Elder Zachary Snow

Elder Zachary Snow

Monday, April 23, 2012

Fishermen or Fishers of Men? - April 23, 2012

Elder Ramos & Elder Snow prepare to go fishing with the Suarez family

Hermana Suarez catches one

One of the cute Suarez children

Is this a first catch for Elder Ramos?

Elder Ramos shows off his catch!

Dear Snow Family,

Thanks for the great email this week. It was exciting to hear what the whole family is up to.  Especially cool to hear about Dad´s capacitation meeting with Elder Scott and Elder Jensen. Wow! It is so incredible to hear the testimonies of the general authorities, especially the apostles. My jaw dropped a little when dad wrote what Elder Scott said about being entitled to special experiences with Jesus Christ. Wow. I will always remember the experience in the MTC when Elder Holland came to speak. When he entered the room, the Spirit was so strong. It was really amazing how everyone could feel it.

A few months ago I was speaking with another missionary while we were on divisions. We were talking about how just having the presence of the Spirit goes such a long way in helping others come unto the Savior. If we are worthy of the Spirit, and have shown through obedience to God that we are worthy of its companionship, others will be able to feel that presence of the Spirit. Many times it isn´t even the words we say (sometimes nothing needs to be said), what is important is that the Spirit is with us.

I remember in the October 2010 General Conference, President Eyring gave a talk on Serving with the Spirit. He talked about an experience when his dad was sick. One of the visits to him in the hospital was by President Spencer W. Kimball. President Eyring was in the room and was excited at the chance to see a real master at helping people passing through tough times. He said that President Kimball said few words, that he just sat their smiling. After leaving, President Eyring´s dad said that this was the visit that most helped him and lifted his spirits. When we go with the presence of the Spirit and perform our duties, we can work miracles for the Lord.

Anywho, we have had a really great week here in Pilar. We are seeing a lot of progress with Zulma and her daughter, Cintia. They went to church last week and really enjoyed it. Cintia is only 8 and was a little shy at first, but ended up loving it. This past week before Sunday she had her little backpack and notebook all prepared by Saturday to be ready to go to church. They both attended again yesterday and are progressing very well.
On Saturday night we visited Zulma with Jorge, the recent convert from last week. It was really neat to have a recent convert get involved and help us with missionary work. He bore testimony and really helped out a lot in the lesson. Afterwards he told us that he really enjoyed the experience and he wants to continue doing visits with us.

This week we also did divisions with one of our district leaders, Elder Mower. Haha, he is so great. Last year when I had just been called to be a zone leader in Asunción, Elder Mower was in my zone and was just arriving in the mission. Now he has a year! Crazy how the time flies. We worked hard and talked a lot about the work and how to help build the kingdom here in Paraguay. On Thursday it rained really hard all day but we persevered and taught 7 lessons that day. The Lord really blessed us.

Things are going really great here. I love the opportunity to be in the mission. I am really grateful for my companion, Elder Ramos. He is always full of so much excitement and love. We have a great companionship and are seeing miracles together. I know that this is the true church. I am so grateful to be a member of it. I know that God and Jesus Christ live.

Elder Snow

P.S. I am including some pictures as well. Last Monday for Preparation Day we went fishing with the Suárez family. Haha it was really fun. I was a little skeptical because I remembered my last fishing experience in Costa Bonita with Elder Love where we hadn´t caught anything! But the Suárez´s are professionals, so they helped us out. We actually caught 3 fish. (Better said, Nelson, Hermana Suárez, and Elder Ramos caught the fish). Brother Suárez and Elder Snow were just getting frustrated and not catching anything. Haha. We had a good time. We also went to the Servin's house for Eider´s Birthday. He turned 12 on Monday. He will be receiving the Priesthood this week. So exciting! For lunch on Monday, we also went to a member´s house. They fed us a duck soup. It was really good! First time I´ve had duck and I definitely liked it. Way better than mondongo, eww.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Baptism of Jorge - April 15, 2012

Dear Family,
We have had a really exciting week here in Pilar. The baptism of Jorge went really well. His progression has been really neat to see. Elder Shaw and I found him really not too long ago. He was baptized I think a month to the day after we first met him. When we first talked with him about baptism, he was willing to be baptized if God answered his prayers, but didn't really want to accept a baptismal date. Through Marcos and Romina's help as well as the desires of Jorge to know the truth, Jorge was able to progress and really know the truth of the Gospel. Last week we went over the questions of the baptismal interview with him and he was able to answer every one fine. He only needed a stronger testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. By reading and praying, he was able to gain that testimony. A couple of days before his baptism, we were verifying his prayers and asking if he had received his answer. He mentioned that while he doesn't know everything, he felt that he needed to get baptized and that it was what God wanted of him.

