story of the 10 Virgins in his talk.  The lamp symbolizes testimony and the oil symbolizes conversion.  Testimony is not enough.  Action needs to happen to be converted.  The 5 Virgins that did not get their own oil were not converted and were not able to go into the bridegrooms home.  We need to first convert ourselves before we are able to help convert others.  Read the talk!
I'll give a better update next week.  I love you guys! :)

-Elder Mack

Tana Zone Conference with Elder Cook from the Seventy.  Picture posted on Instagram today by Sister Foote.

Monday, August 24, 2015

8/24/15 - Magic Pillow, Wedding & A Baptism

Bon Jour!  Kely sisy de mila manao veloma amin'ny namako malala... Hey y'all!  

It is the last week of the transfer.  Next week Elder Thompson goes home!  Oh he's making me so trunky thinking about and talking about home!   Nah.  Haha!  But he has worked hard his last transfer and whenever I get home at night I am out as soon as my head touches my pillow!  It's like a magic spell in the bed.  Haha!  Elder Thompson and I are convinced that there must be only 3 days in a week on the mission.  It seems like I only remember Monday (P-day), Friday, and Sunday.  That's it.  That is how fast time goes...  Well after hump day last week I guess I am officially on the downhill slope of my mission hill and i just tripped over a rock so it's going too fast :p  Oh - not downhill like everything is going bad but downhill like the last part of a journey.  But let's not think of that shall we!  Let's get to the amazing week that Team Thompson and Mack had! 

Tuesday:  We went on a split with the zone leaders.  I got Elder Covey!  He is so dope!  He is the group ahead of me!  We had a way fun split.  We taught 4 lessons if I remember correctly.  The bus ride to their area was like 2 hours.  The ride sucked but we tried to make it fun.  We got a cool contact on the bus.  Me and Elder Covey were talking together and then we hear from behind us, "Hi guys!"  We were thinking, "What the ish!  English?"  The guy was looking to practice his English and he was pretty good.  He asked us about our job and we told him we were missionaries.  Then he asked the perfect question, "Hmm, you know there's about 206 churches in Madagascar.  Which one is the true church?"  Me and Covey looked at each other, grinned, and taught him a first lesson!  Haha!  It was a great contact.  We didn't teach him right on the bus but when we got off we went to the church.  I loved it when he said, "This is the most beautiful church I've ever seen!"  My heart was happy.  :p  I hope Covey and Johnson get a cool investigator out of that neat experience. 

Wednesday:  We had one of those days when just no one was home...  It sucked a little but we still got to teach Christoffe and Niry later!  They are doing awesome.  I don't know if I told you guys this but they had to change their marriage date to September 3 because of copy problems.  So Thompson won't get to see them get married.  If I'm training I won't be able to go either. :/  We'll see.  We taught them about fasting and the law of chastity and it went well.  We also taught Etienne, a less active.  Thompson slayed his family for not helping Etienne with his word of wisdom problem. SHABAMM!!  I'm too nice.  Thompson throws the HAMMER!!!

Thursday:  Year Mark!  Me and Elder Liao burned a shirt and made cookies to celebrate.  Our shirts are getting so dirty haha (but they're still good mom :p)  Madagascar gives no mercy to those water proof, anti- whatever things, etc.  Nothing is Madagascar proof!  It was one of those full scheduled days but half of our times fell through.  The times we did get were good though.  We taught a few less actives and it went well.
Friday:  We prepared Ernesto for his baptism coming up!  He passed his practice baptism interview with us.  He is way ready.  I'm so excited for him.  Sambatra has got a little problem though and probably won't get baptized this week... :/  We also visited this less active member who just had a death in his family.  It was his sister.  His name is Orlando.  Orlando was way sad when we went to his house but we taught him the Plan of Salvation.  I loved bearing my testimony to him about my feelings of that perfect plan.  Guess what?  He came back to church on Sunday!  :)  We also taught Patrick's maid.  She's from Andranomanelatra which is cool but she is very slow in learning but very nice.  We just made sure she understood the Joseph Smith story.  She is very active in coming to church and it is great seeing her smile when she comes.

