Monday, April 25, 2016

WEEK 34 April 25, 2016 ...6 kg FISH, youth activity, no cyclone

Another great week.
So Elder Wootan (my comp) and Elder Anderson are about to go home.... so this week had some goodbyes in it... which means way good dinners!!!!!!  So that explains the subject of this one. Last night we had a dinner with Abel (one of the councelors) and he bought us a 6 kg fish! Probably the best fish I have ever had. Just chunks of boneless meat which is wayyyy nice. So we completely stuffed ourselves last night.
So this week we had some more investigators come to church! We had Felix, who is a little bit new. He is a friend of Abels and he told us when we first met him that he had been looking for a church that he can attend. He is a little slow with the lessons but he receives them well. He came to church with his two kids. His wife still isn't really sure about us but Felix said she would come around soon. Then we had our guardian family come but the father still has yet to come. We aren't too sure what to do with him. We have gone through all the lessons twice and have taught many times about the importance of church so hopefully he will soon come to see the importance of it. 

 This Saturday we had an activity with the youth of the branch. We all went to a lemur park! They had emus! Just your usual youth activity where you go hop in the back of a truck, see some lemurs, and pet some emus.
That's about it for this last week. Today we are going to go play volleyball on the beach with some people from the ward. The expected cyclone missed us!
Hope everyone has a great week!
Elder Bowen
Our ride!!!!

Which path shall we go.....? with a hitchhiker

no comment!

Monday, April 18, 2016

WEEK 33 Primary music - teaching a family, Vololona, and gold guy-love Mahajanga!

Another great week! This week we finally got to finish conference which was great! Also the branch got to start priesthood session but it still isnt finished. I didn't get to watch it as I am now called into Primary with Elder Mack to teach the kids the music. Elder Mack does the singing and I play the piano. I'm a little rusty but yes those piano lessons are paying off mom haha. But, yes, investigators are still doing great!
So our little family that we have been teaching is doing well. We are still working with them to get their wedding papers finished and to get the father to come to church. We taught them the law of chastity this week and the Sabbath day. The children weren't home for one of our visits and we really got to focus on the parents needs. They really have a testimony of this church but some of the teaching in the church still is not too clear for them. We had a really good lesson with them where we just cleared up a lot of questions that they had on their minds.
Also this week we went and visited Vololona, recent convert in the hospital. We love visiting the hospital because it's so cool. It's just a big open place with a bunch of old buildings that look abandoned. Kind of freaky but way cool. But we visited Vololona and she is getting better. She should hopefully be good to go this upcoming Thursday but we will see. Her testimony still grows strong and she continues to try and learn more.
So now I'll explain the subject of this one. We were walking around tracting and we saw this one guy just chillin outside. We talked to him and he invited us in. We walked into his house and were blown away slightly because of how nice it was. After talking to him for a bit we found out that he makes silver and gold things and sells them. But not just the usual one. He sends them to Mauritius and Reunion to be sold in nice jewelry shops... soooo he is pretty legit haha. After talking to him for a while it seems that he has money and all that he wants in life, but he is kind of bored. He says he just wants to go explore and do new things. Then he told us that he doesn't have family here and just has his friends, but his friends drink all the time and party and he hates drinking and drugs... perfect! haha So we are very exited to get to teach him coming up here.
Aaaand this last friday night we had our branch soiree activity. Great lessons and then the missionaries are in charge of the games. We did the minute to win it game where you put a cookie on your forehead and try to get it into your mouth. Wayyy funny to watch them do this one. And then after that it turned into a dance battle as usual.
Well that is it for this week. We should have a baptism coming up this next Saturday. I got to do her baptismal interview and she is awesome. Her son just left on a mission and he is very exited that she is getting baptized. I am still absolutely loving it here in Mahajanga! The people are great and the area is great. I hope everyone has a great week!
Elder Bowen

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

WEEK 32 FANO! Eat Sea Turtle - 3 teaching highlights - SPIDER attacked with flamethrower!-Great Conference!

