Elder Zachary Snow

Elder Zachary Snow

Monday, February 28, 2011

¿Jealous? - February 28, 2011

¡Dear Family! - ¡I can do upside down exclamation points and question marks! ¿Jealous? jaj

Thanks for sending another great letter! Must have been a very exciting week in the Snow house. What´s with the whole getting a dog thing as soon as I leave. Haha just kidding, there are millions of dogs here in Paraguay, it´s awesome. We actually had a dog wander into our apartment last week. It was pretty funny, Elder Villegas had to carry it out.

I really appreciated Mom´s comments about the talk from Elder Martino, I´ll have to read that a little later today. I really like the title of that talk, All Things Work Together for Good. It helps me remember that the bad moments also work for good, because they make the good moments even sweeter. The principle of determining good from bad is so amazing and is a great gift from Heavenly Father. 2 Nephi 2 is one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. One of the parts I really like is verse 27 which talks about our freedom to choose. We are free to choose how we react, we choose if we complain during adversity or if we excel. When we choose not to complain, we choose the Savior and we choose happiness.

That´s awesome that Kim got her learner´s permit! Hopefully she can have some awesome experiences with those driving instructors like I did. Jaja wow. Mom do you remember Masoof and that other lady that called us after and left a message on the machine for about 10 minutes. She kept calling my foot skippy for some reason jaja. Good luck, Kim!

Thanks for sharing about the talks in Sacrament meeting as well. I always like to hear about those. What Chris Davis said is so true. I also like the phrase exactly obedient. It always makes me think of President Monson´s talk on the 3 R´s of choice, where he says that being 100 % obedient is easier than being 98 % obedient. We cannot practice selective obedience if we want the blessings. Obedience is such an important principle in the mission, one that I am learning to really appreciate. I am seeing first hand that commandments are what liberate us. Breaking commandments is what restricts us. This week Hernán and Sandra have been working hard to quit smoking. They are smoking much less and Hernán went all Saturday without smoking. They both have commented that they are more free this way. They don´t have that constant restriction and know that they are receiving blessings. It´s a very beautiful thing to see.

Thanks for sharing that fireside about missionary work. Sounds like that will be a great activity! My bet is that the girls will win because Kim and Melanie are such studs and will each bring friends! I´m really impressed with the focus the ward and stake have had recently with missionary work. I always get little stake updates that tell me how things are going from the high council members. Sounds like the missionary work is going great. Keep it up! The Lord will bless you. When you have time, read the talk from last conference by President Eyring, it´s called Trust in the Lord, then Go and Do. It´s really an amazing talk that will help all of you individually to become better missionaries. I know it has helped me tons in my mission to put my trust in the Lord, then go out and give it all I have. The feelings of peace that I have after doing all I can are so sweet come straight from the Spirit of the Lord. I promise all of you that that feeling of peace you will have after doing what President Eyring instructs will be so powerful.

Thanks for being such a great family, I love you all verrrrry much.

Elder Snow

Monday, February 21, 2011

Great Ups and Downs - February 21, 2011

Dear Family,

This past week has been filled with lots of great ups and downs that the mission provides! The ups have been so sweet and the downs just make the ups sweeter so they´re great too. Starting with Monday we taught a great lesson with an investigator that is progressing really well whose name is Michael. I think it´s spelled like that, not sure, but it sounds just like Michael in English, so I will write it like that jaja. Michael is really good friends with a recent convert family, the Souza Family (I´ve written some about them before). Michael has had kind of a rough life and has recently been having some rough times. We´ve been talking to him for a while, but before it wasn't too serious because he didn´t really show the desires to change and was drinking a lot. But the awesome example of the Souza family helped him to really press forward and he began to pray a lot more. Since starting to pray, he really began to change and we started talking more with him. We taught him the message of the Restoration and he had been praying about it, but still hadn´t received an answer. So then comes Monday, and we decided it would be a good idea to watch the video of the Restoration with him because he doesn´t read very well and that would help him to visualize better. So we watched the video, and he understood it all very well. The Spirit was so strong and he committed to ask God again that night. So we went back on Tuesday to verify a little bit and he told us about the answer that he received. He really wants to get baptized and is working really hard to quit smoking so he can. It´s been such a privilege and a testimony builder to see the changes in his life. His demeanor, countenance, attitude are all changing. One thing that Dad had told me before I left was that when he saw the changes in the lives of people through the Gospel, that was one of the greatest testimony builders he had ever received. I think I´m starting to understand that better now. So that was a pretty good day.

