Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Duck...

Manahoana Daholo e!

Hey everyone! How was Christmas? I hope everyone had a great day because we sure did here! It was so nice to talk with most of you over skype and I'm glad to see that you're all doing well. How we spent our day was probably a lot different than how you guys spent yours, but we still had a ton of fun.

On Christmas morning we all got up and started cooking right away. Elder Anderson, my companion,  is pretty good in the kitchen and decided to make fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and chocolate pie. We helped him create the ultimate Christmas lunch and it turned out to be really good.

After our little feast, we headed over to the church for the Branch Christmas party. The branch members organized the whole thing and they actually asked us, the missionaries, to bring some kind of skit for them. What we did was we created a scenario were the missionaries tracted into Santa Clause and Mrs. Clause and shared a message with them. It was super funny and the branch members loved it. The primary kids also sang in the program and the young single adults told the Christmas story. Best Christmas party I've ever been a part of!

After the Christmas party, we went and had the ultimate Christmas dinner at a members house. He literally cooked us a Christmas duck for us and we used that for our kabaka with our rice. Never really had duck before but it was pretty dang good. Anyways, it was a great way to cap of our Christmas and it's safe to say that this Christmas is on the top of the list for Best Christmas of all time!

Well, I don't have a lot more to say. We had a great week last week with it being Christmas and all, but we're ready to get back in the swing of things. It's going to be tricky this week, however, in trying to avoid everything that goes on with New Years. Oh well, all we can do is try our best! Anyways, love you all so much and I hope that everyone has a great week!

Love,
Elder Stringfellow
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK









Christmas Duck



Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Skype Session

Our family was able to speak with Elder Stringfellow via a Skype video chat on Christmas night. Here are some photos of this Skype session and a video excerpt of Ryan sharing his testimony in Malagasy. He is doing so good and really enjoying his mission.  It is very hot and humid in the location of Mahajanga where he currently resides.  He said that usually it is over 100 degrees with 80-100 percent humidity every day.




video

Monday, December 21, 2015

We Have New Roommates...

Tratra ny Krismasy!

Hey Everyone! How we all doing? We getting ready for Christmas? Holy cow, I can't believe it's almost here again. Time is literally flying by and it's had to believe that this is going to be my last Christmas here in Madagascar......mampalahelo be izany.

Anyways, the big news of the week is that Elder Wootan and I got roommates/new companions! Yep, President Foote brought up two new missionaries with him last Friday night and now my new companion is Elder Anderson! MY BROTHER! He and I were both trained by the legendary Elder Hein and now we're working together! I am so pumped! We already get along great and I can't wait to start working with him. We're going to get a lot of work done but we're going to have fun while we do it. He's from Idaho and he's got about 4 months left in his mission.

Work was crazy this week! It's starting to rain again here in Madagascar and Elder Wootan and I literally had to walk through flooded gutters and sewers. Literally, the nastiest thing I've ever done....It was a whole lot worse than Tamatave and we literally saw dead rats floating down the streets as we walked through them. Haha, oh well! It might've bee disgusting but we still taught the times we were supposed to teach. If anything, it taught me that I should worry about others before I start worrying about myself. Another great
lesson that I've learned on my mission.

As I mentioned before, President Foote was up here this weekend. Man, do I love him. He took us out to dinner a few times and then came to church with us on Sunday. I had great interview with him on Sunday and we got to talk about a lot things. It's always great to have President around and I'm so thankful that he's our Mission President here in Madagascar.

Well, that's about it for my weekly report. I'm so excited that Christmas is just around the corner and I can't wait to skype most of you guys this Friday. Christmas is the best time of the year mainly because we can focus on the birth of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ. Please, please, please try to keep him as your main focus this Christmas. Being here in Madagascar has really taught me that you don't need a whole lot to be happy if you keep him as the main focus in your life. Please remember that. I love you all so much and Merry
Christmas!

Love, Elder Stringfellow


PHOTOS OF WEEK
Fresh Mangos
Christmas Package Arrived 
On the Beach

Lemur on the Roof
Shark on Rice
More of the Beach 
Sailing....
Mahajanga Bay
Checking out the sites
Pday Fun

Monday, December 14, 2015

Cirque Rouge

Dia ahaona isika jaby e?!

How is everyone doing? Ya'll getting prepared for Christmas? It's crazy to think that Christmas is almost upon us again. One year ago I spent my first Christmas on the mission in Tamatave and now I'll be having my final one here in Mahajanga. I'm so pumped! Christmas is such an amazing time of the year even if the people around you don't celebrate it the way it's supposed to be celebrated. It's a time that we can focus on Christ and his birth. In the grand scheme of things, if you really think about, everything we do is centered around Christ and his gospel. It's something truly amazing and the Christmas season helps us remember him in our individual lives.

We had a great work week this week! Elder Wootan and I are still trying to train all of the auxiliary leaders in the Branch and we almost caught them all this week. We've started to notice some small changes in the Branch but nothing big yet. But hey, by small and simple things are great things to come to pass. I'm sure in the future we'll start to see some big changes in this branch, especially from the leaders.

We did so much contacting this last week and found a whole bunch of new people to teach. Ever since the baptisms a couple of weeks ago we have been struggling to find some progressing investigators....As a result of that, a lot of people have been dropped from our program and we are starting to look for some new people teach. We found a lot this last week and we have times set up with all of them this week. I guess we'll find out this week if they're all ready for the gospel in their lives.

