Elder Zachary Snow

Elder Zachary Snow

Monday, March 28, 2011

We're All Smiles - March 28, 2011

Dear Family!

Thanks so much for your great letter. Sorry this letter is going to be really short because this computer has been sketching out really bad and I don´t have much time.

This has been another crazy/awesome week! On Saturday we had the baptism for Mariela, I don´t have pictures because my camera died that day just as we were about to take pictures, bummer. Maybe I´ll be able to mooch some from my companion this week and send you some next week. But it was a really great baptism! We had some more problems Saturday with the owner and the baptismal font so we ended up doing it in the kiddy pool again, which is kind of a head ache, but we had the baptism so we´re all smiles!

We're all smiles!  Mariela, Emerson, Mirta, Elder Bazán & Elder Snow

Mariela, Elder Bazán & Elder Snow

Also on Saturday, we had to move because we had to be out of the house by the next day. So on Saturday morning we were scrambling as fast a we could to move, then we had the baptism a little bit after that.

I can´t lie, you made me a little trunky with the mentioning of In-N-Out, we are about to go eat now and it doesn´t help that I´m hungry, haha. But 5 Guys is all the rage in Provo, so I´ve heard of that one. In-N-Out´s better hah.

Congrats mom for doing so awesome in the 10K. I was telling Elder Stewart and Elder Gleason (they are big time long distance runners) this week that you were prepping for it and were really excited, except I thought it was going to be a 5K, so needless to say I´m even more impressed. No way I could even run 6 miles, let alone in an hour.
There were lots of questions too, so I´ll go ahead and answer some of those:

So did they have to sit down in the pool and then lay back flat in order to get baptized?
Yeah, it was a little iffy but it worked out

Isn’t there a lake or something nearby that you can use for baptisms?On Saturday we went and looked at some rivers close by, but they were a little dirty/shallow so we decided to go with the kiddy pool. I know that they did baptisms here in a river before they got the pileta, but I´m not sure where they went.
So have you resolved what to do for future baptisms?
I think we are going to have to change the church location to somewhere we can use the pileta. We just finished moving houses and now we are looking to move the church, so it will probably be another few crazy weeks. But it will all be for the best
So as district leader, are you also responsible for organizing the sacrament meetings on Sundays since there are no ecclesiastical leaders in your area?  We do it together as the four missionaries in Santa Rita, so I was doing it a little before also.

What will it take before you can organize a branch there? 
We need a Branch President. Most of the members are recent converts so we haven´t quite arrived at that point yet. There are a couple of members that are members from a long time ago, we are working with them and hopefully we will have a branch here really soon. The members are so awesome, just a little young, but they are willing to work really hard because of the great testimonies they have received.
By the way, do you also play piano during your church meetings? Elder Snow was forced into retirement a little while ago, we´re rocking it a capella now. It sounds a lot better haha.

Sorry I´m out of time! I promise a really good letter next week. I´m doing really great here and love to hear from you! Thanks to all of you for being such great member missionaries! I love to hear your stories of sharing the gospel. Keep it up. I know the church is true. I love you all!

Elder Snow

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Incredible/Crazy/Rewarding Week - March 24, 2011

Elders Stewart, Snow, Bazán and Villegas

Dear Familia!

Wow! This has been such an incredible/crazy/rewarding week. We´ve been looking for a new house because we have to move, on top of the baptisms and weddings we were planning, all with it being changes week. Needless to say, Elders Snow and Bazán had a little bit of stress, but it all worked out for the best.

So I´ll begin with changes. I´m staying in Santa Rita! I was so pumped. Elder Bazán and I will have another change together and we are really pumped. I really love that missionary. So now Santa Rita consists of Elder Bazán and I, then in the other area Elder Stewart and his new trainee!  I was so pumped he came here. He is from the same group as Elder Bazán and I, we all got to Paraguay the same day. Elder Stewart and I were on all the planes together on the way to Paraguay, so I already knew him a little. He is also coming from Ybate, my last area, so it´s been so cool to get updates and everything. Elder Stewart is training now, so cool! His new companion is Elder Gleason, from Pleasant Grove, Utah.

I will have the opportunity to serve as the District Leader here in Santa Rita. I´ll have to rely on the Lord a lot. Long story short, we are super young here in Santa Rita but full of excitement and ready to achieve a lot! It´s going to be a great change.

Now about the Baptism Guazu... Izaías and Mirta ended up getting married and baptized. It was such a cool experience. We really had to fight for our investigators last week. We were having all kinds of problems trying to find the judge first of all, because the one we had planned on using went out of town. We got that all figured out, made the cake (cakes are super expensive to buy, who knew, so we just made one, it turned out well) and were all ready for Saturday.

