Elder Zachary Snow

Elder Zachary Snow

Monday, December 26, 2011

An Almost White Christmas - December 26,2011

Dear Family!!!

Thanks for the great letter. It´s always so nice to hear from you all. I´m glad to hear that Christmas went well.

I really enjoyed Dad´s mission story. It´s always great to read those. I loved to hear that Vicenta is still active in the church and that there are great fruits that come from missionary work. It´s amazing to think that helping one person find the gospel will affect future generations forever. Thank you, Dad, for being a great missionary and for helping Vicenta find the truth.

It was great to talk to you all on Saturday and get to see your faces!! It´s weird how much Kim, Melanie, and Mason have changed. Everyone is so grown up! It´s crazy how fast the time goes during those calls but I always enjoy it anyway. Were you able to understand my Spanish at all? Haha, hopefully at least Dad knew what I was saying.

Well, from this weekend we have some good news and some not as good news. I have fotos from Ana´s baptism, but she didn´t end up getting baptized. Her and her entire family got to the church and everything was great. We started the baptismal service, had the talks, everything was wonderful. When it came time to baptize her, it turned out she had fear of the water. So we were in the font (I was baptizing) and after the prayer, she didn´t want to go under. We gave it a shot, but she did not want to put her head in. I definitely had to learn some patience. We will prepare her more and try again.

On more of an up note, we had success in getting people to church yesterday. There is a family that we have been working with for a while, named the Ñamandú family. The son, Agusto, went to church last week without the parents. This week the kids were out of town so we tried with the parents, Félix and María José, to get them to church. On Saturday we committed them and on Sunday morning María José and Jade (the 5 year old daughter) went to church. It was really exciting because we have been working for a while to get them there. She really enjoyed it. We just had Sacrament Meeting combined with the 3 wards. The bishops of each ward gave talks and the meeting was realllly good. María José enjoyed it a lot. We are excited to see them continue progressing.

This past change we have been working a lot more with complete families. In our ward, over the past 5 years there have been a lot of kids and single people baptized, and very few of them are still active. So we have been working a lot harder to find and teach families. The next goal is for the entire Ñamandú family to get to church. That will be very exciting to see.

Everything is going very well here. We are working really hard and praying harder to have success. I am very grateful for my companion, Elder Curtis. I feel like he is helping me to become the best missionary I´ve ever been. Thanks for everything!!! Love you all

Elder Snow

Monday, December 19, 2011

Some Really Great Miracles This Week - December 19, 2011

Dear Family,

It was really good to hear from you this week, thanks for writing such a great letter!!! I´m sorry my letters the last couple of weeks have been kind of sub par. This one won´t be much better because I only have like a half an hour today.
Well we have seen some really great miracles this week. We have been trying to work better with the members and as a result we have seen a lot of success. I think I will give you like a run down of our investigators real quick

María Ana- She is a 9 year old girl. Her dad and her grandma are members. She lives with her Grandma here in Costa Bonita and her dad is an active member in another ward. We have been working with her for a while and she has several attendances, we have just had to be patient because she doesn´t understand super well. She doesn´t go to school so she isn´t the fastest learner, but she is humble and really wants to do what is right. We have seen some really great miracles with her since we set a date for her to be baptized. We had decided that we would wait for her to attend a couple more times, but she expressed her desire to be baptized so we put a date with her for this Saturday, the 24th. And since we put the date she has been progressing a lot more. So she should get baptized this weekend. We are really excited.

The Ñamandu family -  A family that we found a little over a month ago. It is a dad (Félix), mom (María José), and three kids (Francisco, Agusto, and Jade). They are are really quality family, they just haven´t all made it to church yet. This last week we visited them with bishop and it went really so we were happy about that. We visited Agusto, the 12 year old, with a couple young men from the church and he was really excited. He went to church yesterday and loved it, hopefully he talks it up to the whole family.

David - Wow, we have seen some great miracles with David. This last week we had such a great, spiritual lesson with him. He is very smart and intellectual. It is neat to see how he thinks things through and as a result is able to feel the Spirit. On Saturday we read 3 Nephi 11 with him and the lesson was so great. We talked about baptism and he was really receptive. We asked how he would feel to be baptized and receive a remission of sins and we could tell that the spirit really touched him. He also went to church yesterday and had a good experience. We are trying to work with the members to support him as well.

So I don´t have much time. Thank you all for writing me. It is always especially good to her from Kim and Melanie. Speaking of that, Happy Birthday, Melanie!!! Sorry it is a couple of days late.

And Happy Anniversary to Mom and Dad and Dan and Lauren!!!! Hope it´s a great one.

I love you all so much. Thanks for everything!!

Elder Snow

Monday, December 12, 2011

We Really Have Our Work Cut Out For Us - December 12, 2011

Dear Family,

Wow! I really appreciate every one of you. That letter this week was classic. I had some really good laughs (which I shared with Elder Curtis, as always) as well as some really great spiritual moments. I love that every time I read one of your letters, I feel some kind of prompting from the Spirit on something that I can do better. I just need to put them into practice!!!

We have had a really wild week. We`ve been going all over the zone trying to help lots of missionaries and working our tails off in our own area as well. This month we have started out kind of cold as a zone so we are working so hard to finish the year really strong and fulfill our goals. We have been praying a lot for the families we are teaching right now and have felt so much the help of the Lord.

I haven`t written too much on the new families we have found, and I have little time right now, so hopefully next week I`ll be able to talk a little more on that next week.
This week we have had a couple of really spiritual lessons. We have been trying to work very closely with the members, especially the leaders so that we can get some member support for the new families that we have found. On Wednesday we did a noche de hogar with Alonso and Daisy. They have been a little down lately beause the divorce hasn`t gone through. So we shared a Christmas message. We decided to read about the Savior´s birth in Luke 2. After we talked about what gifts we could give to Jesus Christ this Christmas. It turned out really well. It reminded me of home and how we would often read the story of the Savior`s birth on Christmas eve. They had a sweet little Nativity set too so that added to the good feelings. We also did a noche de hogar with Bishop Mora`s family and did the same Christmas activity with them. We have been working a lot with Bishop Mora and the first Counselor, Brother Correa. They are such great families and Elder Curtis and I have really grown to love them.

This week we will work even harder. We have set goals for this month as a companionship and as a zone and we really want to achieve them. We have started out a little slow, so we really have our work cut out for us. I know that with lots of prayer, fasting, and hard work we will be able to achieve them. So next week will be a letter full of miracles.

I love you all so much!
Elder Snow

PS Mom. could you send me Grandma and Grandpa Vacc´s email so I can write them thanks for the BDay cards? I have received all of them, but I haven`t written back. It`s super expensive to write by hand now, so I think I want to send them a quick email.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's Just So Exciting to Be a Missionary! - December 5, 2011

Dear Family!!!!
Hey thanks for a great letter this week. I really enjoyed the part Mason wrote me about his fantasy football team. Hahaha Mason is always a favorite of my mission companions. I love sharing his little letters with my companions and they usually think he is pretty funny. I remember Elder Woodruff especially enjoyed Mason`s descriptions of how he dominated in Basketball and Soccer, haha.
Thanks, Dad, for sharing that experience of your mission. That is one of my favorite parts about receiving emails every week, reading about your mission experiences and recognozing how much they have shaped your life. I really appreciate it. I was very impressed with the story about Nilson Bueno and how much the Lord had prepared him. It`s just the greatest feeling in the world when a missionary is led to a person that God has prepared. Elder Curtis and I have especially felt that this week.
This week has really been one of the most blessed weeks of my mission so far. We went crazy in finding new people and the Lord blessed us so much. We found several families this week that are really great and I have faith will progress. It`s just so exciting to be a missionary. I love the feeling of finding a new person and being able to help them come closer to Christ.
For a little bit of an update on Alonso and Daisy. I have talked about them a little bit before, Alonso is the man from Barcelona that is living with Daisy, a member. We have been waiting for the divorce to go through for a really long time now. We got a little bit of news and it seems like it should all go through this month. Elder Curtis and I have been praying and fasting a lot for their family. They have been through a lot but have endured it all with so much faith. Yesterday after church we were sitting with them in the chapel and we could tell that the stress was really wearing on them. Both Alonso and Daisy mentioned that everything seems to be going well for them now, with the exception that the divorce is taking forever to go through. I have been so impressed and touched by their perseverance in attending church through it all. I know that for a lot of people it would be easy to get discouraged and just throw in the towel. It`s tough because they are trying to do what`s right, but that blessing just still hasn`t come yet. I know that the Lord is sustaining them in their trials. The Lord has to test us, even if we are doing the things right. This past week I studied about the people of Alma and how they were in bondage to the Lamanite and wicked priests of king Noah, even though they were doing everything right. Sometimes the Lord sees it fit to try our patience and our faith. I know that that is the case with Alonso and Daisy, and I know that they will pull through with the help of the Lord.
Sorry I don`t have too much time to write again. We had a leadership counsel today so I`m in a hurry a little bit. Everything is going so great here. I love the work, I love my companion, I love the Lord. I love you all so much!
Elder Snow

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Really, Really, Am Grateful - November 28, 2011

Elder Curtis

Elder Curtis and Elder Snow
Dear Family,

So great to hear from you all!

