Monday, May 30, 2016

WEEK 39 Great investigators-Study New Testament-Banana $-I ate BARRACUTA

Great Week! So update on investigators!
So we have our baller Felix. We went to teach him last night and we taught him the word of wisdom and the law of chastity. Basically in the middle of the lesson he said, "Elders I understand it. I am currently smoking cigarettes and drinking tea. I see that this is important and that I need to stop to get baptized. I will stop today!" yeah that took us by surprise. Way cool! So usually we sit there, talk about it, and build a program with them to stop smoking cigarettes. Then we set a date for them to stop. But he said he wants to stop now so he can get baptized. Way cool. Then we found out that he and his wife aren't legally married. So we talked with him about it and he asked us what he has to do to get that done. Sadly it is a little bit more complicated but hopefully we can get that worked out. But way cool. His wife has had a change of heart and she says she wants to come to church now. Nothing better than getting the whole family to church.
So then we have our other baller Andry. We already have a date with him and we just have to get him to church. He still wants to be baptised but we told him he has to come to church. Sadly he has no pants (a problem here) so right now he is working towards getting pants to come to church.
Christian and Sabrina are doing great as well. They are the family that Elder Wootan and I found but I couldnt find the path to get back to their house. We prayed about it and we found them! And they are doing great with the lessons! They have some great questions and they do their homework! Literally great.
Then besides them we have a couple of new investigators we found this last week so we will see how that goes. Then we had a couple this week that we dropped. Very sad to drop people but sometimes people just aren't ready. This week my studies have mainly been in the Bible, in the New Testament. I have been focusing on reading about Christ and his works here. We all know about the stories of Him healing people and raising from the dead and stuff, but it is very personal to sit down and read about it and actually picture Him doing this. Then through that, I see what I want to do and what I need to do to try and become more like Him.
But funny things for the week. Last Saturday Elder Cooley and I were coming home and we took a bajaja (little three wheeled taxi things). Right before, we were having dinner with a member and they gave us five bananas each to take home. So when we got out I jokingly asked the guy if I could pay with bananas and he said yes...! We thought he was joking until he took the bananas and drove off...
That same night we were in bed when we heard all this screaming and stuff. It sounded like a riot and we kind of freaked out. But then we went to look and people were all outside watching the finals of the champions league. Apparently they went to penalty kicks and that was the reason for all the screaming. But man, there was a lot of people. Then to end it, off I ate BARRACUTA! yes! The fish that ate nemo's brothers and sisters. I ate that! And it was way good! That's about it for this week. I hope everyone has a good week!
Elder Bowen

Monday, May 23, 2016

WEEK 38 May 23, 2016 Investigators receiving answers to prayers! My Testimony

Another Great Week!
So this week started out great. On Tuesday we go to visit Andry. He has been doing well and progressing until this last Tuesday... we went to him and talked with him about baptism. When we were done we talked about setting a date for baptism to have something to work towards. Before we could do that he told us how he received an answer to his prayers. He told us how he knows the restoration was true. He had received an answer that he needs to get baptised and he needs the gospel to better his life. So we told him of a couple of dates that we could do it on and he said he wants to be baptised as soon as possible. Way awesome guy!
So then we have our baller Son. At our last lesson we did the practice baptism interview and he knows the stuff and has a testimony of it. What more does an investigator need? It is great to see him progressing as his wife has been a member for quite some time now. She is so happy to see him finally be ready and worthy to get baptized.
But as far as the rest of the week goes we had quite a lot of dropped times. So that means lots of walking... many of our usual times fell through this week and we don't really know why but this next week we will see. Also this next week will be the search for the diligent. We had some holes appear in our program that we are going to fill this up coming week to have a completely full program! Way exited.... and the members help a lot with it by giving us all the referrals! Truly great.
Well that's about it for this week. Truly was a testimony building week as I witnessed many people receive their answers to prayers and as I got to bear mine to them. I continue to get better at the language but ever since the beginning I could say, I know this church is true. I know Christ is our Savior. I know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. I know God loves us and as simple as those things may be to say, that is my testimony. I love my mission and I love this area! I hope everyone has a great week!
Today for P-day we went on this little hike at this one beach where there are these big clay formations then we put the clay on our faces! Way fun! That was about it for today. We are going to go play volleyball at the beach later today. Should be a good rest of the day.
Elder Bowen

