Elder Zachary Snow

Elder Zachary Snow

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Awesome Faith of Santa Rita Members - January 24, 2011

Dear Family!

Thanks for your letter full of updates, love, and the Spirit! Sounds like you had another great week and that all is going well in the Snow home.

It´s been another great week here in Santa Rita, Paraguay! We have really been seeing lots of awesome blessings here recently. I can feel my love for the people growing and I´m very grateful for that.

One thing that we´ve been working on a lot lately is member work. It´s very neat to be here in an area where it´s pretty much all new members. It gives us the opportunity to help them out early on in the gospel and help them follow a good gospel path. Their faith is so awesome, they´ll always stay on that path! One focus we´ve had here recently is to help all of the members be temple worthy. Yesterday we talked with one recent convert family about the commandments and temple requirements. Their name is the Souza Family. We reviewed all of the commandments and it was a real testimony to see the willingness of them to fulfill the commandments of the Lord. Sister Souza also gave a talk in church yesterday about her reading of the Book of Mormon. We´re trying to help each member read the Book of Mormon daily with an ¨I´ve read the Book of Mormon´´ activity. As a family, the Souzas have been reading for almost 5 months and are in Alma 6! She gave a testimony about how she always feels the Spirit when she reads and how it has helped her to know that this is the true church. The Souzas are very willing to keep the commandments. Brother Souza had left his job about a week and a half ago and they don´t have a lot of money. The first thing they did after was that they paid their tithing. It was a great testimony to me that they have so much confidence in the Lord.

This past week we also had interviews with President Callan. We have interviews every two changes and so this was the first one I´d had since about my second week in Paraguay. It was great to be able to meet with him and to receive his support and counsel. One thing we talked a little about was the importance of goals. As a mission we have set goals for this upcoming year. I know that as we work towards the goals we will see the blessing and be able to help people to be baptized. It was a very uplifting experience. I also talked to Sister Callan a little bit. It was actually kind of funny, she surprised me by telling me that she reads the blog you´ve set up for me, haha. She said that she can tell that you as a family write me great letters. Sister Callan is great, her and President both have a great spirit. That made me think a little bit and really appreciate the awesome support that I receive from home each week. Thanks so much!

You also had some questions, so I´ll go ahead and answer those:

That baptismal font looks very interesting.  Where did you get that? 
It´s from the mission. Before they were baptizing in a river. It turns out we might have to go back to the river because the owner of the place where we rent the Church is really mad that it´s there. Right now, it´s just in a lot thing right behind the church. I don´t think you can see the church in the picture though, that´s another building.

Where is it located, in a vacant lot or something? 
In a lot behind the church

You mentioned in your last letter that most of the people speak Portuguese in your new area.  So are you learning Portuguese? 
Ehh, not really, just a few things. Basically what happens is they speak Portuguese, we understand it. Then we speak back in Spanish and they understand us.

Does your companion speak Portuguese? 
Haha, not too much either, just a couple of things.

Do Rosa and Gunter speak Spanish or Portuguese?
They speak both. We speak in Spanish with them. One really incredible thing about Paraguayans is that they know lots of languages. They learn Spanish, Portuguese, and Guarani really easily, it´s pretty impressive.

Thanks again for everything you do for me. I love you all so much and am really loving life down here. Always keep positive and doing awesome things. I can feel a great spirit in your letters, thanks for writing great things. I know that Jesus Christ lives! Dad has always loved to study the Atonement. I have been doing that a little bit lately and have really felt the Savior´s love as a result of it. You should read in Helaman 14 a little about when Samuel talks about the Atonement. I read that this morning and it really stuck out to me. I know that Christ lives and that He makes it possible for us to return to our Father in Heaven.

Elder Snow

P.s. Could you send me Jake Adams´ address in Colombia, I was thinking of dropping him a line.
P.p.s. Mom if or when you send a package, without exaggeration, if you could send about 50 little packets of Kool-Aid, that stuff´s amazing. Oh and also ranch dressing. Just a heads up

Monday, January 17, 2011

Baptism in Santa Rita & New Use For Hymn Book - January 17, 2011

Rosa, Elder Snow, Gunter & Elder Woodruff

Members & Investigators at Gunter's Baptism in Santa Rita
January 15, 2011
Dear Familia!

Wow, thanks so much for the awesome letter that you sent. I feel like such a slacker because you are writing me these great emails and I´m not leaving enough time to write you very much back. But at least I´m sending some pictures this week! Woohoo!.

Sounds like you all had an awesome week. Congrats to Dad on getting an Eagle. I´m impressed, still a feat that I am yet to accomplish.

Thanks for the updates on all the stake meetings. It sounds like they were all very uplifting and I am impressed that you were able to take so many positives out of it, thanks for sharing!

