Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve 2009

Hello everyone - First things first: I leave three Mondays from now (assuming I counted right). The departure date is coming fast and I can’t wait.

I really think that the brethren knew that I was good with languages but that I probably couldn’t take somewhere really hard. Hence, I’m going to Madagascar. It seems like we have to be physically fit and be able to grasp weird languages. I don't know that Mad will require the mental toughness of some really hard missions where no one wants to hear about the gospel. The teachers tell us how the people in Mad are anxious to hear about the gospel and that is good news to me.

I am very ill. I threw up about six times last night and have a super sick stomach. So naturally, I am dehydrated. I got a blessing last night from Elder Evans. Once I was so sick, so bad that I asked for a blessing. I then proceeded to throw up a million times around 1:30 in the morning. O such fun. I still feel crappy so I hope I don’t go and throw up my lunch. Let’s hope that it stays down. I do have one cool experience from this very not cool experience, however. As I was tossing and turning in my bed last night, there was a Malagasy man in my dreams. I cannot recall what he said, but it was something to the effect of comforting words. I am sipping Powerade right now and hope I feel better before the weekend. I have zero energy. I did audition today for the mission president's wife and the woman from Mo-Tab. I did pretty well and am singing at a fireside Sunday night. My friends are planning to record it. We'll see.

I don't think I am losing muscle. It's crazy, it's like I've never been so ripped in my life. The food not so good, the exercise equipment no so good, and I'm sick. But, whatever. Please send the protein powder before I leave for Mad. This won't be my one and only bout of sickness, so I hear.

The I-Pod is probably one of the best presents I’ve ever received. Not because of it’s sweet styling, or its amazing technological capabilities, but for the music that is on there. It is touching to know that all those songs were picked out exactly for me. It has every thing that I have been wanting to listen to…and more! There are even opera songs that I was sure I had lost a very long time ago. How in the world did you get them? I was thinking about it and I have come to the conclusion that you did not buy all of those songs off of i-tunes. That would be a cost to the tune of $700. I know you guys love me, but money doesn’t grow on trees (at least not in Texas. only pine needles). So the question still remains: where did you get all of that music?

Me and my companion, Elder Evans, are doing much better than before. We have become much better friends than previously. It isn’t that we were enemies before. It is just the friction that comes with being around someone so much. I love Elder Evans.

As for food - I wish I was eating at Pappas! How I long for the delicious shrimp and Cajun tenderloins. Sigh. Nice job on the going to Jade Garden for Christmas Eve. I feel like we have done that before for some holiday. Ahh, such sweet memories. No matter the time of year, wonton soup and some Chinese chicken variation hits the spot. A Christmas Eve alone sounds pretty amazing right now. You lucky kids. I think your description of that Sunday lunch with brisket and crawfish jambalaya and fudge and deviled eggs was probably the greatest thing I have ever heard of in my life. And wait…sausage balls?! I can’t even remember the last time I ate those delicious little orbs of meat and saturated mouthwatering fat.

So my Christmas was good. We stayed up all night long and had a giant sleep over. It was way fun. We started reciting (or making up) Christmas poetry and it was quite hilarious. The next day was pretty awesome. We woke up at 6:30 and ran in our pajamas to the Indo’s classroom. There we had set up a Christmas tree and we had gathered all of our presents under it. We all opened presents and were quite happy. When I opened my gift I was totally expecting a very old I-Pod Shuffle. Then I pulled out the real thing. Holy COW! I just stared at the case for awhile. Then one of my friends, Elder Palmer, said, “Dude, did they send you a real I-Pod?” To this I said, “Ummmm. Ya I guess. They never would have gotten me this back home.” To that remark everyone laughed. That I-Pod is probably the coolest thing I have ever seen. When I clicked on one of the songs (Vivaldi’s Four Seasons: Winter) and the music started playing out of the speakers…I was amazed. Then everyone went wild and said that it was probably the greatest gift ever.

