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

Monday, September 14, 2015


   Unfortunately, I don't have much time to write this email, so I will start by saying that this week was a week of personal spiritual progression. My companion, Elder Nelson, and I are really trying to put into practice the importance of teaching and learning by the Holy Spirit. We really do not believe that it is enough for our investigators to accept the words of the missionaries. We want the people we teach to be instructed from on high, and we want them to ask God to know if what we have been teaching is true or if it is not.  So much work has to be done to erase the "converted to the missionaries" or "converted to the Church" mindset and change that to the absolutely necessary "converted unto the Lord" mindset. This is our "mission" here in Ambohipo.
  I gave a lot more attention to meaningful prayer and study this week, and Elder Nelson's and my efforts to contact and teach were enhanced. There were several times this week where lessons we taught, if not taught by the Spirit, could have gone horribly wrong, but they all turned out well. Another thing that has been a faith builder for me was a few times the past few weeks were I decided to talk to someone or to go to someone's door and it turned out to be someone who was interested in learning. I don't believe in coincidences when it comes to missionary work. I know that because Elder Nelson and I are doing our best, we are seeing blessings.
   We taught a family yesterday and it was interesting how we found them. We were walking down a path, and a saw a guy standing in his house near the doorway who looked sort of unkempt and like someone I would normally avoid. Yet, we decided that we were going to talk to him (I am not sure why). After talking with the man and his elderly mother, we learned that they were Catholic, and it seemed we were not going to be able to teach them. We were just going to share a scripture with them, but we decided that we should teach about the Restoration. As the lesson progressed, we learned that they had some doubts about their Catholic faith (they, for example, did not believe that there is a fulness of the truth on the earth). When the elderly lady was talking about her beliefs, she mentioned that she believed that there were teachings that were added to or removed from the Bible. When she first said that, I thought maybe I should mention the apostasy, but I was hesitant (I did not want to infringe upon their beliefs because they said they were not wanting to change churches), so I ignored that thought. Later in the lesson, she said it again and I had the same prompting ("I need to talk about the apostasy").So I did. We talked about priesthood authority and the Church of Jesus Christ. When we talked about prophets and apostles, we asked them if they believed that there were living, modern apostles today. They all said no. When we showed them a picture of the current prophets and apostles, there was a silence in which I think there was a lot of pondering about our message. Then one of the people, who was a daughter of the elderly woman, asked for a book. We set another appointment to visit them on Sunday. These are some of the great experiences that I have had lately. I really believe that Elder Nelson and I would not be able to accomplish what we did without being led to that house and then teaching to the family's needs. Elder Nelson and I both belief that we were teaching them with and through the power of the Spirit. , 
    This past week was quiet, but we were still able to find 9 new investigators.  We also had a fun English class on Tuesday at the church, which sort of reminded me of the game nights back in the Irmo Ward. Except there was no Xbox, no wings, no board games, and no food in general. We told a lot of jokes. Elder Nelson and I pretended to be angry with each other and acted out a fight scene. The people in the class thought it was the funniest thing ever. And now it is kind of an inside joke when we just yell for no reason.  
    Great news about the couple that the Johnsons know who were called here. There is a list in the mission office that has the names of everyone who is going to arrive in this mission through January (I don't remember seeing any Smiths though. I know two people are going to replace some of the senior office missionaries in a few months, they are going to be in Madagascar, but I cannot remember their names. The scripture this week is from Alma 30:60 "And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell."
This scripture teaches us that Satan has no other purpose for us than to drag us down to hell. So why should we give him that chance? We should always keep the commandments and pray often, in order to keep our spiritual freedom. 
 I am doing well! The mission is great! Next time I will mention more stuff in next week's email. 

Amin'ny herinandro any indray!

              Elder Pinson

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