Sunday, December 28, 2014

Week 2 in Tamatave...

Manahona Daholo!

What a crazy/amazing week here in Tamatave! To start off we had riots all week because there was no power and everyone started going after the power company! It got bad enough that on Tuesday we had to be in at a 5:00 pm curfew and we couldn't leave the house the rest of the night! Thankfully, the riots have stopped and the power is back on!

Wednesday! Wednesday was honestly the best day of the week because we got to Skype! It was so nice to see all of you and talk with you! By the looks of things it looks like everything is going well back in Bountiful! Other than that we just worked.

Thursday was Christmas! Not going to lie but this Christmas was very hard to be away from home! It's not because I'm home sick or anything it was just that Christmas is celebrated a lot differently here! Let's just say that everyone get's super drunk and they just party all day! It was definitely one of my harder work days and I felt really sad for the people who didn't understand the purpose behind Christmas...However, it was still an amazing Christmas and it will be one that I'll never forget!

The rest of the week we just worked. With all the riots and Christmas being on Thursday we still had a very good work week! Elder Turner and I are working very well together and I'm learning so much from him! He is very easy to work with and he know's how to get a program going! It amazes me how blessed I have been with my companions so far and I hope it continues!

That's about it for the week! All of our investigators are still doing great and we hoping to get Bri and Sandy baptized on January 17! Keep your fingers crossed! Hopefully we don't have any problems this week with it being New Years but I have a feeling people are going to be a lot more drunker! Haha, oh well, all we can do is work! Anyways, I love ya'll so much and I hope ya'll had an awesome Christmas! Until
next week!

Elder Stringfellow
Elder Stringfellow and Elder Turner's Bedroom

Their Living Room

Their Kitchen
Elder Stringfellow and Elder Turner (Elder Sam Merrill's Twin - lol)

Ryan and some kids

Another cute little kid

Elders Stringfellow and Turner with Bri's Family

Local Bike Taxis

Walking down a Typical Street in Tamatave
A Typical Grass Hut House in Tamatave

Christmas 2014 SKYPE Conversation - Tuesday-Wednesday December 23-24, 2014

Our Christmas Conversation

On Tuesday, December 23rd at 2:30 a.m. in the morning I (Ryan's Dad) received an email from Elder Stringfellow indicating that he needed to change his SKYPE time to Tuesday evening at 10:00 p.m. our time (which is actually at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday December 24th his time).  I know this seems weird but Ryan had to change the times because the "Cybers" in Toamasina were not going to be open on Christmas day or for the rest of that week.  

At around 10:00 p.m. that evening after we got everything setup and all gathered together (Me, Wendi, Squatch (Sam) and Sydnee as well as my parents Val and Ann Stringfellow (Grandpa and Grandma) and Wendi's parents Sam and Mindy Wilson (Papa and Nana) and Wendi's grandfather Don H. Perkins began a conversation with Ryan at about 10:16 p.m.  The grandparents had a great little conversation with him for about 30 minutes.  Then the rest of us spoke with Ryan in a very clear and "real time" conversation for almost 4 hours.  It was an awesome experience.  He is doing so well and loves absolutely everything he is doing in Mada.  As his parents we are so happy that he is healthy and happy.  This has definitely been the best Christmas that we have ever experienced as a family.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 1 in Tamatave...

Hey everyone!

I can't believe I've already been out in Tamatave for a week! Tamatave is nothing like Tana! There are very few cars and a lot less people. Not to mention the humidity here is at about 90 percent everyday with the Temp. usually being at 95 degrees! It's hot!!!! We also very rarely have power....we might only have it for a few hours everyday and when we don't the house gets very hot! Two days ago we peaked at 95 degrees inside the house! Even though it's hot and humid I still love it here! I honestly feel like I'm on some island in the middle of nowhere and it's so cool! We teach people in little beach huts and it just blows my mind every time I go into one! This place is so cool!

Now about my new comp. Elder Turner, He's awesome! He's such a great missionary and I know that he and I are going to get Ankirihiry going! He's been out a year and knows the way how to be an effective missionary! We are going to tear it up out here and I can't wait to see what we do!

My new area Ankirihiry is so cool! We have a really cool branch with some really cool members! I don't know everyone yet but I will over time! We have three really cool progressing investigators right now: Bri, Sandy, and Jonathan! They are all progressing very well and I'll keep you updated on them! The geographical aspect is cool too! It's just sand paths with huts lining the sides! We have such a cool area and I wouldn't trade it for the world!

Now concerning Skype! I can't believe it's already Christmas! Elder Turner and I are planning on coming to the Cyber on Christmas morning at about 8 Madagascar time! It should be pretty close to 10 pm Mountain Standard day on Christmas Eve when we skype! So sorry but that's the only time we can come on Christmas! If that doesn't work we'll just try again the next day! Hope that doesn't ruin anything but that's probably when it's going to happen!