The food on Christmas was alright. Can’t complain (too much). For our morning speaker we had Elder L. Tom Perry. He read scriptures to us. Luckily, I persevered and stayed awake the whole time. Hopefully we get another apostle before we leave. I’m shooting for Uchtdorf. Later that day we had a talent show. At night we had same artist guy come and give a fireside on his pictures. The last thirty minutes of the program was all about the 2nd counselors wife telling us a story. It was the story of Artamen, the fourth wise man or magi. It was pretty fantastic and I can honestly say that it was the best story/story-teller I have ever heard in my life. She quoted the entire thing. In fact, this woman never uses notes and I think she has a photographic memory. So that was my Christmas in a nutshell. Pretty good I’d say.

I hope you guys have a extra super wonderful awesome New Years. And for all the people who read my blog…umm…thanks! I miss everyone so much. Love, Elder Cryer

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas!

Business first: I won't be able to call on Christmas Day. There aren't enough phones in the MTC to accomodate everyone. But I will be able to call in 4 weeks when I am traveling to Mad Ant. Get ready for this - we will leave SLC, then to Los Angeles, then to London, then to South Africa, then to Madagascar. I will call for sure from LA, and maybe from London if I can. But in London we will have a 8-hour layover. Elder Evans, in my district, is from Great Britain and he's hoping to arrange for a short tour! That would be awesome. We are so going to be tourists! If we happen to walk by a pub and get into a fight with some Irishmen, know that I love you all.

I got the package from a week or so ago. Thanks for everything. I will write the ward a thank you soon. I got my Christmas package today! I am saving it for tomorrow so I will have some Christmas presents to open. I am extremely excited. It came on the last truck of the day. After seeing one of the elders get like 15 wrapped gifts, this was a huge thing for me and another elder, to finally get our Christmas package. And I got the Sweet Tooth Fairy package! I am on a sugar high. I am saving some of the cake bites and cupcakes for tomorrow. Elder Evans has gone absolutely crazy for the cake bites. Take that, European chocolates. Our meal today was just regular MTC food, nothing too special for Christmas Eve, so tomorrow, I am looking forward to eating that great chocolate and strawberry sweetness.

I am learning the hymns in Malagasy, but they don't translate well into English. For example, "High on a Mountain Top" translates roughly into "Point at Hill High". So, only a few hymns are sung much. All the children's hymns are translated too, so good.

Yesterday we had Elder Neal Anderson come to our devotional. Needless to say, it was awesome. He talked about the condescension of God. Deep subject in a way. He also talked about the investment we are making in our lives by coming on a mission. I think the latter was for all the missionaries who are terribly homesick and thinking about going home, which there is a lot of right now. The way my friends and I are coping is by being extra festive. Last night we all had a giant sleep over in someone's room, it was fun and tonight we're going to do the exact same thing. Then we're going to wake up as soon as possible and race in our pajamas to the Indo's classroom and open our presents. Thank goodness I have a present to open! I had a mild case of homesickness around Thanksgiving but that is all done with. The way I cope is by staying on easy street, as I call it. I just try and stick to good thoughts, thinking of you guys having fun - you and Aunt Susan shopping, the music, the food, Sarah and Ryan getting ready for the wedding, Brady seeing 'Avatar" - gotta see it when I get home!, Dad, Clarissa, Wade and the babies.

I had an amazing experience in the call center recently. I talked to one man from Baltimore who agree to see the missionaries and that was good. But then on my final call, I talked to a 47 year old Catholic woman and I ended up teaching her the whole first discussion. She listened really well and then at the end said, "Well, I agree." It was amazing. I cannot believe how choice of an investigator she was. She was looking for the truth. The spirit of the condescension of God is a powerful thing.

I sang for the mission president wife's and a woman from the Mo-Tab choir and they asked me to sing "I Have Not Seen, Yet I Believe" in a devotional soon. I am not sure if it will come off, but I'll be prepared in case it does. Pray for my song, the health of my throat and me. I am supposed to audition/present it next Thursday.

The wedding sounds like it's going to be a spectacular thing. Is there going to be Mexican, Cajun and Country dancing? I will try to dance as much as possible on the 29th. Maybe you'll feel my dancing spirit. Make a video if you can. Personal messages are requested. I miss you all and hope that Christmas and the wedding are the cat's pajamas. Eat lots of delicious food for me. I hope the wedding rocks the socks.

