"And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved."

Monday, November 24, 2014

Well... My companion might have almost died..

Hello everyone, I have some exciting news, I have the plague... JK not really. Many of you have emailed me about the plague here in Mada but I am here to reassure you that we are pretty safe. The mission office sent all of us an extensive email about it and apparently it turns out that Doxycycline (our malaria pill) is also known to prevent the plague if taken regularly. As we all should be taking that already it shouldn't be a problem, just should retreat my sheets, bed, and couch with permethrin and it will all be good. So to repeat I should not be in any danger of getting the plague, sorry to those that I gave little heart attacks to (sorry mom).

But this week has been full fun and different times. This week I have been really trying to listen to the Spirit as we plan and teach appointments and it has gone decently. It can be very weird how in one lesson we will be teaching on one subject and it is (in my opinion) going not very well but in the very next lesson where we teach on almost the same topic and the words will just come easily and sounds a bit decent.

Elder Webb and I have been teaching Pasquel and Natasha about twice a week now and really they are amazing people. They always invite us in, even when we just drop by and we can tell that they are really enjoying the lessons. The only thing that is a problem is again they are not vita soratra (legally married) and Pasquel is trying to find a different job so he can come to church, but it is hard here to find a decent job, jobs are a bit scarce if you are looking for decent pay and have every Sunday off. But I have faith that they will find a way, the Lord those who diligently seek and try their best.

This past weekend we had our Stake Conference, the adult session was at the stake center in Analakely and it's not a fun bus ride, felt so tired on the return trip. The session yesterday was at our normal building because it was a video broadcast thing where a member of the Seventy spoke, a sister from the Primary Presidencey (don't exactly remember) spoke, and Elders Bednar and Uchtdorf spoke; mostly they spoke on inappropriate traditions of African nations and how they do not fit in harmony with church standards. An example is doing something because it worked out for your great ggggggggg grandfather ans so on, so it should work for you. Apparently, according to Elder Webb, this stake conference was a bit weird.

Side note, we have been teaching a man named Cerve and his wife and they are doing ok. We had told them about stake conference and where it was going to be. But at that time we thought both sessions were going to be at the stake center so we told them to go there. The place of the second session was changed pretty much the day before and Elder Webb forgot to get that news to Cerve and his wife (got distracted when we got a random phone call), really he sorta didn't expect them to come. But it turns out as we stopped by them yesterday that they had gone to Analakely for the second session but it turns out that nothing was there. They happened to come home a little after we stopped by. It was a little obvious that his wife was a little annoyed and we didn't end up teaching them because they were tired which is something I totally understand. But they weren't super mad and Cerve said that really they were still going to come to church so ther is still hope!

This coming weekend we will be having our primary program, they just randomly asked Elder Webb if he could play the piano for it so we will see how that goes.

Now for the story of this emails topic. Once upon a time there were two young men named Elders Webb and Nelson. They had been tracting for a bit but they were having a good time. These Elders come to a house and Elder Webb turns to shout odio ( sort of a verbal knock). During this time Elder Nelson looks around and sees a this decently big dog sleeping in the next house and Elder Webb was standing decently close to the entrance of that neighboring house. Elder Nelson thinks "hey that looks like a freindly dog we know at a different investigators" but then he sees the chain connected to the dog and he thinks "oh dang it". You see, here in Mada there are two types of dogs; First there are the billion stray dogs that live in the roads and paths and for the most part they are nice and used to people, they don't want any trouble. But the other type are dogs that people keep tied/ chained in their yard near the entrances of their house. I don't know what are done to these dogs but generally whenever you knock they freak out and would love nothing more than to eat you. Now you see Elder Nelsons was thinking.

Elder Webb is looking at a different house, doesn't even notice the dog. As he is giving his odio Elder Nelson is watching the dog. He sees it slowly open its eyes, focus on them, and you can suddenly see it turn mean, the dog slowly begins to rise. Elder Nelson thinks "oh frick" and begings to say "Elder Webb move!" as he grabs Elder Webbs backpack and literally launches him around as the dog leaps forward, barking insainly. This entire time Elder Webb doesn't know what is going on, is super confused, he tells Elder Nelson as they walk away that he was suddenly flying backwards thinking " what the heack?" then seeing the charging dog and his thought goes from " what is going on" to suddenly seeing a dog almost on top of him. But they both made it safely.

Looking back on it I realize that the dog stopped a little past the boundry of the gate, Elder Webb might have been safe if I had not done anything. But at least we ensured him not getting eaten by a insane dog.

