Saturday, December 3, 2011

Last few weeks in Fort Dauphin

There's one flight in and one flight out.

Pres. treated us to the best lemur park in the country.

The started together, they end together. From L - R, Matt, Elder Sender, Elder Goff, Elder Evans.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Madagascar is finally coming to an end. I won't trouble you with descriptions of how excited, or sad, or depressed I am. I'm human and the regular emotions of leaving a place you know and love are pulsing through me. It's expected, and natural. You probably already know about how I'm feeling. Put yourself in my shoes; I'm sure it would give you an accurate illustration of what's going on.

This last week was good, but thankfully uneventful. As much as I've enjoyed the adventures of my mission, a crocodile to snap at my neck and possibly catch me, or that bull from Antsirabe coming back for round-two are things that I've had enough of, and I just want to get on the plane unmaimed and of sound mind. The idea of getting on the plane without one of my appendages that was there when I first came, or having to nurse a wound until I get to a real American hospital is not what I'd call ideal. No, no; not very nice at all. So, for the relaxed but still focused week, I am grateful. It was a good week to say goodbye to friends, investigators, recent converts, and a good week to say hello and then a quick goodbye to brand-new investigators. "Hi my name is Elder Cryer....well, I won't be seeing you again. Hope you get baptized! Bye!" - the week went something like that.

We got to watch General Conference this week finally, so Saturday and Sunday were completely blocked out for the sessions and goodbye-dinner appointments. I'd like to watch the whole thing in English so that I can get the real stuff that the General Authorities were saying.

The Mission Wrap Up - a full summary of my mission is simply not possible at the present. What can I say? It was sensational. It was incredible. It was hard as all get out. It was the best two years. Now when people say such things about their missions, I know for a fact that there is always someone out there who says either aloud, or to themselves, "Oh gimme a break. That's what everyone says." But really, this mission is incomparable to anything else in my life thus far and will stand as a milestone in my eternal progression for, that's right, eternity. If you don't believe me, get out there and go the two years. The first few months may be a bit of a pain, especially if you are lucky enough to speak something crazy, but I guarantee you that this thing is life changing.

Does the fact that I've given the past two years the title of, The Best Two Years, mean that for the rest of my life nothing will ever overtake its greatness? Well I most certainly hope not! I pray that more adventures and spiritual epics are looming in my future. But of course, we shall see, as that is why it's called the future.

One of the best things I've seen on my mission is that radical change for the better is yours if you want it. I can't say that I'm 100 percent different or anything, but things are not the same as before. Spiritually, physically (I'm skinny now, but with a gut. Hooray!), and mentally I am a different person. The best thing is that this change and preparation for adult life (ahem...marriage?) comes almost completely free of charge. Someone has to sacrifice actual money to get you on a mission, and there is the tremendous amount of work that goes into it, but when all is said and done, those things are an honor and a privilege to take part in, for all involved. I'll spare you a recitation of glory tales and just say that a mission really is all that, and a bag of chips.

I know the church is true. I testify, and stand as a witness, that Christ lives and that the Book of Mormon, a true testament of Him, can draw us closer to our Savior, even him who was "the Word." I testify that when the prophets, those holy mouthpieces of God upon the Earth, tell us that "missionary work is the lifeblood of the Church," they are correct in every way possible. I will never forget my mission. I love my mission. I love the people of Madagascar with all my heart, and I know that they, despite their extreme poverty and lack of temporal success, are among God's finest and most choice souls in existence. There is no place like Madagascar, and I thank my lucky stars that I was one of the few privileged ones that has been able to serve here.

I made a starter list of things I'd like to eat when I get home:
Crawfish Jambalaya
Crackered Chicken
Roast with Extra Gravy
Meat Loaf
Hot Dogs
And any deserts that you would like to make
My tastes have been much expanded since my departure from America, so feel free to cook anything you like. I'm sure it is all delicious. By the way I ate some completely curdled milk this week called Abobo. It made me want to kill myself. It was literally just milk that had sat out for like two weeks. Hopefully this may prove to you that I will literally eat anything you serve. I'll even eat plain bread if there's nothing else...I'm sure it's fantastic...

