Elder Scott Weber's mission to Madagascar. Check back for weekly emails and pictures of Madagascar!

Alma 26:12 - Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Transfer Week!

Letter from Nov 17

So this was a successful transfer week. Not too stressful, and we didnt forget anyone at any bus stops or airports or anything. 

So lets take a trip through the week. 

Monday - P-day - had a good p-day. Taught one really great time to an Investigator named Nadia. So Nadia's husband is frequently drunk, which causes some problems. He likes the missionaries and there was a time before that he was diligent learning from the missionaries. However, they have been investigators for 9 years now, because of marriage issues. And Nadia has been really diligent the whole time, but recently has gotten a little depressed because of always being an investigator and not a member. So we had a really good lesson with her and she came to church again!!

And then we went back to the office and did our weekly stats.

Tuesday - The fun began. We had office meeting from 8:30 - 10:20. Talking about the week and all the issues and problems in the mission. Then afterwards we made a bunch of phone calls for transfers and then we met with President Adams about the Zone Conferences coming up. We planned all of the things that we want to discuss and teach about. So a little about my schedule coming up. This transfer is only 5 weeks thus to not interfere with Christmas. And then the next one will be 7. So in this transfer we have 6 zone conferences scheduled, MLC, OLC, transfer meetings, and more. So this is going to be a crazy really fast transfer with a lot of travelling. By the time this transfer ends, I am going to be just exhausted. After the meeting, we got some office work done, taught some of English Class and then went to Departure Dinner. Two missionaries left. Sister Johnson from my group, and Elder Rakotoniaina. It was a good dinner, probably the funniest to date, and then from there we had the testimony meeting. Now because it was transfers here is a story for ya.

We had planned to go and pick people up from their houses to stay with us Tuesday night, due to needing to leave early in the morning on Wednesday. So we take Hank the Tank, one of our big vans, to go pick people up. As we get close to this one house, we have to go up this really long narrow road, that when it rains floods pretty bad. So its not raining, but it had rained the day before. So as we get close to the house, the van starts fishtailing, and then eventually he gets stuck. It was a cobblestone road, with just enough mud to not let the tires get any traction. And the van doesnt have 4 wheel drive. So we spent almost an hour trying to get this van turned around. So we could get the van to move some, the problem was we had to turn around to go back the way we came, and we couldnt get the van to go up any of the hills to turn around, due to the traction. So after a bunch of failed attempts, we just back the van out, fish-tailing it, to another location where we were able to flip around and get out. Lots of work, but we did it!

Wednesday - We went on a split first thing in the morning. I took a few missionaries in the Duster to the Tamatave bus stop to get them on their way. Elder Fox took Hank and took them to the Antsirabe bus stop. Then we met back at the office and took Hank out to the airport. We stopped for lunch on the way. Upon getting to the airport, we had to get Sister Johnson checked in. Let me just put it this way. The Ivato airport is quite a headache everytime we go. We can never seem to get it to go smoothly, EVER. There will be plently of stories to tell when I get home.

So we get her finally checked in, and then we wait for the new missionaries. We welcomed them and picked up Elder Roush who flew in from Fort D. and then we were off back to the office. Back at the office, doing paperwork, and then we got to dinner! Dinner was great, as always, and then we did something new. We took the three new missionaries up to the top of one of the hills here in Tana and looked out over the nice view. It was very nice to do and a good way to finish off the evening. Then we went back to our apartment and all of us .... crashed hard.

Thursday - So we wake up and get everyone to breakfast. After breakfast we had a trainer meeting and then we did something new again. We sent the 4 trainers and the 3 trainees off to do some contacting and teaching. The reason why is the fourth new trainee came in from the Ghana MTC on Thursday. So one of the office couples picked him up at the airport and brought him back. We had lunch together at 1 and then we launched into training for the new missionaries. That went until about 4:45. We got them assigned to their companions and then we shipped them off. Three companionships are here in Tana and so that is easy, The other one was going to Tamatave. So we had bought them bus tickets for the 5:30 bus, meaning they should be there by 5. We end up wondering if we were going to make it since the training had gone on a lot longer than we had expected. Luckily the Lord works miracles and we got to the busstop in record time and they made their bus. 

Then we went and met with our DMP and called it a night. 

Friday - Transfers were over!! So we did some catch up on some office work and then we got out and we taught some in the evening. Good day! 