Elder Ramos, Jorge and Elder Snow

Romina, Jorge and Marcos

We had the baptism on Saturday afternoon. Marcos (a returned missionary from our branch) is another friend of Jorge and was able to perform the ordinance. Romina gave a talk during the baptismal service and several other members came to the baptism to show their support. Jorge is a really great convert and will be able to do a lot for the church here in Pilar. He has been reading the Book of Mormon like crazy and his faith is growing a lot. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to change lives. I know that the Atonement is real and that our Savior lives.

Things are going really well with Elder Ramos, we get along really well and are both really focused on the work. We will see a lot of miracles together. There really aren´t that many cultural differences, at least while serving as missionaries. The Gospel that we teach together is the same everywhere so we always find lots in common.

Yesterday we were able to bring a couple of new investigators to church as well. Right next to the church (literally like 20 feet away) we are teaching a single mom (Zulma) and her daughter (Cintia). I had taught them one or two times with Elder Shaw and Zulma had seemed really great and we felt that she would progress. After that it was a little difficult to find her and she wasn´t keeping the appointments that we would set so we stopped visiting. Last week Elder Ramos and I decided to pass by again. Yesterday morning we were able to pass by with the Suarez family and that helped to resolve a couple of the doubts that Zulma had about church. So when the afternoon rolled around Zulma and Cintia both made it to church and had a really great time. Cintia was a little nervous at first in the primary but after a while made some friends and all was well. They want to come again next week. We are excited to see some more progress with them.

The other investigators that we had been teaching like Gricelda and her daughters and Yudy and her son didn´t make it to church yesterday. We will have to work a little bit harder with the members to get them to church. The time or two in going to church is always more difficult. But when we can get investigators to church, they feel the Spirit and they know that there is something special there.

Thank you for all of your love and support! Every Monday we get the encomienda with the written mail and it seems as if Elder Snow´s friends have forgotten about him, haha. But I don´t get depressed because I am grateful for a wonderful family that writes me every week and helps me to keep working hard. I love you all very much. I hope that you have a great week!


Elder Snow

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ahh...So Much Food - April 9, 2012

Dear Family,
Before anything else, Happy Birthday this week to Steph!! I hope you have a great one. Love you!!

Wow it has been really great to hear from you all this week!! Haha it was fun to hear that you are keeping the Easter traditions alive. I definitely had a nice hungry feeling when Mom mentioned the Egg McMuffin thing that we would also prepare on Easter Morning. Haha, good times

Well it has been a really crazy week here as well! We have just been working harder than ever and seeing miracles from the Lord´s hand.

This past week was also change week. Elder Shaw and I weren´t really expecting a change, but the Assistants called us on Monday night to tell us that Elder Shaw would be leaving. On Tuesday Elder Shaw said goodbye to a lot of people and on Tuesday night we took off in a bus to Asunción. There I picked up my new companion... drum roll..... Elder Ramos!! He is really great. Elder Ramos is from Lima, Perú. I´m pretty glad, I had gone a while without a Latin companion and my Spanish was getting terrible haah. Elder Ramos has like 14 months in the mission and has been a zone leader for about 3 changes already. I am really excited to be with him, he teaches super well and really relates well to the people. I can tell that this will be a great companionship and that we will see lots of success together. Funny story, Elder Ramos is from the same stake in Perú as Elder Bazán, my companion from last year and they knew each other before the mission. Small world.

So on Wednesday I was on a bus pretty much all day going to Asunción and then heading back to Pilar. Thursday through yesterday, Sunday we worked really hard to make up for the time we lost and the Lord really blessed us so much. The week ended up well. Yesterday we didn´t have as many people in church as we were hoping for, but we still saw progress. Another new investigator made it to church for the first time yesterday. His name is Cesar. It is another reference from a member. He is the boyfriend of Lillian, a recent convert of about 6 months. Cesar and Lillian have been passing a lot of time with the Suarez family and the Suarez´s helped them a lot to make it to church yesterday. Lillian had been going a little less active but now is attending again.

Another great miracle from this week is with Jorge Jara. I had talked a little bit about him last week. He is the reference from the returned missionary named Romina. The members have continued helping a lot to fellowship him. After the conference last week, Romina and a couple other young adults invited him over to watch the Joseph Smith movie and he really liked it. Jorge has been reading the Book of Mormon and praying diligently to know the truth. He says that every time he feels more and more sure of the truth of it and more ready for his baptism. He has a baptismal date for this Saturday, the 14th and we are working really hard with him to help him be really prepared. I love finding sincere people who are looking for the truth. Jorge is a very sincere person that wants to do the Lord´s will. He will be a great leader in the church in the future.

