"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, December 29, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Well Merry Christmas everyone (yes I know it is a few days late) but this week has been super fun lets say, the highlight would have to be 1. Skyping family and 2. Eating some weird fish eel stuff for Christmas dinner at a recent converts house

On Monday we had our basic stuff, emailing and such but when we were in a lesson with a recent convert (the same one where we ate for Christmas) we got a call from our zone leader that there were riots going on because the power company was doing rotating blackouts to conserve power and apparently alot of people didn't like that so we had to take ddda back way to get to our house because the riots were on the road that we usually took home, so that was fun.Eventually the police came a broke it up, we had gotten home fine, and we have had consistent power ever since.

Tuesday we taught one lesson with an investigator who's name I cannot remember right now because I forgot my planner and I have only known these people for a week but the reason that we only had one lesson was of the riots the previous night and we needed to be home early in case they continued but they didn't at least not in our area.

Wednesday we taught Tom with his friend who is a member. I really enjoy teaching Tom because he is quiet and listens to what we say but I have a very hard time knowing if he really understands because his member friend is constantly answering for him and accepting commitments for him, so we will see where how that goes in the future. We usually teach a Preach My Gospel class in the evening but no one showed up so we went to a members house whose daughter is a recent convert. It was a good message,I invited them to do the things that Christ would do this season, sang some songs randomly, and they then invited us to dinner which was really good.

Thursday was Christmas day and we had a combined district meeting so everyone in the zone was there and we all went out to lunch afterwards. Since it was Christmas no one wanted to learn so we spent some time street contacting but after about the 4th or 5th super drunk guy coming up to us wanting to get mad at us, mumble stuff we couldn't heart, or just stare at us(Christmas for the the majority of people is just an excuse to become super wasted drunk). Christmas was not very productive.

Friday I got Skype my family!!! It was great and everyone is doing well, I had an awesome time seeing every member of my family and hearing their voices it was a blast. We also like I said before we had dinner at a recent converts house for some eel fish thing which accutaully tasted fine, it was quite good.

Saturday I was feeling a bit sick so we didn't go to english but I was feeling well enough to go out and work later so we visited a recent convert and his father, I shared the scripture in 3 Nephi chapter 24 I think about tithing. Elder Anderson then took me to an area calle Depot which is a bit out of the way so we only go there once a week but we taught this very cool family about Joseph Smith and as we were walking away both Elder Anderson and I turned to each other and Elder Anderson said "I actually felt like a missionary in that lesson" and I completely agreed with him because I felt that way to. There is a difference of being on a mission and actually feeling like a missionary, that lesson was just so good and the Spirit could be felt it was amazing. When we got back to our normal working area this random guy and his friend asked to come teach them and obviously we were not going to pass up and opportunity like that so they took us to their house and we taught them through Joseph Smith.

Sunday we had church and three lessons the first with a woman named Floritte and she is doing well, one with and investigator named Vallery who has been learning for a while and still progressing while the other lesson with an investigator named Kevin who is nine and being baptized this Saturday. On Sunday night all of the missionaries eat at the District Presidents house for dinner so that is what we did, very good chicken on rice with some diced tomatoes.

That is about it for this week, that you all for your thoughts and prayersfor me, I love you all and will keep working my best, you all are awesome,

-Elder Nelson

A river in our area with homes next to it

Pictures of Depot which is right on the beach, it was so cool
There are some pictures of Elder Anderson and, of course, a selfie of me.

Monday, December 22, 2014

First Week in Tamatave

Akory(common greeting in Tamatave)! 

Hey everyone how is is going, things down here in Tamatave are doing pretty well so far I am enjoying it. Its weird though because I thought it would never happen but I actually miss my first area, its where I began and where things made more sense because things here are a bit different from Tana. There are almost no buses but tons of things called puses(?), it is pronounced with an "oo" sound, and they are just little two person carriage thing pulled by a guy on a bike. Also but it is just a bit hot/humid here but normally when we are working it is fine as we ride bikes which creates a nice breeze but at home it can be a bit much. We have AC units in our house which work really well, when we have power. The power here is super weird and we don't have power most of the time because apparently the motor that the power company uses is not strong enough to power all the areas at once so instead of getting a more powerful motor they just turn off the power in some areas and rotate who has power.