Cakes are expensive to buy...who knew?
No problem for Elders Snow and Bazán though...
they baked their own cake!

Then Saturday morning we go to clean and fill the font and all sorts of problems break out. We have a so so relationship with the owner of the place where we rent the chapple. The supervisor lady there kind of got mad that we were having baptisms and then told the owner and all heck broke lose. She doesn´t want us to do baptisms behind the church anymore. So we had a big problem with just a couples hours before.  So we started scrambling, trying to figure out how we are going to baptize them. Finally we found an old investigator that had a little pool thing we borrowed. We hurried back to the church, filled it up as fast as we could with bottles and buckets, then got ready for the marriage.

Mirta, Izaías and baby Emerson excited for marriage and baptism.

Check out the happy smiles!

Not even the lack of a font was going to stop this baptism!

We had the marriage alright then went to do the baptisms, but then one of the investigators couldn´t fit all the way in the water so we had to fill it up more. But in the end, they were baptized alright and confirmed the next day.

Throughout the whole experience, I really felt the Lord´s help. We were able to accomplish everything and help two of the Lord´s choice children enter into the waters of baptism. I think I learned much better this week what it means to lose myself in the work. We put in all this effort and time in the help for others. I worked probably harder than any other time in my life, and it felt so good because it was for the benefit and service of others. I know that the Lord will help those who help others. The promise in Mosiah 2:18 is so true.

Dad asked if we have the chance to see Falls of Iguacu. I personally haven´t. I know there are some really cool waterfalls over in Ciudad del Este, I don´t know if those are them or not. Lots of missionaries go there but we haven´t had the chance yet because Ciudad Del Este is actually a couple hours away from Santa Rita so it would take like all day on Pday. So our P days usually consist of rest and playing Monopoly, but I think we have to stop because there is a new rule on board games. Sigh, I´ll miss Monop, but oh well.

Well, I´m about out of time. Sorry this letter was going on and on about different themes. Oh! This Saturday Mariela is getting baptized! We are pumped about that. And the following Saturday we are hoping that Hernán and Sandra will get married and baptized. It will happen!

I appreciate your prayers and all your love. I´m am enjoying every minute! I love you all so much. Chau!

Elder Snow

Monday, March 14, 2011

Rollercoaster-Type Week - March 14, 2011

Excited to preach the gospel!
Dear Family,

We´ve had another great week here in Santa Rita! Sounds like your week has been full of cleaning, yard work, all that fun stuff.

Happy Birthday to Tate! That´s crazy he´s already 6 years old. Time flies when you´re playing with spider man action figures. Hopefully everything goes well in that area and that they like it lots.

I can hardly imagine mom bonding with the puppy, haha, after hearing her horror stories of growing up with big dogs. Speaking of dogs, there is this amazing two legged dog here in Santa Rita that I see sometimes in the street. He´s my new hero. He just walks on his front two legs, he´s so strong it´s really impressive.

Congrats to Mason on his baseball and basketball wins. That´s always a highlight in the letters haha.

Congrats to Talmage Jones also, tell him I say hi. I love Talmage, he´s such a good guy. When does he report to the MTC?

We´ve had another rollercoaster type week here! It´s been full of awesome experiences and a couple "days of patience" as Elder Woodruff called them. But all in all, we´ve seen some great miracles of the Lord this week.

Hernán and Sandra finally made it to church again, it was so great to see them there. I think they really enjoyed it. It was a special meeting because we had a member of the Stake Presidency from Ciudad del Este there. His name is President Gonzales, he gave an incredible talk and focused a lot on preparation. I felt the Spirit very strong and am grateful to have such great leaders here in Paraguay. It´s a great testimony to me of the strength of the church in foreign countries, that it really is a world-wide church.

Anyway, back to Hernán and Sandra. Earlier this week, there was kind of a panic. They wanted to buy some things they need for the house, but their circumstances are pretty humble and they didn´t really have the money to buy it. Hernán was trying to sell his motorcycle to buy furniture and things they wanted, but they couldn´t find a buyer. So Sandra was getting pretty upset and wanted to move back to Brazil with Nayeli, the 2 year old daughter. So we talked with them more about the important things and how much the Lord has blessed them. All the while, she was still having trouble quitting smoking because she was really stressed. But by about Saturday they had really settled down a lot more and were focusing a lot more on the important things. They are doing great now, they made it to church, Sandra hasn´t smoked in a couple days, and they are excited for the marriage and baptism this Saturday. They are such amazing people and we are going to work so hard this week to help them be super prepared. I really love their family, Nayeli is so great. She always waves to us and shakes our hand. She recognizes us all the time now. When we leave, she always says "chau, hermano!" She is still learning to talk so it comes out more like hermao- so great.

