"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 28, 2015

Late Birthday news and a great Christmas!

Hi everyone, sorry that I wasn't able to get an email out last week, we had a lot of stuff to do so it wasn't like "tafa" but I am getting one out this week so here we go!

Probably the biggest thing from last week would be the suprise that Elder Sweeten did for me on my birthday. We stop by a members house after work as the wanted us to stop by really fast. We get there and surprisingly the husband was home so we were able to go right inside. We start talking/ chatting while the wife (it was Lolona by the way) got up to do something on the other side of the room. As we were talking I either hear or see something so I turn my head and I get a great big handful of flour right in my face followed my an egg soon after. Apparently Elder Sweeten had set up that visit while on a split earlier that week. It was a big suprise and it was way good.

So I am going to have to shorten this letter and focus on only a few of our investigators. First Rivo and Ivonne's family are doing great; we are now in the middle of learning about the "Gospel of Jesus Christ". This falily is just so great to teach, we can literally see them growing. This past Sunday their entire family came to church except for Rivo, he says that he is still thinking about it and also about baptism. We know that he can find an answer and as soon as it comes he can literally lead his family to progress to baptism and beyond, they are all waiting for him, we are hoping that he may recive a witness soon.

The final family  would be Claude and Haingo's family. We have been teaching them for a rather long time and none had ever come to church and we had to start thinking about dropping them which we did not want to do. We end up giving them a "drop talk"; reminding them of our purpose and if they were not willing to progress we would eventually not be able to come back. We stop by on another time and Claude straight up told us that he was comoing to church which suprised us a bit and we hoped that it would be true but the past didn't make me that hopeful.

This past Sunday we are talking with some members at church, waiting for the meeting to start and up pulls a white scooter, it enters the gate and stops right in front of us. I look at the driver, a bit confused, but it was Claude with one of his daughters! I was so stunned that he actually came but then me and Elder Sweeten got so excited, we did a little victory dance.

Then finally it was Christmas and that means... Skype call! It was great to talk with my family and it is a bit weird to think that it was my last Christmas on mission, such a weird thought.

I think that is about what I have time. Elder Sweeten and I are just having a great time here and our area is going great, I can't wait to see what will happen as we come into this new year! Have a great week everyone and Happy New Years!

Elder Nelson

Monday, December 14, 2015

Hmmm, no titles come to mind

Hey everybody! so this is going to be quick as I am about out of time but the work is just going great here and I love it!

Tuesday we met with one of our less actives named Rene. He has been less active for a very long time and so many amazing missionaries have tried working with him but he hasn't yet come back. We know that he still has a testimony but has fallen on hard times. We then met with an older couple named David and Gertrude and honestly I really enjoy meeting and teahing them. We reviewed the Story of Joseph Smith with them and tried our hardest to help them to understand that they must ask for themselves so that they can know if it is true or not. They are still struggling with praying to know but we are still working with them and they are still making great progress.

Wednesday we had a return lesson with a man named Misa. We met him about two weeks ago and we have finally been able to meet with him now. He was very kind and listened as we mostly focused on our missionary purpose and the reason that we preach the gospel; to help everyone come closer to Christ and recieve eternal life. It was a good little short lesson as he needed to get back to work but we will see how it goes in later visits. Finally were able to meet with Claude and his family again, they have so busy with work that it was very hard to catch them. We reviewed parts of the Plan of Salvation, especially about our purpose here on earth and the things that we need to do here. We related that to reading and praying about the Book of Mormon, we told them that everything that they do in this life and that at this time this small book has the greatest importance for them. It was good that we did as Rojo, Claudes daughter, had not really been reading to praying but passively listening.

So Friday was a great day, a day of trial and conquest, contacting day! Nah but really we had a great time contacting for a good part of our day and we were rewarded with a new potentially great investigator named Faly. We had a great short lesson with him as he still had stuff to do but he responded well and told us to visit anytime we could. Then that evening we met with Rakotoarimandimby and Meline, chatted a bit, checked how they are doing on their Word of Wisdom commitment (they are doing very good, slowly getting of chewing tobacco) and then went into a review about Joseph Smith as we both felt that they didn't really grasp the importance of Joseph. So we review and end by discussing about the Book of Mormon and we dig, and dig, and dig where we end up finding that while they have techniqualy been reading they have not been praying at all to know if it was true and so they had no idea what to do about their decisions to come to church or not. So we bear the biggest testimonies that we could, we bear, and bear, and bear our testimonies. The Spirit was so strong, it is just so amazing to feel its prescence so stongly every now and then.

