Monday, June 27, 2016

WEEK 43 Baptisms!!! Ate Bat - Being transferred to Fianarantsoa

Alright, so this week I am being transferred to Fianarantsoa which is a 24 hour ride away.  . I am currently in the office right now in Tana and running into a couple of Elders here at the office that I knew.   Yesterday we took a long 11 1/2 plus hour drive from Mahajanga to Tana with President Foote. The streets were crazy as yesterday was the Independence Day here. So it was a longer drive going through Tana. Tomorrow I am so lucky to get to go on a taxi be like a bus thing they cram everyone in for the road down to Fianarantsoa where there are 4 Elders total! The best road in Madagascar! The first half I will ride with a sister, then the second half I am on my own with my suitcases! So I'll have a total of about 24 driving hours by the time I am done but then I will be in the great land of Fianarantsoa with my new companion Elder Nelson who has been waiting for me all week.
The last times in Mahajanga were great. On Saturday we had three baptisms, Elder Mack and Olsen, and we should have baptismal Saturdays for the next couple of weeks in Mahajanga. Then Sunday we left right after sacrament meeting and started for home mission office in Tana. But as of right now I don't have a lot of news to send home. Yes, I am alive and didn't die from the grenade that was thrown in the stadium. Actually wasn't near it and all the missionaries here are ok. All missionaries now have a 6 pm curfew until things settle down. 
Currently, re-packing my suitcases because I am going from the hottest area in the mission, to one of the coldest so I'll have a little change in apparel. But good times to come!
I had bat to eat and it was interesting! Where I am going the language should be a little different then where I was as they had a dialect called sakalava.  In this new place I am headed the dialect will be betsimasarika if I'm not wrong.  All the missionaries speak a dialect called merina.  This just means there are some new words and accents with each dialect. Way crazy though!  I loved working with Elder Cooley and am exited to work with Elder Nelson!
Love you all and hope that everyone has a great week! 
Elder Bowen
Baptism with Son

Special day for Son

Bonfire and marshmallows

Fidelicia kid pre gum

Bat that was killed and eaten for dinner!

Elders at Mahajanga

Zone conference lunch with my soda!!!

The Beach

Love Pday and volleyball on the BEACH!

President and Sister Foote with our zone

Parting is so hard!!!

My last sunset in Mahajanga...that is me!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

WEEK 42 June 20, 2016 Transfered to Fianarantsoa mountains-leaving lots of investigators in Mahajenga-BAT yum!

Another great Week here in paradise! So yes, we did just receive transfer news and I am being transferred and my new companion will be Elder Nelson... I am getting sent to another 4 elder province called Fianarantsoa. Basically from what I hear it is a town in the mountains and right now it is really cold! Not exited for the cold and long 20 hour drive! But I am really sad to leave Mahajenga. Feels like I just got here and now I am going! But this next area will be great. Time to get my other suitcase from where I left it in Tana and try out my sweater I guess.
So update on investigators:
So Andry has been making it to church like a champion. He continues to get better and better each week with the cigarettes. He is currently down to 2 cigarettes a day which is a big improvement! Hopefully by the next week he will either be down to one or be completely done! Then he will be quick to be baptised as he really wants to, and the cigarettes are the only thing holding him back.
Fidelicia has been doing great. She has been very dilligent in the church and has been attending for a while now. She asks all the time if she can get baptised and we are currently working on her marriage papers as she isn't married according to the law. Her husband was home this week as well and he was able to learn. She already has a testimony that this is the true church but he is still a little questionable. As the lessons progress, so will he. AND their child is still scared of the big white American missionaries that come to his house so he hid behind the pole of the fan when we got to his house. Then I took a picture of him with my camera, showed it to him and we became best friends. Then I saw him at church and he was scared to death again haha.
So this week we went to teach Laza and we had a good lesson with him but we basically just reviewed the purpose of the missionaries with him and how he needs to go to church. He says that he can't make it to church because of work. So we have been trying to find something that he can do to make it so he can get to church.
Ordance, Yantra, and Justine are doing great and from the lesson yesterday we may just give them the baptismal interview in a week or two. So we were teaching them the Plan of Salvation and in the middle of the lesson they went and got a little notebook with notes from all of the lessons. They literally have been taught everything and they already know everything! So we are basically just reviewing it all with them.
Then we have another Madame Ordance that we have recently tracted into. Luckily their house is available for us to get to this season because its not flooded! Way lucky! So now might be the time for them to get the gospel! 
That's about it for investigators though. We have a couple more that are learning and doing great. So fun thing this week was our water shut down... after a couple days with no water we decided we needed to start to get our own water... Malagasy style. So we buy these  big jug things and you go to a pump, fill it up and walk it home. Luckily we have a friend that lives next to the pump and his water works and he lets us fill up at his house.
Then cool food of the week was bat! so we were riding in a bajaja from a time and saw a guy with a bunch of bats and we bought some, cooked them, and then ate them! Weirdest thing I've ever seen cooked, but luckily we had Fabrice and he knew what to do to cook them. Then last night we had baraccuda with Abel. Way good! Well that's about it for this week. Next week I should be in or driving to Fianarantsoa! Hope everyone has a great week! btw the church is true!
Elder Bowen

