Monday, 13 June 2016

May 23, 2016 ~ Pictures!

There's a picture of Elder Obioma and I
in a member's house!

I made that!

I'll own a Land Rover Defender some day

                                    I LOVE DOGS

At a soiree

Bloody beautiful people

"Future APs"

It's so cold here, I had to buy a hoodie. This costed $3

May 17, 2016 ~ Yummy snacks!

 I've learned a lot about how to deal with life through my experiences here. Perhaps more important than that is the fact that I've learned what is actually important in life and what isn't. It's my personal philosophy that a troubled soul is the fruit of a complicated life. Life can be simple and hard, but it can never be simple and troubling as long as you keep things in perspective. I'm determined to lead a simple but fulfilling life. 

Something else that I've learned about myself is that I've fallen in love with people since being here. No, I haven't found my future spouse. I've fallen in love with people as in the human race. I love learning people's stories and helping them write the next chapter. I think that's why I enjoy books and movies and things like that. There's so much to be learned from the way someone lives and how they have lived, what their motivations are, and what their dreams for the future tell about them. I can already tell that I'll be different when I get home because I appreciate those sorts of things more. I'm determined to make my life a story worth telling, not because I will have been famous and important or influential, but because I lived my life the way I intended to live it: according to the simple values I have.
Elder Nelson and I are doing well, getting along good and working hard. We've been focusing on finding new families to teach because we baptized most of the other people we were teaching. We only teach recent converts a couple times a week.
I can't wait to watch movies and stuff with all of you when I get back. Haha you'll have to start keeping a list of the things I miss.
Here's my advice for you this week. There's an African proverb that says, "If there's no demon within, the demons outside can do no harm." When life gets hard, take a step back from everything and focus on what's inside of you. We're held accountable for how we act and how we represent ourselves and that's it. If you scrutinize yourself and believe there is nothing more you can do for any given situation, then let everything roll off your back. If there's something you can improve on (there normally is), focus on improving that.
I love you all very much! Mazatoa!
Elder Schnoor
Elder Randrianavalona made us snacks.
Yum... Thanks bud...


Beside Masina Maria

Massive species of duck called a dokotra

Even the ducks look like dinosaurs here

                                  I miss Copper

May 9, 2016 ~ New companion Elder Nelson

Hey guys!
I loved talking to three of you today. I loved to see that you are still happy and healthy. Makes me want to work hard and make you proud! Here are some pictures. 
Elder Schnoor

Monday, 2 May 2016

May 2, 2016 ~ On my own.

Surprise!! I'm still in Fianarantsoa. 

Plans changed and I'm staying here while he goes to Tana and then Antsirabe then Tana then home. It's just me and the Malagasy Elders in the apartment until my new companion gets here (don't know who it will be or when he'll get here). 

I'm here with Rapa at the cyber who will be my temporary member help/companion untill the new guy gets here. I won't be speaking any English until he arrives. This is kind of Elder Schnoor's trial by fire week. No fall backs at all. I have to keep working and hold stuff together. Time to separate the men from the boys I suppose. Hopefully I don't need to go too many days without a companion. It's hilarious, Rapa is basically Danny's long lost twin.

5 of our investigators were baptized this last Saturday! I got to baptize Eliane, one of Marcel's daughters who is about my age actually. It was an amazing experience. I'll let you know more and send pictures next Monday. 

Love you all, get well soon Joey! They sell pinned butterflies and moths at one place here, I'm going to get a case at some point.
Elder Schnoor
PS. Rapa and I are going to a place called Tanana Ambony today. It's kind of like Old Fianarantsoa. Should have some great pictures for you next week!

April 28, 2016 ~ Last week in Fianarantsoa with Elder Obioma

Hey! has been acting really strange. Couldn't email yesterday so we decided to shoot off an email to our families to let you know that we're doing well. 

Don't have much time to go into detail, but know that we're still working hard. We have 5 baptisms scheduled for this Saturday (none last Saturday). 

It's our last week serving in Fianarantsoa together. We're heading to Tana on Monday and we'll head to Antsirabe after and then back to Tana. It'll be crazy but lots of fun. 

Elder Obioma and I are both pretty sad that it's the end. I could serve my entire mission with him here in Fianarantsoa and be perfectly content. I'm glad I at least get to stay here in Fian. Haha my poor next companion. I can't help but think that it can only get worse from here. 