Then on Wednesday we talked with Isaias, Mirta, and Mariela. They have been reading so much and praying to know if the Book of Mormon is true. They are so sincere and really wanted to receive an answer. On Wednesday Mirta and Mariela told us that they had received testimonies about the Book of Mormon. It was so special to see. I know that Isaias will receive an answer soon as well because of the great faith that he has. I have really grown to love this family and want so much for them to be able to take that step of baptism. We´ll keep working very hard with them.
Hernán and Sandra have been progressing a lot lately as well. This week they also received answers that they need to be baptized and that the church is true. We had a great lesson with them last night about the Word of Wisdom. They both smoke, but are willing to quit. They are very determined to do it because they know that they need to be baptized. They are such amazing people and are going to be future leaders and building points of the church here in Santa Rita. Something really neat that one of the zone leaders told me when I had a division with him was that the Lord will prepare people like them to be future leaders in the church. If we as missionaries do all that He asks us to do, he is bound to lead us to those people who are prepared and will be the foundations of the church here. I really feel that Hernán and Sandra are some of those people who the Lord has prepared for the work to progress in Santa Rita. Just this morning I was reading in 3 Ne chap 21 when Christ is talking about the gathering of Israel in our day. In verse 29 it says something like ~I will go out before them~ It´s so comforting to know that the Lord is out there, preparing people for us to find.

So those were a couple of the great ups this week! There are ups every week and they are always so special and great to experience.

Mom had asked if Fidel and Alejandra were able to make it to church this week. They still haven´t made it to church. We have taught them several times and the Spirit is always there. The thing is they work a lot and it is tough to find them, so they haven´t been progressing very fast. But we will keep working with them. They are great people and really want to learn more. Elder Bazán and I know that they will progress.

I really appreciated the letter from you this week! Sounds like the 50´s dance was a blast. Although I have a tough time imagining mom or dad doing any kind of dancing, I´m glad you had a good time. Mom had a couple funny song references. I do remember very well when we talked about Jump and that one time we heard Free Falling while we were on Ventura Blvd. Haha what are the chances.

Thanks for sharing about the lesson on sacrifice. Whenever I feel like my mission is tough, I just think a little about John Groberg and then stop feeling sorry for myself. It really is a beautiful thing to think that when we sacrifice our time and provide service for others we can be the means of accomplishing the Lord´s will. Mosiah 2 is always great where is says when ye are in the service of your fellow being, ye are only in the service of your God. What a great joy it is to be an instrument in the Lord´s hands to answer the prayer of one of his children.

That´s about all I got for today. The church is true!

Love you all lots,
Elder Snow

Monday, February 14, 2011

Farmer's Tan, Power Walking & a Sweet Fanny Pack - February 14, 2011

Dear Snow Family!!

Great to here from you again. I´m impressed that you had so many great new things to say after writing only a couple days ago, seems like you had a busy/exciting weekend.

This weekend has been really busy for Elder Bazán and I as well. We´ve been working really hard to find new people and have really seen the blessings from our hard work.

On Saturday, we saw a couple of really great blessings of the Lord. We had been working really hard all day Saturday, but weren´t having too much luck. It was a little rough because Saturdays are usually really successful days because the majority of people are home.

But we kept working very hard and eventually at night we started to see some of the blessings. We were blessed to find a great family.  They are living in the home of a couple of investigators we had been visiting before. We had stopped visiting the old investigators a little while ago. During the day Saturday, I felt like we should go give them a visit, so we headed on over to their house. There were a couple young girls that answered the door who I hadn´t met and so I asked them if Favio and Beatriz (the old investigators) were there. The girls told me that they moved and that recently their family had moved there. So we asked their parents names and decided to try again another time. So then later on Saturday I felt that we should go back to that house again and try to meet the parents. So we headed on back and clapped the door (I don´t know if I´ve ever told you, but they clap instead of knock here, it´s awesome). The parents, Alejandra and Fidel answered and invited us in before we could even say anything. We started talking with them and from the very beginning we could tell that they were very sincere, nice people. They had the question why the name Mormon, so we explained the Book of Mormon a little bit. The lesson all went very well. They have about 6 daughters that live there and they all sat and listened super reverantly, I was really impressed because I know that whenever the missionaries would come to our house I was always super annoying haha. They weren´t able to attend church yesterday because they had a committment, but they are really excited to be able to go next week. They are really great and we´re very excited to work with them.

That was kind of a long story, I don´t know if I explained it well haha, but just know it was a cool spiritual experience that and that they´re awesome peeps.

Yesterday in church, it was my turn to give a talk and my topic was tithing. I focused a lot of the part about commandments and receiving the blessings. Elder Bazán also talked a little bit and introduced himself. He also talked a little about blessings from keeping commandments. I am really grateful for Elder Bazán and his great testimony. He´s an awesome missionary.

