Hope all of you had a great week. Another week in Madagacar is history. There was a lot of work. What's funny about that though is that it was very effective and, even though we had to knock on many peoples' gates to see if they wanted to hear about the gospel and were, for the most part, rejected, that did not deter us from striving to keep preaching and talking. It was arguably the most effective week of missionary work I have participated in my whole mission (except for Fort Dauphin). We found some new investigators and taught many lessons. We taught 24 lessons and had 30 hours of proselyting time.
Yesterday was conference for the Ivandry Stake. We rode to a church building in a place called Andranomena (the church building is actually next to the United States Embassy, so it was cool to see the good ole stars and stripes again). The conference was great and was presided over by Elder Makasi (a Seventy from Zimbabwe). I also saw Elder Ratsimbarison (the missionary who trained me) for the first time since December 2014. He told me I was mahay (skilled) at Malagasy, so I can die in peace now. Haha. Just kidding. Really though, when he was with me, I rarely got compliments, so that one was unexpected.
We have some baptisms scheduled for either the 12th or the 19th of March. When I was serving in Ambohipo, there was this one man who had been taught the gospel many times yet he never decided to get baptized because he had another church he was already a member of but he still had not received an answer to his prayers. Elder Heo and I ran into him on the street one week and we asked him if he wanted to learn about the gospel. He said he could learn, adding that he already knew our message. As we taught him, he kept telling us that he had his own religion and that he was not sure if he would ever change yet, as time went by, he slowly started to change and, even though we could not commit him to attend church with us, he said he would eventually. He said he knew the church was true but he had not gotten an answer from the Lord. Well apparently this past week, he said he received an answer that the Church was true, and he wants to be baptized. The Ambohipo missionaries committed him to attend church, and he did. He wants to be baptized soon. It is really cool that he wants to be baptized now. We told him then that we did not believe it was coincidence that we ran into him on the street. God was giving him another chance to accept the gospel.
Next Monday, we have zone conference with Elder Kevin Hamilton of the Seventy. He will be here for a tour of the mission. He was actually here on my first preparation day in Madagascar (when I was in Tamatave) for a zone conference. Today, many of the Tana missionaries went to the mission office for a table tennis tournament. We all fought valiantly but, in the end, President Foote won.
My sign language is greatly improving. I prayed fervently this past week to be able to grasp it. There is still much vocabulary I don't understand. We usually spend some time with the deaf member each week (on Wednesdays, Sundays at church and we supposed to on Saturdays, but we haven't met with him yet), so those are the opportunities I have to learn sign language.
We found a few new investigators this week and we are starting to teach some part-member families, so hopefully we can invite and commit some of them to be baptized soon. I have really been studying Preach My Gospel the past few months. It is a tool that I regretably have neglected for most of my mission, yet it is so helpful and useful in missionary work. After all, it is a guide to missionary service. I have already been able to apply some of the principles I have learned. The scripture I focused on this week was from 1 Nephi 17:
"And I said unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done. And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?"
Have a great week everyone