Monday, December 26, 2016

WEEK 69 Christmas Skype!!!

On December 24, Christmas Eve close to 7 pm Elder Bowen began our treasured Christmas Skype!

As a family we gathered around the computer with excitement as Jaxson shared his life of serving the people of Madagascar by introducing the gospel and faith in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer!
Christmas is celebrated in Madagascar with trees (Elders tree is a branch from the neighbors tree), Christmas rabbits for supper, and his Christmas package HE RECEIVED with deodorant, yeah!, from home which he already opened and ate almost everything editable before Christmas!  Elder Bowen woke up at 5 am to get to the church to set up Skype by 6 am so he could Skype for 4 hours before church began at 10 am.  What a treat for 4 hours of happiness and constant talking and laughing!
A few things he shared:
Temperature is hot now
Transfers in a few weeks and only 8 months to go
He and his companion do not eat at home since the native companions never wash their dishes
If they have to travel far, they ride a little squishy seated taxi
Having fun buying gems and stones
Laundry machine does not work so washing all clothes by hand twice a week. Yellowing shirts!
Showed us his breakfast of a pack of noodles.  He said America Ramon noodles are 5 star and his
noodles are 1 star but laughed and was happy about it.
Children play with the 5 inch spiders like toys near the coast.
Natives are afraid of the chameleons as they are believed to have bad spirits.
Madagascar children at times are still afraid of elders.  They ask to touch their white skin. At times they are invited for dinner and are told this is the first time white people have been in their home.
I LA GU means...what's up dude?
The Branch President spoke to us in Malagasy and he and Jaxson sang a little of Silent Night to us.
Been in area now for 6 months and has trained twice almost ready to conclude the second one.
Favorite food is rice/sausage/beans (not sure what is always in the sausage-could be cat but never dog
We asked: How are investigators?  "They all get baptized so I keep running out of them!"
He has eaten: Bat, barracuda fish, sea turtle, crocodile, alligator which he likes, coconut shark.  He makes brownies on occasion to fill his sweet tooth.  A real treat is a COKE and wants to bring some home for us to sample.
Avocado juice is his favorite.  Has not been eaten by a lemur but wants to eat one.
Sad his memory card erased about 100 pictures...they tend to do that there!
Do's:  At night time his companion keep seeing a cockroach (4 inch) every night during his nightly bathroom visit.  Jaxson never did until one night in the bathroom he saw it to the right of him then looked to the left at the toilet paper roll to grab some to kill it, but found 2 cockroaches on IT! While on the toilet he began to DO the SLAPPING WAR against the roaches.....crazy visual of that story!
Don'ts:  Walking along tracking came upon some kids playing soccer which is one of the favorite games they play.  They had made a handmade ball tied together with rope using trash, plastic, probably anything else.  Elder Bowen thought he would join in and kicked the ball which made it explode trash all over.  He felt so bad and learned to DON'T do that again.
Lightening Story:  One late afternoon a storm was seen in the distance as the lighten bolts were crazy igniting the sky and the thunder rumbled the sky.  He and his companion watched from the balcony as the storm came closer and closer.  So close lightening struck the hill across the street sending a violent loud deafening sounds which send them running inside screaming at each other but not able to hear a word they said while shaking their apartment followed by complete darkness. CRAZY!
At the end of the Skype Jaxson made us laugh so hard as he ordered to be taken to the pantry to look....."peanut butter - killing me, fruit snacks - oh my word",
then he saw the counter with Brother Greenlaws famous Peanut butter chocolate chip cookes-"my favorite! Take me to the fridge....MILK!!!! wow!!! "
then he order to put computer where he would sit on the sofa..."ooohhhh, I remember that spot!" Then he continued to take a tour of his room.....
We will treasure our Christmas Skype forever! We are so proud of our Elder Bowen and his motivated positive determined desire to serve our Heavenly Father. We LOVE you!


Elder Bowen's current Branch President

Monday, December 19, 2016

WEEK 68 Baptism X 2! Christmas Skype ready!

