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, 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 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Life as an AP

Oct 6 Letter - Mom note: Sorry about the lack of paragraphs. I posted from computer at work this week and it is not working like at home. This last week has been an interesting phenomenon. It feels like an eternity because of the sheer number of things that have happened. It also feels like a really short amount of time. Let me take you through this slowly.

Last Monday we had a huge activity for all of the missionaries in Tana. We played sports. There was Basketball, volleyball, and Tennis. Then we ate lunch together and some people continued to play for a little bit. Almost all of the missionaries in Tana attended the activity, so about 40 missionaries. That evening I had one goodbye soiree with some members and then I got picked up by Elder Christiansen and Elder Fox. We went home and the next morning the fun started.

So Tuesday was a fun day. We started in the morning by having my very first office meeting. Office meeting is a weekly meeting with all of the senior couples here in the office, and the APs, and the office elders. So this weekly meeting is in order to keep everything in order. So a little update on all of the couples for you guys. We have the Adams, who are obviously the mission President and his wife. Then we have the Clowards. Elder Cloward is our financial person, and Sister Cloward is kind of the general mission secretary. Little fun fact: you know Alantis right? The huge big water park in the Bahamas. Yeah.... Elder Cloward designed it. Elder Cloward has his own design buisness for that kind of things, specializing in water. So everything in Alantis that has water, he designed. Sister Cloward helped to run the business as well. And then there are the Rositters. Sister Rositter is our mission nurse, who tries to keep us all healthy. She has a huge assignment and is hard to keep up on all of the health issues. Elder Rositter is in charge of the bikes and also translations. He has helped a lot in getting some unofficial translations of church materials that are really needed here in Mada. And then there are the Asay's. They are the humanitarian couple for the mission. They are doing a lot to try and help Madagascar as a whole. They do all sort of projects, bridges, and clean water, and immunizations, and wheelchairs, etc. etc. etc. They are absolutely wonderful and help so much. And then there is Frede. He isnt a senior couple, but he works full time for the church. He does a lot here in the office and is great! So Office meeting is a blast with them each week.

P.S. Mom/Dad - Please be on the lookout please for any senior couples in good health that may want to serve a mission. The mission is starting to get in a little bit of a rush to find new couples to replace any of these that will be going home. It is the best mission in the world and any of the couples here will testify how much fun it is. So there are also many many spots open for member support missions as well, which is getting out and helping the leaders in the church here know how to lead and how the church is supposed to run. Just let me know if you have any ideas of people who might want to do that.

And then Tuesday afternoon, we were off picking people up from taxi brusse stops. We picked up a bunch of missionaries that were coming up from Antsirabe. Traffic was really bad, but we got them safe and sound. Tuesday night, we had the farewell dinner with the two missionaries that left us this past week, and we had a wonderful testimony meeting with them as well.

Wednesday, the main big thing is the new missionaries. At about 11 o'clock, we left for the airport, and got pizza on the way. And then we got to the airport and picked up two missionaries that just came over from La Reunion. Then we waited a little bit and saw the plane come in and watched 12 brand new missionaries from the Provo MTC walk off the plane. We waited for them, met them, and then proceeded to take them and all of their stuff back to the office. They started eating their cookies and juice, and took care of paperwork, and interviews with President Adams. Meeting them there was two visa waiters. Both of these visa waiters are supposed to serve their missions in Johannesburg, but due to visa problems are starting their mission here and waiting for the visas to come. Keep track y'all, that makes 14 new missionaries. And then we ate dinner, oh wonderful new missionary dinner. That was super delicious as always. Thanks Sister Adams if you read this. :) And then we shipped the missionaries back to our apartment for the night. We hung out with them, chatted a bit, and then slept well.

 Thursday - a day full of training - So first thing in the morning was shipping all of those new people to the office for breakfast. We got them up and ready and over to the office. Sister Adams did it again with her wonderful oatmeal and muffins.(for those that have been counting, this is the third Sister Adam's meal of the week.) And then we started the training. First the training meeting for the trainers, and then the meeting for the trainers and the trainees. And then part way through the couple's training for the new missionaries, in walked our three new malagasy missionaries straight from the Ghana MTC. Yes, that makes the final total of 17 new missionaries this past week, which is also a mission record. There have never been that many new missionaries in one transfer ever before. And then we opened the assignments for the trainers and trainees. Everyone found out who they are paired with for the next twelve weeks, barring any changes or things that are out of the plans right now. Then we had lunch. Yes, that was my fourth, and final, Sister Adams meal this last week. And then when all of the food was cleaned up and done, we started taking all the missionaries to their respective bus stops to get to Antsirabe and Tamatave. When that was all finished, transfers were done. So that version of the story is actually missing a lot of details about other random things that we had to do during the week.

 Friday - We spent the whole day in the office catching up on some work that had gotten pushed back due to the transfers. So we did stats, and updated IMOS and did a bunch of other things. We had a lot of things to do.

Saturday - We went on splits in Ambohimanarina. Yes that is the area I just came from. We decided it to be best to go back and help them figure a few things out. Plus as APs we will be doing splits quite often in order to help missionaries. Afterall that is our job.

Sunday - Finally got to work in the area. Church was really good. There are now 4 missionaries working in this area. Before there were 4, and for a while it went down to two, and now it is back up to 4 again. But this time it is two elders and two sisters. It is really good because as APs, we really dont get to work to much in our own area, so it is really good to have two other missionaries in the area to help carry the load. In the evening, we did a little bit of work in the office, and then we got to teach a little, which was a relief.

