Elder Zachary Snow

Elder Zachary 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