Monday, November 30, 2015

WEEK 14 Nov 30, 2015 Thanksgiving, Splits, and Mathew 10:16

Another great one! So this week I got to go on splits with Elder Reynolds! He is from New Zealand! We went into my area so that means I got to lead the way! We had some great lessons but teaching Herimael is always my favorite. He is a champ. The next day Elder Schroedter and I went to pick up Elder Bassett! He is going up to ‘fort d’ but his flight wasn’t until Friday. The cool thing is that Elder Bassett and Elder Schroedter were best friends before the mission! Crazy how that worked out! Super fun going on splits though.

Rest of the week was great, teaching members and less actives. So this Sunday guess who showed up to church? Herimael! we were waiting for forever at this bus stop and then we got a call from the other elders that there are two new investigators they didn’t recognize. We went to church to find out it was him with his wife! Even with his walking disability he made it to church. Really, really awesome guy.

We did celebrate thanksgiving... haha not like the feast from home but it was awesome. Mashed potatoes, some gravy, corn, and a delicious boiled chicken haha.

    So scripture of the transfer is Mathew 10:16. Elder Schroedter showed it to me and I love it. We decided it is about missionaries! "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

Well another great p day! We got suits made and we just have to wait a little bit to pick them up! Went to the queens’ palace today but had a little trouble trying to get in so we just walked around and took pictures haha. All healthy now by the way, no longer sick! Loving it here in Madagascar!

Elder Bowen

Missionaries from Tomatave are here

Transfers (Elder Bowen...bottom right)

Monday, November 23, 2015

WEEK 13 Nov 23, 2015 Teaching Investigators to ENDURE

   Another Great One! My companion finally got better and we got back to our regular teaching schedule! We continued to teach Herimael, one of our bomb investigators. He says he loves to learn and the gospel really just makes sense. The last time we were teaching him his family came in and sat in on our lessons. When we were done we invited them to church and they said they all wanted to go! Yes! Best investigator!

     So yes, it finally happened and I got a little bit sick on Thursday so our schedule fell a little. But, it picked back up on Sunday and we had 8 straight lessons after church yesterday! It was great! 
   To answer questions on studying, we study anything personal for an hour. I study in English, as does my companion. Then we have a companion and language study which is us practicing lessons, talking about lessons, talking about the language, etc. There are many things members struggle with here including smoking, drinking, and not married people having kids. There are some really dependable people and some that are really not dependable..which really stinks because some people live so far and we walk everywhere.  

     So this week we focused a lot on enduring to the end. We go and we ask people, what is enduring to the end? And they usually say well being good and following the commandments. Correct! What else? Haha and that's where we start teaching. It's more than just keeping the commandments and avoiding temptation. Its continually strengthening our faith and trying to become more Christlike. no one is ever done enduring to the end. Why do we endure to the end? To get eternal life and eternal happiness! Easy as that! 
  A few other things, they don't really celebrate Thanksgiving here.  Cinnamon bears from Rocky Mountain are something I miss and working there..but still love it here. We've had fun playing soccer for p-days. I'll try and send videos but it depends on the cyber.
Well I still love it here. Great week ahead! 
Elder Bowen

Monday, November 16, 2015

WEEK 12 Nov 16, 2015 Stealing Keys, Birthdays, Spiders, and 5 Gospel Principles

Another great week! This week started out slow because my comp has been sick. We got to go out some days and not on others. Investigators are still freakin great. Herimael is just awesome. He loves to learn and says this gospel really makes sense. Mazava be!  We did have a fun time running into a drunk guy. He invited us into his house to teach him and we went in and very soon found out he wasn’t all there... he was rambling on about something and then he turned to me and accused me of stealing his keys! After checking his pockets three times he found them in his pocket haha. Then he got on his knees and begged for forgiveness hahaha. Good time, but he said we could come back and teach his family! So we will try again, next time hopefully to get him sober. He said he wants to learn to stop drinking so we think we can help! That’s about it for lessons this week though. Numbers were a little low due to my companion’s health.

We did have a birthday in our house though... which means flour and eggs which is tradition here! It was elder Tio's birthday and we surprised him in the morning with some eggs on his head and flour in his face! Super awesome! Things are going great although it would be nice to have some chicken noodle soup or something like that.

I am still in the same house and there are these freakin spiders! So we had this big one out our window and I sprayed with bug spray to see what would happen.  So it feel down and one of the elders from our house went and picked it up and started chasing everyone around with it! We learned that these are poisonous and you get bit and you definitely will get sent home for treatment.  That would be awful!

