Monday, October 26, 2015

WEEK 9 Oct 26, 2015 Elder Bednar Visits and President Foote is the Greatest!

    Time flew by this week! It was a great week! So we had a zone conference and President Foote is the greatest teacher ever. He is so funny and spiritual which is the greatest combination for a person! We also had another big meeting... Elder Bednar came! I was so lucky to be called to this stake because our stake was the one he came to. It was interesting because he would say a few words and then someone would translate it. He said some really awesome things that I know helped inspire the people of Madagascar. He talked about being an agent and not an object. When someone else does something that makes you mad you are an object being acted upon by them. We are all agents and choose to be affected by others. General Conference is finally coming to Madagascar this next week. Luckily I got to see it in the MTC so I feel very lucky for that.

    Well this last week has been great. We taught 17 lessons this last week! We should be getting more as we won’t have all these meetings to take up our teaching time.  We have some really awesome members. At church we went to sing in the choir and it was so weird because it was in French! They don’t have all the songs translated into Malagasy so we use the French hymn books. Not only do I have to try and hit the notes but I have to try and say these phrases in French!

    This last week we found some new investigators. Some people seem really interested in what we have to say. We share with people that God has a body like we have a body. We teach them that he is our loving Heavenly Father. Some stuff seems so basic teaching but it’s so great to see that they are understanding what we are teaching in the language. The language is still hard but people are patient with me. Sometimes I’ll be finished with what I have to say and I’ll look at my companion and he will say "keep going!" Drives me insane!!! But it does make me think of new things to say so I know he really intends on helping me with the language haha. We have yet to see lemurs but I have found some lizards in our house! I love it! Wayyyyy better that other things that could be found...

    So as far as food goes the people do sometimes eat meat but the meat is usually questionable. There are a bunch of stands with meet hanging around with flies flying on them. As far as our cooking goes we usually eat Top Ramen. The Top Ramen here is different but it’s good. Also rice and spaghetti are usually eaten. Usually we go out to work and just eat when we get back so we eat some snacks throughout the day. Rice is everywhere though. The common meal is rice with something to put on top.

    To answer Katelyn’s question, no my companion doesn’t snore haha. I think I would be too tired anyway to care haha. When we get back I’m usually pretty tired because we walk a lot! We walk on some awesome paths though. We have five other Elders that I live with, so six of us total.  As far as holidays go, I don’t think they celebrate Halloween but we will see.

    Well another great week to come. I am having a blast!!!

Love you guys!
Elder Bowen

Malagasy Security...

Our house...6 missionaries live here.

English class we teach on Wednesdays

Dude changing his tire in the middle of the road! 

Sister Foote's pictures from Elder Bednar coming!

Elder Bednar speaking in Mauritius

Washing all the cars for the Elder Bednar tour!

Learning from the Apostle. Reunion Island. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

WEEK 8 Oct 20, 2015 Made it to Madagascar! Companion is Elder Shroedter

It is so awesome here! Once we got to Madagascar, we stayed the night with the Assistants to the mission president to get our energy back from that two days of traveling! The Mission President and his wife are the best!  He is so funny and so nice and just connects with the missionaries so easily.  Sister Foote is so caring and nice as well.  They are awesome! The next day we got our trainers, mine is Elder Schroedter! He is really cool and really good at Malagasy. He loves to work and has been out for a little over a year and is from Texas.

Right now I am serving in Ivandry, an area in Tana City next to Antananarivo. Our area is super far.  We experienced a crazy car ride because there aren’t any lanes here.  It’s insane to drive or ride here because cars come super close, super fast! While walking down the street you'll see cars, people, mopeds, trash, we see a lot of things. I have only seen one gas station.  Also, we pass soccer games is a huge thing here. There is a really nice shopping center here and it’s so weird to walk from a first world country to a near 4 th world country.  

