Elder Zachary Snow

Elder Zachary Snow

Monday, January 30, 2012

La Obra del Señor - January 30, 2012

Dear Family!
We have a had a week really full of miracles. It`s been so great working here in Pilar with Elder Shaw. We get along really well and are just loving it working in La Obra del Señor!
La Familia Servín with happy Elders Shaw and Snow
Elder Shaw, Edgar, Eider, Sonia & Elder Snow
The baptism for the Servín kids this past week went great. To answer your question, they are Eider (11), Sonia (10), and Edgar (9). Elder Shaw baptized Eider and Sonia and I baptized Edgar. We have been working with the parents and they committed to get married this weekend. We have seen so many miracles with the dad, Agustín. He is starting to progress a ton. Before he didn`t really want to share with us but now he actively participates in the lessons. He had lots of doubts about getting married before, but now he is looking forward to it. On Saturday he attended the baptism and it was the first time that he has been to church. Yesterday he attended church for the first time for the confirmations of the kids.
There has been lots of progress with the Servín family because of the great help that we get from the members. The members of Pilar are so phenomenal. There is this one family (I don`t know if I`ve mentioned them yet) named the Suarez Family. They are so amazing. They are always there to do the fellowshipping as soon as we find someone new. They have really helped the Servín Family every step of the way. So this weekend we have planned the marriage and the baptism for the mom. We are planning on having a really special lesson with the dad in order to put a baptismal date with him as well.

Today we had a leadership council in Asunción. Last night we travelled from Pilar to Asunción and we will be heading back tonight. Elder Durrant and Elder Love will be going with us to Pilar to do divisions over the next couple of days. I am really excited to get back with a couple of my old companions and work it with them. The plan is to take them out on the bikes (we have bikes in Pilar, so great) and dominate our area. It will be great.

Anyway, back to the leadership council. It was so great. Those meetings are always very spiritual and I walk away on a spiritual high. One part that was really memorable from today was at the end when several missionaries shared their testimonies. A common thread in the testimonies was the joy found in missionary work. I was really hit with an impression from the Spirit when one missionary talked about how the joy in missionary work comes from losing oneself. I know that is true.

I know that God is a God of miracles. We see them every day. I know this Church is true. It`s incredible. The Book of Mormon is true. It changes lives.

Thanks for everything, I love you! Till next week.

Elder Snow

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What a Perfect Gospel Plan! - January 23, 2012

Dear Family,

Thanks for a great letter. I enjoyed hearing about the stake conference and hearing about the themes that were covered. It`s always so amazing how at conferences there are common threads and themes throughout the conference, even when the speakers aren`t giving assigned talks. The Lord knows what He wants us to hear.

Dad seemed to be very excited to hear about my transfer. He had several questions about my new area so I will go ahead and answer them

So are there many women named Pilar there?Haha, yeah there are several that I`ve met so far. I hadn`t met anyone named Pilar until I came here. I remember Dad telling me about a woman named Pilar from his mission. Didn`t you meet up with her when you visited Spain several years ago?

So is it more laid back in a smaller town like Pilar?
Yeah, it`s very laid back. It`s a really safe part and it has that small town feel. I really like it

Do you find that the town is more family oriented like Santa Rita was?
Yes, there are more families together. It`s so nice for missionary work. It`s easier to find families together. Pilar really does remind me a lot of Santa Rita. There are a couple of differences however in that the Church has been in Pilar for a really long time already(like 30 years or so) and there aren`t any Brazilians. Other than that, the layout of the city and the small town feel are a lot like Santa Rita

How does the average sacrament meeting attendance in Pilar compare to wards in Asuncion? Our Branch is pretty strong. The attendance here is much better than in my last ward. The last two Sundays we have had over 60 people in attendance. In Asunción there are some wards with an attendance over 100, but for the most part it`s about the same as here in Pilar.

You said that there are four companionships in your zone. Do they all serve in Pilar?
No, we have 2 companionships in Pilar, 1 in an area named San Ignacio and another in an area named Ayolas. In Pilar there are 2 branches and 1 companionship serving in each branch. The other two areas (San Ignacio and Ayolas) are like 3 and 5 hours away from Pilar, so we will do A LOT of traveling.

How many companionships are there per branch?
There is one companionship in each branch.

I think I hit about all of the questions that were asked. If there is anything else that you would like to know just let me know.

We have had a great week. It`s been really hot but we haven`t let the heat get us down. The Servín Family is continuing to progress so well. Elder Shaw and I have really developed a great love for them. This week we have been really fighting to help them get married. The husband has several doubts and still hasn`t attended church. He wants some more time to make a decision. The mom and the 3 children are practically already members. They have attended 3 Sundays in a row, are reading and praying, love the church, etc. So this past week we have been working with them, sending the members to their house, doing everything to help them get excited and make the decision to get married so that the mom can get baptized. The dad agreed and we have the wedding and the baptism of the mom set for the 4th of February. The plan is to go forward with the baptisms of the the children this Saturday and invite the parents to come. I know that the dad will feel the Spirit at the baptism and that it will help him to continue and want to know more.

