Monday, September 22, 2014

                                           The countryside where I am serving - Antsirabe.

It's been a hard week....

Salama Tompoko

first off. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAPRI, KRISTI, JOHNATHAN, AND SOON MILLIE! i wish you all an amazing day and a better week then i had haha

well this week was pretty rough but it happens. just a lotta problems.

SO to address the parents questions:

1. How many active investigators do you have?
2. What is your average # of lessons taught per week right now?
3. What percentage of the dialogue do you hear?
4. What attribute do you like most about your companion?
5. Do you have a favorite branch member?

1. We have...lemme think...4 (and thats being generous)
2. This last week (excluding BiM lessons) 4? but usually the average, including RCLA's (recent converts/less actives) and investigators, is like 15-20 here in the Dona.
3. I get about 40 percent of the words but putting them together is way rough...
4. He is patient.
5. Our Branch President is probably my favorite. hes a stud and a hard worker.
so a quick recap of the week i guess. our dog died(alex) on tuesday. taught not many lessons, did a lotta service, (cleared a rice pattie of weeds [got in the mud] and then planted rice in it. also helped build a door for our branch president) i hit a dog in the truck...probably killed. its yelp of pain will destroy me forever...i felt terrible. i dont think anyone cared though cause noone really cares for these dogs. they are mostly strays and 
around. im sorry though. hate me if you want but i dont care anymore. the cars fine too dont worry. just knocked a light in but can easily be poppedback into place. i know, the car was my first worry too. oh and our branch presidency got rearranged. elder bowler is the second counselor and we have a new first counselor, secretary, and assistant. good stuff. psalms 6:6 pretty much describes my week, please read it.

the mission president gave an AMAZING talk in sacrament meeting. a rare occasion. hopefully these people listen. i pray.

PLEASE, if you dont do anything from reading this letter, do this. find out the guy on the Preach My Gospel: District 1 videos name. and see if it isnt the same guy from the santa clause (the one with tim allen), i sincerely think its Tim Allens kid in the movie. the elder is companions with the hawaiian dude. please help me out.

Talk of the week was on Joseph Smith. whether it was the words which struck me or the fact the i had the playlist of the movie pearl harbor goin on in the background, i dont know. but it was way good and i LOVE Joseph Smith. it was from last conference. sunday morning session. Lawrence E. Corbridge was the speaker. 

So i finished the Pearl Of Great Price in a couple days and it never hit me how fundamental and important the Articles of Faith are. like, have you ever read them and went "thats our church, thats what we believe, why dont i have these memorized? why dont i use these to answer peoples questions of what WE BELIEVE?" they are so fundamental. so important. so TRUE. your challenge this week is to commit to memory, three of them. (if you are a non-member reading this email it can be any of them) but if you are a member it cannot be 1, 2, or 4. those should be on lockdown and if you dont have em memorized, there is more for you to do haha also, the second half for you to do is to share at least one of the articles of faith with some one this week AND report back to me. thank you.

Well this week was a one step forward, two steps back kinda week, but we can only go up from here right? i love you all. i pray for you each individually, thank you for your love and support. never forget who you are and your purpose. Alma 42:4. read the Book of Mormon. study it. learn something. love it. live it.

-Elder Schro

Sunday, September 21, 2014

                                           Puppies!!  I want to bring one home with me!!

Faith, Hope, and Charity

Well hello everyone! how are you all? i am great thanks haha

so the pics are pretty rad huh? i love those dogs. the guys house we were waiting at never came...dumb. classic manandona but you cant really blame em. they work all day in the fields, which they live off of, so they usually arent home. happens. a lot. 

so the food here is pretty good and sketchy haha a lot of rice! breakfast is usually cereal and yogurt. or moof balls. and lunch is usually at the hotely. then dinner is either noodles or we eat out at this french resteraunt that is way good. called chez billy's. we are lazy haha

so lemme tell you about the VC... "vay-say" they are great. they are little shacks about as tall as i am. the door is about neck height or smaller and pretty slim. some dont have doors...ya...thats a problem sometimes. but basically it is a little shack built over a giant hole with the floor leaving a whole in the middle to use...remember there is no running water or electricity. and lemme tell ya, its a little smelly and stuffy in there. id love to wait to get home to go but the food you eat doesnt often allow that...haha its quite the experience, i will say that my thighs are gettin more toned. from walkin around everywhere too haha yeah one time...naw ill tell that story after the mish, kinda embarrassing..