I really enjoyed this past week. This year for the first time I really thought about the Savior a lot during this Easter Season. I am so grateful for the mission, in this time I have learned to really appreciate the sacrifice that He gave for us. I know that He lives and I know that he is our Savior.

Plus there is a lot to enjoy here in Paraguay during Easter. They call it the semana santa. Ahh so much food. The people are all super happy and nice and give us chipa, sopa paraguaya (my favorite) and all sorts of food. All week on the TV stations they play movies of Christ and of other Prophets and everyone spends lots of time with the family. Easter morning (Sunday) isn´t as big here. The biggest days are Thursday and Friday. It´s interesting to notice the difference in the culture.

Well I´m getting a little low on time. I love you all very much! Thanks for all of the support and love I hope you have a great week!


Elder Snow

Monday, April 2, 2012

Like a Kid Waiting For Christmas - April 2, 2012

Dear Family!!
Great to hear from you. We have had an incredible week here in Pilar. General Conference this weekend has been a real treat. I always look forward to it. I found myself feeling on Friday evening like a kid waiting for Christmas, haha. I think that General Conference might be the Christmas for missionaries. Anyway, I got a lot from it and we were able to take many investigators so all in all it was a fantastic weekend.

This past week we have been working really hard, especially with the members to get investigators excited to attend church. The past several weeks we had been struggling to get new people to church. We decided that we needed to do more teaching with members, help the members fellowship and be real friends of our investigators. We also set the goal to teach more lessons to investigators in the homes of members. Studies on missionary work have shown that many more people are baptized when they are taught in a member's home. In the end, the hard work paid off and we were able to get a lot of people in church yesterday.

This week we have seen a lot of progress with the family of Gricelda. A couple of weeks ago I went to do a division with the other missionaries in Pilar. They are teaching a young woman and her boyfriend, who is a member. The young woman has been very receptive and we asked her for referrals. She gave us the referral of her mom, who actually lives in the area of Elder Shaw and I. So we contacted her and have taught her several times in the past week and a half. The key was that we had members in every lesson. Gricelda has become very good friends already with Sister Suarez (The Suarez family help us out so much!). So Gricelda and 3 of her other daughters were able to make it to church Sunday afternoon to see General Conference. What a blessing!

We also saw many miracles in working with Jorge Jara. I don´t know if I have written about Jorge yet. He is 30 years old, single, and works a lot. His work is next door to that of Romina. Romina is a returned missionary from the other branch. She has set a really good example for Jorge and frequently answers his questions. So Romina gave us the referral a couple weeks back and we have been teaching Jorge. It has gone really well. He is reading in the Book of Mormon and developing a testimony of it. Up until this weekend we hadn´t been able to get him in church. But he finally broke though and made it to two sessions this weekend! He really enjoyed it as well and is progressing well.

Another great miracle we have seen is with the Servin Family! You will all remember the Servins. The family that got baptized my first change in Pilar. They are doing so well! They have been in church every single week without fail. We have been working so hard with them to share the gospel with some of their friends. Up until this past week we hadn´t seen a lot of success. We were praying really hard for them, because the Servin Family was doing their part. They were inviting, testifying, doing everything. This past week we were finally able to teach one of their neighbours. He is a young man named Victor. He is only 14 or 15 but is really intelligent and polite. We taught him a couple of times and the Servin Family brought him to conference yesterday!! Another great miracle. The Lord has really blessed us as we have worked hard with the members and been obedient. I realize now that we were working hard before, but weren´t working well enough with the members. I think that the Lord had us struggle a little bit because He wanted us to learn how to work more effectively.

Apart from that, 3 other investigators made it to church this weekend. The thing is that every one came with a member and was able to sit with that member in church.

Now about General Conference! Wow, so great. I love to always pick out and note the themes of General Conferences. This time there were many messages on the family, the importance of having the goal of the temple, and much about rescuing the less active and reaching out to those who need the Gospel. I received many personal answers during this conference. Dad mentioned the talk by Elder Evans. That was one of my favorites, for sure. It was really powerful when he mentioned that as the conference went on, the Spirit had brought someone to our minds, some prompting came of a person who we needed to reach out to. He promised that as we followed those promptings with faith that we would be able to change a person and, effectively, generations.

I also loved Elder Holland´s talk. Many spoke of how it´s never too late, or never is a person too far away to come back. Very touching. I am so grateful to the Lord and to Jesus Christ for His sacrifice. I know that through Him we can be saved and make our way back to Him. I know that the Atonement is real. I know that through it we can experience the greatest joy and peace of our lives. I know that this true.

I love you all very much! Please keep going onward, I know that we are in the truth. Have a great week!

Elder Snow