I pray for you constantly. Merry Christmas, love, Elder Cryer

Friday, December 18, 2009

MTC Hump Day

Hello everyone: Yes, I actually am dying to know what is going on in your lives. It fills me with immeasurable joy to know that people back home are still alive and rockin. I don’t know if this is a good thing and every missionary should have it, or if I am going crazy. Elder Evans says the latter.

On the singing note (aha) I am the ward chorister and resident karaoke-in-the-shower guy. While the Mongols were here we’d have six guys all taking a shower and singing Journey, Queen, The Temptations, O Holy Night, STYX, Guns and Roses, Bon Jovi, and even some Led Zeppelin. Sadly, I am often alone on the Led Zeppelin as it is a little bit too high for the average man. Ok, it’s Soprano level. Sometimes it disturbs the Frenchies, but the zone leaders are totally supportive of letting off steam when we sing in the shower.

I am going to send home my memory card today. It is absolutely impossible to send pictures through email like we use to be able to. I have the smaller memory card and I will just use that until you send back the big one. We’ll just keep exchanging until I get to the field.

Now that I’ve gone through a little bit of MTC I am beginning to realize that not only will I be a missionary, but also a community event planner. Apparently in Mad Ant, the whole town will show up to church talent shows, variety shows, showing of The Restoration DVD, and anything with a beat to it. I plan on using these methods and my talents to the best of my ability. All of these things I have learned have also showed me some cool things that you could do one the ward level, like advertising events and really putting a lot of effort in.

I sent it in an email earlier but I’m sending it again, please send my TOMs, skinny jeans, slip-ons, and maybe my Castro’s. The Castro’s are the tweed looking shoes made by Globe. I know you don’t want to send the skinny jeans but woman, I demand it! Just kiddin ;D. But seriously, please send. Also we need to consider the possibility of either sending me Whey Protein Powder here or in Mad Ant. All of the houses in which we live have blenders and apparently the bananas are the cat’s pajamas. Many missionaries have done this because it is almost impossible to keep weight on. Whenever we decide to send it, I won’t be using it till I get to Mad Ant.

Whenever you can send me my “official gift” is good for me. I don’t care. Though if my “official gift” is a bag of chips, I’m not sure why it would take so long. Thanks so much. I'm excited to hear about friends going on missions soon. Let me know right away.

They want me to start teaching grammar lessons on Monday. Yay. I know that none of this would be possible were it not for the Lord. This strength I’ve found with languages is not mine, but something obviously given to me. I know that it is my duty to help my fellow missionaries and to be the best missionary I can be as soon as I get to the field. Since the language learning process has begun, I’ve toyed with picking up other languages like Indonesian or French. Maybe becoming a linguist is in my future. Who knows but the Lord? Malagasy is an extremely long language, multi syllable, for every word. The Lord blesses me in mysterious ways. I am pretty sure I use the 'myserious ways' thing for everything even when it's not applicable.

On Tuesday we had member of the Seventy come. His name is Elder Maynes. He had some great things to share with us. On Tuesday night me, Alboroto, Nautu, and Kunzler all had a sleep over in the Mongols room. Half of them left on Tuesday and the other half left on Wednesday. They are having major visa problems and all of the missionaries headed for Mongolia in the past six months have been reassigned till it is sorted out. It was very sad when they left. They became some of my best friends in such a short time. All of us (Malagasies, Indos, and Mongols) are planning a giant trip to Hawaii, Texas, Utah, and then London for the 2012 games after the mission. It should be fun ;D.

That sucks about the weather there. I tell everyone it may not be temperature cold in Texas but it is so humid that it feels really cold. It's been down as low as 11-12 degrees but it hasn't been that bad, not as bad as rainy cold at home.

Well I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Years. I'll talk to you guys eventually. I really enjoyed the time I had with you guys before I left. Those smart-wool socks you gave me are the best, fantastic! send more! Write me, think of me, and eat tasty food. I love you all.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Weekly email/ stress reliever! Wohoo!

