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


April 4, 2016 ~ Rainforest Adventure

We just got back from Rano Mafana and we figured we could slip into the Cyber to shoot our families an update.

Everything is going well! We've found some really amazing families in the main area we're trying to build up. It's amazing how much I've grown to love these people. It kind of makes it harder being a vazaha. I don't feel like an American in Madagascar anymore, I feel like a Malagasy who's really awful at the language. That probably sounds dumb. Like it's weird for me to see white people now. It's a weird thing to say, but I wish I was Malagasy, or at least black. Every other person on the street stares at me and half of them crack a joke for their friends. I don't know, it'll help when I'm good at Malagasy too. What I'm trying to say is that I don't want there to be any barriers between these people and me. I want to be their friend because I look up to them so much.

I had a dream where my mission was over haha. I was all depressed in the dream and then I woke up and said "whew, I'm still in Mad". My mission is the hardest thing I've ever done. Physically, mentally, emotionally. In every way. But that's also what makes it so great. That's what is making me a better person.

Today was kind of crazy, but I'm definitely glad I got to experience it. We woke up at about 5:00am and got on a taxi be. They crammed it full. There are about 15 seats in the average taxi be, and it doesn't seat those 15 comfortably. We had about 20 people in there. But the ride to Rano Mafana is only about an hour and a half so it wasn't too bad. So we get there and step out of the bus and we're in a rainforest. Like straight out of a nature documentary! It was kind of surreal. We already knew that we couldn't use the trails in the park without a guide so we brought some personal funds and started talking to the people. They told us it was going to cost 55 000 Ar per person plus a guide fee! We had been told by someone in Fianarantsoa that it would cost maybe 15 000 at the most. Haha we came to realize that they have an offical price for Malagasies and an official price for everyone else. Pretty sure that's racism? Haha jk. It cost's 2 000 Ar if you're Malagasy. So basically we didn't have enough money. So my companion and I were like "HAH, FINE!" and we started walking back to Fianarantsoa. Then when we were far enough away we ducked into the rainforest and started bushwacking. We got the real experience of the rainforest. It was cool but I'm sure you can see a lot more of the forest using the trails with a guide. So once we had had our fun we started trying to hitch hike back to Fianarantsoa (this was our plan all along). There were a lot of full vehicles. We walked for about 2 hours haha. I would have thought that was ridiculous before my mission. We actually saw some lemurs while we were walking!!! It was amazing. The way they jump from tree to tree is incredible. After we walked for a long time we realized we needed a little help so we said a prayer. A few cars later God sent a big ol pick up truck with some nice seats in the back that was willing to bring us back to Fianarantsoa for 20 000Ar. We got out of the truck and walked right to the cyber and here I am, safe and sound.

One more thing that I love about Madagascar is how modest people are. When girls want to impress guys here, they put their nicest clothes on, they don't start taking off clothes. It's an old fashioned way of doing things, and in my opinion far more attractive.

I miss my brothers big time. I didn't realize how much time I spent with them until I left. I love you all and can't wait to take all of my brothers out to do some fun stuff when I get back. I'm learning a lot about what really matters in life.

Finally, just a thought I had. Remember to let your mistakes build you up. If you are walking toward a light, a shadow is cast behind you. The shadow you cast reminds you where you stand. You can look back at that shadow and see where you've been, and therefore where you're going. The most important part is to make sure that you don't lose track of where that light is in your life. Your mistakes can only improve you when you leave them behind you and move toward light.
I love you all like crazy.
Elder Schnoor

PS Sorry, no pictures today, I'll send a bunch of good ones next week. And apologize to everyone on the blog AGAIN. I only sent one email to my family again this week.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

March 28th, 2016 ~ Easter Week

Sorry guys it's another group email cause I'm short on time. Love you all! I'll try to hit you up personally next time!

