Monday, October 26, 2015

10/26/15 - So much spiritual juice just filled me up!

Efa salamalama aho ary tena vonona be ho any ity herin andro ity!

Hey y'all!
What an incredible week I had this week!  Zone conference was incredible and so was the conference with ELDER BEDNAR!!!  Wow, 2 days in a row.  So much spiritual juice just filled me up!  We took Jewels to the event and after the meeting we asked him if he was hungry and he told us, "No, I am so full of spiritual food that I can't fit anything else in."  It really was soooo good! We got to sit in the front row because we were translating for Jewels.  Haha!  Translating today was way hard. I don't have Bednar vocabulary in my hands!  Haha!  Elder Anderson helped a lot with the translating too and I was grateful for that.  I didn't get to shake his hand but I was seated only about 10 feet away from him and he looked right at me a few times.  I could feel the lightning from his eyes!  Hot dang!  Well onto dis week!

1.  Christoffe and Niry passed their baptism interview and they will be getting baptized soon.  Niry and Faniry came to Church but Christoffe didn't come.  If we can get him to come at least 2 times next month then we will baptized.  I know that they have a strong testimony and love this church. Christoffe's boss has been kinda ridiculous.  He has not been allowing him to come to church.  We'll see what happens. 
2.  We got to go on a split with the zone leaders. Way fun!  Elder Covey is soo cool!  He helped me a ton with my teaching. We taught a way good lesson with Ianta and Lemanana.  I hope they will progress soon. We went hard core focus into the priesthood and I think they are starting to get that it was taken away. 
3.  One of our friends in the ward Chaelle left on her mission today. She is going to Tahiti! Yikes! Soo cool!  She is from Mahajanga but she came and stayed with Tolotras family until she left.  She'll be going to the Provo MTC so if any of you happen to be at the MTC, say "hi" to her for me would ya!
4.  Elder Bednar spoke on many different topics.  He set up an awesome question and answer discussion with the members.  He talked about the Book of Mormon, the priesthood, the temple etc.  I loved hearing what he had to say about the temple.  He mentioned that when some people get a temple near to them that they don't go to the temple often and don't take advantage of it being so close.  He said that when God knows that the Malagasies are not going to do that and when he knows that the members are really going to take advantage of the temple then God will inspire his prophet to build a temple in Madagascar. That hit the members pretty hard I think.  It was great!
5.  I got to go on a split with Elder Wiscombe again and it was dope as always!  Dang I'm gonna miss that kid!  He's da man!  He is incredible at the language and will bless the people in Ft. Dauphin! 

Well, not too much else happened this week.  We're looking forward to hearing general conference this week! I'm way excited!  Have a great week everyone! Bisous bisous!
-Elder Mack
Elder Leo from Samoa
This is Chaelle.  She left today to go on her mission to Tahiti.

Elder Tainter arm wrestling with his great-grandpa
Muscle poses for days

Monday, October 19, 2015

10/19/15 - The dream split and a little miracle...

Tena reraka be aho, ataoko fa ho faty aho amin'ny it herin andro ity....

Hey yall!

Wow, I'm pooped... haha!  Transfer weeks are always fun!  Everyone is getting settled in and ready to kill it this transfer.  I've got 6 weeks of training with Elder Tainter left and then we both move on to something new.  I've still felt sick this past week.  It's been hard to get my body to move. Fa, TSA MANAHY.  We still had a dope week!  Well kind of... haha.  Let's talk about it shall we?
Talata: Tainter and I did that service project again for Rene and Ivon. It was way fun and we had a good lesson afterwards. Breaking down a house can be so much fun and getting all that dust in your system rocks!! (Get it, rocks, in stomach.... joke.) Well, we got to teach that new family, Lemanana sy Ianta. They are a fun family to teach. We invited them to be baptized and they were a little iffy about it because they said they have already been baptized and asked why they need to be baptized again. Well that's the next lesson - PRIESTHOOD! 

