Monday, August 29, 2016

WEEK 52 August 29, 2016 TSY MAHAVAKY LOHA

Another week in paradise. This week the branch had an 'activite' in this little city called Ambalavao. It's a small city just outside of Fianarantsoa. Leaders had a youth conference out there and invited us so we went! But we just went Tuesday and came back that night. While we were out there they did missionary work! They all got dressed up, took pamphlets and spread the good word. So there is not a church in Ambalavao and no members out there but the goal is to get one started. So when Elder Snow and I went out there they took us to some of the people that seemed really interested and we taught. It is a way cool town, kind of in the middle of no where but that's pretty much all of Madagascar. But after that, the week was normal. We had a sick day but don't worry it was nothing major. 

So Noriana and Anitah continue to do great. They go to all the activities and are always at church. They are on the right track to get baptized coming up here. We taught the word of wisdom and they completely got it and turns out they have no problems with it. Literally ready to get baptized. So while we are at their house I will teach them a phrase or two in English and they teach me some in their language... which is a dialect of Malagasy that is way weird! So when they get going you can't understand a thing haha. But they are awesome! 

Roje and Novey are still great. In our recent visits we have been teaching the Plan of Salvation. The first question went over smoothly but then we talked about why we are here. Novey had quite a lot of questions with that. The spirit was insanely strong in the lesson and we were able to answer his questions. We left them with the homework of reading the Book of Mormon! We have really been stressing it with them lately. Everything is true if the book is true! haha but Roje is doing good with it. Everytime we come by he is reading the pamphlets or reading the book. He always makes it to church and he is askin for a calling... yeah he is pretty ready to get baptized as well. 

So sad news of the week is with Christian. He didn't show up to church last week and when we went and stopped by his house he wasn't there. We asked his neighbor and she said that he said he was going home. We aren't too sure where he lives but its not in Fianarantsoa. Apparently he had a really rough day and drank a lot of beer and then just decided he needs to go home. So he left. Our member help said he could just be drunk and he will return but he hasn't returned yet so he may be gone for good. Really sad news! 

But good news after that is our new investigator Geraldo made it to church yesterday! He came back from Tamatave this last week and he made it to church. Awesome dude. But that's about it for this week. Elder Snow and I made some bomb mac n cheese this week followed by meat balls so needless to say we are eating like kings here. But things are going great here in Fianarantsoa. Oh and tsy mahavaky loha is the motto for this transfer. Kind of means no concerns but direct translation is not breaking my head. Kind of a nice way to say I don't mind and we find ourselves saying it a lot because we are just trying to have a good time haha. Till next week!
Elder Bowen

Monday, August 22, 2016

WEEK 51 Literally going so good - motocross tournament

Another great week!
So this week Elder Snow and I killed it here in Fianarantsoa. On Tuesday we just had a normal day but that was the day we went and taught Christian, the drunk contact. We went and he wasn't drunk and he was ready to learn. Awesome time! We taught him the Book of Mormon and about Joseph Smith, and the whole time he had a bunch of questions. He has had a way tough life and we really explained to him how the gospel could help him. The only problem is he has very little money and the money he does have he spends it on beer. So we are currently helping him with that. He really does have the desire to be baptized so we went and set a date with him to get him baptized and to help him stop drinking. 
On Wednesday we went to Bienvenue to go teach his parents. Really nice people but I'm not too sure how much they understood... a little old but they said they wanted to start praying with their son since he is leaving on a mission soon. Right after that we went with Bienvenue and he gave us two referrals! Took us straight to two families that wanted to learn. Awesome people! We have return times with one but the other said that they are a little busy right now with school but that they would try and make a time with us in the coming weeks. 

We continue teaching Noriana and Anitah and they are set to get baptised on the 10th of September. Adonis, the brother, is currently helping us every Sunday with our lessons. He is way funny but a little hard to understand... but some good news is our old investigator Roje returned and we taught him and his son Novey this last Saturday. Then the next day Roje showed up to church and stayed the full three hours. So this next week we will hopefully be setting a bapt date with him but he has a lot of questions so we will see. 

The cool thing that happened this week was right in the little valley next to our house there was a motocross tournament or something so they had a big track set up and stuff going all day. Then Saturday night and Sunday night there were big concerts literally right outside our house too. So we could hear the music from anywhere in the house haha. It was a good time! 

Well that is about it for this week. This area is literally going so good and I am so grateful for my opportunity to work here with these awesome people and this awesome branch. The mission is great and will continue to be great. I hope everyone has a great week this week! 

Elder Bowen
Awesome kids!!!

Monday, August 15, 2016

WEEK 50 Elder Snow - Malagasy funeral

Another Great Week!
So this was the first full work week with Elder Snow and things are going great. So this week we had the mother of one of our members pass away. They were so nice to invite us missionaries to attend the funeral and the burial which we went to and saw the way cool Malagasy way.

So Tuesday we got into this little taxi car that took us out to where the funeral service was. When we got out there,  we went into the home and held a little service. We went without member help so Angelo kind of helped us understand what was going on. At the funeral some people talked a lot about her and some of their experiences with her then, a lot of them talked about the life after death and where she was going. As we were sitting there I noticed that the corner was blocked off by a curtain. Guess what was behind it? Yes the body! So I guess it is the Malagasy way to have the body lying in the house for a while and to have people visit it and say their goodbyes. So then after that we left and went back Thursday for the burial. We waited for a bit and then they came out of the house with the body and carried it around the house three times and then we headed for the grave site, which is a huge room that they basically dug a tunnel to. They did a couple more cultural things and then put the body down into the grave. So that was way cool to get to go see and be a part of.