Another great week in paradise!
So this week was a good one. We had two people get baptized this last Saturday. Vaoavy and Herizo. Baptism went nice and smooth and then next one should be in January. The other investigators are doing great. We had a great time going with Christophe and his family to go visit a group of families that wanted to learn. It basically turned into a very long lesson as we had people joining us as we taught and they had a lot of questions. It was great having Christophe and his family there to help answer.  Nothing better than a family of members to testify.

We are currently preparing for Christmas. Best time of the year to teach about Christ because everyone is celebrating! We have a big activity coming up for our branch and there should be a lot of new investigating families attending. Usually for Christmas the program dies down due to families not being home but that just opens up time to go find some new ones that are ready to hear a message about Christ.
I hope everyone has a great week! I would send pics from the baptism but my card just got wiped clean so you will just have to wait till next week for the pics!
Elder Bowen

Monday, December 12, 2016

WEEK 67 Ela Loatra No Efa Niandry-7 investagators at church

Transfers! So this last week I shot out a quick little email about what was going on. Transfers happened but I am still here in Fianarantsoa to train my oh so young son, Elder Passey. We went up to Tana to do some stuff for our visas and now we are back. 3 days of a lot of traveling and we are both glad to be back in our area and working.
So quick updates on investigators. We should have 4 baptisms this week if everything works out great. Vaoavy, his wife, Salohy, and Adonis's Nephew. Sadly Noelline moved away to work and she is not allowed to come to church on Sundays due to her new boss. Norianne is still waiting for her marriage papers to be finished. We visited Miora this week and she is still doing great. She came to church again this week and she stayed  for all three hours. Actually this last week we had 7 investigators at church which was awesome. But things keep on going great.
Other exiting news is that I gave a talk this week! I don't know how clear it was since it was in Malagasy but hopefully everyone got the message. I talked about Elder David A Bednar's talk from conference "If ye had Known Me" or the 4 steps to coming to a knowledge of Christ. That is actually the talk of the week on right now so go give it a look if you've got the time! But the last step is to have faith in him. I love what he talks about when he says we all accept Christ as the Son of God but do we truly believe in his power. We accept that he healed the sick but do we believe that he can still heal us. He shows us the difference between knowing and accepting Christ to Believing in Him and his Almighty Power.
That is about it for this week. Not a whole lot happening as we took a fun trip up to Tana for a couple of days but here are some pics from a branch activity!

Elder Bowen


Thursday, December 8, 2016

WEEK 66 Traveling for VISA

Hey everyone! Sorry for not emailing this week but we had a little bit of a crazy week! No p day! But, I'm shooting out a quick email today. So we had to go to Tana to renew our visas so we went up on Monday morning, went on splits on Tuesday, and took a bus back down on Wednesday. Now we are back and both Elder Passey and I are still here as training is still not finished. I'll send a longer email next week! Have a good one everyone!
Elder Bowen

Monday, November 28, 2016

WEEK 65 Nankalaza Thanksgiving Izahay

Another Week in Paradise
This week was a little slow... sadly a lot of people were not home for their appointments so we showed up at a lot of empty houses this week. We still had some awesome times! So first off the highlight was the investigators at church. We had all investigators expected there last week, plus Vaoavy's wife! way nice! but other highlights go as follows.

Salohy and Miora are attending church and they have signed up to learn seminary! They are both doing great and the branch is super awesome with helping them and inviting them to activities and stuff.

Lala is really interested now. Last time we visited her she had a lot of questions. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation and she had questions on questions and the best part is that she got answers! Sadly she is quite busy with her school program but we hope to visit her twice this next week.

Norianne and Noeline are still doing great. I don't think they have missed a day of church since I've been here. Sadly we are still waiting on Norianne to get legally married so she can get baptized.

Fitiavana hasn't been at church in a while but we saw him on Saturday at the activities. He says that he has been kind of busy and that his mom doesn't really like him coming to church. He still wants to come but he says he needs to respect his mother.

Clemantine is doing good. He is kind of a new investigator but he learned before from the missionaries. He is a little slower with the lessons but he ends up understanding. Last time we visited him and his mom was there and she is the nicest lady. She always gives us fruits of all kinds and is amazed we speak Malagasy. She was making fun of her son because he was asking me what words mean in malagasy because he didn't understand. But he is doing good and he loves the missionaries visiting him and always asks us to come back the next day. Awesome dude.

