Monday, April 27, 2015
To begin and reguarding the "subject" of this email, I will repeat, IT'S HOT. And it's humid. Way more humid than you can imagine. Thus, I pretty much am sweating at any given moment. So that's super fun! But, it could be worse. We could have snow... HAHAHA oh Berlin, Pennsylvania. Good luck with that!
Boy, oh boy, where to start with this week?! It's been great! Our companionship is doing very well and we are happy! This week we taught 40 lessons and found 14 new investigators, so we are happy about that! And, something SO GREAT happened yesterday! I'd like to tell you the story of Juan and Valentina.
In other news, Raul is doing great! He came to church on Sunday and really enjoyed it. The Sunday School lesson was on the organization of the Priesthood and I really think it served him well. It's just so logical! Also, I spoke in church on the Character of Christ (thank you, Elder Bednar, for changing my life with that talk).
Speaking of Elder Bednar... I have some news.
President called me last week. Here's the dialog:
P: Hello, Hermana Snyder, do have a minute?
M: Yes, President, what's up?
P: Hermana, on May 18th, we're going to have a special devotional with the whole mission. I'd like to ask you to play the piano.
M: Sure, no problem, President!
P: Great. The hymns will be 171 and 169, okay?
M: Sounds good! No hay problema.
P: And Hermana... Elder Bednar is coming.
M: ¿¡Qué?! En serio????? *I guess I talk Spanish when I get really excited*
P: Yes, Hermana. En serio.
M: Wow! We've already met once but I'm pretty sure he doesn't remember me!
P: Well, you'll get to meet him again.
M: Wow!!!! Thank you so much, President!
P: No thank you, Hermana. Talk to you soon. Bye.
So, yeah! Elder Bednar is coming to the mission and I get to play the piano! :D Thanks, Mom, for all those years of lessons! I'm pumped. Pretty sure he isn't going to remember me but maybe my fellow Bednars can remind him of who I am so I don't feel like too much of a loser! Haha. Who's excited? I AM!
That's just about all she wrote! I am so happy to be a missionary! I love Huauchinango and the people here. We have lots of work to do, but we are doing our best. I love the Savior and am trying to be like Jesus. :)
Have the best week ever and talk to you soon! Literally! Yay for Mother's Day phone calls!!
I got very sunburned this day because we literally walked up this MOUNTAIN
and I almost died from heat stroke!
We threw a surprise birthday party for Elder Ferguson and he loved it!
Hopefully he is feeling a little more at home. :)
This is Francisco, a member who helps us out with teaching appointments!
He is so funny... this is his signature move!
Monday, April 20, 2015
This week has gone super fast, right? And it's so crazy that on Wednesday I finished 6 months in the mission! Where has the time gone? One-third of my mission has already come and gone... So weird.
What to write, what to write. Josafat and Paola received callings this week! Josafat is 1st counselor in the Sunday School Presidency and Pao is a teacher for Faith in God! So happy for them! They're champions. Victor's so happy and pumped to go to the temple and also share the Gospel, as he's the only member in all of Valle Fenix. He's going to invite his sister to church. :)
This week has been good! We're teaching Raul (did I already tell you about him?) who is doing well, but he hasn't come to church since the first time two weeks ago. He's such a character. He knows a ton about history and religion - he's read the Bible cover-to-cover nine times and reads four chapters every morning! What is even better is committed to read four chapters of the Book of Mormon every day, too! Yessss. What's a little hard is that he is so detail-oriented that he is hung-up on a few things about the BoM. But we're working on it. He was a pastor/preacher-type-deal in another church for a bunch of years but left because of things he had seen and doctrines that he didn't agree with. Please pray for Raul! And for us! We need all the help we can get to know how to teach him and resolve his doubts. Thank goodness for the Spirit and that He helps us when we have no idea what to say!
One thing that was pretty tough this week is that in weekly planning, we dropped all but eight of our investigators. We realized that we had been planning for the same people over and over again who were not progressing towards baptisms, so we decided to drop them! You know how scary that is? When in the back of your mind you're thinking, "How in the heck am I going to teach 40 lessons this week when we don't have anyone to teach?!" (40 lessons is the standard of excellence). But, ya know, we did it. And it was an act of faith! Since that day, we've found a very promising new investigator every day! It's becoming so clear to me that the Lord requires a show of faith before He works the miracles in our lives.
I also want to share with you what I wrote the President this morning, a realization that I have had...