One cool thing that happened this week was Victor received a calling yesterday during sacrament meeting. He is now the second counselor in the Young Men's Presidency. I'm so happy for Victor and he's going to do great in his new calling. During our time with him this week he told us that he wants to start learning all his duties as an Aaronic Priesthood holder so he can better understand what he needs to do to help this branch. Victor just gets it, plain and simple, and we can't wait to see what other leadership positions he'll hold in the future.

Well, that's about all I got today. We did go to this place today called Cirque Rouge which looks exactly like Southern Utah with red rocks and everything, so I guess that's pretty cool and I'll send home a whole bunch of Pics. Anyways, I love you all so much and I can't wait to Skype next week!


Love, Elder Stringfellow

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
The Neighbor "Hood"
The Hood
The Hood
The Hood
The Hood
Last Night's Dinner

Cirque Rouge
Cirque Rouge
This is Sandratra. He's our Branch Secretary and he came with us today to Cirque Rouge
Cirque Rouge
Ryan at Cirque Rouge
Cirque Rouge
Cirque Rouge
Cirque Rouge
Cirque Rouge
This is Sandratra. He's our Branch Secretary and he came with us today to Cirque Rouge

Monday, December 7, 2015

Its Really Hot....

Tena tsy mijanona mihitsy ny hafanana ary ataoko fa mety ho faty aho!

Hot....That's all I'm going to say. The days just seem to be getting hotter and hotter and I can only imagine that temperatures will continue to increase. It's not always fun to go out and work in such brutal temperatures but at the end of the day it gives you that amazing feeling of accomplishment. As the temperatures get hotter, the work starts to pick up more and more and I know it's because of the effort we are putting in. Things are starting to slowly click here in Mahajanga and it's an exciting time for the church here.

As I mentioned in my letter last week, Elder Wootan and I are giving most of our attention to our branch. The members out here, especially the leaders, are incredible people and they have nothing but good intentions for chruch, however, we have noticed that they need a little help. It seems that even though our leaders have good intentions, they still have not been properly trainded in certain areas within their callings and because of that we have seen some difficulties in the branch. This last week, Elder Wootan and I visited every single member with a leadership position in the Branch and set up times with them for us to train them. This week we are going to start the slow process of training them and hopefully we see something good come out of it.

Other than working with the branch, we still find lots of time to teach new people about this gospel. Elder Wootan found lots of time this week to tract and we found some new really cool families. We have set up return appointments with all of them this week and I'll fill you all in next week with what happens.

Our 3 recent converts are all doing well. Victor received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday and Fenazy and Mercelline are both doing pretty well. Fenazy was pretty sick this week and we ended up giving her a blessing so please keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she is trying to get better.

Other than that, I don't really know what else to write....Oh, last week we had a missionary come home! His name is Fabrice and he is a baller. He's been helping us a lot lately and hopefully he becomes the new Branch Mission Leader. He searved his mission in Cote d’Ivoire and he's going to be helping this branch out a lot. I'll keep ya'll updated on how work goes with him.

Well, I guess that's my weekly report. It's crazy to think that another week has gone by and that my mission is getting shorter and shorter. I really do love this work and I love being a missionary and hopefully these next 8 months go by SLOW. Anyways, love you all so much and I hope that everyone has a great week!


Love, Elder Stringfellow

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
The Beach in Mahajanga





Monday, November 30, 2015

Baptism in the Indian Ocean....

Tsisy vorontsiloza tamin'ny Alakamisy....

Hey Everyone!

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving and that ya'll stuffed yourselves full of Turkey! Thanksgiving was a little different here but Elder Coleman and I sure made it worthwhile. We started off the day by working our tails off and then on Thanksgiving night we went to this insane beach resort down in the main part of town. The food there was really expensive but it was so good. I got this really good shrimp and then topped it off with some chocolate mousse. I never thought in a million years that I would be eating seafood on Thanksgiving but it sure was good!

Anyways, the next day Elder Coleman left and I got my new companion Elder Wootan. He is such a baller and he's got great ideas for this branch. He and I have been talking for the past couple of days and we have come to the conclusion that the leaders in this branch need help.  It's not that they're not doing a good job, they just don't know how to do their job. Elder Wootan and I are going to be doing lots of training with Branch Members to see if we can bring this place back to life. Mahajanga can be an area of strength here in the mission, but we first need to help the branch get back on their feet.

We had 3 baptisms this week! Victor, his wife, and Mercelline all got baptized on Saturday and I had the privilege of performing all 3 ordinances. To make matters even better, we did the baptisms in the Indian Ocean! Literally, the coolest experience of my life. There were a couple of times, however, where I thought I was going to die because the waves were so big, but in the end, we got everyone baptized and it was a great way to spend our Saturday afternoon. The next day, they all received the Gift of the Holy Ghost and I have a little story to go along with that.

On Sunday morning, Elder Wootan and I walked into the Chapel to make sure everything was in order for Sacrament meeting to start especially for those who would be receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Every thing seemed to be in order until our 2nd counselor came up to me, literally 5 minutes before the meeting started, and said, "You ready?" I replied, "Ready for what?" He then went on to tell me that my name had been written down as the one who would be giving Mercelline the gift of the Holy Ghost! Talk about panic attack! I started freaking out a little bit because I literally had no idea how to do it in Malagasy and I only had 5 minutes to prepare. In the end, I figured out what to do and the nerves eventually went away. Mercelline received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, along with the other two, and now all 3 are members of the church.

Well, that's about it for the week. We saw a lot of amazing things happen this week and I sure am thankful for our 3 new recent converts. I love you all so much and I hope everyone has a great week!

Love, Elder Stringfellow

Baptism Pics! The last pic is the best, haha! Really thankful the waves didn't kill me!

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK