Tuesday, May 25, 2010

O what a week...

O what a week. Late May back in 2010. O what a week. (Guess that song! One hint: Jersey Boys)

Transfers, transfers, transfers. I'm not gonna lie. Me and pretty much everyone else thought that I was going to be leaving Ivato. O how different the will of the Lord is from our own personal plans. I already did goodbye parties and everything. Everything was in place for my departure. Until, that is, we get a call from President Donnelly on the night of transfers. Everyone knows that if Prez calls you on transfer night, then you are going AP. So Elder Eschler was called to be the new Assistant!

I figure out that I was staying in Ivato for another month - at least - but I was ok with it. Then, as we waited for the whole transfer list to arrive from the Zone Leader, I got a deep feeling in the pit of my stomach. O no. It can't be. It just isn't possible. I'm not ready. So the call came. The first words out of Eschlers lips are, "Ivato: Cryer is training" My first reaction was one of sheer panic. I paced around the house and felt like a dog locked in a cage. How could this be? It
just isn't possible. Not only am I tied for the youngest trainer in
mission history, but I am also the youngest District Leader in mission
history. Ahh.

But, about three hours ago, the weight lifted off myself and now, I'm at peace with the whole thing. It's ok. I can do it. I'm still worried, but controlled worry only lol. I know that even though I'm still horrible at Malagasy and I don't even have enough knowledge to impart to the young one, everything will work out alright. I have faith, like Nephi, that the Lord will provide a way. If I work my hardest and give it my all, He will support me from the right and the left. That is the beauty of a calling. No matter how unprepared we feel, we can know with a surety of heart and mind that the Lord will make us ready.

Do you realize that my birthday is in less than four months. I will be twenty. I was a barely minted 19 year old when I went into the MTC. Wasn't that yesterday?

There are two major pieces of news left. I'll give the good one first. This past Saturday was the baptism of Faby, Zafy, Andry, along with 13 others from a far away place called Ankazobay. The house was packed at the Ivato church with everyone from the APs to Pres. Donnelly himself attending. It was incredible to see such a display of success in this most precious endeavor which we are engaged in. There was excellent talks, a very long baptismal service, and even a Malagasy impromptu testimony from Pres. It made me feel like I was in Chile, or Argentina, or Mexico. You know, one of those places that baptizes a lot. O wait - I forgot that Mada just moved up to the number two spot in baptisms per missionary in the highest baptizing area in the world.

And then, hard times. On Thursday I was on exchanges with one of the guys from the new group. The Zone leader was going to Ivato to do some baptismal interviews. As Elder Berlin and I are about to get on a bus, we get a call from President himself. He tells us to stay in Analamahisty and that no matter what we do, don't go towards the office. So we obeyed. We then get a call from the AP's telling us to run to the nearest house. So we did. There we caught up with the other missionaries who actually lived there and awaited news on what was going on. Finally we get word on what had happened. There was trouble by the police station beside the mission office. The religous leaders and police were protesting against the government. It was bad, violent. Fortunately by the noon the next day we were allowed to go back to work. Pretty scary though.

I love you all and pray for you. Hope you pray for me! I need em!
Elder Cryer

Monday, May 17, 2010

Elder Horn, me and the 4 Malagasy sister missionaries in Ivato.

Adventure on.

P-day, just another happy day in Mada.


So this week has been really slow. The work was hard but Eschler and I have had some amazing experiences. I am really starting to see the Lord's hand in all things that we do and in all aspects of life. It is different than the way I perceived things before. Like, I knew that Lord had His hand in everything, but there is a change when you actually start to notice it. I would like to keep this same sense of perspective and purpose.

First is Voary's family. They are a mostly member family and we are teaching their niece. They are so much fun! It is quite hard to not sit and talk with them for hours. Voary's mom, Vola, is a way fun woman. Her as well as Sister Fanza - of whom I have already spoken of - have both proclaimed themselves to be my Malagasy Mother. I'm fine with the arranengment ;P.

We have had a lot of success recently here in Ivato. Given, we probably tracted more hours than individual times taught, but that is ok. Eschler decided that after that rough patch we ran into last week that the Lord was giving us trials for ours and the investigators benefit and we were meant to push through them. So push we did. We prayed constantly, worked as hard as we could and did what we were suppossed to do. It was not insant success. Just yesterday we only got two times in the whole day and had scheduled seven. But, for the first time in my mission I have experienced successful tracting. We've met some great families and had possibly the best times (lessons) of my mission thus far. I know the end of trials and tests is not over, but like a muscle
that must be worked, the area is getting better.

About muscles: I use a lot of examples when I teach people. I have not the extensive vocab that time and blessings has been given to Elder Eschler. But I can tell a story. When Elder Eschler is explaining an especially hard part or resolving a difficult question, I always try to contribute no matter how hard it is. So, I give examples and tell stories and relate past experiences. So far it seems to be working well. At Voary's last time we were talking about faith. We all read together the story about faith being related to a tree in Alma. As they all discussed this, I thought of a way to describe it in my own way. So when the time arrived for me to talk, I showed them all a sticker of Goku (Dragon Ball Z) which I have on the back of my planner. I told them that I try really hard to look like him, but it is never easy. I related faith to a muscle. One may work out every day for month and see a bit of growth, but unless you give it constant and steady challanges/nourishment, your muscle/faith will fade away. They all loved it.