Saturday:  We went to a marriage for our friends Viqueca and Fabiena!  They looked so good!  They are perfect for each other because they are both weird.  Haha joke.  They're so fun.  They both served in Cote de Vour for a mission.  They left today to go to the temple :)  Yay!  I went on a split with Elder Liao in his area.  It was way fun.  We taught no lessons though.  We tracted the whole time!   We got some good contacts and hopefully there will be results from a few.   Elder Thompson took the District Leader to interview Ernesto and he passed his baptism interview!!  He will be baptized on the 29th.  :)

Sunday:  We went to church.  I got to do some translating for Jewels.  Sign language is way fun.  Me and Thomson are in the choir preparing for ward conference next week.  Church rocked.  We got the most people in attendance that we've had in a while. There were 95 that came to church.  The less actives we taught made the difference.  Haha.  I don't want to brag or nothing...  but less active after less active came and me and Thompson were like dancing in the back of the chapel like, "Yes! We are good missionaries!  Haha!"  We even got an entire family to come back and it felt good!  We also taught Ernesto about the temple after church today and he was just amazed.  His eyes were never really normal sized the whole lesson.  Haha!  Sambatra came to church and we were really happy to see him because we have not been able to catch him all week.  We asked him where he was and he told us that there was a family problem that he did not want any part of so he left his house and has been living on the streets.  We are not able to baptize him until he has a home.  If he moves to the country side where there are no missionaries then there is no point in baptizing him because he wouldn't have that support.  We told the ward council about that and they are looking for a solution too.
Uh...badabada, thats all folks!  Have a great week!  The church is true, God is good, Jesus is the Christ! 

Love y'all!
Elder Mack

Elder Calimpong from the Philippines and me!

Filoha Oliver, his wonderful family, and two ratchet missionaries!

Elder Naina, who just finished his mission, and his girlfriend came by the ward to say, "Hi!"

The chapel!


Burning of the shirts.  Happy 1 year to me!

Malagasy river... ewww

I don't think they want us to knock
The new suit.  It's legit.  I wanted a tropical lining.  Is it too girly?  Comments?

New suits

Schooling some little kids in pool

I don't know about you guys but I think this is hilarious!

Fabiena (left) and Viqueca (right)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

8/23/15 - Surprise pictures and email from Madagascar

Our dear friend Andy, who has traveled to Madagasar on a medical mission, stopped by the house to share an email and pictures that he got from a friend in Madagascar.  I love surprise pictures and any news of Elder Mack! 

Hi Andy !!!
How are you doing? It's been a long time that we have been able to keep in touch.  Where in the world are you now?  There is an Elder here that knows you, he said you are from his ward, his name is Elder Mack, he had a split with the missionaries who serve in our area.  He is so cool.
Best Regards, 
Bishop Olivier Rakotoarisoa 
Antananarivo Ward  
Antananarivo Madagascar Ivandry Stake 
Site Monitor / Translator
Manager at Rako Bananas Plantation


Monday, August 17, 2015

8/17/15 - Hump Day this Thursday, August 20

Hey y'all!

Sorry that I wasn't able to send an update last week but I'm here now with a letter that'll hopefully brighten y'alls week! :) Haha!  First of all, I hit huuuummp day this week...  Yikes!  Haha!  I never thought this day would ever come!  One year from now I'll be home.  So weird to think about that.  If someone finds the pause button please send it on the next plane to Madagascar :p  Well here's y'alls email!

Monday:  We went and did some shopping.  We played our usual basketball and owned face.  We got some fabric for suits and got them made!  Model pics coming soon. :p  Me and Thompson are having a photoshoot tonight.  Haha!  Well, we taught Nadia and Valery today.  Valery is a non member and we just recently reactivated Nadia.  Valery was doing way good with the word of wisdom until his dad died and now he won't even be home for his appointment because he is drinking.  We're hoping things will change for him.

