Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas & Waterfall Greatness

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!! No snow here in Ambositra but Im still dreaming it comes. 

Christmas Eve was awesome cause I could Skype my fam!!!!! So great to see them and just talk with them!!! Cant wait till Mothers Day so we can do it again!!

Christmas here was definitely different to say the least haha. Woke up to a nice hot day. The family from South Africa invited us over for lunch!! It was awesome. Great food, great conversations, and just a great time. Its fun to just talk about how different Mada is with other people who kinda get where we are coming from haha. The rest of the day we went back to work which wasnt too bad. People in the streets were blasting Christmas songs so that was great. Gaul and I jammed out to Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas is You" HAHAHA. Then a family from the branch had us over and fed us Sambosas and Malagasy pizza. So Good. Sambosas are kinda like pizza pockets in America, just bigger. They are incredible. If we bring cheese, she will make us Sambosas and Pizza on our next visit. Needless to say, Gaul and I have done that a lot. haha

Saturday was such a blessing. We had two baptisms in Anjoma. The two individuals being baptized were Dada and Marie. Great people and have been prepared by the Spirit for a long time. On the taxibe ride to Anjoma, I had a couple crazy experiences. First off we are fitting 8 individuals on a bench for 4 people....Then this little kid next to me on his mother's lap, starts throwing up...HAHAHA. Then we picked up another old man on the side of the road. No space for him sooooooo, on my lap he goes!!!! Wasnt the most comfortable ride, Ill say that hahaha. 

As we were on the taxibe to Anjoma and there were some members waiting for us on the side of the road. We stopped the taxibe and got out. We then proceeded to walk a few kilometers through some fields. All of a sudden, I see a waterfall in the distance. A kid from the branch turns to me and tells me that is the font. THE BAPTISMAL FONT IS AT THE TOP OF A WATERFALL!! I couldnt believe it!!! Its hard to describe how cool it is. I hope the pics help!!

The baptism went super well and the two baptized individuals then bore incredible testimonies about the Savior and his plan for them. The Spirit was there in abundance. Once again, it was great to see peoples lives change. One of the coolest things in the world. 

Well thats pretty much the week!! I hope everyone took the time to read Luke 2 for Christmas! What an incredible moment in history. Without Jesus' life, there is no point to ours. The Atonement of Jesus Christ opens the door for us to progress and do so many things. We can overcome any temptation and make ourselves better each and every day. I know Jesus Christ lives and loves each and every one of us. His love is prevalent in everyone of our lives. We just have to stop and look for it!! 

Love yall

Elder Hein
On the way to the baptismal font.
The baptismal font.

Dada, Marie and Elder Gaul

Members at the baptism.

Elder Gaul and I

Baptism Program

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Baptism Week! More Pics - Video Footage

Really crunched for time this week, but a couple big time things happening here in Ambositra! 

First off, Thursday was Elder Gaul's year mark. Big time mark for him. The second half of the mission is gunna fly for him. He is gunna leave Ambositra at the end of January which will be rough!!

On Friday, it was Election Day here in Mada. Down to two candidates, Dr. Robinson and Hery Vaovao. Dont have time to keep up with their policies and stuff, but lets just say me and Gaul are happy that the election is over...For the past few weeks the campaigning here has been ridiculous. They call it propaganda here. Just nonstop noise. People just go around in cars blasting loud music with pictures of the candidate on the windows. Lets just say its a little different than United States campaigning haha. But, that has all come to an end and we will know the results sometime in January. 

Saturday was a big day!! President and Sister Adams came down to Ambositra to give a little training and meet with us Elders. We had a nice breakfast with them and it was good to see them. They gave a great training on the goal of the mission here in Madagascar and directly after that we had our baptism!! President and Sister Adams also stayed for that which was awesome. 

The baptism was an incredible experience. Elder Gaul baptized Odette and I was fortunate enough to baptize Richard. There was an incredible Spirit felt there and the couple was just overjoyed. There was just such a feeling of peace there thats pretty hard to explain. It has been incredible to see the change in their lives and how they have become "new creatures in Christ" like it talks about in 2 Cor 5 17. 

Thats all I got time for today! I wish everyone the best Christmas possible. Enjoy the festivities, family, food, lights, presents, bowl games, and all the rest of the season!!!! But please take a moment to remember what we are truly celebrating. Might be a little cliche, but when you think of our Saviors birth, everything seems less important. Remember his birth, life, mission, and most importantly: his Atonement. 

Christ is the reason for the Season

Love yall

Elder Hein
Odette and Richard on their baptismal day!

The best pitch I've seen yet!
This is the gym where we work out as many mornings as we can.  It is not much but it is free.  Check out the bar we use for bench pressing.  

Elder Gaul and I just having a good time.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Week

The week started out incredibly!! In two days we found 21 investigators during our tracting time. We had really good lessons with all of them and have return appointments with all of them. They are four seperate families that all just seem awesome. The Gospel of Jesus Christ really is for everyone, but it all points to families. It is awesome to see when a whole family is all learning together and feeling The Spirit in the home. They all help each other along and the family just becomes so much closer. Awesome stuff. Gaul and I had tons of gratitude this week towards our Heavenly Father for helping us find people to teach!!
On Saturday, the Zone Leaders from Antsirabe came down to Ambositra to do baptismal interviews for our four investigators. Elder Abney and Elder Hamm. Ive become very close with Abney since I got here and its too bad that hes going home next transfer. Hamm just got transferred to Antsirabe and hes an awesome Elder as well! Every missionary in this mission is just a legendary missionary. I mean God only sends the best here I guess haha:) Anyways, the bap interviews went awesome and we are good to go. We have changed the date of Richard and Odettes baptismal service to this week, so we are super excited for this weekend!!!! It is just awesome to see how they have changed their lives. Their 12 year old son has already been baptized for a while and is super excited as well. Nothing better than The Spirit touching families lives.
We were informed by President Adams that he will be visiting us this Saturday and doing some training for the branch here in Ambositra. Gaul and I are pumped to see the President and his wife. Also, this Friday is the day of the big vote for President here in Madagascar. It will feel a little different here in Mada without propaganda all the time through the streets.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I know it. Nothing else can make people change their lives as much as this Gospel does. There is so much happiness, peace, and love in God's plan for us and through the blessing of the Atonement.
I love yall. Have fun getting that last minute Christmas shopping in!
Elder Hein
This is where I study.