I'm sure my next companion will be great. I probably won't be able to email next week with all the travel, so don't worry about me. Love you all!
Elder Schnoor

April 18, 2016 ~ General Conference

Hey guys!

Another beautiful week in Madagascar (though it has actually been a little chilly). I'm going to talk about my week before addressing stuff from your email.

Poor Pierrot. 10 out of his 11 newest born bunnies died. He can't figure out why. It's kind of funny, I pray for his rabbits before I go to bed haha. He has another litter on the way and I'm hopeful. I want him to succeed because if he starts to make enough money he'll be able to provide a good enough life for his daughter to come live with him. Ugh, and we broke his bed. Again. We all sit on his bed during the lessons and it keeps collapsing. The struggles of being a giant in Madagascar. I wish I could tell you about all of the investigators we teach, but I just don't have enough time.

I'm trying to enjoy my last little bit of time with Elder Obioma. We just get along so well. We crack up everyday and just have a great time. We also work like the world is ending tomorrow and try to be exactly obedient. The combination makes for a very solid companionship. Time is flying.

Yesterday and the day before we got to watch conference! In poorly translated Malagasy! Haha sometimes the translators can't keep up with the talk and the people here get an awful translation. It was a little crazy actually. This is by far the most responsibility I've ever had. On top of trying to teach a branch presidency how to run a branch, we had to coordinate the delivery of the burned copies of general conference, bring all of the chairs and the box tv down from the top two floors of the church to the basement, bring the pews up to the middle floor, set up the amp, tell everyone what times the conference would be watched at, etc. Missionaries still pretty much run the church in some parts of Madagascar and we don't have any fallback. We're 10-12 hours from the church office by taxi-be so it's kind of up to us. Oh and here's the kicker. The APs who burned the disks accidentally cut off the last portions of the sessions, so we were scrambling around trying to get new copies burned at tiny computer shops. We couldn't do it so our branches had a fairly abrupt end to each session of conference and about one and a half less talks per session. Oh well. Good thing Malagasies are laid back. I'm not complaining about having responsibility either. It's an aspect of my mission that is very unique and obviously something God want's me to develop.

I love that you're building an ant farm Joey! Remember to find a queen!

I love the talk that you attached. The purpose of this life is to become greater than the natural state of man. In essence, to progress to the point of Godship in order to prepare to live in that state. If we take that purpose and apply it to daily life, we realize that if we aren't moving forward, we are acting contrary to God's will. Progress is a divine process. We have to be pretty bold when we extend commitments. For example, we invited a family (a very poor family, with 3 children and another on the way) to look for new work (their boss won't let them have sundays off). At first I felt guilty about extending that commitment. I thought "what kind of church would ask a family to risk their welfare for a church meeting?". As I thought more I realized that those sorts of invitations are not an indication of a false church, but are an testament of true religion. Any progress toward God is righteous action and will be rewarded.
Our church meetings are the typical 3 hour block. We teach one hour of it in gospel principles.
We drink mostly water but soda and juice are definitely available. Real juice is pretty expensive for missionary budget so we get powdered stuff that we add to water. It's actually pretty good! There's almost no canned pop here, everything is either in plastic or glass bottles (I love the glass bottles). They also use real cane sugar in the pop here so it's way better. Every once in a while we'll grab a coca cola or something on the way to a lesson. They also have this soda called bonbon anglais here which is great.

I love all of you so much! You're in my prayers! 
Elder Schnoor

This is the difference between an unused and a used filter. That's why you don't drink the tapwater kids.

Our little general conference.

April 11, 2016 ~ Malagasy Haircut

Hey guys!
Great to hear about life back home! I definitely miss all of you! Whenever I get here and sit down at the computer, I realize how much happens in a week! I can't write about all of it, but I'll try to get a few important things down. It's crazy how fast time seems to go on a mission when you forget yourself and go to work.

So a little background on the church in Fianarantsoa. Years ago, the missionaries had a pretty good program set up in this city. A branch or two were pretty steady. Then the branch presidency decided to steal money from the church. It led to a massive amount of people leaving the church, excommunications, etc. Bad stuff. Anyway, the church is now basically back to the point it was before and going strong although there are still a lot of really new members. Haha our entire branch presidency is made up of recent converts! Poor guys... Can you imagine that happening at home? On top of that, we were talking to the Branch President the other day (we go and teach him about the responsibilities of his calling, how to lead, etc.) and he told us that he hadn't been taught the lessons again after his family was baptized! Our branch president has received half the teaching of everyone else in the branch!  So we started teaching the lessons to him and his family. It's kind of funny to see the branch president have moments where he's like "oooooooh that's what that means" during pretty basic gospel discussions. Him and his presidency are so diligent and faithful, I really look up to them.