We have three baptisms coming up this Saturday and I am so excited!
Faby and Zafy got married this past Saturday so that is just great.

Anyways, that's all for now. I love you guys and miss you. I'm vita (finished) for now.
I love you all.
Elder Cryer

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hard core missionariesWe meet lots of new friends everyday.
At a wildlife and nature park.
My idea of heaven.

In Other News

It was so good to talk to you guys last night! A bit weird, but awesome! Somehow I expected it to be more weird and trippy and just, idk, different. But it wasn't. The weird part about the whole thing is that it was like I said goodbye yesterday - not six months ago. Time is flying.

So, this week was fun and hard at the exact same time. Fun, because I'm on a mission and nothin' can compare to the happiness you feel when you are on the errand of the Lord. Hard, because I'm in Madagascar and the work is getting tough. We roamed around this one humble, village-y type area for a while handing out invitations. Eventually we made our way down to the rice paddies and saw some people mikapaka vary (banging rice plants up against a stone to get all of the rice out) and we decided to help them. So we slammed the dirty plants against the rock, chatting with the rice paddy workers. We handed out invitations, got a return appointment, and had to go home to change out of our brown-with-mud clothes. Good fun all around and a good experience all together.

The weather here is so extremely nice. Picture Texas in September. On Saturday morning Eschler and I got up and just felt fantastic. It was nice and cool, the air smelled like home, and all was well. All that we needed was a big batch of cinnamon rolls, Satruday morning cartoons, and a lovely afternoon to get Target popcorn, go to the mall, Barnes and Noble, and lunch. But, missionaries we are so we have to be satisfied with the good weather.

So, there is this guy named Gino in my ward. He is a way cool guy that works at the airport and he has great style. Brother Brimhall - one of my teachers in the MTC - baptized him and I actually taught him through Bro Brimhall in the MTC. Cool, huh? So he just recently got his call to Madagascar and he'll be going to the Ghana MTC in a month or so. This is such exciting news! He has been working on getting his mission papers ready for some time and was beset with random health issues for the last part of it. It is so wonderful to see the gospel come full circle. It started with the missionaries giving the seed of faith and a testimony to a young man who wa excellently learned in the Bible. Now, over much time, he is going out to do the exact same in his native land. Absolutely wonderful.

How true it is that not only should we be asking for blessings and giving prayers, but giving blessings ourselves and answering prayers ourselves. We cannot look at life passively, assuming that if the Lord has need of us, he will simply put us here we need to be. We need to look for opportunities to answer peoples prayers and be of service to those in want.

In other news: Our guardian stole our coconut!
Alright well I'm gonna move on. I'm still sick.
Love always,
Elder Cryer

Monday, May 3, 2010

Happy Day
This is for the rock hounds - you know who you are - Dad, Rob, Steve

A good family in Ivato

A Mada Wedding

So so so. This week we had some interesting experiences in Ivato. I attended a wedding! The weddings are, tragically, very normal. The wedding that Eschler and I got to go to was for the investigators of the Sisters in our ward. We think that they just invited us so that we could take pictures for them with our nice digital cameras - the Sisters were indisposed as they were preparing the food for the reception.

It was held at this one government building that serves a variety of different purposes. All marriages have to be done through the government - not the churches. They churn out one wedding after another in this building. The room that the service is done in is very akin to a chapel. Benches and gold girding decorate the table at the front of the room. Some sort of government personnel ladies performed the marriage. The whole thing was very formal, in a way. There was lots of standing and sitting, standing and sitting, some nice words from the two ladies doing the marriage and a couple of signatures from the couple on an official looking piece of paper - nothing very exotic.

After the actual ceremony, we all rode a taxi bay while the just-married couple hopped into a borrowed car. So we rode for awhile, then walked some miles until we finally reached the house which was to be the reception site. For the party, we ate the really good dish called....well I don't know what it is called but imagine 2-day old pasta that is cold. I like it. Then we had rice and loque - the signature of Malagasy life - before having to pardon ourselves and then go back to work. I've heard from other missionaries that weddings here can get quite crazy and lavish.

So this week I have tried my unskilled hands at sewing. After accumulating a nice little herd of scrapes and rips in my clothes, I set to work on 'em. To my suprise, sewing was not nearly as easy as I had originally thought. All those signs in the MTC about learning to sew came to mind and frustrated me. In the end I was able to close all of the rips. Hooray! The repairs all look quite similar to a person who just got stitches in a badly made and under-budget horror film. The worst part about them though is that they are all now rock hard. Because my sewing ability was lacking, I went over all of my work with a hefty amount of super glue. I mean, that's why they put it in the sewing kit, right? I also ripped my wonderful gray suit pants - NOOOO! - so I gave them to a member who is very wise in the ways of sewing.

Alright well I'm going to go,
Elder Cryer