Monday, May 29, 2017

WEEK 91 Beautiful Fort Dauphin-BARINJAKA!

Another great week in paradise!
This week flew by just like last week. We had an awesome week filled with lessons with awesome investigators and recent converts. 

I'm still going around trying to learn everyones name so its hard to write about them right now but there are a few that I remember! We have this dope family and the fathers name is Solo. We just taught them again last night and they know its true... so we are finishing up teaching them the Plan of Salvation and they had so many questions. But, they also had a lot of questions about the Holy Ghost. Well after a while, near the end of the lesson my companion Elder Hunter asked them how they felt about the message and the Book of Mormon. They said they feel like it's true but they don't know a hundred percent and that's why they were asking the questions about the spirit. They said that it is slowly coming true to them right now and this time we invited them to come to church. They are a little busy this next Sunday, but we will see about the Sunday after. 

Also at church we had a lot of investigators and in the midst of them all was a random drunk guy we found on the path. He came up to us and started speaking drunk Malagasy English (which is better than sober Malagasy English) and we ended up inviting him to church and told him we would teach him if he came to church. Well he sobered up and came to church this last Sunday. So hopefully we can find him this week and talk to him a little more.

Last thing this week was the talent show. All the branches here (3) got together and put on a talent show this last Saturday. There was a lot of singing and dancing. Actually all of it was singing and dancing and we, the missionaries, had our own dance for the people. I don't think I have ever done anything in my life that has pumped up a crowd so much as I did this last Saturday. The dance we did was called the Barinjaka and the people loved it. There wasn't one person sitting down hahaha. And, the next day everyone called us the barinjaka elders!!!

Well things are still going great right now. Still covered in bed bug bites but besides that, paradise is still paradise. I'll send you all some pics to prove it. But I know the church is true and it was established on the earth by Christ and restored by Joseph Smith. 
Elder Bowen
This is outside the church window...I can hear the waves at church!
Beautiful beaches in Fort Dauphin
                                                        us Elders! (Jaxson third from left)

My companion, Elder Hunter
                                                           Pday lunch on the beach!!!
                                                              Nightly sunsets to enjoy
   Soft sand


Monday, May 22, 2017

WEEK 90 Fort Dauphin I am here!

Yes we made it for Fort D everyone. So for those who don't know I got transfered this last week on Friday from Ambohimanarina to an area called Fort Dauphin. It is very very south on the island and is located on the beach. I flew down here with three other elders this last Friday and it is beautiful.

The beginning part of the week is always hard and was spent saying goodbies and taking pictures and then here I went out to Fort Dauphin and got to meet a lot of new people. Still don't really know anyone but its been a good time. I am with Elder Hunter and this last Saturday I was on splits with Elder Francom doing baptism interviews so these past couple of days are all mashed into one. I am still a little confused on the area but it's been a good time so its not a problem!

I'll probably keep things short this week as there isn't a whole lot of news besides the transfer. The church is located right on the beach so during church yesterday, I could hear the ocean.  The member are awesome. I live with 3 other elders with my companion being Elder Hunter.  There is another apartment of 4 elders too. Looking forward to hikes and playing on the beach on pdays.  Just need to take care of the bed bugs first!  I was eaten alive on the first night! 
Here are some pics of Fort Dauphin!
The Plane ride there
This is Paradise!
 My new friends 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

WEEK 89 Mother's Day 2017 SKYPE !!!

Hi Everyone!

This is Jaxson's Mom who was beyond happy on Mother's Day as we skyped for almost 4 hours of non stop talking with Katelyn/Trevor/Kaden, Linzi/Robert, and the rest of us Jason, Carson, Tyson, and Bryson....and even our two dogs were in the fun! (Jaxson has not personally met our new dog!)

Sharing a few of the treasured comments:

Jaxson and his companion Elder Nolan were on the streets at 3 a.m. to get to the church to begin skyping with his companions' family.  On the way, they were stopped by 2 police officers who wished them a good time.  Upon arriving at the chapel(which is one of the best in all of Madagascar) the power was out!  NO POWER means no Skyping!!!  After checking everything they decided to check the generator and discovered there was no oil in it.  I would like to think it was all the years of boy scouting that may have taught him a few things or simply his common sense so they could get on with skyping.  So glad Elder Nolan was so patient as we skyped!!!!

Jaxson's first story was of a RAT!  Yes, a rat who had chewed a hole in the bottom corner of the door so it could enter and exit freely.  Yikes!  They had already killed one but as it is common knowledge when there is one, there is another.  Jaxson went to the fridge and saw a long black was a rat tail! His companions tried to barricade with a wall but the rat jumped and disappeared.  For over 30 minutes every kitchen drawer, every shelf, every inch of the disastrous kitchen was covered searching with no luck to find that rat!  Jaxson thought to look under the oven pulling open the under drawer and that rat was simply staring at him!  He slammed the drawer and lite a paper on fire and threw it under then turned on oven.  Never killed it!!!  Then they made another barricade and with knives and other weapons they fought that rat for 2 hours.  Later they saw the rat again on the fridge, that long black tail.  They built a bigger barricade using a tunnel to trap the rat in and to block the end.  Brooms and mop in hand (of course Jaxson was using hand actions-hilarious!) they killed it.  The good news is the rat is gone.  The bad news is the landlord bought a cat and now it smells of cat pee/poo outside their door!

The best treat was to witness Jaxson receiving his transfer phone call from Elder Lake as we were skyping.  This coming Friday he will most likely take a plane down to the very southern end of Madagascar to Fort Dauphin, a beautiful beach area....COWABONGA he yells and kept laughing at this happy news.