Well some sad news this week as we went to Christian's house last Friday to find out that he died. He has been sick for a while and the last time we visited we could see he was on the final stretch. We stopped by and the lady that takes care of him was outside and I asked her if he was there and she said no, not anymore. She said he died last Wednesday and his family came and got his body. Very sad but the lady said that he was very grateful for our visits and that he is in a better place now.

Oh and for Thanksgiving we went on SPLITS! I went into the north area with Elder Wilson and then at night we went and ate at this nice hotel in our area. Since it was Thanksgiving we got two main dishes. No one understands Thanksgiving so they just looked at us like two crazy foreigners. But I hope everyone else had a great Thanksgiving! Transfers are next week and I am staying to continue training Elder Passey.  Today is Pday and we are playing basketball then haircuts. 

Elder Bowen
Elder Wilson and I looking over the rice fields


Young Money Ryan - my friend

The "Sword of God" Translation of a Rainbow


Monday, November 21, 2016

WEEK 64 Investigators-Baptism-Happy Thanksgiving!

Tena Marina ity Fiangonana ity!
Another great week!

So I'll just jump to the highlight of the week was having three new investigators show up at church yesterday! Jerry's sister showed up, one of our new investigators showed up, and Vaoavy showed up! It was great. And we also had a Baptism this last Saturday.  So we had two boys that recently turned eight and we helped the branch out with getting their baptisms done. It was way awesome too because they called me and asked me to baptize them so that was an honor to do for those two families. Besides that the week was pretty normal.

Norianne and Noeline are doing great. Still attending church and they are on track to get baptized on the 17 of December. Vaoavy is also doing great as we taught him the Word of Wisdom this past week and he has already been living in harmony with it. He has been prepared. But we had some very good lessons with Salohy this week. We are starting to get Jerry very involved with the lessons. So we visited them twice this last week and we taught them the Word of Wisdom and the law of chastity. We mainly talked about the answer to prayer. That seemed to be the subject of the week this week. She said that she hasn't received an answer from God yet to know the Book of Mormon is true. So we continued to talk about answers to prayer, how she felt at church, how she felt reading the Book of Mormon and things like that. Elder Passey and I have seen a lot of improvement throughout the past weeks. She is now actively engaged in the lessons and she has questions. She also has a baptismal date for the 17 of December and she reminded us of her baptismal date last night! We were talking and she said that she is still getting baptized on the 17th so that was a great thing to hear from her.

But besides that we had a great week of finding some new people. We tracted into some areas closer to the church and we contacted some referrals. Looking forward to another awesome week ahead.

Oh and we celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday! So we have this South African family that loves the missionaries. They will have us over for a meal sometimes and the other day they called us up and they wanted to have a Thanksgiving meal with us. We had some of the greatest food ever. They aren't members of the church but they are strong in their faith and believe in doing good things for other people. We have had very good talks about the church and about Christ and I have seen that they have an absolute love for our Savior. It is always a fun time visiting them.

But that's about it this week! Have a Great Week and Happy Birthday to the #1 Mom in the World! Susie Bowen!!!!

Elder Bowen

Monday, November 14, 2016

WEEK 63 Tselatra! Kotrokorana!-lightening storm!