Okay, this week has been great, just like every other week. Life is always great if you look at it from the right angle. It was kind of cool, President and Sister Foote visited us a couple times at the apartment this week! They took the senior missionaries serving in Fianarantsoa to Tuliar (right on the ocean) before they leave to go home. They're actually from Madagascar so home is just in Tana. The second time they came we fed everyone at our apartment. A total of 8 people! Hah! In our tiny little kitchen! But we rose to the task and my companion graced me with his superb cooking knowledge and skill. We made frybread (a lot of it, we had leftovers), chili, and homemade guacamole. All with fresh ingredients that we buy from farmers every week. That's one thing that is so amazing about this place. Everything we buy (other than a few packaged things) are grown in country (most of the time just outside the city). I love going to the market and buying groceries. That's something you miss out on big time when you just go on vacation to a place. These people are amazing, and you don't get to know them unless you live among them. More on that later. Anyways, we fed President Foote and his wife and the APs and a couple other Elders being transferred and ourselves. My cooking skills have improved considerably. I can't wait to cook for you and my friends when I return.

Okay I want to write a little bit about a kid (he's my age, I don't know why I feel like I have the authority to call him kid) who's about to leave on his mission from our branch. He's going to Ivory Coast speaking French. His name is Nanova and he's the one who bound my books for me. I was happy to pay him because all of the money is going to his mission. The really amazing things about him are the things I found out a little bit ago though. He's the only member in his family, and his family is very anti-Mormon. He's been beaten pretty bad when he goes to church or they see him with the missionaries. His family sends people to spy on him so he can't help us teach much. His family doesn't even know that he's leaving on a mission. He's just going to leave for the Africa MTC tomorrow and not come back. He has some of the most amazing faith I've ever seen. Someday I want to be that type of person. We planned a little farewell for him that a bunch of the youth went to. It helps me a lot to know what we are capable of. When my life seems hard, it just isn't in comparison. Nanova will have to do the same work I'm doing, but with no support from home and no surety that there's even a place for him when he returns. Even still, a mission is the best thing for him. For him to come back and be fluent in French will be much more beneficial to him than working for a little money for two years. It's also going to be the best two years of his life so far.

Pierrot has been coming to church every week. I love that man. He told us that he's a little embarrassed when he doesn't have dress clothes to wear so I gave him one of my shirts and Elder Obioma gave him a tie. He looked so ballin' (as Elder Obioma would say) on Sunday haha.

We went and watched bull wrestling today right before coming here. Insane. Those people are just insane. Buuut it is pretty entertaining to watch. Didn't see anyone die, but it pretty much goes on for the whole day so there's still a good chance. Did see one of the guy's arms get gored a little. He was okay though. It's crazy, like the entire city shows up. Nothing to celebrate the resurrection of Christ like getting drunk and watching men try to wrestle bulls. Haha glad we have the real meaning.

Remember during the Easter season to take advantage of the gifts we've been given. This world was designed with the purpose of helping us to progress. Don't forget that. Don't make choices that would restrict the type of person you could become, and don't neglect making decisions that lead to growth because of fear or laziness. Christ has enabled an eternal potential for all of us.

I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.
                                             - Jack London

Elder Schnoor
My friends.
(girl in back had her face traditionally painted, so beautiful)

Elder Schnoor is in heaven with the bugs and wildlife.
 My original nature boy.

Bull Wrestling. 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

March 22, 2016 ~ Marcel and Rapa Baptized

Hey guys!
What a crazy week! Sorry about not sending an email yesterday, I didn't have time. It's going to be a short one today. But here's the scoop.
We got a call on Friday that we needed to be in Tana on Monday again for me to renew my visa (sign some papers, get my fingerprints and a picture taken). That meant another 12 hours on a taxi be both ways. Ugh. We left on Sunday early in the morning, got to Tana in the evening (we got a sprinter!! Woohoo!) and ate dinner with the senior missionaries serving here. Hah! We thought that us Elders live like kings here! The senior missionaries' apartments are beautiful! I got to meet the Tanners (the ones from Alberta). Really cool people. This is their second mission, they've already served one in Ethiopia. There are few places poorer than Madagascar, but that's one of them. We slept at the AP's apartment and then left early in the morning for the government building. The stuff I had to do took about 10 minutes, but an Elder from Tahiti and an Elder from Rwanda had problems with their visas that took about 2 hours. So we waited. Then we headed to a shoprite, got some food and went to the bus station, where they bought us a taxi be back to Fianarantsoa (another sprinter!!!). The problem was that the taxi bes don't leave until they're pretty much packed with people, otherwise it isn't worth the gas money. We got to the station at 1 and left at about 7ish at night. A lot of waiting. Then we rode on the scariest pitch black taxi ride of my life. You thought the ride to the long-ji (China) rice terraces was bad? Hah! Anyways, we got home about an hour ago, dropped our stuff off, we're at the cyber now, then we're going to grab groceries, work out, plan and head out for another day of work. THIS COMPANIONSHIP DOES NOT REST. #HASTENINGTHEWORK #EMBARK #AINTNORESTFORTHERIGHTEOUS. Sorry I'm running on about two hours of sleep. Not easy to sleep on a taxi be. Sorry I don't want to be negative or complain. We're really doing pretty well.

