An African Heart

An African Heart

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas in Africa!!!!!

Well, we were waiting anxiously for today, thinking Conrad would be able to give us a phone call, but apparently it's an MTC rule that they can't call.  Major letdown!  But he was able to send us email again today so we survived.  He sounds happy and still sounds motivated and that's more important right now.  He said he and his companion have had to adjust quite a bit to each other and is learning how difficult it can be to try to be with a companion 24 hours a day and not end up killing each other!  Thankfully, I and his church leaders, as well as others, prepared him by telling him honestly that it will be difficult at times, so it didn't come as a shock.  We're excited for him to get to Kenya where he will have permission to email photos.    Below are a few excerpts from his emails yesterday and today.

TO JESSIE:  Ok here's the thing. Tomorrow i don't get to call, even though it's christmas :( lame huh?? But i will get to email again. So i will, fa sho. There are some really intersting things here. In Kenya, I was told some of the food i will eat: Mosquito patty burgers, beetles, dog, various other bugs. Ya they looove their bugs, and i get to eat them. An entomologist's worst nightmare, right?  

TO LEAH:    I pray and think about our family all the time. I am eating well, interesting food tho. They love onions here. The weather is awesome and i am staying in shape. Dangit i will have more time tomorrow!! And i will reply fully to your email then. But just know this. My testimony and absolute surety of the truthfulness of this church is solidifying. I love this thing. Whenever i miss my family i think of the work i am doing and of the blessings that it will inevitably bring our family. I pray for you every night mom. You don't need to miss me, i am having the time of my life!! Don't be discouraged becuase of this short email, you will recieve a big big one tomorrow with everythikng in it. I love you to death and i will email you soon :) I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE YYYYYYYOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
With great love and a warm blanket,
Elder Conrad Schneider.
I love you :)

TO DAD:   I love this place, and especially today my testimony of the Savior and his closeness has grown. He loves me truly and he is near me when i ask for him. I am so happy!!!  Tell the family i had a wonderful christmas and i am so happy. Hoorah for Israel!!
Your Son,
Elder Conrad Schneider

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Waiting for P-Day

Leah and I take turns having a "blue" day, missing Conrad.  I'm sure as time goes by it will soften a bit.  It's tough to send a child to the other side of the planet for two years!  We anxiously anticipate the next email from him.  We're dying to get some photos but for some reason he hasn't been able to upload his photos.  We all wrote an email to him this week.  Leah and I have probably written more than one.  I find when I'm missing him really bad if I just drop a short email to him, it helps me feel close to him, or a little more connected.  While we miss him, we know he is doing the right thing and is where he should be right now.  I wouldn't change it for anything.  It will be so interesting to watch as the Lord molds and refines him.  So we wait for his P-Day and his next email.  In the MTC it is Saturday, which means we'll probably get an email around midnight on Friday! Can't wait!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

December 16, 2011

"Lya enviri zo!" that is the only phrase of Ugandan i know. it means "Eat your hair" hahahahahahaha you pronounce it like "lee-ya in-vee-ree zoh". now you know ugandan!! I love you guys. when i think of you all i am not homesick, just filled with the deepest love. that is the truth, i promise. I can feel my soul being strengthened and powered by the awesome spirit here. alot of guys are homesick, but i am just eager to learn. i had my first teaching experience yesterday. it was role playing, but my teacher, brother Shabangu, grilled us!! He said i did good though. My companion here is Elder Kagame (kah-gah-meh). he is from Uganda and Rwanda and he has a very strong accent, difficult to understand sometimes. He speaks 16 languages!!!!!  I will talk to you next saturday and i love you all. I pray for you every morning and night and i hope you are all having a wonderful time at home. It is  nice 70 degrees here and slightly windy. tropical, no bugs, happy!! :D some of my good friends here already are elder Mapeka and elder Mwingira and elder Muwanguzi and of course elder Kagame. I love this work, and i love my family. I will return with honor.
With deepest love,
Elder Conrad Schneider, your son

Don't send letters to previous address

Sorry, but the address I posted previously isn't really going to work for sending letters to Conrad.  He's leaving the MTC earlier than expected.  Now he's leaving on January 3rd for Kenya, so a letter mailed now would probably miss him.  The mission president's wife told me mail takes 10 days to 2 weeks to get there.  You can send a letter to Conrad at the Kenya mission.  That address is:

Elder Conrad Schneider
Kenya Nairobi Mission
Upper Hill Road
Next to Citi Group
PO Box 46162-00100
Nairobi Kenya

His mailing address could change but for now, that's what we have.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Made it to the Motherland!

Conrad finally arrived in Africa last night at 10pm our time, but at 6:50 am on December 15th, Johannesburg time.  They are 10 hours ahead of us.  He had to be exhausted but he sounds pretty charged up.  We were hoping he could call us from the airport when he landed so I was waiting up, waiting for his call.  By 12:45 I fell asleep.  At about 3:15 this morning I sent an email to the MTC President asking him to let us know when Conrad arrived.  At about 5:30 this morning, I got an email from Conrad.  Here are some excerpts.

