Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hey Everyone!

This week marks our 3 month mark here on the mission! Time is flying by and the weeks just feel shorter and shorter! It's been one crazy week but I sure did enjoy it! To start off I went on another split this week and I got to lead it again in our area! I went with Elder Cyusa who is from Rawanda! He's a baller! Luckily he knew English but he doesn't know any Malagasy! I got to speak the whole day in Malagasy and I really know a lot more than what I thought I knew! Probably the best split I've been on so far and tomorrow I'm going on a split with Elder Cooley! I'm sure the two boys from Bountiful are going to have fun tomorrow!

The news about our baptisms on Nov. 29 isn't looking too good....Tsimangiki and Sava still don't have all their papers but they should be getting them soon! Elder Hein figured out their problem and hopefully it doesn't take too long! As of right now we don't have any baptisms for Nov. 29 but hopefully we'll have a couple in Dec. Sylvie, who we just started teaching is an 11 year girl who lives with Yanta and Flavien and I bet she gets baptized in Dec. Gina is still uncertain if she should be baptized right now but I think she will be in Dec. so keep your fingers crossed! Right now Elder Hein and I tract a lot and we are teaching a lot of new people! Oh, and Norbert is doing great! He was super exited to show us his new background on his phone which was a picture of the savior! Such a baller! I can't wait till he gets baptized even if I'm in a different area!
This weekend we had Stake Conference! It was really boring and I don't really know what was going on but we did get some really good/funny pictures of us in our suits! I'll make sure to send them home!  Church still isn't finished as of right now but rumor has it that it was finished yesterday! Elder Hein and I have been in there a hundred times and it looks finished so keep your fingers crossed!

Well, it's Thanksgiving this week and to start off the week right we had a Turkey Bowl! Lot's of fun I can't wait for Thanksgiving mainly because we have a Turkey living in the garage and we're going to kill it and eat it on Thursday! Super Pumped!
That's about it for the week! I got a ton of pics and I'll send them home! I think about and pray for ya'll everyday and I hope for the best! I love ya'll so much and I hope ya'll have a great week!


Elder Stringfellow

Rice Fields

More Rice Fields

A Dog

Spider in Tree

Spider Up Close - Ryan said it was as big as his face

Elder Stringfellow

Wearing a suit and climbing on the roof

Sitting on the roof wearing a suit

Deep Thoughts

Future Bishopric

Still wearing suits

GQ'ing it

Turkey Bowl for P-Day

Monday, November 17, 2014

Best Week So Far...

Hey Everyone!

It's been one of the best weeks here in Country so far! To start off the week on Tuesday night we had to say goodbye to Elder Koplin's comp, Elder Rasakamandimby. It was really hard to say goodbye to him because we all got so close to him but he's going to go kill it out in Antsirabe!

Wednesday! Probably the best day I've had in the mission so far! Because Elder Rasakamandimby left Elder Koplin got to come on a split with Elder Hein and I. We had so much fun!!! We had to jump accross some polluted streams and we got some pretty funny videos! We also have some really good pics and I'll make sure to send them home! That night Elder Koplin got his new comp, Elder Razazarohavana. He is a Baller! He and Elder Koplin are going to get their area going and I can't wait to see what stats they pull!

The rest of the week we just worked but Elder Hein and I pulled the best stats we've had so far! There were a lot of highs to this week but their was also a few lows. The biggest low was with our investigators Yanta and Flavien. They're completely fine and they have their marriage papers and they are completely prepared for baptism. The only thing the have to do know is sign one of their marriage paper but they want to have a party when they sign it and Yanta wants her dad to be there. Only problem is that he lives 14 hours away and probably can't afford the trip until January. So, along with Norbert and his family they wont be getting baptized until January which stinks because either Elder Hein or I wont be here because of the upcoming transfer. Tsimangiki and Sava are our only hope for getting baptized on Nov. 29. We should know buy this week if everything is in order so keep your fingers crossed.