This is our kitchen.

Nice little community!!

A soccer field in the distance!  The city pro team plays there.

My bed.  I am cleaning the sheet so have no worries.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Transfer News - I am staying in Ambositra

Great to get back to Ambositra with a new focus from the Zone Conference in Antsirabe! We felt refreshed and ready to work really hard this week. Which we did. It seemed like we walked a thousand miles this week, but all for some great people and families. So we are getting closer and closer to our 4 baptisms coming up and let me tell you a little bit about each of them.
Dec 28 we have 2 baptisms scheduled in Anjoma. Their names are Dada and Marie. Not related, not married. Just two great people that wanted to learn. They really grasp onto everything and you can tell the Spirit is working in their lives. Dada is a younger man. He farms and teaches school. Really funny guy. Marie is an older lady that is super intelligent. She loves learning and is super duper humble. Both of them are mazoto(dilligent, studious) and are looking forward to their baptisms.
Jan 4 we have 2 more sceduled here in Ambositra. Richard and Odette. Married couple with 3 kids. They live way up in the hills but come to church every single week. They are farmers and are probably the most humble people I have ever met. They have an incredible story. They have been learning for a while, but have had a big issue with paraky(chewing tobacco). Enough to the point where Richard couldnt sleep or would get sick if he wouldnt chew. But they have really relied on the Atonement of Jeus Christ and have overcome the addiction!!!!!!!!!! They havent chewed in almost three weeks and are doing incredible. Its amazing that through Christ we can conquer all. Amazing people. Please pray for the continual strength to overcome the addiction. 

Well, I made it to my first Transfer News!!!! It was a really exciting night Sunday night as we anxiously awaited the call from our Zone leader. In this mission, there is a transfer every six weeks. Im pretty sure most lmissions are doing that as well. It was a MASSIVE transfer with elders and sisters moving all over the island. It was especially exciting for Elder Gaul because he tests the accuracy of his "Mock Transfer." It has been up on the white board for a couple weeks, and he has made little changes here and there. Gotta give him props, he didnt do too shabby. But still nowhere close to what actually happened haha. He said he might retire from his Mock Transfer career as the mission gets younger and younger haha.
The mission is awesome. Hard to describe. Hard, fun, exhausting, wet, beautiful, disappointing, rewarding. The list goes on and on. Way better than I thought it would be. Time is absolutely flying and I know that is purely because The Lord's work is busy, but also because Im also having fun doing it. Its amazing seeing people change their lives completely to line it up with the path the Savior has layed out for them. 

God bless
Elder Hein
Lychee Season!!!!!!

Yes, the Amazon River stretches to Madagascar!!  Ha Ha!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Week

Hello all!! Hope yall had a great Bird Day!!

The weeks just keep getting better and better and I am really enjoying all my time here!! 

The rain started coming down really hard this week. And we have had a big problem with our house flooding. It is just the front room, but it is very annoying to come home to half an inch of water that we have to clean up! The way they built the patio wasnt too smart. The patio is higher than the actual floor, and the door isnt the best, so when the patio floods, it goes straight under our door and into our living room!! Elder Gaul and I had just finished mopping it all up when it started pouring again....We just stood at the front door shoving as much water as we could hahah. "HOLD THE LINE!!!" But the water beat us and we just went to bed haha. The landlord said she will fix it soon. 

On Tuesday, we had a great meal at some great folks from South Africa! They invited all the vazhas in the city to enjoy it. We had 8 of us there and none of them were from the US besides me and Gaul. But they loved celebrating Thanksgiving all the same. She made some great bread and sausage. Very very nice family. 

On Wednesday, we went out to a part of the city that we hadnt ever been to. We tracked into an older guy that let us right in. Super nice. As I shook his hand, I noticed his skin was very very flaky. He let us know that he had been having a problem with his skin for the past week. It seriously looked like leprosy...but me and Gaul are both in good health so dont worry. The man had an appointment with the doctor the next day and Im sure will be on some medication when we have a retuen appointment. 

Saturday, we came up to Antisrabe and that is where I am now!! It is such a big city with great members. Plus they have very nice retaurants, really good ice cream, and more American food. Gaul and I have a blast coming here because we get to go to Shoprite. Its a store that is really expensive but is just a little taste of American grocery store life. Its great. But the main reason we came here was for a zone conference. We just had it this morning and it was AWESOME. Elder Renlund of the Seventy was there and brought such a special Spirit. Us as missionaries really got a lot out of it and feel super pumped to get out and start working again. 

I have been reminded over and over agin this week of the principle of faith. Its not just something you have. Its something you do. A lot of the times I feel us as humans, expect some great scripture miracle to happen to us after we say a prayer. Thats not how it works. As it says in Ether 12, we only receive the witness AFTER the trial of our faith. The Lord has to test us that we trust him. That we know, he has the reigns. And when our faith is sufficient, we can perfrom miracles. All of us can. I know it. 

Elder Hein
Sitting with a member

Willy Wonka's Chocolate River

Our apartment, flooded!