Monday, December 28, 2015

12/28/15 - Soirees, promptings, & including the Lord in your goals

Elder Tainter with his mission dad Elder Mack and mission mom Elder Tshuma

Salama Daholo!! Tratra ny toana vaovao!!

WHAT THE ISH???  My one full year away from America is done... Lety e!!  Next year I'll see the land of the brave again. Yikes. Christmas was wonderful! We had a christmas party with the missionaries here in Tana and it was a blast! The senior couples made us all pancakes and eggs. It was soo good!  After breakfast we had a wonderful Christmas devotional. Then we had some fun activities. We finished off the party by watching The Christmas Story. You know, the one where the kid gets his tongue stuck to the pole.  Haha fail!  At around 5:00pm my time I SKYPED DA OHANA!!!!  You guys all look great! :)  It was wonderful and soo special.  I promise I'm not too trunky now. I recovered quickly.  Haha! Ish... :p  I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas. This past week was great!

-All of our soirees were great!  Thursday I made two batches of brownies and somehow I ended up not eating any of them. :/  Dang it. 

-Zone leader splits last Thursday was way fun!!  Elder Yeagley is a baller!  He gave me a lot of good tips and we talked a lot about faith and helping our investigators have enough faith to do anything. We taught Faly and his family and they have a new problem. They are guardians for a house and they have to work on Sunday. They are poor and finding the faith to quit the job and find another is hard. They don't realize the blessings they will receive if they do that. A lot of the members who put trust in God and pay a full and honest tithe have been blessed immensely. Faith is the first principle in the gospel. Believing and faith are two different things. One requires work, that's faith. Faith starts off small but grows after trials. 

- When we Skyped my father talked to me about promptings of the spirit. It can be hard to recognize if something is a prompting sometimes.  It can be hard to differentiate between a thought or prompting. I thought a lot about the spirit and experiences that I have had using the spirit. I went home that night and a thought/prompting came to my head which told me to go upstairs and give the people that live there a Christmas carol. So I told Tambula and he was like, "Are you serious?"  Haha!  I took him upstairs, knocked, and got into the house. I brought my guitar and we sang Silent Night. They loved it and the spirit was strong.  Even though we didn't know them we kind of all became great friends.  Come to find out they were getting married the next day and they insisted that we come.  Also, apparently the wife has learned from missionaries before.  We have a soiree with her next week and hopefully we can help them feel the spirit like they did Christmas night.

-We had a great soiree with Christof and Niry. They gave us a referral that night for Niry's brother. We met them and they are a wonderful and happy family.  They have three kids I believe.  The wife actually came to the baptism.  Bruno is the son who came to the baptism and he is one of my favorites.  Haha!  He came to church on Sunday.  He said he wants to get baptized just like his cousin Faniry.  Christof received the Aaronic priesthood on Sunday too!  Woo hoo! 

-We had a ward Christmas party on Saturday after the wedding.  It was soo much fun. The members had a lot of fun and we had some investigators come as well!  One of the investigators was actually Lemanana's daughter who just had a baby.  We stopped teaching them a while ago because they weren't progressing but it was cool to see her come to the church!  Christof and Niry brought her. 

-Yesterday we had a great lesson with Valery. With the new year coming we decided to talk about goals with him!  I gave them pictures of the temple and of Jesus Christ. In talking about goals, we asked them to make temporal goals and also spiritual goals that can help them come closer to Christ in helping them get to the temple.  We gave them each a piece of paper and we all wrote about 5 goals. Nadia had goals like go to church every Sunday, and start saving up for the temple. Valery's goals were wonderful. He wrote down stop drinking, stop chewing tobacco, finish the Book of Mormon, and get baptized.  How great right? :)  We explained to them that the best way to accomplish your goals is if you add the Lord into it. Ask god for help and strength often to accomplish the goals you have. 

Well this Thursday we have a soiree with the office elders at one of their members homes!  Way stoked!  Happy New Year everyone!  I love you all!  Bisous bisous! 

-Elder Mack

Merry Christmas from the Madagascar Antananarivo Mission.  These are the elders, sisters, and couples with President & Sister Foote. 
Elder Mack is on the last row, third from the left.

  "Joy to the World" shared by Sister Foote

"Silent Night" shared by Sister Foote

Friday, December 25, 2015

12/25/15 - Christmas Skype Call

Merry Christmas from Elder Mack

Part of Elder Mack's testimony in Malagasy
(Thank you Spencer Lehr, Elder Mack's trainer who just got home from Madagascar, for helping me translate this!)
I want all of you to know that I love you a lot.  I am happy for all that you have done for me.  I am full of thanks for the blessing of this call here in Madagascar.  There are a lot of investigators here that have been changed by me and others, but they also have changed my life.  I feel that I have become a better person because of the work here.  I am grateful and full of thanks for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and the atonement which was done for us.  I know that there is a living prophet now, and I also know that Joseph Smith restored the true church. 