Thanks for the great letter with the updates on Thanksgiving. To answer Dad`s question, yes I did remember it was Thanksgiving but we didn`t really celebrate it, haha. We were just working away and there isn`t really time to cook so we didn`t eat too much. Apart from that we were a little bit sick on Thursday so we weren`t in the mood too much to eat. Oh well. I did get that package this week though so I think I`ll make some Beef Stroganoff today to celebrate Thanksgiving a couple of days late. Sounds good to me. Thanks for not going into detail on all the great things that you ate at Thanksgiving Dinner, that would have been kind of mean, he he.

Well we have had a really good week. I`m trying to think back and there doesn`t seem like there is a whole lot to write about. I think I just feel a little tired because we have been sick but still working really hard and we also did some divisions this past week.

A highlight from this week was that we had Stake Conference yesterday. It was really incredible. The focus was missionary work. In the stake there are 5 or 6 young men that have their mission calls and are getting ready to leave within the next couple of months. They all bore their testimonies and spoke for a couple of minutes. The Spirit was super strong. There was one young man that spoke a lot about his parents and how much they helped him to make the decision to go on a mission. He said that growing up he always said he wanted to go but it was more just to please his parents by saying it. But as he grew older and started gaining a testimony of the gospel, he felt true desires to go on a mission. He thanked his parents and it was a really tender and spiritual moment. Elder Snow may or may not, but definitely did, shed a tear or two. I thought back to my decision to serve a mission and I am so grateful for you, my family and how much you helped me with my decision to serve a mission. I look back now and realize how much it has blessed my life. I will be eternally grateful for the decision that I made to come on the mission and I would not give it up for anything.

Thanks Mom and Dad, I really love you so much and am so grateful for your patience, love, and testimony. I really, really am grateful. I love you all!

Sorry this letter has been so lame and short, I promise that next week`s will be better. I love you all! Chau chau

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lord Has Strange Ways to Help Missionaries - November 21, 2011

Dear Family!!

Hey, thank you so much for writing another great letter this week. It was great to hear from you and get updates on how everyone is doing. This has been kind of an up and down week here in Costa Bonita. It seems like every other day we had a lot of success, were able to teach many lessons, find some great new people, etc. And then the the other days we weren`t quite able to get it going. The great miracle is that even in the rough days, if we are perseverant and diligent, the Lord will give us a couple of great miracles in the end. Those are great testimony builders.

I want to share a little bit of an experience from this last week that was 1) kind of funny (for me, not for Elder Curtis) and 2) a great testimony builder. The story starts out about a week and a half ago. We are teaching a great man named Jacinto. Jacinto is like 75 years old and lives alone in a small little room that he rents out. He has really bad arthritis to the point where it`s hard for him to even walk. So he just kind of hangs out in his room all day and rests. Elder Love and I found him a couple of weeks back and started teaching him. He is very humble and a great guy. He really understands the doctrine and wants to get baptized. We just can`t get him to church. We could take him in a member`s car, but he doesn`t feel ready yet because he has a lot of pain from the arthritis. Anyway, he lives in a small single room and when we first started teaching him, it was realllly dirty. So about a week and half ago, Elder Curtis and I cleaned up his room and fixed his light and just did some service. It felt really good. We did it when just Jacinto was there and nobody saw it, it was pretty low key.

Fast forward a week and a half. Thursday afternoon we are working about a block and half from Jacinto`s house. Elder Curtis and I were walking on like a dirt path type thing and there were three kids having a bike race. They kept riding past us and around us and every which way. One time, as they are passing (and they were really flying fast) they were coming at us like kind of spread out. Elder Curtis and I were like 3 feet apart. The first two passed between Elder Curtis and I. After they passed, Elder Curtis moved like he was going to come closer to me. The third biker was going to pass between us as well, just as Elder Curtis started moving towards me. Long story short, the biker (his name was Walter, btw) WHAM! crashes right into Elder Curtis. Elder Curtis went flying and the biker kid took him into next week. It was funny for me, but kind of painful for Elder Curtis.

So then some people start running towards us, offering help and what not. Elder Curtis was fine, he just had to sit down for a minute. One lady brought him some water and started talking to us. She was really nice and asked us some questions about the church. So we talked to her and another man that came to help for a couple of minutes. It turns out that the lady is Jacinto`s grand daughter. She went by his house the day after we cleaned up for him and Jacinto told her what he had done. So she was pretty happy and really grateful and was receptive because of it. So we wrote down her info and we are going to try to teach her and her family this week.

So moral of the story, the Lord has strange ways to help the missionaries find his prepared children. Hopefully we will see some results from teaching them.

Another highlight from this week was zone conference on Tuesday. It was so great, just what the zone needed. We are really focusing on finding new investigators right now and working well with the members. The Spirit was very strong and I am grateful for all of the help that the Lord is giving us. I know the church is true, this is the Lord`s work!

Elder Snow

Monday, November 14, 2011

Miracles & Tender Mercies - November 14, 2011

Dear Family!

Thanks so much for another great letter!! Welp, Mom had several questions, I`ll try to answer them in a minute.
This week we have been working our tails off, it has felt sooo great. In the end we weren`t able to have the baptism. We have taught Manu and Melissa everything, they are suuuuper prepared and have really strong testimonies. We just haven`t been able to get permission from the mom for them to be baptized. They had their baptismal interviews on Friday and they passed them just fine. Their Mom`s name is Amalia. She is a very nice lady and has always been very open to us sharing with her kids. The Dad is also a very nice man, he is in Argentina working right now and should be coming home soon. 
Anyway, Manu had talked with her a couple of times about the possibility of him being baptized and she kept saying that she wanted to think about it. She has some doubts as to whether they need to be baptized again because they were both baptized in another church. So Friday she made the decision that she didn`t want them to get baptized yet. Manu and Melissa were really sad, because they really want to get baptized. I was a little bit sad, but I also felt calm because I know that we have done our part and that they have done their part as well. On Saturday we made a cake for them and left it at their house with a note. A couple of hours later Manu called us and he was really excited. They found the cake and the mom was really happy and really appreciated it. We stopped by later that night and she opened up a little more and said that they can keep going to church and we can continue teaching them. We didn`t push the baptism part yet, but I know that the Lord will provide a way.
I am really grateful for my new comp, Elder Curtis. He is a really hard worker and likes to work with the members, which is exactly what our area needs.
We have seen some really great miracles this week. We have found a lot of super sincere people that are looking for the truth. We had a bunch of people that were committed to go to church yesterday. We woke up yesterday morning and it was raining really hard, so that was a little bit of a bummer. It rained all day and was raining pretty hard during church. Getting people to church when it is raining is somewhat of a challenge. But we had a great miracle and had a couple of new investigators that made it. One of them is named Ana. She is the daughter of a member that is living in another area. Ana lives with her grandma, who is also a member. She turns 9 pretty soon and wants to get baptized. She wanted to go to church, just not alone. The grandma is really old and doesn`t walk well, so she couldn`t go with Ana. We were planning on having Ana go in Bishop`s truck to church, but then Bishop didn`t take the truck because it was raining. So we were kind of in a hole. We talked with a member that lives close to Ana and she was willing to walk like 25 minutes to church with Ana in the pouring rain! It was so great to see their faith. So Ana went to church with her cousin that was visiting the grandma over the weekend. They both really liked church and are going to go again next week.
Some other great miracles that I saw this week happened when we did exchanges on Tuesday and Wednesday. Elder Chatterley, one of the district leaders, came to my area and we worked together. We found some incredible people that are looking for the truth. We try to finish every lesson with a kneeling prayer. We invited some of the new people to asked Heavenly Father during the final prayer if the church is true. With some of the new investigators, they felt the Spirit for sure and accepted baptismal dates. I love finding sincere people like that, it`s such a tender mercy!