Then Saturday Elder Sweeten got sick. Actually he had been sick for a few days but had not been getting better so we stayed in for most of the day but we were able to go out in the evening to teach some people that were progressing very well, Elder Sweeten is such a stud, he is so fun to work with.

That is pretty much it, sorry that it is a bit haphazard but we are just about out of time so good luck everyone and have a great week, Mazoto E!

Elder Nelson

Monday, December 7, 2015

Longest bike ride and Baptisimal Interviews

Here is our week, it was great and a blast, enjoy!

Monday we sorta goofed around and wet to a lot of places so that Elder Sweeten can get a good welcome from Antsirabe. Then that evening we tried to catch our times but unfortunetely all of our normal times couldn't so in the end we ended up visiting a member family, giving them strength and encouragment.

Tuesday morning we played basketball as a zone which was way fun and we all had a great time. After we got home I started to feel a bit off, like I was getting sick but I thought I was just tired from basketball so we still went out and I am so glad that we did. Our first time was with a referal that some members had given us named Ramarolahy or Lila for a nickname. Apparently Ramarolahy learned with the missionaries years ago but nothing really came of it. But he tells us that inbetween the time that he hadn't learned he had still been reading the Book of Mormon and was trying to find a place to worship. You could say that we were very astonished at this and maybe a bit afraid that we might blow this potential golden investigator. Fortunetally we stay calm and I am pretty sure that we had some spiritual guidance during that as the lesson went rather well.

Thursday we met with David and Gertrude again which is always great as they love to listen. We reviewed a bit about the Apostacy and Priesthood and then we began teaching about the Joseph Smith Story. One piece of advice from my brother in law Tanner who said "The bigger the section in Preach my Gospel the longer you spend teaching about it". So we focused very hard on the the story and what it means; 1. Joseph had a question, on where the true church of Christ was 2. He studied and used all of the resources about him to try to answer that question, he searched 3. After he studied he applied what he learned from the scriptures (James 1:5) and after that he got his answer. We then linked that to the Restoration of the Priesthood keys for if Joseph had not recieved those keys he could not have possibly restored anything.

We felt that for the most part that David and Gertrude understood what we were tellng them for the most part. But they may still worry as the story is strange and new but we promised them that if they truly went to God and truly asked in faith then they would know for themselves if what we were telling them was true.

Saturday I went on a split with Elder Iata in Mahazoarivo as they needed some baptisimal interviews done. They had told me that it was just way out in Ambanivohitra but when we got there it took an hour by bike to get there . We get there and I manage to finish one interview but we needed to leave as it was getting very dark. We go and ohhh it was so sketchy; it had been raining, all the roads were slick with mud, and there were no light, period. So we are just slidding every where and I was literally praying so hard that we would not get stuck or anything like that because we were still very far out. Eventually we get back to the main city and boy I was so happy to see an actual road. We get home and we reviewed the day and I told the elders that I really did not want them working out that far as so many things could happy that far out.

Then that SUnday I finished the interviews and the two young adult children passed but unfortunetely I would prefer that the parents wait a bit longer as there were some things that they needed to still work on.

That was pretty much the week, I am so sorry everyone but I am just about out of time but thank you all for the letters that you sent and I look forward to hearing from all of you again, Merry Christmas (haha it is that time of year again!)
Elder Nelson

Monday, November 30, 2015

The start of another Transfer

Hey how is it going everyone? I hope that everyone had a great thanksgiving and even though it doesn't exist here we still had a great time but more about that later, here is how our week went,

Monday we took it a bit slow again and got everything ready for when Elder Razafimandimby moved so not much happened. But that evening we stopped by a lot of people to give them pictures and say final goodbyes ten that evening we stopped by at our Branch Presidents house for a little family home evening for a missionary that was just about ot head out to Congo, we were all very excited for him.