Salama dahole!
Another great week! So this week had some great lessons and time and some slower days but it all added up to be a great week. We are continuing to teach Adonis(our recent convert) and his two sisters, Noeline and Norianne. We taught them the Plan of Salvation this last week and we came to find out that is Adonis's favorite lesson as he kept telling us that and kept bearing testimony of it. But it was a great time talking to them about it. We had a point in the lesson where I asked them to tell us the things that made them happy in this life. Adonis went first and he said that he loved this church. He loved praying and reading the scriptures. Then Norianne went and told us how she loved her parents, how they brought her joy when she was with them. She tied that into the scripture and said that Heaven would be a happy place for her because she is with her Eternal Father. Awesome lesson.
Then this week we went and visited Lala. She is still a little bit new but we have had some great lessons with her. We taught her about the Book of Mormon this week. She had many questions and she was very interested in the book. We took Angelo with us and he was a stallion at explaining the Book of Mormon. We taught her and committed her to reading it every day and she was down for it. Then we went and taught one of our new families. Emma and Diary are the parents names and we also taught them about the Book of Mormon. That lesson was a little more difficult than the one before. They had a harder time accepting it as scripture but they had a harder time accepting that they needed to pray about it to get the answer. We ended up having a very long discussion about it. They were asking question after question not even giving us time to answer but in the middle of the lessons I stopped them. I had them read the writing underneath the title of the Book of Mormon. Testamenta Iray Hafa Momba An' I Jesoa Kristy. Then they got quiet. I told them that yes they have a lot of questions that we may not be able to answer right now but the thing they needed to know was written right there. The book is another testament of Christ along with the bible. All the questions they had could be answered if they read and prayed about the book. Now the lesson changed for a bit as we testified, but after a while they jumped back into the asking questions thing. After a while we closed up and got them to commit to reading the book and praying about it. We are really hoping that they will humble themselves and read the book, even if it's just a little and pray about it. God will answer them. We are very exited to go to them this next week.

So, sadly this week we didn't get to visit all of the investigators and some weren't home, but those were basically the high lights of the lessons this week.

So cool story time! So last night there was a little storm. It was really windy and we could see the lightening in the distance. We went out onto the balcony and watched the lightning. Way cool to watch as it would light up the sky in the distance. But as we were watching it, we realized it was getting a little closer every minute. Then we eventually saw a really bright lightening and it wiped out all the power where we were. So everything went dark, the thunder that followed was nice and loud. So we were sitting there just talking, oh and it was Elder Wilson and I, when lightning struck. It struck the hill right across from us and Elder Wilson and I both saw two huge bolts. But it was a huge flash of light and then darkness and then the thunder came. It was so loud that we couldn't hear each other and we were freaking out. Everything seemed to be shaking and Elder Wilson dove into the house with me following. We were running around the house when we realized that the power had come back on. Then everything stopped and the noise was filled with us yelling about how cool and crazy that was. Way scary but so cool to see the lightning strike so close.

But that's about it for this week. We are looking forward to another great work week ahead!

Mazotoa e!

Elder Bowen

Monday, November 7, 2016

WEEK 62 Commitments assigned-baptisms coming- The Sacrament PEACE

Another Great Week!
So we had another awesome week here in Fianarantsoa. The first full work week with the new son, Elder Passey and he did pretty well. But we had a great week this week of giving out Baptism Dates!

So we started out this week going to Noeline and Noriana. They are Adonis's sisters and they have been attending church for a while. Noriana has had a baptism date but still isn't married. When we visited them, we set a new baptism date for them in December and her husband accepted it too! It was great and Noeline will be getting baptized in December most likely, hopefully with Noriana. Then the next day we went and visited Vaoavy, the parents of one of our members that just recently left for a mission. While we talked with them we talked about baptisms and Vaoavy reminded us that he was getting baptised on the 19th of November. He definitely wants to be baptized but it is hard for him to leave the house due to old age. So we set a goal for them to start attending church and then there would be a baptism in December for him, his wife, and their son. Sadly, they didn't come to church yesterday but hopefully this next week they will make it. Then the last one was Jerry's sisters. We went up to visit them and talked with them about baptism as well. His sisters started to have a lot of questions which led us into talking about the Book of Mormon. We talked about how it is the keystone of our religion. How all the lessons and everything we teach depends on the Book of Mormon. We talked about how they could receive a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Then we committed them to read and pray about the book, to really set aside some time this week and read the book. Then we committed all of them to coming to church this week. We made a deal that whoever doesn't come to church has to dance in front of everyone. But, if everyone comes then we will all be dancing so lets hope that we will all be dancing this next week haha. 
So that has been the focus of this week and the weeks to come. Commitments! Giving investigators the opportunities to keep a commitment with the missionaries to teach them how to keep covenants and promises with God. So this week we made a goal to give everyone we met with a commitment; members, recent converts, less actives, new investigators, all received commitments this week, or homework. And this next week we look forward to following up on those commitments!