Ok, I`m running low on time, I`ll answer a couple of questions.
How was your birthday?
It was great!  We found some super great people on Wednesday.
Dad also asked if I am writing in my journal.
I hate to admit it, but I`m terrible at writing in my journal. I really need to do better, there are so many great miracles every day and I need to remember them. 
I know that if we keep the commandments, the Lord will take care of us!

I love you all so much!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Everything Went Espectacular! - November 7, 2011


Wow!! What an incredible week!! As you will notice from the pictures, we had a wedding and a baptism for Juan and Victoria this week!! Wow, we just saw miracle after miracle in order to have everything go well. There were some difficulties because Victoria is only 16 and neither of her parents are here so we had to get lots of stuff organized and work with a juzgado de paz , don`t know how I would say that in English. But in the end, everything went espectacular! We had lots of help from the members of the ward to set up for the wedding, get the cake, get witnesses for the wedding, all sorts of fun stuff.
Victoria & Juan with Juzgado de Paz
Elder Love, Victoria, Juan & Elder Snow
Letitia, Victoria, Juan, Dario & Jonathan

Victoria, Baby Jonathan & Juan
A very happy day!

And then the baptism was so incredible! It was the first baptism that I`ve had in a good while, so it was just so special. The Spirit that I felt was incredible. I don`t know if I have ever felt that happy in my life. The happiness that you feel in the mission is like nothing else, it makes all the tough times so worth it. Juan and Victoria were both super happy as well. I could tell that they were excited to take that important step of baptism. The next day in church was really special also, because they received the Holy Ghost and their baby, Jonathan, received a child`s blessing. It was a very special day yesterday, also.
In the baptism, Leticia (Victoria`s sister that gave us the referral to teach them) gave a talk during the baptismal service on baptism. It was so great. The spirit was super strong. All in all, it was a great day.
In other news..... I have a new companion. His name is Elder Curtis. He is an absolute stud. This week we got a call from President Callan that there was going to be a special change. Elder Love left to Ka´aguy Rory and he will be serving as the assistant with Elder Durrant. So after the baptism on Saturday night we made the switch and Elder Curtis has been here with me in Costa Bonita since Saturday night. I will really miss Elder Love, he is such a great missionary. I learned a lot from him and he really helped me to become more focused on the mission and to love the people. 
My new companion, Elder Curtis, is from Utah. He was serving in the office as secretary for  a while and just got out, so he is excited to work hard. We are going to see lots of miracles together, I know it.
Other great news, we are planning to have another baptism this week. In the letter last week I wrote a little bit about Manu and Melissa. They are so super prepared! It`s great to see their progress. They are reading the Book of Mormon every day and are understanding it really well. This week Manu made it to church again, he is really excited for his baptism on the 12th. Melissa was sick and didn`t make it to church, so we will probably move her baptismal date back for the 19th. We just have to talk really well with the parents and make sure that they give their permission for them to get baptized. 
Welp, I`m so grateful for all of you! Thanks for writing every week and always being such a great support.
Congrats to Dan and Lauren! So what are the finalist names for the baby girl?  Do I get a vote in this?  Haha just kidding.
I know that this is the work of the Lord.  I am so, so grateful for the happiness that I feel here.  I know that the Church is true and that it changes lives.
I love you all,
Elder Snow

Blessings Come Through Hard Work & Diligence - October 31, 2011

Hey Family! No, I didn`t forget about you. I wrote out the letter last week and tried to send it, but it wouldn`t work. I was out of time so I figured, ehh I`ll just wait. Here is the letter from last week, I am going to write a letter for this week right now. Love ya!

Querida Familia!!!

Hey! It has been really great to hear from you another week. This letter was especially great. I really enjoyed reading about the family history work as well as to read more of Dad`s mission experiences. I really enjoy hearing about your mission experiences, Dad. Thank you for sending them, keep it up! I can tell that your mission was so important to you and it helps me to understand the stud you are today! Haha, I love you!

Today I am writing a little bit later because we had a leadership council this morning. We have them once a month on a Monday morning. This council today was really great. The Spirit was super strong. We talked a lot about the Doctrine of Christ. We read a lot from 2 Nephi 31. It was really great. I love studying the Gospel and the Doctrine of Christ.

The Spirit was very strong during the entire meeting, but especially at the end. In the mission, there are 9 out of the 22 zone leaders that are going home this change, and President Callan asked each of them to bear their testimonies at the end. The love that each missionary expressed for the work was truly amazing. It was so apparent the joy that they have felt in the work and how converted they have become. It made me reflect a lot on my personal conversion to the Gospel. I realize that the Gospel has really saved me. I am so grateful for the mission and the joy that I feel serving.

Elder Love and I have had a great week! We really are working hard. This week we saw many blessings from our diligence. We had several investigators in Sacrament Meeting and we have seen a lot of progress this week. We are hoping for a lot of baptisms in the month of November.

Juan and Victoria are doing very well, we are planning their wedding and baptism for this week. They are super prepared, we are just waiting on Victoria´s mom to get back from a trip so that we can have the wedding and the baptism.

We also have two other investigators that have a baptismal date for the 12th of November. We found them this week while trying to teach a less active member. They are the nephew and niece of a less active member. Their names are Carlos Manuel (14 years old) and Melissa (9 years old). They went to church several times before with their uncle before he became less active. They are reading the Book of Mormon a lot and went to church yesterday. We want to talk more with the parents this week, they are really nice, but haven`t been as receptive as their kids.

I really enjoyed the story that Dad shared about Pilar. I remember you telling me about her a little bit before I came on the mission. That is a really great example of diligence. Even though your companion wasn`t so willing to work, you persevered and saw great miracles. I am very grateful that in my mission I have had great companions that have desires to work. I know that the Lord prepares people for us to teach, and if we are willing to work hard, He will bless us to find them. I have a great testimony that the Gospel answers the questions that so many people have. I really know that the Lord prepared Pilar in that moment and that she was prepared to hear the message. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, It has the answers to the questions of the soul. A couple of weeks ago I started reading the Book of Mormon over again from the beginning. I can`t read it without feeling the Spirit, I know that it is true. It was written for our day. I know it. It gets me excited to go out and work hard in order to help as many people as I can!

Thanks for being so great and for always being a great influence, I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Elder Snow

Monday, October 24, 2011

Worked Until We Dropped - October 24, 2011

Dear Family,

It has been really great to hear from you this week. I really appreciated the news on how things are back in the stake and to hear about your trip to the temple. I could really feel the Spirit reading about how great you felt about going to the temple. I loved Mom`s enthusiasm about the temple work, you are all such studs!

Dad asked about how successful the mission is at getting new converts to the temple soon after their baptisms. I am not really sure on numbers or anything like that. I know that all of the recent converts receive really soon after their baptisms a letter from the temple president and an information thing about Family Search and how to bring their ancestors` names to the temple. One great thing about my ward now in Costa Bonita is that they are really good at making it to the temple often. They have ward temple trips every couple of months and all of the active members go. It is a great blessing for the members here in Asunción to be close to the temple. I remember while I was serving in Santa Rita it was a much more difficult thing to make it to the temple with the recent converts because it is a good distance away.

Speaking of converts, I received a couple of letters from Eduardo Calderón this week. It was really exciting to hear from him. Eduardo is the young man that Elder Bonilla and I baptized in my first change. He really has a great testimony. He wrote me and told me that he is serving right now as a local missionary! He was pretty excited to have his own agenda and Preach My Gospel and everything. He told me that he always likes to bear his testimony about his baptism. It definitely was a good pick me up and gave me more excitement.

This week we weren`t able to have the baptism for Juan and Victoria. It`s kind of a long story. Basically Victoria needs legal permission to get married because she is underage. We tried to go with them and Victoria`s mom to get the permission from a youth judge this week. It didn`t work out, there were some problems because the judges are all on strike right now. I`m not really sure how that works out, but basically they can`t do any legal work right now. Bummer. But we talked with a member whose son got married a while back to someone under 18. He said that they used a juzgado de paz, sorry don`t know what that would be in English. So we are going to try to go with that route. The only problem now is that Victoria´s mom traveled to Ciudad Del Este, and we aren`t sure when she will come back. So.... we are just praying lots, I feel like I say that every week.

We have seen some more progress this week, a couple of members brought friends to church yesterday and the meetings went really well. The members are getting more excited about the work. We just need to get some baptisms and get this place started! Once the members have excitement, we are going to see miracles!!
I`m trying to think what happened this week... I asked Elder Love what we did this week and his answer was ´We just worked until we dropped´ haha. That about sums it up. We are working hard, things are great. Well, I love you all! Have a great week

Elder Snow

Monday, October 17, 2011

God Inspires His Children - October 17, 2011

Dear Family!

