Monday, July 25, 2016

WEEK 47 Salama Dahole! Tana for Zone Conf - Staying in Fianarantsoa - Tom Cruise look alike

Another great week in Fianarantsoa! Again thank you to all those birthday wishes! Really was an awesome birthday.
So this week was pretty much a normal work week. But here is an update on some of our investigators:
So Roje sadly cannot learn anymore because he is leaving to go to Tamatave. He said he will try and find the church there so he can attend and he should be back in about 3 weeks. So we will resume teaching him when he comes home. For now he said that we can teach his son as he is gone and when he comes back they can learn together. Teaching families? umm yes way nice!
Then we come to Norian and her daughter. Her brother is Adonis, our recent convert. They are progressing very well and we had an awesome lesson with them this week about the Plan of Salvation. But like Roje, they are also going on vacation... so we will continue teaching them when they return. They should be leaving in a week or two though so we will see them next week hopefully.  What's with all these people leaving and going to the beach? What's so good about it anyway? But no problem! So we will hopefully continue when they return here. 
And last but not least we have Abdela. Way awesome guy. We went to go teach him and he wasn't there. We asked his neighbors where he was and they said he is up by the bar helping people walk home because the path isn't the safest. So he was the designated walker for the night haha. But he is seriously an awesome dude. We taught him a little about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith as he had some questions about those things. His final question in the lessons was "how can I know if this is true?" umm golden question! Committed to pray about it this week and to continue his reading in the Book of Mormon until he gets an answer. Way awesome!
So we received the news that we will be leaving this Friday or Saturday to head up to Tana but we will see. Elder Monsen and I may go up late as there is a baptism this Saturday but next week I will be in Tana for zone conference and stuff. Also will probably get my new companion around that time and then we will come back at the end of next week. 
Oh yeah and last funny thing that happened. So people started calling me Tom Cruise here. They say that I look like him so as we are walking people will yell Tom Cruise! Doesn't help that Elder Monsen is telling everyone he sees to call me that... but they now call Elder Monsen Mr. Rogers and they call Elder Nelson Mr. Bean because those are their look alikes. So we are basically celebraties here in Fianarantsoa! 
I hope that everyone has a great week! I love my mission and I know the Lord is looking out and watching over his missionaries. I love this gospel and I love getting to go around and teach it even when the language is difficult. I love this church and know that it is true!
Elder Bowen
On splits with the Malagasies

Check out the skateboards
Birthday egged!
Elder Nelson

Madagascar sidewalks!

Love my Mission!!!

Monday, July 18, 2016

WEEK 46 BEST Birthday with emails and BBQ! Fianarantsoa is great! but cold

First off huge birthday wish to my pops! Happy Birthday! And thank you to all those who sent me some birthday wishes! Way awesome getting into the cyber today, opening up my email and seeing a bunch of birthday wishes! Love you all! And for those of you that didnt.... still love you too hahaha.
So yes currently killing it here in Fianarantsoa with Elder Nelson. It is cold here!  The only way to get warm is to get under a blanket or in a hot shower. The branch keeps getting better and better and we continue to pick up awesome investigators. Here are some of the highlights from the week...
So Tuesday we went and taught Roje, the stallion. We continue to walk in on him studying out of The Book of Mormon and he has the greatest questions. Our last lesson we really focused on the Book of Mormon as he had many questions regarding Joseph Smith and the coming forth of the book. Then this last Sunday he made it to church again and he was early! Champion! We got him a copy of the newest Liahona (church magazine) which he has already started reading. He truly is a star investigator. Then that night we met with Adonis, our recent convert. We talked with him about the priesthood and about missions. He said that he really wants to serve a mission. He said that would be something he would like to do even if its down the road a couple years. Awesome guy!
Then Wednesday we met with a member that was less active for a bit. His name is Pierro. He is the coolest old guy youll ever meet. He is kind of shy and he tends to rabbits, grows and sells them. He has a very simple life and he loves the gospel. We always go into lessons asking him if he has any questions and how his reading is going in the Book of Mormon, and he always has way good progress. His eyes aren't the greatest for reading so he has this old magnifying glass that he uses to slowly read. We taught him about the priesthood our last visit and talked with him about the responsabilities of it. After the lesson we came to find out he has yet to receive it! We talked with him about his activity in the branch and he said he would love to receive it to pass the sacrament. Awesome man! Then that night we went and met with Fara. Fara is a part member family. Her husband and daughter are both members but she had some problems with the story of Joseph Smith. We went and taught her this last time about the Book of Mormon and tied it in to the Restoration of the gospel. That was probably a spiritual spike in the week as the spirit was so strong in their little house. She continues to read the Book of Mormon and they continue to have family prayer. We are just waiting for that testimony of hers to really explode, and we see it getting stronger and stronger everytime we visit.
Thursday we had a good day with follow up times and meeting some old investigators we haven't taught in a while. Good day. But Friday was a shorter day. So I woke up feeling a little sick and didn't really think much of it but it slowly got worse as the day went. We got to our first time and then second time and then we had to come home due to the sickness. Then Saturday we took a sick day... worst days because you are stuck in the hosue when you could be outside teaching! But Sunday came and we were good enough to get out again so it started with church and then after church we went for a lunch barbeque at the south african's house. Yes a BBQ. So they texted us last week and invited us over for a birthday celebration for my birthday and for Elder Monsen. We went over and they had a BBQ grilling steak for us!!!! Literally was the best birthday celebration ever. And they even got us presents haha. Wood carved pens with our names on them! Way cool. awesome awesome family. So that was the highlight of the week hahaha. Great time!
Well again thank you all so much for the birthday wishes. I'll send some birthday pictures home next week of the eggs and flour that are probably coming my way... but for now here are some pictures from the week!  
Elder Bowen

Monday, July 11, 2016

WEEK 45 July 11, 2016 Elaine, Teaching lots of kids, love the members!