Apart from that we have continued working with an investigator named Adda, but it seems as if we will have to drop her. She had a baptismal date for this past Saturday but had some doubts and took off to her dad`s house in the campo. When she came back she said that she didn`t want to get baptized anymore and that she feels like she should continue with her traditions (Catholic). Kind of a bummer because she knows it`s true and we know she knows. We will continue to pray for her and hope that she will develop the faith to be baptized.

Thanks, Mom, for the family history update. I am very proud of you for catching the Spirit of Elijah and working hard on the family history. You are a great example to me. Ooh, a cool story from this week about that as a matter of fact! There is a recent convert of Elder Shaw in our area named Aniseto. He is an older man, he has like 60 years. This past week we were teaching a retention lesson about the Plan of Salvation. He mentioned that he had read in his Gospel Principles book about the doctrine of baptisms for the dead. He expressed a great interest and appreciation for that doctrine. He expressed excitement to be able to do those ordinances for his father. He mentioned that before he had always wondered about the salvation of his father, who was a very good man but was never baptized in any church. The joy that Aniseto felt upon hearing about the opportunity to do that ordinance was a great miracle and reminder to me about the importance of this work. As one person is converted, it saves generations. Not only the future generations and descendents of the converts, but the ancestors and past generations as well. What a perfect Gospel Plan. I love it.

We have also found some great new people this week. After the Servín family, we don`t have anyone else with a baptismal date so we really need to get cracking on more progress with other investigators.

Thanks for all of your love and support. I love you all so much!!
Have a great week!
Elder Snow

Monday, January 16, 2012

Transfer to Pilar - January 16, 2012

Dear Family!!

It has been really great to hear from you this week. I always appreciate your emails and it helps to give me a boost for the week.

So I`ve got lots of news from this past week. As you might have guessed, the time for changes has rolled around again. This past week I was transferred from Costa Bonita to an area called Pilar. Pilar is in like the South Western tip of Paraguay and is really far away from anything else. My new companion`s name is Elder Shaw. He is a really great missionary. He is from Eagle, Idaho and has a little bit less time in the mission than I do. Pilar is so great, it`s like nowhere else in Paraguay. It actually reminds me a lot of Santa Rita because it`s like it`s only little town that is really distinct from other areas. We are in the Pilar District, and the Pilar 1st branch. This is the first time that I will be working in a branch so I will be learning a little bit more about how the church works.

I`m really excited to be here and I know that we will see much success. We have a small zone with just 4 companionships, which is a lot smaller than the 11 companionships in my last zone.

The people here are so great. I met many of the members yesterday and they are super willing to help in the missionary work. There is this one family named the Suarez Family and they are all stars. They are so great at befriending the investigators and help in taking them to church.

Speaking of the investigators, we are working with a really great family right now. They are the Servin Family. The mom and 3 children have been to church twice now and have a baptismal date for the 28th. We are working with the dad as well. He is always really receptive but is not very interested in going to church or progressing. He doesn`t read very well so he is a little bit self conscious and hestitant to go to church. We will continue to work with him.

We have another investigator named Ada. She already has several attendances and has a baptismal date for this Saturday. She didn`t make it to church yesterday so we will have to see what we will do to help her and if she will keep her date for this weekend. She has a testimony about the Book of Mormon and the Prophet Joseph Smith, but isn`t sure yet if this is the only true church. We have had several very spiritual lessons with her already and she is progressing little by litte.

You also asked a couple of questions about the investigators in Costa Bonita. From what I heard from the person that tracks the baptisms is that David did not get baptized this past week. But I`m sure that he will be baptized soon. As for Alonso and Daisy, the divorce got pushed back to about the middle of February, so they are still waiting it out.They always attend church, however, and maintain a positive attitude. They are such examples, I really love them so much.

Thanks, mom, for sharing a little bit about your personal study of the Doctrine of Christ. You mentioned that leadership council from a couple of months back when we studied the Doctrine of Christ. To answer your question, I remember that meeting really clearly. It had a really big impact on me. I have restudied those parts with my companions and it is amazing how much we can get out of it time after time. I really love and appreciate the Gospel of Christ and I know that it is the way to receive true happiness. It is a true blessing to teach it everyday and see the real affects of it in the lives of the people.

Thanks for everything, I love you all so much!!

Elder Snow

Monday, January 9, 2012

Spirit Wall Hit Me in the Face - January 9, 2012

Dear Family!!
I really enjoyed the letter from you this week! I want to appreciate how grateful I am for your support and for writing every week, it really helps to keep me excited!

Thanks, Dad, for sharing that story about the Bastidas family. I always love hearing your mission stories and it always makes me wonder why I didn`t ask you about your mission before, haha. Better late than never I guess. There is always something special about teaching families, I wish I had realized earlier in my mission the importance of focusing on finding families.