Saturday - So we attended a ward baptism and that took up part of the day. And then we had some office work to get done. After all of that we did something incredible. We met with Jules, our deaf member here, and we skyped Sister Turley in Washington DC and we taught/learned ASL together. It was a great experience and Jules is really excited. We have it scheduled again for Tuesday. So that will be a great experience! 

Sunday - We had Ward Conference!! Of course I was asked rather last minute to play the piano for the choir, but it went well and the conference was a success. They called a new bishop for the ward which will be very exciting to see how the ward progresses. It should be progressing a lot more than it is, but that is life, and with a bishop hopefully things will start progressing a lot more. And then we went out and taught that evening. We learned how to make some malagasy foods with a less-active member.

And that brings us back to another Monday. We (my companion and other missionaries) played soccer today and then we took a nap, got some lunch, and wrote home to our families.

That was my crazy week. Until next time!

Elder Weber 



Sunday, November 16, 2014

One transfer older and wiser too. Happy transfer (clap) to you!



November 10 Letter

Another transfer is done and over. And this is a big deal, because I am hitting what is called a "chick mish." That means, if I was a sister missionary, I would be on my way home. And so that does mean that Sister Johnson, who was with us in the MTC, is getting on a plane home. It is really crazy to think about and I am sure that I am going to have some mixed feelings about that as I attend her departure dinner this week and send her off on an airplane. But at the same time I will be happy to meet a fellow ohioan at the airport at Wednesday. Also I will be excited to try and live through this crazy week. Things are always crazy here, its just how we roll.

So this last week was really good. Rather simple week, figuring out transfers, teaching, going on splits, etc, etc etc.

Actually the week was pretty full of things. The biggest one would be our investigator Andry got baptized on Saturday. I had the opportunity to baptize him. It was a really good service and he knows that this church is true. He is what missionaries call a golden investigator. He was just so prepared by the Lord in order to receive the lessons from the missionaries. He understands his role, and that he is a child of God. He knows that his potential is great and that he has so many opportunities to grow and progress. We also got to attend another baptism this week and the Bishop in his remarks made a lot of comments about how important the church is in our lives. He referenced the talk from this last general conference about staying in the boat. He taught the recent converts that what ever life may throw at them, it is easy to handle while still in the boat. He also taught them that they made a covenant with Heavenly Father, and not a covenant with the missionaries, or the bishop, or any other person on this earth. Therefore if so and so does such and such of a thing, it is no reason to EVER leave the boat. It is so important for us to always stay in the boat. So please remember, to never leave the boat. If the boat cant handle the storm, there is no way you on your own will be able to handle it. 

 Also this week we did a lot of work on getting transfers decided and then also planning all of the logistics of transfers. We also went on a split on Wednesday out to Sabotsy Namehana and Analamahitsy. It was a good split, got to teach some cool people. Thursday we did some running around, taking care of errands, and then we met with our DMP. 

So our ward has been bishopless for quite some time now. But we are excited because this Sunday we have Ward Conference, and rumor has it, they are finally going to call a new bishop. Which should really help in the progress of this ward. It is hard for a ward to run, if there is no bishop. We are really optimistic about the future of this ward. 

Other than that, we taught english this week, taught a few lessons, tried really hard to be good missionaries, and all of that fun jazz. 

These last 6 weeks have flown by, and this next transfer will be even faster because it is a five week transfer! Because 6 weeks from now is Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the church decided to have a 5 week transfer followed by a 7 week transfer. So this transfer will FLY by, because there are 6 zone conferences to be had, more transfers to be decided, more splits to go on, lots of travel time is a car, lots of rain to be poured on our heads (hehehe at least we have a car) and tons of other things. 

So some news from our corner of the world. I will be staying with Elder Fox for the next 5 weeks, and also we just created two new zones bringing the total on the Madagascar island from 4 to 6. That is a big new change and we are hoping to get some momentum from this new change. 

Life is going well. The mission keeps on going. Little by Little or a Lot by a lot, the time keeps trucking on. 

I really dont have much else to say. Do you have any questions for me? I feel like my mission makes sense to me, but I am not sure how much you guys understand things. 

So until next week, when we shall talk again, I bid.... Good evening, good night, and good week!
Elder Weber 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Another week gone by

October 20th letter

So this week we had a lot of things happen. Lots and Lots and Lots of things happen.

So last monday was fun. After being egged and floured than we went and started the making of our suits. We will be going to pick them up in a few minutes. And then we went out and taught a time on Monday.

