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, November 30, 2015

(Hermana S.) Thanksgiving in Mexico and Christmas Initiative!

Hello, beautiful people!
Another week has come and gone, how can that be? Sometimes the mission seems like a dream. This week I am SO PUMPED for the new initiative, A Savior Is Born! Ha nacido un Salvador! Seriously, we are getting into it! We had our weekly planning session this week and were thinking about how to really utilize this initiative and we had a pretty sweet idea. We've already visited with 3 families from the ward to share with them the initiative. Then, we gave them a bunch of little cards so that they can invite their friends and neighbors to a family home evening with the theme "A Savior Is Born!" We will watch the video and then share a small message with everyone. We have 3 family home evenings coming up already this week! It should be a great way to get the members involved and use the initiative! I know that it will bring marvelous results! I want to invite you to do it too! Get together with the missionaries and plan a day to have a family home evening. Ask them for cards to give out to your friends and neighbors. Invite lots! What I have come to understand as a missionary is that if we want a few to come, we must invite many! So get to inviting! And then have your FHE in the house with your friends. Watch the video and let the missionaries share a short message. I know that you will see great blessings!
And check out this amazing page the Church has made! The videos, the... everything! SO GREAT!
Share it with EVERYONE!

This week I had a sacred experience during the Sacrament. We only had 1 investigator in church and I was so frustrated about the families that flaked out and didn't show up. I wrote down my thoughts in my agenda...

"Today I can feel just the slightest bit of the pain I imagine the Savior feeling. I can just hear Him... 'Why don't you accept my sacrifice? It's free! It won't cost you a thing. I've already paid the price. Take it. I want you to take it.' Today I felt a bit of His pain. In my heart, I am saying, 'Why don't you just accept my sacrifice? I am here for you! I don't care about anything else! Just accept what I have to give you. I will give you my all.' And when they reject, I feel sad. But not sad for me, I feel so sad for them! I don't care about me, reject me all you want. All I really care about is them. Every bit of this small sacrifice is for them."

Oh how grateful I am for our Savior Jesus Christ. I know His grace is free. It doesn't cost a thing. He wants us to embrace this sacrifice that He has freely given. I know I will forever be indebted to Him. It's for that reason that I serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. Because I will never be able to repay Him, but I can show Him my love. That's why I obey - because I love Him and will follow Him forever.
I love you all so very much! I am so grateful for you! Have the best week ever!
A Savior is Born!
Hna. Snyder

I was remembering back to a year ago when I arrived here in Mexico and I was just so sad that they don't celebrate Thanksgiving here. A guess a perk to being in the big city is that the people are a little more aware of ward culture! So, a family in the ward invited us to eat with them! It was so cute. We ate turkey! It wasn't quite as delicious as the Snyder Family Thanksgiving, but I'll take it! I made everyone say something they're thankful for. :) I am thankful to be in the mission. What a blessing it is turning out to be. I never could have imagined the impact it would make in my life and in my eternity.

Monday, November 23, 2015

(Hermana S.) The Value of Hard Work

Hello family! 

It's been an interesting week. We accomplished a lot of goals we had set as companions but it ended a little tough because no one went to church. No one! That was sad. But we keep working. I know the Lord blesses us for our efforts and obedience. "I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say..." Yesterday we were able to have a lesson with a little 9 year old girl who hasn't been baptized yet but has decided to do it! Whoo! We're gonna help her do it. :) 

I forgot to tell you guys an amazing story. We were looking at the ward directory for people we don't know and saw Gustavo S. We put in the plan to go look for his house but we weren't able to find him. Then, in the night the ward mission leader was accompanying us. All of the appointments fell through so we said a prayer in the street to be directed to where we were needed in that moment. We opened our eyes and this drunk guy approached us and said to the ward mission leader, "Hey, you remember who I am? " He thought for a minute and then replied, "Gustavo S?!" Gustavo was baptized 15 years ago and ended up going down the wrong path afterwards. He wants to change and, well, he's changing! Since that night, he's gone to church two Sundays in a row and he's found a job. He gets to church all nice and clean, smelling good and super sober! He reads the Book of Mormon and has not taken one drink! He is literally a walking miracle! Working with people like Gustavo makes this all worth it.

Today we had a zone activity so I don't have much time to write. But I've been thinking a lot of one word: WORK. President wrote us a great letter last week that I am going to send you. Translate it and read it! I loved it. And in response to his letter, I wrote him this:

P.S. I love your letter this week! It reminds me a little of my childhood, even though it sounds like you still worked way more than me. :) Growing up on a farm is something that I am so grateful for. I'll never forget on one occasion when my dad gave me an assignment: go shovel out all of the weeds in one of the corn fields. Now this was not a small cornfield. And they weren't small weeds either. Every time I found one I had to dig all around the exterior for about 15 minutes to be about to get down deep enough to shovel it out with all my might. It was a hot summer and I was about 14 years old. After the first day, I had blisters upon blisters on my hands. I thought I was going to die out there alone! It wasn't punishment or to be cruel and I still don't know exactly why my dad made me do it alone. But after a week's work, I think I could understand a little bit better the importance of hard work. And over a lifetime of small lessons a lot like this one, oh how grateful I am for the person they have helped me to become! Now, when we recite, "The field is white already to harvest," I think of my dad and how he would feel after working and preparing a grand crop only to see it go to waste because of lack of help. I know that we are the workers! The field really is white, and we are the hands that get the job done.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the great childhood you gave me! The value of hard work is, well, priceless. How grateful I am to be able to have learned so early in my life of this important principle. 

Have the best week ever. Love yinz!

