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

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