Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mission Leadership Training

Manahoana daholo!

Nanao fivorian'ny faritra tamin'ny herin andro lasa Za sy Elder Reynolds ary ny zavatra Niresahanay tamin' izany no momba ireo zavatra Noresahina tamin'ny MLC tamin'ny Talata teo.

This week was a busy but very productive week. It started off with a Mission Leadership Council meeting on Wednesday that Elder Reynolds and I were able to attend with all of the other Zone Leaders in the mission, the AP's, and President Foote. We talked a lot about mission culture and how we would like to see things change here in the future.

The Madagascar Mission, at least to me personally, is one of the best missions out there and we strongly believe that we got the best missionaries. However, everyone has a little room for improvement and we want to keep striving until we hit our full potential. It was great to hear President Foote's insight on the matter and hopefully we see some big changes here soon within the mission concerning the mission culture.

On Thursday, Elder Reynolds and I conducted a Zone Meeting where we talked about things that were mentioned in MLC and then we shared a lesson on Obedience and Working With Members. It was a great meeting and I'm so thankful to be a part of the South Zone here in Tana. It's nice when all the missionaries you work with obey the rules and work their tails off to build the Kingdom of Heaven here in Madagascar. I couldn't think of a better place to be right now other than here in this zone.

Okay, all of our investigators are doing great! Poland and his wife Haingo should be getting baptized here on the 21 of May along with Victor. All three are doing great and they all seem to be progressing well towards baptism. Each of them only have to do a few more things until they can get baptized but we believe they'll be ready for the 21. Keep your fingers crossed.

Elder Cooley and I are still working well together. It really is a blessing to be working here in Ampefiloha right now and I'm learning a whole lot. I sure hope that I get to stay in this area until the end of my mission but I'm afraid it might not happen. Ampefiloha currently has four missionaries working here right now but due to the great amount of missionaries going home this summer it's probably going to go back down to just two Elders....I don't know, we'll wait and see what happens.

Well, that's all I got for this week. The mission life is good and it's crazy to think that it's rapidly coming to an end. Hopefully, things start to slow down a bit so I can get one last go here in Mada.
I love you all so much and I hope everyone has a great week.

Love, Elder Stringfellow
Elder Tsarahita. Y'all remember him? Yep, that is Stephano! Elder Reynolds and I took this pic with him literally 5 minutes after President Foote set him apart to be a missionary. 
Good burger I got on Elder Schroeder's Birthday.    
Your Favorite Missionary
Madagascar from the top of the church. 
Selfie on a Taxibe
Some Malagasy children

Monday, April 18, 2016

Operation Smile

Manahoana Daholo e!

Nandritra ny herin' andro lasa za sy Elder Cooley no nanana ny fahafahana niasa kely tamin'ny zavatra iray izay antsoina hoe:  Operation Smile! Tena milay be ireo zavatra nataonay tamin' izany!

Okay, one of the coolest weeks of my mission! Elder Cooley and I had the opportunity this week to work with an organization called Operation Smile. Holy cow, it was so cool. Operation Smile is an organization that travels all over the world to fix cleft palets and cleft lips. What happens is nurses, doctors, and volunteers give up their vaction time to travel to places, such as Madagascar, to help with this problem. They don't get paid for it and it's free for every patient who is a part of it. I guess Elder Cooley and I just got lucky when they asked us if we could help with it.

Most of what we did was translate for nurses and wheel patients up out of surgery to the post op room. Elder Cooley and I had a lot of fun doing it and we meet lots and lots of people from all over the world. There were people from America, Sweden, Finland, France, South Africa, Italy, Egypt, Germany, and the UK. They were honestly some of the nicest people we've ever meet and lot's of them are now our friends. Heck, they let us go in and watch a live surgery and then one of the Anesthesiologists liked us so much he sent an email to his LDS Anesthesiologist friend in Colorado telling him that he should let us shadow him for a day or two. How cool is that? 

Anyways, they liked us so much that they invited us to their after party on the top floor of the nicest hotel here in Madagascar called the Carlton. Now that was a lot of fun. Elder Cooley and I weren't thinking that we'd be able to go but we got a last second phone call letting us know that we were allowed to. It was such a good time and they even recognized our help while they were acknowledging everyone who helped with Operation Smile. All in all, Operation Smile was so much fun and I really want to be a part of it again.