Now for the important stuff. Marcel and Rapa were baptized on Saturday! They're some of the coolest people I know. I love them so much and am so glad for what they've overcome. It's so cool to watch people as they realize the blessings of living a life that's full of purpose. They realize now that there's a way to live their lives that makes them and their families happier, and I love that I got to play a part in that. It's interesting to think about the symbolism of baptism. Being reborn, being cleansed, beginning anew. What a hopeful and inspiring thing. How could one look at a family and say "they'd be better off if they were addicted to cigarettes" or "they'd be better off if they didn't believe they could see dead family members again" or "they'd be better off if they didn't believe that there exists a God who loves and cares about them"?

Easter is just around the corner here! It's a week long celebration in Madagascar. I'm so grateful for the atonement. "True love blooms when we care more about another person than we care about ourselves." (Jeffrey R. Holland).
Our plan is to go to Rano Mafana not this upcoming Monday but the Monday after. This Monday we're going to see this event that they put on in the valley beside our house. Basically they put a man in a pen with a bull and the man wrestles the bull. Whaaaaa? It's pretty humane for the bull, but supposedly people die all the time doing it! Then they just drag them off and bring in the next contender. Welcome to Madagascar Elder.
I loved hearing about your week! I miss road trips in the RV haha. I'm sorry to everyone who I didn't write this week, I think I'm only going to get to my family. I love you!

