This is our blog about the adventures and experiences of two Snyder kids as they serve missions, one in Mexico and one in Japan, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These are the weekly emails and pictures they send home.

Monday, July 27, 2015

(Hermana S.) Pancho Special!

Hello beautiful family!

So great that you've arrived out West! Actopan reminds me a lot of Montana sometimes - the mountains, the dryness, the feel. So that's comforting! We had a great week! I love Actopan. The members here are so great, especially the ward leaders. Bishop García has to be one of the best bishops I have ever seen. He is so great. And his dad and two brothers and their families are also in the ward and so their family is a great strength. This ward is stinking huge! Lots of members and lots of ground to cover. But it's a great challenge. And it's going to get even greater pretty soon because... the STLs (Hermana Zenteno and Hermana Langon) are getting shipped out! Sooo it happens again! In a week more, we're going to get a whole lot more ground to cover. Their area includes more than 45 little pueblitos, which are now going to be divided up between the 4 of us. Yippee! Haha, the truth is that I love it. I am 90% sure that we are going to be getting bikes by the end of the week, so I'm pumped! 

This week really has been great. I have a great little story to tell you about sweet little Francisco. On Sunday, a sister from the ward gave us 100 pesos because she was going to feed us on Wednesday but it turns out she was headed out of town. So, we were planning on Tuesday night and a thought came to my mind. We were going to eat at Jamaiquitas which is right across the street from Francisco's house, and I thought, Why don't we invite el hermano to eat with us? Francisco is almost always alone or his family is in the house and they don't talk to him, so he feels lonely a lot. So we called him and asked if we could teach him at 2:00 and then go eat afterwards. He said yes, of course! So the next day we went out to work and ended up arriving at his house at 2:45, but when we got there, he told us he had made food! We taught him a little lesson and then ate seriously the best meal I have had here in Actopan! Francisco was in the States for 12 years working in restaurants and so he knows how to cook! Seriously, so good! And it was the sweetest thing... I know he had been cooking all day for us - "the Pancho Special" as he called it! Haha. Yesterday, he told this story to all the brethren in Priesthood, and said that we called him in the exact moment that he was feeling really low. His wife had just pushed him over the limit and he was feeling sad. Our phone call and the meal the next day was just what he needed. :)

This week we found 16 new investigators! Lots of families, so we are super happy about that. This week, Leonel, who is the husband of a member and has gone to church for many years but has not wanted to get baptized, accepted our invitation! Also, we have decided to drop a few investigators that we have been teaching for a long time to show our faith that the Lord has people prepared for us to find. I am just loving the mission. It's the best. I love my companion and we are working hard. This week I have my interview with Presidente and it should be great. He is so wise and spiritual and always gives the best council. The Mission Mexico Pachuca is definitely the best in the world! (Sorry, Jake!) 

Love you all so much!
Hna. Snyder

 The "Pancho Special"

 We make a pretty great team!

 I love Actopan!

(Elder S.) Snyda's Hambagas

Hey, family! I hope you've had a good week! I had a pretty good week myself.
Wednesday before I left Takasaki, Ishida and Michiko asked if I would
go visit them one last time in the morning before my train left. It
was pretty awesome. A while back we told them that I made the
apartment some really awesome American hamburgers and they thought
they were awesome. So Ishida and Michiko have been planning to open a
restaurant in Takasaki called "Snyda's Hambagas". Haha!! I don't think
it's gonna happen but it's pretty funny. They also wrote me a goodbye
letter that I can't read at all 'cause it's in kanji which is the crazy
characters. Ishida has been super busy lately but he promised me
that he's gonna get baptized next month. I'm really excited and
hopeful he does because I'll get to go back to Takasaki for his baptism.

Yachiyo is really awesome. I'm super glad to be here. There's a lot of
Hispanics here too. We have a Spanish Sacrament meeting Sunday night
which is cool so watch out, Kels! I'll give your Spanish a run for its
money! The main ward is about 50 active members. The Bishop is
definitely the coolest Japanese guy I've ever met. He's 30 years old
and actually lived in America for 10 years, for jr. high, high school
and college. We've decided that once you've lived in America you're
never the same. He just acts American and it's awesome, haha! I
never realized how much pride we Americans have in our country until I've
lived with American missionaries.. It's way funny. We have some great
investigators, too. Two of them have baptism dates for next month. One
is Takano who is 21 and Flávio who is full Brazilian and about 17.
Seth, you should teach me some stuff to say to him in Portuguese.
There are some other people I'm really looking forward to teaching.

Elder Canfield is a health nut so we're doing some hardcore dieting
and exercising. He says he can get me down 15 lbs this transfer so
we'll see how it goes, haha. It's pretty fun being back with Elder
Canfield. I'm super excited for this transfer. I think we're gonna see a
lot of awesome miracles! I love you guys!

Elder Snyder

 REAL Ramen noodles!  Mmmmm....

Pretty Yachiyo

Monday, July 20, 2015

(Hermana S.) Fear not!

Hellllllllllllooooo beautiful family! I just love reading all your emails. And I am so dang happy for Sadie! She is going to be a rocking missionary.

To update you: Judith is doing awesome! I love her... seriously one of the most incredible people I have ever taught. She's so cute! We give her the little pamphlets to read to prepare for our lessons. She reads them all, looks up the scriptures, and writes out the answers to the questions in the back!!! On Sunday she had to work, but she went to Sacrament Meeting before. I am so grateful for our sweet little Judith! Also, we are teaching a new investigator, Lucia, who went to church so we had a new baptismal date this week! She is doing very well but it's a little different because she can't read. We are going to read with her so that she can gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon.  

This week has been very good. My companion really is fabulous! I love her so much ... she is a missionary with great potential. If after 4 weeks she is so awesome, wow, I cannot imagine how amazing she will be in a few months. She is very bold and direct and tries hard to be a worthy representative of Jesus Christ. We have the same vision in this work and I really enjoy every day because we arrive to the house in the night just about dead, knowing that we have given everything. 

This week my companion and I started missionary purification (I'm sure you can look it up on google to see what I am talking about. It's basially a 40-day fast from anything "worldly" that might impede you from having the Spirit). I'm really excited for the opportunity to do it again. But this time I feel something different, more of a desire to change everything - all my desires, thoughts, and really my nature. We have committed ourselves to being exactly obedient and the Lord has helped us a lot. Lately, the time in lessons has been stressing me out a lot, but thanks to the grace of God we have been able to be very obedient this week with 45 minutes or less. 

What has been a little more difficult is the things of the mind. I read recently the attributes of the "fourth missionary" and I realized that I need to give God my wishes. Everything that I love - singing, theater, sports, my studies - are good but I have to give them all to the Lord for the rest of my mission. And as it says in the purification, when I put them down on paper as things that I would fast from thinking about or doing, immediately the desire to do them grew. I just had a dream that I could not be in a musical because I was going on the mission and in the dream I began to cry, haha! The battle of the mind is the hardest. But I am confident that if the Lord can help us with some things on the list, you can help us with all of them. 

This morning I felt the impression to study a story from the Bible for an investigator. But now I realize that I also needed to read it for me. 2 Kings 6:16-17  

16.  And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17.  And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. 

I believe in the power of God. He has manifested it in my mission. I know that His armies are infinitely greater than those of the adversary. We have all the armor we need to defeat the enemy, even the natural man in us!

Love you so much! I hope you have a great trip to MT! I can't believe you're taking the dog! Hahaha
Hna. Snyder

Love these hermanas!

Monday, July 13, 2015

(Hermana S.) Some things I've learned

Hello familia! ¿Como están? Creo que sería más fácil escribir en español pero les amo entonces aquí está en inglés. :)

It's been a good week in Actopan! We've been able to find some very awesome new investigators, and Judith, Griselda, and the rest are still as awesome as ever. Ok, actually maybe a little less awesome  because no one came to church yesterday. Sometimes it's hard to be a missionary, ya know? We went to four different houses yesterday before church to pick up our investigators to no avail. Only Judith opened the door and she said she got food poisoning so she couldn't go. Food poisoning? Really? Not a good reason to skip church... hahaha. That's a joke. I understand Judith, but the other 10 or so? Sometimes I just have to take a few deep breaths, remember that I have to set a good example for Hermana Cevallos, and keep on keeping on! The good news is that yesterday a less-active family that we are teaching who have been members for 20 years and sealed in the temple, went. Happy for that. Glass half-full, right?

