Monday, October 31, 2016

WEEK 61 Training II, Elder Passey, SNOW!

Hello everyone! Another great week in Madagascar! So yes I have received another son! I am training again here in Fianarantsoa. Love it! New trainee is  named Elder Passey, from Idaho. He is a little quiet but hey, all new missionaries are.
So this past week we were on splits on Monday and Tuesday and then on Wednesday we took a fun bus ride up to Antsirabe where we met a mission driver who took Elder Monsen and I to Tana. I was literally in Tana for less than 24 hours. They took us in Wednesday night. We slept at the aps house. Then on Thursday morning we got our trainees and in the afternoon headed down to Antsirabe with President Foote. As we were driving we drove past SNOW!  President Foote said to turn around so we can prove we saw it by taking a picture. Then on Friday we had zone conference and then we had a mission driver take us down to Fianarantsoa when it was over. So a lot of driving these past couple of days! But now we are back home and ready to work.

So on Saturday we went, taught English, ate lunch, and then went to a lesson with some people that live down the street from us. Jordan and Rivo are their names. Apparently he was baptized around 6 years ago and he still didn't know about the church. They are very nice and let us in and we taught them. So this last Saturday we taught about the Book of Mormon. They didn't have one so we gave them a book and they said they are excited to read it this next week. So hopefully they will read a little before our next visit. Then we went on a little walk to go visit some people that learned from the missionaries before but, stopped learning a long time ago. We visited them, shared a quick message and set up a better time for us to come back and teach them.

Then on Sunday we had some great times. Right after church we taught the friend of a member, recent convert. He has been hanging out with one of our recent converts and he has been coming to a lot of activities. I asked him if we could teach him a little bit about the church. So, Sunday after church, we went and started talking.  We taught him about Joseph Smith and about how this church came to be and then afterwards we commited him to baptism. Awesome kid! I remember asking him the question, Why do we go to church? and he said "well we do it to get direction and help in our lives. Without it we are lost." YES! CORRECT! haha it was a great lesson directed by the Spirit.

So some sad news is that Roger has officially moved. We went to his house and the people that were there said that he has officially moved to Antsirabe. Ah man it literally killed me when I heard that. We had missed him by a couple of hours! They said he came that morning to get his stuff and he left. Hopefully he will find the church in Antsirabe. But besides that, things are still going great! Elder Passey and I are excited to get to work in Fianarantsoa and watch the miracles happen!

So something really big I learned out of zone conference was on of the subject talked about by the Ap. He talked about how missions change people. A lot of people say that they are a changed person when they come home from the mission and part of that is true. He said that we don't become different people but we become the best version of ourselves. We become the version of ourselves that God sees. I am still Jaxson Bowen but I am learning how to be the person that God wants me to be. Then when we learn how to be that person, we see that change in our lives to be that better version of ourselves. I know that to be true as I have seen it up until this point on my mission and I know there are further changes to go. We continue on in Faith and our Loving Father in Heaven helps us.
I hope that everyone has a great week this week! Happy Halloween!

Elder Bowen


SNOW in Madagascar!!!!


Monday, October 24, 2016

WEEK 60 Transfers-Staying in Fianarantsoa-the field is ripening!

Another great week! So sorry for not getting out a big email last week but we took a little adventure that took up all day.  Here are some pictures so you can all see what we did...
Some changes this week! So this last Tuesday the aps called telling Elder Snow that he would be leaving Friday to go to Tana to be transferred. So that came and the week consisted of saying a lot of goodbyes. Then last Saturday we got the transfer news that I would be staying here in Fianarantsoa and I will be training again! Way exited for that. This Wednesday we are heading up to Tana where I'll be picking up my next son.... and hopefully we will be getting back on Friday. So when Elder Snow left I went on splits with Elders Monsen and Elder Wilson.

We didn't really get to work a whole lot in my area this week but here are the awesome things that happened. We have been visiting Adonis and Noriana lately, and we have been trying to get Norian's marriage papers finished but as we visit, we noticed that there has been this one lady that is always there. She has started coming to church too. We talked to her to find out that is their sister. We taught her a little more and we set a baptism date for the future.

We are also still  waiting for Roger and Geraldo to return from Tamatave but they should be coming back soon.

One thing we have been doing a lot here is focusing on less actives. The church here before used to be full of around 200 active members. Some stuff has happened since then and quite a lot stopped coming to church. This last week we had three less actives come back to church wanting to be active again. Awesome time having them come back as the branch was ready with open arms to accept them. 