We have been working with a couple named Hernán and Sandra lately who have really been a great blessing. They are so humble and already believe that the church is true by the examples of missionaries and members, now they are just working on receiving that testimony from our Heavenly Father. I know that they will continue progressing. They weren´t able to attend church this week because Hernán`s brother recently had a motorcycle accident and so they went to Ciudad del Este to help take care of him. But they are excited to go next week! Sandra knows tons of people and wants all of her friends to be able to hear our message as well so she is introducing us to all of her friends. It was such a miracle to find Sandra and Hernán, they are so prepared!

To answer some questions...

So do they celebrate Valentine’s Day in Paraguay?Yeah, I think so. Just another day for the elders, though. Haha I actually didn´t realize it until I read your email. So happy Valentine´s day to you too!

Guazu doesn’t  sound like a Spanish word, is it?
Haha Guazu is a Guaraní word. It means big. I know a few select Guaraní words that I use to my advantage to make people laugh. The one that usually gets people rolling is chivivi, which means diahrrea.

You are looking pretty tan these days.  I’ll bet you are feeling pretty fit as well with all the walking you are doing.  Is walking your main form of transportation?Don´t be fooled, I´m tan on my face and on my forearms where the sun gets me. I have a farmer´s tan that could blind you.

Yeah I take pride in my power walk as well. I have a sweet fanny pack, I don´t know if you have seen it in any of my pictures. Just know that I´m working it Paul McMullin style.

Walking is our only form of transportation. I had some sweet blisters before, but I´ve just got calluses (no idea how to spell that) now so I´m good.

Well, that´s about it for this week I think, I love you lots and lots. I know that the church is true! I know that God answers prayers! So many times since coming on the mission I have received new witnesses that the Book of Mormon is true. I love it! I love you all!

Elder Snow

Friday, February 11, 2011

It's Beautiful to See! - February 10, 2011

Elder Snow sends Elder Woodruff home...

...and welcomes new companion, Elder Bazan, to Santa Rita.
Dear Family!

Long time, no talk! It´s so great to hear from all of you, thanks for an awesome email!
This has been a crazy week! I spent a couple days in other areas for divisions, Elder Woodruff had to go to Asuncion for a leadership meeting, then we had this awesome Bautismo Guazu (big baptism) where a bunch of people got baptized in the Ciudad del Este Stake. I´ll try to send some pictures.

Then I went back to Ciudad Del Este again on Tuesday to put Elder Woodruff on a bus to Asuncion. He´ll be flying home today. I´ll miss him lots, he is a great missionary. My new companion is .... drumroll.... Elder Bazán! He is from Perú and I´m really pumped to be with him. I have one change more in total than him because I was in the MTC longer, but we got here to Paraguay at the same time so I had briefly met him before. Elder Bazán was in the Buenos Aires MTC, he speaks fluent Spanish and I´ll help him some with English. I will have the opportunity to be serving as a senior companion. It will be really fun. I will be in an apartment with 3 Latin missionaries so my Spanish hopefully will get better.  I´m super excited!

Dad had asked a little bit about investigators. The people that are progressing most right now are Isaias, Mirta and Mariela. Isaias and Mirta are a couple, he is 19 and she is about 23. They have an awesome baby boy named Emerson, he´s always smiling, so funny. Mariela is the younger sister of Mirta, she´s about 11. They are all so awesome and so prepared. They are reading lots in the Book of Mormon and understand it really well! They recently read Alma 32 on faith and loved it! They have a baptismal date for the 19th of February, we´re still working with them to help them gain stronger testimonies. They are doing really great though.

We are also working with an awesome couple named Hernán and Sandra. We found them about a week ago and they are really progressing a lot. Hernán has a brother who recently had a motorcycle accident and isn´t doing so well. We talked to them about finding more peace through Heavenly Father. They really enjoyed listening and we kept teaching them. They went to church this last week and loved it! They have a baptism date for the 26th of February. After talking with them, Sandra really liked how she felt when she talked with us so she told her friends (who are also having tough times) about how we helped her to feel better. So she introduced us to her friends and they are progressing really well now also. It´s just such a testimony to see how the Lord is preparing people to receive the gospel. It just makes all the rough hours so worth it when we are led to someone who is just so humble and so prepared. I love the people here. Many have very little, but they are the ones who have the greatest happiness. It´s beautiful to see.

Bautismo Gauzu

Last Saturday we had a Baptism Guazu! It was so awesome. About 16 people were baptized in the stake. President Callan came out to Ciudad Del Este and gave a great talk. It was a very spiritual experience and we had a couple
of investigators that were able to make it there as well. They loved to see the big beautiful chapel since here in Santa Rita we are renting a small place for church. It really put in perspective the growth of the church here in Paraguay. I love that vision that one day the church will be so strong here and it motivates me to work hard.