I think that is about it for this week, that you all for your emails. Keep working and being amazing everyone. You all are great,

-Elder Nelson

Monday, November 17, 2014

Well here we are, a new transfer

Inona vaovao anao ireo (whats new you all/ everyone)

Hello everyone, I first need to say that I miss spelled the name of the new elder in our house, his name is Elder Gaul not Gall, just to clarify.

This past week has been full of hard work but thankfully no rain but I don't expect that to hold out for long.

On Monday Elder Webb and I had our personal and companion studies in, just a tip for all of you planning on serving missions don't ever skip your studies, it is a time for you to learn and bring the spirit into your life. If you don't have your studies you will definitaly notice the diference and the day won't be as good. There will be times where you can't do them, such as early church or taking someone to the office for a transfer but don't ever think "eh, don't feel like studying today" it will come back to bite you. I also had plans on Monday to get my haircut but there was a change of plans so it didn't happen but hopefully today I can. Apparently there is a decent barber here that Elder Herrin liked but I haven't tried him yet, we'll find out.That evening we had a sorée (sorta family home evening)with the sister missionaries in our area and with members. Really I think it was a huge waste of time. We had a spiritual thought and lesson but it was a little awkward and not productive at all.

Tuesday, sad day. Imagine a beautiful work of art, some people casually walk in, glance at the art, load an AK-47 and proceed to blast that art to bits. That art was our program for the day and the people were the ones we were supposed to teach and visit but decided to not be there or not let us in. Literally every single appointment dropped, not one lesson taught. But we tried visiting people multiple times and tracting, so we can say that we tried our best.

We took Elder Herrin to the office for his flight to Fort Dauphin on Wednesday, miss that guy. After dropping him off we came home, got ready, and went to our appointment (Elder Razafamandimby was with us) with Fabrice who then proceeded to drop us. But it is okay because we managed to teach a less active member named Rene. Taught english for our service that week and went back to the office to pick up Elder Gaul. Our last appointment was with Pasquel and Natasha and they are doing very well. Natasha has been coming to Church more and I know that Pasquel wants to come but often times he has to work, days off here are weird and kinda random so he thought he could come but got called in, hopefully next time.

Thursday, again many people dropped us but we were able to go visit others instead. One such is named Lanja, he is a student and always lets us in if he is there but for some reason he has a very hard time understanding what I am trying to say. I think I am saying stuff pretty clearly and I ask him if he understands and he pretty much says nope so Elder Webb explains things to him again, it can be just a tiny bit discouraging. Also we taught Andry who, I think I have mentioned, is pretty much ready for baptism. We shared a spiritual thought with him in Mosiah 18 and he seemed to really get what was going on, we also basically told him that he was ready for baptism and that it would be some time in December. Lastly we taught our Brach President on Handbook 2. Our BP is so awesome, he recognizes that we are trying to help the brach and he sees many of the problems that the branch is having, its great to have his support.

Friday Fabrice again called and cancelled so we tracted for a bit and went to visit Toky a little early. We are in the Plan of Salvation with Toky and he had read the entire pamphlet on the POS and had questions on the kingdoms of glory and such so that is what we taught on mostly. Toky is great but he just won't come to church, we even had Natasha try to grab him because they live next to each other. we didn't have anything else until that evening when we taught Pasquel and Natasha on Enduring to the End/ the Sacrament, they just are always focused on the lesson and Natasha is coming to church now so I have high hopes for them.

Saturday we were at the church for two hours waiting for our Branch Mission Leader to show up for a meeting, but he never did, didn't even call to say he wsn't coming. But it is ok because that evening was the best ever. We had tracted into this man named Victor earlier that week and when we entered his home there was an almost immediate peace and as we began teaching he listened to every word. Also that lesson was the best I had ever taught, it was clear and it was just good. Victor has family in France and Spain and one of his granddaughters challenged him to stop smoking and he has been trying ever since, this man has been seriously prepared. He also showed his appreciation for the lesson by giving us each a banana (aokaondro), best banana ever.

Sunday we had church and Branch Council; that Council was the saddest thing I had ever seen. It was literally us, the Brach Presidency, and later on the Relief Society President but I think it was just a randomn thing.Taught our investigator Cerve and his wife on Prayer and it was good but we could tell that there was something bothering Cerve, looking at the floor and fidgiting the entire lesson. I wanted to ask what was wrong but I didn't know how and I thought it might have been a bit rude but we left them to read 2 Nephi 32 and Moroni 7, both good chapters. Everything else fell through until we taught some less actives named Farotina and Princey, Farotina is a bit strange; When she heard that I would be teaching on faith she gets of the edge of the bed, moves next to her husband who is right in front of us and stares at me intently; apparently when people give you special attention like that it means they care about what you are going to do and caere about how you are progressing but it is still a bit weird. After sharing a bit on faith I decided I wanted to share a scripture but I didn't know which one to share. So I flipped through the Book of Mormon and landed on the book of Enos and we shared verses 4-8 and they really helped the lesson, they made it very good.