Monday, May 16, 2016

WEEK 37 May 16, 2016 Miracles

Another great week!
So we contined to teach our ballin investigators. We have Andry who is literally on the fast track right now. We taught him about the gospel last week and he literally understands everything! He gives us examples of what things mean without us asking. Then the same thing with Gregoire. We taught him the law of chastity and the word of wisdom and he was telling us why it was so important. Felt like I was the investigator in there. But, they are both doing great right now. Still have trouble attending church but hey, there's always next week...!
We continue to teach Felix who is dope. Sadly his bajaja broke but he came to church and then we taught him later at his house. Since his bajaja broke we were walking back from his hosue when we met this one really old french guy. Now usually we don't really like to be with those guys as they are here for not the greatest reasons... young malagasy girls. And we can't understand French so that is a barrier but we are always nice when talked to. This one came up to us on his quad and started talking to us in French. We responded in French even though we don't know how to speak French (little confusing I know) and then he started to speak in English. He wasn't the greatest at English but he was nice. We were trying to talk with him and he wasn't quite understanding so Elder Cooley asked one of the Malagasies on his quad, there were 3, if they could translate for us from Malagasy into French. Then, he responded in malagasy to us! Turns out he is good at Malagasy because he was born here and learned Malagasy. He then invited us to his hosue whenever we wanted and he went on his way. Way cool experience!  Then a semi truck drove by and they offered us a ride so that was a little cooler... haha basically it was like going off roading in a semi truck and trying to proselyte. Way fun!
Then we went over to Son's house where we are getting ready for his baptism in two Sundays. He has completely stopped smoking! Miracles!!! We had a good talk with his wife, who we call our 'malagasy mama', as she was baptised some time ago. She is sooo happy for him that he has stopped smoking and he is now ready to get baptized. She went on to tell us how she loves WWE and can't go to bed without it and how she was sad because John Cena died in the WWE world or something. always finding out fun things...
The last miracle of the week was finding Christian and Sabrina's house. Elder Wootan and I tracted into them a little bit ago and the last time Elder Cooley and I went looking for their house, we got lost. But I was determined to find the house this time so last Saturday we prayed for guidence and we were able to find their house with ease.
That is all the news for this week. We have a  fun activity with the branch today. 
Way exited for Weston leaving on his mission!! Hope everyone is having a good time at home!
Love you all!
Elder Bowen

Monday, May 9, 2016

WEEK 36 May 8 Saturday Mother's Day Skype

Mother's Day 2016 Skype Pictures!!!

This is the tan man from Madagascar!!!  He says he literally tans thru his shirt.  The winter season which is what he is going into is very very hot and this rainy season is almost gone.  The summer season is very very very hot!
There are three much desired areas and they are beach areas.  Everyone wants to go there.  So when I was transferred to Mahajenga I was so excited as it is one of the 3 areas.  It is not common to be transferred to this area so young in a mission but I was.  Two Elders left soon after I arrived to return home which means I killed one...soon I will kill another in the mission field.  That means when your companion leaves for home returning with honor. 

The story goes, Elder Lake who was AP at the time gave me the phone while we were eating lunch one day.  He said it was the President.  This can mean something really good or something really bad.  He said to get packed as he was coming to pick me up at 6 am the next morning.  This was quick so we walked to say good byes.  Next morning I was picked up by the two AP's, President and Sister Foote for a 12 hour car ride thru desert, green mountains, jungle, paved roads, dirt roads until we arrived in Mahajenga on the BEACH!  This was a nice car ride as I learned President Foote is quite smart and really cool! This new place is a more successful area, my last area was the hardest, with members of the branch being very strong and accepting in the gospel.  Not many white people here (and now Jaxson does not look so white anymore!) The language is harder here as Tana had the formal Malagasy language and here it is harder Malagasy.  The branch consists of 70 members. They have great member help in missionary work.

Funny story is guy leading sacrament music, very badly, and I was playing the piano.  No one told me they only knew 15 songs and nothing else.  Guess who played a song no one knew...Jaxson did and the very badly leader led all four verses with Jaxson playing and NO ONE singing!  Awkward! 

Spiders, the big 3 inch ones, are everywhere!  AND, two inch cockroaches are everywhere too! People here leave them alone .  But the kids catch them and play with them.  The kids either learn, work, or do nothing.  Schools are weird here.  The kids are happy and they have hardly nothing.  They play with bottle cap cars that they make using nails pushed into a can. They make and fly kites too. 

The rumor is that the missionaries take naughty children.  If kids yell and scream being naughty, the adult parent will take them up to a missionary and say,"take my naughty child". 

There is no fast food there.  There is an African supermarket that has the fresh things also people on the streets selling.  Jaxson wants us to send FOOD!  Velveeta, water flavoring, Ramon noodle flavoring, anything!