But enough of that, Tamatave is actually super awesome and I think that I will love working here, I just need to learn where I am and get to love the people.

So now on Monday I learned that I was going to Tamatave the next day so I spent most of the day getting ready (doing laundry, packing most of my stuff, ect.) and I said goodbye to P and N but unfortunately P was not home so we couldn't go in but I was able to say farewell to N.

Tuesday I took Elder Gaul to the office as he was heading home that week and then I waited in the office with my luggage until it was time to leave so around 4pm. I then proceeded to wait at the bus stop with Elders Stringfellow, Hull, and Bowler as they were also coming to Tamatave and we waited until the bus left at around 6pm on a very nice coach bus, probably the nicest thing I will ever ride here and it was a good thing that is was nice because we were on the worst road ever if you get motion sick. Imagine this, take a piece of paper and begin drawing a line from one corner to the opposite corner in a diaganol (I spelled that wrong) but instead of a straight line begin making little curves in it and immediately after you finish that curve make another one right after so it looks like a snake, now fit as many curves as possible until you reach the end, you now have a decent description on what the road to Tamatave is like and it is an 8 hour drive. But never fear I did not get sick, I just really hated that road the entire way.

Wednesday we made it into Tamatave at about 2 or 2:30 in the morning and to greet us were Elders Snell, Godfrey, and Anderson. It was good to see Elder Snell and Elder Godfrey again and to finally meet my new companion but everyone was tired so we quickly went home and slept. After we woke up we went out to work and Elder Anderson has only been here a transfer ahead of me but he knows most of the area. I still don't know luch of the area or the people so I won't have much on that point right now. We aparently have some baptisms coming up so we are working to ensure that they are ready.

Thursday we went to work again and I can tell you that riding bikes all day can make you very sore, the roads here are either; decently paved, sorta paved with pot holes, or sand paths. But I am now begining be used to it. Sorry but I don't have much to say but next week I will definitaly have more detail next week after I learn more.

So I will jump to Saturday which was my birthday, I am now 19 which is a bit weird. I have to say that honestly I forgot that it was my birthday for most of the day. I remembered in english class old we were saying how old we were and then later when we went out to dinner, I got a very delicious steak and fries for about 4 dollars.

Thats about it for this week so I will write later, hopefully with more stuff.

-Elder Nelson

Monday, December 15, 2014

Transfer Time!

Elder Nelson somehow accidentally sent his email when he was half way through, so this week's letter is in two parts.

Hey everyone how's it going? Things have been going pretty good here, we had a decent week full of many good times. But the biggest thing that has happened was transfer news last night, it was super exciting and fun. But I will save that piece of news until the end.

So I forgot my old planner with all the stuff from this week but I will do my best to remember it all.

So on Monday we did our usual thing, studied, cybered, and went shopping so not much happened there. But we had one appointment with an investigator named Roger and he is just doing great, he is being super dilligent in learning for himself if the church is true

Tuesday we taught Toky and he is doing okay, still hasn't come to church but Elder Webb says that he still has a bunch of potential, if only he would come! We had a bit of tracting after Toky's lesson until our next appointment with Jemima who is a less active and her non member parents and I am a bit sorry to say that they are all a little weird (side note the word for weird in malagasy is hafahafa and it sounds exactly the way is is spelled, just remember that the "a" is an "ah" sound). The lesson was okayish , the father Abel had asked us to explain the timeline of the Book of Mormon but he never really let us talk. Also the mother Annie keeps referencing herself as our mother, so ya just a bit weird. Then our last appointment that day was with this less active family, Fano and Voahirana, and they are struggling a bit. Fano had seen some news article on Joseph Smith have like 40 wives which really shook him so we had a discussion on polygamy. Then this random semi drunk guy comes in but they seemed to know him so we let it be. But as we were reading the scriptures with this less active family this guy starts saying that in Revelations there can't be any more revelation added and normally we would let him be but Fano was on a very unstable position so Elder Webb just went up and slayed this guy with 2 Nephi 33, stating that if you believe in Christ you will believe these words so that made tha

Sorry about that, I don't know how I sent that but I did but I will now continue,

Lets say that this guy was pretty quite when we left.