Elder Mack and Elder Coleman have been together three out of the three times they've Skyped

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

12/21/2015 - Soirees, my malagasy Mom, and lots of rain


Hey y'all!:) I'm so excited for Christmas!!  Haha!  I always get so giddy around this time!  I bought a tree with lights and ornaments to add some color to the house.  Malgasies don/t really have decorations and stuff. They don't do presents but what they do is have family parties. The missionaries here in Antananarivo will have a Christmas party on Friday all day! Way stoked! We'll do a white elephant, singing, games, movies, etc.  I'll take pics! :p  I have soiree dinners every night this week too :p Woo hoo!  Bishop tonight, Mirado tomorrow, then Mosesy and Nadia (new investigator) for Christmas Eve lunch and then Manda Christmas Eve night.  I will have spent my birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with Manda!  She's my Malagasy mom. :p  Well, this week was good. I honestly focused on training. Elder Tambula.  He is way new to the gospel.  I love him so much!

-Monday we had a great lesson with Nadia and Valery. For so long I have been focusing on helping Valery to get over his drinking problem and this week we felt we should change it up a little. We talked about the eternal family and being sealed for all time and all eternity.  It was a wonderful lesson.  We brought a Family Proclamation for them and showed them different pictures of the temple.  After the lesson, Valery grabbed the Family Proclamation paper and hammered it into his wall right next to where he sleeps.

-We taught Jose and his family.  This is the family that we helped un-flood their house last week. They are a wonderful family. Jose is way talkative but I loved listening. The first visit we didn't really have a lesson but it was a lot of getting to know each other. He took a lot of interest in my life.  He asked about my family so I showed him pictures.  He asked about school and why I stopped to serve the Lord.  He talked a lot about the blessings he has and it was a wonderful visit.  Next week we'll teach the restoration.  I'm way excited! :)

-Rain, rain, AND MORE RAIN. Dang, rainy season is worse here in Tana, especially where I live. It just floods like none other. We have umbrellas but we still get DRENCHED!  Last Wednesday we went and took shelter at Jewels' house.  Jewels is the only member in his family but he is always praying and hoping for his family to accept the gospel.  Usually Jewels will teach the lesson and then we will  add our thoughts too it.  His family doesn't know sign language so it's hard for them to communicate. I decided to translate everything Jewels was saying and the family was very impressed with Jewels and what he has come to know to be true.  It turned out to be a very good lesson with a strong spirit.  I hope the family felt that too.

-We taught Dola again and he is doing great.  He came to church and he loved it.  We gave him a Book of Mormon.  We are trying to prepare him for the 23rd of January to be baptized.

- Friday we had a wonderful time with Samson and his beautiful family.  We talked about testimonies and the power of ones testimony. We had a little testimony meeting with them.  It was wonderful and the house was filled with the spirit.  I love this family.  They have truly become one of my favorite families.  They love each other and work together.  They each shared beautiful testimonies about their love for their Savior.

I love you all so much.  Do something special this week for someone who may be going through a hard time.  Think about the true meaning Christmas.  Think about our Lord and Savior and where we would be without him.  I love you all so much.  Mack Ohana I'm so excited for Skype! :)  Bisous bisous!

Elder Mack

City Court building

We were waiting for Joseph Richard to get home one day and he left his office open :p  Tee hee!  Dr. Mack is in!

Manda and I wrote a Malagasy version of the 12 Days of Christmas.  Haha!  Still a work in progress...

These are the only lights that the city puts out for Christmas


What we played on P-day - Risk :p


The sisters in Washington D.C. signing with Jewels

This is how much room I get in taxis :p  I totally squished that lady right next to me!

Elder Olsen is the new office elder

shopping madness

Monday, December 14, 2015

12/14/15 - Church Voice, Cross Roads, & Bucketing Water

Manahoana Ianareo! Tiako be Ianareo sady malahelo anareo koa ity no paradisa!!!!! >.<

Hey y'all!  What's up?  I am so grateful for the fun and crazy week I've had this past week!  Some of you guys might think that you'd never want to come here but let me tell ya, it's great!  I don't have too much time today so lets get started with the highlights!

-My new trainee Elder Tambula is way cool and very quiet. It can be hard to get him to talk but he is sooo humble and ready to learn.  He is definitely a soft soul. When I ask him to speak louder he tells me, "I use my church voice."  Dang it.  Haha!

