Monday, October 27, 2014

Finally got to watch Conference...Its a Small World!

Here are some tidbits from Wendi's email conversation with Ryan this morning:

Oh yes!  Glad the shoes and coat are working out well!  I just remember trying to decide if we keep the liner in or leave it home.  Do we trade in the coat?   Yikes!  Did you see yourself on TV?  Do you need anything?  Any small tidbits about Madagascar that you could send to Sydnee for her report?

Elder Stringfellow:
Few tidbits!
  1. It smells and it's very dirty
  2. It's the 10th poorest country in the world
  3. Malagasies are the smallest people I've ever seen
  4. Research taxi bey, those are the buses we take if you can't find it I'll send a pic home of one, Imagine 40 people in a van
  5. Rice and Loaka, we eat that everyday
  6. Government is in bad condition
  7. Shop Rite is the only grocery store
  8. Yourt Aboire, Some weird yogurt popsicle thing! Super Good though!
  9. No traffic laws! Fast and Furious
  10. Super Choco's, Malagasy Oreos
Start of Ryan's Letter

Hey Everybody!
Crazy, Crazy week here in Tana! Everything is going great and I think the sickness has finally left our house! I never got it but those who did are back out to work! The house I live in I believe is the best house in the mission! The elders who live there are the chillest five dudes and we are already planning on meeting up after the mission! Haha, I love them so much!

This week I went on two splits. The first one was a mini split on Tuesday because Elder Hein had a MLC meeting at the office. I went out with Elder Johnson! He was in the group before mine and I found out that he lives in Jim and Carry's ward! Talk about small world! The second split was a full day split on Friday with Elder Rasafamandimby who is a Malagasy and Speaks no English! It was hard at first but I could talk with him and understand him (sort of) which made me feel so much better about the language! That night we meet with a member family who knows Elder Kovacs and when I told them I knew him they sort of freaked out and wanted to make sure that he knew I meet them! I can't remember there names but they were one of the coolest families I've meet so far!

Nothing but great news about our investigators. Tsimangiki and Sava are next up to be baptized they're just having trouble with their marriage papers but once the government fixes the problem they'll be at the church ready to be baptized. NORBERT!!!! He's honestly the golden investigator! He brings his whole family to church every week along with all of his friends! He's the main reason why we have so many investigators at church! It just goes to show that you don't have to be a member to perform missionary work but here in a few short weeks he and his family will become members! Gina is also doing very well and she'll be getting baptized here soon!
WE FINALLY GOT TO WATCH CONFERENCE!!!! It was so awesome to here from the prophet and all the other General Authorities! My favorite talk was probably Elder Holland's! I love his quote "Aren't we all beggars?" The fact that we need to minister and help the poor really hit me hard being here in Madagascar! I have been in homes that are about the size of the pantry upstairs! PEOPLE HERE ARE POOR!!! It really opens your eyes to how much you really have! People here can live off of nothing and back at home I couldn't live without the smallest things like a cell phone or maybe even shoes! Elder Holland hit it right on the Head, "Aren't we all beggars?" I also loved President Eyring's talk and Elder Bednar's talk!

That's about it for the week! One last thing is make sure you save all the pictures I have sent home! We we're taking a pic in the rain outside our house and we had some Malagasy members take the pictures. Well....they accidently deleted all my pics I have so far! Luckily I've sent them all home so make sure you save them! Other than that everything is going great! Love you all so much and I can't wait to tell you about the work this week!
Elder Stringfellow

Ryan with Elder Johnson from Henderson, Nevada

Heading out in a Downpour

Ryan with Elder Hein and Elder Anderson and his Comp

Ryan found Doritos (Squatch Approved Food)

Most of the Tana Elders after watching Conference

Monday, October 20, 2014

Trying to avoid getting the gamboo...

Hey Everyone!

It's been another crazy week here in Mada! There's been a lot of sickness going around in the house but luckily I didn't get it. Three of the Elders in our house got really sick including Elder Hein. It all started on Tuesday with fevers and stomach aches. They were unable to work on Tuesday and Wednesday but luckily I only had to stay home on Wednesday with them. I was able to work on Tuesday with Elder Rangy who is a Malagasy Elder in our House. Luckily, he speaks English and the work went very well that day. However, it still was really nice when Elder Hein was able to work again on Thursday.  [Elder Hein's blog talks alot about Elder Stringfellow, here is the link to Elder Hein's Blog:]

Our new church still isn't finished which is a big bummer! The church we have right now is just too small with 158 people in attendance and 17 of those being investigators! Another great week for our church and I love our members so much! This weekend we get to watch conference with them on Sunday and I can't wait.

