Elder Zachary Snow

Elder Zachary 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