This week strengthened my testimony about Church attendance. I always took it for granted as we are always teaching with the Spirit, reading the scriptures, and doing the things to keep the Spirit in our lives. But as I have been attending church here, I have always noticed a different sense of peace. A time to sit down and relax and feel the Spirit in the church. In that comes the opportunity to partake of the sacrament, but even before it comes, right as I sit down in the sacrament room after greeting everyone, I always feel a great feeling of peace come over me. It has happened so many times that I cannot deny it now. It is a for sure thing that we can only FEEL in holy places such as the Church. Every Sunday is an exciting day as we get to go to church, see all our members, and get to feel that loving, peaceful feeling that church has to offer. I know and I testify every day that this Church is the true Church on the earth today. That Christ established it and it was restored through Joseph Smith and currently led by living prophets and apostles today. I love my mission and I love Madagascar.

Elder Bowen
Elder Passey

More pictures of canoe day


Monday, October 31, 2016

WEEK 61 Training II, Elder Passey, SNOW!

Hello everyone! Another great week in Madagascar! So yes I have received another son! I am training again here in Fianarantsoa. Love it! New trainee is  named Elder Passey, from Idaho. He is a little quiet but hey, all new missionaries are.
So this past week we were on splits on Monday and Tuesday and then on Wednesday we took a fun bus ride up to Antsirabe where we met a mission driver who took Elder Monsen and I to Tana. I was literally in Tana for less than 24 hours. They took us in Wednesday night. We slept at the aps house. Then on Thursday morning we got our trainees and in the afternoon headed down to Antsirabe with President Foote. As we were driving we drove past SNOW!  President Foote said to turn around so we can prove we saw it by taking a picture. Then on Friday we had zone conference and then we had a mission driver take us down to Fianarantsoa when it was over. So a lot of driving these past couple of days! But now we are back home and ready to work.

So on Saturday we went, taught English, ate lunch, and then went to a lesson with some people that live down the street from us. Jordan and Rivo are their names. Apparently he was baptized around 6 years ago and he still didn't know about the church. They are very nice and let us in and we taught them. So this last Saturday we taught about the Book of Mormon. They didn't have one so we gave them a book and they said they are excited to read it this next week. So hopefully they will read a little before our next visit. Then we went on a little walk to go visit some people that learned from the missionaries before but, stopped learning a long time ago. We visited them, shared a quick message and set up a better time for us to come back and teach them.

Then on Sunday we had some great times. Right after church we taught the friend of a member, recent convert. He has been hanging out with one of our recent converts and he has been coming to a lot of activities. I asked him if we could teach him a little bit about the church. So, Sunday after church, we went and started talking.  We taught him about Joseph Smith and about how this church came to be and then afterwards we commited him to baptism. Awesome kid! I remember asking him the question, Why do we go to church? and he said "well we do it to get direction and help in our lives. Without it we are lost." YES! CORRECT! haha it was a great lesson directed by the Spirit.

So some sad news is that Roger has officially moved. We went to his house and the people that were there said that he has officially moved to Antsirabe. Ah man it literally killed me when I heard that. We had missed him by a couple of hours! They said he came that morning to get his stuff and he left. Hopefully he will find the church in Antsirabe. But besides that, things are still going great! Elder Passey and I are excited to get to work in Fianarantsoa and watch the miracles happen!

So something really big I learned out of zone conference was on of the subject talked about by the Ap. He talked about how missions change people. A lot of people say that they are a changed person when they come home from the mission and part of that is true. He said that we don't become different people but we become the best version of ourselves. We become the version of ourselves that God sees. I am still Jaxson Bowen but I am learning how to be the person that God wants me to be. Then when we learn how to be that person, we see that change in our lives to be that better version of ourselves. I know that to be true as I have seen it up until this point on my mission and I know there are further changes to go. We continue on in Faith and our Loving Father in Heaven helps us.
I hope that everyone has a great week this week! Happy Halloween!

Elder Bowen


SNOW in Madagascar!!!!