Sounds like you had a couple nice temple experiences. What a great place!  It´s always great to feel the spirit of the temple.

This week we had an awesome baptism for Gunter! I was blessed to be able to baptize him. Everything went well and we had a great turnout! There were some 30 people I think, and a bunch of investigators. The people here are so amazing and the members so dedicated. I felt so much love towards Gunter and his mom, Rosa. Rosa was baptized by Elder Durrant about a week before I came to Santa Rita, so she is a new convert as well. She is setting an amazing example for her family and Gunter is a great kid as well. We were blessed to hear Rosa´s testimony, which was very powerful.

There were a couple funny moments from this week as well. One was at the baptism of Gunter. There is a recent convert family that was there, but it was just the mom and the kids. One of the kids was kinda getting out of hand and knocked over a chair. Then his mom went up and hit him right in the head with a hymn book. It made a super loud noise right during Rosa´s testimony and everyone looked awkwardly over, then just laughed a little bit.

Also at church, we asked Rosa to give a talk about her experience thus far in reading the Book of Mormon. We are trying to help all the members read the Book of Mormon and she is doing a great job so we asked her to share. She read this super random scripture for a couple minutes about Nephi and his brothers returning to get wives in Jerusalem, then asked Elder Woodruff to interpret it. I made a joke after that it could have been a lot more awkward if she had read a quote about circumcision or something then asked him to interpret it. But all in all, Rosa did a great job

We have been very blessed this week to find some awesome new people. I love that there are so many families here in Santa Rita and that families are very important to the people. I´ll write some more about investigators next time.

Dad had asked about the language. With Spanish, I´m doing fine now. I can understand about 100 % and respond easily so that´s not too much of a problem. Now I´ve got to worry about Portuguese though, hah. The majority of people here speak Portuguese and that´s harder for me to understand. Sometimes I feel like I´m back in week one, just smiling and nodding, but usually I´m alright.

Thanks for all of your support. I love you all very much!

Elder Snow

P.S. Last week I got a package from Sister Baldwin for Christmas. I just about died when I opened it. I saw home made chocolates and let out a big "Yes!!" So delicious, thank you Heidi!
Also, today I got the Christmas card you sent, mom. Very funny! You never cease to amaze with your Christmas letters. Elder Woodruff got a kick out if it as well. Thanks for that.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Trials, Rejection, Blessings & Increased Patience - January 10, 2011

¡Querida Familia!

Thank you very much for the awesome letter that you sent me this week. I love reading all the news. One thing I really appreciate and love is that you always have at least a couple spiritual experiences in your letters. It is a testimony to me of your faith that you are experiencing and realizing the spiritual experiences and blessings of the Lord each week. I love to read them, keep it up!

I was very glad to hear about the baptism of Brittany Smith´s friend. Sounds like the Smith family has been having an awesome past couple of weeks!

I also appreciate the funny experiences that you tell! The story about Tate not wanting to get a shot really made me chuckle. But it sounds like he came out of it alright.

So are you teaching some good people that are progressing well? 
Yes, we have several very awesome people that we are talking with right now. There is one named Gunter who is preparing to be baptized next Saturday. His mom, Rosa was baptized a couple of weeks ago right before I came here to Santa Rita. She is an amazing women! Just yesterday she was confirmed because she had been out of town for the holidays. We have been teaching her along with Gunter and they are really amazing people. She has such a strong testimony already and always says that she just feels good talking to the missionaries and going to church. She gave a closing prayer in church that was very awesome and the Spirit was very strong. Her and Gunter had to walk an hour to church yesterday because the family that usually gets them in the car was out of time. But they came anyway and it was really great. Gunter is equally as awesome. He will be the first teacher in Santa Rita! He turns 15 next week. I´m very excited to help him progress more this week.

This week we found an awesome lady named Noelia. It was really a miracle that we found her and it is a testimony to me that the Lord will bless us if we are doing what we need to be doing. We were walking by her house, a part of our area we don´t walk very much and she came outside at the exact moment in order to get better service for her phone. She had been praying recently for a new start and a way to ´restore her life´ as she put it. She´s a remarkable women and also came to church yesterday! I have faith that she will also progress towards baptism.
We are talking with a couple other families that are great. I love that Santa Rita is full of families

Have you received anymore mail or anything from anyone? 
ehh, not too much

I wonder if it will take a little longer to get things to you, now that you are farther away from the mission office.  How do they get your mail to you?
It won´t take too much longer. They send it with a mail company each monday.

Is it still best to send things to the mission office or do you have an address there to send things to?Mission office is the best

So, are you still eating a lot of empanadas?Not as much anymore, we have to budget our money really well.

Are the members feeding you there? No, I haven´t had a member meal yet in almost two weeks. The church is just so young here. We have to buy a lot more food and watch our money really closely.

