Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Quick news - Touli and I are eating in a cool Indian restaurant close to our house and the guy likes us so he let us use his computer. Transfers are happening tomorrow and guess what, I'm going to Antsirabe! It is a province south of Tana. I'll tell you lots more on Monday, once I've actually gotten there and all that stuff. My comp is named Rakotoniaina. Yes, he is Malagasy. In fact, I'm the only English speaker in my district of six!

Elder Cryer

Monday, July 26, 2010

The inside of our beautiful church building in Ivato
One of our families we like to visit
It's windy here

Good Malagasy guy

Dancing Warriors

First, I've started working out again and trying to eat well, so I can still fit in all my clothes.

So this week was pretty fun. We did lots of tracting, lots of teaching, and went to the Stake Talent Show. Pretty much all the missionaries in Tana were there. The event was held at some giant school deep inside the city, a long ways away from Ivato. There were about 19 million acts and some of them were really great. Some
were....spirited, is the best word. The whole thing went from 1 p.m. till 6:30 that night. Talk about exhausting! Most, if not all, of the acts were dancing. A few were singing and playing of instruments, but the bulk was dancing. Some of them were hip-hop, others ballroom, bit of weird, and a lot of traditional. It was, educational.

The best part of the whole thing was the missionaries part of the program. Elder Allen and Galiali convinced the directors of the thing to let us do the Haka (you know, the polynesian dance were everyone is warriors and they scream alot. YouTube it). Of course, no one besides my companion and his cousin - the only Polynesians in thousand of miles - actually knew the dance. So we spent a good hour and a half in
the parking lot learning it and then went on towards the end. We all lowered our ties and rolled our sleeves up to show how warrior-like/non-warrior-like our muscles were. We all went on stage, after my comp gave a really legit opener, screaming our heads off and trying to remember our steps and words. The crowd went wild! It was a good time all around. By the end I had a horrible headache and my arms were sore because me and Elder Flint did flips and pullups before the show to make ourselves look bigger. Hopefully I can get a video sent to you guys.

This week Elder Touli and I have had tons of sucess tracting. Through tracting and an overwhelmingly awesome English class, we picked up tons of new investigators and pretty much filled all of our times. It was mahafinaritra be! Though we didn't want to do it, we had to tract at least an hour every day. And almost every single time we did so, we would pick up at least one new investigator, if not an entire Father-Led-Family (FLF for short). The people who were going to accept us were pretty easy to let us in as well.

Ex: We would say, "Manoa ahona? (How are you doing?)"

They would say, "Mandrosoa! (Come in!)"

We would say, "Umm...ok. Misoatra betsaka! (Umm...ok. Thanks!)," and then we would proceed to have an awesome time.

Giant families, single older woman, slightly strange but still wonderful people, and a milay be guy who wants to learn every single day, all day. Yes mam, Ivato is the promised land. There was prayer, scripture reading, and a little bit of elbow grease. But really, isn't that what most things in life need when everything is said and done?

To finish off this email I'll tell you about this one guy we met. There was some dirt on my butt because I was sitting down on a ledge talking to some people. So, he kindly slapped my bum and cleaned off the dirt for me. It was awkward and me and Touli busted up laughing for a good while. That was strange; just thought I'd share it with you ;D.

I miss you all and pray for you lotses. Hopefully ye be praying fur meh too! Masto daholo-lio (I have no idea how to spell that, sorry teachers).
Hope that Comic-Con really was all that and a bag of chips.
Peace, or Fiadanana,
Love love,
Elder Cryer

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Great day for a baptism
Elder Tuoli and I, the weather is starting to get a little cooler
Elder Tuoli and I, two Malagasy sister missionaries
One more snap to end the SD card

Monday, July 19, 2010

Island Conference

I don't know why but it seems like this week has been extremely long. Long, but fun,
and quite rewarding.

Things I need: more Tony Chachere's. I love that stuff and put possibly unhealthy amounts of it on everything I eat. Maybe a couple of cans of the stuff would be prudent. My suit is too small. I've been lifting and then me and Touli got lazy. Because of that, both of us buffed up pretty good because of the rest and food. Consequently, my suit looks a tad bit silly. It is just too small for me now. I'm thinking about having a new cheap one made, but I have to wait until after transfers to be sure.

I got the ear plugs package and I am very happy! Thank you! I also got a poster from some people back home. It is covered in signatures and nice words from people that I know but I'm not really sure of its origins. Seminary? Youth Conference? If someone could send me an email about its whereabouts, that would be nice.

The big news this week was Island Conference. I already tried writing the whole thing out in my journal and it proved too big of a task. So, I'll just give a summary with the highlights. On Thursday night we packed our bags and went to the Ivandry house, which is significantly closer to the Office. We got together with the guys from that house and then went out to the Office. For the first night of Island Conference we were having a Preach My Gospel Tournament and testimony meeting. The PMG tourney was in a loose Jeopardy format. We all split into teams and went at it. A lot of the questions were difficult because they were so specific. Luckily, Prez is always one for fun and he was the 'judge'.

We were all working our answers, adding stuff for extra points. At one point in the night I was singing 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' in an opera voice for bonus points and Elder Wall (one of my housemates) was doing a jig on stage. It was a good time.

The testimony meeting was great and very spiritual. Afterwards we broke our fast with a delicious sandwich dinner provided for us by Sister Donnelly. The next day we got up and went back to the Office. We first took the mission picture and then had the meeting and talks portion of the conference. We heard some great talks from some
of the regular, non-leader elders, and had a big talk about an evacuation plan. That's all I'll say about that... All in all we had a great morning and definently learned a lot.

After lunch we had a massive tie exchange and I skillfully walked away with four new - for me - ties. Then we all changed into P-Day clothes and began the much awaited-for activities portion of the conference. The first activity that we would do was called a Helter-Skelter, or a Perpetual Motion Machine, or a Roller Coaster. The purpose of this activity was to build a massive ball rolling machine thing across the parking lot of the Office. Our goal was to send a golf ball through the whole thing, taking at least four minutes to do so. We only had forty-five minutes to build the whole contraption. Long story short, while it looked really cool and worked to a certain degree....the whole thing was a failure. The main causes of that result can probably be attributed to not having any engineering majors in the near-vicinity, being disorganized, and being a bunch of 19 to 20 year old kids.

The next activity was called The Balloon Launch. The goal of this activity was to build a hot air balloon 2 meters in diameter, and have a launch ceremony with posters, speeches, songs, a punchy theme, and t-shirts with logos for everyone. Also, all of the materials had to be bought from a 'store' with fake money that was earned through a variety of different means. When we all heard the next activity, we
were excited and quite scared. If we couldn't even do a simple Helter-Skelter, how in the world were we going to pull this off? Regardless, we elected our leaders, made up our departments, and set to work.

I immediately joined the Fund-Raiser Department. Prez Donnelly looked at me specifically when he said that the activities would be things like singing and hard physical tasks. For each task we did, the AP's would check it off and give us the money that we earned from it. Some of the things that I took part in were: doing 50 pushups nonstop, reciting the missionary purpose, walking ten meters on my hands, pushing a giant truck around the parking lot four times and being silent for one minute - someone farted 2 seconds in and it was nearly impossible to be quiet. It was fun, it was hard, it was amazing to see everyone giving their all to a common cause. Elder Goff actually bought a pizza with his own money for one of the tasks. Elder Hiate got a horrible haircut with dull scissors for another. We did a recreation of the Reorganization of the Church. I was Joseph Smith (lol!) and we had an opening song, prayer, events and announcements, and an improvised speech from me.

Once we had knocked out all sixty of the tasks, my whole department switched to other groups to help get ready for the launch. Everyone was slightly behind schedule so we worked as hard as we could to get ready. Finally, everything came together and the event began. A quartet sang "I'm Sailing Away" and we had some hilarious speeches
from Elder Tagert and Riding. It was surreal to see the whole mission decked out in t-shirts that said "AFAKA" (can, or free) and to see what we had accomplished in only 2 hours.