So huuuuge lesson I learned while being here. Don't Be Selfish! The members here always talk about the missionaries and whether they were selfish or not. It comes down to little things like sharing a piece of bread or a cracker with your members help and boom, you aren't selfish. Some Elders in the past were "selfish" and they got nooooo help from the members. And member help is literally everything here haha. They are the ones that know where less actives live, where people that want to learn live, and where members live. Luckily I haven't been a "selfish" elder and the branch helps out a ton. That is how missionary work gets done here is with the branch.

But that's about it for this week. I love this area and I am very exited to get to train again. Just means I get to stay here a little longer haha. But I love the work here and I see the Lord's hand in the work here in Fianarantsoa every day. I am grateful to have the calling to serve here and witness all these miracles. I know this church is true and Christ is the Son of God.
Elder Bowen

So these pictures were taken out in the country side on a boat trip we went on and don't worry it was all approved by good ol President Foote! Then after our haircuts and the last stop was in Shez Dome, the place where we always eat food.

Monday, October 17, 2016

WEEK 59 October 17, 2016 Transfers coming - General Conference great!

Hello everyone!
Sorry but I'm not able to send out a huge email this week due to time! But just a quick update. We watched conference this week with the branch and it was great! Looking forward to hearing it in English too so maybe I could understand more.  Everything went smoothly. Best part was sitting with Adonis when the prophet came on to speak and he turned and asked, is this him? is it really him? and we said yes it is! and he went wooooow and was glued to the screen! It's starting to get hot here.
Things are all good here! This is the last week of the transfer so we will be getting transfer news this Saturday! I'll send a better update next week! Have a great week everyone!

Elder Bowen

Monday, October 10, 2016

WEEK 58 October 10, 2016 two week letter-new investigators-national park

Hello everyone! Sorry for not emailing last week but we were very busy last Monday so we didn't have a lot of time to email! But, the past two weeks have been great!
 So last Monday we went to a National Park called Ranomafana. It is about an hour and a half bus ride from where we were so it pretty much took all day getting a bus, getting into the park, walking around in there, and getting back. It was way cool out there! So you get in and it's like a big jungle. Huge tall bamboo trees and lemurs crawling around. Way cool. Sometimes the guide would take off running and we basically had to chase him to keep up making it way tiring but so fun. Then there were trails but sometimes we would just kind of take off in a direction running through the trees chasing lemurs. Way good time and I'll send some pictures to show it.

But these past two weeks were two great weeks of finding investigators. . So we have a recent convert who hasn't been in town for a while but he just got back and he told us to come over and teach his sisters. Apparently they have already learned for a while from the missionaries and they are ready to be baptized so that was an awesome find. Jerry said he will bring them to church this next week. but we went to them last night and they were super awesome and they ended up feeding us right after so that was great. They said they want to start coming to activities that the church does so yes they are progressing very well.

So then we met this new family as we were walking to a time. Funny thing is that when we were planning the night before I told Elder Snow that we will find a new family to teach the next day. We prayed and asked to be shown a new family and as we were walking I saw a lady sitting outside with her new born baby and her husband. I said hi and she yelled come in! So that's what we did, we went in and taught them. They ended up having some great questions about the prophet. They asked if he said anything about the life after death. So that lead to us teaching about the Plan of Salvation a little bit. Awesome time!

So news on Roger is he has not returned yet and neither has Geraldo... still chilling in Tamatave. but Roger will hopefully return soon and Geraldo should come back at the end of the month.

But it was a great two weeks full of little miracles. We contacted a lot of people that had learned from missionaries before but stopped learning because they lost contact or went away for a while. The branch is also helping out a lot with the work. They have a lot of people for us to teach so whenever we have a spot open up in our program it usually gets filled very quickly. The branch is also really looking forward to watching conference. We should be watching it this coming week but it banks on the missionaries downloading it and getting it into the right format and we tried it last night in the church and it didn't work... but we will get it working by this Saturday hopefully. But I continue to love my mission. Looking forward to conference to get to hear the words of our living prophet on the earth today. I hope that everyone enjoyed conference and got something out of it. Those that seek the answers to their questions will find the answers plus more! ...and conference is an opportunity every six months to receive answers to questions and prayers! I know that to be true. I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Bowen
Chasing lemurs!

National Park