Week Three:

On Tuesday we had our regular devotional. At these things we have a big dog general authority come and speak to us and we all feel very spiritual for many hours afterward. This week we had Elder Costa, you know, one of the presidency of the seventy, the one that is from Brazil and talks really funny. He gave an amazing talk about the importance of planning and being guided by the spirit. It was filled with lots of laughs, emotional stories, and hard-core doctrine content. At the end, as everyone was leaving, he went back up to the mic and told us that he wanted to give us all a hug. This is what he said in an Italian sounding Portuguese accent:“I want to hug you all but, you are very big. So, this is what you do. Reach out your arms like this, and hug self. There! You get hug from Elder Costa!” I’m sure to an outsider it looked pretty lame and dorky, but every single missionary in the room did it. I think that in a way we all felt a lot better about the MTC experience after getting our imaginary hug from Elder Costa.

...the MTC ...the food makes you go crazy. If I happen to become a general authority someday, I’m definitely going shorten the length of time in the MTC to three weeks for everyone. Let the Russian and Chinese kids fend for themselves. On that note I feel almost sufficiently prepared for Madagascar. If they sent me out today, I’d have no problems at all. The language is easy and I’ve taught all the lessons several times over. Sure, maybe I would have an exceedingly rough couple of months when I got there, but the best way to learn is through immersion. Right? Something tells me, tho, that there are far harder things ahead than just learning some weird island language.

Thank you so much for the Christmas package! It was awesome-tastic. Just so you know the Warheads and half the popcorn was gone before that night was finished. The stocking makes my area of the desk much more festive, so misoatra betsaka for that. Though I did ask for the candy, it is becoming harder and harder to maintain discipline in relation to food. Surprisingly, I’ve lost like four - six pounds. I have no idea what is going on.

Well after all of my ranting I suppose I should give you guys some good things to hear about. When I went to the RC last Tuesday, I got nothing but answering machines and shut downs. For an hour and a half absolutely no one wanted to hear about the Church. Finally, the last five minutes proved fruitful. I talked to this one guy who got sent the wrong Church thing. He had wanted the Finding Faith in Christ DVD and the last person who talked to him sent him a Happy Families pamphlet. To this he exclaimed, “I already got a happy family, ya know?!” We had a good laugh about that one. Then I just straight up bore my testimony about the Book of Mormon, prophets, and Joseph Smith. It was scary because they pretty much have taught us to not go in to deep to start off with. The Spirit must have been working over the phone because my simple testimony convinced him to have the missionaries over and to receive a Book of Mormon (Bokini Mormona is Malagasy). I think it was my first true missionary experience. Though I’ve taught pretend investigators and had really great discussions with people over that phone, none of them were quite like this. That simple four minute conversation was worth more to me and someone else than the hour long, deep discussions I’ve had with other people. Btw, me and my companion are going to baptize are first pretend progressing investigator this week. His name is Solo and his family left him last year. He only spoke a little English but it all worked out. As for one of our other investigators, Brotrefona (meaning fat, but solid), is probably going to be dropped. He is crazy and wildly opinionated and doesn’t want to do anything we ask him. Great.

That is way cool that there is snow in Alvin. As you might have guessed, there is snow everywhere in Provo. It is extremely cold but I think that we have all gotten numb to it by now. It is also like 12 degrees here and my face hurts.

About the choir/singing question: yes, I have sung in the choir. No, I haven’t sung for a solo type thing yet. The problem with singing a solo is that you have to have the music, the time, and an accompanist. I have none of those! I don’t know when people are finding the time to practice their special musical numbers, but they must be skipping class. I also am still kinda getting over Bronchitis so my voice is not totally ready to go yet. I can sing well, but not quite as good as usual because of a pervasive cough. To say the least, it is a bummer.

