Friday, September 25, 2015

WEEK 4 MTC Sept 25, 2015 Lessons Making Progress, Spirit in MTC, and Shots of Hot Sauce

P days!!!! Love em
So this week flew by. Last Thursday we had a TRC which is basically teaching returned missionaries in the language. Pretty hard because they talk soooooo fast. My companion had another slip of words this week but it wasn't completely his fault. We were trying to describe having a firm or strong foundation in Christ and we forgot the word for strong so my companion flexed and we did some actions to describe strong and the guy said oh this? ….and said the word and we were like yeah, you need to have a naked foundation in Christ... he started laughing and we didn’t know why so we asked our teacher after and he told us what happened hahaha. Good times!

So this week was full of fun things and spiritual things, perfect mix for an awesome week. On Sunday we had the choir director for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir come and talk to us. He is the voice that you hear when General Conference is starting. He was a really good speaker and we sang some songs for him most of the time. My favorite was How Firm a Foundation verses 3 and 7. Very powerful song and they gave us the story behind it which gave it so much more meaning.

We had a lesson this week that went really bad. The whole thing was just horrible. So for the next lesson we wanted it to be super good so we did everything we possibly could to make it an amazing lesson. It was probably our best lesson yet. We said so many things and phrases and words just started coming to my head at the right times. My companion and I were perfectly in sync while teaching and when we left we just started laughing because the spirit was felt so strong. That is what we are aiming for from now on.

So now onto the fun stuff. This week we did the tower challenge, which is eating one of the towers of cereal they have here at the MTC. We did it with only 8 people... everyone had stomach aches the rest of the day and some people got sick... but everyone agreed it was totally worth it. Then when the day is over we would go back to the residence and play a game of hot sauce basketball. We play rounds where if you make it, you’re safe, and out of it but if you miss you go to the next round until there is one loser. When you lose you have to take a cap full of this crazy hot sauce that this one kid got. Now the stakes are up to a spoonful! Luckily I have only lost once but it is the nastiest things to have to take a shot of, only hot sauce... and to finish off the week I finally learned how to do a Rubik’s cube by myself so now my district is obsessed with learning it!

Well, the spirit is insanely strong here at the MTC. Every day we have amazing lessons and learn a little bit more of the language. I am so grateful to be here especially with a mission call to MADAGASCAR!!! Everyone is like whaaaaaat when we tell them where we are going.

Fantatro fa marina ny bokin'i mormona. Fantatro fa ny pamonjy antsika i' Jesoa Kristy. Fantatro fa tia antsika andriamanitra. Amin'ni alalan'i Jesoa Kristy amena.

Much love,
Elder Bowen

Thursday, September 17, 2015

WEEK 3 MTC Sept 17, 2015 God's Love, Packages, Elder Heo and "REVELATION"

Manahuana ny Fianikaviko!

Things are picking up here in the MTC. So since last time, we have started teaching our investigators with no notes! It's crazy but really cool. We really have to listen to the promptings of the spirit. The language is difficult because all of the words are so similar, like sakafo. If you say it one way then you are saying food but if you say it another way then it comes out to be cat heart... So we have blessed many cat hearts. Also the verbs are strange. Every single verb starts with an m and has a bunch of a's in it. Funny story when we were teaching our investigator my companion was trying to say the apostles were killed (mamono) but he said the apostles were breastfed (manono)! Our investigator started laughing and asking if that was right and my companion had no idea and was like yea yea it happened. Luckily I corrected him haha.

We had a pretty cool speaker this Tuesday. It was the General Primary President! Pretty cool to hear her speak and she told some really good stories. We have been hearing more and more stories about Madagascar from our teacher and he has been showing us pictures which makes us all want to go now! I absolutely can't wait even though it’s fun here. Oh and thank you so much for the packages! It is the best thing in the world getting a package card. And also the dear elder thing messages everyone sends are freakin sweet. Tell Bryson that I love the Rubik’s cube! We have this kid in our zone that can do it super-fast so he loved it and started doing it right away. Last night he did it in 21 seconds! I am staying healthy but others are getting sick.  But, I am still doing good.

So to answer some questions I got, I’ll tell you a little more about my companion. His name is Elder Heo and he is super cool. He did a year at BYU Provo but before that he lived in California! Right by Magic Mountain! Pretty cool. Every time he gets a good idea he throws his hands up and says, "REVELATION!!!" so that's what we do now hahaha. Really awesome to have a cool companion. We hang out a lot with the Malays (other guys in our zone) because they are super cool. I just found out recently that everyone in our zone is a freakin genius! They all have scholarships and things to schools with really good grades and really high scores on tests!