And then today. You may notice that this email is coming quite a bit later than usual, and that is because we had to meet with President today, and so now is the time we have to finish writing home. Crazy Crazy is my life right now. And this next week should be as well. Well that was my week, crazy busy. I have never been more tired in my entire mission. Working hard, doing all of the right things. Until next week!! Elder Weber

Monday, September 29, 2014

Transfers again!

Another 6 weeks have flown by again, and it is transfer season again. 

"Its beginning to look a lot like Transfers, everywhere I go, there are trainers left and right, one in the park as well, and taxi-brusses and travels everywhere!!!"

That was my poor attempt at writing a song for the season. It probably didn't work too well. But transfer news is out and let me tell my story of this last week.

So last monday was a good day, after the cyber, we went with some members and had a nice soiree. And then on Tuesday we worked hard. We taught 7 times on Tuesday and it was very very good. But on Tuesday, Elder Christiansen called a different person in our house and asked him a lot of questions. So I was already thinking that my area could split and the awkward phone call made me believe more so that. Later in the day, I get another phone call from Elder Cloward following up on the earlier phone call. But this time he talked directly to me about what other things we needed in our house to accommodate two extra missionaries. So this made it extremely obvious what was happening. And then Wednesday we had the APs go on splits with us. Elder Christiansen went with my companionship and Elder Fox went with the Ambohibao Elders. And Elder Christiansen found out that I knew our area was going to split and so we talked a lot about the split and the things that were going to happen. So I thought it was pretty clear that my companion and I would both stay here and split the area. So Elder Christiansen let us believe that, and so Wednesday we worked hard, and Thursday was a pretty good day as well.

So Friday comes along, and Friday I have a meeting with President Adams and the Stake President. We were waiting for the meeting, and the Stake President never showed up. So we talked about the area and everything involved. When we were finished we ended up back at the office with President Adams. No one else had showed up yet. So we get back there and President invites me into his office, alone. I sit down and he said. "Elder Weber, you're getting transferred. You are coming into the office." At this point I was pretty shocked, because my thoughts went to me becoming an office elder. But that was weird because they shouldnt have changed this transfer. And then he continues, "You will be Elder Fox's new companion." And then it all made sense, I was being transferred to being an AP. Mom note: AP stands for Assistant to the President (as in the mission president over all of the missionaries in Madagascar.)

So and then after that I started saying goodbyes to people and things like that through Sunday.

Also this Saturday was a really good day. We had two baptisms. Patrick, the 15 year old, and Zafimahay, a 9 year old kid. Both of which asked me to do the baptism. It was a really good experience for all of us. They are awesome and are really ready. It was kinda hard though saying goodbye to all the really great people in this branch. The work is going so well and it was really hard to say goodbye. 

I will be transferring over to Anjanahary tonight to start the work as an AP. We have 17 new missionaries coming on Wednesday that need to be taken care of. So that all has to get done in the next few days. There is a lot of work to get done and little time. We will see what happens. 

So I am happy but also sad. It will be a fun experience, and there are some perks. First of all, I will be driving. Watch out Madagascar here I Come!!! But also with that, the APs do not get to teach very often, because they are busing doing all sorts of other things. Lots of meetings. Transfer meetings, MLC, OLC, Office Meeting, and who knows what else. But it will be a fun time. Elder Fox is an absolutely awesome person and I am excited to work with him. 

The pictures are of a cute kid, the two recent converts, and Norberts family, when I said goodbye. 

So I am sure this next week I will have some adventures to write you guys about. Including I think 3 meals with Sister Adams cooking this week, talk about being spoiled. 


Elder Weber 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Another week

Letter from 9/22/2014

Hello Everybody!!

First of all, happy birthday to my older sister. You are getting old. :)

It has been another good week. We are working hard and really seeing the area progress. We had another 23 investigators show up to church.

This Saturday we will be having a baptism. Hopefully 4 of them. We will see because we are waiting to see if some of them can get legally married before Saturday. But it will be very good. 

Since we are talking about baptisms, this Saturday we have an investigator that is going to attend. He currently goes to the Seventh Day Adventist church. We have been teaching him for a long while and he is very interesting in learning about the church. We have gotten into very deep conversations with him about the gospel. Being an Adventist, he has ultimately brought up the sabbath day debate, but we have handled that. He is beginning to really feel of the truthfulness of the message we bring for him and his family. He has felt that there are questions he has that we can answer. He is so surprised that we have all the answers. Our doctrine answers everything, in his words "complete". And he has started to realize that in a lot of other places he cannot get that. And so he has agreed to come see the baptism on Saturday and we will see what happens from there. He is in no rush to make a decision, but wants to really understand EVERYTHING before he makes a decision. 

Today I went and bought lamba for my suit. Lamba meaning cloth. So I have the materials and I think it will be a pretty incredibly nice suit.

Malagasy culture - some malagasies marry WAY young. The couple we are waiting on for the soratra for the baptism, the guy is 19 and the girl is only 18. There is another set of investigators that is a very young married couple. The guy is my zandry. (my younger) 

But I love Madagascar. Let me send a few pics. The new church building, the US embassy (I might get arrested for taking a picture. Norbert. Some members. Patrick (getting baptized on Saturday) and maybe some others. 

But it is hard to write. I never know what to say anymore. Time is flying. I feel like this past week didnt even exist. And transfers are already next week again. 17 missionaries coming next week. 2 leaving. That will be an adventure. 

Elder Weber