Guys, we did have an excessive amount of fun in the weeks and months leading up to my going into the MTC. Though I miss it and know that change is a good thing, I will always cherish those fun memories we had. I know that it much strengthened our relationship and I’m extremely thankful for that. But just remember, when I come home there will be at least a couple of months before I go anywhere so… time ;). I also feel that I should tell you something that is very disconcerting. Because of the way they have transfers in Mad Ant, I will either have to come home December 23 or October 23. So a month late or a month early. I really have no idea what I am going to do as I have no idea how I am going to feel two years from now. Why can’t they just let me do my two years exactly?! Gahhh! There is the small chance that I could persuade and beg my Mission President to let me go half way through a transfer and therefore right on time. That is what two of my teachers did. I’ll just have to pray hard and put my faith in the Lord that everything will work out. Pray for me one year and ten months from now specifically about this.

Dad, I sent you a birthday card. I hope your birthday was the cat's pajamas. Everyone you have past 50 is a blessing, LOL. How's your job going? Getting paid the big bucks? Haven't been fired? Nice Christmas bonus? Office brawl? I would like to know all these things, along with wrap ups of all the bowl games and who won between Texas and Alabama. I love you all so much and miss you. You guys have better done something cool. It makes me feel good to know that my family is having a good time. BTW, you guys having fun and eating good things does make me feel better. I feel like I'm eating vicariously through you.

All I want to do is get to the mission field.

I hope you guys are doing well and that you'll have a Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas and love, Elder Cryer

Friday, December 4, 2009

Some pictures from before Matt left

Matt sang in the Lake Charles Ward before he left. Here he is with Uncle Don and Chris.

The moment that Matthew opened his missionary call - shock and awe!

Family and friends at The Houston, TX Temple, October 16.

Answers for Mom

Dear Mom, Here are some answers to the questions you have asked:

1. I had to buy some paper, envelopes, and stamps. I had no idea stamps cost so much! If you could please send some stamps it would be much appreciated. On that note; how much money do I have in my account?

2. I have not been to the temple yet but I go in a few hours. A lot of missionaries walk to the temple on Sunday so I have been on the grounds. It is very cool.

3. Yes I have bought writing supplies.

4. Yes, the weather is cold but good for the occasional game of volleyball. When I actually work out, I do it inside. The sand court is really cool and a lot of people in our zone come and play when the field is available. So far my friend Elder Draper (who is going to Mongolia) and I are undefeated. Ya hoo!

5. For Thanksgiving dinner (it was actually lunch) we had turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and some sort of generic desert that wasn’t very appetizing. Overall the food here is ok. The first week I was like, “Wow! The food here is great!” But the sixth time your are forced to eat a dry hamburger for lunch, you begin thinking hard about paying one of the custodians to get you something from Chick Fill A. Very hard.

The language is still easy and the lessons are pretty fun to learn and then apply. We practice the lessons by teaching our teachers who pretend to be “progressing investigators.” So far Elder Evens and I have taught a Malagasy man named Solo all the lessons and are planning the actual baptism. So cool!

I have exciting news about Madagascar. Each companionship has on average 35 investigators at church each Sunday! Apparently there is a major lack or missionaries there. One companionship has people in two different cities! As you can imagine, the transportation costs are huge. There was also a city that was recently opened up that is right in the middle of the rainforest and ten minutes away from the Indian Ocean. Needless to say, we are all hoping to go there.

Send food/candy if you can! BTW one thing I forgot to include in my summary email is that I have/had Bronchitis! I went to the doctor and I am on antibiotics right now, so no worries. I also got the swine flu shot. A couple of days ago they had 20 people quarantined for swine flu. So the MTC docs went crazy and have been trying to vaccinate everyone. Anyways I love you all and...well it's time to start it...MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Love, Elder Cryer

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day 2009

Date: Nov 26, 2009 12:05 PM
Dear Family,
To answer some of the questions of my mother:
Yes, I do have gym time every day. The weight lifting machines a very humble but slightly effective if used right. Mostly I just run and do pullups. Some people have accused me of being a ninja, gymnast, cage fighter, soccer player, and cross-country runner. But no one thinks I might be a swimmer! I mean really, the soccer one is especially getting old.