Guess where i am? AFRICA!!!!! Yes, South Africa. I am already loving it here. Some of the African elders are Chimgazi, Salacama, Kamgawe, and other various African, cool sounding names. Seriously tho, I am so excited to be here.  I have been able to see some of Africa already and it is gorgeous. It is like nothing i have ever seen before. The flights were all successful and comfortable. I was able to have a missionary moment with all of my plane ride buddies. I even had an extended conversation with a lady named Julie and i gave her my pass along card. Funny story, on the flight to Johannesburg from london, i fell asleep because i was totally dead and i drooled all over. i was out like a rock. and when i woke up for a second, i was all leaned up against the lady next to me and it was super embarassing. I took some cool videos that i will try and post. Also some pictures.London, by the way, was not all it's cracked up to be. Atleast, the airport isn't. Sure the accents were really cool, but people in London are weird. I went to a cafe in the airport called Giraffe. I ordered the Salmon sandwich because it looked yummy and Julie (from the plane ride) travels alot and advised that i do not eat red meat. So i did. And it came out and it was RAW!!!! I choked down about three fourths of it, then proceeded to gag. So i stopped. It was slimy. Incredibly, i did not have a stomach ache at all. I felt pretty good actually :) i was surprised that my first taste of questionable food was in the airport, not even in Africa. Today for lunch, one part of the meal was this cabbage, coleslaw type stuff that was spicy. That was interesting. The Africans here are really awesome and really nice. They have great accents and they have cool handshakes, it is very interesting. And Johannesburg is more lush than you'd expect. It is very tropical. So here's something, all the Africans here, when i mention that i am going to Kenya, tell me i will love it. Same with Tanzania. Which, by the way, is pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable. So like, tanZANyuh. Like banana, but Tanzania.  

Elder Kamgawe is my MTC companion. He is so nice and he is a happy guy!! Also in my room are Elder Somgala and Elder Tukuafu. Elder Somgala is from Zimbabwe and Tukuafu is a Tongan from Arizona. I will write more when i have more to tell, but know this. I am doing this because i have a strong desire for others to be as happy as our family is. We are blessed. We have luxuries that people here don't have, and i'm seeing it already. This Gospel is the most true Gospel on the Earth, and it is restored in fulness. I love it with all my heart, and I love my Elder buddies here already!!

Jessica, Danny, Ben, I love you all so much and i think about you. Mom and Dad, i love you as well and i hope you are happy and peaceful. God is watching over our family. But not from a big podium like somebody who harshly commands. While He is the supreme God of the whole universe, He is with us more like a father who stands b y, with His arm around you, and tells you all is well!! Eternity is longer than two years, and that's how long i have with you all. I am going to work like never before. get to the temple, get ready for the mission field cuz it happens sooner than we think!! I love you all with all my heart, see you soon (relatively).
With deepest love,
Elder Conrad Schneider
Kenya, Nairobi mission

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

God Be With You Til We Meet Again!

Lots of Kleenex, puffy eyes, shock.  That about sums it up right now.  We got up at 5:30 am and took Conrad to the Idaho Falls airport.  Conrad was really happy that we all started taking photos again!  We sat around after he got checked in until I felt we couldn't wait any longer.  Conrad gave us all a very tight hug as we took turns crying on his new suit.  He was crying too.  We love him and will miss him so much!  We watched him go through security.  He didn't even have to undress or get groped by TSA people which was good.  After he got through security, and before he got on the escalator to go to his gate, he mouthed the words to me, "Hoorah for Israel" with a big smile.  I started crying harder.  We love you so much Conrad.  God, please, be with you til we meet again!"

Setting Apart, 12 December 2011

Last night Conrad was set apart as a Full-Time Missionary by President Manwaring.  It was an emotional time for us.  So he became an "official" missionary at 10pm last night.  He finished packing and then stayed up writing everyone letters.  In the letters he told us he loved us and issued a challenge, an individual challenge for each of us.  Mine involves getting in shape....thanks Conrad.  Anyway, he wrote sweet letters to everyone and had Ben give them to us when we got home from the airport after dropping him off.   More crying!

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Countdown Begins in Earnest!

It's the 2nd of December.  Conrad gets on the plane bright and early on the 13th.  To say we're going to miss him is of course, a huge understatement, but we are equally excited because we know he will be a fantastic missionary.  Conrad is very excited.  In fact he's so excited he's not sure how to feel.  Well...look at these photos and you'll see what I mean.

Not sure what he's feeling here.

....I'm REALLY not sure what he's feeling here....

....or here....

...or here.
But I think he's happy.   He's going to kill me for this, but oh well.  I plan to load his photos and letters and stories as he serves his mission in Africa.  I'll probably include some thoughts and feelings from his family back home here in Idaho.