The time came and we inflated the balloon to see it sail away. What an experience. I've never really felt before what I did during that activity. To see us all go in together and give everything we had for a common cause was inspiring. I wish I could tell you more about the other departments, but I and my group were working so hard on our tasks that I really have no idea what they did. We had to trust that the other groups were keeping up their side of the project. I absolutely loved it!

Really, that is pretty much the same as missionary work. We all give up our lives back home for two years to give ourselves instead to this great work. I am so proud to be a missionary and so grateful to be serving the Lord in such a capacity. Whenever we think we can't go anymore, we can just think of the other missionaries, doing their part, keeping up their side of this most magnificent purpose.

Well I miss you guys and love you all so much. Dad and Brady - have fun at Comic-Con! I'm jealous!

Elder Cryer

Monday, July 12, 2010

A fruit seller and her family.
Gotta have fun. And show off the muscles. What's new...
Right before Elder Horn was tranferred, visiting a family in the ward
Near the rice fields where we worked one day, helping.

Bruises, blessings and baptisms

Hello everyone,

Elder Touli taught me how to spin a stick like a fire dancer [He was a dancer at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii]. I am, of course, wretched. I stub my fingers on the stick constantly and, consequently, have some nasty bruises on the tips of my fingers. Wonderful. I'm fairly positive that someone got so frustrated with me dropping the stick on the floor that they decided to hide it from me. I cannot blame them.

This week we had two baptisms. One of the women was named Jaequline and the other Tina. They are both wonderful people and I am so happy for their decision to partake of the life-giving ordinance. As you might have noticed, they are both women. Elder Touli and I are running into the problem that most missionaries have in this country. Men, especially family-leading men that desire the gospel in their lives, are difficult to find. The single women and their children are the ones who are ready for the gospel. It can be frustrating at times. I wonder if some of our success in teaching is because of Elder Touli's extraordinary good looks. He's big, he's buff, his hair curls in the way every middle-aged woman wants her own hair to curl, ha, and he is dark enough to pass as a Malagasy. These people love him.

I've begun a diet rich in noodles and anything that is cheap and easy to make. I'll continue to work out every day - almost - and make meager attempts to control my food consumption, but it is just too hard in this country. Not only is it expensive to eat a high protein diet but it is time-consuming. I've finally converted to the way of food that most other missionaries in this country have already happily adopted. As long as I fit in my clothes, I don't care.

The weather shifts between very cold and just right.
The longer I'm here, the more normal everything seems. It feels like home.

Elder Touli and I had a really cool experience this week with Faby and Zafy (I wrote about their baptism a couple of months ago). Faby just recently received the Melchezideck Priesthood and is desirous to wield it for the good of those around him. How wonderful! I wish all recent converts would think anyway, we were doing a time with him and he began to ask about how to give blessings and all the ins and outs of the procedure. Fortunately - well, really quite unfortunately - his wife was feeling a bit on the not-well side. So we taught him how to give blessings for the sick and afflicted and then walked him through the whole thing during a live blessing. It was hard for him; he was unfamiliar with what was going on and - probably feeling very nervous - stumbled a bit with the words. But I'll never forget the look on his face after he said amen. He was so happy, so filled with gratitude and wonder for what had just occured. From that point on to eternity, he knew how to literally bless his family. It is not always the baptisms that touch us the most.

I love you guys and miss you lots. Hopefully no one makes fun of you for being white or tries to steal your soda, your money, your camera, and if possible the clothes off your back this coming week. O wait, that's me.

Don't Wash Your Black Socks Because The Longer You Wear Them The Stiffer They Get,
Elder Cryer

Friday, July 9, 2010

These kids are great dancers!
My favorite store

Landscapers needed

Finally a car, a fixer upper.


Just sent an SD card along, over 300 pics and a few surprises. Quiet time, writing this note, waiting for tranfers. Our guardians are doing strange things outside, as always. Madagascar goes on much the way it has for the past decade. The political situation is stagnant. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have left the country as foreign companies have pulled out, aide gone. Poverty is everywhere. Everyone asks us for money.