The church still isn't finished but we might have stake conference their this week which I'm super pumped about! All that's left is water and electricity and then the church will be ready. I know I've said this a lot but OUR CHURCH IS WAY TO SMALL! We really need this church finished because once it is our branch will become a ward!

I don't really know what's left to talk about. I'm doing really good and I'm really beginning to love the Malagasy people! They aren't the nicest people at first but once they realize that these two white dudes don't speak French they turn into the nicest people in the world! To tell you the truth the mission just feels like it's flying by right now! I can't believe I'm at my 3 month mark! Honestly the fastest three months of my life! I love being a missionary and I love being here in Madagascar! It's not always easy to adjust to life here but it's well worth the experience! Thank you so much for all the prayers that you give for the missionaries. I really can feel them influence my work! I love you all so much and I can't wait to tell you about this next week!


Elder Stringfellow

Elder Koplin and Elder Stringfellow

Soccer Field Where the Missionaries Play
Elder Koplin and Elder Hein



Monday, November 10, 2014

Winner Winner...Chicken Dinner!

Dear Everyone,

The weeks just keep getting shorter and shorter here in Mada. The rainy season has now hit us and it rains almost everyday around three or four. I have never seen so much rain in my life! It just completely pours! It's also getting a lot hotter! Summer is just starting and by January it's going to be very hot! However, the work still goes rain or shine.
Our investigators are all doing well! Yanta and Flavien just received their marriage papers! It only took the government 2 years to complete them but they are getting baptized on Nov. 29! I'm so happy for them! They've waited two years to become members and now they finally can! Tsimangiki and Sava are also doing really well! We should know today if their papers came and if they did they will also be getting baptized on Nov. 29! Gina will also be getting baptized on Nov. 29 if she feels it's right. She's just a little confused on a few things. Norbert and the family are just simply amazing! They're still strong in the church! Norbert asked us last night if he could move his bap date to Jan. 4! It worried us for a second but his birthday is Jan. 4 and he wants to get baptized on his birthday and throw a huge party after. It's completely fine it's just that either me or Elder Hein won't be there because of the upcoming transfer in December. Which reminds me this week is transfer week!

Elder Hein and I are staying put here in Tana because I still have six weeks left of training! The only Elder leaving the house is Elder Razakamandimby and we're all super sad about it because he's such a cool Malagasy. Because he's leaving we decided to buy a chicken and cook it up last night. Only problem was it was a live chicken and it's been living in our garage for a week! When Elder Razaka found out he was leaving and we told him to go buy a chicken he bought a living chicken! So yesterday we killed it after church, de-featherd it, and cooked up last night! Haha, I have some pretty funny pictures of us with the chicken and I'll send them home!
That's about it for the week! Christmas is just starting up here and we're already singing Christmas hymns in church! It sounds weird but remember they don't have Thanksgiving so....BRING ON CHRISTMAS! I hope you all have a great week! Elder Stringbean loves everyone of you!

Elder Stringfellow
Walking through the Rice Fields

Elder Hein and his new Musical Instrument

The Chicken

Soon to be Dinner

Second Thoughts...

Nevermind...Plucking Dinner

Monday, November 3, 2014

Norbert & Uno

Hey Everyone!