Elder Schnoor

Big ol lulu

Luciana is possibly the most beautiful little girl I've ever seen

 Big Beetle

March 14, 2016 ~ Loving the Work

It is Monday once again! I've been here for FOUR WEEKS! ONE MONTH! That's 1/24th of my mission gone! NO WAIT... THE MTC!!? THAT'S ABOUT 1/12 OF MY MISSION GONE! I can't believe how time flies here... I need to get effective in my mission language ASAP.
Ugh, aside from mourning how fast this is already flying by, here are my thoughts.
First off, we went on a hike last PDay which I really enjoyed. We got 3 locals (Alain, Angelo and Rapa) to guide us to a great path too. I believe that's where a lot of my pictures will be from this week. I'm going to let the pictures do the talking. I love those three. So diligent, even though a couple of them have next to nothing. Angelo is a natural teacher especially for being a convert of less than a year and I've considered giving him my plaque and making him Elder Obioma's companion haha. Alain is a total crack-up. He has a girlfriend in Tana and on the day of the hike he told us he needed 200Ar to call her (remember that 3000Ar is about 1.00USD). We aren't allowed to give money to anyone so we looked around on the ground for a while. Never found any. It was so tempting to just give him the money. She's a member and a good influence so we try to encourage them haha.
We started teaching Rapa's mom (Doloris) as well. She's great and Rapa gets so excited when she accepts things. Really cool to watch. We brought over a member named Jaquelline to her lesson who is a total crack-up. She also went to school with Doloris and used to beat her up funnily enough.
We taught a Malagasy family who has a car and who aren't taxi drivers!! They have a house with 2 floors!!! The father is a banker and it was reeeaaaally weird to sit in their house. Almost felt like I was home again.
Okay I have to tell you something funny about our zone conference with Elder Hamilton. After the actual teaching and learning we were all mingling after lunch. Elder Obioma (who is black remember) was called over to Elder Hamilton and his wife. They started talking and then Sister Hamilton looked at him and said, "I am so amazed at how American you sound!". BAHAHA! What was she thinking!? I guess she just assumed he was Malagasy. He looked at her awkwardly and said, "Well... I am, so..." When he told me about it I think I laughed for an hour.
Remember how I mentioned Pierot last week? He came to church this week! Ugh I love that man. It's amazing how much you can come to care about someone in a month. It's beautiful to see his eyes light up when we talk about him being able to see his wife again someday. He has a baptismal date set for the 16th of April.
Rapa and Marcel are being baptized this Saturday! I'm so psyched for them.
We found some people while we were contacting who had been taught while they lived in Antsirabe but stopped when they moved here. They have a marked up BOM and everything haha. We were really focusing on being where God needed us that day too. Funny how that works.
We went to a wedding ceremony for Marcel (people need to be civilly married before baptism). The guy is amazing. He needed his birth certificate to be married so he hopped on his bike and rode to his town of birth. It was hours and hours of biking on awful roads, but he was perfectly happy to do it. Weddings are definitely different here. Four couples were being married at once and it's basically just signing a paper in front of a judge. Man I love it when Malagasies get dressed up though. The women typically look pretty put together, but the men seem to just go for whatever strikes them as "dressed up" that day. For example, Marcel wore a tie with pictures of mice and cheese on it to his wedding. HE HAS OTHER TIES TOO! He just felt like it I guess. I know poverty plays a part, but I still find it hilarious. I'll attach pictures.
Elder Obioma and I planned an activity where we got a whole bunch of members to line the street and talk to people and give them tours of the church. We also got President Foote to bring a whole bunch of BOM to the zone conference for us to give out. It's so cool to see members so enthusiastic. They are honestly so much more diligent here than we are at home. I'm determined to live like them my entire life.
Here's a message to my brothers and anyone soon to be a missionary. The happiest missionaries are the obedient ones. Don't let yourself be tricked into thinking that missionaries who go home earlier than you or wake up later or mess around all day have any more fun than you. The greatest feeling in the world is seeing one of the people you teach change their life for the better, or seeing their eyes light up when they realize that they can see their loved ones again. If anyone says anything otherwise then they shouldn't be on a mission. During our activity there were 2 men and a boy pushing a wooden cart loaded with stuff up the hill in front of the church. I jumped in and pushed the cart to the top and just doing that gave me a high. "The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired." (Hinckley)
Okay one last funny story. We were trying to get into this little community with a gate around it. There was a little Chinese woman guarding it. I don't know the family that we were trying to get in to teach, but Elder Obioma couldn't remember their name. So we knock on the gate and ask the lady to let us in. She asks what their name is (trying to make sure we actually know them I guess). So Elder Obioma tells them that he can't remember, but that they're Sinoa (Chinese). So then the lady says (and she's getting worked up and aggressive at this point) "Avy aiza ny Sinoa!?". This translates exactly to "Where is the Chinese family from!?" (she's quizzing us!) Elder Obioma's like "Where do you think the Sinoa is from!! If you're Malagasy you're from Madagascar, so if you're Chinese you're from...". There was a pause and then the lady refused to let us in. Oh man I laughed so hard after.
I'm so happy to hear about life at home. Keep plugging along. Make sure you're doing the little things. Have personal and family scripture study, family home evening, pray together often. You can't go wrong if you do those things, I promise. Lives improve in all ways when people know what they're purpose is.
I'm so psyched for Taylor. If you can, track down his email for me.
Let him (Danny) know that I love him. I'm so ready to be a better brother to him when I get home. I think I'm learning how to do that more and more everyday now. Encourage him to live the gospel. Everything else should be secondary to that.
Tell the boys (especially Ryan) that I love them and miss them. I didn't think I'd miss my brothers this much.

It's so cool that Dad is going to be YM president! He'll be great. Just put your heart into it and it'll go well.
Okay, in two weeks Elder Obioma and I are going to spend some personal money and go to a place called Rano Mafana (look it up, I'm sure there are some cool pictures). It's basically a rainforest with a hot springs (which we will not be using) and a whole bunch of wildlife (including lemurs!!!). The problem is that we won't be able to email that day. In order to catch a taxi be there and be back at 6pm in time to do some work, we won't have time to email. Figured I'd give you a heads up. Next Monday I'm going to send a postcard though!
Well I love and miss you all. Enjoy the pictures and stay awesome 'til I get back. (Remember that you can always send me pictures as well!)
Elder Schnoor
Old Fianarantsoa

My City

Alain, Angelo, Rapa
Alain, Angelo, Rapa
Some cool bugs
Some cool bugs

Some cool bugs

Found a snake!

Malagasies hate snakes, and they took of running as soon as I picked it up haha. Then I chased them.


Masina Maria



Found a friend! (love the Canada jacket)

Made a box of KD!!


The wedding crew

These little guys are everywhere