Monday, May 30, 2016

5/31/16 - Choose to be Baptized

Tratra ny fetin'ny reny eto any Madagasikara!  Mercy ry mamako malala!
Hey y'all!  I had a fun week with Elder Olsen.  We are doin' WORK!  #workinghard (practicing my hashtags) :p  It's starting to really cool down here.  It's like to the point where I need a sweater but at least its not BLAZING hot where I feel like I'm being cooked wherever I go.  It's nice!  Our investigators are doing well.  

I may have already mentioned a little bit about Feno and his mom.  We have been trying to get them to progress but the mom says she feels like she's already saved because she has already been baptized in another church.  We taught her that it was an act of faith that she was baptized and God is really happy but we explained about the priesthood and how we need that in our lives and in the ordinances that we do.  We invited her to pray about Joseph Smith and to know if the church really does have the priesthood power.  She told us the last time we visited, "I don't want to be baptized again."  It was sad to hear.  We asked her son Feno what he thought about baptism.  Feno is 22 and pretty much provides for his family.  He said that he would love to be baptized.  He said that he too was baptized but that he was a baby and he doesn't remember it.  He said he wants to be baptized now so that he can say that he made the choice to be baptized. We explained to him that baptism is his choice.  We do not force him to do anything but we just help and give the message.  But it is up to him to act!  I really hope that he will be baptized and that someday his mom's heart will soften.

I love you guys!  Have a great week!  Lindsay! Congrats on graduating!!!  Love you girl!  Spence, congrats on the superior!  You da man!!

-Elder Mack 

So sweet.  Someone made this heart landscape.

In this river there's a lot of clay.  We put it all over our faces.  Haha!

This kitten is named Little Mack!  LOL!

This is Chaelle and Danio.  They want to be missionaries too.  I couldn't get my badge off of Chaelle.  Haha!

Happy Birthday Sandratra!!

Happy Mother's Day to Mama Liva!

Monday, May 23, 2016

5/23/16 - Everyday you need spiritual exercise

Hey y'all!  Tsy mety mihetsika mihitsy ny tarehyko noho ny fotaka ao izao!
Hows everyone doin?  I'm great!  I'm tired... but happier than ever!!!  Congrats on Seminary Graduation Lindsay!  Love you my seester! :)  Muah!  Wow!  I can count the weeks I have left on my hands.  It's crazy!  10 left!

Mahajanga is kinda starting to get cold.  It's still not cold enough that I need a jacket or anything but I'm not sweating my face off in lessons anymore.  Haha!  I know in Tana missionaries are taking coats to work cause it's freezing.  Yikes...  How's the weather in Utah!?  Hot?  Nice?

The area is great.  We kinda had a rough week of getting dogged and stuff.  I don't know if it was just a bad week for people or what but we had no investigators to church yesterday... yikes...!  Where did everyone go?  Well, if you didn't see bad weeks then you wouldn't see the great weeks right?  We had a great lesson with Chaelle and Danio this past week though. We just finished the plan of salvation. We started talking about the steps we need to take here on earth so that we can return back to our Father in Heaven.  We know this requires faith, repentance, baptism by immersion, receiving the holy ghost, and enduring to the end.  During this lesson we focused on faith and how we can strengthen it. We used the example of exercising.  Those that love to excercise will run everyday and even work out like 3 times a week.  They want to see results. We teach our investigators and they want to know truth.  We tell them that they have to work for it.  We explained to them the scripture in Jacob 2:17 that faith without works is dead.  If they read the scriptures only once a week then it could be a while before they see results.  We gotta do it constantly.  Chaelle and Danio were really into the lesson and really expressed wanting to know the truth.  Chaelle turns to Danio during the lesson and says, "So, when are we going to be baptized?"  I was thinking, "Wow, that was so random and cool!"  Danio said, "When we are ready we will be."  :)  We told them that the best spiritual excercises are reading the scriptures and praying everyday.  They made the goal to be baptized in a couple months.  We'll see how it goes!  #gethuge

Sorry but I'll send pics next week.  I'm having issues trying to upload them. #madalife 

Love you guys!  Have a great week!

-Elder Mack

Monday, May 16, 2016

5/16/16 - "I love my area" & "Don't give up on this family!"