As far as the's actually pretty good in some places!!! I have eaten some awesome foods like rice with some kind of meat stuff you pour on top and it is really good and luckily haven’t gotten sick... but we will see!  I haven't had any french food yet. And, no running water is safe here. We drink a lot of soda and water when we can get it bottled or filtered. The soda here is good! We always get these big glass bottles of it! We usually go out for breakfast and I’ll buy a croissant. But the exchange of money is crazy here.  It is 3000 of their dollars to $1 of ours.  So you can take out of ATM $200,000 calculated their way which sounds like so much.
Well on p-day we went shopping to pick up a bible and get our books bound! When they are done I'll send some pics of what that is! But pretty much shopping, trying to email, and making brownies. The power here gets cut off in some areas a lot throughout the day so we have to try and get around that but it is such an adventure walking to people's houses! And next p-day I think we're going to the zoo...planning to see some lemurs!

So our past couple of days we go study in the mornings then we go out to teach in Ivandry. We take these modified vans with people packed in to get to our area. The people here in this area are so kind and want to help with Malagasy. They all say oh you will get it soon. Very kind people and members. Then we walk around and meet up with our appointments and it is such an adventure walking to people’s houses!
People have little houses here in places you wouldn’t imagine! When we are done we have to save around an hour and a half to walk back because the vans stop running at around 7pm. It rained for the first time last night and it was crazy! We were eating at a memer's(members) house and the thunder started shaking the house for like 10 seconds!!! They acted like everything was normal. It was crazy because we had to walk home after that!!! It is awesome here though and the members are great.
We don’t get bikes and I think we have the furthest area…it’s a really long walk but it’s fun! Shoes are getting wrecked. But it's awesome! And after a full day I sleep like a rock. Haha. Right now it’s just raining with thunder like I’ve never heard before in my life. It is truly something else. It was really fun though, making new paths because our main one was under a huge puddle! The humidity isn’t bad and the sun can feel very hot some days, but when it rains, it gets cooler. It rained for the first time last night! An insane storm and I was going crazy because of the lightning and thunder and the family we were eating with was totally normal!!! Members are awesome.
During the weeks, we have dinner appointments sometimes but they can cancel on us.  The other day we went to our appointment and they said they had no food so after our message we left and just ate when we got back home.  
Anyway, it is interesting when we walk around and everyone always says ‘faza!’ which means foreigner! It drives some missionaries here crazy!!! They try to mock us by speaking French which we respond with Malagasy!  They just tease a little but aren't mean but, you do have to be careful. Luckily I haven’t found it to be annoying yet but we will see. 

Well I love it here in Madagascar so far. We live in apartments and have people above and below us and our apartment is pretty clean.  Our beds are in the living room and we have a fridge and hot showers. The ward is great too. The bugs aren’t bad but the mosquitoes are everywhere. We email in these things called cybers which are businesses with five or so computers in them. In the cybers, everything is made out of wood except for the computer.
The language is getting better and better every day. Some members that I have met here are so nice and have such strong testimonies, they are seriously awesome and a few even speak English!  We teach English on Wednesday nights.  Some lady here can speak 5 languages.
Alright well I've got to get back to the work! Love you guys! I'll get way more pics of the things you guys want to see! I love Madagascar and love being in the service of Heavenly Father. I know that he loves us all more than we can comprehend!

Love Elder Bowen

Showing Ivandry the city Elder Bowen is in!

Elder Bowen and Elder Schroeder from Texas

 Little girl who already told Elder Bowen she loves him!

First meal

How we travel

Going to a members home 

 Going to another member's home

 Poncho picture….been shopping!

My new friend

Pull out the camera and the kids all line up!

Local soccer game

Picture of the city...Ivandry

NOTE: Anyone wanting an updated feed of what's going on in Madagascar can follow Sister Foote (the Mission President's wife) at #momfoote or she is on facebook too under Cindy Foote.

