Monday, September 26, 2016

WEEK 56 Foote's visit - priesthood blessings bring happiness and joy

Another Great Week!
So as some of you may have seen, President Foote came down to Fianarantsoa this past week! He only stayed for a little. He came down, did interviews and then left again headed to Tuliare. When they came down the APs went on splits with Elder Snow and I giving us a good opportunity to meet some new people.  We met this new guy named Yandry. Way cool dude. We taught him the first lesson and Elder Snow and I went back last Saturday and we taught him again. He even has a Book of Mormon now. Way cool dude. He said that next time we meet he wants his wife to be there! Way good time.
But aside from that we got a little bit of sad news as Roger is Currently in Tamatave. We aren't sure when he will be coming back but hopefully it is soon. Then another one of our awesome investigators, Geraldo, is also in Tamatave... so we are waiting for them to return. Also this week Salohy couldn't learn sooooo lets just say this week we got to meet a lot of new people haha. But it was all good. This next week we should have a decent amount return times so we will see.

This past week we were visiting the parents of Bienvenue and we talked with them for a little about their son. They were having some problems with him as he hadn't been home for a couple of days. They were really sad and the father was pretty sick. They were sitting talking to us, telling us their problems, and they asked what do we do? what should we do? I wasn't too sure how to answer that but then the words from my father came to me. This last week he challenged me to ask as many people as I could if they would like to receive a priesthood blessing. I then told them that I could give them a blessing by the authority of the priesthood if they would like it. They gladly said yes and we went to bless the father first. Elder Snow anointed with oil and by the end of the anointing the father, Vaoavy, was in tears. Then I sealed it. By the time we were done he was crying. We then blessed his wife. When we were done Vaoavy was crying and kept thanking us. He said as soon as we placed our hands on his head he felt an overwhelming sense of peace and happiness overcome him. He said thank you so much as now I am at peace. Elder Snow and I left their house in a reverent manner letting what just happened sink in. It was a great and humbling reminder as to why we are here. There are only a handful or people here who can give priesthood blessing and we are both honored to be amongst the few. The happiness and joy that Vaoavy felt is the reason that we are out here. To bring people unto the happiness this Gospel brings. I now know that when people ask for help and I don't know what to say or advice to give, I can offer a blessing. I love my mission and I love Fianarantsoa. I know I am out here for a reason and I know I am doing the Work of the Lord.

Here are some pics from the past week!
Elder Bowen
The children of Madagascar

My District

Crazy District

Teaching time

Tracting time!


Monday, September 19, 2016

WEEK 55 Tsy Atakaloka-teaching at Tasty Cook, lots of work to do

Another Great week!
So this week went by way quick! Sadly we were slowed down a little bit by being sick but we were not stopped! So I'll start off with the highlight of the week was teaching the tasty cook people. We eat at this one place called Tasty Cook and we eat there all the time... so we have become friends with the people that work there. So I guess that they learned before and they weren't really interested and didn't want to learn anymore. But, that's just what we heard... so while we were there for lunch one time, there was a lady sitting in there and she asked us if we were peace core. We always get asked this and it's awesome because then we get a chance to tell them who we really are. So we talked to her for a minute and then she had to go. But the worker lady at Tasty Cook was sitting there listening. She then came up and told us she thought we were Jehovah's Witnesses. I said no we aren't and then asked her if they had met with the missionaries before. She said no! False info from the missionaries before! But it's all good. So we talked with her for a minute, gave her a first pamphlet and told her to read it. When we went back she had read it and had a bunch of questions! So we sat again and had a little lesson and ended up giving her a Book of Mormon. Sadly things have slowed down as they work all the time and have no free time but we will try and make something work. But that's the highlight! And the best part is they make some great curry chicken so it's always a good visit...
Besides that, the week went on as a normal one. Roger still doing great. Sadly we couldn't get to him this last Saturday but we visited last Thursday. He sadly didn't make it to church this week but hopefully next week. Then there is Salohy, the daughter of Dede and the sister of Jerry. We went and visited her last night and she is doing awesome. She also couldn't make it to church this last Sunday but she said she will be there for sure this next Sunday so that will be awesome. We are still working with Norianne on getting her legally married but Anitah and Adonis are still doing great. And Christian has returned, but we are having a hard time contacting him right now but we will find him this next week as we now know where he lives. When we met with him last he had a lot of questions about life which led us perfectly into the Plan of Salvation. Hopefully he can start improving with the lessons and stuff as we continue to teach him.

But the work here continues to go and go and go. Elder Snow and I are so lucky to get to work in this area because The Lord truly has his hand in this work and in this branch. I am still loving my time here in Fianarantsoa!
That's about it for this week. Sorry for not sending pictures but my camera is currently with the Young Single Adults as they are taking a trip to Ambositra and needed a camera. But Pics will come next week! (Correction, pictures did come in another email!!!)
Elder Bowen

BURNING clay heads!