Before I forget, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!!!!!!!  You are my favorite mom ever!!! I love you so very much. You're such a great example of sweetness and kindness, always caring about the feelings of others before yourself. So selfless and hardworking. I love to tell people about you are the incredible person that you are. You're the bayyyyyst.

 This week, I finish up half of my mission. 9 months from tomorrow, I'll be on a plane to PA. That's SO WEIRD. I can't even think about it. Today, I don't know if I'm feeling nostalgic or what, but I'd like to tell you about some of the things I have learned in these 9 months. 

1. Humility. It's the source of all other Christlike attributes. If we aren't humble, we can't have faith or charity or be obedient. It's so much more than following your leaders and not talking back to those who hurt you. It's a way of being. True humility starts from our hearts, moves to our thoughts, and comes out in actions. It's being genuine and not wanting to impress others but wanting to live true to the Lord. I have a long way to go with true humility.
2. Obedience. Not because we want blessings, but because we love the Lord. The Lord knows that 3 minutes aren't very many minutes, but 3 minutes show whether we are willing to obey because we think we should be obedient, or if we obey with exactness because we love Him with all of our hearts. We should pray for the desire to be exactly obedient so that we can change our nature to be more like the Savior. If we do, and with time and practice, the Lord through His great enabling power will change our hearts so that we "have no more desire to do evil, but to do good continually."
3. Charity. It's the pure love of Christ towards all men. Charity doesn't need to ask what's wrong. It sees a troubled heart and acts immediately, without judgement. It doesn't matter why. Charity doesn't think "Aw, well he brought it upon himself!" or "It's really all in her head." Charity soothes the worried mind and cheers the sorrowed heart. It remembers our baptismal covenants to "mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort."

I love the mission. I love the Gospel. I love the Savior. He is the perfect example. I have so very far to go. I can only pray for forgiveness and His divine help to make me into the person that He needs me to be. May we all be painfully aware of ourselves and continue on the path to become who He wants us to be!

Hermana Snyder  

(Elder S.) Lovin' some American food!

Hey, family! It was a great week and also not a great week. It was great 'cause
I love being a missionary and I know this is the Lord's work. It was
not so great because we had a lottt of lessons cancel on us or they
just didn't show up. It stinks when that happens. They don't know what
they're missing out on.

I can't believe I've been back for a month already! It's gone by so
quick. So, Takasaki is in the Gunma prefecture which is just the name
they use for state here. Gunma is the 2nd hottest prefecture in Japan
and we've really felt it here the past week. It's been around 97ish
degrees the past few days and today it was 102 plus about 70%
humidity. And they say it's only gonna get a lot hotter in August. I
don't stop sweating from the time we leave the apartment after study
until the time we get home at night. I've had tons of people tell me
I'm gonna lose a lot of weight this summer, haha! Should be fun. On the
other hand we ate at another member's house on Sunday and the wife is
from America, so we had American food and also two desserts, root beer
floats and brownie sundaes. It was great but we could barely walk
afterwards cause we ate so much. They say "betsu bara" which pretty
much translates to "different stomach" telling you to just keep eating,

Transfer calls are on Monday.. I'm kinda nervous because threesomes are
pretty rare so I don't think we'll stay together. Elder Richards is
Elder Ito's trainer and they usually stay together for two transfers so
there's a chance I might be leaving. I sure hope not 'cause I just got
here and I love it. Takasaki is so great! Our new mission Pres. is
President Nagano. He's awesome and way funny. He's Japanese but has
lived in America for several years. I'm definitely looking forward to
working with him the next few years.

Well, Ishida is really having a tough time quitting tea right now so we
are bumping his baptism date back a few weeks. He's been really busy
lately so we haven't been able to meet him as much. That's tough when
you're trying to prepare someone for baptism. His niece is still there
but isn't showing signs of stopping tea anytime soon. Well just keep
praying for her. We have some other investigators too but none who are
progressing too well right now. Keep praying for them!

I love you guys and love the Gospel! I hope you're doing great and
strengthening your testimonies everyday.


 Met up with my MTC companion!

 We ate soooo much!!

I love American food!

Monday, July 6, 2015

(Hermana S.) Oh what a beautiful mooooooorning! (and by morning I mean week!)

Speaking of musicals, I miss them!  