Tuesday was a pretty normal day as Elder Razafimandimby was not leaving until Wednesday so we went and sent him out with a great day of work. Probably the most amazing parts of that day was visiting Claude and his family. They are just so amazing but they just cannot get to church for some reason, any ways  we taught them about the Book of Mormon and Elder Razafimandimby just bore such a powerful testimony about it, this is just what we always tell those we teach, "don't trust us because we are not perfect, even though we are possibly good teachers, or nice, or you enjoy having visitors. You need to ask for yourself because no one else can do it for you, not your pastor, nun, religious leader, or family because they won't know but ask God and we can promise you that He will answer you if you truly ask sincerely".

Then the other thing would be our last visit to Richard and Lolona and Elder Razafimandimby gave an amazing spritual thought on the relationship between what Gods goal is and what our purpose is. He brought the spirit in very well and I could tell that he was trying very hard not to cry, I know that he was not really ready to leave Antsirabe yet.

Wednesday, as it was Razafimandimby's last day, we borrowed some of the other elders bikes and did some last minute stops at peoples houses. That around eleven he left I I began a three day split with Elder Koncurat until our new companions came.

Thursday was Thanksgiving so because of that we went out to this amazingly nice vazaha (white tourist person) restraunt and it was just so good, I got a pizza and the crust was so light and fluffy. That day we were also able to visit Rivo and Ivonne, we were supposed to learn about the Book of Mormon with them as well but we unfortunetally did not have a book to give them (we were out and had not gotten any more yet) so we reviewed alot on prayer; the reason we do it, the way to pray ect. and they all gotten it very well and began to apply they had learned. These people are just so cool, I feel that they will progress very well. Then that evening we were supposed to meet with some other missionaries for dinner but they ended up not waiting for us but we were able to meet up with them for some ice cream which was a great end to the day.

Friday I was still working with Elder Koncurat and the day was ok, it was a bit hard to catch people but that evening our real companions came in. Elder Sweeten is this giant kid from Orem Utah and his is just such a stud. He enjoys working hard and loves being a missionary, what more can I ask for! Plus is seems that we will get along very well, I am looking forward to working with him more.

Saturday we had interviews with President Foote as he came down to Antsirabe for a District Conference. It was great talking with him and learn more about how he wants the mission to go. After that we went out to work and managed to teach Claude and Haingo again and we began learning about the Plan of Salvation and I do have to say that it was a very great lesson. Everything just flowed well and everyone understood. Then I wanted to talk about why they would not come to church and they couldn't really give a good answer, we will see how that goes with them.

Then that afternoon we were able to attend the adult session of our District Conference with two visiting seventies. The session was great and I believe that everyone got some great instruction out of it, specifically on the importance of councils in the church; whether they be family or ward councils.

Ok I think that is about it, we had an amazing week and look forward to another! Wishing you all a great time,
Elder Nelson

Monday, November 23, 2015

(no subject)

Hi everyone, wow it is another week, this last one just went so fast

Tuesday was way good, we got were able to meet with a newish family named Haja (the wife) and Mamy (the husband) and they are both very coom and I feel prepared people. Mamy apparently  hasn't been to any kind of church for about 5 years and he had a lot of questions for us. We were also able to visit Rivi and Ivonne again and they are just so good to teach. Most of the time it is just the wife that is interested to learn while her husband just sits there but both of them are very attentive and remember a large amounts of what we teach.

On Wednesday we were able to take one of our recent converts, Bruno, to come help us meet with a less active named Lanto and her neighbors who wanted to learn as well. We spoke and discussed the first lesson; The Restoration, with a great focus on the family. Also notice how I said spoke, something that took me a bit to grasp on my mission is that people learn best in a conversation instead of just sitting and listening to a giant white american rant for about 30 minutes. Bruno did a great job and has such a powerful testimony of the gospel.

We were also able to meet with a new family called Valerie and Vonjy. We have really only met with them twice yet I believe that they understand what we teach and enjoy meeting with us. We left them with a commitment to begin praying to know if what we teach could really help them and their family.

Probably the best thing that happened on Thursday was our lesson with Claude and his family. We had a great lesson about the Book of Mormon; we didn't really teach the story like we normally would but focused instead on why we need to read and ponder this great book of scripture. I truly believe that they felt the spirit and they all promised to read and pray.