-Well, here's a little spiritual story. Last Wednesday it was raining hard like none other.  We had Sambatra with us and we were all getting hammered in the rain.  I decided to take shelter at one of my favorite member's homes, Manda.  She took us in happily and wet.  Haha!  Well, we left when the rain stopped but streets were flooded.  We get to this cross road.  One takes us the short way home, and the other one is long way home.  Of course the spirit tells us to take the long way home and I am so glad that we listened.  We walked past a house and inside it was flooded WAYYY bad.  We called out to them asking if they needed help, and the father looked way surprised for a sec and then asked us to help.  We go on in and the water was up to my hips when we first got there.  We got buckets and started bucketing out water.  After we were done, the guy tells me, "You know, I was bucketing water alone and then I felt the need to pray.  I prayed for help and then not to long after you guys came." #Spiritrocks  We have a return appointment with him tommorow! :)

-We walked home and the streets were flooded!!!  We ended up walking home in knee deep water.  I'll get a picture next time that happens but on our way home we found a dead guy.  He drowned.  That was not fun.  Nough said.

-We got a new investigator!  He is one of our member's husbands.  His name is Dola.  He had come to church every week for a month and only now does he want us to teach him.  We told him about our goal for him and his family and asked him why he came to church in the first place.  He said that he wanted to follow his wife and have the same faith as her.  He came to church and said he felt something new.  He asked us if he could get baptized this month!  Whoa!  Haha!  I told him he had to know the basic teachings of the church and when he can pass the interview then he can be baptized. Hopefully we can do that in January! Woo hoo!

Love you guys!  Have a great week! :)
Elder Mack

My favorite Russian!  Elder Evans from my MTC group!

The flooded house



Dang Hawaiian...

You taking a pic of me?

Give me the camera Mack.  (This is Elder Tiu who was Elder Mack's MTC comp but he is wearing Elder Tambula's nametag)

Bishop's daughter :)

I said walk slowly!


The Ward Mission Leader  - Lalaina!

Monday, December 7, 2015

12/7/15 - Splits, splits, more splits, and Tambalu!

Vaotonga ny namako malala tam zoma!  Tena mainty be izy!!

Hey y'all!  How are things?  Well I finally got my companion on Friday!  Woo hoo!  Elder Tambalu is a wonderful, soft hearted spirit.  He is really quiet but is way excited to preach the gospel.  He is not doing bad at Malagasy either.  He was in the MTC for only about 2 weeks and then had to go home to get some paper work done or something but it took forever for him to get and he's just had to be patient.  They decided not to have him finish at the MTC and to just send him out here.  There is a lot of work that needs to be done but he is soo humble and I am sooo excited to be his trainer. 
Well before Tambalu got here I kind of had the same week that I did last week. Splits!  So at first I was on a split with the office elders for a couple days. Way fun.  Office is kinda lame but just a different kind of missionary work.  Sister Woolley had us cleaning out the back room and then me and Davis decorated the Christmas tree in the lobby.  Haha!  #realmissionarywork :p  Then I told the zone leaders my situation and they set up for me to get Elder Coleman for a couple days so that I can work in my area!  Woo hoo!  The split was wayyy fun!  I loved being with him!  He is soooo freaking good at Malagasy!  We had a way fun lesson together with this new investigator.  I don't know if you all remember that day when I had Elder Tainter lead the day?  We were walking home and a guy came up to me on the street and asked me how he could get paradise.  I thought it was cool so I told him, "I no speak Malagasy" and then told him to talk to Tainter.  Tainter did so good and we gave the guy our number and told him if he really wanted to learn to call us and then we left.  Well he just called me a few days ago and he wants to learn.  We offered to show him around the church as well as learn there.  He accepted and he said he loved the spirit inside the church, he wants to learn, and he is excited for it!  Thanks Tainter! :) 

Well Friday comes along and I get a surprise visitor - Elder Snell!  Yah buddy!  He came on splits with me from Friday until today when he goes up to Tamatave.  The man is doing some missionary training up there.  That guy is going back to the beach!  I have not seen the BEACH YET.... oh whateves... :p  Haha! 

Church was great!  Christof and his family received the Holy Ghost and I got to stand in the circle. We had two new investigators that came to church.  It is a couple that's related to Nadia and Valery. They started learning a couple weeks ago and they seem really interested.  Well, I guess they are, they came to church.  Haha!  Well I have a lot to catch up on with Elder Tambalu.  We are already starting the third week of the transfer and so we are two weeks behind in training. YIKES.  Wish me luck!  

Love you guys! Bisou bisous!
Elder Mack

Thank you Elder Snell and mom for the following pictures!

This is the YW in the Anjanahary Ward
Elders Mack, Coleman, and Snell waiting in the mission office.  Elder Mack is holding Christmas package #2!  Yay!
Warming himself on the computer yule log