Alaorbia:  I had such a DOPE day!  I got to go on a split with my wonderful father Elder Lehr!  On top of that Elder Wiscombe came with us because he's waiting for his plane to go to Fort Dauphin.  We also had Elder Lehr's trainer with us.  He is in my ward and was our member help!  Wow!  That was my dream split!  Haha!  I kinda felt bad for them though when we went to teach Jewels.  I had to teach in sign language and no one understood.  Haha!  Take that Elder Lehr!  The padawan becomes the master (for once).  Well Elder Lehr taught some balling spiritual thoughts today.  I loved watching him teach.  I wish I could have understood him better when I was in training so I could have gained so much more wisdom in the lessons.  Haha.  I didn't understand very much back then.  Well we finished the day off with a soiree at Tolotra's house and it was great.  Elder Lehr gave a beautiful lesson about giving our will to God. It was definately something that Etienne needed to hear.
 Alakamisy:  Elder Stringfellow was waiting for his plane to go to Mahajanga so he went on a split with us today. He just came from my old area, Andranomanelatra.  Sadly, the area closed.  I was in the APs car with President this morning going to the office and I was like, "Why are you closing all the areas I've worked in?" Haha!  He just laughed. 

Zoma sy Asabotsy:  Well these days were kind of hard days.  We got dogged a lot.  A lot. Like Saturday we had 6 times planned and zero went through.  So we did a lot of strengthening members. We have a couple of people preparing for missions so we went over teaching them about missionary work and starting to get them involved with it.  We have seen great success with it.  We also got some good referrals from people!  I don't know if I've already mentioned that a member gave us a referral for a family and they have already come to church!  Woo hoo!  Ernesto got two people in his family to come and learn.  It was great. Some other members got us a couple of referrals as well! Investigators found by members are the best investigators. 

Alahady: Well, it was a beautiful Sunday.  Rene came to church today!  He appreciated our help so much that he came to church!  I felt kinda bad for him because the talk today was long and a little boring.  A high councilor went on for about forty minutes just reading general conference talk's really fast.  Tainter translated for a senior couple and I was translating for Jewels.  I could barely keep up...  It was hard because general conference talks have some different vocabulary.  A little miracle happened today...  So me and Elder Tainter went and visited Christoffe and Niry last week and they wanted us to visit a family member who was sick. We gave her a blessing and she was healed the next day.  She came to church today and now wants to learn from us!  Woo hoo!  Me and Elder Tainter also went to the hospital today and were able to give one of the toughest rocks in this ward a blessing!  His name is Bernard!  He is a great man!  I loved talking with him. 

Well, that's all folks.  Have a great week! 

-Elder Mack

Posing with Snelly before he goes off to fight the apostasy!

These bogosy dudes are heading off to paradise in fabulous Fort Dauphin!  WiscomBEEE!

Three generations baby!!!
Yup, Grandpa's got a sipa kely.  (little girl friend)

This is Elder Covey's child Elder Olsen.  We are heading up to the Ivandry mall which is that American mall I talked about that one time.  It's insane!
Elder Nelson and Elder Mack (Thank you Elder Nelson for the following pictures)