On Wednesday Elder Webb had MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) at the office so I just hung out with Elder Stringfellow for about two hours and then we were both invited to lunch afterwards. We then had English class and taught a woman named Monica who has a nine year old daughter who is a member , so it would probably be good if we continued visiting her.

Thursday we shared a spiritual thought with a member named Dimby and just to check how he is doing, he is fine as far as we can tell. We met with Andry (and yes he did get baptized on Saturday) and we just went over the baptisimal interview questions and to check that he was ready for his baptism, which he was and according to everyone super solid. Taught our Branch President on Handbook 2, it went went well I think. Taught Nahavaly and Jean Claude on Repentance and I think they got it, they don't sometimes don't look like they are listening but they are and are super dilligent about coming to church and reading. Last thing for Thursday is we taught Roger again and he is just being a baller, he had excellent questions and he is pretty sure the Book of Mormon is true, we came out of that lesson feeling we should give him a baptisimal date.

Friday I went on split with Elder McCrary, one of the current office elders and he has only been out here in country for 5 weeks, so ya it was fun. Elder McCrary is a super cool person and we ahd a good day, shared some spiritual thoughts, taught some lessons,and tracted a bit. The cool thing was I could understand for the most part what people were saying to me, not all of it but enough to understand what was going on. The reason was I had been praying super hard up until that point for this split to go well because there was almost nothing Elder McCrary could do so most of it was on me and it actually went pretty well, we had a great time working together.

Saturday we spent pretty much all day at the church. First we had Andry's baptism and it was very good, An apparently gave a very strong testimony at the end. Then we had our DMB and BP meetings, both of them were good but Elder Webb and Sister Guilamba fought the Second Counselar super hard to have the Branch President do monthly meetings with recent converts.

Now on Sunday we had church and our Primary program, Elder Webb played for it, malagasy children don't really have a sense of time but what evs. Taught Cerve and his wife, they haven't been coming to church because his wifes parents have been pushing them to come back to the Catholic Church so they have been undecided on what to do. But we encouraged and strengthened them and they said that they will keep coming to church. It made me a glad that Cerve said that he has seen nothing but good in the church, it was good to hear that. We taught Nahavaly and Jean Claude again, this time on Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost, it went very well and we had decided to give them Bap dates on January 31, 2015.

Now for the title of this week, yes transfers have been given and... I am being transfered to Tamatave, to an area called Morarano and my companion will be Elder Anderson. I don't know much about it except that it is on the northeast coast, super hot, and we ride bikes everywhere. But it will be super cool because I will be able to see Elders Snell and Godfrey from my MTC group and Elder Stringfellow is coming up with me, super excited for it.

Well I think that is it for this week, I am leaving to Tamatave on Tuesday at 3 or 4 in the afternoon and it's about an eight hour drive so it will be about midnight by the time I get there. But thanks everyone for your support, it is definetaly helping. Write again next week,

-Elder Nelson

Monday, December 8, 2014

What's up everybody? It's almost Christmas!

Whats up everybody! It's almost Christmas!

How was that for a greeting, I think it was pretty good. I have been having an awesome time this week, I have been thinking about sending some words back for a little while and I finally remembered to start dong it this week so the word this week is sambo which means boat. The only reason that I chose that word is because we found this random guy one day and his name was sambo so there you go.

The work is going very well here in Ankadindramamy, we get dogged every now and then but Elder Webb and I still feel that we are working our hardest.

So this week was decent, worked hard and had a bunch of not everyday events such as a zone conference and me visiting the dentist/orthodontist.

Monday was rather normal, had some studies, did some email, shopped, made a giant chocolate cookie in a pie pan (we don't have cookie sheets so I make the dough and we enjoy slices of a giant cookie) and we went out to work. Our only time was with a recent convert named Isabella and her husband Ndriana, he is an investigator. We taught them the plan of salvation and it went well enough, my malagasy has come enough to understand decent portions of what is being said, but something just felt weird in that house. I don't know what it was but I hope they are doing fine.

Tuesday I had my first split with a Malagasy, an elder who lives with us at home. The day was pretty good, we just mostly spent it tracting and trying to find new investigators. We had one appointment with Pasqual and Natasha on the priesthood, the lesson was good but I didn't teach much aside from explaining what the priesthood is and the offices in the priesthood because I think Razafimandimby just likes to talk. Also he might have miss understood when I told him that since I didn't understand everything he would need to answer the majority of the questions but I think he took it to mean that he needed to say everything fa tsy haiko( but I don't know).