We have another recent convert that we teach who lives out in a little farming community named Jean de Dieu. If there is a person in this world who perfectly personifies the character of Winnie the Pooh, we found him. He is the most lovable, round Malagasy I know. One of my favourite things about him is that he has two jobs. The first is he delivers babies. He's also a masseuse. Anyway, what I wanted to say is that all of the kids know about me who live around his house, and whenever I start walking across the rice-paddies they start to gather on the other side screaming "ELDAH SHNOOAH!". I normally play around with them a little and take a couple pictures with them. Sometimes when we teach I can't fit inside Frere de Dieu's house, so I sit out in the doorway on a tiny stool and like 10 kids come and gather around me in the doorway and listen to the lesson.

I just want to take a little time and say I love Malagasies. Can you start scouting one out for me to marry when I get back? First of all, they are the most beautiful people on Earth. Perfect skin, perfect skin tone, no make-up (don't need/can't afford it), age with grace, and they live to about million years old. And they work until the day they die. They are a simple, wholesome and happy people. They don't sweat the small things. Money isn't the center of their universe. Their diet consists of basically the exact model that our best nutritionists in the west have come up with. A little meat, lots of vegetables, natural, fresh foods. I could go on for days. If you have any specific questions about local life here, ask away. I feel like I'm starting to grasp what life is for the natives.

We are very busy right now, which is great. I wouldn't have it any other way. Brothers: If you are called on a mission to a place where you don't get cars, and if you are working like you should, it is going to be a workout everyday. Haha especially if you have a 25 almost 26 year old basketball superstar as your companion. We have a lot of people with baptismal dates, it's going to be very cool if they all pull through. We have baptisms scheduled for the 23 (Pierrot is one of those, ugh I love that man) and 30 of April and the 14 and 28 of May. And multiple people for each of those days. That's a lot of lessons to teach and a fair amount of pressure on our schedule, especially because we walk everywhere and we are in charge of half of the second largest city in Madagascar. Oh, and we're also trying to teach our branch presidency and every other recent convert a couple times a week.

Yes, this is the end of Elder Obioma's mission. It's so sad. He gets sad every time he is reminded that it's coming to an end. We're in the last 4 weeks now of our companionship and his mission. Time flies. The last week is going to be really crazy because we're going to be travelling to Tana for his farewell dinner with President Foote and then going to Antsirabe because he want's to visit the family we visited before (remember the girl that started weeping because she loves him so much, he promised her that he'd return one last time before he left) and then we'll return to Tana for his flight out. Then I'll return here with my new companion!! Yikes. I'm just hoping for a nice, obedient, clean one. Hopefully one that's good at Malagasy.

Today I got my first Malagasy haircut. Sigh... The poor barber looked at me, kind of shrugged in a confused way and then gave me a buzz and a line up. YES I SAID LINE UP. HEAR THAT DANNY!? Yeah they don't cut many white people's hair here. Elder Obioma said I look really scary and compared me to Eminem. He calls me b rabbit now. Sigh...

So I was thinking that maybe because dad's the YM president now I could send a little snippet of advice for the YM that he could read every Sunday? I don't know, tell me what you think. Missions are such amazing things, I want all of them to serve. My advice for this week would be to start reading Preach My Gospel!! Seriously dad, whenever you can, teach out of it during Youth lessons.

Thank you for sending me a quote in your email! I love that sort of thing.

I haven't gotten your package yet, maybe it'll be at the office when we head to Tana in a few weeks.

I love you all so much. Can't wait to watch that documentary with you when I get back and tell you all about this beautiful place.

"In the tribulations and sufferings of mortality there is a divine ministry which only the godless soul can wholly fail to discern."
                                                                -James E. Talmage
Elder Schnoor

Bull Wrestling

My Fans

We woke up early and went hiking as our workout one day when it was really foggy.


We found this massive spider. It was so sick.
You guys would have loved it.

Just awesome.

Possibly my favourite picture in existence of me.

The real spiderman.

Rano Mafana

Rano Mafana