Monday, October 12, 2015

10/12/15 - Transfers, the Book of Mormon is likened to loaka, & eyebrow singing

Yah, somary mbolo marary aho fa tsy maninona!  Mbola bogosy be aho!
Hey y'all!!  Well, here we are again, another week quickly ended fast and I'm starting to get trunky! haha just kidding mom... :p  Well we just got transfer news and I will finish Elder Tainter's training here in Anjanahary!  Woo hoo!  Transfer news was fun. but freak!  Almost everyone close to me is leaving!  Elder Snell is going to Fianarantsoa...  My mom, Elder Hammer is going to Tamatave... Elder Lehr is staying but he dies during this next transfer!!!  Dang it!  I will actually be going on a split with Elder Lehr this Wednesday!  Woo hoo!  He is going to come to my area and his trainer is going to be our member present for the day!  Oh I'm soo stoked!  Elder Tainter is going to experience the Mahamasina life where Elder Lehr says life is perfect.  Haha! nah nah joke.  Dang, I'm getting old.  Elder Snell just pulled a bunch of gray hairs out of my head.. oh boy.  EH!  WHO NEEDS HAIR right?! haha  Shall we get on with the week?  Oh we shall :p
Alatsinainy: We got to say goodbye to one of our favorite members, Patrique and his wonderful family. We got to share a spiritual thought with them, talk a lot and have dinner.  It was great. They are moving the zone leaders area but they are going to make a huge difference over there. Patrique will be opening up his restaurant and he is going to be a success.
Talata: We got to teach a new family! They seem pretty interested. They are Catholic but they are not quite sure what their own beliefs are so they ask us what we believe about certain topics and if it makes sense they accept it. We are hoping to see progress in them. We might be able to get another family out of the lesson because the daughter brought a couple of her friends and they were way into the lesson so they wanted to talk to their parents about accepting us. We taught Haja again today. Haja is probably one of my favorite investigators but yet one of those I fear a little. He is a deep thinker. He will go ham with the bible sometimes and try to make a point using a ton of scriptures and I can't follow him sometimes!  But he has come the past couple of weeks to church. We taught him how the Book of Mormon and the bible work together!  One cannot be without the other.  My favorite demonstration to explain it only works for malagasies. So the foundation of malagasy food is rice and loaka (which is like all types of meats, just whatever meat or topping you feel like for that meal).  I tell them, "The Book of Mormon is like the loaka and the bible is like the rice.  You cannot eat one without the other right?"  Then it hits them, "NO YOU CAN'T"  Yes!  Best missionary in the world.  Haha.
Alaorbia: Well, Ernesto was sick and Sambatra was lasa any ambanivohitra so they couldn't help us go out this week so me and Elder Tainter tried to still get our master Wednesday schedule without member help!  How did we do?  8 LESSONS BABY!!!  Haha!  We went to Ernesto's home and gave him a blessing. He wanted to learn about blessings and so we gave him a lesson on it. I told him about the time me and my dad gave my beautiful sister a blessing when she was sick.  This was the day right before we were going to the temple and I left on my mission. and she was healed. He loved it. (BTDubbs, Ernesto thinks you're hot Linds :p ) We taught Joseph Richard and he is doing so well. He is soo close to being one of the most diligent members. He has such a wonderful testimony. The word of wisdom is just such a big problem for people here and it can be more harder for some.  We set Joseph Richard on that 12 step addiction recovery program so we are hoping it works.
Alakamisy: We went to Christoffe and Nirys and gave them a hard lesson on the sabbath day. They haven't come to church in 3 weeks, which is pretty sad, but they always have a somewhat good excuse so I know it can be hard. But, the lesson went well. Christoffe is still doing good with avoiding cigarettes. We also got to teach Nadia and Valery. Valery is still kind of a shmuck but we love him.  Haha!  He has actually progressed alot. He has a hard time trying to find motivation to work his faith. We are still looking for that trigger but when we find it, he will be an incredible asset for this church. Nadia has been praying for him non-stop. She told him straight up in the lesson that she wants him to get the priesthood so he can lead his family in the best way.  We talked about prophets and hopefully things are starting to click for him.
Zoma: We taught a new investigator!  His name is Stefan and he is soo dope! He has learned from the missionaries before but he wanted to learn again. He reviewed with him the restoration and he loved it. He had a problem before with not coming to church because he worked but now, he doesn't work anymore on Sunday so bam!  Haha!  We then went to the church for a ward activity!  It was way fun! We got a bunch a people to come!  Even Joseph Richard came! I was so happy to see him there talking with the members.
Asabotsy sy Alahady:  Wow, these days were kind of mahakamo days!  Haha!  Me and elder Tainter had 14 times with those two days combined. Guess how many times we got from those?  2... yup, no kidding.  C'est la vie... but, church was great!  I had Elder Tainter translate for Jewels.  It's not easy.  #besttrainerintheworld  Joke.  But since then he has been asking a ton of sign language questions.  It's exciting.  Haha!  Well, we got a dope referral from a member!  It is a new family and they CAME TO CHURCH!!  I hope we can keep that up with them! Woo hoo! Well we learned of another little miracle. Elder Lehr's trainer's real dad is less active.  His trainer is Malagasy.  His dad has been less active for over a year. Missionaries have been visiting him every week since then. I was kind of mad at that. Haha!  I don't know if missionaries were just splashing water in his face or what but people need "eyebrows singed!"  Elder Holland of course.  If I learned anything from Elder Thompson it is how to THROW DOWN!!  Haha!  Well, we gave him a great lesson from 2 Nephi about the judgement day with great help from everyone in his family last Wednesday and guess who came to church today. YOU GUESSED RIGHT!!! He did! :)
Well, this week rocked!  Another transfer gone, too few left.... ugh... but training is dope! I love Elder Tainter and I love watching him progress! He knows how to deal with my yellow!! haha (inside joke) Well, I still am a little sick but I'm working and doing sports but man... diarrhea... nuff said.  Haha! Well, I love you all!  Wish me luck this week!  And I will return that with wishing you all happy lives and big smiles! :) Bisous Bisous!
-Elder Mack