Hey it was especially great to hear from all of you this week! Grandma and Grandpa wrote me as well. I will have to write them another week because this week I don`t have very much time today.
Before I forget again (I feel terrible) Happy Birthday to Dan and Kim! I`ve got to be the worst brother ever for forgetting like 2 weeks in a row. But I love you! Mom is right, 17 is really old, I can`t believe that Kim is 17 already. That makes me feel really old.
This week is change week also, but there isn`t really any big news. Elder Love and I will be staying together another change as zone leaders here in good ´ole Costa Bonita. The zone is having a lot of changes though and there will be lots of new missionaries in our zone.
This week has been really great. We have been seeing lots of great miracles with Juan and Victoria. I don`t remember how well I described Juan and Victoria last time. They are the couple that was the reference from the activity we did with President Callan. They are progressing really well and it has been an incredible testimony to me that God inspires his children to know who is prepared to receive the Gospel. 
Juan and Victoria met with missionaries before and were really close to getting baptized, but then they couldn`t get married because Victoria is under age. So Elder Love and I have been trying to figure out what we can do to help them get baptized. We called the judge that works with the mission and she told us about another option that we can do in order for them to get permission to get married. So we are trying to help them get all the things they need together in order to get the permission. 
We had a couple of really great lessons with them this week. On Tuesday I think it was, we taught the Restoration. They are reading the Book of Mormon every day and are really receptive and have lots of really good questions. This week we also talked about the Word of Wisdom because Juan smokes and has had trouble in quitting smoking. They committed to live the Word of Wisdom and he hasn`t smoked for about 4 or 5 days now. 
If all goes well, they could get baptized this week. We are praying a lot to receive God`s help. I know that he is preparing the way for them to fulfill his commandments, it really has been amazing to see their progress.
This past week we weren`t able to have the baptism for Alonso. The divorce papers still haven`t gone through. The lawyer says that any day it should be finalized. So we will just keep praying a lot for them. Other good news is that Daisy had the baby this week! They are already home from the hospital. We visited Alonso, Daisy, Elias, and the new baby yesterday and taught them a little bit. They have been through a lot of trials and are super faithful always. I`ve been very impressed and touched by their example of faith and perseverance.
Anyway, I love this work. I`m very grateful for the Spirit and the impressions of the Holy Ghost. Yesterday Elder Love and I gave talks in sacrament meeting and I chose to speak on following the impressions of the Spirit. I love the example of President Monson and how he is always so ready and willing to act on promptings of the Spirit. His talk in General Conference on Sunday morning was incredible. It`s so important to be worthy to receive the  impressions of the Spirit. 
Thanks for being so great. I really love you all. I hope you have a great week!

Elder Snow

Monday, October 10, 2011

Love the People & Be Willing to Go the Extra MIle - October 10, 2011

Dear Family!

Hey! It was so great to hear from you all. I was excited to get letters from Kim and Melanie also. I love it. You all crack me up, also. It`s kind of awkward, I`m sitting here in an internet place and I keep laughing out loud. Everyone looks at me kind of funny, including Elder Love, jajaja. But that doesn`t stop me.
Anyway, it`s been a really great week. We are especially excited because we have seen more progress this week! We had been struggling for a while in getting people to church, but this week we finally broke through a little bit and got more people to attend.
This week we had interviews with President Callan on Tuesday. After the zone had all been interviewed, Elder Love and I had the opportunity to teach a couple of lessons with President Callan. After the interview, he drove us back to our area and we made a couple of visits. We did one visit to a recent convert family and did a referral activity with them. Their names are Dario and Leticia. Leticia has been a member for a really long time, but was inactive for a while. Several months ago the missionaries visited them and Dario was baptized. 
The referral activity turned out really well and we set up an appointment with Dario and Leticia to teach Leticia´s sister, Victoria, and her boyfriend, Juan. They had received the missionary discussions a while back and were going to get baptized, but in the end weren`t able to because Victoria is underage and they can`t get married without her parent`s permission. The problem is that her dad lives in Argentina, so the missionaries weren`t able to get permission for them to get married and later baptized.  So on Saturday we had a family home evening with Dario and Leticia and they invited Juan and Victoria. It turned out really well, we talked about how the Gospel blesses families. Then the next day Dario and Leticia took them to church. It was really great.
The other visit we did with President Callan was to an investigator that we have taught only a few times. She is a single mother named Sister Alfonzo. She has three kids and her youngest son is kind of rebellious. Her husband passed away several years ago. We only had a little bit of time, but we went there and President Callan was teaching some about the Plan of Salvation. The Spirit was incredible, President is a spiritual giant. The next time we visited her she kept talking about how much she enjoyed the visit with President. Sister Alfonzo always feels the Spirit when we visit her but she still doesn`t want to attend church. She is pretty Catholic and says she doesn`t feel the need to change churches. 

We are also pretty excited for this week. If everything goes well, we could have a baptism this week for Alonso. The divorce papers for Daisy are really close to being final so that they can get married and Alonso can get baptized. The other thing that might keep it from happening is that Daisy is like more than 9 months pregnant and the baby still hasn`t been born! So we will see what happens, we will keep praying a lot for them!

Anyway, that is what is going on here. We are working hard and keeping our heads up. I know that the Lord will bless us. In my interview with President Callan I asked him how we could have more success. He talked about really loving the people and being willing to go the second mile. So that`s what I am trying to do. I know that I am working hard and that we have the Spirit with us, but I am determined to work harder to achieve more success.
I`m grateful for all of you. Thanks for being such a positive influence!

Elder Snow

Monday, October 3, 2011


Note from Elder Snow's Mom:  To see pictures of Ivan's baptism, see September 19, 2011 post.

General Conference...Something I Treasure - October 3, 2011

Dear Family!
Hey it was great to hear from you and to hear your takes on General Conference. Wow, I loved it. More than ever I felt that this conference was suited just for me and that the Lord was blessing me with exactly what I needed to here. I wished that I had appreciated General Conference more before the mission. Now it is something I treasure.
Like Dad guessed, the talks on missionary work I especially loved. Basically the entire Priesthood Session was incredible. So Mom and Dad, you know Elder Waddell, huh? He`s a stud! His talk was so great. The talks by Elder Waddell, Elder Holland, and Elder Yamashita (not gonna lie, I had to look back to remember how to spell his name) were so great. This morning during my personal study I re-studied my notes and made a group of themes that I noticed from conference and set goals on what I am going to do better.
A couple of the themes that I really noticed were things such as: Importance of the commandments and following the Spirit, the importance of love, Geneology, the Book of Mormon. I really enjoyed the talks on the importance of the commandments and following the Holy Ghost. I know without a doubt that keeping the commandments and following the Spirit brings true joy. A person will never be so happy as when they do those things. It`s true! I loved President Monson`s talk especially in the Sunday morning session when he told the story of the temple dedication in Germany. At the end of the story, when he mentioned how important it is to be worthy to hear the impressions of the Spirit, there was such a powerful Spirit in the room.  Another one of my favorites was Elder Yamashita`s talk on missionary work. The part when he spoke on the missionary that was conferring the Holy Ghost upon the convert girl and Elder Yamashita really touched me. Love is so important in missionary work. Many times, love for the investigators is what brings the Spirit. I want to do better in this aspect.
Well I better get on to another topic, or else I will talk about General Conference forever, bahhh I love it.
This week we have found a couple of really great people. We were really excited and preparing to get them to conference, in the end they weren`t able to make it. But we`ll get `em next week! We found one man who is super prepared. His name is Luis Alberto and he was telling us of how he has always been looking for the truth, but he still hasn`t been able to find it. We taught him the Lesson of the Restoration and ended with a kneeling prayer. He felt the Spirit for sure. The only problem is that we can`t find the dang man now! He works a lot so we haven`t been able to visit him a second time. But that is such a witness to me that there are people out there that are looking for the truth but are kept from it only because they know not where to find it! That`s why we have to do like Elder Holland said in Conference and unbind the tongue and talk about the Gospel! Nothing in missionary work will ever happen until we find someone to teach.
One cool thing this week is that we were able to bring a less-active member to General Conference. We actually found him while looking for Luis Alberto and knocking some doors in that area. He was baptized 3 or 4 years ago but has been less active ever since. He is 25 years old and he expressed that he still has desires to serve a mission. So we invited him to conference and he came to both sessions on Sunday! He really enjoyed it and committed to come every week. So we are excited about that. Now we just need to find his member record so we can get him with the Priesthood. He was baptized somewhere else so we don`t know where his record is, that`s kind of a struggle with the work here in Paraguay. 