So the lessons this week were mainly focused on the gospel and the five principles of the gospel. I have learned some people look at them as steps: Get faith, repent, get baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and then endure to the end. But the gospel isn’t a check list. We teach them that we must continue to grow out faith. Faith leads to action and we must act on it to grow our faith. Repentance is a continual everyday thing. No one is perfect and everyone makes at least one mistake a day. Then, there is repentance. People think it’s a onetime thing but that covenant gets renewed every Sunday with the sacrament. Receiving the Holy Ghost and keeping it with you! We must continue to invite the spirit so that it can dwell within us, then endure to the end. Doing all the things listed above can strengthen our testimony and bring us happiness. The gospel is so simple and it was made that way so that everyone can understand, even me! Well the people here in Madagascar are amazing! Really do love them! And still healthy so I’m counting my blessings!

Elder Bowen

Monday, November 9, 2015

WEEK 11 Nov 9, 2015 Bomb Investigators, Language Getting Better, and P-Day at the ZOO

Another Great Week!
So this week started off with us teaching as we normally do. We taught some of our bomb investigators. What makes them so awesome? Well, they keep their commitments! We have this one investigator that reads every pamphlet and reads in the Book of Mormon and prays and he is great! He comes to the lessons with questions. He says he loves the missionaries coming because he loves to learn.

As the week went on, Elder Schroedter got sick... and so did another elder in our house so I have been going on splits for the last two or three days. It is awesome to get to see other wards and how they all kind of work in different ways. Although they function differently, the focus is still on Christ which is what it's all about. So the elders and I went on splits. This week were Elders Tio, Becker, and Covey. The zone leaders went on splits with us so that’s where Covey comes in. It is nice to go on splits to see different styles of teaching and to see new people. But it also isn’t because I love my people in my area!

The language is coming along.  We have no translators here but luckily we have Malagasy Book of Mormons. Some areas don’t even have that.  Some houses are really small here.  The floors are either dirt or concreate, only very few have week floors. We have been having a lot of rain here.  It is a cold rain with a little wind but the clouds are awesome though.  Last week we contacted for 5 hours and it rained the whole time….so cold.  We often drink warm or hot water since we have to boil it.  The juice here is still soooooo good! Like crazy good!  Every week we have investigators that come to church.  We have one missionary who is Malagasy, then from California, Texas, Colorado, and Utah.  We usually get about 25 lessons a week, but we shoot for 30.

So another cool thing that happened this week was teaching the young women how to make brownies from scratch. Whenever we go to a soiree (a dinner appointment which is once a week maybe) we bring brownies and the young women’s president was like how do you make these? She said that no one knows how to make these so could you Elders come teach the young women? We said yea sure! But bring some non-members! And they did! It was awesome! So we taught how to make brownies AND we taught a lesson!

So to close off the week, something huge happened... I saw lemurs! We went to this zoo today and right as we got there we saw some sweet lemurs in a cage. Then we turn around and there were lemurs in the trees!  no cages! They came up to us and we fed them a bunch of bananas. Then the lady that works there walked around with us and we got to hold some sweet lizards and snakes! It was awesome! Great p day!

Well I hope everyone has a great week! Studying the scripture is the best and time goes by so fast when I do. Love you guys!
Elder Bowen

Just me and the guys living with us. These guys.

 Father-son lizard on the head pic! 

The lemurs are nice as long as you are nice to them! 

Feeding the lemurs.

Teaching the Young Women and investegators to make brownies.

My companion.

Spiders the size of a hand. Bunches of them everywhere.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 10 Nov 2, 2015 Slippery Mud, Splits, and Conference!

Another Great Week! Madagascar has been great. So something that happened this week that was super awesome was splits! I went on splits with Elder Nelson!!! And he was one of the guys in my group in the MTC so he was as new as I was! Since it was in my area I had to remember where to go! After walking around for a while we eventually found our appointments. We had some awesome lessons and it was a great time to get to see how much better I am at the language. We taught one of our awesome investigators, Herimael, and he was helpful with the language and patient with us. Really accepting to the gospel.

We got to watch conference! I had already seen it but it was a great review! Oh and I finally got my books from the book binder here. Now I have my Book of Mormon bound in the Madagascar flag colors! This week we taught a total of 19 lessons! It was great! We also went tracking and we got some new investigators! I have been dogged quite a lot lately but there are always others to teach and who are ready for the gospel!

Well, I know the gift of tongues is real. When Elder Nelson and I went to teach people they told us we were really good at Malagasy. I know that they were being nice but after realizing we just taught a lesson in another language we were like Sweet! We are mahay be! Our investigators are great. We have some people that just have to wait until they get marriage papers figured out, and then they can be baptized. Sometimes that can be difficult but if they really want the gospel then they will make it happen.

Anyway, I am great! It sure rains a lot here and the mud can be slippery and luckily I have those waterproof shoes. There have been some really hard times but I just feel even better after them!
Fun thing this week was our water went out. It hasn’t been working since last Friday night so no showers since then and today is Monday!  Hopefully we can get that fixed today so we can have fresh showers and water again.

I hope you all are having a great time at home! Love you!

Elder Bowen

 The first picture is the town I am in.

 The second picture is of a members daughter.

This is part of our area. See that orange road going horizontal? Look past that and those houses are in our area too! taxi's don't go out there. We walk a lot.