So things have been going really well here. Language is hard but it is getting better. I’ll send some pictures of my district and some of the guys in our zone. Tell everyone I miss them! Love them all! The spirit is felt everyday very strongly. I learn about and feel God's love every day. My testimony is being strengthened in English and Malagasy! It is very apparent that this is the Lord's work being done here. I am so grateful that I get to be a part of it. Fantatro fa marina ny Bokin i Mormona. Fantatro fa ny pamonjy antsika i Jesoa Kristy. Amin'ny Anaran'i Jesoa Kristy, Amena.

Elder Bowen

Thursday, September 10, 2015

WEEK 2 MTC Sept 10, 2015 Malays, Bouncy Balls, and Testimony Growing Each Day

Hi Everyone!  Manahuana! Usually we say salama ve? But fahasalamana works too I guess. It has been so fun here! I have a district of 5 guys so that means that it’s five of us learning the language and we all got here the same day! We have a super small district which is very nice and a small zone, also very nice. My companion is super cool! We both like fifa and sports and stuff so P-days are nice. So far we have taught our "investigator" 4 lessons. Three of them were scripted out with what we were going to say written out and the last one... was with only a little note sheet of verbs! In all the lessons our investigator would say things and my companion and I would look at each other like "whaaaat?" because it sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard! So we usually avoid or ignore questions. Or sometimes we get a key word out of what he is saying and we act out what we are trying to say. Super funny to watch my companion act out the restoration! I have a
super cool teacher who got back from Madagascar 2 years ago. We call him curious George because he looks like him haha. Oh and the traveling time there is 50+ hours!!!!!!!

So when I first got here everyone would say, “just make it to the first Sunday" and we were like ok, not knowing why. So we made it to Sunday, which seems like yesterday and now I know why. You get your schedule and get into a weekly routine of things and time starts to fly by. The days go by slow and the weeks go by fast. Really weird but awesome because next thing we know its Sunday! Which means Choir and awesome devotionals. So after devotionals we have like a video time, where they show five videos in different rooms, so you get to pick the video you want to watch. Everyone told us that the first thing you have to watch is Characteristics of Christ by Ballard. Amazing talk.

Well I have been having a great time. Everyone is so nice here especially since all the people I’m here with are here for 6 weeks with us. Oh and thank you to Emily and Susie Braun for the delicious treat they sent! I left it out and my district ate the rest of it! Which brings me to the food. The food has honestly been better than I expected. There are some things that you really do have to stay away from or else you better be near a bathroom for the next couple hours... Luckily hasn't happened to me yet but happened to a guy in my district. So funny! Ok so funny story of the week. In our class area and in our residence we are next to the malays. They are here for 6 weeks to. So they all got bouncy balls sent to them and they have exercise bands so they took the exercise bands and launched the bouncy ball to the other end of the hall! It shoots so fast! So then the guys on the other side came out and happened to have an exercise band too so we were
launching bouncy balls back and forth! So funny when people got hit! Luckily I didn’t.

Well I am so grateful to be here. It is nice to get to study the gospel without distractions but then to have a break from that and study the language. My testimony is growing each day because of the spiritual experiences I go through each day. I love it here but also can’t wait to get out into the field and teaching real investigators the gospel. I hope you guys are doing good back at home! Have fun in school Boys!!! hahaha 

Elder Bowen

Thursday, September 3, 2015

WEEK 1 MTC Sept 3, 2015 Language Sounds like Mumbles..Long Days but Having a Blast!

   Made it to the MTC! They are just giving us a brief time to write! It has been so fun here! I have a really cool companion named Elder Heo (Asian). My district is just me and four other guys all learning Malagasy and going to Madagascar. Our zone is the smallest one here I think, consisting of around 15 people. We all got here on day one so we didn't really know what to do! I was the first into class and it was the most confusing thing I have ever gone through. It sounds like a bunch of mumbles and stuff but it has been so much fun. My P-day's are on Thursdays so you'll have to wait till next week to hear from me. We have had some amazing talks so far. They are really drilling the missionary purpose into our heads for the past little bit. Everyone here is so nice and helpful whenever you need it and the food is pretty good. No one has had any "accidents" yet so we are just waiting for that to happen to see if what people say is true. The days seem really long sometimes, especially in the afternoon when everyone wants to take a nap...We have to teach our first investigator tomorrow...IN MALAGASY! Crazy! We spent like all day trying to figure out what we will say to them tomorrow, which was going well until we realized they will have to respond and ask questions that we won’t understand! Pray for the gift of tongues i guess haha. Well I miss you guys! Having a blast here! Alright I have got to go back to some more learning! Loving this gospel right now and the language has been super fun. Everyone testifies so strongly of Christ and the Atonement and the spirit is felt so strong all the time. Loving it here!

Velano (goodbye) Much love,
Elder Bowen