Well Dad had some questions I think...
About Senior couples. I really don`t have that much imput... As far as I know there aren`t any in our mission. I know that there is like a mission nurse or something that is a senior couple. But I think that`s about it. I really don`t know. But I`m sure they are super valuable! Just look at Grandpa Claude and Grandma Coleen, stud missionaries! 

Anywho, I love you all so much! I hope you have a great week and that things are going super great. Love you!

Elder Snow

Monday, September 26, 2011

This Gospel Will Save the World! - September 26, 2011

Dear Family!

Wow, what a great letter to get this week! It was a real boost to hear about the baptism in the ward and the great missionary experience that you were about to be a part of. I especially enjoyed hearing about the change that the Gospel has caused in the life of Mike. I remember that was one of the things that really motivated me to serve a mission, wanting to help others accept the Gospel in order to experience that great change of heart. I love the Gospel and I know that this church is true. That is what motivates me to always share and always keep going even if the day is a little rough, knowing that this Gospel will save the world!  I always love hearing the missionary experiences from back home because it helps me to feel the Spirit so strongly and motivates me to work harder.

This week has been crazy. I`ve been all over the zone doing divisions and baptismal interviews so I have hardly been in my area. On Saturday and Sunday Elder Love and I worked really hard to get people to church. We are still having the same difficutly of getting investigators to attend church. I am super excited for General Conference to receive some sweet revelation on what I can do better. I am excited to work hard to get investigators there to General Conference as well because I know that the Spirit will be present.

We have also been working hard to help out Alonso and Deisy. I don`t think I have spoken too much about them yet. I remember I mentioned Alonso and how he is from Barcelona. Alonso is not a member. Deisy has been a member for a while. She was married with another man who was also a member and has a son named Elías. So Deisy and her ex broke up and then Deisy moved to Spain a while and met Alonso. Now they are together. Alonso is super great and really wants to get baptized. They want to get married really bad so that he can get baptized, the problem is that divorces are really tough to get in Paraguay. So we have been calling and working with the lawyer to get the divorce going and this past week were able to get the ex husband to sign the papers and then we sent them back to the lawyer. So hopefully all will be finalized here pretty soon and we`ll be able to have a marriage and baptism.

Anyway, this week has been a little rough for Alonso and Deisy because the 4 year old son, Elías, broke his femur bone and had to get a surgery in order to fix it. So they have been in and out of the hospital for the past week. On top of that, Deisy is about 8 and a half months pregnant and so they are gonna have a baby any moment. So on Sunday night we went by and had a Family Home Evening with them. We taught Lesson 2 on the Plan of Salvation. The Spirit was so great. We talked a lot about the Atonement and how it helps us persevere through all difficulties. I love teaching The Plan of Salvation and remembering what Jesus Christ did for us. I know that no matter what, there is always that person that knows exactly how we feel and will be there to comfort us.
I love you all so much, the Church is true. Have a great week!

Elder Snow

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sí o Sí - September 19, 2011

Dear Family!

Hey thanks for writing such a great email. I really appreciate your support and your love. The emails from home are also very upbeat and help me get excited to do missionary work during the week!
I especially appreciated Dad`s experience that he shared from his mission with the man that contacted him and was later baptized. I really loved to hear about how that man changed so much and how much the Gospel blessed him. It was a real spiritual boost! Hey Dad, you should share more of your mission experiences with me in emails, they are always so sweet and I love to hear them. Thanks for being awesome!
I got a letter from Michael Tavernier a couple of weeks ago and I wrote him back. It should be getting up to the US pretty soon here. If you see Michael, tell him I love him, he is a stud.

Anyway, it`s been a really good week here. We`ve been busy like crazy and running all over. We were able to find a couple of really golden people this week. Our problem is that we just can`t seem to get anyone to church! It`s been a little frustrating but we are determined to do better.
This week we found a man named Nicasio Bogarín. He is a little bit older, he is like 65. It was just a contact we did while he was working in his house. We started talking a little bit about the Book of Mormon. He had mild interest. Then we started mentioning a little about the Plan of Salvation and his interest picked up a lot more. He mentioned to us that his wife passed away several years ago and he has several questions that the Plan of Salvation answers. At the end of that first lesson, we did a kneeling prayer and he asked to know if the Book of Mormon is true. The Spirit totally hit Brother Bogarín in the face, he really felt it. He accepted to be baptized next month. We visited him a couple more times after that and he was progressing really well and we were really excited. On Sunday morning, he couldn`t make it to church. Satan was definitely working overtime on the weekend to keep our investigators from going to church. But we will win, sí o sí.
On Saturday, we participated in the Mormon Helping Hands world wide service project thingy with our stake. We went and fixed up and painted a house. I think it was like a day care type place, not sure I was just working hard and fine tuning my painting skills. I`m practically professional now. No big deal.

On Saturday night, we had a sweet baptism for Ivan. Ivan is the son of a member. He is only 8 years old, so it doesn`t count as a convert baptism, but the bishop asked us to prepare him some more for his baptism and to help out in the baptismal service. Ivan asked me to baptize him, so that was pretty cool. The Spirit was there and the entire family was reallly (- I didn`t mean to put three l`s, but I`m going to leave it for effect) happy.

This week I have decided to re-read the Book of Mormon again. We are getting really excited about the Book of Mormon here. Elder Love and I met with President Callan a couple of times this week and he is really excited about the Book of Mormon and re-focusing on it. We got the October Liahona early and the entire edition is on the Book of Mormon, it`s sweet. I`m so pumped. I love the Book of Mormon and we are going to share it with everybody! I have seen time and time again in my mission that the people that are most converted are the ones that read the Book of Mormon. The bishop of Costa Bonita and his family are reading the Book of Mormon over again and are focusing on reading every day. The bishop`s wife mentioned that there is more peace and that they can really feel a difference. It is so true! The Book of Mormon is the greatest.
Anyway, I love you all so much. I hope you have a great week!

Elder Snow

Monday, September 12, 2011

Working Hard - September 12, 2011

Dear Family,

Hey! How are you all doing? Thanks for all of the updates on the week. Your letters never disappoint, I was happy to get the weekly golf and boy scout update. I always get a good chuckle out of that. Well, Dad had a couple of questions this week, so I`ll go ahead and answer those.

So how many people attend on an average Sunday?     
In the Costa Bonita ward, we have anywhere between 30 and 45 that attend church. In other areas that I have been in, the attendance has been a little bit higher. The stake that I am in right now is struggling a little bit, but we are on the upswing and are really excited. The members are starting to get excited and great things are happening. What is the attendance like the Conejo Canyon ward? I remember back in the days of NP 2 that the chapel was always super full.
Do you have many dinner appointments? 
No, we have lunch appointments. Dinner appointments happen every now and then, a member will give us a little bit of food to eat real quick, but the meal appointments here are always for lunch. We have appointments about 4 days out of the week.
Are there very many youth?                
In the ward that I am in right now, there aren`t a whole lot. In the stake there are a lot of youth. In my ward, Costa Bonita, there are about 10 - 15 youth that are pretty active.
Do you have someone who plays piano in your ward or do you get the opportunity very often? 
There is no one that plays, but thankfully we have a super high tech piano/organ thing that plays church hymns itself. So Elder Snow doesn`t have to suffer trying to play church hymns.
I was looking on google maps at where yourchurch building is located the other day.  I think you said it was on Americo Pico.  There is a pretty large building in what looks like a fairly rural area.  It looks like there is some kind of sports court next to the building.  I also saw a Testigos de Jehova building up the street.  So is that your church building or do you just rent out a portion of the building?  Also, do you have many encounters with Testigos de Jehova in your mission? 
Yeah, that building that you saw on Americo Pico is the church building. It`s the stake center so it`s really big, the entire building is the church, it has a lot of rooms. The sports court is the church`s too, most of the chapels have little cement soccer fields like that.
As far as Testigos de Jehová, there are a good number in Paraguay. We run into them pretty often. They aren`t super receptive, sometimes they will let us in. They are really great people and are very solid in their faith. 
So I think that answers all of the questions for this week. We have been working hard and trying to get the members more involved in the work and work more with the leaders of the church. Yesterday we had a ward council that was really great and we got the list of 5-5-5 going. That`s a question I have for you, Dad. In the United States, are the ward councils working really closely with this new plan of 5-5-5. I`m not sure what it would be called up there, but it`s basically a program for ward council to help reactivate less active members. We`ve been trying really hard to put it into practice here and we had a really good meeting on Sunday. Elder Love and I have been trying for a while to get it going. The members here are so great. One difficulty, however, is that so many are 1st generation members of the church and are still learning. So sometimes we need to just give them a little push. They are so willing to help and to work hard, we as missionaries sometimes just need to point them in the right direction. So Elder Love and I are excited now because we have the Ward Mission Plan going and the ward council members are excited and know what they need to do to work hard.
This week had a little bit of disappointment as well, however. On Monday we passed by to teach Miguel Angel. He didn`t want to let us in and was kind of not wanting to listen to us. We talked with him a little bit and what happened is that one of his close friends and co-workers was talking with him and talked a little bit bad about the church. His friend was telling him that he was Catholic and that he can`t change and all that good stuff. So now he doesn`t want to talk with us. We`ve tried several times, but he won`t let us come in. So it`s been a little frustrating, especially because we know that he has a testimony that the church is true. We will continue to try to visit him, but it might not be his time yet to receive the restored gospel.
On an up note, we have found a couple of great new people this week. We started sharing with the friend of a member. The member, Sister Adolfina, invited her friend, Mariela, to church a couple of weeks ago and she attended. We were trying for a while to share with her and this last week we were finally able to. Mariela is really great. She has a husband and 3 kids. We shared with them and talked about the Restoration.We left a Book of Mormon and she has been reading a lot. So we are really excited to see how they progress.
We have found a couple of other really great people this week, sorry I`m running kind of low on time. I love you all so much. This week I have really felt the love of the Lord. I`ve been trying to become more humble and more Christ-Like. I know that He lives and I want to become more like Him.
Thanks for always being so great!
Elder Snow

