A behind-the-scenes look at Evan's two-year mission in Madagascar for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Monday, June 13, 2016


   Hello everyone! This may be my last blog before I go home. I have a little over a week until I leave Madagascar. The two years here have been, as all missions are, challenging, but they have been very rewarding as well. It has been a blessing and a privilege to be able to teach and serve the people here in Madagascar. I have tried to give my best effort to serve My Heavenly Father and I have witnessed how His Gospel changes lives. It is amazing the blessings that Heavenly Father can bestow. He only requires that we keep His commandments and try to live as Jesus lived and, if we do so, he blesses us.     
   Looking back, the time spent here was an opportunity for me to grow in the Gospel and draw closer to Christ too. The Lord never called me to any work, less than a divine work, which helps and strengthens. This is the work of God. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His true church upon the earth. I have received a testimony of that as I have served here and though my efforts to fulfill this work were the efforts of a young, inexperienced teenager from South Carolina, The Lord molded me into a better missionary, a far greater missionary than I could ever be without His help. I know that this mission was never about me. It was about finding those here who needed to hear this Gospel. The Lord has blessed me so much in my own life that serving a mission was the least that I could do for Him. I can never truly repay Him, the best I can do is to give a life of service and try to  live the gospel. I am reminded of a scripture in the Book of Mormon:

"I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. 

And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.

 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.

 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?

 And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you."

   I am so very grateful for the support of each one of you who has followed me along on my mission. The many prayers and well wishes over this two-year journey, have helped me more than you will ever know. I am not sure if I will get the opportunity next week to blog before we leave, but hopefully it will work out. I intend to post a lot of pictures next, one being a baptism that we will have this coming Saturday. Until then.....

Have a great week, everyone!
Elder Pinson

Monday, June 6, 2016


 Hello everyone. I can't believe it's the first week of June! Two years ago I graduated from high school and then traveled nearly 10,000 miles from home! The fact that I am going home in about 2 weeks seems so strange. I have been in Madagascar for almost 2 years. It has been two years full of many blessings. I am grateful to the Lord because He has helped me so much. We had another baptism this week, I count it as another blessing from God.
  My last missionary conference was last week. It was strange to realize that this was my last zone conference because it seems like it was just yesterday when I got to Madagascar and now it is almost time to go home. Today, most of the missionaries here in Tana played soccer on a turf field. Much different from the sand, rock, and dirt that I have become accustomed to. After 2 years of playing here, I am still not very good at it. American football will always be my favorite!  
  I am honestly running out of stuff to mention each week. There are plans for me to have dinner with different members around Tana before I go home. Next week may be the last time I email before I go home. I will mention much more then. I am doing well, everyone. Thank you for all of your prayers! The mission is great! 

Elder Pinson

Monday, May 30, 2016

5/30/2016. Goodbye May!!!

  So, May is almost over and June is just about here! Crazy to believe! Madagascar is still great. The  weather here has been very wet.  Unfortunately there isn't  much to mention this week. We will have a baptism this week, which is very exciting! 
   The mother of a member family in the Anjanahary Ward is getting baptized. The family was out of town for several weeks because of work and they returned a few weeks ago to prepare to for the baptism. The mother of excitedly talked about how their family first met the missionaries over 20 years ago, and now she was actually going to be a member of the Church! So cool! 
  We had a zone meeting this week and I shared my testimony with the elders in the zone as is custom for missionaries who are about to leave. This week is zone conference, so I might share my testimony again. There should be great food though, so that is awesome. The mission is great. I have been so blessed to serve the Lord here in Madagascar!

 Elder Pinson

Monday, May 23, 2016


   Hello everyone! Greetings from Madagascar. 

  The mission is going great! This past week, we taught 37 lessons. The goal has just been to teach and talk to as many people as possible and it has worked. We had planned to teach more people this week, but many of them were not at home. So much work was accomplished this week that it sort of reminiscent of when I was working in Fort Dauphin. 
  We have an investigator who quickly read the booklet we gave him last week and then when we taught him, he asked us if someone could be baptized twice. We taught him that the proper priesthood authority is what makes a baptism valid in God's eyes. We then challenged him to be baptized.
  This week, we should hopefully teach even more than last week. Our goal is 45 lessons. It is great being here in Antananarivo! The weather is wonderful and a lot of the days have been sunny, which makes it less of a challenge to remain motivated to work each day. Yesterday, was the start of my last month as a missionary. It just doesn't make since that I have so little time left here. 
  I have been really bad at writing in my journal these past 2 years, so instead of trying to recap my whole mission, I have been recounting stories from my mission. And, there are many! I know that these last few weeks of my mission are probably what I will remember my mission by. And I realize that, even though my mission has been a wonderful experience, the Lord can help me these last few weeks to be an even better missionary. I am so glad that the Lord has allowed  me to share His Gospel with so many, which has also been a blessing for me. There is no way I can repay Him for those blessings, but I can and will continue to serve Him by serving the people of Madagascar.

Have a great week, everyone!