We have a few BAP dates coming up! We were supposed to have a baptism this Saturday with Tsimangiki and his wife but we completely spaced about conference so hopefully it will happen next week. Norbert and his family are going to get baptized when the new church opens and Sister Gina should be getting baptized sometime in November! The work here is amazing and I can't wait to see what the future holds!
Some pretty crazy stuff is going on right now with the government here in Mada! I don't know the whole story but I guess the ex president who got kicked out of Madagascar a few years ago came back this week and people aren't very happy about it. There have been a few riots in Analakely where he used to live but we where there today and everything seemed fine. Luckily if something does go wrong the mission is right on it and we won't visit Analakely for a few days. Plus, we live in Talatamaty which is like 2 hours away from Analakely. If something goes wrong the mission will be on it and everything will turn out fine. I don't think anything is going to happen anyway but if it does just know that I'm fine!

Language wise I think I'm doing okay.....Elder Hein is letting me teach more and more which is awesome! I still don't say much but I feel like I'm getting better at Malagasy! The hardest part about the language for me right now is trying to understand what they're saying back to me! It's hard! They speak so fast and they have a weird accent but sometimes I can understand what they're saying! Like today for example at soccer! It was super hot and I kept going back and forth from this little store to get this frozen yogurt Popsicle type thing. Every time I went back the lady would sort of laugh at me but It was so hot and the Popsicle things are so dang good! The last time I went back to buy one she said "Today's Hot huh" but in Malagasy! I could understand her! Just a few simple words but I could understand her! Haha, it sounds dumb but I got really excited after that.

Well, that's about it for the week. We're working very hard everyday and the work is going great! I love it here in Mada and there's no place I would rather be. I still haven't seen anything real crazy yet other than the drunk guys! Haha, they crack me up! I got some pretty good pics this week and I'll make sure to send them home. I love you all so much and I'm so glad that everything is going well back home! Love you all!
[UPDATE - Both Wendi and Clark were able to briefly chat via email with Elder Stringfellow today about his current status and he is doing super good despite all the sicknesses.  Actually he said it is rare not to be sick.  The bottom line is that the water is dirty and they have to be super careful not to drink tainted water.  They have a nice filter on their water system in their house and Ryan mentioned that he is drinking more soda pop instead, which before his mission he hadn't had for 6 years.  He said he is definitely going off soda when he gets home though. He also asked for a few things to be sent to accomodate them moving into a rainy and hot summer season. He also mentioned that he feels sorry for us that have to go to school and that he would much rather serve a mission than go to school, hahaha!]
Elder Stringfellow (See Pictures Below)
Our House
Our Dining/Living Room
Our Kitchen
View of their current Area
View of Cow..When they knocked on door of house..this was their view

Monday, October 13, 2014

Spiders and Lemurs....The Adventure Continues

Dear Everyone!

(Photos at the End)
I love It here in Tana! I have an English keyboard this week so I'll talk a whole lot more about my experiences!

To start off the work is going really great here in our area! It's hard white washing but this week at church we had 144 in attendance and 20 investigators! It's awesome! One of our investigators name's is Norbert and he's incredible. He's a Malagasy politician and will probably run for president here in the next couple years but he always brings his family to church and like 10 of his friends. He's going to get baptized with his family here soon and he'll be a great addition to the church! The church building we have right now is really small and old but here in a few weeks (hopefully) the new stake center will be finished and we'll be able to go there. I'll show you pics of both. 

I've already had some weird experiences here but nothing too extreme. The spiders here are insane!!! One afternoon we were tracking and all of the sudden Elder Hein told me to look up in this tree....I kid you not there was this spider about the size of my hand just sitting in it's web! I honestly couldn't believe it! That same night we were back at the house just sitting there and talking when out of the corner of my eye I saw something run across the floor. At first I thought it was a mouse because it was pretty big but to my surprise it was a spider about the size of my palm. Talk about scary! Luckily, they don't bite!

The food here just keeps getting better and better! Elder Koplin makes this herbal tea they have here in Madagascar and it's dang good! It taste just like fruit loops! The rice and laoka here is really good and I'll send some pics home! I eat rice and laoka everyday so I haven't had anything real crazy yet but I'll make sure I let you know when I do!

Today was P-day!!!! Honestly the best day of the mission so far! We went to the zoo and got to mess around with some lemurs! They're now my new favorite animal! We got to go into the cage with them and feed them and it was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had. Their 
hands are so cool! They're just like ours only a whole lot smaller and they feel just like rubber! The pics I have with them are so cool and I'll make sure I send those home too!

It's great to hear that all is going well back at home. It's hard sometimes not having everything I had back at home but I'm finally starting to get used to it. The Malagasy way is simple and I'm starting to love it! I couldn't think of a better place for me to be and I know the experiences I have here will greatly impact the rest of my life! I love you all so much and I can't wait to tell you about my experiences next week! I love you all!
Elder Stringfellow

(Click on Photos for Larger View)
Here is some conversation that Ryan's Mom had with Ryan this morning via email: - 1st Companion in Madagascar

Good Morning (for me)!!
You sound AWESOME!!  Grandma will be glad to know that you met up with "THOSE MONKEYS!!"  Haha!  Norbert sounds like an amazing guy!  Everything sounds awesome...except for the spiders!  Are they hairy?  Please let me know if you are receiving our Dear Elders.  I am hoping you are still on.  Let me know.  I LOVE YOU!!  Keep working hard and having fun!!