Monday, September 5, 2011

I Love Being a Missionary! - September 5, 2011

Hey fam,

Thanks so much for the great email update. Haha mom thought I would be surprised at all the attention on the dog. I definitely was pretty surprised, coming from my mom that wouldn`t give in to years of begging to have a pet other than a gold fish. I think what surprised me most is that there was so much focus on the dog that there wasn`t even a boy scout reference! I was a little bit let down, but I think I`ll get over it. Haha, I sure do love all of you.

It was cool to hear from Dad about the areas that he served in. You said that you had a greeny companion in Zaragoza. Does that mean that you were training? Did you train one time in your mission? I would really love to train, I hope to get the chance some day.

You asked about the package with shoes in it, I haven`t gotten it yet but I`m sure that it will get here really soon. No worries, the fixed echoes are doing well enough.

This has been a pretty sweet week. We have really redoubled our efforts. Last week we ended on kind of a low note, so we did a special fast to know what we needed to do better. This week has been better and we have been finding some really awesome and prepared people. The hard work has paid off, there was a much better attendance at church and we were able to bring some really solid investigators to the sacrament meeting. So we are more excited and are looking forward to a few baptisms ths month.

On Thursday and Friday we did divisions with one of the district leaders in the zone so I went to another area to do divisions. It went really well. While I was gone, my companion was working in our area with the district leader`s companion and they found some super cool people. That brings me to a sweet story from this week that I would like to tell. On Friday, Elder Love and Elder Mower were here in Costa Bonita. They were going to visit a less active family. Elder Love said that he felt prompted to knock at a certain house. So they stopped there and knocked. A man answered and at first nothing really special happened. He answered that he was Catholic and that he wasn`t very interested, but he let them in anyway. So Elder love started speaking and they started talking a bit about the Book of Mormon. When Elder Love showed him a copy of the Book of Mormon, his attitude completely changed. He said "I have that book," then he went inside and came out with this old, super-used copy of the Book of Mormon. He told them that some women missionaries had visited him like 8 years ago and left him the Book of Mormon but never returned to visit him. He has been reading the Book of Mormon almost every day for like 8 years now and has a super strong testimony of it. He didn`t realize that the Book of Mormon was associated with a church in particular, so he had never arrived to the LDS church. Needless to say, he was pretty excited that the missionaries had found him. So he accepted a baptismal date for the 24th of this month.

Then on Saturday, we finished the divisions, and I came back to Costa Bonita. We went and visited the man (his name is Miguel Ángel, I don`t think I mentioned that yet) and he was really excited to go to church and everything. On Sunday morning, we passed by and took him to church. He was super willing to go even though he´d had to work a midnight shift and had barely gotten home like 2 hours before. So we went to church and he loved sacrament meeting. He was talking for a while about how at peace he felt and how beautiful everything was. He felt the Spirit super strong. He said he knows it`s true and wants to come every Sunday.

He is really excited to get baptized. He has some problems with drinking, but he really wants to quit and knows that he can do it. At church, he told us that we wants to change now. It was kind of funny, he had this long hair and he said that he felt like he should cut it because it felt like the right thing to do. So Elder Love offered to use his clippers to cut his hair and he was pretty excited. So we went over and cut his hair for him. I`ll have to send some pictures.

This story is just such a testimony to me that the Lord is preparing people. There are people out there that are so ready for the Gospel and we just need to work hard and follow the Spirit to find them.

I`m very grateful for the Gopsel, I know that it blesses and changes lives. I`m grateful for the blessing that Heavenly Father gave me to be born into a family that is centered on the Gospel. It has blessed me so much. It`s so rewarding to see those blessings in the lives of others. I love being a missionary!

Well, I love you all so much. We got changes this morning, Elder Love and I will be staying together in Costa Bonita. I`m really excited to stay and work more with Elder Love. He is a very hardworking and loving person. I have learned much from him.

I know the Church is true!!

Love ya,
Elder Snow

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's Purete (Paraguayan Word for Awesome) - August 29, 2011

Dear Family!

Hey it was great to hear from you all this week! I always look forward to Monday morning and hearing about what`s going on back home. It`s funny, I mentioned to Elder Love that in every email I get from home, Dad makes at least 1 reference to golfing and mom always makes at least 1 reference to scouting. So I`m starting a new game to find out how fast I can find the golf and scout reference and show it to Elder Love. Haha I`m just kidding, I love so much hearing from you and appreciate so much your letters.

So this week has been pretty crazy. Long story short, Álvaro was not baptized. We worked really hard to try to have the baptism, but we are just going to have to learn some patience. Álvaro`s mom is not a member, his older brother and 3 older sisters are members. Álvaro is the youngest (he is 10 years old) and the mom has some doubts that he is still too young to get baptized and doesn`t understand everything. We were going to have the interview on Thursday, but she expressed some doubts and said that they would be out of town, stuff like that. So we passed by again on Saturday morning and we found her and her kids were washing clothes. So we gave some service, helped them wash the clothes, and talked more about the baptism. So we got permission again and everything was set for Saturday night. Then we went by that night to get everyone to the baptism and she had changed her mind again. It was a little frustrating, especially since we have tried and worked really hard with this family. Even though they can be a little difficult, I feel more love growing for them and I really want what is best for the family, for all of them to receive the gospel. It`s a little tough sometimes because everyone has their agency. I know that the gospel is the best thing for them and that they`ll be happier if they only accept it, but we can`t force it on them. So maybe I just need to learn more patience.

Oh! I almost forgot. This week we also had zone conference! It was incredible. Elder Mervyn B. Arnold, who is the President of the South America South area is doing a mission tour and he was at the zone conference. I really felt like the zone conference was just for me, like God specifically wanted me to hear the things that we learned in the conference.

There were three zones at the conference, so there were a lot of missionaries there. In the morning, we had a meeting for the zone and district leaders. It was really good. Then in the first session of conference, we talked a lot about the mission purpose, and what our focus here in the mission should be. We read in 3 Nephi 11 where Jesus Christ talks a ton about baptism. President Arnold talked about how our focus and goal should be to baptize. We also talked about planning and how we can plan better to get more people in church.

Then during lunch, President Arnold wanted to do interviews with the zone leaders individually. So I had a 1 on 1 interview with a General Authority. Wow, he is a spiritual giant. I had the chance to ask him a couple of questions. It was pretty awesome.

Then in the second half of conference, we talked a lot about how to work with the members more and how to work better with ward council and ward leaders. It was so perfect for our area and I know that it will help us a ton. Then President Arnold talked about how to have the Spirit with us constantly, what we need to do to have the Spirit with us all the time. I loved it. We did some practices and that was about it. Then at the end, President Arnold bore his testimony. The Spirit was incredible. When he bore his testimony of the first vision and of the Savior, it was like a Spirit fire in the room was burning my face off. Once again Heavenly Father confirmed to me personally that the Church is true!