So I am going to skip a few days, not that I don't like them but not much really happened on them so on Saturday even we finish our last lesson and head home to charge our phone and get trasfer news (we needed to charge our phone as the power was out for a bit so it did obviously). So we talked with President Foote and we are getting changed. I am staying here and I am getting a daughter/ I am moming which means that I will be working with an elder that just finished getting trained. His named is Elder Sweeten and Elder Kelsch from my group just finished training him, I think that we are just going to have a blast!

Finally Sunday we had a great day, we were able to attend a region conference for South Africa and ended up being able to teach all day, days like that are just amazing and make it worth being on a mission.

That is about it, sorry that is a bit short but I only have a little time left so that will have to do, have a great week everyone!
Elder Nelson

Monday, November 16, 2015

(Insert the title that you think goes best because I have no idea)

Hello everyone, this has been a pretty good/normal week but as always it was enjoyable and we got a lot of work done,

Tuesday we visited an amazing little less active family, well specifically the husband is less active but his wife is super cool and active as can be, their names by the way are Edward and Ganina. Really the only problem that blocks Edward from coming to church is that he is sick and can't walk far. Also that he is a tiny bit lazy you could say becaues people have offered to get him a posy(a little hand or bike pulled buggy) but he won't take it, so we will see how it goes with him.

Wednesday we started off by sharing a small vastimpanahy (spiritual thought) with Lolona, our returning member. Her husband Richard has been very busy with work this past week so it has been hard to get a meeting with them but at the very least Lolona gets a little spiritual boost to keep her going. Elder Razafimandimby shared the spiritual thought in Alma about the Zoramites and the way they worship on the Ramiomtum(?). He ended it by saying that while the Zoramites techniqually worshipped they did not live their religion until their day of worship came again. It was very powerful and a good reminder to always live what we believe. Then most of our program fell out so we tracted a lot and even though it was alot of tracting we still had a blast and as a result of that tracting we found a potential new family to teach named Jean Paul and Juliene.

Thursday we taught a semi newish investigator named Nirina and we had a great lesson on the Restoration. She told us that even though she can't provide that much physical food for her family she at least wants them well fed spiritually which is just so awesome in my opinion. Then that evening we got a return appointment with a family that we talked to this past week called Rivo and Ivonne. Ivonne works while Rivo stays at home, he hasn't been able to find work for about the last year or two. We had a great lesson on a subject that I love teaching about which is the importance of the family. Most people recognize that family is important but most don't see how it is connected to the gospel and really I feel that this teaching is what really gets people interested in our message.

I would definetally count Friday as a success. We have a less active named René that has just been inactive for the longest time and whenever we meet with him all that he wants to talk about is stuff like food and getting financial aide. Well this time we decided to talk to him about missionary work and René was just so involved. We then comitted him to helping us whenever we needed some member help which is a great step in my opinion.

Saturday we had an amazing lesson with Claude and his family and we reviewed a bit about Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Priesthood. They just get it but it is hard to get them to come to church, but we left them with a commitment to continually pray about our message. Also we had a lesson with Rakotoarimandimby and Meline but unfortunetally they are having a hard time progressing. The thing is they have been praying to know the truth yet I don't believe that they are really doing it with real intent as Moroni instructs us to do. They are just so deeply rooted in being Catholic that they won't change, even if they get an answer, which is just so saddening sometimes but we will continue working with them.

And Sunday was my older sisters birthday so.... Happy Birthday Erica!!! I hope that you had a great birthday yesterday!  Also that morning we tried to go out and bring some people to church but a lot were not able but we were able to bring two with us. And this is just awesome, do you all remember Nirina that I mentioned earlier? She came to church for the first time and we got her introduce her right to some amazing sisters that took care of her, we were so extatic when she came. We went to work right after church ended and I would say the visit that I enjoyed the most would be the one with a man named Jevance. This is our second time meeting with him and he had already read the pamphlet that we gave him and had some questions for us, which is just so awesome when that happens.  We then reviewed a tiny bit and then put an extreme amount of emphasis on priesthood. I shared with him John 14:26 where Jesus states that his servants do not choose him but He chooses them and that just really made the teaching sink in.