Sorry I haven´t had much time to write, I also wrote an email to Grandma and Grandpa.

But know that I am doing well. Also that this week we had some trials in appointments falling and some rejection, but learned more patience and have really seen the blessings lately in the forms of wonderful new people that we´ve found and increased patience.

I love you all very much and am grateful for the example that you all are for me. The Book of Mormon has real power, it really has changed my life. I love to share my testimony about it with the people here and try to be an instrument in the Lord´s hands so that they too can feel the power of the Book of Mormon. You´re all awesome.

Elder Snow

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

This Change is Going to be Especial - January 3, 2011

Yo Family,

Happy Birthday Mom!!! Hope you had an awesome birthday. I love you bunches. Congrats on hitting the big 29, but don´t stress it will only get better from there!

Thanks bunches for the awesome letter you sent! Sounds like you all had a really great, fun week and that New Years was awesome! New Years here was pretty good too. I welcomed in the New Year by sleeping, hah! But all of the Santa Ritaños were going crazy for sure. One thing I really love about here is that it´s very family-ish. I don´t know if that´s just because it´s the holidays and everyone is together with their family, but it seems like there are a lot more families here than in my last area. That´s a really nice thing and it´s good for the work because we are always looking for awesome families.

That´s too funny that granda called over and got a hold of the Woodruffs. What a small world! In the email Elder Woodruff got today, he said that Grandpa called while they were writing the email to him so they mentioned it in there as well. Elder Woodruff is awesome. Sounds like grandpa told you he was an AP. That was right before he trained Elder Durrant. I can definitely understand why he was called to be a leader in the mission, his diligence and work ethic is incredible. I am learning to work hard and efficiently with him and I´m really grateful for the time I´ll have to learn from him. You all will have to take a trip over to the chapel on Center street and meet his family the next time you´re up there.

Elder Woodruff told me he knows where Grandma and Grandpa´s cabin is and that it´s not too far from his house.

I really liked what mom had to say about Elder Andersen´s talk on "Never Leave Him." It is very true what Elder Andersen says. I also recently applied this talk to myself and to the work here. Elder Andersen says something about how if we really love the Savior, we won´t try to conform the church to us, but rather conform ourselves to the church. If we love Him, we´ll keep His commandments. I´ve seen a couple of times here that investigators will want to keep all of the commandments except one or two. We can´t make exceptions for ourselves. If we really love the Savior, we´ll keep all of His commandments rather than trying to conform the church to us.

That´s cool that Matt and Tasha are down there! You´ll have to tell them hi for me and that I miss our hearts and scum battles haha.

I think what made me feel most trunky out of everything you wrote about the holidays in your letter would be the food! Oh man, it sounds like you guys are feasting everyday! Not that I´m complaining, but my mind wandered to mom´s spaghetti the other day and I think I started to drool a little bit haha. For now I´ll just have to stick to my empanadas!

So you mentioned that there are no ecclesiastical leaders in your new area.  So does that mean that it isn’t even a branch yet? 
No, it´s still not even a branch yet. It´s suuuuper new. Pretty much everyone is a new convert.

Do the missionaries basically have to conduct and organize the meetings each Sunday? 
Yeah, we plan out all the talks, give assignments, plan the meetings, all that good stuff. There is one Melchizedek Priesthood holder and he conducts the meetings a lot I think. He was out of town this week, so Elder Woodruff did it yesterday. On that note, our attendance yesterday was 9, four of those being us missionaries. The holidays kind of gave us a hit. But we´ll be back to normal next week I´m sure! It was kind of a different experience, I always heard stories of missionaries who had served where the church wasn´t developed and attendance was low, but I never realized how weird it is until I experienced it.

So have you had any chance to use your piano playing abilities yet?
haha, about that... I attempted yesterday. It turned out realllly bad. Nobody else knows how to play. So I´ll keep practicing I guess...

But apart from that, the work is going great. I really love the people here. We are talking with many people right now and many of them are progressing towards baptism. I have faith that we will see a lot of success in this area. With Elder Woodruff, I am learning to become a better missionary each day and I really believe that this change is going to be especial.

That´s crazy that President Pace will be released. He is a remarkable man. I always was impressed by his Spirit and the way he was able to express himself when he spoke. That´s cool that maybe you´ll have the chance to meet some general authorities. That would be awesome.

I have a testimony that Christ lives. I know that he is helping me tons in this work. Sometimes it´s tough, but that´s what helps me grow closer to the Savior. I love you all and am grateful for your examples.

Love you all so much
Elder Snow

P.s. Dad had asked if I would like for him to send me box scores of the BYU games. That would be nice, I´d like to see just how much my pal Jimmer is dominating

P.p.s. To Dan: Ya falo muito bien, Portuguese. ¡Eu façe trabajo afol! Haha that´s like 3 languages in one sentence. Be impressed.