Maico is doing great as well. He also made it to church yesterday and hasn´t smoked for a couple days either. He is really seeing the blessings in his life by living the Word of Wisdom. We are working really hard with him as well for his baptism this Saturday.

Also great news from yesterday! Isaías and Mariela made it to church. After, we watched a movie about Joseph Smith with Isaías, Mirta y Mariela and they really loved it. Mirta and Mariela had already received testimonies and we were kind of waiting on Isaías. Yesterday he felt the spirit really strong during the movie and said after that now he knows Joseph Smith was a prophet. It was so great to see. They are also preparing to get married and baptized this Saturday. If all goes well, it will be a baptism guazu! Elder Bazán and I are praying and hoping so much, and we have felt so blessed these last few weeks.

There were also a friend of Sandra and her 3 kids that made it to church the first time yesterday. It was so awesome! We had a really good attendance and it was so perfect because President Gonzales´ talk was so great. We´ve been really blessed from the Lord

Oh random question. I heard a bunch about some big earthquake/tornado deal going on last week. Did that reach California? I´ve been kind of curious. You´ll have to let me know.

Thanks for being such a great family! I love you all very much and am doing great down here. Next week I won´t write till Thursday because it´s change week. I´m kind of nervous, I really love Santa Rita and it would be sad to leave. We´ll see!

Elder Snow

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Real Importance of Missionary Work - March 7, 2011

¡Dear Family! 

It was great to receive a letter full of updates from home also full of the Spirit! Thank you for always writing with a spiritual focus as well. It is always one of the most spiritual parts of my week as I reflect on what´s happened and read your testimonies! I´m very happy to say that reading emails from home is a spiritual boost. Keep it up!
This week we have seen some really great miracles along with some small disappointments. Hernán and Sandra are still progressing so great but they just can´t make it to church. We were planning to have their baptismal service on the 12th, but they didn´t make it to church yesterday so we moved it to the 19th. We talked really openly with them about the importance of attending church again before their baptism so that they can be very prepared and know for sure that the church is true. They also think that it is important to attend again to be better prepared. They really want to go, but it seems like they have obstacles and things coming up every week. Yesterday they had to go to Ciudad Del Este to help Hernán´s brother who recently was in the hospital. But they´re super pumped for next week and I know they´ll be able to be baptized the 19th. 
Also, awesome news. They quit smoking!! It´s so great to see. Hernán hasn´t smoked in about a week now and Sandra hasn´t smoked since Saturday. They are seeing so many blessings from living the Word of Wisdom and are really changing a lot. They are also willing to get married so we are planning a wedding ceremony before their baptism. I´m really looking forward to it.
We also saw a great miracle with Michael this week. I don´t remember if I´ve talked a lot about Michael, but he is so great. He is really good friends with the Souza´s and they have helped him so much to make the needed changes in his life. He really wants to get baptized, but also needs to quit smoking. So we had been working with him for a while, and he wasn´t progressing too much with the Word of Wisdom. His attitude was more like ´I don´t think I´ll be able to do it.´ It was disappointing because we knew how much he wanted to change. We talked with him a lot about putting his faith in the Lord and always praying for the Lord´s help. Then this last week he has been changing a lot! He is lowering the cigarettes a lot. Before he was smoking about 20 a day and now he is down to about 3 or 4. His attitude is totally different and now he is saying "I´m going to do it, I know I can do it." It´s been so great to see. He has a baptismal date for the 19th and so it is important for him to quit completely by the 12th. He´s so determined to do it. His faith has really grown so much and it´s a testimony to me that the Lord looketh on the heart and can change anyone in a moment.
I really appreciated Dad´s comments about the plan of Salvation. Thank you for being a great example to me and helping me understand more the importance of missionary work. It´s great to hear about your experiences at home because it helps me step back and think more about my purpose. Sometimes, being a full time missionary, I get caught up in numbers and plans and just getting everything done, done done. But then I read your experiences and feel the love that you have for others, it helps me to remember that the real importance of missionary work is to help others receive the joy of the gospel that we have. Reading about your wanting for Lydia to receive that peace that the Plan of Salvation provides helped me to think more about the awesome blessings that the Plan of Salvation provides.

Thanks Mom for sharing your thoughts about Elder Eyring´s talk. I really love it! Your comment/quote made me think more about Elder Scott´s talk on faith and character. There is one part I love from that talk, where he defines a testimony as confirmations from the spirit after a continuous string of correct choices. I love that! I know that my testimony has been strengthened so much here in the mission from the confirming truths of the Spirit after I follow its promptings. When we listen to the Spirit and see the beautiful fruits after, it´s such a testimony builder. 

Love you all so much!
Elder Snow