Monday, October 24, 2016

WEEK 60 Transfers-Staying in Fianarantsoa-the field is ripening!

Another great week! So sorry for not getting out a big email last week but we took a little adventure that took up all day.  Here are some pictures so you can all see what we did...
Some changes this week! So this last Tuesday the aps called telling Elder Snow that he would be leaving Friday to go to Tana to be transferred. So that came and the week consisted of saying a lot of goodbyes. Then last Saturday we got the transfer news that I would be staying here in Fianarantsoa and I will be training again! Way exited for that. This Wednesday we are heading up to Tana where I'll be picking up my next son.... and hopefully we will be getting back on Friday. So when Elder Snow left I went on splits with Elders Monsen and Elder Wilson.

We didn't really get to work a whole lot in my area this week but here are the awesome things that happened. We have been visiting Adonis and Noriana lately, and we have been trying to get Norian's marriage papers finished but as we visit, we noticed that there has been this one lady that is always there. She has started coming to church too. We talked to her to find out that is their sister. We taught her a little more and we set a baptism date for the future.

We are also still  waiting for Roger and Geraldo to return from Tamatave but they should be coming back soon.

One thing we have been doing a lot here is focusing on less actives. The church here before used to be full of around 200 active members. Some stuff has happened since then and quite a lot stopped coming to church. This last week we had three less actives come back to church wanting to be active again. Awesome time having them come back as the branch was ready with open arms to accept them. 

So huuuuge lesson I learned while being here. Don't Be Selfish! The members here always talk about the missionaries and whether they were selfish or not. It comes down to little things like sharing a piece of bread or a cracker with your members help and boom, you aren't selfish. Some Elders in the past were "selfish" and they got nooooo help from the members. And member help is literally everything here haha. They are the ones that know where less actives live, where people that want to learn live, and where members live. Luckily I haven't been a "selfish" elder and the branch helps out a ton. That is how missionary work gets done here is with the branch.

But that's about it for this week. I love this area and I am very exited to get to train again. Just means I get to stay here a little longer haha. But I love the work here and I see the Lord's hand in the work here in Fianarantsoa every day. I am grateful to have the calling to serve here and witness all these miracles. I know this church is true and Christ is the Son of God.
Elder Bowen

So these pictures were taken out in the country side on a boat trip we went on and don't worry it was all approved by good ol President Foote! Then after our haircuts and the last stop was in Shez Dome, the place where we always eat food.

Monday, October 17, 2016

WEEK 59 October 17, 2016 Transfers coming - General Conference great!

Hello everyone!
Sorry but I'm not able to send out a huge email this week due to time! But just a quick update. We watched conference this week with the branch and it was great! Looking forward to hearing it in English too so maybe I could understand more.  Everything went smoothly. Best part was sitting with Adonis when the prophet came on to speak and he turned and asked, is this him? is it really him? and we said yes it is! and he went wooooow and was glued to the screen! It's starting to get hot here.
Things are all good here! This is the last week of the transfer so we will be getting transfer news this Saturday! I'll send a better update next week! Have a great week everyone!

Elder Bowen

Monday, October 10, 2016

WEEK 58 October 10, 2016 two week letter-new investigators-national park

Hello everyone! Sorry for not emailing last week but we were very busy last Monday so we didn't have a lot of time to email! But, the past two weeks have been great!
 So last Monday we went to a National Park called Ranomafana. It is about an hour and a half bus ride from where we were so it pretty much took all day getting a bus, getting into the park, walking around in there, and getting back. It was way cool out there! So you get in and it's like a big jungle. Huge tall bamboo trees and lemurs crawling around. Way cool. Sometimes the guide would take off running and we basically had to chase him to keep up making it way tiring but so fun. Then there were trails but sometimes we would just kind of take off in a direction running through the trees chasing lemurs. Way good time and I'll send some pictures to show it.

But these past two weeks were two great weeks of finding investigators. . So we have a recent convert who hasn't been in town for a while but he just got back and he told us to come over and teach his sisters. Apparently they have already learned for a while from the missionaries and they are ready to be baptized so that was an awesome find. Jerry said he will bring them to church this next week. but we went to them last night and they were super awesome and they ended up feeding us right after so that was great. They said they want to start coming to activities that the church does so yes they are progressing very well.