Thanks to Mom for sharing your running experiences. Needless to say, I´m very impressed. I don´t think I could run a fifth of a mile let alone 5 miles right now. But I can walk like 12 miles a day. Slow and steady wins the race, digo yo (digo yo is a favorite catch phrase of Elder Woodruff, it´s worn off on me).

Thanks to Dad for sharing that sweet spiritual experience. I really love the example you used with Nephi and the importance of showing the works as part of our faith. I love the scripture in James 2 that faith without works is death. We always need to have faith in the Lord, faith carries us to actions. Show the Lord rather than just say it! Another example I love that talks about that is the story of the Brother of Jared. When he goes to the Lord with the problem of the light in the barges, the Lord says to him: what would you have me do? Then the Brother of Jared shows his faith and thinks (acts) for himself. It´s so important to go to the Lord, but it´s so much more important to have the attitude that we are going to do something, that we are going to make some sort of change to receive His help, His blessings. Thanks for sharing that Dad, I love to hear the spiritual experiences that you have. I feel very grateful to have such awesome parents, an awesome family. Keep up the good work!

Hopefully this email is as good as the one you sent me. I love you all lots and lots! I´ll write more Monday

Elder Snow

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What Happened to January? - January 31, 2011

Dear Fam,

It´s crazy that Monday is already here again, time really flies sometimes. What happened to January, this change has gone by way too fast. I really enjoyed reading your letter, especially the recap of Sacrament meeting that you gave. Thanks for sharing the topics with me, sounds like it was a really great meeting with a lot of emphasis on the youth. I think that has been a really important topic lately and will always will be. Especially in the last couple of conferences in the Sunday afternoon sessions there has been a great focus on parenting and on the youth. This morning I was reading a talk from May 2010. I think it was a talk from Elder Ballard. He talks about the relationships between Mothers and Daughters and the importance of example. I was able to apply it to myself here in the mission field in thinking about the importance of always being a good example and living my life in a gospel sharing way. I love applying the conference talks to myself and always find that they become more meaningful to me in that way. It´s truly amazing to think that we can find a way to relate each one to ourselves. I know that the words the General Authorities give us are inspired and meant for each one of us individually. Prime example: Elder Snow finding a way to apply the mother/daughter talk to himself (I know Kim has to be laughing at that one he he he, love ya Kim).

I mentioned a little bit last week about our focus of working with the members to become temple worthy. We have also been using the General Conference addresses to help the members develop stronger testimonies of the Prophet, President Monson. His talks in Conference are amazing. We have been reading these talks with members and there is always a great spirit that helps them strengthen their testimonies. The members here are doing great and are continuing to progress. Also while talking about the temple preparation, yesteday we had a great sacrament meeting as well. The 1st and 2nd Counselors of the Stake Presidency came and President Gonzales (the 2nd Counselor) gave a message on the importance of temple prep and the blessing we receive from the temple. It was very awesome and applicable to the members as well as the investigators that were visiting yesterday. President Gonzales bore a powerful testimony about how he came to know Joseph Smith was a Prophet that was amazing for a family of investigators that was visiting. Their names are Isaias and Mirta. Mirta also has a younger sister named Mariela who wasn´t able to make it. All of them are progressing very well towards baptism and I have faith that they´ll be baptized very soon!

Now going back to the temple thing, I think it was dad who asked about how the members make it to the temple. None of the members are endowed yet, some of them made it to the temple a couple of month ago to do baptisms. They did a temple trip where the mission paid for the transportation. We are trying to organize another temple trip where every member can go and do baptisms, it´s gonna be really cool! The mission is usually willing to pay for things like that.

Mom had some questions too...

Second, I would love to know more about the “I’ve read the Book of Mormon” activity you mentioned.
We have a little sheet of paper that has little boxes of every chapter of the Book of Mormon. As the members read, they check off the little boxes and go all around this loopy de doop thing until they finish the Book of Mormon. We are helping all of the members to do it.

Well this change is winding down. It´s the last P day I´ll have with Elder Woodruff, he is heading home next week. The change has gone by way too fast and I´ll miss Elder Woodruff a lot. I´ve really learned lots from him and we´ve become really good friends ( at least I think we have, he could hate me for all I know.. hah just kidding). I´m grateful for the example he´s set for me and for all the help as well. He´s a great missionary!

I love you all lots. Thanks for always writing and sharing your great testimonies, keep it up! I´m doing grrrreat here and having a good time. I feel my love strengthening each day and I´m so grateful for the Savior.

Love you all lots,
Elder Zach Snow