Hey y'all!!  Nahazo fiantsona voavoa ny namako satria mandeha moramora foana izy.  Sokatra izy.
This area is truly incredible.  I'm going to have to say that it is my favorite now.  It is literally paradise.  I love the beach, AND IT'S CLEAN!  I'm not walking in poop everywhere I go.  Haha!  I love the people here.  They receive the missionaries so well and everyone loves getting messages of Jesus Christ.  There are so many different beliefs here.  I have taught non-christians as well but they still love to let us in.  I feel like I am among friends up here. My comp is way cool and I'm just a happy guy! :)  I really want to share a little story about one of my favorite families - Jean Chry's fam.

Elder Stringfellow and Elder Anderson tracted into this amazing family.  The father Jean Chry is such an amazing guy.  He and his family are a very poor family and he is always looking for new work so he can provide for his family.  He is married with two beautiful children, a boy and a girl.  When I first got here we never caught Jean Chry at home but has expressed wanting to learn and to be with his family.  Elder Anderson kept telling me, "I'm not giving up on this family".  Jean Chry is so interested in the gospel and asks great questions when we do get to visit with him.  He is just very hard to catch.  We went there many times without him being there.  His little girl got so used to him not being home that when we knock, she tells us, "Dad's not home!"  Ugh. Haha!  Recently, he has had a harder time finding work and so he was able to spend more time to learn from us.  He hadn't been to church because of work but has always wanted to go.  Last week his little girl was sick and had been for a little.  We mentioned to him that this is the restored church with the same power that Christ had when he healed the sick and Jean Chry asked if we could give her a blessing.  The next day she was better!  He said that he wants more than anything to get legally married so that he can be baptized. We mentioned to him that he should come to church to feel of the spirit at the church and to increase his faith.  He said, "I don't have church pants."  So we gave him one.  He gave us the biggest smile as he received it.  We also taught him how to tie a tie.  On Sunday we walked in to church and guess who was in the back all ready for church to start...? :)

I love you guys!  Have a great week! :)

-Elder Mack
Elder Mack wrote, "I just realized that I only took one picture this past week and I actually didn't even take it. 
One of the members took it before branch council.  Haha!"

Monday, May 9, 2016

5/10/16 - Last Skype, we have to, & God is good

Tratra ny Fetin'ny reny.  Mercy ry mamako malala noho ny fitiavanao.

Hey y'all!  To all the mothers out there and especially my own gorgeous mother - I love you, thank you, and Happy Mother's Day! :)  Skype was amazing and what is so weird is that was my 4th and last one on my mission.  3 months left y'all and then you get this lemur back.  Haha!  I miss all of you so much.  Thank you, thank you for all of your prayers and for your support from half way across the globe.  I'm the luckiest elder.

Highlight experience of da week:

We had a good week and met a great new family.  They are guardians for this one guy who is an American citizen.  He worked for the U.S. Army and it is way cool to talk to him.  The guardian's name is Dada and his wife is Onja.  They saw us out tracting and welcomed us into their  home.  During the first lesson we talked about baptism and they asked how long it would take to learn all the lessons and if they needed to be legally married.  They agreed to get all of those done and they also asked us to pick them up for church next week.  We are way excited for this family.  They have not been baptized in any church yet because they have never felt the need to until we came along. They loved the lesson about Joseph Smith and really want to know for themselves if it is true. The spirit was definitely strong in the lesson.  I was getting a little teary during my testimony.  I know know know that it's true and when people accept it, it is such a testimony builder.  I then asked them if we give them a Book of Mormon if they would read it. They answered saying, "We have to."

I love you all soo much.  Have a great week and remember that God loves us and will never forget us. He is good.

Elder Mack

Chillin at church

Riding a pousse pousse!

Hardy did commentary for the volleyball game

We tracted into one guy that had a Hawaii license plate

We brought a chicken to offer the hungry crocodile at Lac Sacre.  Sorry Jimmy the chicken.  Jimmy lost. 

Abel, his wife Liva, and their daughter Christina went with us to Lac Sacre.