That's about it for the week! I hope you all have an awesome Christmas and that you all remember the true meaning behind it! I love ya'll so much and Tratran' ny Krismasy!



Monday, December 15, 2014

Transfered.....To the Beach!

Hey Everyone!

Boy do I have some crazy news for ya'll! This last week was transfer week and it turns out that I'm leaving Ambohimanarina here and Tana and I'm heading out to an area called Tamatav!!!!! Tamatav is on the East coast of Madagascar and is the second biggest city here in Madagascar! It's about 8 or 9 hours outside of Tana buy taxi bus and it's a bike riding area! My new companion will be Elder Turner who is already out there and I can't wait! Most importantly I'm going to the beach!!! 

We were able to ask him a few questions about the transfer and here is his response:

I leave tomorrow at 5:00 pm and I will be getting there by taxi bus which is about the size of an airport shuttle! I should be arriving in Tamatave at about 2:00 am.  I'll be traveling with Elder Nelson, Elder Hull, and Elder Bowler.  We are all going to Tamatave but I'll be working in an area called Ankirihiry! There are only 9 elders out in Tamatave and all I really know is that the work is really good, it's hot, and everyone who goes there loves it!  Its a Bike Area and They'll have a bike for me out there! The best cyber in country is actually out in Tamatav so it should be really good! 

Well, that's the big news for the week but I still got a lot more to talk about! Tuesday we had Zone Conference and it was amazing! The AP's and President and Sister Adams did such an amazing job and I learned a lot! They spoke on Pride, Repentance, and Gossip! It was done so well and was so spiritual! Plus at the end we got Sister Adam's cooking! All in all, Tuesday was such a great day! 

The rest of the week we just worked! It was really hard knowing that I probably won't be seeing any of these people anytime soon and I started saying my goodbyes!

I got so many pictures of so many
incredible people here in Ambohimanarina and I'm going to miss them a lot! We had so many progressing investigators who are so prepared for baptism it's crazy! They now have a special place in my heart and I'll always remember them! That's really about it for the week! We just visited people all week because we knew at least one of us was leaving and it turned out to be me!

I'm so pumped to go out to Tamatav and I've heard so many great things about it, but Ambohimanarina will always be in my heart!   The people I've met and the friends I've made can only be described as an incredible blessing in my life! The church still has a long ways to go here in Mada but it is continuing to grow through these amazing people!

I love them so much and I don't want to leave them but I have too! I know that the Lord knows me and knows where I need to be and That's Tamatav! I can't wait to get out there and create new experiences with other Malagasies! I know that I'll love Tamatav! 

I hope ya'll have a great week and that you're preparing for Christmas! Only 10 more days until I can see ya'll and talk with ya'll! I love ya'll so much and Tratra ny Krismasy!
Elder Stringfellow
Some "Stripling Warriors"

Last photo of "Tana" for a while

Investigators Tsimangiki and Sava

. Investigators Yanta, Flavien, and Sylvie

. Investigators Yanta, Flavien, and Sylvie w/ Elder Hein

Branch Mission Leader Fr. Tojo

The big three! Branch Mission Leader, Branch President and Branch Clerk

Norbert's Family

Elder Stringbean with a duck

Elder Hein, Norbert, Elder Stringfellow

Elder Stringfellow with Norbert and Family

Some of the Ward Members

Most diligent member in Madagascar Fr. Solofo and family

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tratra ny Krismasy!!

(NOTE) Ryan's parents sent him a Christmas package on October 24th.  It didn't contain much as we were limited to 4 lbs., but we did our best to give him some of the comforts of home.  One of the presents was a blanket that had 80 + digital images of Ryan's life and our family printed on it.  Ryan received his package yesterday at the mission home and he opened it up.  He was allowed by his mission president to send a quick email home telling everyone he received it....Here is his response...

Hey everyone,

Elder Hein and I are in the Cyber right now typing up area reports for the zone and we have permission to send home a note saying we got our Christmas packages! Don't worry, I'm not being maditra (naughty) or anything sending this home when it's not P-day! I hope you don't get mad at me but I couldn't wait to open it! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE BLANKET! That is literally the best Christmas gift I have ever received and I can't thank you enough! Oh, and the American food was also really nice! Anyways, thank you so much again for the package! I love you all! Tratra ny Krismasy!!

Elder Stringfellow
Got the Package
Opened the Package

Monday, December 8, 2014

Upcoming Transfers...

Hey Everyone!