Thank Sister Foote for your Instagram pics!  This is from today's p-day soccer game.

Elder Mack is in the last row with his arms on his mission dad and mom (Lehr & Hammer).

Monday, October 5, 2015

10/5/15 - Be worthy again, can you feel that??, and learning patience

Hey y'all!!!

How is everything going with y'all!?  Things halfway across the world rocks!  This transfer has just kind of been a transfer of sickness. :/ Elder Tainter was feeling a little sick this week but he pushed through it and just wanted to go work.  Elder Liao had like a 104.7 fever. He couldn't think so he would just say random things.  Everything is all good now though! This Saturday we will get transfer news. It is crazy to think that I'm already half way done with training Elder Tainter. What is weird is that it was General Conference this past weekend and I didn't even know about it.  We'll probably see it in a few weeks.  Yay!  Maybe I will download it from already. I can't wait!  Haha!  Elder Tainter told me, "Wow Elder Mack, you only have one more general conference now..."  DANG IT TAINTER!!!!  Don't remind me.  I hit my 1 year in country last Thursday. That is just so weird. Let's not think about that :p LETS GET TO THE WEEK!!!!

Talata:  We were able to do a service project in the morning. Remember the brother and sister that live together in a small house because the sister's house was destroyed from a storm? We got a few members to come with us and to help them clean up the mess. Then afterwards we got to teach them. They had a lot of good questions. The brother is very smart and very into history. He gets off topic very easily but it was still a good lesson. We also taught Christoffe and Niry and started prepping them for their upcoming baptism.  Then we taught Soeur Nicole tonight. We have been wanting to work with members more lately. Elder Lehr called me the other day all excited because he believes that the stake will soon split.  That would make it a total of 3 stakes here in Madagascar! Woo hoo!  I love training! I'm learning so much from it! There was a lot that I had forgotten and it has been good to remember.  That will help the work move forward!  When we taught Soeur Nicole we taught about missionary work and how we are all missionaries.  We all need to do our part in the work of salvation!  She is going to work on getting us a referral!

Alaorbia:  Elder Tainter and I got to go on splits again with Ernesto and Sambatra.  We had a dope 8 lesson day!  The lesson I felt the spirit the most in today was with Joseph Richard. We have been a little upset with him lately because he came once to church and stopped coming and so, I SLAYED! With love of course :)  But I shared with him the story of The 10 Virgins.  I based it off of Elder Bednar's talk on Conversion. The lamps are like our testimony and the oil is like conversion. You need both to enter into the house of the bridegroom.  On Sunday, Bishop showed me a certificate for someone who had received the gift of the Holy Ghost and it was Joseph Richard who gave it to them. After the story, I told him something like, "You were the one who gave (so and so) the gift of the Holy Ghost through the Melchizedek Priesthood and you need to be worthy to give it again." After that he started crying. and of course me being a sissy I cried too.  Haha!  I hope that helped him and that he will think more about coming back to church.