Tuesday was a pretty good day. We got our studies and then after we got to the office and did a bunch of work getting things ready for OLC and doing stats, and all sorts of things. 

Wednesday we attempted to go on a split with 67HA and with Ampefiloha. The key word is attempted. We went out in the morning, and ran into Norbert. We got some breakfast with him. And then we only got to 3 oclock before we get a call that there was something for us to do, and so we ended the split early. Lets tell stories.

So some things have happened recently health wise and we have sent home 4 missionaries in the last 2 weeks. So we have been running around trying to figure out who to move where and things like that. So as part of this we activated a visa waiter. That is a malagasy who is waiting for a visa to go to South Africa for his mission. And so he is working down in Fort D for us right now. However, so we decide to activate him, and fly him down to Fort D on Thursday. His flight was going to be at 9am and so we had planned to get him set apart that morning at 6 and then have him at the airport at 7. And then Air Maybe (Air madagascar) decided to change the flight to 7AM and so that means he should be at the airport at 5 and so the setting apart would be at 4. So obviously thats a bit ridiculous and so they ended up getting him set apart last minute on Wednesday. And so we went and picked him up and got him set apart and he spent the night with us, and then we woke up at 3:45AM. Took him to the airport which went really smooth.

Another random airport story. The airport here is really annoying and causes so many headaches. So on Friday we took two missionaries to the airport and the first ones ticket went through fine. However the second one's wouldnt work. The ticket that the airport saw was for from South Africa to home, but it didnt show Tana to South Africa. But our ticket showed all of it. So luckily we were the first people in line when check-in started at 1 oclock and we were the last ones there fighting at 2:30, when the plane left at 3. It was pretty crazy, and really annoying. President is on the phone with Salt Lake, and there were lots of talking and phone calls and problems back and forth. But we are used to this with the airport, after all, it is Air Maybe. 

But I should tell you the other things that are happening.

So a little surprise, Marc Ravalomanana came back! For those that aren't following the political schemes of Madagascar, heres an update. The President that was ousted by the coup in 2009 and has been living in exile in South Africa since decided to come back last Monday, unannounced. And then the government promptly "arrested" him for his own safe-guarding. However they say arrested, his family says kidnapped. So there have been a few rumblings on the street. This past Saturday there was a small demonstration that ended in the police shooting some tear gas into the protesters. So that is what is going on here. BUT we are always prepared. We knew about the planned demonstrations on Friday and so all missionaries avoided that entire area on Saturday. We are also prepared for anything that may come our way. President Adams is very concerned about our safety and we won't be here any longer than he feels safe to keep us here. 

Ebola still hasnt made much noise here in Mada, except everyone agrees that if it got here, the results would be pretty horrific. President also made a passing comment about how quick he would get us out of here if ebola broke out here. 

But thats life in Madagascar! I love it and wouldn't trade it for the world!


Elder Weber 

Photos

Elder Weber sent a some pictures from his trip to Fianarantsoa.  You can see all of the pictures on at 
Elder Weber photos on Shutterfly.

Here are a few samples:



One exciting travel later

November 3rd letter

Hello EVERYBODY!

Another exciting week has flown by. I cannot believe that time flies this fast. It was a crazy super fast week.

So Monday night, we taught one time, and then all day on Tuesday we did our normal things, which involves working on stats and working on getting things ready for an exciting trip. It was a good day, but a little busy.

And then Wednesday the fun started. We took a trip to Fianarantsoa to go on splits with the missionaries there. So Wednesday morning we woke up early and got on the road by 7. Elder Fox drove down. Its quite a long drive to Fianarantsoa. But on the way, we stopped by in Antsirabe and surprised the missionaries there. They didnt know we were coming, but we just showed up and walked into their houses. It was a lot of fun catching up with them. And then got some lunch and then continued our trip. We got partly to Ambositra when we recieved a call from President Adams. We had set up with President Adams to have a transfer meeting in the morning before we left, but he wasnt able to do it and so we shifted it to the afternoon. So when he called we pulled off the road in a mountainous, forested area, with a few houses around, hooked him up to the car's bluetooth, and then pulled out our transfer binders and papers, and had a meeting. President this last week was on a trip as well. He was over in Reunion. So while we were sitting in the car on the side of the road in a mountainous foresty area, he was sitting in his hotel room in Reunion looking out over the ocean. This probably goes down in history as one of the most incredible transfer meetings in all history. And then we continued our trip and stopped in Ambositra and met with the missionaries there. Really great missionaries we have down there right now. And then we continued our long, windy, bumpy trip. We finally made it to Fianarantsoa in the evening and decided to find somewhere to eat some grub. We found a really nice restaurant and walked inside and the waiter was so happy to see us and to talk to us. We found out that a while before he had been an investigator and that he was learning from the missionaries. They had somehow lost contact with each other (a pretty easy thing to happen in this country, as people move all the time, and half the times their phones dont work, and the other half of the times they dont even have a phone) and he was happy to talk with us. We later got his number and got him in contact with the missionaries in F-soa. 