It's been another pretty good week here in Ambohimanarina! The work is going great and our investigators are still progressing! Norbert and his family are doing great and we teach them every Saturday and Sunday night. It's getting to the point where we don't really teach the family anymore because every time we go to their place they have someone new over that wants to hear about the gospel. We kind of start off the lesson and then Norbert and his family go off about how great the gospel is. We don't teach the lessons anymore they do!!!!! It's just another sign that they are so ready for baptism because they already know the gospel front and back! Oh yeah, on Sunday Norbert wanted me to bring a picture of the family so I did......You should've seen his face!!! He was real interested in dad for some reason! Don't know why but it was a super cool experience to share my family with his family!
I also went on another split this week! This week I went with Elder Peters who is from Tahiti! Luckily he speaks very good English so I didn't have to worry about the language barrier! It was kind of a different split for me because this time I wasn't leaving to another area, I WAS LEADING THE SPLIT IN OUR AREA! I'm not going to lie but I was super nervous mainly with trying to remember where our investigators lived. In Madagascar you can't just drive down a street and then the house is just off the literally have to hike to the houses and there's a million different trails. Luckily, we found all the houses! However, not everyone was home. By the way that's the one thing I hate most, GETTING DOGGED BY PEOPLE!!! It all turned out for the best though! We contacted out in some of the poorest houses I've been to and out in rice patties and ended the day with 5 lessons! It was such a great experience to work with Elder Peters and to meet a lot of new people. The split was for sure a huge success.
Our branch is still doing really well. Our attendance is usually between 140 and 150! We usually have between 15-20 investigators at church which doesn't usually happen, but it's because Norbert honestly brings like 12 people with him to church every week and then we get to go teach them at his home! The new church still isn't finished....We really need it to be done because our church right now just can't hold our branch! It should be getting done soon we just don't know when.
Hopefully we have some baptisms here soon! We are just waiting on Tsimangiki and Sava's marriage papers to come through as well as Yanta and Flavian's papers. Norbert and his family will get baptized as soon as the new church opens up!

Well, that's about it for the week! I got some pretty good pics this week and I'll make sure to send them home! If Syd needs anything more for her report I got a lot more time here in the Cyber so fire away on the questions! "Elder Stringbean" loves you all! Until next week!

Elder Stringfellow
Pictures of the Week

Playing UNO with some members
Member's cute little girl

Playing UNO with some members

Got my books bound with the Mada flag, Super Dope!

Elder Hein found a Dallas Cowboy's Sweatshirt at our Elder's Quorum President's House!
His own hometown baby!
Selfie with more kids

Pic with some kids
Clark / Ryan Email Conversation
On Nov 3, 2014, Ryan Stringfellow wrote:
I know it's early back at home but I'M ON!!!!

On Mon, Nov 3, 2014 Clark Stringfellow wrote:

Hi Ryan - I am on too
On Nov 3, 2014, Ryan Stringfellow wrote:
Hey dad! I just sent my weekly letter so you should be getting it here pretty soon!
On Mon, Nov 3, 2014 Clark Stringfellow wrote:
Yes, I just read it. Are you still eating and drinking okay? How is PDay what do you usually do? Do you have any zone conferences coming up and how is Elder Hein? What's the weather like? Do you ever hear from your mission president? Sorry for all the ?'s just curious.
On Nov 3, 2014 Ryan Stringfellow wrote:Yeah my health is still really good! P-Days are awesome! We usually go play soccer against members and it's a legit game! Like, we have a ref and we have to pay him after and we play two 45 min half's but it's a ton of fun! The weather is pretty hot most of the time! Probably high 80s to low 90s. I haven't experienced much rain yet but when it rains it pours!!! I see president all the time! Every time we go to the office I see him but this week he was in I didn't see him this week!
 On Mon, Nov 3, 2014 Clark Stringfellow wrote:
Ok love reading your stuff, Mom had to jump in the shower and I gotta get to work here soon, seasons are changing here and it's about to get colder.  Everyone here is doing great, we love and appreciate all that you are doing cause we definitely feel and realize the blessings of your service.
Also, are you getting along still with Elder Hein, how is the Sunburn if it is hot, do you need some sunscreen? Are you still eating ok? Don't turn into a soccer guy, it's okay to play, but baseball is still your first love right? Lol ha-ha!
Gotta go, until next week! Where by the way do you access the Internet?
On Mon, Nov 3, 2014 Ryan Stringfellow wrote:
Elder Hein and I are getting along great! We work really well together and haven't had any problems! I've only got sunburned twice and it was on P-Day's! When you wear a white shirt you don't get sunburned because your shirt just reflects the sun! I have sunscreen right now and I'll make sure to wear it on P-Day's! No I'm not a soccer guy yet! ha-ha.