Tuesday:  We taught Sambatra and Ernesto today.  They are both still getting pumped for their baptism on the 29th!  Their interviews are this upcoming Saturday and we are STOKED!  They both want to go on missions.  When we told Ernesto that he can't flirt on his mission or watch TV he told us, "WHAT? I ain't goin!"  Haha!  He was just kiddin :p  He really wants to go so hopefully in a year they'll be getting ready to go!  We had a cool contact today.  We were not doing so well with tracting.  People were just unaccepting and it sucked a little.  Then we were walking to an appointment and a guy stopped us on the street and asked us if we could talk.  He pulled us to the side and asked, "So what is this I hear about eternal marriage?"  Wow!  We told him, "I would love to tell you!"  Haha!  He told us he can't learn at his house because people around him hate mormons so we're waiting for a call from him for a plan.  We told him we have members that live close to him and that we can teach him at their houses.

Wednesday:  We taught Fafa who is Roger's daughter.  Roger was the less active.  He tried making a bunch of excuses not to come to church but he's been to the temple.  His wife just passed away this past week and it was way sad.  We taught Fafa about the plan of salvation and she loved it.  We were very happy yesterday to see Roger come to church without us having to ask him.

Thursday:  We had a ward activity and it was a great turnout!  People had a great time and the investigators were able to mingle with the members!  It was so worth it!  There were some fun activities that all ages loved.  Ernesto brought his little brother who hasn't learned from missionaries yet and after the activity he came up to me and asked if he could learn!  YES!

Friday:  Joseph Richard is doing way well.  He still hasn't come back to church but he wasn't drunk so we were happy to see progress.  We had a good talk with him about enduring to the end.

Saturday:  The missionaries schooled some malagasies in soccer.  It was way fun!  I thought about buying me some cleats after that.  Things are so cheap here.  It's ridiculous.  I can get some decent cleats for less than 10 dollars.  It seems way expensive when you see it in ari ari (Malagasy dollars) but you can always barter the price which is way fun!  Then we had a soiree with Bishop Olivier!  He is way cool and soo good at English!  He showed me a lot of pics of his mission and told us some very cool experiences he had!

Sunday: Church was holy :)

Well I'll stop there!  I hope y'all have a great week!  Happy hump day to me on August 20!  God is good!  Hallelujah!

Elder Mack

All of these pictures are ones that the mission president's wife, Sister Foote, posted on her Instagram page.  She labeled this picture, "More P-day fun at the mission home."  The goofiest one in the picture is mine.
Sister Foote said, "Filoha Foote coaching."  Filoha means president.  I could tell from his back view that #5 was my missionary right away!  His companion Elder Thompson is the farthest left, then there's Elder Liao and Elder Glazier to the right of Elder Thompson I believe.
Sister Foote said, "The dream team.  Zone activity."  See Elder Mack with his tonue out and his shaka sign?

Monday, August 10, 2015

8/10/15 - Blessings, Promises & EFY

Mom:  Elder Mack didn't have much time today so instead of doing a blog letter he said he dedicated his time today to catching up on emailing those who have been waiting.  I wanted to share a few neat things he said in his emails to individual family members:

Mom's email:  I love giving blessings.  I have actually felt inspired to say things that I knew was not my words.  Whenever I give a blessing I always feel impressed to tell the person first that God loves them.  When I gave the drunk guy a blessing God blessed him through my words with not just the ability to overcome his trial but to have the DESIRE to overcome it. 

This part of the message is for Lia.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRETTY GIRL!!!  And yes, you are my favorite Lia! ;)  There is no other Lia like you!  haha!  You're incredible and you inspire me to be better!  I hope you're excited for 1st grade!  You're such a big girl!  I don't remember telling you to grow up!  Stop it!!!  haha!  I hope Linds and Spence treated you like a princess on your special day!  Love you Lia!  Muah!"

Mom, I love it here. 
Lindsay's email:  I had an experience with the drunk dentist guy this week.  We went to his house at the beginning of the week and he was still drunk.  I gave him a little talking to about the word of wisdom and I had him write down on paper a promise to himself that he would stop and that God will help him if he let's God do so.  We came a couple of days later and he actually looked like a doctor!  He was well groomed and he looked like he hadn't had a drink in forever!  I thought that was incredible! He wants to come back to church and start over.  This gospel is true Linds and changes lives.  The atonement heals.  Nothing is impossible if you're on the Lord's side. 
The family is the foundation of happiness.  That's where our happiness comes from in this life - through those who really love you no matter what.  I feel so blessed to have been born to the family I have now.  I miss you and I miss everyone so much.  I know that you are in the Lord's hands being taken cared of right now.  I'm very grateful for that comfort. 
Spencer's email:  I was talking to President Foote the other day and apparently they are planning on setting up an EFY here in Madagascar!  They are planning on like 500 youth to attend it and have the time of their lives.
This was posted on Sister Foote's Instagram page today.  They usually go play basketball at the mission home on P-day.  Elder Snell is holding Elder Mack.