The work went way good this week. We have been getting referrals like crazy this week! That was a lot of what we did this week was contacting referrals. But in those contacts we met a current new investigator named Geraldo. He is here studying law and he kind of speaks English. We contacted him Wednesday and gave him a first pamphlet. Saturday we taught him and he had a bunch of questions about the apostasy. We taught him more and apparently he has been going to church in Tamatave for the past month and now that he is back here he wants to learn and go to church here.

Then we met Christian. He was a little drunk... but he showed us his house and apparently he had learned a little from the missionaries before and said he wants to learn again. So we set up a return date with him and since he was drunk I didn't expect much. Then the next day he showed up at church! sober!!!!!! so we have our time with him this week and we are praying he isn't drunk for it but we will see.

So besides that, not a whole lot new here. Investigators are continuing to progress and we should be having some baptisms in September for Noriana and Anitah. Today Elder Snow and I hiked up to the huge statue of Mary and then went to the cybers to email and all the usuals were closed! So we went out searching and found one! We got lucky! Here are some pics for everyone!
Elder Bowen

Monday, August 8, 2016

WEEK 49 I am a father!-Son Elder Snow-Love the people-Love Madagascar!

Training!!!! yes so I just went and picked up my young son ELDER SNOW last week in Tana! And Elder Monsen got Elder Wilson! So most of this last week was spent in Antananarivo and in buses but here is the story of the journey...
So last Monday Elder Monsen and I were preparing to head up to Anstirabe on Tuesday. The plan was to go to Antsirabe, the town a couple hours south of Tana, and we were going to go on splits and head up to Tana Wednesday with the Antsirabe elders. But on Monday we got a call from the good ol assistants with the news that we had to change plans and head strait up to Tana the next day. So with that we went to the bus station and bought new tickets. So since we had time before, we had way good seats going up to Antsirabe. We were also going to be in one of the bigger and faster buses. But since we changed it we got new tickets to jump into the little slow Mazdas... luckily the guy let us get the front seats but Elder Monsen and I shared the front seat for the 11 hour drive. So the two front seat spots equal about one seat haha so we were basically cuddling the whole way. And to top it off we had a really old driver who had a strange love for these Malagasy hymns. Yeah they aren't the greatest. So when he first turned them on I was joking with him saying these are bad songs. He didn't think it was that funny... so he made sure that we had it turned up nice and loud for the whooooole ride. Every time he got out, I turned it down and everytime he got in he turned it up... so yeah that kind of drove me insane. But we arrived in Tana and went on splits in Mahamasina. Then came Thursday and we had zone conference! Way awesome! So we had the zone conference and then we had the training meeting. When Elder Snow went up to read who he was with I leaned over to Monsen and said, "this one is mine" and boom I was right! We got together and on Friday we headed back down. Luckily they sent us with a driver so we wouldn't get to ride the bus. But it was a lot faster with a driver than in a bus so we got lucky with that one. Just some normal fast work days after that.
Yesterday we went out working and we had Adonis the recent convert come with us. The whole time he was with us, he kept telling us how much he loved going with us! He kept saying, oh this is great and now I can get ready to go on my mission! He was awesome!

One big thing I saw this week was how much I really love these people. Leaving here for the trip to Tana felt like leaving home and then coming back, felt like coming home. Going to church after coming back felt great. The members here are family. They are just so awesome to be around and they all love going out with the missionaries. And with the new guys they just take them right in like they are family. I cannot say more that I love these people and they are truly converted people with burning testimonies. I now see why the importance of taking members with us. Adonis bore the sweetest and powerful testimony yesterday when we were teaching Genette. The church here is truly growing and I am so grateful that I get to be here helping it grow and being a part of it. I love my mission and I love Madagascar.

Elder Bowen

Monday, August 1, 2016

WEEK 48 Transfer to get my son-if an angel appears-love my mission-Crown of Thorns hike

Bonjour! Another great week.

So transfers are this week! So not a whole lot going on with the area this week. Elder Nelson left this last Friday. The week was mostly full of him saying his goodbyes and then he left and Elder Monsen and I were left here. So Elder Monsen and I have been working together and we have been working both areas, which has been difficult as the areas are huge! But we managed.

Highlight of the week was the lesson with Vololona. Her and her husband are recent converts and her husband, Oni is the second counselor. They are seriously the best. We stopped by and shared a spiritual thought with them yesterday. We talked about Nephi in the Book of Mormon. Shared 1 Nephi 11:2-3. When the angel appeared to him and asked him what he desires. He then answers saying he desires to see the things his father saw. He desired to gain more knowledge. We then asked them if an angel appeared to them, what would they ask. Oni said he would ask the angel what makes him imperfect. What things could he changed in his life to become a better person. Then Vololona said she wanted to see Christ. She kind of cheated but she said she would ask for Christ to appear to her so she could ask more questions haha. But she said she just wants to spend some time with the Savior. Monsen looked at me and said wow thats way  better than what I would have asked for. But we continued to talk with them and we talked about prayer and that they could receive these things through prayer and scripture study. Maybe they won't receive the answer they are expecting but they can receive the answer in the way they need. Awesome lesson with them.

Well this week we will be heading up to Tana to get our new companions, our sons! Elder Monsen and I are training and we are so exited! We are going to be fathers as they say. But I'll be picking up my son this Wednesday or Thursday and returning Friday or Saturday. Very exited!

Absolutely loving the mission right now. God really is answering prayers everyday and he really is guiding us in what to do and what to say. I love this area and I love my mission. I hope everyone has a great week! Also here are some pictures of the hike we took last week up to the huge statue of Mary and the Crown of Thorns

Elder Bowen