I think that is it for this week everyone, I hope that you all have had an awesome time, and heres hoping for another great week!
Elder Nelson

Monday, November 9, 2015

Antsirabe, it really is the promised land

Hi everyone, man this week was just great, we got a lot of times and awesome people are learning and coming closer to Christ, I just love it.

Monday we walked around a bit, went shopping, took a nap (it was great), and went to the cyber to send emails...then the power went out (that is why there was no letter from last week).

Tuesday we got dogged alot but we were able to teach Niaro, the son of some recent converts, and we reviewed the first lesson with him. He really surprised me with how much he remembered and that he had been reading the boky kely (pamphlet) that we had given him. Our last lesson of the day was with a returning member named Lolona and her nonmember husband Richard. I have to say that they are some awesome people, Lolona had been inactive for a long time apparently until Elder Razafimandimby and his last companion Elder Obioma visited and reactivated her, now we teach her husband. They are both amazing people but Richard is not really that dilligent right now about coming to church but we are still going to work with him on that.

The lesson that we had was on the relationship of the Holy Ghost and Prayer. I I shared with them  1 Nephi 10:19 which says that the person that diligently seeks will find and that the mysteries of God will be revealed to him by the power of the Holy Ghost, it is a really good scripture and they said that it made perfect sense to them.

Wednesday, I would say that my favorite family to teach right now is Cluade and Haingo. They have been learning with us for a bit and are making really good progress. They learn well, have accepted a baptisimal date, but just need to begin coming to church. But the lesson that we had was centered on the Apostacy andit went very well.

On Thursday we contacted a decent amount but ended up meeting with a family named Rakotoarimandimby and Meline. They are firm Catholics yet I feel that if they would just ask and pray to know that they could change. But this last Thursday we only taught Rakotoarimandimby and we really focused on Joseph Smith and asked him "if God has called a new prophet that was like Peter and all the other prophets of old, what would that mean?" He replied "that would mean that we should follow what he says" which is exactly true. Spo we bore testimony that there reallyis a living prophet in our day and along with that we invited him to be baptised when he feels that what we are teaching him is true. After a bit more discussion he finally accepted, but only if he felt it was right which is all that we ask.

Sunday (going to skip a bit) we had a great time at church and then got right to work. We met with a new investigator that we had contacted earlier in the week and started off expoaining who we really were and such with a small lesson. Then Elder Razafimandimby, being the great missionary that he is straight up asked Jevance (that is his name) to be baptized if/when he felt that it was true and Jevance accepted. We then got some member help to teach this woman named Lily and her daughters as there father was not home. We reviewed Apostacy thoroughly and ended with our testimonies and again my companion just slayed it by extending a baptisilmal invitation and they accepted, Elder Razafimandimby was on fire that day.

One thing that I have seen from this is that really it is ok to asked people to be baptized in the first or second lessons, especially when then understand that the choice really depends on them, it helps people see what our goal is. But right now Antsirabe is just killing it, it is just so amazing to work here.

That is it for this week, I hope that everyone has a great week incoming, ampitiavana,
Elder Nelson

Beetle or vongory in malagasy, and there are also plenty of mosquitoes too!

Crushing corn as some service for some recent converts who then fed us some of the corn that we crushed the next day, it was way good.

It was dry corn that we crush/ semi crushed which can then be boiled and cooked

Monday, October 26, 2015

Is it really the raining season again?

Hey everyone! This week has been amazing and fun and very wet here in Antsirabe, it has rained at somepoint almost everyday of the week. But it is ok as we have nice rain coats and awesome people to visit!

Tuesday we went to teach this awesome guy named Losien. He has been learning for a bit from the missionaries and seems to learn very well. We learned about the Plan of Salvation and specifically learned about the first question of the lesson "where are we from?", it was a pretty good lesson. We also met with this awesome investigator named Lalaina who just sucks up the lessons and just gets it, unfortunetally because our area just split Lalaina now lives in the other elders area so they now will have to take over teaching him.

