Monday, July 17, 2017

The Gospel Changes Lives

Hello,

This week went by pretty fast because we had Zone Conference. The Conference was great and I learn a lot every time we have one. The mission has started to have one every transfer now. 



I just had an interview with my Mission President and it sounds like I will be training new missionaries pretty soon. Not this next transfer but probably the one after that. The plan changes all the time though so we will have to wait and see. 




Last week my companion, Elder Beeson, was sick for two days so I had to stay home with him. I cleaned the entire house, baked, played the guitar, worked out, killed two mice, and studied the gospel while my comp. was asleep. Staying home kind of sucks but you get a lot of things done with all the free time. I have realized that when I get home I will never waste time. I will always have things to do.

This is a quote I read this last week and find very good.
"Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature. There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required." -Thomas S. Monson

We need to have more trust in the timing of our Heavenly Father. We should remember that as long as we keep our covenants and follow him than he is bound. Blessings are given to those who are prepared for them. The Gospel changes lives and perspectives. I know that those who apply the Gospel into their lives will be more happy and blessed. One thing I have learned as I have applied it more in my life here as a missionary,  is that it does not change who you are. It only enhances your God-like qualities and shrinks the natural man in us.

Sincerely,
Elder Allen

Monday, July 10, 2017

She Was the Lord of the House.

Hello,
This past week was a pretty good one. We visited a lot of members the week before and told them we were looking for people to teach. So this week we returned to see if they had anyone for us and they all did. So we taught a lot of friends and family of the members. They were all really good lessons. I have taught the message of the Restoration of the Gospel more times then I could even count, just this last week. We still only had 2 out of 10 people come to church yesterday who said they would but I think next week will be better.

In a lesson the other day we were teaching this really nice man about Christ's Church when in the middle of the lesson he felt the need to tell us that the Bible says we should drink alcohol because it can help us be hard workers. He said that you should not get drunk but the human body needs alcohol every once in a while to stay healthy. As visitors in his home we did not feel good about just shutting down his belief so in a very nice way I just said, "Hmmm, I am not too sure that is quite true. I actually think we should try our best to not drink because it is harmful to our bodies." He was pretty confused about my answer but we just returned to the lesson. My companion was not talking too much in that lesson so the man looked at him and said, "if you had some alcohol in you then you would not be so tired and could work harder." He was a really funny man and it was an enjoyable lesson. As we were leaving his wife was entering the home and stopped us to thank us for all we do but to please come to her first before entering into her home because she was the lord of the house. She was actually pretty plastered. The word of wisdom might be a hard lesson for them if we get to that point.

Have a good week.
Sincerely,
Elder Allen


Sam's Companion Elder Beeson and Sam's great cooking.  




Bike Parts in Sam's backyard.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Feel More Abundantly Heavenly Father's Love

Hello,
The new transfer actually starts today. I have already worked a week with my new comp, Elder Beeson in Ambolomadinika.

Last Sunday,  only one Investigator came to church even though over ten promised us that they would. That is the way things usually go so it is okay. We are working pretty hard to find some new people at the moment. We have been tracting a lot lately. I can not even count how many times we were stopped by groups of drunk people on the road just to talk with them about their problems. That does not feel very rewarding though because I do not think they will remember the things that I told them.

I have been reading the scriptures a lot lately. I have come to find that scripture study is one of the most calming, mind settling things that we can do. The scriptures are God's loving advice and wisdom for us as his children. I am convinced that those who read from the Book of Mormon everyday will gain a better understanding of their purpose, the direction they should take, and will feel more abundantly Heavenly Father's love for them.

Sincerely,
Elder Allen

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Madagascar's Independence Day

Hello,

This last week was the end of the Transfer. Elder Olsen left to Tana last Saturday, so I was on splits going around with the other Elders in my house for the weekend. My new companion is Elder Beeson.  He was in my MTC group so it should be fun.  He is from Missouri.  I am still the district leader for this area.

It was Madagascar's Independence Day yesterday so for the past three days we have had a curfew to be home before 6 every night. The Malagasies go crazy on holidays. Yesterday there was not much we could do because every business was closed, so we just played soccer all morning on the beach,  and then played games at the other missionaries' house until 6. There have been big festivals, concerts, and fairs here so we walked through those and then ate at a good restaurant too. It was a fun/chill P-day.