Another highlight from this week was a Family Home Evening that we had with a part member family on Monday. There is a family where the mom (Daisy) is a member and the dad (Alonso) is not. They are so awesome and Alonso is going to be baptized, but they are waiting for a divorce with Daisy`s ex husband so that they can get married and Alonso can get baptized. Alonso is from Barcelona, Spain. He is a stud, haha. He talks in vosotros, It`s purete -Paraguayan word for awesome. Last week we visited them and I told him how Dad served in Barcelona. I told him that you were in Valencia for a little bit also, but I couldn`t remember the names of any other areas where you served. Where else in Spain did you serve, what are some of the names of the cities? Did you learn this crazy other language that they speak there that is like a mix of Spanish, French, Portuguese and what not? Anyway, last week I told him that I remembered you would always make this Spanish tortilla out of egg and potatoes. So on Monday at the family home evening they made that for us. Ooooooh, so good. A taste from home, haha.

Anyway, things are going super well here. We had kind of a rough week numbers wise, but we are excited and we know what we need to do better. After fasting yesterday, we decided that we need to work more with the members, get the ward action list working and rescuing more less active families, because there are so many in Costa Bonita. I know that we will see progress. It will be slow going, but the Lord will bless us. I`m so grateful for the church. I`m happy to be here and to receive more testimony every day about the blessings of obedience and keeping the commandments. Thanks for always writing and being so supportive. I love you all very much!

Elder Snow

Monday, August 22, 2011

Juntos Para Siempre - August 22, 2011

Dear family,

Thanks for sending such a great letter. Haha I laughed when I read what Dad said about Mom writing a lot. He wasn`t kidding though, Mom wrote a letter almost as long as a Harry Potter book. Haha I`m just kidding, Mom. Just so you know, I really like the long letters. I appreciate so much hearing about what`s going on at home and how everyone is doing. Thanks for being so great!
I really enjoyed hearing about girl`s camp and that everyone is doing well. It`s good to hear about members of the stake who are also helping out and it always brings back good memories. There are some great saints in the Newbury Park Stake! I was happy to hear about the Bennetts, they really are a special family. Please say hi to Sister Bennett for me the next time you see her. And I hope Brother Bennett is doing really well! He wrote the letter for the stake high council that I got last week, it was really great! I always like reading those letters from the stake high council, they are very uplifting.
So hopefully with this letter I can inspire you all as much as you inspire me. Uh oh... I don`t know, tough task because you are all pretty inspirational. I`ll do my best.
So it`s been another solid week. Elder Love and I have been working hard to help people come to church and hopefully have some baptisms this month. We did two divisions for two days each this week, so actually I`ve barely seen Elder Love. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I stayed in my area and Elder Fernelius, one of the district leaders in our zone came over for a division. Then on Thursday and Friday we did divisions with another district leader, and I stayed in my area with Elder Whaley. So it`s been a pretty crazy week all around.
So the first division was with Elder Fernelius. He is a stud missionary and we worked really hard to find new people. We taught a really good lesson with one investigator that we found just last Sunday. I can`t remember if I mentioned it or not in my letter last week, but last Sunday we did a family home evening with a member in our ward. We invited her to invite a couple of her friends to come over to her house and watch the video Juntos Para Siempre. In English I think it`s called Together Forever, I`m not sure. So this member, Sister Benitez, invited a couple of her friends over and we watched the movie and it turned out really well. One of the friends she invited over was Estela, who really enjoyed the video and had more questions about the church. So on Tuesday, Elder Fernelius and I visited Estela with our ward mission leader to teach her some more. It went really well and we are excited to keep visiting her. She is kind of tough to get a hold of is the only thing.
We also taught a man named Jorge who we had found last Sunday as well. We taught about the Restoration because he had questions about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. When we got to the part of the Restoration and the story of Joseph Smith, it was my turn to teach. So I was teaching about Joseph Smith and it was a really great experience because the Spirit was really strong. I knew in that moment that these things are true, that Joseph Smith really was a true prophet. I`m very grateful to know that and for having received that testimony from Heavenly Father. It was great because Jorge also felt that it was true. He said that it felt right, because his ¨corazoncito¨told him that it was true. It was a cool experience.
Then the second division was with Elder Whaley. Elder Whaley is from Colorado and he has been out in the mission field for 3 weeks. He is in his first change. That was an incredible experience. It made me want to train so bad, I hope I will be able to train some day. It definitely reminded me of my first couple of changes where I mostly just nodded my head, smiled, and pretended like I had a clue what was going on. But Elder Whaley is so great and really wants to share the gospel. I`m excited to have him in this zone to watch him progress and blossom into a great missionary.
With Elder Whaley we taught a great lesson to another friend of Sister Benitez. We planned to teach another one of her friends and passed by her house on Thursday night. She invited over her friend, Librada, who moved to this area not to long ago. Librada`s mom died almost a year ago, so she has a lot of questions about family and the Plan of Salvation. So we taught her a little about how God wants us to have families forever and how it is possible though His plan. It went really well, the Spirit was very strong and she definitely felt the spirit.
So that is what`s going on here. We are working with Alvaro and getting him ready for his baptism this week. He attended church yesterday and it went really well. He is really excited and we are super excited for him. woo hoo! So hopefully I`ll be able to send some bautismo pics next week.
I love you all so much! I know that the church is true. Thanks for being so great and for always being a great support. I love you!!!!
Elder Snow

Monday, August 15, 2011

Woo Hoo...Another Great Week in Paraguay - August 15, 2011

Dear Fam,

Woo hoo it`s been another great week here in Paraguay. I was excited to hear from you all and to get the news on what`s new at home. Sounds like Mason had a great BDay party. That picture you sent of the home made ice cream sandwich definitely gave me some trunky thoughts. Haha just kidding. Mason definitely looks older, maybe it`s the long hair style or something but he looked older than I remembered.

This week has gone by super fast. We`ve been working harder and keeping busy. I hadn`t sent photos in a while so I`m going to try to send a couple here. There is a photo of my companion, Elder Love. He`s the blond one. He`s a stud and we`ve been getting along really well. I`ve been blessed to have great companions in my mission. It`s always easy to work well together with a person that is very focused and has the same goals and desires. I`m also sending pictures I took with Elder Merrill, Elder Phelps, Elder Fernandez, and Elder Durrant.

Current companions Elder Love and Elder Snow

Elder Snow and Elder Merrill
Sons of school friends Dave Snow and Rodney Merrill

Elder Phelps and Elders Snow
Shared apartment in Lambare

 Elder Fernandez and Elder Snow

MTC companions Elder Snow and Elder Durrant

We did divisions with the Assistants this week so that`s how I was with all of them. I went to the assistants` area and I was there with Elder Fernandez. Elder Love and Elder Durrant were in Costa Bonita. It was really great to do divisions with Elder Fernandez and learn a lot. He is a great missionary. He served in Santa Rita right before me so we had lots of good Santa Rita memories to talk about and what not. I was talking with Elder Merrill a little while too because they live in the same apartment. I was telling him the story that you told me, Dad, how you and Elder Merrill`s dad got in a fight on your first day of school or something like that because you were the two shortest kids in the class. He thought it was pretty funny.

Then for the rest of the week we`ve been working hard here in Costa Bonita and finding lots of great new people. We found a couple of really good families this week and we`re excited to see how they progress. The challenge that we`ve been having is getting people to church. We need to find a way to work better with the members so that they have a friend in church and have a great experience there.

Yesterday we had a cool experience. We were visiting an investigator that had talked with the missionaries several months ago. We were walking by his house the other day and he called us over so we started teaching him. His name is Edgar and he remembers a lot about the message that the missionaries here before shared with him. He remembered feeling good when they visited him and when he read the Book of Mormon. So we were teaching him and Elder Love decided to share a scripture with him. He shared Mosiah 2:41, which talks about the blessed and happy state of those who keep the commandments of God. Edgar was reading the scripture, and about half way through he just broke down and started crying. After he gathered himself a little bit, he explained to us that right as he started to read he started to feel the same feelings that he had when the missionaries would share with him before and when he read the Book of Mormon. It`s kind of an interesting situation, he says that he knows the Book of Mormon is true and believes Joseph Smith was a prophet, but he has some doubts about attending church. He has had some bad experiences in the past and is a little hesitant to attend church. So we are going to be working with him and helping him to resolve his doubts. He`s a really great guy though and super in tune with the Spirit.