Wendi & Sydnee / Ryan Email Conversation

On Mon, Nov 3, 2014 Wendi Stringfellow wrote:
Are you still on kid?
From: Ryan Stringfellow
Yeah I'm still on for a minute or two!

On Mon, Nov 3, 2014 Wendi Stringfellow wrote:
Hey Ryan!  This is Sydnee.  I am going to be on for a few minutes.
On Mon, Nov 3, 2014, Ryan Stringfellow wrote:
Okay cool! I'll see if I can answer some questions for your report! What do you want to know?
On Mon, Nov 3, 2014, Wendi Stringfellow wrote:
all right I will.
From: Ryan Stringfellow
Also, Google "Animals in Madagascar" and you'll find a ton. If you want to see the big spiders I see Google "banana spiders." Also, we don't play kids when we play soccer, we play all the grown-ups in the ward and they're dang good!

1. Food- the main food in this country is rice! There are rice patties everywhere and we walk through them all the time! I have rice everyday with something called laoka! Laoka is just what you put on the top of your rice! It varies between a lot of things like meats, beans, and vegetables. My favorite laoka I've had so far is either between chicken and peas or chicken and potato's! All in all, the rice and laoka is the main dish everyone eats here. There are also a lot of fruit! I had the best mango of my life last night and letchi season is almost upon us. Also, the bananas here are pretty good too!

2. Government- the government right now is in pretty poor condition. There's just a lack of leadership and the economy is in a downfall! We as missionaries are very rich compared to the people here. I don't know who the president is but if you Google him you should find him. By the way, his name will be very long.

3. Education- You'd be surprised by how many people go to school. Of course all the really poor families can't afford it but there are a lot of schools here! They all were uniforms and they're usually a blue uniform. They also have some colleges here in Mada!

4. Tourism- I haven't really seen tourist here on the main Island! Most everyone goes to Reunion or Mauritius. These are the two islands just off the coast of Madagascar. This might help you! There was one season on the Amazing race were the came to Madagascar! Go to YouTube and search it and I bet it will help you! I know they went to Analakely and I was just there today!

5. Money- people here are extremely poor. A lot of people are farmers and they make very little money. Lots of people have little stores just off the side of the road were we buy most of our snacks. There are a lot of people who own cybers. That's where I think most of the money is! A cyber is just a building with a ton of computers and people pay to use them. That's where we go to email.
6. Connection- Madagascar is pretty connected to France! All the other white people here besides the missionaries are French people. They teach French in a lot of the schools here also. However, Malagasies hate the French! I don't know why they just do! Also I have no idea how connected they are to the main continent, sorry!

P.S. Let me know when your report is due!

On Mon, Nov 3, 2014, Wendi Stringfellow wrote:
I have to catch the bus for school so I have to leave mom will be back on in about ten minutes. I love you RY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On Mon, Nov 3, 2014 Wendi Stringfellow wrote:
Love those pictures!!  You look very happy and a little sunburned.  Did you win the UNO game?  Glad Elder Hein found a memento from home...the poor Cowboys lost Romo to an injury.  LOVE YOU BUD!!  School is calling our names....Is there ANYTHING you need? 

From: Ryan StringfellowI only get sunburned on PDay and that was right after we played soccer so I'll make sure to wear it on PDay! You don't get burned when you're wearing a white shirt because it just reflects the sun! I know it's weird but it works! I'm all good right now I'll see how much I can help y'all with Syd's report! Love you too!

On Mon, Nov 3, 2014, Wendi Stringfellow wrote:
Alright!  You completely made Sydnee's day!  Thanks for having a chat with her!  She thinks the world of you and the time you two spent together was just what she needed!!  I am so proud of you!!  Like I said in my weekly email you are leaving me at the end of another great chapter!!  I can't wait to see how the story unfolds this week!!  I love you with all of my heart I hope you know that!  Have a wonderful week and keep the work going strong!!  I LOVE YOU!!