Yes I indeed got all my shots so that was fun. One of the nurses asked if I happened to be from Texas. Wondering if maybe the Spirit had spoken to her, I said yes. She then pulled out a foot long, massive, delicious looking, candy sucker in the shape of Texas. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

My room is almost the exact same as my dorm room at BYU was, with bunk beds. It’s ok. Not especially awesome but not horrible. The beds are quite uncomfortable though. We think it’s to prevent us from sleeping in.

Yes, I received all of the packages and letters that my family has sent me. I appreciate them so much it is slightly ridiculous. It feels like Christmas every time we go to the mail box to see if we got anything. Emails are cool, but I can only check them once a week. Letters can be read every day.

I would like to thank Aunt Susan for the wrap up of the AMA’s. It seems like people are a little crazy with Michael Jackson fever. Taylor Swift was obviously getting consolation prizes for the massacre with Kanye.

When I said in my last email that Elder Holland was coming to speak, I was wrong. It was actually Elder Oaks which is pretty much still super awesome. Today though, we had Elder Holland for our Thanksgiving Devotional. It was possibly the most powerful sermon I have ever heard in my life. The things he said spoke to me so personally it was other-worldly. I won’t go into details because there is faaaaar to much to put down.

Again, I’m having an amazing time at the MTC. I miss you all very much and happy Thanksgiving!!!!
Elder Cryer
PS: I can’t write/email people if I don’t have their addresses.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

MTC address

Matthew Tyler Cryer
MTC Mailbox # 113
MAD-ANT 0120
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

If you type a letter (and they deliver it for free) on, you have to include some of this information:

The mailbox number - 113
Mission code - MAD ANT
Estimated MTC departure date - 0120 will deliver letters for free for Matt's entire mission - either to the MTC in Provo, Utah or to Madagascar (they send it by pouch mail for free)

One More Thing

Nov 24, 2009 6:25 PM
I hope that I wrote your address correctly on the last email. If not....I'll find out next Thursday! lol.

This is about It is free and comes to me the day you send it. I thought it was lame but I know realize that is soooooo much easier. Tell everyone that. Please.

Also tell the family that I miss them so much. Not so much though that I'm homesick, I mean, I was chosen to go to Mad Ant ;D. We don't get homesick easy.

I can't think of anything else to say right now. I'm sure that in 10 minutes I'll want to add something but, ow well, it can't be helped
And yes, this is Elder Cryer's email lol

HEY IT'S ELDER CRYER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nov 24, 2009 4:12 PM
So I haven't had a P-Day and won't have one for another week. Thanksgiving and other stuff has conspired against us. I would have written home but only Brady is there so I wasn't sure what to do.

Anyways I'm having an awesome time in the MTC! I've learned tons of the language and am maybe a week a way from being able to have a simple Malagasy conversation. Isn't that cool?! Anyone who says that Malagasy is hard was lying (or didn't have the gift of tounges lol). It is really easy because the grammar is so simple. Yes, one word is extremely long and it takes forever to say anything, but once you memorize it is easy to speak.

I love my District. My companion is named Elder Simon Evans and he is from Bristol, England. Pretty cool huh? Then there is Elder Sender (my friend from BYU) and Elder Goff. Our District only has four people in it, which makes us the smallest District in the MTC with more than one person. We are in the hard and random tribal/island language zone. We've become really good friends with the Mongolians, the Indonesians, a girl who is going to Malaysia, and some people who are learning Fijian. People from all walks of life, but a suprising amount of Hawaiians.

I've learned a ridiculously large amount about the gospel already. What fun! Anyways I love you guys, and the food is pretty good!
Veloma with much love,
Elder Cryer

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A very good place to start

It's back to Provo for our boy for a different type of education. Here's the address of the Missionary Training Center where Matthew will be for the next few months. Go ahead, write him a letter.... you know you want to.

Elder Matt Cryer
Madagascar Antananarivo Mission
Provo MTC
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604

His flight for Utah leaves in just a few hours. Hopefully he'll start packing soon :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Salama Tompoko

This is the official greeting of Madagascar and an appropriate welcome to the beginning of Elder Cryer's mission blog. Stay tuned.