Feeding a lemur

Saturday, May 7, 2016

5/7/16 - Last Skype with Elder Mack

We were able to talk with Elder Mack on Saturday, May 7 at 6:00am Utah time.  It was so nice to see his cute face and his bright smile.  He looked healthy and happy as he talked about his mission.  Hard to believe this was our last Skype!  He has loved serving the Lord in Madagascar.  We can't wait till he comes home - only 87 more days! - Mom

The Mack ohana - all together!

Monday, May 2, 2016

5/2/16 - Bye Elder Anderson, a new companion, and feeling peace

Nahazo hafatra androany aho mikasika ny fandehanako mody... kay moa
Hey y'all! Way sorry about my pathetic excuses for emails.  Haha!  We'll make this one spiffy!  Sound good?  Boo yah!  How's everyone doing?  I am doing soo good!  I'm way excited for this next transfer with my new comp!  Yup, Elder Anderson left... but I got a way cool comp! ...drum roll... Elder Olsen!!  We lived together when I was in Anjanahary.  He kept me sane!  Haha!  He is probably my last comp before I go home... way crazy.  WE'RE GONNA OWN IT!!  MAHARITRA HATRAMINNY FARANY ARY TSY HO FATY MAFY!  Well, we had a good week. It was kind of just like a "get Elder Olsen used to his area" type of week but it's all good. We still had some great highlights from this past week.

- Ok, Felicia update!  She is fantastic.  She has started to read a little in the Book of Mormon.  She has asked some very good quesitons about it.  We read in the Book of Mormon with her in the last lesson and it was so special because afterwards we asked her, "What do you feel when you read the Book of Mormon?" and she said, "I feel this amazing peace." After she said that I also felt the strongest peaceful feeling as well.  The book is true.  It is.  She came to church on Sunday and we were sooo happy!  She's just gotta keep it up!  She is still battling cigarettes. We have been trying to call her every night encouraging her to keep trying and her burden will be lifted if she trusts.

- Jimmy is also way cool!  He came to church and has been doing his homework.  We invited him to be baptized but he hesitated and said he has been already baptized.  We had to explain a little bit about the priesthood but he still doesn't fully understand so for our next lesson we will be going through the first lesson again.  Hopefully things will click.  Him and his wife are not legally married as well and it might be tough to get their birth certificates.  They are from Fianarantsoa which is hecka out there.  Haha!

- Saholy came to church and is missing Elder Anderson a lot. She loves the missionaries and is really getting close to baptism.  Just waiting on that answer!  I feel she is showing faith, reading, etc.  It won't be too long before she feels it too.

- We did a lot of tracting this week. We tracted into this way cool couple. Both their names are Mindrana.  Mindrana and Mindrana.  Way funny.  The dad works for some Americans so he speaks pretty good English.  The wife likes us coming by.  They have two kids.  The boy reminds me of my bro Spence.  His name is Toki and he has seen us walk around before and gives us fist bumps.  Haha! Way funny kid!  They said they are Catholic but they were really willing to let us in.  I see them being really diligent in reading and trying to find the truth.  They are already legally married.  For his job he does advising for some kind of charitable organization.  He is the head of that in Madagascar.  Way cool.  He almost went to America a couple of times but it ended up not working out.

- Well, remember Juliette?  She was a less active member with her husband Justin.  We were at their house and were teaching them when her son Erik walked in.  He too had taken lessons from missionaries but never got baptized because he moved to a place where the church and missionaries are not in.  He's got two kids.  His wife left him so he takes care of them.  We asked him, "Are you ready to get baptized now?"  He said, "I'll learn again and if it's really true, yes!"  Boo yah!!

So stoked for Saturday to skype my family!  I love you guys!  Happy Mother's day to all the incredible mothers out there.  I love you mom.

Elder Mack

Saying goodbye to Elder Anderson

Hardy gave Elder Olsen a rock as a welcome gift.  Haha!

No matter where he goes the landlord carries his bunny.  The bunnies name is Petite, which is French for little.

This is the Jirima Electric guy.  He came and cut our power unexpectedly and left.  We had to find him and show him the receipt that shows we paid the electric bill so he sent his companion to turn it back on.  I waited with him and he asked me to help cut someone else's power.  Haha!  Then we selfied. 

Elder Olsen found the baobab tree.  Haha!

My new companion Elder Olsen!