On Wednesday I got sick, not super sick but just feeling super terrible. After our studies Elder Webb told me to rest for a bit which I gladly did. We did get to go out for a bit but I was still feeling very sick yet luckly that day was english so I could rest there. After our service we taught a new investigator named Vola and some of her friends. At some points I couldn't tell if they were listening or not but Elder Webb says they would ask questions that meant that either they 1. were listening ir 2. had learned before but we will continue to teach them because they come to church regularly.We also taught this woman named Monica and her nine year old member daughter and really they are doing much better. The daughter, Fabiola, has started attending church again and her mom had questions on God that she wanted us to answer which we did but very simply so she would really understand who God is.

Thursday the Rossiters, a missionary couple, took me to the dentist to try and fix the retainer that is behind my two front teeth. It had broken earlier and apparently these people had a bit of experience in the orthodontistry. But unfortunetly they didn't have the proper wire so they he me return on Friday. But the majority of Thursday was spent at the Office for our Zone Conference. I had missed a small section but for the most part I was there and it was amazing. President Adams taught us along with the APs( assistants to the president) and a time to bear testimonies at the end. I learned so much from that conference, President Adams is a very smart and spiritual man. Also as part of the conference Sister Adams made us all lunch and it was divine, sloppy joe's.

Friday I returned to the dentist and got a new retainer put on and it is working well but is a little big but it is serving its purpose. We taught a less active named Njaka and his father, his name is Ramanambohitra and really they are both super baller. They listened to what we were saying, answered questions, and Ramanambohitra even began taking notes! They both said that they would begin reading the Book of Mormon again which is super great, hopefully they begin attending church again. We met and taught Andry, an investigator who is preparing for a baptism on the 13th (this week, on the priesthood and anything else that he had questions or concerns on. Lastly we found where a less active lived, her name is Ndramima, with her parents and it was sorta weird because we were in their house for an hour waiting for Ndramima and trying to teach her parents but they just wanted to talk. When she finally came I had the feeling that she was hoping that we had left as she had popped in earlier but then left. But we will continue to stop by and teach them.

Saturday we had some meetings at the church so we were there for a while but we were able to meet with a less active named Rene. Rene was baptized in 1998 and hasn't been to church for a while so we have been reading with him in the Book of Mormon, to try and get him to feel the spirit that is in it and so that he would read on his own. We read sections from Alma 37 (I don't remember exactly) with him, on the importance of reading the scriptures. We can only hope that he is feeling the spirit and wishes to make a change in himself.

This last sunday was Fast Sunday and it was awesome because we had started our fast the day before so we could just go home after church and have some food. But yesterday we had so help from a priest named Franky, and I feel so bad for him, but while we were waiting for Franky to come it started raining which isn't a problem but when Franky came he didn't have any rain gear so he was thoroughly soaked but he put up with it, Franky is awesome.

I think that is about it for this week. I am loving it here and all that we are doing, thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, see you next week,

-Elder Nelson

Saturday after one of our meetings

Elder Webb when I was testing my camera. I just thought it was funny and wanted to send it home.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy December 1st!

Hey everyone!

My companion and I are doing great. This week has been a bit more difficult than in the past but we have pushed through it all. Our investigators are doing reasonably well, in fact one of our FLFs (father led families) came to church for the first time on Sunday. His name is Cerve and he came to sacrament (though a bit late) with his wife. I had been praying so hard that they and the rest of our investigators would come because it is very easy to get into peoples houses and teach them but for some unknowable reason they find it very difficult to come to church, it can be a bit frustrating. But it was great for them to come, made our day.