It is seriously so hard to believe that it's all over. Am I really going to see you on Friday? Me and the rest of my group have this idea that we actually aren't going home, but we're just going to be placed back into the MTC to go serve in like Germany
or something. I'd like to give an especial thanks to two people who are so dear to me - Charles Cryer and Lou Ellen Cryer, my parents. Without them none of this would have been possible. Thanks Mom and Dad. I would like to thank you for aiding me so much on my mission. Literally, I couldn't have done it without you and Mom. Every single time I pray I thank my lucky stars for a family like you guys, and also try and ask for special blessings on everyone - even the grand babies.

I love you guys so much, and will see you soon. What are we doing on Friday
afternoon, by the way? Oh wait, I'm sure you'll tell me at that time.

I'll see you all soon. I love you.

-Elder Cryer

PS: Should any of you like to contact me about my experiences as a missionary, about what a mission is like, or if you just feel like shootin' the breeze, feel free to contact me at: or add me on Facebook. Thanks to all of those who have been reading my blog over the past two years.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Last Rodeo

The illness is not completely gone. Sister Donnelly doesn't want to give me an antibiotic for it because she says I could build up a tolerance to antibiotics and then they won't be as effective.

Back on the 15th of October I had my last baptism here in Madagascar. And baby, that one needs to go down in the record books. To recap: the sky was dark and gray; a usual scene for Fort Dauphin baptisms. Waves were rolling in above our heads as me, Elder Peaden, and Elder Ravelomahefa stood along the shore with the baptizes. It was grim, I tell ya. But press on we did, right into the murky emerald-green water, we were unaware that what gave the water its interesting color was the chopped up seaweed. After the first big wave, we looked at our once white and clean baptismal clothes to find them covered in yucky, sticky, green leaves. To our horror the seaweed had the nerve to penetrate even into our own personal Holy of Holies; aka our garments. All of the baptizes didn't seem to notice the green stuff stuck in their hair and everywhere as they emerged from the water. But are we a bunch of wimps that would cower at a little bit of seaweed and waves? NO! Even though us missionaries were complaining about the circumstances, we were having a great time. We are Malagasy missionaries, of course. What else could you expect?

I baptized two people: Tsena and a grandma. Grandma went under the water without a hitch, but the 16 year old young man named Tsena was a different story. Right as I went to dunk him, the water level dropped super fast. The result was Tsena doing a Matrix-pose (think Neo when he dodges the agent's bullets the first time) supported by me. Only his ankles and the back of his head was even touching the water - that isn't enough for a baptism by immersion. We redid the dunking right when a wave came so he was immersed and then the back draft of the wave pulled him out of the water and me almost down into it.

As the baptizes were heading back in, I looked around me and enjoyed the moment. Right at that time, as I was looking at one of the big, lumpy, green mountains that dot the shoreline sitting off in the distance, a very distinct impression came to me. It went something like this, "This'll be your last rodeo Elder Cryer. So soak it up, enjoy it, and remember every detail." A wonderful feeling of peace and comfort came over me then that was indescribable. Right then I knew for a fact that this was my last baptism here in Madagascar. This was a slightly odd idea because I thought that I'd still have one more baptism before the end, but that baptism has been pushed back to sometime in December. A lot of things contributed to this happening, but as each one was revealed to us it idn't make me sad or depressed at all. If anything it only strengthened my testimony about God's love for me, and I know that God will always be ready to comfort us in our time of need.

I'm thinking of some plans on how to get my stuff on the airplane and home safely. I'm going to declare everything, not gonna lie about anything I've got. I plan on
being 100 percent honest with the customs people, so the most they can do is take my souvenirs away.

That's all I have time for today. Prepare for the end! The Church is true! Mexican food rocks!