In my companionship with Sister Zenteno, it was always so impressive to me the spirit of my companion. Her spirit is so delicate and sensitive to the Holy Ghost and as a result, the smallest transgressions cause such guilt in her heart, enough to really change her way of living and being. I have always thought of her and her character so spiritual - for me really an example of someone who has changed their nature.
I remember so clearly a district class where we talked about exact obedience. I thought we were being obedient and had no reason to worry. But after class, Sister Zenteno was obviously sad. We went to a room in the chapel and she said she felt very guilty for not being compliant with the rules of 45 minutes in lessons and one hour in meals. She wanted to repent. Really, in my mind I was thinking that the situation was a little crazy, that no one could fully obey those rules and that we were striving to do our best. But nonetheless, she said a prayer to ask for forgiveness.
I have thought of that day a lot and the impact it has had on me. It made me really think about my own nature and if I am changing from a natural man into a divine being. When President wrote a letter challenging us to read the Book of Mormon in two months, one thing really called my attention ... Something like "We will pray for the disposition to do good always." From the day I read that part of his letter, I have prayed every time I read the Book of Mormon for that disposition and a change in my nature to be more spiritual than carnal. This week I realized that I can really see that change in my heart. The littlest things have a the hugest impact on my spirit. It hurts my heart when even the smallest rule is broken. I can say that Heavenly Father has answered me by giving me a "disposition to do good always." I owe so many thanks to President for this challenge to read the Book of Mormon with this goal as an end. He is so inspired. I'm so grateful for this change in my nature that has prepared me a little more for the eternities.
I love you so much! You're the best people in the world!
Love, love, looooooooooove,
Our district represents: Colombia, Honduras, Niceragua, Mexico, and the United States
(double representation from PA, yessssss:)
Monday, April 13, 2015
Hola familia! It is currently storming, so that's fun! Last night it was really storming, too. I can't lie, I was a little scared! Thunder and lightning and all the works... So we ran into the house of a member to get out of the storm (and taught a very uplifting lesson of course:). But that's Huauchi in a nutshell! 2 hours ago it was blazing hot. You never know what to expect here!
Good news, WE BAPTIZED VICTOR!!!!!!! Whoooooo! I am so happy. He is the best. The bayyyyyyst. His conversion has been a little long and little rocky, but we made it! And he is so happy. As you know, the story of how we found Victor is a miracle. One night, we found him with 3 friends in the street, talking and listening to music. We took down their addresses but Victor's was pretty vague and we didn't really have toooo many intentions of going to search for him. One day, a week or 2 later, we decided to go discover a new colony that we had never gone to - Valle Fenix. We didn't knock any doors, except for one. A rough-looking old guy opened up and told us we was not interested. Okay. We were about to leave, but Hermana Zenteno saw someone on the 3rd floor washing his dishes - Victor. She asked the old guy if we could talk to him and he basically said, "Sure, he's my nephew... Have at it." And thus began the story of Victor! We began teaching him and quickly realized that he is so special. He has the noblest of hearts and the purest of intentions. We could feel the Spirit in every lesson and he was keeping all of his committments. But with time, we began to run into some stumbling blocks. Turns out he had a girlfriend that was married with 5 kids. And for a while he lost all desires to go to church and read the Book of Mormon. It seems that Satan was really working in his life. We thought about and prayed for him, and Hermana Sosa had pretty much given up on him. But I couldn't let him go! I have always felt that there was something different about him, and that the Lord has many blessings in store for him, and so I was stubborn and wouldn't let him go! So we kept on visiting him, and with time, he began to change. He started to read the Book of Mormon every day and totally dropped his girlfriend. He began to go to church every Sunday and accepted everything we taught with complete faith. In one lesson, he began to cry... He said, "Thank you for never leaving. I know that I haven't always been the person that I know I should have been or done everything that you asked me to do, and so I thank you for never leaving. You really believed in me. I want to be part of your family; you are different." And now, Victor is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! I am so happy!!! And what is even better is that HE is so happy! I just know that the Lord has been waiting to shower him with blessings from on High! :)
So that's the big news this week. I don't even know what else to write! Victor's baptism was definitely the highlight. I had exchanges with Sister Training Leader Hermana Riding this week. She's super cute. Actually, she's the mama of Hermana Sosa (her trainer)! That's pretty crazy! It's a small missionary world!