Now it is time for what happened this week;

Mondays are usually pretty simple, we have our studies, cyber/email, shop, and teach about two lessons. But this past Monday we only taught one lesson, Pasquel and Natasha. We taught them on Tithing, the word for tithing is fahafolokarena, and they just ate it up. They understood the need for tithing and what it is used for, super cool people. They agreed, I believe, to begin paying tithing. Now all we need to do is teach them the fifth lesson, have Pasquel find another job so he can come to church, and become legally married. Mom you asked me how difficult it is to become legally married here it actually isn't very difficult. Apparently it isn't to expensive to become married, it can be on any day, and over all the ceremony and legal stuff isn't to hard. The hard part most of the time is people getting their kopy. This is pretty much their birth certificate, or a copy of it, saying that they are an actual person of Madagascar. But the problem is it can be difficult and expensive to get their kopy because their kopy is at the hospital where they were born and it can be expensive to get it. Ohatra (example) say you were born in Fort Dauphin (bottom of Mada) but now live in Tamatave (east coast near the top of Mada) it is very expensive for the average malagasy to travel there and back and sending it can take time. So Pasquel already has his kopy and they are waiting for Natasha's which is coming from Toliary (bottom of Mada on the west coast).

Tuesday was a bit difficult but also good because Elder Webb got a small stomach bug for a few hours so we had to stay home but the lesson we taught when we finally got out was excellent, I could actually teach a decent amount.

Wednesday was our weekly service of English and it just dragged, by the end both Elder Webb and I were just drained and I didn't even teach! They just had Elder Webb draw a person and began asking the name of every part of the body at the end of class. We taught Pasquel and Natasha again (since they are close to baptism we try to meet with them more often) and we taught them on the temple. They didn't entirely get it but it's ok, it is a foreign subject to most people. In the evening we taught a recent convert on the Plan of Salvation and really I think I gave a decent explanation of the pre earth life. By the end of the lesson there was just this peaceful feeling in the room, great lesson all around.

Thursday was our district meeting, it was ok, not much stood out. Taught an investigator named Toky, he is doing so well and learning a bunch. I have heard here that there is a difference in people we teach in how smart they are and how much knowledge they have. Toky is definitely super smart but he doesn't have a lot of knowledge so to speak. He is great to teach, if only he would come to church I say again it is a very common problem.

Friday we taught a whole bunch. First we found this less active families house and taught the son who is currently going to school, his name is Njaka. He hasn't been to church for years because his dad had this fight or disagreement apparently with someone in the church and hasn't been back since. But we will continue teaching him and see where it goes, he seems so cool. Again taught Pasquel and Natasha (dang I didn't realize how much we taught them this week) and we reviewed the temple with them because they were still a bit confused. Next time I teach them I will be on a split with the malagasy elder that lives in our house, Elder Razafimandimby. He is super cool and fun to be around but I am a bit nervous to go on a split with him on Tuesday because I still don't understand much but we will see. Last thing on Friday is that we taught an investigator getting baptized on the 20th I believe (great way to celebrate my birthday I think). He has learned everything so we are just reviewing things with him.

We spent so much time at the church on Saturday because we attended a baptismal service, Elder Webb was asked to baptize a ten year old investigator of the sister missionaries in our area, and we had a meeting with our Branch President right after so we were there for a long time.

Sunday was a bit difficult because our branch council decide to go longer than usual and some of our usual people couldn't learn. But we did teach two people named Nahavaly and  Jean Claude. They aren't related, Nahavaly is a helper at a members house and Jean Claude lives there; I actually don't know his connection to the family. Any way we taught them on the Plan of Salvation and they have been making some progress but we both feel they have a hard time learning or focusing but they are improving a little.

Also side note on Sunday, I don't know what it is with Elder Webb and dogs but he was again attacked by a pair of them. Basically we had passed this pair of dogs dozens of times and nothing had happened but for some reason they decided they didn't like Elder Webb and charged. We were on a small path with a small drop on one side and a fence on the other, Elder Webb was in front and it had been raining for a bit. I look up bacause I hear some growling and see Elder Webb freeze and lift his foot to kick the dogs (because they were charging) but since it had been raining the ground was slippery and Elder Webb became unbalanced and fell. Seeing this I charge the dogs while stepping over Elder Webband they back off, they probably didn't expect or see the giant white guy behind the smaller white guy. Basically I drive them off, they leave still growling and looking mean, and we go on our way. Yep so that happened, Elder Webb said he could feel the paws of a dog on him, it was just weird.

I think that is it for this week, it has been good to hear from everyone that you are all doing good. Also mom will you tell the activities days girls and their leaders that I got their package of notes last Monday, I enjoyed them so much and they made me smile and laugh. Think of you all,

-Elder Nelson