So then Thursday we got to work. We met with the senior couple down there, the Rakotoarisoa couple, and met with them about what all is happening in F-soa. Then we had a district meeting, and then we went on splits. I went with Elder Garcia and Elder Glazier in F-soa South on bikes. Fianarantsoa is known for their hills, and it was a bit hard on bikes on some of those hills. Well it was a good day and we had so many miracles. We found a whole bunch of just brand new people that all seem so excited to learn the gospel. The people in F-soa just seem so ready to receive the gospel and I was so happy to be able to work there and help the missionaries there grow their area.

And then on Friday, we went and visited a few of the less active members with the senior couple and then switched to different areas for splits. I went on a split in F-soa North 1 which is with Elder Lehr and Elder Mack. It was another really fun day, but this one was full of contacting. It was good because we found SO MANY new people for them to teach. I think we walked away with something more than 10 new contacts for them and with a few for the other areas in Fianarantsoa. It was a lot of fun and hopefully some of those new contacts will turn into awesome investigators. 

And then Saturday morning, we woke up early and started the travel back. I drove the whole way home. We really didnt stop at all, except for a little lunch break in Antsirabe for about 30 minutes. We got back about 3:30 and then did some office work, and then we went out and taught our investigator Andry who will actually be getting baptized this next Saturday! And then we went home and slept, because we got so dang tired during our few days in Fianarantsoa. The drive was just exhausting.

And then Sunday. We went to church. And then we went and taught 4 lessons!!! That's really good for our area. We actually taught quite a bit this week being on those splits, just not quite so much in our own area. But 4 in one day is really good for us in our area. Although there have been times in my mission where 4 a day was really quite bad.

So this is a pre-transfer week, meaning that we have to finish deciding on transfers and then figuring everything else out about who is going where, when, how, and who will take them to and from the different bus stops, and airports, and etc. So we get to figure out the logistics at the end of this week, once transfers have been decided.

Its really weird thinking that a whole transfer as an AP is already about to be done!

Til next week!

Elder Weber 

Happy Halloween

Letter from October 27th

Happy Halloween everyone!

It was another good week of being a missionary here in Madagascar!

I don't think I say it enough. I love the malagasy people! They are the best people in the world!

So this week was good, lets walk through it. 

Monday - I picked up my new suit, and boy is it nice! It looks way good! I won't send any pictures home that way you can be surprised when I get there. We tried to teach Monday night, and we taught one great time to a less active member. 

Tuesday - Tuesdays tend to be one of our office days. We get our studies done in the morning and then we get lunch and go to the office and do stats, and little odds and ends. But this Tuesday we had MLC with all of the zone leaders. It was a lot of fun, it was a good meeting, and the Chicken Pot Pie was really good. And then did office work, and then we taught English, After english we went and taught Andry. Andry is doing really well preparing for his baptism on the 8th of November.

Wednesday - We went on a split in Ivandry and Ankordandrano. For those who have a good memory. I used to work in Ivandry. It was great getting to go back there. The missionaries are pretty new to that area, and have been struggling to find homes of members and some of the investigators. So I was able to help them find their way around a little more. It was really fun and good. A lot of the members were suprised that I was still around, and most of them made comments on how much weight I have lost. So that is great to hear, especially from Malagasies. They don't lie about nothing. They tell you straight as it is.

Thursday - We had a day full of meetings. 8:30 to 10 we had office meeting, and then we drove over to the Ivandry church for zone meeting from like 11 to 12:30 and then we grabbed lunch and got to the office again for our first transfer meeting from like 2 to 5. And then after that, we went to our DMP meeting with the sister missionaries and our DMP. And then we went home by the time all of that was taken care of. 

So... Transfer meeting. I would love to tell you everything about this upcoming transfer, but there are people like Elder Hein over there in Ambohimanarina that frequently reads my blog. Plus even if he didnt I wouldnt be able to tell. But I can tell you that transfers are not really easy to figure out. It takes a lot of work. 

