My name is Abigail Marie Snyder, the meaning of which is as follows. Abigail means “source of joy,” Marie means “bitter,” and Snyder means “tailor.” A good friend of mine once mentioned that when joined together, the meaning of my name reflects beautifully the passage of Scripture found in Isaiah 61:3. “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness: that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.”
Thus, 613: Thoughts is a chronicle of my thoughts as a young adult seeking to glorify God in everything I do. Currently, I live in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where I am teaching high school English, middle school P.E., and primary swimming at Haven of Peace Academy, a YoungLife leader, and loving life on the coast of the Indian Ocean.
I had the great privilege (and still do!) of being raised by two people who love God and did their absolute best to teach their children in a way that they would “gain favor with both God and men.” Because of this, I can boast an incredible education in theology, apologetics, and a Biblical worldview, and I am so, so grateful for my parents diligence in training me. I was six when I prayed with my parents to accept Jesus as my Savior and Lord. Yet, today, when asked when I was saved, I often look to a much later date, when, as a teen, I attended a Christian summer camp at Miracle Mountain Ranch and one of the staff girls sat down on the bunkhouse porch with me the very first day and began investing in my life. Her influence in my life started with a simple conversation and time spent together during a week at camp, but she showed me what a relationship with Jesus looked like for a “cool” young person—and I wanted what I saw. Even though, by many standards, I was saved as a child, it was this invitation to “do life together,” this “discipling,” by someone I looked up to that first truly captured my heart and energies for Christ. Because of that experience and others where I have seen personally the importance of mentors in the lives of young adults / youth, it is my desire as a teacher and as an individual to speak truth, but more significantly, to love and invest in the lives of young people as others have done for me.
Over the last three years, I have been able to be a part of the ministry of YoungLife at HOPAC. Recently, we took a group of HOPAC students to the highlands of Morogoro for a weekend of YoungLife camp, and all the memories of my time at summer camp came flooding back to me, and with them the resounding reassurance of my purpose: This is why I am here. This is why I exist. To love kids as Christ loved me. To live life with students as I live life as a child of God. To see youth get excited about Jesus.
When I first moved to Tanzania, I remember saying, “I was born to live here.” Perhaps that is true. But what I do know for sure is that I was born to love God and love people…and specifically, to love young people.
My work (and life) at HOPAC is entirely dependent on the financial support of friends, family, and churches. To support my ministry here in Dar es Salaam, please follow these instructions: Checks should be payable to Young Life, designated for X466/Snyder and mailed to Young Life, PO Box 2920, Colorado Springs, CO 80901. You also have the option of setting up automatic payments or giving a one-time gift from a bank account or credit card account through the Young Life Giving website: www.giving.younglife.org. On this site, you will need to search for me by my last name (Snyder) or Area Account Number (X466).