Monday, August 3, 2015

8/3/15 - Egged, blessings, and the gift of tongues/hands

Akory! tena marina, tam alatsinaine de torana atody sy la farina ambon ny lohako ny namako!
Hey y'all!  So, you guys may have seen the pictures last week on the blog with me smashing eggs and flour on members heads because it was their birthdays and perhaps you wondered whether or not people did that to me on my birthday?  Well, yes they did.  Haha!  Monday night we went to a soiree at Souer Mandy's house and we were playing cards for the activity and then she comes out of no where and smashes an egg on me and poured flour all over.  I'll send a pic.  Haha!  So let's get this done!

Monday:  Slayed by an egg

Tuesday:  We taught our two favorite investigators today.  We taught Midina and Ernesto.  They will be getting baptized on the 29th!  They've been so great and diligent in coming to church!  We gave them both practice baptism dates and they are pretty much ready.  Just need to tighten a few things but other than that, they are ready!  We taught english and I made everyone do an intense game of "Head, shoulders, knees, and toes."  Haha!  Then we helped Jewels with sign language.  He skypes these sister missionaries in Washington DC and learns from them.

Wednesday:  We taught a couple of less actives. Souer Fafa and Rojer.  Rojer is so old and he's gone a little crazy and deaf.  We were screaming while we were teaching him.  He is kind of lazy and he always looks for excuses to not come to church but we countered all of them excuses and he came to church!  His daughter asked for a blessing and we happily gave her one.  I love giving blessings.  I think about my grandfather Poliahu and the incredible blessing that he got from an apostle when he was young.  He had a bad accident that put his life in jeopardy.  All of his blessings were fulfilled.  I love looking for opportunities to give blessings so I could be the Lord's hands in blessing a life.  We taught Christoffe and Niry today!  They are not legally married and they need to get baptized.  It can be pretty hard for malagasies to get married in this country.  But!  They told us that they should get their copies on Monday!  Woo hoo!!!

Thursday:  Went ham!  Thompson's Birthday!  Lucky kid... he went his whole mission without getting egged and floured.. :p
Friday:  So many times fell through that it was not even funny...  We did find a less active melchizedek priesthood holder which was good!  We've been searching for those lately because according the records there should be like 50 mph (Melchizedek priesthood holders) but only half are active.

Saturday:  We taught a drunk dentist.  Haha!  And no, he doesn't get a lot of patients... :p  The lesson went well.  He was totally wasted and he understood that he was and he asked for a blessing.  Today was another day of times failing.  Me and Thompson's legs were destroyed from walking so much!!!

Sunday:  Today was fun.  I had to translate for the first time.  It was way weird.  The first hour for sacrament meeting I had to translate for the senior couples.  It was way hard.  Malagasy is such a different way to think and it is so hard to switch my brain back and forth.  It was fast and testimony meeting so it wasn't too bad.  Then during the 2nd hour I had to translate to Jewels in sign language... yikes!  Haha!  It was way fun!  Jewels is incredible and I am grateful for the gift of tongues/hands. :p We taught 2 other less actives that we found.  They both have the Aaronic priesthood and we taught them about the Melchizedek priesthood and how much that can bless their lives.

I'll stop there for now.  There is so much to talk about in so little time.  Ugh!  I love you guys!  Have a great week! Bisous bisous!

-Elder Mack
Happy birthday to me, Elder Thompson, Nicholas, and his daughter Rafotsy!

She is so freaking cute!

The APs had to go on a trip to Toliara and so we got to use the car for the week.  We got to take the Mission President's son around with us on Monday.

This is a less active who is a dentist.  We visited him and he was kinda drunk... :p  But he wants us to come back!  He looks a little crazy in this picture but don't judge!

She got me good...

Birthday cake mix, frosting, and candles sent by my family
Family Home Evening