Monday, September 26, 2016

I Love Madagascar and all its Weird Perks!

This week has been the adjusting week, to the food, culture, everything. I am also starting to do things on my own like buy stuff from the store in Malagasy and get to know someone. The language is coming slowly, but at least it is coming, thankfully.  We teach about six to seven lessons a day and I am still not able to add much but a couple of statements here and there. So my comp has had to teach on his own most of the time. I am able to add more and more of my thoughts everyday though so that is good.

The people and families we teach are so awesome. I wish I had pictures of their homes because they are so interesting. The other day we were invited into teach this family and on the way to their room or house I guess there were giant pigs. The path was like a skinny wood hallway with a short roof so we had to go right through these pigs. I thought they were going to eat me along with the slop on the floor that they were inhaling as we stepped over them.  I have seen some of the weirdest things here that are so normal now. Like cows just walking down the street in the middle of traffic.

I am starting to get used to the breast feeding thing. I have never been weirded out by breast feeding before but here you can have a mother just start doing it right in front of you as you teach her and her family, which is fine. The weird part is the kid is usually like six or seven.  We always walk on the sketchiest wood paths that could break at any moment and you could fall into a swamp that is full of who knows what.

I love this experience!!  I love Madagascar and all its weird perks! I love the gospel and being here sharing it with these people has made me love it even more, because i have seen it bless lives and bring so much happiness. There are so many questions that people have including me about life and after life. And if you just read the Bible and the Book of Mormon you can find the answers. I am so thankful that God continues to talk to us and give us guidance. I am thankful for a prophet that has the authority to receive revelation from God. I know that because God loves us he gives us things and ways to know how to make it back to him and be happy in this life and in eternity. The way you can know this is true by seeking and trying. If you act and do your part to find truth then God will do his part and make it known unto you. But if you do not do anything God will not do your part for you. We need to act. Read, ponder about it, then pray and ask God if it is true. He does not want us to be lost.
Thanks for listening,
I hope life back home is going good.
Elder Allen

Monday, September 19, 2016

Elder Allen and Band inAmpifiloha

Hi everyone,  
Just wanted to let you know that Sam made it safe and sound.  I am enclosing a couple of pictures with the group email, but if you want to see all of the pictures he sends they will be on his blog every week.  You can see his blog at

Thanks for all of the love and support and prayers in his behalf.


Dear Family and Friends,
First off I have to type on a french keyboard so my emails might sound a little special until i get used to it. Also I actually don't get a lot of time to email each week so sorry if they are short, I wish I could write a lot. There is a lot to tell you.

The flights were very long, I slept the whole way on each flight. I was the only person whose bag did not make it. That is why I am frowning in one picture. So I went without it for a few days, but I have it now so don't worry.

The drive to the mission home was crazy. I thought we would crash every 10 seconds, because there are like no laws here. Everyone just does what they want.

Madagascar is not even considered a third world country, it is still in the developing country category. So it is very poor, very crazy, and very unorganized. I saw a dead dog and a guy pooping next to it on the side of the road on that drive. Also a box of free babies just on the side of the road. That was sad to see. There are a lot of things here that are heart breaking but I am going to keep this email positive.

Madagascar is beautiful, and crazy looking. People every where. It kind of looks like a mix of Rio and China I would imagine.

My companion is Elder Band. He is a great teacher of the language and the gospel. He is from West Virginia. There are six of us in our apartment. Our apartment is nice for Mada. I fill my bottle with filtered water from the apartment every morning and drink it throughout the day. The average day is: study in the morning and then go out teaching and meeting crazy people in Ampifiloha for the rest of the day. Ampifiloha, which is a suburb close by the city.  It is where I am serving. I walk everywhere. I am getting used to it now but the first couple of days I was exhausted.

The first lesson i taught was in a small wood house that is the size of a car. There was a family of like six living there. The house consisted of a bed and a table right next to the bed. There is trash and sewage rivers every where so there are little wooden bridges that you walk on to get from house to house. It is so cool looking. I need to take more pictures. Everyone here is like kind of racist towards white people. Every single person we walk by yells, "VASA" which means foreigner in like a harsh way. But if we just smile and start talking to them then they are the nicest people. Sometimes...