Manahoana dahole! 

So this was another great week. highlight of the week was dinner with the africans... so on my way up here I was talking to some elders that had served here in Fianarantsoa before. They said that they used to have dinner with a family from south africa (white people). Sadly the missionaries had lost contact with them for a while but last Monday as I was walking out of a store I heard someone say "excuse me! are you the mormons?" and it was them! So we arranged to have dinner which was last nights meal and ohhh, it was so good. But Elaine is the mother's name and she said she loves and feeds the missionaries because we remind her of her son. She says that if she takes care of us here, then some mom will take care of her son in Thailand. Way cool and she has been doing this for 8 years! Awesome family.

So besides that, lessons were great this week. We visited Adonice, our recent convert, and we gave him his copy of the Book of Mormon with the other standard works. He was wayyy happy and couldnt stop flipping through the pages and smelling it. He received the priesthood this last Sunday and he is as happy as ever.

So star investigators of the week are Roje and Ganette. We started teaching Roje about two weeks ago and he hasn't missed a week of church. when we came for our lesson last Friday we saw him with the Book of Mormon out and the panphlet and he was studying. we came in and he is just full of questions but he accepts the answers and he does his homework. I don't know how he could get any better! Ganette is a lady that we started teaching a couple of weeks ago also. Whenever we go we teach around 7 people and usually there are 3 that are new. We go to teach and kids just start coming in and when the room is full they stop. And speaking another language in front of a bunch of little kids is hard... they are so intimidating!  But when we went over it was Ganette, one of the usual guys, and a bunch of kids. The time before when we met we shared the story of Joseph Smith. We gave them the panphlet and asked them to read it as homework  and they read it and had questions for us when we showed up! Seriously the best.

The branch here continues to grow and get stronger. This lest week we went out with our Branch President Naina and we taught him/helped him give some blessings to people. The members in this branch are very faithful and they love this church. I love being here in Fianarantsoa with these awesome members. The youth should have a trip coming up here as they sold sandwiches this last week as a fund raiser to take a trip to what im guessing is a nearby natural forest. But things here are all good. Madagascar is great and i love my mission. President Foote should be coming up here this week so look out for pictures! 

Fantatro fa Marina Ny Fiangonana! 
Elder Bowen 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

WEEK 44 July 4, 2016 Baby it's COLD outside!(transfered to Fianarantsoa)

Transfers are now over for me! So I have made it to Fianarantsoa and yes it is very hot here... sike its freezing! So a little about the trip. So we left last Sunday after church to drive to Tana. Mahajanga to Tana was around 10 hours. It was way fun getting to travel with the Footes talking about movies and things before our missions. So we arrived at night and the streets were way crowded due to the national holiday. Then Monday i just chilled with the Aps at the office. Then Tuesday morning the journey began. So we got picked up around 6am tuesday morning. they had a driver from the mission come and get us since there were three of us. So it was me, this one elder coming home from his mission, and a sister with the driver. He drove us about three hours down to Antsirabe, where we went to drop off the sister. Sadly she got sick during the ride and we had to pull over a couple of times... but we went and he dropped me and the elder off in Antsirabe where we were to get on a bus to Fianarantsoa. So we got everything all set and tickets bought by around 10. then we waited. 11 rolled around and we got into our bus, which was basically a mini van with too many seats thrown in there. Nice and cozy! Then we started driving and the driver pulled over and stopped. We ended up waiting an hour for some other people that missed the bus... so then they got on and we started going. We drove for quite a while and then pulled over to get some food. Then the long part of the drive came. So the road to Fianarantsoa is infamous for being the worst road in Madagascar, and it lived up to that reputation. It was a long time of curves and pot holes where we had to slow down to almost a stop to get through. Then to top it off we had a young child that got sick... so yeah that happened a lot and we had to pull over a lot and after hours of that I arrived in the freezing Fianarantsoa at around 8:30pm. So if we do the math for how long Elder Bowen was traveling your answer will be a very very long time. But I arrived and things are great here. Elder Nelson is great and he saved me with making me dinner the night i arrived. Way nice. The apartment is nice and there are four of us in it.  By the way, this is a bike area so now I will be riding a bikes all over these hills.  The bikes are currently broken so we are waiting for them to get fixed. Should be way fun biking.

But besides that the work is good here. The members are awesome. There are just two branches here right now but there is a lot of potential. There were 80 people at church the first Sunday I was here.  There are a lot of recent converts here so that has been a large chunk of our lessons this past week.

So this week Elder Nelson and I have been studying about true conversion, and mainly the story in the Book of Mormon about Ammon and King Lamoni. We continue to study Ammon's great example of faith and missionary work but also King Lamoni's faith and how he had a true conversion. Then coming with that he went to share what he had learned with others to bring that light into their lives. So that is a spiritual thought we have been focusing on this past week. 

So even though I was way sad to leave my old area I am happy and exited to be at this new one. I love my mission and it seems like i just get to keep moving around from area to area but it is just many opportunities to meet many great people. I hope that everyone has a great week! 

Elder Bowen