31 October 2016

I Know Nothing

Well as most of you can tell I made it to Madagascar! It is freaking insane here! I see a ton of stuff that you would never see in America. (I wanna apologize now for spelling errors because I am trying to type on some weird keyboard.) But yeah the flight was good but way long! Im going to have jet lag for the next year but it'll be alright. 

This place is soon weird.  Like people just let their cows roam everywhere, people pee wherever they want, there are naked people everywhere. Wow what a place! 

I don't understand what anyone is saying which sucks sooo bad haha. I'm serving in an area called Ambositra. Me and my companion, Elder Olsen, are re-opening it after it has been empty for over a year. It is a way cool opportunity but it is super hard. We still don't have any progressing investigators because we haven't been able to tract really cause we've been talking with members trying to figure out what the area is like. It has been pretty discouraging but things will get better. 

The language is way hard haha. I still can't understand what anyone is saying which is super stressful. Other than that everything is going Way well. The people are super nice and we are like the only white peoople in the whole city so people always call us vazahs which is just foreigner. So yeah not much to talk about this week.  I'll have a lot more next time.

[A note from Hayden's Grandmother:  Hayden's Mission President's wife, Sister Foote, posted lots of photos.  I thought you might be interested in the following photos of a baptism in Madagascar.]

[If you are interested you can follow her on Instagram.]

26 October 2016

Elder St. John Arrives in Madagascar

He is there - after a 48 hour trip.
Love that he is still smiling.

Hayden with President and Sister Foote
They are very loving leaders.

Hayden with the rest of the arriving missionaries.  
Sister Foote is on Instagram as "momfoote" and she posts pictures of the missionaries often.

21 October 2016

The Lemurs are Calling

Manahoana everyone!

So this week was pretty much normal. Nothing important really happened except I got my travel plans!!! I leave Monday morning and we first go to Texas then London then South Africa and then we finally head on another flight to MADAGASCAR. So in total that travel time is around 48 hours which would be hard if I wasn't a man.

Apparently it's flooding season right now in Mada so when we get there it'll probably be covered in about 2 feet of water but really I'm so excited to get out there and teach some people. At this point I'm pretty much where I'm gonna be with the language in the beginning of the field so that's a terrifying thought. The teachers say I'm doing pretty good and that we're ready so that's cool. But I don't know if I feel ready haha. I don't think I ever will.

But lately my dreams have been filled with the beautiful images of lemurs calling my name, chameleons tending to my every need, and the screams of thousand of investigators begging me to baptize them. Too bad a mission's not like that at all haha. But seriously I'm so excited to get out there and hit the ground running. I just wanna get to work.

Anyways that's about it for this week! Next time you all hear from me I'll be in MADAGASCAR!!

Elder St John

P.S. Sorry I haven't sent picures yet here's some. ​

14 October 2016

10 Days Left

So to kick things off, this week was pretty amazing! We had David A. Bednar come and speak to us this week for a devotional and it was awesome, the spirit in the room was amazing and it was an awesome talk about how to better learn and use the teachings of General Conference. Other than that it was a pretty normal week. We did our first skype TRC (teach real converts) yesterday and that was pretty awesome. It was funny because the lady in charge came to our classroom and said we'd be having it at 7 pm, which is weird because we thought we'd be skyping with people in Madagascar and 7 pm here is 4 am over there. Well we didn't skype people in Madagascar :(   Actually half of our disctrict didn't even get to skype at all haha. They couldn't find enough people so only 2 companionships were able to skype. Me and Elder Passey got to but the guy that we skyped was a returned missionary who lives in Provo (classic). So we were just skyping this white dude while he was driving in his car to go shop for groceries or something so the whole time we were skyping him he was just driving (please don't skype and drive with a week old baby) and in a grocery store. It was still an awesome experience.

The language is coming along pretty well. It's still hard but I'm starting to be able to get a grasp on all of the new concepts and stuff. There's three different types of verbs in Malagasy, active, passive, and circumstantial. In English we only have active so it takes a little getting used to. But class time is awesome, Brother Evans has been teaching us some cool stuff about the culture of Mada. Apparently pirates are still a problem in the south which I mean I wouldn't mind being accosted by some pirates just for the experience. They are land pirates that pretty much just rob busses on the way to a city called Fotofana which is on the very south tip. It's not a problem anymore because missionaries fly to different areas now becuase the travel took so long. If you were going from Antananarivo to one of the cities on the coast it would take about a 16 hour bus ride, and flying down there is almost as cheap as taking the bus haha. So unless the pirates figure out how to hijack planes I'm pretty safe. Another funny thing about pirates is that aparently if there's civil unrest in Mada, we all get sent to Somalia which sounds much safer.