Friday, October 16, 2015

WEEK 7 Oct 16, 2015 Madagascar Bound - By Mom

    The last few days have been quite the adventure for Elder Bowen beginning Monday, October 12. After 53 HOURS of travel he eventually made it to MADAGASCAR!!! Details below...

  At 9:30 am, he left the MTC with 4 other Elders traveling to Madagascar.  One is from South Dakota, 2 from Utah, and the last being his companion from California, Elder Heo.  The group of 5 missionaries boarded a bus and then a train to get to Salt Lake City airport where all the traveling began. Jaxson had prepared us by saying, “Be ready for my phone calls!"  We stayed ready by the phone and kept him in our prayers for safe travels!


Oct 12 9:30am -   Left MTC, took a bus, rode a train, and arrived at airport!

PHONE CALL to Mom and Dad! Everything was fine.  Jaxson was ready to leave MTC and meet the people of Madagascar.  Shared testimony in Malagasy.

Oct 12 3:20 pm - Depart SLC airport to Dallas, Texas (3 + hour flight)

Oct 12th 7:03 pm - Arrive Dallas airport

PHONE CALL  to Linzi and Katelyn.  Everything going well except for terrible headache from cabin pressure. Shared the language by saying a prayer in Malagasy.  Family joined in prayer to ask for relief of headache.

Oct 12th 10:15 - Depart Dallas airport and fly to London, Paris (14 hr 23 min flight)

Oct 13 1:15 -  Arrive London airport  (London time)

PHONE CALL:  to Mom. Everything going great.  No headache at all…amazing!  Bought lunch with traveling Elders and because of currency change, the anticipated $10 lunch was actually $20 each!  Making memories he said!

Oct 13 7:10pm - Depart London airport to Johannesburg, South Africa (11 hr flight)

Oct 14 7:10 am - Arrive Johannesburg, South Africa (Johannesburg time)

PHONE CALL:  to Mom at 10:43 pm.  Susie woke everyone up to gather around speaker phone as Jaxson said this was the last time he would probably get to talk until Christmas.  Headache still gone but they were all feeling quite stiff, exhausted, and spirits were high as almost there!

Oct 14t 10:00am - Depart Johannesburg to Antananarivo, Madagascar (3 hr 10 min flight)

Oct 14th 2:10 pm ARRIVE in Antananarivo, Madagascar!!! (Fresno time Wed 4:10 am)

Pictures from Sister Foote, mission president’s wife announced the safe arrival of Elder Bowen.  The mission secretary also sent a comforting letter of his arrival.  Counting our blessings!  By the looks of it and after a nap, he is ready to serve…


We are delighted to announce the safe arrival of Elder Bowen to our mission.  The first photo was taken of his group at the airport and the second at the arrival dinner at the mission home with President and Sister Foote.  Sister Foote takes lots of pictures of the missionaries as she travels around the mission which she posts on Instagram.  You can follow her at.....momfoote.

Thanks for sending us such a great missionary.
Sister Woolley
Madagascar Antananarivo Mission Secretary

These pictures were all posted by Sister Foote the Mission President's wife.

The new missionaries have arrived!

 What missionaries look like after 53 hours of travel!

The five with President and Sister Foote.

The first taste of Madagascar!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

WEEK 6 MTC Oct 8, 2015 Last letter from MTC!

