Thursday, 24 March 2016

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

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