All of the investigators are still doing well but I think we'll have to move some baptismal dates back. I know it's sad but we want to make sure everyone is completely ready, including Victor. Anyways, I should be able to give a better report next week because we'll actually have a full work week of normal missionary work. I'll give a really good report next week on all of our investigators.

Anyways, that's all I got for the week and I'll make sure to send lots of pics home. Love you all so much and I hope everyone has a great week.

Love, Elder Stringfellow
Photos of the Week
Elders Cooley and Stringfellow preparing to translate during surgery #OpSmile
Helping the Surgeons and Nurses with Translation to Malagasy
Service...Small Acts = Big Love! - Working as Orderlies
The Elders taking the patients back to their rooms!
The Banquet
One of the Surgeons they met
Some of the Nurses and The Elders
More Nurses and The Elders receiving a Thank You Note from #OpSmile

“The Field Is White Already to Harvest”

Feeding the Lemurs or Feeding the Missionaries
Lemur Time
Lemurs R Us

Monday, April 11, 2016


Manahoana Daholo e!

Nandritra ny roa andro lasa za no nanana ny fahafana nijery ny Fihaonamben'ny Fiangonana farny amin'ny misionako. Sady mampalahelo no mahafaly izany.

This last week could be considered the most spiritual week of my mission thus far. The last two days we had the amazing opportunity to watch conference and listen to the words of our beloved church leaders. I felt like I had a lot of unanswered questions going into this conference, but when I left, I felt like they were all completely answered. I learned a lot the past week and I can't wait to share what I learned with all of you.

All of the talks that were given in this last General Conference were amazing and I learned a lot from each them. Multiple pages of my study journal are now filled with instruction, thoughts, and ideas that I gathered from each talk that was given. It's safe to say that I loved every every single talk from this last conference, but two in particular really hit me hard.

The first talk that I really liked was given by President Uchtdorf on hope. It seems that too many people in today's world, including myself, have forgotten what the word hope really means. First and foremost, it's an attribute that Christ possesses. Christ is our perfect example of hope. Who do we always rely on when we need help? Christ. Who is always willing to direct us back on to the path if we are lost?
Christ. And who is always willing to literally pick us up and carry us we can no longer move forward? Christ. Hope is not just something that God would like us to have. It's something more. It's required. Hope is the only way that we can return to the presence of our Father in Heaven and they way we show that hope is through Christ and his everlasting Atonement. President Uchtdorf really hit hard on the fact that this life is not always easy and that hope is something that we are all required to have. He encouraged us all to apply Christ and his Atonement in our lives so that we may all have a better light of hope.

Likewise, Elder Holland also gave a talk that related to this important attribute. A quote that I really like from his talk reads, "Remember tomorrow and all the days after." Sometimes I feel like I myself get too caught up in the moment. We all now that the past is in the past and that it's always good to do your best in the now, but it seems that we sometimes forget that there's always tomorrow. Elder Holland also spoke on the difficulty of living in this world and that sometimes we might get caught up in the things of this world. The adversary is working hard and it might sometimes seem that it has complete control over us. But do we remember that there is always tomorrow? Our God is loving and a merciful god. He wants us to be happy. Plain and simple. As a long as we are trying to live by his will, he will bestow his endless blessings and love upon us. I absolutely love that. I sometimes feel like if I'm not doing something perfectly correct then it's considered as a failure. It's something that I've struggled a lot with but this talk given by Elder Holland contradicts that feeling. I now know that God is pleased with me and that he loves me unconditionally. I can't believe it's taken me this long to start to figure it all out but I'm glad it's starting. This was probably my favorite talk from conference and I'm going to try my best to imply all it's principles in my personal life.

Elder Cooley and I are still getting along great. We had a great time watching conference and working together this week. All of our investigators are still doing great and I'll give y'all a better report on them next week. He and I sure had a great week this week and we hope that y'all did too. I love you all so much and I hope you all have a great week.

Love, Elder Stringfellow

P.S. Shout out to my little bro for getting his mission call to Houston Texas. Texas sure is lucky.

Elder Stringfellow's brother Sam, opening his mission call video