  So, this is the last time I will be emailing home from America! Crazy to think that my six weeks is up here! So we already had our last teaching session with one of our progressing investigators and we have just one more with our other one. Awesome to think that it is going to be real from here on out. Conference was so good! First time I have stayed awake for the whole thing! Really amazing talks this time and it was so cool to watch it with so many people. We also had many discussions after which were so spiritual and eye opening. I really enjoy listening to what others get out of talks. The devotionals that followed were really good closers to Conference. First we had Vocal Point come! I got to meet some of them because we were assigned to help set up chairs. They were really good! Then this last Tuesday we had the General Relief Society President, Linda K. Burton, come talk to us. She talked about how lucky we are to have a living prophet. She said
many people don't understand how amazingly lucky we are, and it really made me grateful to have the true living apostles and prophet be a part our true church today.
    Thank you so much to Todd and Kim for the cookies! Super good! We celebrated one month mark this past week! We took out a bunch of our food and had another feast. We had another tie draft which I got first pick again! That was a lucky day. Sadly the Malays left us this last week which made our zone of 5 elders. We all really missed those guys and didn't know why because we only knew them for a couple weeks, but they are all awesome guys that we bonded with. Something funny this week happened to my companion. He went to the doctor because his stomach had been hurting for a while and the doctor told him he needed to take a stool sample! So we got to take a field trip out of the MTC and go to the BYU health clinic. When we went up to the desk to say he was there for a stool sample, all of the people in the room looked at him and some laughed! It was hilarious! Then they sent us to another room and he had to tell another lady, who also laughed haha.
That was great.
    Well another great week. Watched a talk by Elder Bednar called Recognizing the Spirit. Really amazing and interesting. Great talk for everyone to listen to. The weeks just flew by here. Can't believe that it's almost time to go to Madagascar. The Gospel has only been there for around 25 years so they are in the pioneer times. He said the foundation of the church is still being laid there by missionaries. I feel honored to go and lay the foundation of the Gospel for these people. We have talked about what we are really doing for these people and its better than what any welfare program could do. We are doing the greatest service that can be done on this earth. Tiako ny filazantsaran'i Jesoa Kristy. (I love the gospel of Jesus Christ) I know that our Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to continue to learn about the Gospel and to continue to share it. I know that our Savior Jesus Christ lives and I am so excited to get to share this news with these
people. I love you all back at home and I am so grateful for the letters and emails I have received!

Guess who got a package!!!! 

Look who thru a container of milk to trash can... And missed!!!!!

 Service Day

New raincoat and package sent from Mom!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

WEEK 5 MTC Oct 1, 2015 Favorite Speakers, Hosting Missionaries, and a Zone Feast

Another Great Week!

So this week we finished teaching our investigators that we had and we got them both to commit to baptism! Super awesome to finally hear “yes, I do want to” and then ‘hi five’ my companion haha. We had some really amazing speakers this week, probably my favorite so far. Our first one was Stephen B. Allen and he showed some old home front videos and then talked about them. Then he addressed one of the issues in the MTC which was... Flirting! Everyone in my zone was laughing so hard because we always call it out when we see it. Then we had Claudoi R. M. Costa who talked about how missionaries are the real superheroes. My favorite quote from the talk was "You can count the seeds in an apple, but not the apples in a seed." Really great quote. 

     This week we hosted the new missionaries which means we stand curbside and get their luggage and help them get to where they need to go. It was kind of sad to watch because some people just couldn't hold themselves together! Luckily I didn't have any criers but I sure saw a lot!  This week we also got to watch Elder Scott's Funeral. And to answer your question, every Thursday morning we get to go to Provo temple.

     Well the weeks are really counting down. This Friday (tomorrow) we get our flight plans! Really excited for that 50 hours of traveling! Haha…. well things have been great here. Just had a feast with our zone because half of them leave next Monday and we have to start eating all the food they have now. My testimony continues to grow and my knowledge in the language does as well. Fantatro fa mpanonjy antsika i Jesoa Kristy. (i know that Jesus Christ is our Savior). Fantatro fa tia antsika andriamanitra. (I know that God loves us). I love feeling the spirit every day in the strength that I feel it. I love our Savior, Jesus Christ and I know that He lives.  

 I hope everyone at home is doing great. Love getting the letter in the mail and pictures! Loved them. Oh and thank you Katelyn for the doughnuts! Super good. Love you all! 

Elder Bowen 

PS  I need to get some non silk ties.  I've been told the color bleeds onto the white shorts in high humidity.

This is the zone feast we had last night.

 These are the shirts we got.

This is the tie draft we had.

This is a pic of our whole zone.

 Me and my companion.