Salama Tompo

so! if you noticed mom and dad i pulled out some presonal fund money. everything is way cheap here. i had to buy a bible for 15 thou and pitched in for a soccer ball which was 5 thou. (you can do the math if you want haha) but suits are way cheap and this cool shirt they make is cheap. you buy the lamba (material) then take it to a tailor and the suit is only like 80 bucks american? maybe cheaper. depends on how you bargain. i bought some ray bans for like a dollar and a half and you can by beats by dre for like 7 and a half dollars haha

life here is still same old same old. mothers whipping out feeding substance for their babies randomly. in church. middle of lessons. walking down the road. just gotta get use to it haha i see a lotta animals. starting with insects- there are a lotta fleas, LOTS of flies, wasps, bees, etc. there are tons of cattle chickens ducks "dokitra" (the mix of a duck and chicken) dogs cats and others too haha

something WAY sick this week. i got to go on a companionship exchange with Elder Covey. my closest friend from the MTC. so here we have two terrible malagasy speaking missionaries takin on THE manandona haha we actually had a way good day planned but of course those times fell through. so we went contacting and actually had a way good way for manandona. taught 5 times and got two contacts. which is way good for the dona haha elder bowler (district leader) had to take care of baptismal interviews in andranomanelatra(coveys area). which has a lotta baptisms comin up.
another great experience yesterday! i commited someone to be baptised (they said theyd think about it) but it was way good. we talked in alma 32, a WAY good chapter about faith, and the spirit was so strong. highlight of the day for sure.

Conference talks for you to read this week:

"Hope Ya Know I'm Having a Hard Time" -Quinton L. Cook (i think thats the title) its way good, and theres a mormon message on it too. if youre having a hard time watch that mormon message and "Mountains to Climb" (Mormon messages found in or through and listen to the actual talk of Mountains to Climb by President Uchtdorf. WAY inspiring.

Well i finished Fotopampianarana sy Fanekempihavanana or the Doctrine and Covenants. way good stuff in there. my favorite chapters are probably 121 and 122. where Joseph Smith is in Liberty Jail (what kind of name is that for a jail?) and he just opens up. Verses 1-25 in section 121 and all of section 122 are a huge testimony builder and comfort. very humbling.

section 124 was actually givin on dads birthday...but like 119 years the math if you wanna know how old Dad is! haha oh and section 135 is on Calebs birthday, for a sad reason im sure a lot of you know. but it is...just 158 years previous. We have little DVD players here and my comp has a few tallks that we can listen to through them and its been amazing. one was a six disc set of 8 lectures truman g. madsen gave on the prophet joseph smith. we would listen to them on our rides out to manandona. i love the prophet joseph smith. i love the song praise to the man. i love section 135. the section where his martyrdom was announced. his testimony will live on forever. Love was his motivation. Just as it was Christ's.

Youre challenge this week is to study love. I dont know what aspects but here are some ideas. how can we love others more? (family, friends, strangers) how can we love ourselves more? (a weird one but it applies) how can we love our faith more? how can we love Christ more? how can we love more?

Faith, Hope, Charity, and Love are my favorite.

If we have love for God and our fellow man, following all the commandments (not just the 10 from Moses) will be a breeze. If we have faith we have not the need to fear. "Faith is the antidote for fear" (in one of the talks i read, maybe nelson?). If we have hope, a chain reaction will go down to the other three. Charity is the pure love of Christ.

I love you all! You are in my prayers. Stay safe. Stay fresh. Stay classy San Diego (im on a mission and a shouldnt quote that movie hahaha).


Elder Schroedter

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Salama Tompoko

hello fam and friends. just another email from Mada-who-ha.

 (just tryin to give more detail through out this letter) a missionary in our house related Madagascar to something i see too. Madagascar is the Mexico of Africa. its great haha i love it. so i forgot my camera today. azafady. but living conditions are great. for the missionaries and the rich. we stay in probably the nice apartment complex the mission rents. so yay for that. but i work in probably the least prosperous area. struggles. but our apartment is two stories. its got a fireplace which we use a lot cause who doesnt love a nice fire? you can buy like 10 bundles for less than a dollar (like 40 cents) and we got a giant bundle for like 80 cents one time and it was glorious. 