So then we met this new family as we were walking to a time. Funny thing is that when we were planning the night before I told Elder Snow that we will find a new family to teach the next day. We prayed and asked to be shown a new family and as we were walking I saw a lady sitting outside with her new born baby and her husband. I said hi and she yelled come in! So that's what we did, we went in and taught them. They ended up having some great questions about the prophet. They asked if he said anything about the life after death. So that lead to us teaching about the Plan of Salvation a little bit. Awesome time!

So news on Roger is he has not returned yet and neither has Geraldo... still chilling in Tamatave. but Roger will hopefully return soon and Geraldo should come back at the end of the month.

But it was a great two weeks full of little miracles. We contacted a lot of people that had learned from missionaries before but stopped learning because they lost contact or went away for a while. The branch is also helping out a lot with the work. They have a lot of people for us to teach so whenever we have a spot open up in our program it usually gets filled very quickly. The branch is also really looking forward to watching conference. We should be watching it this coming week but it banks on the missionaries downloading it and getting it into the right format and we tried it last night in the church and it didn't work... but we will get it working by this Saturday hopefully. But I continue to love my mission. Looking forward to conference to get to hear the words of our living prophet on the earth today. I hope that everyone enjoyed conference and got something out of it. Those that seek the answers to their questions will find the answers plus more! ...and conference is an opportunity every six months to receive answers to questions and prayers! I know that to be true. I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Bowen
Chasing lemurs!

National Park


Monday, September 26, 2016

WEEK 56 Foote's visit - priesthood blessings bring happiness and joy

Another Great Week!
So as some of you may have seen, President Foote came down to Fianarantsoa this past week! He only stayed for a little. He came down, did interviews and then left again headed to Tuliare. When they came down the APs went on splits with Elder Snow and I giving us a good opportunity to meet some new people.  We met this new guy named Yandry. Way cool dude. We taught him the first lesson and Elder Snow and I went back last Saturday and we taught him again. He even has a Book of Mormon now. Way cool dude. He said that next time we meet he wants his wife to be there! Way good time.
But aside from that we got a little bit of sad news as Roger is Currently in Tamatave. We aren't sure when he will be coming back but hopefully it is soon. Then another one of our awesome investigators, Geraldo, is also in Tamatave... so we are waiting for them to return. Also this week Salohy couldn't learn sooooo lets just say this week we got to meet a lot of new people haha. But it was all good. This next week we should have a decent amount return times so we will see.

This past week we were visiting the parents of Bienvenue and we talked with them for a little about their son. They were having some problems with him as he hadn't been home for a couple of days. They were really sad and the father was pretty sick. They were sitting talking to us, telling us their problems, and they asked what do we do? what should we do? I wasn't too sure how to answer that but then the words from my father came to me. This last week he challenged me to ask as many people as I could if they would like to receive a priesthood blessing. I then told them that I could give them a blessing by the authority of the priesthood if they would like it. They gladly said yes and we went to bless the father first. Elder Snow anointed with oil and by the end of the anointing the father, Vaoavy, was in tears. Then I sealed it. By the time we were done he was crying. We then blessed his wife. When we were done Vaoavy was crying and kept thanking us. He said as soon as we placed our hands on his head he felt an overwhelming sense of peace and happiness overcome him. He said thank you so much as now I am at peace. Elder Snow and I left their house in a reverent manner letting what just happened sink in. It was a great and humbling reminder as to why we are here. There are only a handful or people here who can give priesthood blessing and we are both honored to be amongst the few. The happiness and joy that Vaoavy felt is the reason that we are out here. To bring people unto the happiness this Gospel brings. I now know that when people ask for help and I don't know what to say or advice to give, I can offer a blessing. I love my mission and I love Fianarantsoa. I know I am out here for a reason and I know I am doing the Work of the Lord.

Here are some pics from the past week!
Elder Bowen
The children of Madagascar

My District

Crazy District

Teaching time

Tracting time!