Elder Pinson

Monday, May 16, 2016


  Hello everyone! My final transfer as a missionary has been great so far! The work in Anjanahary is going better than ever, in my opinion. We have been teaching many families, church attendance is high, and the members are referring us to investigators who are ready to learn the gospel. My mission will be over in a few weeks, so I am glad that some of my best missionary work is happening now. 
  We taught a lot of really cool people this week. There is one person that we taught a while back and then we stopped visiting him because there were people in his family who were discouraging him from learning. But we ran into him last week and we asked him if he wanted to learn again and he said that he still wanted to learn. He has moved to another area, so that is cool. We got referrals from a recent convert and another of our other recent converts got a calling at church on Sunday. Missionary work has been great here!  We go out to work and we just teach. Sometimes we have to tract, but for the most part, we usually have lesson after lesson each day. I really look forward to teaching the Gospel and seeing the " mighty change" that it brings to the lives of the people here
We taught 27 lessons last week! Hopefully we can teach more than that this week
   Today is the day after Pentecost, which is a holiday celebrated here in Madagascar. Very few stores or cybers are open today, so I am blessed to be able to email today. I really want to be the best missionary I have ever been this last transfer. I have learned a lot. The Lord has really helped me as I have strived to served Him. The challenges of a mission are real, but, I know that with God's help, anything is possible. Madagascar is a wonderful place! I have made so many friends and met so many awesome disciples of Christ. It is such an inspiration and a humbling experience for me to see so many who, even in poor circumstances, still try do the Lord's will. My hope is that I can pattern my life after that example. Asking for your continued prayers on behalf of the work here. Have a great week, everyone!

Elder Pinson

Monday, May 9, 2016


   Hello everyone. 

    I don't have much to mention much this week. I really enjoyed the opportunity to Skype with my family yesterday. It was great to see and hear everyone. Today is the start of my last transfer as a missionary here in Madagascar. The time has flown by quickly. I say this all the time, but I really can't believe that I have been a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints since 2014. The Lord has blessed me so much more than my efforts as one of His servants deserve. As this final transfer starts, I ask for your prayers that I will be able to remain a diligent missionary until my time here ends.  I ate something called trondromaina or fish that they hang on a line in the sun until it is truly dried fish. Pretty disgusting as you can guess. Until next time....

Have a great week everyone,
Elder Pinson

Monday, May 2, 2016


  Last week was a good week. I would say the highlight of the week was the baptisms on Saturday. It was awesome to see people who wanted to be baptized and be disciples of Jesus Christ have that opportunity. Everything went as planned with the baptismal program. Everytime I listen to new converts bear their testimonies and share the experiences that led them to be baptized, I am assured that the message that we are sharing blesses lives and is truly from God. I have learned a few lessons recently. It's funny, I have only about a transfer left as a missionary, but there is always something new I can learn.

NEVER write someone off as being uninterested in hearing or learning the gospel without trying to share 
it. We will never understand what people are looking for without talking to them. There is a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants that says that if we will preach the gospel, it does not matter where we are in the world, we cannot go wrong. Fear should never be a factor because now, with access to social media, we can easily share Church videos and conference talks with our friends and family. The reason I say that is because throughout my mission, I have unintentionally classified people in my mind as those who look like they would listen to the gospel and those who probably wouldn't.  But a predetermination to not talk about the gospel to those we don't think will be interested prevents us from being guided and led, by the Spirit, to those who truly need the gospel in their lives. I have tried to make that change this week. It is difficult, but I have already seen how much of a difference it makes in our missionary work. It also makes me we wonder how many people I may have missed because I did not give them a chance. We should talk to everyone, because everyone is a child of God, and everyone deserves the chance to hear His  word and return to His presence. This is a very important lesson for everyone, not just the full-time missionaries.
    Much of missionary work is about laying the bricks of a foundation in a person's conversion; we perform acts of service, develop friendships and teach our lessons, hoping to inspire someone who may be investigating the Church; sometimes nothing happens until the next set of missionaries comes along and lays more bricks or adds on to what was initially started. Sometimes it may take years and many sets of missionaries for it to happen; and sometimes it just doesn't happen at all. But once the Spirit steps in, the end result is something far greater then they can even imagine . Of course, we must have faith that God will give these people trials and experiences that will prepare them to accept the gospel. When we as missionaries and members talk with our friends, family, and even strangers about the gospel, we find it easy to be discouraged when their response to our sincere beliefs is not what we hoped it would be. When I think about people here in Madagascar or South Carolina, I realize that I know many who already have the foundation of a testimony of Jesus Christ. As missionaries we know what people need to do to build on that foundation, but we can be a great help as we set a good example, show Christlike kindness and charity to those around us, and serve. When I serve those around me, I know that at least in some way, I am fulfilling my covenant to take upon me the name of Christ. I have had several opportunities to serve others recently, the most recent being yesterday. We were riding in a taxi, and the taxi had a flat tire. So we waited and watched taxi driver's car while he ran to have the tired fixed; it took about an hour and a half before he returned. As he drove us home, we told him we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and got his contact information. We hope to be able to teach him soon about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I have also had opportunities to serve without even mentioning the gospel once. Somewhere in the future, those people will remember their experiences, and it will strengthen their faith that God lives and he works through inspired individuals opon the earth.

I get to Skype soon! I am looking forward to that. It is my last Skype as a missionary.  I hope everyone has a great day.

              Elder Pinson