I also enjoyed Mom`s comment about her appreciation for the Sabbath. I too feel like the older I get the more I appreciate the Sabbath and the Sacrament. Yesterday Elder Curtis and I had the opportunity to bless the sacrament and I always like to do that. It`s a true miracle that God confides his Priesthood in young men. The Sacrament is such an important ordinance, and God calls on young teenage men to have that as their responsability. It`s a blessing.

Yesterday in church was really exciting. First off, with David. David is progressing so well. He has a baptismal date for this Saturday, the 14th and is really excited. He is reading the Book of Mormon a lot and has a strong testimony. This week we watched with him the video of Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. He loved it. He attended the ward night on Wednesday and made a bunch of friends there.

On Sunday morning, he showed up 5 minutes before the first class started and stayed for all 3 hours. But the best part was during Sacrament Meeting. We also had Fast and Testimony meeting yesterday. During the testimony meeting, David was sitting with a less active member that Elder Curtis and I are working with to get him active again. The member was encouraging David to get up and share his testimony. So at the very end, David got up there and bore his testimony that this is the true church and he knows it because of the peace he feels here. There was a Spirit wall that hit me in the face. It was incredible.

As for the Ñamandú family, they continue to progress as well. Yesterday María José (the mom) and Jade (the 5 year old) went to church. Agusto and Francisco were out of town and the Dad was working. María José is progressing a lot. She has lots of member friends and really likes church. The second hour in church yesterday Elder Curtis and I taught the Gospel Doctrine class. It went super well and Sister Ñamandú had some really great comments. She is a future member for sure.

We have seen lots of miracles this week and are so excited. The members are starting to get excited again. I love Costa Bonita and my companion.

I want to share my testimony with you as well that I know this is the true Church. I am so grateful for our Father in Heaven and for Jesus Christ. They live, they love us. Their plan is perfect. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. My goal is to finish the Book of Mormon (I`m in Alma right now) and read it over again before July. I love that book, it`s true.

I love you all very much!! Til next week

Elder Snow

Monday, January 2, 2012

Joy Working in the Lord's Work - January 2, 2012

Dear Family,
It`s been really great to hear from you all this week. We have had a really great week and have been working hard. We have been focusing a lot this week on the Ñamandú family as well as David. We have seen some great miracles with them this week and they are progressing well.

With the Ñamandú family, I told you about how María José made it to church for the first time last week and really enjoyed it. This week we passed by a couple of times to try to teach the family. We haven`t been able to teach them very much because Félix (the dad) is hardly there and we can`t teach unless there is a man present. So we`ve just been making contact with them and they are progressing well. We were able to teach María José one time this week with a member family that went out to do a visit with us. The member family (The Correa Family) talked about the blessings they have received from church and it went really well. Brother Correa had marked a part for Agusto (the younger son) to read in Moroni 8. María José had seen that Brother Correa marked it in Agusto´s Book of Mormon so she read it. As you know, Moroni 8 talks about infant baptism and the importance of repentance before baptism. María José liked what she was reading. They are a traditionally Catholic family. María José explained that she has had some bad experiences with the Catholic church and that she felt better about what the Book of Mormon said. So we talked with her a little about baptism as well. She is open to the idea of baptism. She has a doubt in that she knows that it is a big committment with God and she wants to feel ready for the moment that she is baptized. I know that they will be a great family in the church. That is really what our ward needs right now, a solid family that will be a strength here.

María José and Agusto had committed to go to church but in the end didn`t make it. We passed by their house Sunday morning and clapped but nobody came to the door. With the new year being Saturday night, most people were sleeping on Sunday morning and they too slept in. We will work hard with them and get them to church next week.

As for David, he is progressing very well. We had another great lesson with him this last week about the Plan of Salvation. He always makes very astute comparisons in the lessons and really understands the doctrine well. He is looking to turn a new page in life and wants to get closer to God. He had a baptismal date set for next Saturday. In the end, he didn`t make to to church either so his baptismal date we postponed to the 14th. After church we went by and talked to him and he said that he feels like he is becoming more prepared to be baptized. His testimony is growing like crazy. He is receiving answers to his prayers as he reads the Book of Mormon and asks God. It is such a testimony to me that God will answer those who ask Him with faith and real intent. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that it is true. David is growing in his testimony of the church. He believes it is true and wants to get to know more of the people at church. We are working with the members to get to know him better and to fellowship him.

Today we had a leadership council with all of the zone leaders and district leaders. I know that this is the true church. I feel so much joy working in the Lord`s work. It is a great calling and I pray for the Lord`s help as I strive to serve Him. Thank you for your prayers and support, I love you all so much!! Happy Birthday, Mom! I really do appreciate you, especially for those 2 weeks where I was past due that you never let me forget about haha. I know I was a colicky baby and everything, but I turned out ok thanks to you. Haha, lots of love!!

Have a Great Week!

Elder Snow