There have been  a lot of holidays during this last transfer, so a lot of people did not come to church every week, especially investigators, which sucked. We plan on working pretty hard this transfer to turn things around. We are going to have to do a lot of finding at the moment.

I will hit my year mark this transfer.  August 3  is when I went into the MTC.  But Sept. 14th was when I first came to Madagascar.  But I will most likely be coming home next year in the middle of July.  So no matter how you look at it, I have one year left!

This mission is still going great!!

Next Week,
Elder Allen

Monday, June 19, 2017

Q&A with Elder Allen

Sam didn't send a group email today.  But he chatted with Scott and I for a second and then sent some pictures.Here are some highlights of our conversation:


What did you do today for P-day?   
"We played soccer again with the same kids, we had ice cream, we made banana bread for a soiree, and now we are cybering."


Is the weather cooling off now? 
"I do not think it could ever be cold in Madagascar.  But I am used to the weather now so it is not hot, just warm all the time."


Are you finding new investigators?     
"I am finding new people to teach every week here, but they are not always the most diligent."



That was about it from Sam today.  
Sounds like he had a busy P-day and not much time to cyber!







Monday, June 12, 2017

A Gifted Tie

Hello,

This week all the AP (Assistants to the President) missionaries are staying up here in Tamatave with us. We have been going on splits with them a lot. We have four APs in our mission and they are all up here. Two of them are going to stay until the end of the transfer when they actually die (go home). They are in my companion's same group.

Last Sunday was the District Meeting for all of the Branches here in Tamatave. President gave a really great talk to strengthen the Branches. His Translator did not fully understand his thought and humor so none of the Malagasies would laugh when he made a joke. It is pretty hard to transfer English thoughts into Malagasy. I cant even think of the English translation for some things I say in Malagasy, because sometimes there is not one. Malagasy thought is completely different. It has actually made my English sound a little weird sometimes because I think of things to say the way a Malagasy would say them.

On Saturday we all played soccer behind the church with some kids in our Branch. We basically played soccer in a cyclone. It rained so hard on us during the game. It was really fun though so no problem.  We played more soccer this morning and I am so sore.  It's all good.

Have a good week.
Sincerely,
Elder Allen

This is Dmb Stephane.  He is a member of the branch in Tamatave and he works with the missionaries and is in charge of the branch and district missionaries too.  Sam gave him that tie.







Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Building relationships

Hello,

This week we have been doing a lot of work with the members and getting to know them better. It has made it so we eat at their houses every week. Building relationships with them gives you free food and referrals for new investigators.

Yesterday we went to the beach and played soccer there with a bunch of Malagasy kids. I have not run in a long time... they wrecked us.






A lot of weird things happened last Thursday. During a lesson, I was giving the opening prayer when the little boy of the investigator started to choke on something and then throw it up. For some reason at that moment I thought it was the funniest thing ever so I burst out laughing and could not even finish my prayer it was so bad. Every one started laughing with me though so it was okay. I thought it was funny because no one stopped praying to help him during my prayer, they just sat waiting until Iwas done. So we all just listened to this kid dying together.

That was the last lesson of that night so we got a Puss (bike taxi) home. We fought for the price of 500 Ar home and he accepted it. He was way drunk and it was really funny talking to him as he drove us home. When we arrived I gave him 500 Ar and he was like, "hey man this is not okay where is the rest?" He would not let us just walk away so we had to explain to him that he already accepted that price. Also other Malagasies feel obligated to stop and ask what the problem is. My comp. Just said a word that means, he is trying to take advantage of us. They all laughed when they heard it. They chatted with the Puss driver and we just walked away. It was such a weird night.

That was my week.
Sincerely,
Elder Allen




Monday, May 29, 2017

I am Going to Learn A Lot

This has been a good week  for the area of Ambolomadinika. We have been finding alot of cool little families that seem pretty interested in our message.

I am going to learn alot this transfer because i am with a companion that is dying at the end of it. He is a very experienced missionary and really good at the language. I am also a District leader which requires me to conduct meetings, share a lesson, and take reports once a week. I also have to do Baptism Interviews for the missionarys in my district.

Funny Story: The other day my companion and i were talking to our Investigator outside of his house/hut when a chicken completely covered in poop came running out from underneath the house. It must have jumped into a poop bucket in the back. It was way funny to watch the Malagasies notice it, freak out, and then chase it. It smelled way bad.