Friday - we did some work and taught some times. It was a good day.

Saturday and Sunday we watched CONFERENCE! It was really good to watch. We watched all 5 sessions and felt the spirit strongly. It was a really good week! Some of the talks were great!

And now we are onto another whole week!


Elder Weber 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Birthday Week!



For a birthday week, it was a bit busy and crazy. Meetings and all sorts of crazy things.

But I am learning how to drive stick. But learning to drive stick is probably the hardest thing I have done in my life. This city is full of hills and is full of traffic. Those are the two hardest things to deal with when learning stick, and this country is just full of it. But I am starting to get a hold on it, and I haven't hit anything yet, which is probably pretty good. We shall see what happens later.

We taught 6 lessons this week, which is pretty good for us. We are hoping to start getting that number up higher, but that will depend on meetings and all of those things. 

So we have this one investigator I would like to tell everybody about.

So the story goes like this. There was a point in time, where Elder Christiansen and Elder Fox were walking down the street. Elder Christiansen decides that he needs to spit, and turned and spit, and almost hit this guy. He started apologizing and turned to Elder Fox, and said, "Man, I can't believe I almost just spit on this guy." And the guy, named Andry, walked up and said, "You guys speak english?" And then asked, "What is your guy's mission here" And the missionaries started to explain and then all of a sudden one thing leads to the next and now he is an investigator of the church, comes to church every Sunday, loves the gospel and the teachings that we bring, and has agreed to prepare to be baptized in the church. All of this from Elder Christiansen almost spitting on him. Great guy, and it is a joy to teach him always.

So also in this ward here, there is a deaf member. He has created his own malagasy sign language, and the missionaries that work here always learn it and translate for him in church meetings. We, however, have recently decided that we are going to teach him American Sign Language, in malagasy. We want to convert all of his signs into American Sign Language for this reason: To help him be able to go to the temple. We realized that the only way to get him to the temple is if he speaks American Sign Language, because no body else in the world speaks his malagasy sign language that he made up. So some of the signs might not make total sense to him, it is what we feel is necessary to help him to progress as a member of the church. That being said, mom, dad, others that may have some ideas, what can we do? We are going to start by teaching him simple signs, and then eventually get to the more complicated things. And we feel that general conference DVDs will be a good practice tool and things to help him learn, but we dont quite know the best thing to do is to get him from simple signs, to the complexity of general conference or the Book of Mormon. 

The work is going so well here. It is great to see the Lord's hand in every aspect of the work. It has been good these last couple of days thinking about life which is a bit saddening. Going to the airport often always makes me think about when I will be going home and how that is really not that far away.

For the birthday, nothing special happened. Got some really nice calls from some friends in old areas and everything and we ate some cake for dinner. And then this morning at the mission office, they decided to hit us with some eggs and flour, which was life. They got us good, and everything. So that was this morning. The us is Elder Rice and I, because his birthday is today, and mine was yesterday. 

But other than that it was a good week. Life is speeding by. It seems like tomorrow my mission will be over at the speed it is flying right now. I only have six and a half months left, and my heart hits my stomach when I hear that. This next transfer marks chick mish, and the sisters that came with us will be going home in four weeks. And then only four transfers left in the mission. It is going by so dang fast. Christmas Skype call will be here in only a few months, or for me it will feel like seconds, and then after that such a short amount of time left.

I know that coming out here was the right decision and that there is a God in the heavens that loves us more than we can fathom. He is the God of all the earth. He is the great creator of everything and is the father of our spirits. He sent his only begotten Son, even Jesus Christ the Lord to suffer for our sins and to make it possible to return to him. I know that after the death of Jesus Christ, that the early Christian Church fell into apostasy, and changed and distorted the gospel of Jesus Christ. But, because of God's love for us, he called again a prophet to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ again here on the earth. Because of that, there is again the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, the whole, true, pure gospel. There are living prophets to guide us in our troubles and in our lives. All of this because of God's love for us. He wants us to succeed, and he gives us challenges to help us grow. Jesus Christ stands at the head of His church, named The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have seen the way this gospel changes peoples lives, and it has changed mine. There is nothing that gives me more joy than sharing this gospel. I know that this gospel can change your life, and I challenge everyone who reads this to commit to learning more. If you already know it, then good, keep learning, if its new to you, ask questions and learn. 

Have a great week!!

Elder Weber