I can't understand almost anything yet so i just kind of follow my comp around and say hi to people. I feel like Indiana Jones here, walking around through weird alley ways in between poorly built homes stacked on top of each other. I am teaching lessons about Jesus by a candle light that keeps going out. The pictures I have are in the nice nice part of town where I live so you can't see what it looks like where I tract yet. I will take more pictures. We take these taxi things called taxi bes which are basically a big van that you jump onto and cram in, then jump off when you get to where you want. They are so sketchy. Everything here is sketchy though.

I am sorry that I can't write everyone and respond to everyone each time, but I will try to answer everyone's questions here in the group email. Please continue to write me because I like to read about home. I just don't have too much time to respond individually. Keep telling me about your lives and if any one is interested in mine they can read the group email.

Love you and miss you Mom, Dad, Jess, Tanner, and all other family and friends. I will write more details about lessons and stories next time. I just wanted  to get all the culture and first experience stuff out of the way.

Elder Allen

Friday, September 9, 2016

Last MTC Letter

I am headed out to Madagascar on Monday. I have 53 hours of flying. I am pretty stoked to be out there. I can speak with and kind of understand my Malagasy Teachers, but the other day they showed us a recording of what native Malagasy's sound like and i could barely understand a single word. Hopefully it will come quickly when i get out there.
I am blessed to have this opportunity to go do service for two years. I have learned a lot about service over the last month and have come to realize that it is the purest form of love and compassion. It resembles Christ like character. I hope that I can be a source of light and understanding to the people in Madagascar. I hope they will feel the love and awareness that their Heavenly Father has for them as they pursue him themselves.
I have been thinking about the concept of Agency lately. This means we have the freedom to make our own choices. When we go through hardships or trials we cannot expect help without asking for it. God will stand back, obeying the Law of Agency until we ask for help, so we need to ask. As a missionary, I am not the source that converts a person to believe something. The information that I share is not the key to the heart, it is only the package. I have to leave this package on the doorsteps. For it is up to that person and their Free Agency to let it in. But the only way that is possible is with the key. That key is the Holy Ghost. No one can be convinced of such crazy sounding things that are so far from our understanding without God and the Spirit of truth confirming it to you. That is why one of the greatest commandments we have is to "Ask". The power of prayer is real. We must pray ever day, the more you humble yourself to him the more of a hand he can have in your life. We do not have to think we are on our own. God loves us and wants us to reach out to him. So why not take advantage of his help. If you do you will see a difference in your life.
Elder Allen

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A few Random Pics

Random Pictures...

Sam sister Jessica served in Norway.  Sister Peterson was her companion.  She is now working in the MTC and found Sammy!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Testimony of the Prophet Joseph


I got my flight plans for Madagascar today. I am excited and ready to go even though I cant speak Malagasy very well. I am the travel leader for my district. If someone gets lost or misses their flight it is my fault. Hopefully we all make it there.

Until I am in Madagascar I will not have much to share, so I have just been sharing my spiritual thoughts from the week.

I have been studying and praying about the Joseph Smith story a lot lately. Specifically, why did he do all that he did? If he did not actually see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, then why did he try so hard to start a restored church of Jesus Christ? He did not receive any gain, a higher social status, or money. He actual received the exact opposite. His life was full of one hardship after another because of what he was doing. So why would he keep trying so hard to fulfill this purpose?

Joseph Smith actually had his life threatened unless he would admit to not having seen God and Jesus Christ. He refused to deny it... This is because he could not deny it.

When Joseph Smith was just a young man his family and himself were confused about which church to join. They all taught similar doctrine but were all a little different. One night he was reading in the Bible in James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God". This touched his heart and he decided to do as this scripture directed. He went to a quiet place, knelt down before God, and opened up his heart to him. This is his own account, "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me i saw two personages who's brightness and glory defy all description standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me calling me by name saying, this is my beloved son, here him."

The only way a person would go through so much peril, sacrifice, and devotion throughout their whole lives is if this happened to them. Joseph Smith was a latter day prophet. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. When his children lose their way he will not leave them alone to figure it out by themselves. He loves us too much. He provides a path for us to follow. It is up to us to decide whether we are going to follow it or not.

Joseph Smith restored the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That information is the second most important thing we can come to know. The first is the coming and Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ.

All of these things about the life of Joseph Smith should not be the reason someone comes to believe in its truth. A sure testimony of Joseph Smith and the Restoration only comes through asking God yourself. If you do with a real, sincere, intent to receive an answer, then the feelings of the spirit will make it known unto you.

That is why i believe what Joseph Smith saw and did was real.
Elder Allen