Hey everyone another great week!
So to start off you may see the subject for this email is fano, that means sea turtle here and that was dinner last night... we had one of the best dinners with sr Hardy(she is a sister who has a young baby and who's husband died in the ocean a couple months ago). It was rice with sea turtle, cucumber, and coconut juice. Sooooo good! So that was the highlight of the week haha.
We live in an apartment that is now bright yellow and lizards are everywhere.  We have a branch here as the church is small so that is why there is just 4 missionaries(Elder Wooten, Elder Anderson, Elder Mack, and me)  The first two leave in a couple of weeks to head home.  Elder Mack stays 3 more months after that.  Then there will be me here the longest...! 
So highlights of the week: We had a recent convert put in the hospital last Tuesday (no that's not the highlight) I guess she was in a critical condition but everything is ok now and we went to visit her this last Thursday. She is doing really well and should be returning home coming up in this next week. But while we were there we visited for a minute and shared a message about the word of wisdom with her and how we are promised strength with out obedience to the commandments. Her husband was there and he isn't a member and this sparked some interest with him. He has learned before but never really did anything with it. I think with this witness of a small miracle he may be more interested this time around.
Highlight number two: This was our ballin recent convert victor. We talked with him about referrals and he could have agreed more. He said he will talk to his neighbors and that they will learn. Then he asked if we needed help teaching. Yes we do, always will accept member help when offered. But he lives very far and to get to the church he either walks or rides his bike and he is willing to go all that way just to help us with one lesson. He is great!
And highlight number three would be our family that we are teaching. We teach them twice a week and the young kids literally remember everything. They are like little recorders. But the parents may have a harder time. This time around they remembered our last lesson and they had great great questions about it. Still waiting for the husband to come to church but the rest of the family has and they have all been very diligent with the lessons.
So here is another story.  so I was brushing my teeth and walking to the bathroom.  I get to the bathroom and look into the sink and there is a huuuuuge spider in there.  so I freaked out a little bit and told the other guys.  I finished brushing my teeth in the kitchen and I went into my room to get my bug spray and a lighter when I hear them screaming....!  I walk back in the bathroom and the spider had moved and it has an egg sac under it that had opened!  Little babies going everywhere!  So my companion went to grab the Raid and he came back and it was under the sink.  So we sprayed a bunch under there hoping to get it.  A bunch of cockroaches came out in the process.  So it eventually tried to come out and we sprayed it with Raid but it kept going.  Eventually it came out and we got it with our little flamethrower and it was done.  Super Scary!
CONFERENCE!!!!! Conference was great from what I saw so far. Shout out to Uchdorf for being the funniest one at conference this time haha. Favorite talk was by Gary L Stephenson. I loved the example with the car keys and the priesthood. Then he said we will never have to ask again, where are the keys. Then I loved Donald L Hallstrom with his talk. Especially loved the part about how firm a foundation verse 7 (favorite hymn) and about the African people singing it and getting increasingly louder at that verse.
Well this next week looks to be another great one! Love you all!
Elder Bowen

Ride to the Baptism!!! Yes that is my head!

Our apartment with new paint job

Yes, this happens and the car is stuck!

Monday, April 4, 2016

WEEK 31-April 4, 2016 Priesthood blessings-great tracting-Elder Wooten

Another Great Week!
So this weeks lessons were mainly on the Book of Mormon! We gave out a bunch this week and taught a lot about this book. It started on Tuesday with our people who loved Joseph Smith. We taught them about the Book of Mormon and gave them one and they said, "oh yea, we are ready to read this. We will read it." woooooow ok hold your horses people. I didn't even ask them to read but they were ready to get that book. Way sweet! Then we continued on to a family we have been teaching. They have been really diligent in coming to church and in the lessons. Mainly because this lady was very sick and she received a priesthood blessing from the missionaries. She got better and from there said that this has to be true. Well yup!.... it is so they have been really good with the lessons. We taught them about the Holy Ghost this week and the gift of the Holy Ghost. They had great questions about it and they continue to attend church.
So then jump to Wednesday. I went on splits with Elder Mack because we needed baptismal interviews. So fun thing about Malagasy kids is that they are either ok with white people or they are deathly afraid.Ssoooo when I was with Elder Mack quite a few kids cried. But, mainly because their parents take them to us and tell them that they are naughty and they have to come with us. So that was the highlight of Wednesday! haha! But, we had great lessons in Elder Mack's area about prophets, loved working with him.
On Thursday we had district meeting and lucky for me I was called as district leader right before so I got to be in charge of it, haha! Surprise to me, but we had a good day of tracting that day.
So then jump to Friday!  We had another great lesson with our super cool family about enduring to the end. Love that lesson as it ties in the whole gospel. There are five principles in the gospel but they aren't a checklist. It's not do this one thing and check it off, that's where enduring to the end comes in. Always progressing in the gospel and in our knowlege of it, that is enduring to the end! Then that night we had an activity with the branch, like a fireside. Good talks and messages were shared followed by a game. Although it didn't really turn out to be a game, but a dance off with the Malagasies haha!
Then Saturday rolled around where we had some good ol english class. Elder Wootan and I took the Mahay guys and we just talked about stuff. Stuff in America and stuff here. But the greatet thing about Saturday was that we had two baptisms! And it was great! Elder Wootan baptised one and we had a member baptise the other since it was his sister and then I went out and witnessed it!!! Ocean water here is nice and warm... haha but it was a great baptism!
So then on Sunday we had a great time at church and then the lessons after were a little weird. We taught one lady who is Muslim because she saw a video of Jesus and saw that the ladies covered their hair. Since the Muslims did that she liked that church and joined it. So we are still trying to find out where she stands in her beliefs and faith. Then at the end of the day we went and gave a blessing to a very very old lady. She was a friend of a member and I guess she had just recently gotten very sick. We went and gave her a priesthood blessing and then talked with her family for a bit. They seem interested to learn so we are exited about that. Referrals are seriously the greatest.
Well thats about it this week. Still having a great time out here and absolutely loving it. Language gets better and better as Elder Wootan helps me haha. He is way good! well I hope everyone had a great time watching conference! Hopefully we will get to watch it this upcoming week!
Elder Bowen

This church is called The Deeper Life Church.

Flooding pic-it rained really hard one day

Malagasies use a string and a hook, to catch baby shrimp and the were catching them!


Sending off Stefano