That is about it for this week I believe, keep working hard everyone I love hearing from you. Wish me luck this week and I will keep working hard. Love you all,

-Elder Nelson

This picture is of Elder Webb, Elder Herrin, and me on the day we dropped Elder Herrin off at the office.

Monday, November 10, 2014

It's Definitaly the Raining Season

Hello everyone!

Dang there have been some exciting things this past week, first of all last night we got transfer news (transfers happen every six weeks) and we found out that Elder Herrin in our house is being transferred to Fort Dauphin(?) so we will be having a new elder named Elder Gall will be in our house for one transfer as he goes home after this up coming one. Also we learned that our zone got split and that my companion Elder Webb is to be the new zone leader for this newly split zone. It's funny because he has told me that he is glad to be a normal missionary after being a zone leader in Antsirabe but now he is back on what he calls "the zone leader track of death". This just means he will have a few more meetings and takes stats from the district leaders on Sunday.

But now here is the run down from my week.

On Monday we taught one lesson to the husband of a recent convert which I beleive he really enjoyed, every time I have seen him after he seems very different and excited to learn.

Tuesday- We have begun getting much more member help this past week, our Elders Quorum President asks for the times we will need members and he gets volunteers/ makes asignments. We went out with him on Tuesday, his name is Fano, but unfortunately he could only help for a tiny bit and the time we wanted him at got rescheduled to that evening so he showed us some less actives and some members houses. That evening we taught Pasquel and Natasha on The Gospel of Jesus Christ and they seem to enjoy learning. The first part of this lesson is on faith and Elder Webb, bless him, had me try to teach it. In the end we ended up reading the Fourth Article of Faith which outlines almost all of the sections from this lesson. So I pointed out that since faith is first it means that it is super important, then I had Elder Webb explain the rest but I at least tried. Our last apointment that night was with a recent convert family but for some reason only the mother and two of her younger daughters were there, the rest disappeared, hopefully we can catch all of them tomorrow.

On Wednesday we taught Fabrice and introduced him to a member and they just hit it right off. It was a bit surprising because I didn't think they would like each other or something but they had a great time, I think Fabrice is just a people person. While I love teaching Fabrice and hearing about all these things that he figured out from the Bible, such as the existence of the endowment and what it did (but he thought it was part of baptism), figuring out forordination, and how John the Baptist recieved the priesthood while still a child and many other things, it's crazy how smart he is. The only problem we have with him is that we can'ty get him to be quite. Literally neither Elder Webb or I said a word for most of the lesson, it was just Fabrice and the member talking about all this random good stuff that I can't understand, but hopefully as he reads the Book of Mormon it will say what we can't tell him if that makes sense. We also taught english and we had some semi fluent people in class so that made it very interesting, lets just say Elder Webb is a very good artist.

We found two potentially new investigators, a mother and her son, while out contacting. We taught them part of the first lesson and they seem to take it all in, they did talk much but we got the feeling they enjoyed it. We got an investigator that is practically ready for baptism. His name is Andry adn he had been learning from some other elders in Tana but he moved to our area. We introduced ourselves to him on Thursday and he seems to be super cool and apparently he is very diligent, he came to church on Sunday which is a good sign because it shows that he is being converted to the church and not the missionaries that taught him. We just need to set a date with him and teach him a bit more, see if there are things that could be taken care of before baptism and such. Also I almost killed our last lesson when Elder Webb had me explain the story of the Book of Mormon, lets just say it was very unclear. But the Spirit made it up as I expained the reason it is important to read the Book of Mormon, the words and ideas just came easily. The only thing that I know is that I could not have done that by myself.

Friday was a very wet day, we taught an awesome investigator named Toky on the Plan of Salvation. He has been reading the BOM and really enjoys it, some of his family members that are visiting have begun reading it so we will see where that goes. As we went to check to see if our last appointment could learn we pretty much marched through rivers, super cool and awesome but it is a bit annoying to have your shoes full of water.

Saturday we taught Pasquel and Natasha more on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, had some meetings, and taught that recent converts husband again, I am begining to really like him. Also it rained again that night so we got wet but not as bad.