One thing that I am so thankful for is the gospel. When those who are humble and searching come to us, we do have the gosepl of Jesus Christ to share. The tranforming powers of the gospel is there. No matter their circumstances, rich or poor, happy or sad, prideful of humble - it will put them in a place which is so much better than before, the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life. That precious fruit which is white above all else and magnificent to taste and behold is the real gift we are giving.

I am so thankful I am right here, right now in Madagascar, doing the Lord's work. For me, at this point in my life, there is nothing more important for me to be doing. For now, the Lord has called me for THIS.

I don't have a back-up so I'll pray extra hard that the SD card arrives. I miss you guys. Be safe, have fun, read the scriptures.

Elder Matthew Tyler Cryer

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Lord's hand

Well it seems as though you all have had quite the interesting week. Why does it seem like every email I receive from home is devastatingly interesting? I don't remember it being nearly that exciting. Pleasant, to be sure, but it seems like there are always adventures going on amongst you.

Well the news of this week is that I am still in Ivato. As President Donnelly himself told me, it was a matter of direct revelation regarding my stay in Ivato. You can't argue with that.

On a high note, we finally have housemates! Woohoo! Six months in a giant house with only one person to talk to in English is pretty lonely. The Sisters were moved out of their area (Ambohibao) and two Elders were brought in to whitewash the area. Their names are Elder Tenney and Elder Wall. Elder Tenney is from the same group as Horn, so he is pretty old. Also, he is Zone Leader of the North Zone, so that pretty much completely strips away all of my former power as District Leader - hossana! I'm so happy! Elder Wall is from the group right behind me so he is still pretty young. As is to be expected with whitewashing an area, it's tough. But I'm sure the Lord will turn things in their favor soon and bless them immensely as He blessed the Sisters. It is only a matter of time.

On Friday and Saturday I was majorly sick again. I can honestly say that I am sick of being sick. Today when I go to the office I am going to grab a worm-pill and see if some of those buggers have been causing the problem. After throwing up for awhile, I made a vow to never eat hotely or street food again. We'll see how that works out ;)

Being the leader of an area is exceedingly hard, as I am now finding out. We've had to drop seven different groups in these past two weeks. If people are not interested or don't want to do what is neccasary to fully accept the gospel in their lives, we can't keep visiting them. There were some people who had been hanging around since before I was even in country. It always makes me very sad to drop people, but it has to be done. How can we ever find people who will progress if we only teach people who won't? That is the current thinking of the mission so a lot of elders are cutting out the chaff and moving onto those who are honestly seeking for the truth.

In an attempt to help the area get better and to breath some new life into it, we had an activity. On Saturday we had a big showing of the Joseph Smith, First Vision film and then watched the big game against Germany and Argentina ( 4-0, Germany). We had a really good turnout and everyone had lots of fun. Snacks were served and I even led a small testimony meeting after the first film. A few investigators showed up, for which I am so incredibly grateful. Not suprisingly, all but one of the investigators has a baptismal date. But I'd say the whole event was well worth it for that one new investigator. We plan on holding an activity a month and having a million soirees with different families in order to get a fresh pool of investigators going.

Though the area is still hard, we have two baptisms coming up! Woohoo! Their names are Tina and Jaequlliene. The other elders are having a baptism as well with a guy named Faly. I found and taught him up till close to the end before he moved into the other area, so that is super cool. It is wonderful to know that no matter the sore trials we face (or quite easy life) we can always lift up our heads and see the Lord's hand lifting us and supporting us in all things. I pray that we can all keep such a clearness of mind, though I will no doubt be challenged to do otherwise before the end of this.

Well I miss you all, can't wait to get your emails next week. Have fun.

The Usually Ungrateful But Sometimes Repentant One
Elder Cryer

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Slow down and sick

Hello everyone - On the 25th and 26th the Malagasys celebrated their independence from the Frenchies. Yes, celebrations here are always two days long. That slows the work down. We had some good times tho'. Maybe because of our recent success and our moves towards more obedience, we had a special mission activity that was really great.

Because of the food I ate on Saturday (which consisted of cold rice and loko) I became very sick on Sunday. Not much fun at all.

It's getting late here in Mada. I miss you all and love you.

Elder Cryer