...quick math problem for you. the money here is ariary. the bills are (starting with the biggest) 10000, 5000, 2000, 1000, 500, 200, and 100. the coins are 50. 20. and 10. 2500 ariary is about a dollar. so if i have a 10 ariary coin. how much is that worth in dollars (cents)...(that was really for caleb but please get back to me with your answers haha)...

so we have a kitchen and the kitchen sink is the only one with filtered water. two and a half bathrooms. but we have way limited hot water so one usually showers at night and the other at morning. theres a loft area. a study room. a living room. its WAY nice. i'll send pics next week. for my camera today i apologize.

living conditions for our members are rough. my area (Manandona) has no electricity and the only running water is the pumps that the church has provided around the town. houses are made out of brick or clay or crap haha its actually cool to watch em make bricks. the rooms are tight and the bed or maybe two beds and a couple chairs are usually the only furniture. life is tough. i talked last week of how easy it is to be humble. its crazy easy in that sense to be humbled. oh and its all mountains and rice patties out there. love it. some roads are WAY sketch and could easily get the truck stuck somewhere but it hasnt

so my companion is pretty tight, he is WAY good at the language and im not just saying that cause im new and everyone sounds good. he was asked to translate for meetings only six months in. he is from vegas. he graduated a year early in high school and did a year at utah state before coming out here at 18. i know all about his love life haha. hes a funny guy and a great trainer. trainers gotta have a lotta patience...especially in this area...anyways!

glad to hear about everything you all have told me. life goes on huh? hope caleb is doin well in football. hasnt written me in a couple weeks im upset. lol jk i know everyone is busy, i really appreciate all your love and support. 

so the weather right now is spring. its gotten down into the fifties i think this last week which is weird cause the first two weeks was warm. its like im back in texas and mother nature forgets what time of the year it is. but i get to use my sweaters so i look fresh. haha summer and rainy season comes in december so im lookin forward to that! whoop! a regular sunday here is alright. wake up maybe study a but, leave by 9 to greet people about half an hour early. church is at ten. who knows what theyre saying. they could just be roasting me for an hour idk haha then e. bowler "teaches" a temple prep class. we dont have a manual so we read moses and talk about covenants and its not well structured. then preisthood. then branch council. then we teach (hopefully) a time then lunch at 3 with the branch prez. (thats the only time we have food with a member throughout the week) then we got out and try to teach somemore. usually (this is with most days) we teach the most towards the end of the day cause thats when people come home from working. cause no lights otherwise.

a usual day is like this. wake up. eat. get dressed by eight. personal study for an hour. companionship study for an hour then language study. then lunch around 11:30 12ish with the zone leaders at besovana, the hotely, we eat at. then we head out to do work. about a 25 minute drive. (one time we did it in 15) it was crazy! no speed limits, stop signs. lights, stop lights, lined roads. crosswalks. there is only one paved road from antsirabe to the dona and only one road through the dona. so a lotta walking otherwise up and down mountains and rice patties, but no i have never fallen in a rice patty...yet. what the branch lacks in beauty, is taken in the landscape. yesterday was fast sunday and we started our fast at 3:30 on saturday and went all the way to 3:40 on sunday...broke a white handbook rule by going over 24 hours. gonna get struck down or something haha i really am tryin to be more obedient. its helping for sure. it was a great opportunity to fast though. loved it.

ill give you more detail about the branch specifically next week.

so things i needed to mention today:

-letters (through regular post office) address [they told us it was unreliable]

Elder Schroedter
B.P. 5094
Antananarivo 101, Madagascar

-thru UPS/Fedex/DHL (this one is expensiver)

Elder Schroedter
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Dingana III, Andrainarivo
Antananarivo 101, Madagascar

-if you were to send anything (dont have to) but i would like my electronic razor, patriarchal blessing (laminated?), food? love, letters?
oh and they recommend putting Jesus stickers on it especially on the seals so they wont open em haha
-i started reading Fotopampianarana sy Fanekempihavanana on monday and im already on section 77. i read about 30-40 minutes a day and its a shame i never really took just that much time outta the day to read. ive gotten so far. i love progress. (D&C btw and its crazy how fast i can say that haha)
-i also read a ton of conference talks. i LOVE them. ones i would recommend from the last session would be "Follow Up" by M. Russel Ballard and "Your Four Minutes" by idk haha but they are both way good. tell me what you learn from them. find em in the Liahona, the Ensign, and online. read em. gimme feedback.

for my challenge to you all this week i would just like each of you to take 30 minutes out of your day. read a conference talk. read the Book of Mormon. the Bible. the Doctrine and Covenants. but study it and put all your focus on it for just thirty minutes a day. i know itll strengthen you and bless you.

time for a third world prob.
Listening extra close to the sacramental water prayer, not because i specifically want to hear the commandments and blessings, but to make sure it is properly worded and blessed (cause who knows what water they are using) #TWP

well once again thanks for your love and support! i love you all! stay fresh.