This week I feel like I have learned a lot. I am learning more about my companion every day and how strong she has had to be in her conversion. None of her family is active in the church. Her mom and some of her siblings and super less-active and her dad isn't a member. In fact, her parents aren't even married; her mom got baptized while they were separated for a little bit. I guess I never realized the huge affect that her childhood and youth have had on her personality and emotions. This week, for different reasons, I really realized that I have been faltering in many aspects of this companionship. My sweet little companion needs a lot of love and support, and I don't think that I have been giving her enough of either. I feel like this week in the mission has changed my life - it has shown me many of my flaws and the ways in which I must change. Although sometimes it is painful, it is necessary, and really I am grateful. I am thankful for this companionship and all that I am learning with Hermana Sosa.
Well, that's all I got in this ol' head of mine! I love you and so happy to be a missionary! Thanks for all your prayers and support and love. You're my faves!!!
Con todo mi amor,
Monday, April 6, 2015
Let me start out by saying that Huauchinango has had some stinking hot days this week!!! Huauchi is one of the hottest areas in the mission, and she's really shown her colors this week. Aaaaaaaand it's only April. This summer, I am pretty sure I am going to die. But it's all good!
The new area is AWESOME. We redivided Huauchi and we inherited some pretty awesome land. We stole a little colony from the Elders and received a few of their investigators and some great members. Yesss! That's how you do missionary work! And we are discovering some new colonies where I am pretty sure the other Sisters NEVER went, so there have to be some of the Lord's chosen there! Whoo! We're doing a lot of walking and I am pretty sure I am sweating off some of those taquitos, so that's good!
Ahhh, what has even happened this week? We are doing a lot of work with the initiative Because He Lives, and I just love it so much. The other day, we found a new investigator by using the initiative, taught the Restoration, and she accepted a baptismal date by saying, "I would love to!" Yesssssssssss! I have never heard anyone answer so enthusiastically, so it made me so happy. :) Also, Victor is gearing up for his baptism and is so excited! AHHHHHH I AM SO HAPPY FOR HIM. He came to conference on Sunday and everything is just so great. He said that he just wants the day to come already! I love him so much. He is so humble and I just know that the Lord has tons of blessings awaiting him.
Today for P-day we played basketball with some of the young men and the bishop and his wife. So dang fun! I haven't played in so long... It felt good to really be out of breath! Haha! Aaaaaand, I don't want to brag or anything but I beat my District Leader Elder Zeledón in 1-on-1. He's super athletic (before the mission, he was playing on a young guys professional soccer team in Nicaragua) and can definitely play ball, but I beat him. :) Yessssss. Good ol' Berlin dun me good!
And ohhhhhhhhhhh! I have news! Elder Zeledón is training a new missionary who is straight from the Mexico City MTC. Guess where he is from?! Take a wild guess!!! PITTSBURGH. Yes, he's from the Burgh! How wild!!! He is big on baseball and says that PNC Park is his favorite place on earth. What?! What a miracle! It's so great. He's a really good missionary from what I have seen and knows a ton of Spanish already - more than I knew when I arrived! He also went to BYU-I for a semester so we have a lot in common! Crazy small world!
I loved Conference this past weekend and was able to learn so many things. A few talks that I loved - Elder Bednar on fear, Elder Uchtdorf on grace, and Elder Nelson on the Sabbath Day. So great. I think that we should all come out of Conference with things that we know we need to change, and these talks helped me understand what those things are for me. I definitely thought about our family during Elder Nelson's talk and know that if the Sabbath Day is a reflection of the attitude we have towards God, there are things that we can improve. President Monson is so cute and I loved his talk about temples. 3 new temples to be built! How incredible! I am so grateful for a living prophet!
Something pretty sad happened this week - President had to send home 4 missionaries. It becomes more and more evident to me each day that this mission is a battlefield. What's at stake is salvation. The salvation of many souls - missionaries, members, and non-members alike. In the mission field you are on the front lines and there are 2 options, to win or to lose... win or lose your salvation, that is. The person you become on your mission is most likely the person you will be for your life, and the person you are in your life is a good reflection of the person you will be in the eternities. Basically what I am saying is there's no time like the present. Right now, in the stage of life that you are currently in, is the time to change! It's time to grow into your divine potential! The plan of salvation is designed so we can change our natures and win the prize! Why sink when we were designed to swim?
I love you all so much. You inspire me every day. When I think I can't walk another step in the blazing Mexican sun, I think of my family and the missionary that you think I am and expect me to be.
Love you with all of my heart!
PITTSBURGH! Elder Ferguson and me. (Pardon the red-facedness. This was right after I beat Elder Zeledón:)
La familia Caro :)
It rained and there wasn't a dry inch on our bodies!
This wasn't today... It was Tuesday, I think? But we were about to divide up Huauchinango. Here we are playing for Santa Cruz, a gold mine of investigators and members! Dang it, though! Rafael and I lost!