I sure love you!

Elder Stringfellow:
I'm still on!!! They're not hairy, just big! Umm....we don't get mail sent to our house, it all gets sent to the office and we might go there once every two weeks because it's like 2 hours away.....Email is probably the best way to go right now....

I just want you to know how much I LOVE YOU!!  Keep up the good work and know that we are writing to you, but for now I will keep the emails coming!  Have a wonderful week...I know you will!  All my love,

Elder Stringfellow:

So sorry I forgot to tell you about Elder Hein! Elder Hein is from Dallas Texas and has been out for just over a year. He's probably the best missionary, other than the Malagasy missionaries, at speaking the language. He went to BYU for a summer semester before coming out and he's on the BYU soccer team! All in all, he's probably the best missionary out here and will probably be AP before he goes home. He also has a blog. His first name is Jessey. Love you too! 

 I found Elder Hein's blog.  If his family is interested in yours they can find it at!  You two go tear it up this week!!  The Church is true and the missionaries are valiant!!  Love it, love it, love it!!

Elder Stringfellow:
Elder Hein just put the link to my blog on his! Love you so much! Have a great week!

Photos of the Week
Elders Hein and Stringfellow
Elder Stringfellow and a Lemur

The Rice Fields
Fruit Loop Herbal Tea
Rice and Laoka
A Lemur
Their City
New Stake Center just being finished
Current Meetinghouse


Monday, October 6, 2014

First Letter from Madagascar...Short but Sweet!

Manahoana fianakaviako!

(Mada = Madagascar) (Tana = Antananarivo)
Click on Photos to get larger view!
First day in Tana
Madagascar is crazy! It`s super third world but I love it! Right now I`m serving here in Tana and I love it! It`s really dirty and everyone basically lives in a shack but they`re so ready to hear the gospel! My trainer is Elder Hein and he is amazing! He speaks the language so well and he`s helping me so much! Our area is huge! We`re white washing the area right now so we tract a lot! We basically hike up mountains all day! I can only say a few things in Malagasy and that`s usually to the little kids! They`re everywhere! They`re always super interested in us mainly because we`re white but some little kid at soccer today kept feeling my arm because he had never seen red hair before! It was awesome! They live with what they have and that`s basically nothing, but they`re so humble about it!
View of messy house...6 elders live there
Our house is actually pretty nice for Madagascar! It`s still like nothing back home but it will do! I haven`t really seen anything crazy yet other than some chicken fights and lizards running across our walls but I`m sure I will! The food here in Mada is a lot better than what we had in the MTC! It`s simple but it tastes so much better! We actually cook a lot back at the house and we make some pretty good stuff! Our house has six elders in it currently and two of them are Malagasies and one is Tahitian! However, they all speak English which is super helpful! 
View from the top of their Area
Church yesterday was awesome! I got to bear my testimony to the world and I loved it! We had 131 in attendance and we had 17 investigators! Elder Hein said that was the most he as ever seen! Teaching the investigators is really fun! Even though I don`t say much Elder Hein is able to get the point accross! I wish I had a picture of him but I don`t at the moment, I`ll make sure I`ll get one for next week! Hope everything is going well back at home! There are a lot of things I`m missing right now but I know it will all be there when I get back! You have to keep everything here simple and it`s been hard to adjust to but I know I will over time! I love you all so much and I`ll make sure to send some pics!
Love Elder Stringfellow


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Made it to Madagascar...The Adventure Begins

Over the last couple of days we as a family had the incredible opportunity of speaking with our son Elder Ryan Stringfellow at various airports during his many and long layovers.  The experience was unbelievable!!!  It is amazing how fast the Spirit of the Lord works in many of these young men.  I heard Elder Stringfellow bare his testimony 4 different times in his new language, Malagasy.  Ryan was speaking in tongues.  His spirit and testimony were absolutely incredible.  He is so ready...and Wendi and I are so happy and blessed that he is there and working....and HE IS HAPPY!

President Adams, Elder Stringfellow, Sister Adams

Dear Stringfellow Family,
We want you to know that Elder Stringfellow and all of the missionaries from the Provo MTC arrived in Madagascar safely yesterday afternoon.  All of their luggage arrived with them!  They are all doing well.  They had a good night sleep and are ready for training, to meet their new companions today, and go to the areas where they will be serving. 
Elder Stringfellow will be serving in Ambohimanarina2 here Antananarivo and his trainer will be Elder Hein.
Elder Stringfellow is going to be a great missionary!  We are excited that he is here to serve the wonderful people of Madagascar.
Sister Cloward
Madagascar Antananarivo Mission Secretary