Wednesday we found this cool new family named Feno and Hery. When we stopped by the first time Feno was the only one home but we had a great first lesson with him and hopefully next time we will be able to teach his wife to.We ended the day going to visit Bruno and Lala (some poeple who were recently baptised) and began a review of the Plan of Salvation lesson. I have to say that Bruno and Lala were very prepared when the missionaries came, they love the gospel, participate in church, and had just absorbed all of teachings that the previous missionaries had given them. Also another cool thing about this family is that they always feed us a little food at the end of every lesson, this last time we had tsaramaso in a sauce with mangahazo (beans in a sauce with mangahazo which is some form of root that I don't think exists in America). It was basic Malagasy food and was a bit bland by itself but it became surpisingly good as you mix in some salt.

Thursday I went on a split with Elder Jensen the zone leaders trainee while my comp Elder Razafimandimby went with Elder Koplin in his area to show them around as they, Koplin and Jensen, are whitewashing. All I can say is that we had a great day. We taught a total of four times and found a potential new family. It was very fun working with Elder Jensen, he is very funny and has a great attitude, then at the end of the day we went to this delicious little restaurant called "Be Sofina" or "Big Ear" in english where there was some absolutely divine food and juice.

Saturday we did some contacting and found some potential new people to teach but the biggest thing from that would be a lesson with a small family that has learned for a little while named Rakotoarimandimby and Meline. We get into the time and one of the first hings that they tell us is "so you two have been teaching us for a while now and while we like learning we are Catholic/Protestant and we won't change churches". Now that sorta put a damper on our moods but we still persisted telling that obviously we don't force people to do anything but we just invite people to act. We then shared a lesson on the Apostacy as they had not yet learned about it and I thin that it was one of the best lessons that I have yet taught with my companion so far. We were a bit forward with the information as we felt that it was needed but I feel that they understood what we were saying and that the Spirit tesified to them, now we just need to see if they will do anything about it.

I think that is it for this week everyone, it was great and I would say very successful. Also side note I will finally be able to watch Conference at some time this week so next week I will finally be able to tell all of you what my favorite talks are! But until then I wish you all a great week and that we all may come closer to Christ.

Elder Nelson

Monday, October 19, 2015

Welcome to Antsirabe!

Hey everyone! Dang this has been a crazy week so far just everything moving around at once such as leaving Tana, getting to Antsirabe, meeting my comp (he is a great teacher of the gospel by the way!), and just getting to work. The area that I am in used to be the Zone Leaders area and their program is great, they were just rocking it here! Anyway here is the rundown of the week,

Monday we got up a bit early so we could go to a place called 67HA to buy some lamba (clothe) for my companions suit that he is making. After that we went and headed up to a zone verses zone soccer match where we played hard but in the end we were defeated but that is fine because it was still fun and to add on to that I got to hang out with some awesome people so bonuses on each side. That evening we taught Labarre again (our excommunicated member) and he is just doing great. We were reviewing the first lesson, ending on Priesthood and Labarre was just eating it all up, it was great to teach him.

Tuesday was yet again our meeting day so we were at the office all day and the time that we tried to teach ended up not being able to learn so that was a bit of a bummer.

Wednesday I moved out. I was to get to the office before 10 in the morning so we tried to get there early which was about 8 or 8:30. After that the APs took us to the bus stop called Fasankarana and that place is just a mess, no order at all. But we got a bus (I rode with Elder Tangarasi who is a great friend that I lived with when I was in Ampefiloha) and we sat there for about and hour until we finally left. The drive was about 3-4 hours long with a quick lunch break. Then right as we were about to get to Antsirabe our bus died, let it be said that people were not happy and most of the other passengers caught other rides the rest of the way. Eventually the bus got fixed (apparently the oil was way low) and we got into Antsirabe just fine.

We then got picked up by some of the other elders in Antsirabe (Yeagley and Horsepool) and got taken to our house where I got with my now companion, Elder Razafimandimby. I have known this guy for most of my mission, we started in the same house, he followed me to Tamatave, we lived together in Itaosy, and now we are companions, lets say it is a small world here. After getting together we went straight to work and like I said earlier Elder Razafimandimby is a great teacher, he knows how to really teach to peoples understanding and I have a lot to learn from him.

Aside from that we just worked a bunch, trying to learn the names of all of the  investigators and members (and there are a lot) but I would say right now some of my favorite people right now would be Bruno and Lala who were just recently baptized so we are going over the lessons again but they are just amazing people.

That is about it I think, have a great week everyone and I will see you amin'ny herin-androany,

Elder Nelson