Alakamisy:  I will just go with the highlight of the day today! So, Elder Thompson and I were trying to get this one less active back to church for a long time. His name is Herimora. It got to the point where when we would go to his house and he just wouldn't be there. We kind of forgot about him for a while but we felt the need to visit him again. We visited him and he didn't quite seem too happy to see us at first.  We chatted with him for a little and we ended up laughing and having a fun conversation. Then we got to the lesson where we taught about conversion. We told him that we loved him and that God loves him. I felt the spirit so strong in that lesson!  I was like thinking, "How could this gospel not be true?  Can you feel that???"  After our lesson he told us that he wanted to bear his testimony that he knew that our words were true and that he knows that God loves him. He knows that he is not perfect and that he has a lot to change but that he is going to trust in God more. That is one of those moments that I knew that this is where I'm supposed to be and that God loves all of his children.  This work ROCKS!!!!

Zoma: We taught a new family and I loved teaching them. It is kind of sad because they live right next to a dumpster.  They have two kids and the kids just love playing around in the garbage. Yikes... But for the whole lesson they were smiling. Love that!  They want to come to church.  They said they can't this Sunday but the next one they can.  Today we taught Haja again.  Remember lover boy, the one asking about eternal marriage that one time?  He is cool.  He can be a little hard headed but he came to church so he is progressing.  He totally Bible bashed us once and it is so hard to understand the Bible in Malagasy and so I didn't really understand the full extent of what he said.  Elder Tainter turns to me and asks me where that one scripture is found in the bible where it has some missing parts.  We learned earlier that in the Malagasy bible there are a few missing scriptures. Tainter goes ham in proving the bible is not perfect but the Book of Mormon is!  BAM!!!! THATS MY SON!!!!!! Haha!  Haja was speechless!!!!

Asabotsy:  Today was a little slower day of work!  It still went well!  We had a couple of good lessons but a lot of people dogged us. :/  Oh well, you get good days and bad days!

Alahady: Well, we had a good Fast Sunday! :) I had to translate for Jewels up on the stand.  He wanted to bear his testimony.  I was TERRIFIED!!!  Haha!  The dude is just going ham in sign language and I'm up on the stand sweating bullets a little.  Haha.  It was fun. Well Christoffe and Niry didn't come to church again.  We were a little upset so we actually stopped by their house and to talk with them.  Their son had diarrhea so they didn't come. I was a little hard on them but they understand that they need to come now. Hopefully they will. I can see their desire to be baptized. They just need to come to church. This is kind of three weeks in a row... :/ The hard part is that they kind of have had good excuses. Ugh. Patience Elder Mack...

Well, that's it for the letter this week!  Elder Tainter and I are going to go ham this final week of this transfer! I'm excited to see where everyone goes! I hear there are quite some changes happening. Have a good one y'all! Love ya!

Bisous bisous!! :p
Elder Mack

English class. We did an activity discussion to get them talking. We gave them the topic of 'Who is better - boys or girls?  Oops.  They went HAM!!!!  Dang it got bad!  One guy was trying to say, "Boys are strong.  Girls can't carry big things or fix stuff in the house.  Girls are weak!!"  Then a girl replies, "Like you?"  Oooo.  Dang girl!!!  Haha!  Really got them talking.
Ity no Zanako Malalako. Henoy Izy!  (Google translate says this mean, "This is my beloved son.  Listen."  When I first saw this picture I noticed how brown Elder Mack's shirt looks next to Elder Tainter's.  I thought it was neat that Elder Tainter mentioned something about this in his letter too, "For us missionaries, we go out in the morning looking spick and span... but by the end of the day our clothes are wet with sweat. Luckily mine are pretty absorbant. The difference between my shirts' whiteness and Elder Mack's shirts' whiteness is astounding. His are like a light brown, while I have my white shirts."  Elder Tainter also mentioned a talent that Elder Mack has that I was not aware of, "There are taxis and there are also taxi be's. Taxi's are normal except they will try to rip off any vazaha or sinoa they see. Sinoa is Chinese. Elder Mack is a top notch bargainer, so we get the best price most of the time - the Gasy price.")