The only thing I am going to say about Sunday is that I learned that there is a major difference from teaching paople who are actively trying to learn and those that members or investigators that don't really seem to care. I much prefer to teach those that want to learn, it brings a different spirit into the lesson, make it easier and more enjoyable.

That is about it, sorry that the last day is short but we need to get going. I enjoy hearing from all of you and I hope you are all being safe. Love you all,

-Elder Nelson

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Prepare to Serve

Elder Nelson's Mom here:

When Elder Nelson received his mission call to Madagascar, we looked all over for information about both the mission and the country since we had no experience with that part of the world.  Finding info was pretty hit and miss.  Since then I came across the Prepare to Serve website.  They have all sorts of info and blogs about most missions.  So, if you have your call and are looking for information about your assignment, it would be a great place to start.  Good luck!

Monday, November 3, 2014

It's Been a Month!

Hello everyone!

Dang it has been one month since I have been here in Madagascar (October 1) and for a while I thought it would never come but as we have been working hard every day the time has just flown by. Now here is how my week has been.

Monday we didn't do much aside from going shopping and visiting two times that sorta fell through. But all was not lost as a result of that shopping yielded the ingedients to make peanut butter cups and they were delicious (I should be able to send a picture of them). So all of you who were laughing at me that I would not have any good/ American food here (Tanner) think again, I can get all sorts of things here just usually they are expensive so I choose to not get them.

Tuesdays are the days where we do tracting regularly as we can never get anyone to learn then but as a result of that tracting we found this guy named Eddy who seemed pretty interested. Unfortunately we have only been able to teach him once as the other times we have stopped by he wasn't home so I don't know how long we will keep him. In the evening we regularly meet with a recent convert family and reteach them the lessons (recent converts are supposed to keep learning for a while after baptism) and we do our best help them along.

We have two investigators with a baptisimal date, Pasquel and Natasha, but we don't think they are going to make that date. They are a couple that has been learning for a while but they are not vita soratra (legally married, super common here) and they don't attend church very often (again very common, especially here in Tana). But they always enjoy having us over and learning so we will keep working with them.

Wednesday was pretty much the same as last week; we taught Fabrice who is just so smart that he makes all of these connections to the gospel and finding many truths just by readig and studying the Bible. We also had our service of teaching english and I help a young man from our branch named Leo understand what was being written by sorta (emphasis on sorta) translating for him, don't know if it heloped much but I tried my best.

Thursday, every single appointment dropped us except for teaching our Branch President on Hand Book two and we don't even count that as proselyting time, so a lot of contacting and trying to meet with people we missed earlier in the week.

Friday was again lots of tracting as every appointment dropped us except for this cool college student named Lanja. We just tracted into him one day and qwhen we teach him he is always thinking about the things we are teaching him, asking clarifying questions. We have high hopes for him. We also had our weekly meeting with our Branch Mission Leader, getting him up to date on things and giving him the people we want to focus on.

Saturday, sigh this is being to be a pattern, every appointment again dropped us. We did have our meeting with the Branch President but Elder Webb got us there an hour early because he wasn't sure on the time so we were at the church for two hours but it is ok because we got to have that meeting.

Sunday was just wonderful. It was fast sunday, had a ton of member help, and we got most of our appointments and an unscheduled appointment. It was so awesome, we taught wonderful people, and for every appointment we walked between two areas that are seperated by about ten minutes of walking but it was still good. As we were walking up the hill to our house we were a bit hurried as it had been fast sunday and we had been working out in the heat with a lot of walking so you could say we were a bit thirsty. Elder Webb didn't even wait for me as I was grabbing my water, he just went straight to the room, ended his fast, and got some water.

We are doing well, Elder Webb is just great. He is an awesome person and missionary who is super smart works hard. He often keeps us entertained by tell stories of adventures with previous companions I can't wait for some of those to happen to me, having stories are the best.

Its weird and I never thought it would happen but I am improving in my ability to understand and speak this language. It is just a basic concept of what is being talked about and sometimes it still sounds like gibberish but in lessons I can for the most part know what is being talked about even if I don't understand every work.

I think that is about it, thank you mom for sending the pictures of things going on, it makes it a lot more enjoyable to have a reference of what you write about and it's good to see my brothers.

Hope you all are doing well, have an enjoyable and safe week,

-Elder Nelson

I took the pic of the chameleon as a little kid was carrying it around on a pole, apparently that is a common game for kids here.

Elder Razafamandimby, he is a malagasy elder who lives in our house, he is a bit goofy and loves to dance but I love him, he's great.

Tana skyline

The clouds were super cool but I don't think the camera does it justice

Peanut Butter Cups!