This week has been great! Judith finally came to church, which was AWESOME. She loved it. We had a Family Home Evening with the Martinez family and Judith's family and it was a success because the Martinez's picked her up for church on Sunday. So great. One thing that's a little tough is that the members sometimes forget to welcome or introduce themselves to our investigators at church. It's a huge ward of like 200 but sometimes we as members are in our happy little Mormon bubble and don't want to leave our comfort zone. Never in my life had I ever thought of the importance of welcoming the missionaries' investigators, but, oh, how important it is! Please make sure that any time you see someone you don't know at church, welcome them! Introduce yourself! Get to know their story! By showing interest in their lives, we can perform a great service for our Heavenly Father by loving His children.

Also, this week we found some very, very awesome investigators. We found Griselda, a teacher who is willing to do whatever it takes to find an answer. She accepted a baptismal date and was going to go to church on Sunday, but she sent us message yesterday in the morning telling us that she could not because she was feeling sick. Yesterday, we fasted for a few different things, one being to find a family. Then in the evening we passed by Griselda's house to see how she was doing, but she could not accept us. They had just given her a shot because she was very ill. We decided to say a prayer with her son, Aldo, who is 21 years old . From Aldo we discovered many things about his life and the life of his family, and learned of many needs that can be filled by the Gospel. We taught the plan of salvation and he accepted everything with great reverence . He accepted a baptismal date and an appointment to visit with him and his mom this week. I know this is a chosen family! 

We also found a great new investigator named Ana Maria, who is also a teacher and is incredibly awesome. #weregoingtobaptizeher

Hermana Avalos is so great... but she is no longer Hermana Avalos, haha. She asked President to use her other name, which is Cevallos (se-va-yos) because it is the last name of her mom. But she is still cute as ever! We get along great and laugh a lot and have the same vision. I love being with her. Sometimes I forget I am training because she teaches me every day.

I loved the letter from President this week, which told us about Molango, that the Elders there just baptized a family this weekend. Molango is the farthest area in the mission and is a tiny little branch in the middle of a tiny little town. There are only 2 Elders there that aren't part of any district and sometimes go months without seeing other missionaries. But they Elders who have been in Molango in these past few months have done a great work. In 2015, there have been 11 baptisms of real converts. It is inspiring to me to hear this. It reminds me that in all of the world, there are the Lord's chosen that he has prepared - we just have to find them. May we press forward with this in mind, knowing that we are all part of this grand work! 

Love you all so much, 
Hna. Snyder

Aranza is leaving for her mission tomorrow! We are going to miss her!
 (Also, happy 4th of July from my outfit! :) 

 Three generations! (My trainer, me, a future trainer)

All the sisters in the zone 

Funny story. This kitty started following us down the road. We didn't want him to get squished, so we scooped him up. Then, after about 5 minutes of walking, we thought, "Annnd what are we going to do with this cat?!" Luckily, an investigator walked past us and with gave her the kitty to return to where we had picked him up. #tendermercies 

(Elder S.) Rainy season

It was another great week in Japan. Except that it's rainy season and

it rains every single dang day. That's not too fun but I'm super glad
I bought a nice rain suit. We ate at 2 members houses this week which
is very rare. Elder Richards has eaten at a members house 4 times on
his mission and 3 were in the past 3 weeks, haha. The members here in
Takasaki are pretty great. Our goal this transfer was to work with the
ward members as much as possible, so we've been trying to visit and
talk to members every day. The bishop knows our plan to work with the
members and yesterday during testimony meeting he had all six
missionaries here stand up and he said something nice about each one of
us. He told the ward how much we need them and it was so awesome. All
the missionaries also got up and bore our testimonies. I'm super
excited to see what's going to happen.

Other than that the work was pretty tough this week. We've been
talking to everyone we see on the street and sharing our message. We
also knocked on a lot of doors this week but no one seems to want to talk
to us :(  Sometimes it's pretty frustrating but we just have to keep

Something awesome did happen this week, though! Ishida finally received
a spiritual confirmation that the gospel is true. On Tuesday we had a
great lesson and afterwards he said he felt something that he hadn't
felt before and it was just a super happy and warm feeling. We told
him it was the Holy Ghost. The next day we asked him if he knew the
Book of Mormon was true and he said after what he felt the day before
he knew it was true. It was really awesome. I know that it was through
his faith and prayer that he was able to receive a confirmation of the
truthfulness of the Gospel.

I know this is the Lord's work. I know the Gospel is true and I love
sharing it every day here in Japan. Love you guys!