Tratra ny Krismasy! I can't believe it's almost Christmas! Even though it's summer here and is still really hot you can still feel the Christmas spirit! In two weeks I get to Skype with most of ya'll and I can't wait! Now on to the week!

This week was a crazy week and I have a lot of really cool stories. To start off on Tuesday Elder Hein and I taught the poorest family we've been to so far....They live in a one room house with no electricity or running water. They have a dirt floor and the only two things in the house were a twin bed for the parents and a candle sitting on the window ledge. All seven kids sleep on the dirt floor and they only have one set of clothing. It literally broke my heart when I walked in. It's really humbling being here in Mada and seeing the poverty all around. I'm just really grateful for what I have and were I live. If you get the chance please read the talk by Elder Holland that he gave in this last conference. It has changed my life!

Sorry to start off with a sad story but I got some better ones! Yanta, Flavien, and Sylvie all passed their baptism interviews! They'll be getting baptized on Dec. 20! Either Elder Hein or I wont be here but it's all good! Personally, I think Elder Hein will leave and become AP but we'll wait and see, haha!

I also went on another split with Elder Rasafamandimby. He still speaks no English but this time I was able to talk with him a lot more! It was a really good split other than we got caught in the rain and all the streets and rice patties flooded. Just walking down the street I had water up to my mid calf! Haha, we got super wet but It was such a good experience!

Our stats this week were through the roof! Our district of three companionships alone had 60 lessons taught! It was a really tough week and we came home dead every night but it was so worth it!

That's about it for the week! Tomorrow we have Zone Conference and I can't wait! It's my last week with Elder Hein and we're going to kill it. I'm super bummed that we're almost done working together but I'm finally done with the training program! The mission just keeps getting faster and faster each week! I don't have a lot of pics this week just because we were so busy but next week I should have a lot because we will be getting pics with investigators and members! I love you all so much and I hope ya'll have a great week!

Elder Stringfellow
Their Area

Elder Cooley and Elder Stringfellow (Both Bountiful Braves) 
Ryan is not Sunburned just red faced from running home at night, according to him.

Their Area Again

Wild Life

Elder Hein, Elder Hein's Trainer, Elder Srtringfellow

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Success...

Hey Everyone!

I can't believe it's already December! Today marks my two month mark here in country and I can't believe it. This week was such an incredible week with it being Thanksgiving and all and I can't wait to tell you about it.

First off, on Tuesday I went on a split with Elder Cooley in his area!  The split was awesome! It was super nice to have somebody from your own hometown to work with! Elder Cooley is doing great and his progressing in the language. We honestly talked the whole day and it was really cool to here some of his stories. Elder Cooley is one heck of a missionary and I love him so much!
Thursday was THANKSGIVING! Our house went all out and we had a killer Thanksgiving! We killed our Turkey in the morning and then went out and worked all day! We came home and cut up the Turkey with some vegetables and threw it in the oven for about two hours. While it was cooking we made cream corn, mashed potatoes, biscuits, and brownies! It was for sure one of my most memorable Thanksgivings! I got pics so I'll send them home!
The rest of the week Elder Hein and I worked our tail's off! We ended the week with 27 hours of work with 22 lessons! That's the best week we've had so far. Right now we are teaching a lot of new people and we contacted into a professional soccer player from Nigeria who is playing here in Mada. He's a baller! He's had a really rough time here in Mada but he thinks he still has a shot at going big. We shared a little spiritual thought with him the other day and it was amazing.

The really cool thing about it is that we teach him in English! Not going to lie but it's a little weird teaching in English and I much rather prefer Malagasy. Hopefully he continues to learn from us and that he accepts our message!

I have good news about our investigators! Yanta and Flavien want to get baptized before either Elder Hein or I leaves. We're pushing for Dec. 13 and if they get baptized on that day that means that the 11 year old girl, Sylvie, who lives with them will get baptized too!

Tsimangiki and Sava fixed their papers and are going to go pick up the last one today so they too could get baptized on Dec. 13. Norbert is Norbert! He and his family are doing great and they can't wait to get baptized in January! Oh, the church still isn't finished but hopefully we start going there this month!
That's about it for the week! It was such an amazing week! With it being Thanksgiving it made me really realize what I'm thankful for! I am especially thankful for my family and friends. I don't know where I would be without them right now but I'm glad with where I'm at. Ya'll mean the world to me and I hope ya'll had an amazing Thanksgiving!

Only 25 more days till Christmas! I don't know where I'll be or who I'll be with but I'll make sure to Skype with ya'll. I love ya'll so much and have an amazing week!

Elder Stringfellow
Found a Chameleon


Rainbow 1

Rainbow 2

The Turkey

The Turkey Crew


Happy Missionary

Turkey Dinner

The Table Setting

Sitting down for dinner
Poop Balls used for Fire