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 21, 2015


  So the week went well. I know I always say that, but this mission does not exactly have a lot of stuff going on from day to day, so it is always easy to say that "the week went well". 
In all honesty, the main challenge this week was similar to the challenges from the past few weeks. We were having difficulty accomplishing major goals this week because we are always having meetings at the office (which doubles as the church building our ward attends). We are at the mission office at least 5 times a week. I had an interview with President Foote this past week, and we talked about what we could do to leave time for preaching gospel in spite of all our other meetings. My companion and I decided that we are going to try stack all of our meetings on Tuesdays.
  So on Tuesday, we started work a little early because we knew we had to teach English class for two hours. We found a really cool family and we taught them about the message of the Restoration. Later on, we went to teach English class at the office. Our English class is really a lot of fun! We teach those who already know some English,  so we rarely have to speak Malagasy at all. Elder Nelson and I wanted to make English class a really cool experience for everyone, so we bought some snacks from a nearby epicerie (I think that is French---it is basically a place that sells snacks...they are everywhere in Madagascar) and we created a "Superheroes versus Villains" game. Everyone picked a name out of a hat, to determine who they would be. We gave them 20 words to learn and then they had to face off with someone and tell me the translation of the word in English or Malagasy as fast as possible. The villains fought the villains, and the superheroes fought the superheroes. The championship battle was villain against superhero, Loki vs Spiderman and Spiderman won. Everyone got snacks, but the winner got a Frego (which is a wafer snack). Elder Nelson is uploading a video of all of that, so you should be able to find it if you ask his family. Tomorrow, we are going to add 20 new words in addition to the words from last week. That should be way cool. 
   Wednesday was work as usual. We have a decent number of investigators we are teaching, but we are seeing that some of them who were taught by previous missionaries were less converted to the gospel than they were to the missionaries. We are working on changing that, and we're emphasizing the importance of reading the scriptures and praying to God to know the truth and not just believing because they like the missionaries. There is a family that we found this past week, and they are way cool!  We were tracting one day and we were turning around to go back to the street and this old guy waved at us. We waved back at him and walked away.  I said to my companion something like, "Hey, let's go talk to this guy." And we went back.  He let us in and we taught him and his family members about the Restoration. Yesterday, we returned, and they were happy to see us again. There were probably around 10 or 15 people in the house at one point. The majority of them answered questions, participated in the lesson, and committed to pray to God to know if our message is true. We should return tomorrow to teach them.
  Thursday, we had district meeting (at the office). I got my brand new name tags that day, Friday, we were at the office again because had a small activity with the bishopric and the recent converts of the ward. After that, we had a meeting with our ward mission leader. Saturday morning, my companion and I had interviews with President Foote. We talked a lot about the future of the Church in Madagascar. We stayed at the office because we had a meeting with the bishop at 1. 
  Sunday was church, of course. The elders quorum (missionaries included) sang a song in French called, "L'amour de Dieu sa force aussi". I have no idea if that is spelled correctly, nor do I know exactly what that means. I just think it interesting that an American in Madagascar is singing a song in French. Go figure. Sunday, Elder Nelson and I were surprised to see that the Footes were attending our ward's sacrament meeting. I don't have a lot of experience with translating (even though I have confidence in my language ability), so I was a little nervous to translate the whole meeting for the Footes. Fortunately enough, it went well. Except for a few stray words and phrases, I believe I was able to understand and clearly communicate what was said in the talks and announcements.  Later, after church, our ward mission leader walked with us to a part of Ambohipo my companion and I had not seen before. A few members of the ward live out there. That is a summary of the week.
  Now, I want to tell you what an average day of missionary work in Madagascar is like. I have been meaning to talk about that but I kept forgetting, so here it is:

6:30 AM     Arise! Prepare to study at 8. 
8 AM          Personal Study
9 AM          Companionship study
10 AM        Language study
11 PM        Lunch (usually at a small cheap food place)
12 PM        Search for new investigators, teach, attend meetings, etc.
9:30 PM     Ideally, this is the time the day should be finished. Unfortunately, because of schedule problems, the day could be finished before then.
Hopefully that was helpful for other people in understanding how the life of a missionary works. If that was not detailed enough, I apologize. I will try to include more detail another week.

Have a great week, everyone! I am having a great mission, and I appreciate y'all's support and prayers Elder Pinson

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