Monday, September 12, 2016

WEEK 54 September 12, 2016 Akory! - Baptism - Love my mission!

Another great week here in Paradise. So yes this week we had a baptism! Anitah got baptised this last Saturday and confirmed on Sunday, and all is well. She is doing great!
This week we had something come up suddenly. Last Monday we got a call from the APs that Elder Snow and Elder Wilson both were needed to get on a bus the following Tuesday and head up to Tana to take care of Visa stuff. So they took off and Elder Monsen and I were on splits for a couple days. Tuesday through Thursday I went on splits with members help. I took Angelo with me and we went and worked, but not a whole lot happened. Angelo was wayyyy late so by the time we got out to our times the people were either gone or working. But, we helped them work a little so it turned out to be a good time of service projects. Then Elder Snow came back and the program resumed.
So update on investigators!!!!!

Roger continues to be an absolute stallion. We are currently teaching the Gospel to him right now and when we went last time, he had a lot of questions, but his main one was "what is Faith?" So we ended up teaching him faith, exactly as planned haha. He did make it to church this week, so he continues to be awesome.

Christian showed up! We found him but sadly he dogged us on our time. I found him on the street hanging out with his brothers. His brothers are way cool dudes and as I was talking to Christian they were backing up everything I was saying, telling him this would change his life. But sadly after that he didn't show up to both of his teaching appointments and he didn't show up to church, so we will be searching for him this week.

We are still waiting for Noriana to get her papers done and we are trying to get the branch to help her with that. She keeps attending church and the lessons keep going great.

So this week we were going up to teach the father of one of our recent converts and sadly when we showed up he wasn't there. We talked to his daughter, the sister to our recent convert, and apparently she learned before from the missionaries and she asked if she could keep learning. So we went in and sat down and talked for a bit and I guess that she used to learn before and she even attended church and everything but then vacation came and she got a little busy. She came to us asking if she could learn again and she remembers everything way well but we reviewed a little with her and taught her a lesson about faith. I was teaching with Adonis at that time and he commited her to come to church this next week, so hopefully she will make it this next Sunday.

That's about it for this week though. We should have an awesome week ahead with some newer investigators. I love this church and I love this mission. I hope everyone has a great week!
Elder Bowen
Special Baptism! with Elder Snow and Angelo

Year mark shirt burning!

My boy Kevin



Monday, September 5, 2016

WEEK 53 September 5, 2016 Year Mark! Mission life is the greatest life!

Year Mark! We have made it to a year everybody! So a year from last Friday I entered into the MTC to start my mission in Madagascar and now here I am! Awesome time so far. But this week was good. To celebrate it is tradition to burn a shirt which I did and had a coke.
It was a little slower this week sadly, for some reason a lot of people couldn't learn. We spent a lot of time going from appointment to appointment to find no one was home. Some good news from that is Christian came home! We were walking on this path to get to this family that we tracted into and we saw Christian. He was wearing some new clothes and he was way happy, slightly drunk... but anyway we saw him and he was way happy to see us and said he was ready for church tomorrow. Sadly he didn't show up this week but we still have our times with him this Tuesday and Friday so we will see this week.
Then we met up with Roger and Novey this week and we finished teaching the Plan of Salvation with them. Sadly Novey wasn't able to learn one of the times so still not done with him, but finished it with Roger and he said it makes a lot of sense. Being the stallion that he is, Roger showed up to church again. He is freaking awesome!
Highlight of the week was with Noriana and Anitah. So we taught them this week and sadly came to find out that Noriana is not legally married yet. We have to wait for her. We asked Anitah if she wanted to wait for her mom or get baptized and she said she wants to get baptized as soon as she can. Now, why was this the highlight of the week? Well when we were talking with Anitah to prepare her for the bapt interview we asked if she had any questions. She said no but then just said "I just want you guys to know that we have been wanting to get baptized for a long long time, but no one has ever asked until now." They live right across the church and I guess they have wanted to come for a while but never really got the invitation. They literally live right across the street from the church. That was a really good eye opening moment. So this next transfer we are going to work hard on getting Norian legally married. I know that everything will work out for them.
But coming to the year mark, I look back at the last year and see one of greatest years of my life. I absolutely can't wait to see what this next year has in store now that I can speak the language a little better than when I started... the mission life is the greatest life, it's a time to focus on others and see lives change. I love this mission and I absolutely love Madagascar. I know this church to be true and I know this gospel to be the gospel of Christ. There is no where else I would rather be right now because Madagascar is the place to be!
Elder Bowen