Another cool experience from yesterday: We were teaching a part member family. The two daughters and one of the sons were baptized several months ago. The mom and the younger son, Alvaro, aren`t members yet. The mom hadn`t given permission for Alvaro to be baptized because she thinks that he is too young still (he is ten years old). So we had been working with them for a while and yesterday we found out some of her doubts and some of the reasons why she wouldn`t let Alvaro be baptized. We resolved her doubts and she accepted that Alvaro can be baptized this 27th. Alvaro was really excited. He is a good kid and has wanted to be baptized for a while now. We just need to work with the mom a little bit more so that the whole family can be members.

Elder Snow

Monday, August 8, 2011

Just Lots of Hard Work & Praying - August 8, 2011

Dear Family!!

How is everyone doing! Happy Birthday, Mason! Wow I cannot believe that you are 11 years old already. That`s crazy! And when I come home you`ll be hitting 12! Wow! You`re the best!

This week has been really great, we`ve just been working hard and finding lots of new people that are prepared for the Gospel. We have been trying to work more with the members in order to find new investigators that are prepared to receive the message. There are lots of less active members in this ward, so we`ve been trying to work with them and teach the people in their families who aren`t members yet.

This week we found one great investigator who is part of a part member family. The wife, Racquel, is a member. She was baptized about 4 years ago but since then has become really inactive. Her and her boyfriend, Juan, have a daughter. Juan isn`t a member and we had been trying for a while to teach them but we could never find them. So we finally found Juan and were able to teach them. Juan is a great guy and is really prepared to receive the Gospel. We invited him to be baptized and he was really excited about it. He was really receptive. We were talking about how the family can be eternal and Juan and Racquel really liked it. The Spirit was there and it was really cool to see how focused they were and how the Spirit was testifying that it was true. We also asked Juan why he would like to be baptized and he talked about his daughter and how he wants to be a good example for her and wants her to be able to be a member of the church one day as well (the daughter is like 3 years old). So they are an awesome family. The challenge will be helping them attend church. He works in like events, catering parties and stuff like that. So most of his work is on the weekends. But he said he will ask for Sunday free next week to go to church, so hopefully that works out well.

We also started teaching another family this week. They are called the Arguello Gomez Family. They were actually a contact in the street on Saturday night after an appointment fell. When we started talking to them, they said that it was practically a miracle that we were able to find them because they aren`t home at that hour very often and they usually aren`t outside. We talked with them about eternal families as well and they really enjoyed it. They were very receptive and understood very well the importance of our message and our purpose as missionaries. It`s a great family, the two parents and then they have 3 kids who are 18, 17, and 14 years old. All of the kids were paying really close attention and were really interested. They all accepted a baptismal date for the 27th, so now we just need to get them to church. At the end of the lesson, the Dad offered the closing prayer and it was so great. It was really sincere and humble. I really love that about the people here, they are so sincere and humble. I remember hearing Mason`s prayers when he was younger and always being impressed by the sincerity of a child`s prayer. The people here have that kind of sincerity, it`s very great to see.

I`m trying to think of what else happened this week. Just lots of hard work and praying. We`ve set a goal to have 5 baptisms in the month of August and we really want to be able to achieve it. I know that the Lord will bless us if we do our part and have the faith.

Well, to answer a couple of questions (since Dad is apparently bitter that I don`t answer questions anymore, haha just kidding Dad)

Please tell us where you are so we are able to find Puerto Pabla or Costa Bonita on a map.
Puerto Pabla is in the city of Lambare, it's right up next to the Argentine border and next to the river.  Look for the street Carretera de Lopez, that's where the chapel is for Puerto Pabla and we lived like 3 blocks from the chapel basically.
To find Costa Bonita, the city would be considered Villa Elisa.  Look for the street TTE Americo Pico.  That's where the chapel is.  My area is more towards Defensores del Chaco.  That should help out a little bit I think.

You mentioned in your letter that Elder Merrill is living with Elder Durrant, who is the assistant.  Does that mean they are companions?
No, the Assistants live with zone leaders.  So Elder Merrill is a zone leader and Elder Durrant and the other assistanst live with them.  Yes, the assistants have an area.  They didn't before, but Elder Woodruff told me that when he was an assistant a General Authority came to tour the mission and told the assistants that they should have an area, so they split a zone leader area and now they live together.

Also, how many districts and how many missionaries are there in your zone?
So many questions..haha our zone has 3 districts.  There are 11 companionships, 22 missionaries in total.  It's one of the bigger zones in the mission.

So, what new responsibilities do you have as a zone leader?
Ehh, basically help all of the district leaders and all of the companionships in the zone, take and pass the numbers each week, help out with the new missionaries that are just getting here, inform the assistants how everything is going in the zone, do baptismal interviews for the district leaders, stuff like that I guess.

Well I'm about out of time. I love you all so much!  Thanks for being great and writing every week. I sure do appreciate it. I hope you have a great week! Happy Birthday Mason! Please send shoes and contact solution. Kthzbai.

Elder Snow

Monday, August 1, 2011

New Area is... Costa Bonita - August 1, 2011

Dear Family!
Before anything else, Happy Birthday this week to Dad!! The big 5-0. Woo hoo!!! You`re getting closer and closer to golfing your age. But`s it got to be on 18 holes, come on now. Haha, I love you lots, Dad.
Sorry I`m writing a little bit later this week. This morning we had a Leadership Council meeting for all of the zone leaders and the assistants. So we took a bus to the mission office this morning and ended not too long ago, so I am going to try to shoot you all a quick email.
So my new area is..... Costa Bonita! Wooo hooo!! It`s actually just across the street from Puerto Pabla, it`s the bordering area so basically I just crossed the street. It`s a different zone though, it`s zone 4. My companion is Elder Love. It`s kind of funny because I had just replaced Elder Love in Puerto Pabla. He was Elder Geary`s trainer and had left from Puerto Pabla to Costa Bonita just the change before me. So I feel like I already know him pretty well. Elder Love is from Mesa, Arizona. He`s a champ. He is a really hard worker and has a great love for the people. He has been out on the mission for 10 and a half months, so we have almost the same time. Speaking of that, I am going to hit a year this week. Crazyyy. The time really is going by fast. The crazy thing is that each change keeps going faster and faster. I am so glad that I still have a year to be a missionary and serve the Lord. It`s such short time really.
So this morning we had the leadership council to talk about the month that just ended and talk about the month upcoming. It was such an awesome meeting. I can`t explain how strong the spirit was. I know that this Church is true. I`m so grateful to be a member of it and to be able to help others to find the true church on Earth.
My new area is definitely a little bit different than Puerto Pabla. Puerto Pabla is one of the stronger wards that exists in probably the whole country and there are lots of members. In Costa Bonita there are tons of members as well, but many are inactive. There are a few families that are very active here but apart from them there aren`t too many. So we will be working a lot to help inactive members come back and work with the investigators as well.
There are a couple of awesome investigators in my new area. Yesterday at church, the dad of a family that we are teaching attended and really enjoyed it. The Family`s name is the Aquino Family. They are passing through some pretty tough times right now because he lost his job and they have some debt. Elder Love and his old companion had been teaching them for a while, but they hadn`t made it to church yet. So we were really excited that Brother Aquino made it yesterday. They are a family with great faith and I have the faith that they will be baptized.
We are also teaching an man named Hugo Bordón. He is super funny. He has attended church two times before, but didn`t make it yesterday. He already has kind of a testimony that the church is true, but isn`t sure whether it`s the only true church on Earth. So we are working with him to help him grow in his testimony. We have been teaching him a lot about prayer. I am so grateful for prayer. I love knowing that we can communicate with Heavenly Father. Today in the Leadership Meeting the prayers really touched me a lot. There was a moment at the end when President Callan asked a couple of missionaries to share their testimonies. The Spirit was so incredible. We all knelt to close with a prayer and it was just an incredible feeling. I know that God loves us. I`m so grateful for Him. I`m very excited to work hard in this next year so that I can do everything I can to help others also feel how I do.
On a lighter note, I saw Elder Merrill again! Elder Merrill was just called to serve as a zone leader this last change as well, so I saw him at the terminal and then again today at the leadership meeting. He is living with Elder Durrant, who is serving as the Asistant now. Crazy! Haha He`s such a stud.

The birthday party for Great Grandma sounded pretty fun. What day exactly is her birthday? The big 99, she`s amazing. I tell people all the time that I have a great grandma that`s 99, they are pretty impressed. So you should tell Grandma Ann that she`s got some fans here in Paraguay.
Welp, I`ve gotta run, but I love you all so much. The church is true, this is the Lord`s work!
Elder Snow