Monday, June 13, 2016

WEEK 41 June 13, 2016 BAPTISM! more investigators-ate coconut shark!

Soooooooo yes there was a baptism this last Saturday!!!! Our main man Son made it! The baptism was great and then the following Sunday he made it to church. We went to his house after and he had some good questions about the priesthood. He is so excited to finally be baptized and we are so excited for him! But yes the baptismal font was the OCEAN!!!! the Mozambique Channel to be specific... WAY NICE!
So update on the other investigators:
Andry Made it to church yesterday!So we have been currently working on a plan to help him make it to church and quit smoking and both are doing great. He only made it for the first hour last Sunday but next Sunday he says he wants to stay. He is still smoking but he has been smoking less and less. When we started he was at about 15 a day and now he is around 5. We are hoping that next week he can be down to 3.
Then there is Felix. We sadly didn't get to visit with him yesterday because he wasn't home. After talking to Abel we found out that someone died in his family so he is attending that right now.
Fidelicia is still great. We got to teach her husband last Wednesday as he seems to be interested too but cannot learn all the time due to work. But with her, its basically a big review of all the lessons with some questions here and there. and yes, her child is still scared of Elder Cooley and I. Probably cuz he doesnt know us... or maybe cuz we are white...!
Then some new investigators to the pool are Yantra, Julie and their mom. So apparently they have learned before but they never really got around to being baptized. When we asked the mom why the baptism never really hapened she said it was because she was lazy... way nice haha so not an actual problem.
And Christian and Sabrina.... they looove the teaching but have yet to make it to church. We had a really good lesson with them about the Book of Mormon at our last visit. They had a bunch of questions and they have been doing their homework of reading.
Buuuuuuut thats about it for this week. Congrats to everyone getting their mission calls this week! And everyone leaving! And the food for the week is coconut shark! We had Fabrice cook for us this week and that's what he made... soooo good. Everyone have a great week!
Elder Bowen

Monday, June 6, 2016


Another Great Week!
So investigators are still doing great. This Saturday we have a baptism!!! Son is finally getting baptized! We are very excited as he has come a long way. His wife was baptized a long time ago but he has had problems with cigarettes. But now he is done! He is all the way off the cigarettes and ready to be baptized. So he is doing great!
Then we have Andry, another one of our star investigators. He is doing good, little problem with the word of wisdom but we are getting that figured out and working on getting him to church. Only problem is he still doesn't have pants! So he is looking for pants to get to church.
Then we have Felix and now his wife! His wife has just recently accepted to being taught and they both want to get baptized. They just have a problem with their marriage papers. They should be able to get them done soon but they have to get enough money to do it. For some reason it is harder to get it done out here than it is in Antananarivo.
Then we have another new person to the pool of great star investigators. Fidelicia is her name and apparently she has been attending church for the past 6 years. She has been taught by many missionaries but she has been moving so much she hasn't had the time to be baptized. But, last Sunday we had a member come up to us and tell us she wasn't baptized. Well funny thing was we thought she was a member for how diligent she was in church. So we started teaching her, and she is already very smart with all the lessons so it's like a big review with her.
So this week we have really been putting emphasis on every one having a Preach My Gospel and everyone studying out of it. I guess everyone has one but when we went to people's houses and asked for it they went and dug it out of a huge pile of papers haha. Then we asked how often they read it and they responded with ahh sometimes haha. So we are trying to get everyone here to read out of it daily. But we cannot be hypocrites, so we are trying to study out of it everyday too! Lots of knowledge in that book and it's so easy to understand! It's great! Well that's about it for this week! Another great one ahead!
Elder Bowen
The Pday hike!

The Snuggling bus ride

Elder Bowen loves this place!

The four Castaways!

Our beautiful SUNSET!
Face painting with clay from hike