  He will continue as Zone Leader training another soon to be Zone Leader.

Jaxson has tasted some interesting food but the most memorable is noodles with sardines and mayonnaise served COLD......You can decide if he liked it or NOT but ate it all!!!!

Still having some sick days now and then, but it doesn't stop him for long.  He is not a fan of the side poop holes in the ground he gave us a description of  and call them toilets but has us laughing so hard as he showed us his missionary planner with missing pages....great toilet paper in any emergency! ( yes he also acted this out in great detail the several bathroom stories...!)

Loves President and Sister Foote and is learning a great deal from them.  President Foote knows his scriptures and stores so well that Jaxson desires the same knowledge. 

Loves the area he is in and will serve anywhere President Foote sends him.  32 baptisms to date this year in area he is currently serving.  Looking to continue doubling the number of members to get a temple on Madagascar!!  The average family has 3 children in Madagascar.

When he gets home he can hardly wait to get treats of Tiger Butter, ice cream, and lots of others things he mentioned at Rocky Mountain.  He misses his candy store!! ha! Looking forward to BYU Provo.

Gecko's are in his room and they are so loud at night....he made the sound many times which I conclude he hears non stop.  The Madagascar kids continue to be afraid of the missionaries as the many parents tell their kids that the missionaries take care of naught kids which scares them.  He told of a story a kid that kept yelling foreigner at them which gets very annoying and happens often.  So Jaxson told him to be careful as he eats little kids!  haha.....he stopped calling him a foreigner!

He gave some advice to Carson who is waiting for his mission call to arrive. He can speak the language so well and all the different dialects.  He has learned 5 so far....each is like a new language.

Best Mother's Day wishes and best time Skyping!!! Love my Elder Bowen!
                                                               Our first view of Jaxson
                                                                  Love his name tag!
                                                              Receiving transfer news!
                                                                  His 'holy' shoes!!!!

Monday, May 8, 2017

WEEK 88 Chillin with Pops!

Another great week. So right now my dad (trainer) is sitting right next to me! He came back to visit his son... actually just to visit Madagascar but luckily I'm here haha. Today we went and played some soccer with the Malagasies and we lost in PKs... so we will just look forward to taking them next time.

We had a great week this week. We started out the week with tracting a new area that we found next to our house. We got some solid times and return times. Luckily its an area closer to the church so we had some good success. Then on Wednesday we continued out tracting searching for people as we got dogged for a couple of times and we ended up finding some pretty cool new people. We had a dope lesson with our star man Rafaly. He had awesome questions about the Book of Mormon and he even got his family to learn with him. He says he still wants to read it to find out if it's true before he does anything and we are ok with that haha. 

On Thursday we continued the awesome teachings in Ambohimanarina. We have a pretty full program there and we are kind of spread out so it's decent. But, we had awesome lessons with investigators. We taught Kiky and Odette how to have a family home evening and we had a great time with them.
 On Friday it was pretty similar to Wednesday. Having great times and tracting to get more in the open spots. 

On Saturday we taught English and went to an awesome branch activity. We haven't had an activity for a long time in the branch but it was a good refresher. 

I don't have a whole lot more to say about this week but we have another great one ahead. Looking forward to skyping the family this week so till then here are some pics! 
                                                                    Me and POPS!
                                                              Our Soccer field
                                                               Our Soccer TEAM!

                                                 A fun surprise email from Grant Schroedter

Monday, May 1, 2017

WEEK 87-miracle - hail storm - doing the WORK!

Another great one! So a lot of great things happened this week! 

We will jump straight to Wednesday. We went back to a return time that Elder Lake and I tracted into and came to find out the dude was awesome. His name is Rafaly. He let Elder Nolan and I in right away and got his pamphlet and it was all marked up. So we started talking to him and he had many many questions. It eventually led us to talking about the Book of Mormon, which I happened to have a copy in my bag meant for another investigator. We talked about it for a while and he said that the Bible doesn't satisfy him due to all churches having one, but having different doctrines. He said he knew the Book of Mormon would solve this and then asked where he could find one. I took it out of my bag and told him I already had one for him. He started laughing and so did we at the little miracle that happened. Then he asked how much it was and was pleased to find out it was free. So we gave him a copy and he committed to reading it throughout this week. Also that day, we ran into some old investigators who invited us to come back. We went back and had a great lessons with them. 

Then on Thursday we had splits with the APs. Elder Lake came with me in my area haha so Thursday we went out to an area called Ambohimanarina where we went to visit Salim. We were teaching him and I noticed in the distance a big storm coming towards us. Salim said it wouldn't be a problem as it would pass right by but I guessed other wise. So as we were teaching I kept looking in the distance and it was getting closer and closer and the thunder was getting louder and the lightning striking closer. After a while we knew it was getting close so we stopped teaching and all looked out at the rice fields next to his house. (Salim has a very high house so it has a great view). The rice patties started turning white, headed in our direction. Then it got to us and we realized it was a hail storm! So much hail came down for the next 20 minutes, and the lightning was insane! But after a while it stopped and we got out of there. Still was a great lesson by the way...

Then to finish it up we had a great time with Heingo and Liva. We talked about their baptism as they asked when they could get baptized. So we scheduled to teach them again during the week and we set a different baptism date with them. We are currently going to be working on getting them living the Law of Chastity as we don't know if they are married according to the law. And, we need to get them living the Word of Wisdom but they are very enthusiastic about this church! 
Elder Bowen
Vaomanga that we ate

                                                                         the hail storm
huge hole that we found. its like 20 feet deep and in a public place...