Nothing much new has happened this week other than that.
Sincerely,
Elder Allen


 Jessica's wedding to come... Sam was there in spirit and in a cardboard cut out... :)


Monday, May 22, 2017

"Don't have a limited view of your potential."

Hi everyone,

The new transfer has begun in Madagascar. We got to see President Foote up here in Tamatave for a Zone Conference. It is always good to see him and feel his spirit. Also I am the new District Leader here in Tamatave for my house.  My new companion is Elder Olsen.  He is from Pleasant Grove.  I knew him from my last area and he is great.

I have been thinking a lot about our potentials as sons and daughters of God. I heard a quote from this last Zone Conference that said, "Don't have a limited view of your potential." I find this statement very applicable to everyone. I know that everyone has a potential bigger than they could even comprehend. This gospel is all centered on the purpose of helping us become like our Heavenly Father who is all knowing and perfect. It is very important to first understand our potential and then second strive to achieve it. The key to this is humility and diligence. If we are humble we can see that there is need for improvement and a possibility to be better. Then, we must work hard to reach that status. This can be applied to anything in our lives that we want to achieve. But the biggest and most important one to strive for is being a disciple of Christ. It is not easy sometimes to reach that potential but it surely is one of the things we can all see is need for improvement in our lives.  Christ surely was perfect. No one here on earth is perfect but everyone should realize that it is there potential and we can strive to become like Him.

Sincerely,
Elder Allen











Monday, May 15, 2017

I Can Feel His Love

Hello,
This week has been wonderful and hard at the same time. I got to speak to my family on Skype which was great.


Also the end of the transfer for us has come and my Companion Elder Wilson is heading to Tana. I am staying in Tamatave and Elder Todd Olsen is coming up to me. It is his last transfer so I am killing him here in Ambolomadinika.  I will probably need to stay for another transfer to show the next guy the area. I love this area though so it is all good. I also lived with Elder Olsen before in my last house so this transfer should be great.

My area is doing pretty good right now. We just had some baptisms so we are kind of in a phase of searching for and finding new investigators. Although, the branch here is really strong and full of really spiritual people.

I have a testimony that there is a God, and that he loves us very much. I know that because I can feel his love and know that every one else can as well when they follow his will. Faith is one of the most important aspects of the Gospel. It is actually the first Principle of it. If you do not have Faith then nothing else matters. There are many people that believe that Faith is believing in things that we cannot know are true. That is false. Faith is a hope for things that are not seen however are true. Also Faith is truly related to a seed. It becomes nothing and sometimes dies if you do not nurture it. If we do not give faith in God a chance and follow it, then we will surely lose it. I know that this is true, I have experienced it myself. It is not good enough to have a simple belief on its own. We must act upon it. I can surely testify that if anyone has a desire to know whether there is a loving Heavenly Father and that he continues to guide his children here on earth today, then you need to try and obey all of his commandments and apply all the principles of the Gospel in your life. Until we do so, we will continue to have doubt and be unsure. But as soon as we do so we will instantly feel the power of his holy spirit in our lives and will not be able to deny the answer that we receive.

Sincerely,
Elder Allen

Monday, May 8, 2017

Elder Wilson and I Baptized 4 Wonderful People

***Thanks to all who sent Sam a Happy Birthday message.  He said that made him so happy when he opened his emails this morning.  His birthday is Saturday so you can still send him a birthday message and he will get it on Sunday when he Skypes for Mother's Day!  

Hello,

This week has been great. Elder Wilson and I baptized 4 wonderful people this last Saturday. I am so grateful for the blessing it was to be a part of that. The baptismal font was full of brown water but what can you do in Madagascar.  We are hoping for a few more baptisms in the next two weeks, but are waiting for them to get legally married.







Last Monday was pretty crazy for Elder Wilson and I. The TukTuk (motorcycle taxi) we were taking home from the store was stopped by a police officer on the road. When he saw us in the back he asked for our passports because we are Vahaza (white). We told him that we did not have them and he made us get out of the Tuk Tuk. We spent the rest of the night trying to prove to the Police that we were not Illegal Aliens.  Someone from the office in Tana had to bring us our passports.  It is all good and cleared up now though.


I have the opportunity to spend my Birthday and Mother's Day Skyping home. I am way stoked to see my family for the second time since I have been out here in Mada. I am nearly coming up onto my year mark. The time has flown by.
Have a good week.
Sincerely,
Elder Allen

Showering  outside during Cyclone Enawo.

Big ugly spiders outside of their house!