Sr Hardy is so nice to us.  She cooks for us once in a while and has made shark and sea turtle where we eat on the beach.  Soon they will eat 'bat' as the season is coming.  Her husband was the branch president but died in the ocean a few months back shocking everyone. She has a little baby she is now raising on her own and finds comfort in having us over and helping to feed us.  When we get invited for dinner which is maybe once and if we are lucky, twice a week, we leave money for our meals.  People here a quite racist but cool.  It is not common to do a hand shake as a kind gesture or greeting but a 'fist bump' is popular. 

The culture of the people wear ONLY these large sheets where it is just wrapped around their body.  People walk down to the beach and take off their sheets and go into the ocean to swim.  It is more clean here and kids wear shoes in their houses.  Bare feet in a house is considered dirty.  Not many members endowed due to no temple on island.  Houses here are made out of tin so it is like a solar oven and you just start dripping!   There are chickens and goats everywhere.  We are in the HOTTEST area of the mission. We catch lizards in our room with dental floss making little traps.   The kids pee in the streets.  Some people do Chumba which is they wear red and white cloth and take on another spirit.  Creepy as a few people walk around claiming to be a different spirit.

A district leader is in charge of baptism interviews, the pouch, and in charge of the apartment which is such a pain to deal with the electrical people. We work hard getting up at 6:30 am.  No water in the mornings which is so annoying so we head out.  We only have water at night to shower.  Our house is newly painted bright yellow and is completely open to the outside except the bedroom and bathroom is walled in.

Jaxson loves the coconut juice, like to ride the Bajaja (taxi's) but not often, gets haircuts from Malagasy people who use a blade and a comb...the blade is the killer on the neck!

President Foote compliments by telling me to keep up my great attitude!

Miracle story shared.....Jaxson and his companion made the national news! Yikes!  The story goes that in the evening around 8:30 pm on the main street 4 shady characters wait for Jaxson and his companion to walk by.  One yells, "get the stalking one"...meaning Jaxson and sprays pepper spray in Jaxson's face.  Immediately the burn takes over with such pain and blinding of the eyes as he tried punching anything near.  They rip off Jaxson backpack( his good Book of Mormon and Bible)  while holding his companion to the ground.  They break free and run with Jaxson being led by his companion.  The miracle is a man from no where drives up in his car and yells, "get into my car!"  They jump in not knowing who this guy is yet trusting as they are driven to their place and let out.  They have never seen this man before, and has not seen him since.  There are not really many people here!  Later it was on national news of the robbery of the two missionaries. 

Well he saved ANOTHER big story for our Skype....what a treat!  Yikes!!!!   Jaxson says he feels protected when they follow all the rules.  When they don't follow all inspiration, they are not safe. They have tested this.... Luckily they were following the rules and a miracle occurred bringing them to safety away from the 4 bad guys. 

After 5 hours of Skyping....We now will wait until Christmas!  Love you Elder Bowen!

My native Elder!

Over 4 hours of Skyping.....Such treasured times!

Elder Knight

My friends!

Teaching English
LOOK CLOSE...See all the spiders....!

Monday, May 2, 2016

WEEK 35 May 2, 2016 SHARK!!!

Glad to hear about everyone doing great at home! Another great week up here but a little slow. Elder Wootan is officially gone and left this past Sunday!!!! yeeeaaaahhhhh!!!! jk jk is and was awesome. But now I have Elder Connor Cooley and Elder Todd Olsen is new too! Hopefully I will be killing him too! (that means his last transfer). He has two transfers left in his misison and he is way cool! Great transfer ahead.
So not a whole lot going on this week. We had some great lessons and quite a few goodbyes to members because of Elder Wootan heading home. So, we have our family that we teach and they are doing good. Still waiting for their marriage papers to be finished and we are currently running back through the lessons. Really going over the importance of them now and making sure they fully understand them. Only thing is the parents haven't come to church for this past little bit. The mom is usually pretty good about coming but the dad never comes. Hopefully this next week we will make things pretty clear for him so he can fully understand.

Then we have our other guy Felix. He is way good and diligent. We felt so bad because we were supposed to teach him last night but we were late and he wasn't there. We saw him at church and he is just awesome. He comes to us and says, "I am ready to receive blessings in my life and I know this is how!" True!!!! Awesome guy.
Then our other great guy Andry. We just started teaching him but he takes notes and asks great questions. He not only wants to learn but he wants to understand. Therefore, he asks questions about some really in depth things. We were teaching him about the Book of Mormon and he had so many quesitons about it. How it came to be, what it is about, and other things. The greatest questions.
So now you may be asking why is the subject SHARK? Well it's to get you all to read this because who doesn't read something with the subject of SHARK! suckers!  jokes jokes actually that was the Sunday night meal: rice, cucumber and shark. Sr Hardy is a champ at cooking it and we love it! I love this area! I hope everyone has a great week!

Looking forward to our SKYPE Saturday!
Elder Bowen