Elder Cryer

Friday, November 4, 2011

The lucky few

Fort Dauphin ~ it's pretty strange to know that the very end of my mission is going to be in such an incredibly remote place. On the twelfth we may have 11 baptisms or we may have none. Any number between one and eleven may occur, but we are just trying to work as hard as we can. My last baptism here in Madagascar..

The rest of Island Conference went really well. Elder Nelson blessed us all, he said:
· We would be great disciples
· We would feast upon the word
· We would apply them
· We would be safe as we obey the laws of the land
· We will all return and continue to be missionaries hereafter
· We would have vigor, health and strength

He asked us to HEARKEN. We will do it. He asked us to write down the number of units in Madagascar and then one day we will look back in wonder.

That's all I really have right now I suppose. I've been sick, bad throat. Two weeks from tomorrow I'm getting on a plane that will take me to America. That seems pretty crazy and awesome.

Elder Cryer

Monday, October 24, 2011

Island Conference

Elder Nelson has left Madagascar after a blitz of meeting after meeting for both us and all the rest of the church people that literally demanded his attention during his short stay. We got an entire meeting with him, including a mission picture, a hand shake, lessons and testimonies from Elder Mkabehla, Bishop Edgley and his wife, and then Elder Nelson and his wife. It was truly an amazing meeting, and one which I'm not going to ever forget. During Elder Nelson's portion of the evening we were actually given a very special question and answer time. The part that he actually taught us was fantastic.

The point at which I also got to sing for everyone was also quite interesting as well. As soon as I got on stage Elder Nelson and his wife got of the stage and sat right down in the front row, like seven feet away from me. All the crowd looked pretty shocked and on the edge of dire anticipation. So I sang the song: a simple, keyed up and higher rendition of 'Nearer My God to Thee' that Elder Sell and I had worked out ourselves. Elder Nelson and his wife rushed up to shake my hand and thank me for the song. It was a bit of a shock to be honest, but I'll take it. Afterwards Elder Edgley said some nice things.

The next day we had a huge All-Mada conference with the members, and then a training meeting with the APs and Zone Leaders. President Donnelly has been with Elder Nelson the entire time. After the training meeting we had a musical fire-side where I and many others sang and performed from the piano and even a clarinet. I sang
"Every Valley Shall Be Exalted" from Handel's 'Messiah'.

Today we had a giant finding activity involving all of the missionaries in the mission. It was centered in an area called Analakely, which is pretty much the epicenter of all the business and trade in the entire city. When we arrived we got the nearest zone-leader, grabbed a street board, and not knowing anything else to do went and soap-boxed. It was probably one of the coolest teaching experiences of my mission as at one point Elder Bates and I had at least 40 people gathered around,
listening to our preachings about our church. I was hoarse teaching all the people gathered around us. I suspect that in the space of an hour, we probably taught about 120-150 people. It was truly amazing, and even on that dirty, busy street corner I felt the Spirit so strongly. It was so exciting telling all the people about our church and the Word of Wisdom, which was the subject on our street board. From what I understand, some of the people we taught went straight to the nearest church and learned more from all the members and missionaries gathered there to teach them. Incredible.

Island Conference has been terrific thus far, though it is still continuing even now. I'm emaling with Elder Nash, as we have a couple of hours before returning back to the mission home for the last part of Conference. Elder Nash and I are on splits for old times sake because this is pretty much the last time that we're going to spend any time together. I guess that the first news is that I'm going back to Fort Dauphin on Wednesday, alone, as my current comp and the other Malagasy are going back
down tomorrow. Elder Peaden, the other American down there with me, will be heading to a new area in Tana and shall not be replaced down in Fort Dauphin. This means that his old companion, Elder Ravelomahefa, is going to be getting a 'mini-missionary' until I get home at which point the two Malagasys are probably going to be together.

This means that I will be with only non-English speakers until the very end of my mission. We have to be at the office in about an hour and a half. I'm going to have to say goodbye now as we are going to soon be late for the last meeting of the Conference. I love you so much and pray for all of you.

Elder Cryer