Elder Schroe

Monday, September 1, 2014

He wrote - with power!!

SO as you can assume the power did not go out. there is still potential. apparently the prez is talking to the prez of the energy company today and will discuss if anything will happen further. slight chance. its too bad cause i was looking forward to the power bein out. woulda been a sweet experience, i guess it doesnt hurt to prepare haha but i am thankful for running water for reasons you can deduce for yourselves haha

well life in the 'Dona is greaaaat, our appointment times arent really set and we go home at dark. most times people arent at their houses so the long walks through rice patties and up hillsides and accross fields are for not. but it isnt worthless. what if they are home? The worth of souls is great in the sight of God. 

At least we have a truck to get all the way out there haha otherwise i dont know man...but my driving has improved! i do drive amid all the craziness...

i didnt bring my planner here to the cyber, which had what i was gonna write about, so oh well. 

living conditions here are real good. running water, one filtered sink, electricity, gated (with barbed wire over the fences all though one section isnt barbed and its way easy to get over...i did it once for fun) but we do have another fence and lock to get inside. its good stuff. nice and safe dont worry.

i keep a journal and a book of little quotes that i like so if i hear one i'll write it down and hopefully i wont lose it or it get soiled so i'll have it by the end of the mish. 

so heres a normal day...

wake up...lie in bed...get up and eat breakfast. change. hour of personal study. hour of companion, and an hour of language. then we eat at this hotely with our housemates (the zone leaders). then head out on our 30 minute drive to manandona. contact for a couple hours, stop by some peoples houses who usualy arent there...and keep goin around. walking around rice patties. up and down hills. all over haha. theres only one road that goes through manandona so the truck can only take us so far. then we head home around 6-ish cause its dark, come home eat. study a little more and hit the hay, i usually go to bed before 10 usually about 9:30. way unusual for me huh? haha i cant just sleep randomly during the day anymore. its not school! haha dont tell caleb that. always pay attention!

We dont have many investigators cause we're really trying to strengthen the members but its about half and half teaching. we always have member with us (they got nothing better to do) haha ones joining us on a real mission in a couple weeks and one is going to England in december, HUGE HUGE culture shock for him. most peoples homes have a couple rooms, but each room is about 4 ft by 8 ft. real small. they have next to nothing. its amazing.

its really easy to be secularly humble here. way easy. you need a shot of that, get on the next plane. (next four planes haha) but it is hard to be gospelly humble. does that make sense? since the branch is so young and there arent as many members. its definitely a work in progress but its coming along.

last thing the power of the adversary is real. one missionary told us all a past mada mission story and it was crazy, and it was dark. Always seek out the Light. We have all been given the Light of Christ. It is not hard to find. Let it strengthen and comfort you. 

I have to walk all the way downstairs if i wanna use the filtered water to brush my teeth #ThirdWorldProbz

Love you all!


Elder Grant Schroedter


Might lose water and electricty....

So hello family and friends! 

You're probably wondering why i am emailing on your friday morn (my night. 8-9 hr difference here in mada)

Today, a couple hours ago, we received notice that our power (water, electricity, etc.) for ALL of mada will be being cut off do to a problem between the Electric company (who is over control of all Mada {genius}) and the president of Mada. Apparently the prez arrested some head people who work for the company and they got a lil upset so they are going on strike. so we dont know how long we'll be without power but its supposed to go out sunday, we have already gone grocery shopping and received our allotment for this next month. again, who knows how long this will last but i know the Lord will look out for us missionaries, the members, and the people as a whole. we'll be fine. dont worry about us haha its funny actually cause my companion, E. Bowler, when he was set apart, in the blessing portion, it was like "there will be a period of time where you will be unable or not have the works to communicate home" or something but its kinda cool how that was foreshadowed.

anyways! hope your next week is a great one and maybe the next few weeks haha

love you all! stay fresh.


E. Schroe

(these next few weeks)>>#TWP