Another fun Malagasy culture fact is that apparently black magic is a pretty common practice over there. So our teacher told us that if anyone asks to take a picture of you and you alone in a creepy way DO NOT DO IT because they're most likely trying to use the picture to cast a love spell on you so that you'll fall in love with their daughter and give their family a white baby or something. This is one of the major reasons that white sister missionaries aren't allowed over their anymore... So apparently too many sister missionaries were being cursed or something.

Hearing about all of this makes me so excited to get out there. Not only the culture but the people. Our teacher told us that on an average day missionaries have around 8-12 lessons which sounds pretty insane. He also said that an hour of street contacting or tracting will result in about 55 new investigators (that includes their families) so wish me luck. 

We get our flight plans today so I'm so excited to get into the field but I'm going to miss the MTC. It's a once in a lifetime experience being so immersed in learning not only the language but the gospel. I've been able to be immersed in the gospel day and night and it's amazing seeing how strong the spirit can influence your life. Please everybody read the Book of Mormon every day. I promise it'll bless your life. Even if you only read for like 5 min. so what harm can come from it (nothing) seriously only the promise of eternal happiness will come from reading the scriptures and discovering the truth of it, and that sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Here's a short testimony in Malagasy

Fantatro fa marina ny Bokin'i Mormona
Satria Fantatro ity, fantatro fa mpaminany marina Joseph Smith
Fantatro fa afaka mipetraka miraka ny fianakaviansika isika
Fantatro fa mitondra fifaliana ny filazantsara
Ny fomba iverinananstika amin Andriamaniatra dia amin'ny alalan'ny fivavahan sy mamaky ny Bokiní Mormon
Fantatro fa Tian' Andriamanitra Ianareo

Miss you all and love you!

   Elder St. John

07 October 2016

Kubb for Dayz

​​Manahoana everyone!

Well I made it to the halfway point of my MTC experience which is such a relief. It's all good here but I've got a sickness... and the only cure is the sweet embrace of a lemur. I think I'm slowly starting to go crazy here cause last night we had a study and planning session for like 45 min. for a day that's already been planned out. Of course I spent that whole planning session trying to convince my district that the world is flat... I drew diagrams and did some convincing math for them, but still some of the hard of heart and close minded weren't convinced. Maybe one day their eyes will be opened. 

This place gets to you. When you are with the same eight people 24 hours a day with no real source of entertainment outside of the gospel, you'll do anything to entertain yourselves. For some reason this one elder in my district named Elder Salmond has like 30 minutes of recordings of "big foot" noises. Apparently his family hunts big foot in their spare time and the sounds attract it. So while I was convincing them that the earth was flat we were able to listen to the soothing sounds of what sounds like a 80 year old smoker yelling at the top of his lungs for 45 min. Not gonna lie though it was probably the most fun I've had all week. Well except for Kubb (kooooob). It's the game that my whole district plays every gym time, aka the viking game. Pretty much all you do is throw wood at other wood. There's little pins and you have to throw them and knock them over. It sounds stupid but really it's the best game ever. 

This week has actually been awesome.  On Sunday BYU Vocal Point came for our devotional. Conference was cool. It was weird not being home but other than that it was really cool. The talks were really inspiring and made me wanna work harder to be a better missionary. 

The language is coming along pretty well. I can finally understand a majority of what's being said which is cool. It's an awesome language. A lot more poetic than English. I think that it has to be because they have like half as many words as English so most of their words are just other words squished together. For example: the word for agency is fahafahana misafidy, which literally translates to the opportunity or freedom to choose. The word for the gospel is ny filizantsara which means the good words or good message. The words for cross is hazo fijaliana which means the tree of suffering which is pretty cool. There's a ton more like that but I can't remember any of them haha.

It's been amazing being able to see how the gift of tongues works. Like seriously I can't even remember how to say my name is elder St. John, but I'm able to give a thirty minute lesson to an investigator 100 percent in Malagasy. I don't know how much of it actually makes sense but we're able to get the message across.

I miss and love you.

Elder St. John

PS: I'm trying to send videos but I don't know if they'll send (They're of us playing kubb.)​