Hna. Snyder

(Elder S.) No time for an email this week

My companion and me in front of lady liberty at Odaiba

Went to conveyor belt sushi with an investigator.
 Guess which stack of plates is mine. HAHA

Monday, November 16, 2015

(Hermana S.) I love this work!

Hola familia!
Lots has happened this week! First the bad news... Simon and Silvia told us they don't want to listen to us anymore: :'( I know, my heart broke too. They are both about 65 years old and have 7 kids and basically they said that it would be too hard to change at this season of their life. We are sad. But we're not losing hope not even for a second! We were able to find 18 new investigators this week, and the best part is... they're FAMILIES! We've looked a lot, contacted a lot, knocked a lot of doors, and I know that we've found some great new people. 

Specifically, we have a new golden family that are our neighbors! They literally live in the apartment beneath us! Who would've known that they we were just waiting for the right opportunity to draw closer to God after the many trials they've faced in their lives?! They went to church yesterday and loved it. They had a great experience and are SO GREAT. It's a young couple with a little 1-year-old baby. Finding this family has really made me think... the "chosen ones" are literally all around us! But we will never know that they're chosen and prepared unless we talk to them! "The field is white already to harvest," and we are the hands that do the harvesting!
And the incredible part is that most of these families were references from other "inspired doors!" We would knock a door, the person would tell us they aren't interested, we would ask, "Who else do you know who could be interested in learning more about this message?" or "Who else do you know that we can help?" ...and after a little prodding and convincing, they would tell us, "Maybe this new family who lives two houses down!" or "Maybe this lady who stopped going to our church would be interesting in listening to you guys!" Then we would go to their house and offer a blessing and invite them to baptism and they would say YES! It's really incredible. The Lord puts a little speed bump in the way sometimes so that we must talk to someone to be able to really find a "chosen one." After the show of our faith comes the miracle! I know that we must ask references from EVERYONE! There's a good tip to give to the Elders in the branch. Every contact, every lesson, every meal, every family... As Preach My Gospel teaches us, we must always "ask the question!" (And if we're not missionaries we must always give an answer! That is... a reference!) 

 I just love this work so much. I know that there are people waiting and we as missionaries, we who call ourselves representatives of Jesus Christ, must do HIS work. Not our work, not our will, but His.
This email has a lot of exclamation points, right? Haha. I guess I am just a little excited. I love you all so much! Have the best, most spiritual week of your life!
Hna. Snyder

(Elder S.) Testimony of the Restoration


 We had a great week this week! Today was great because we got
to go to the Temple. So awesome! Temple p-days are great.

So first off our investigator T, who I had talked a lot about
when I first got to Yachiyo has started progressing again! He's
decided that he needs to really give this another go. He's doing
really well again and actually quit drinking coffee for a little
while. (Huge step). I had a pretty cool experience with one of our
members last week too. He has been having a really hard time getting
off work for church on Sundays and is really disappointed because he
says he's keeping all of the commandments except for the Sabbath day.
I was actually able to share from Kelsey's last email the story about
R and his experience with sacrificing his job for Sundays, and
then receiving a huge blessing for it. He really felt the Spirit and
is going to sacrifice more to come to church on Sunday. I know God
blesses us for sacrificing our wants, or even things we think we might
need, to keep His commandments.

The church is true! I gave a talk this week at church and got to talk
about how the Restoration is the foundation of our testimonies. I
shared parts of 3 different conference talks: 1st, "Catch the Wave"
Russell M. Nelson, April 2013. 2nd, "Joseph Smith" Neil L. Anderson,
October 2014. And 3rd, "Are you sleeping through the Restoration?"
President Uchtdorf, April 2014. (You should read them). When we gain a
firm testimony in the Restoration of the Gospel and the Prophet Joseph
Smith, our faith in the Gospel will never waiver. The great thing is,
is that as we build our testimony of this, and continue to receive
those spiritual confirmations, our desire to share the happiness of
the gospel will grow. Continue to strengthen your testimony in the

Love you guys!! Elder Snyder

Monday, November 9, 2015

(Hermana S.) Baptism!!

R's baptism - ACCOMPLISHED!

Yesterday we had a very beautiful baptismal service for R! The first convert baptism in the area since March! We are so happy! He is so great. A little story about him... He has wanted to be baptized for a long time now. So when he was offered a new, better work opportunity where he would make a lot more money a few months ago, he turned it down because he would have to work Sundays. About a week later, he was blessed with a second offer, even BETTER, where he would have the opportunity to rest Sundays and go to church. I know that the Lord will bless us and provide the way if we have a sincere desire to keep his commandments. Oh, how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to help R make his first covenant!

It's been a good week in Tecnologico! Yesterday S and S went to church again! They are progressing along well. They have lots of doubts and fears, but little by little those doubts are being resolved and strengthening their faith. I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and they are reading and doing their part, so I know they will receive a clear answer soon. PRAY FOR THEM!

Also, we had a new family go to church yesterday, the T's! They are such a great family. We found them by knocking their door the day of the mom's birthday. It was a sweet little surprise for her and we gave a blessing of their home. They might have a bit of a slower process but they always keep their commitments and I know that the Lord has great things in store for them!

We had our meeting with the ward mission leader on Friday and it was great because he's called 7 ward missionaries who are all ready to work. Just about all of them are returned missionaries and I am hoping that this is going to be a great opportunity to get the ward more involved with the work. And yesterday I gave a talk in church, so hopefully that will take hold of their hearts and we'll really get the ball rolling. I have been studying the New Testament and my study has helped me to come to understand something very important: all of the miracles of the Savior occurred after a show of faith. Whether it be our faith that heals us personally or our faith that heals someone else, the Lord requires that we reach out and act so that he can perform His miracles. When we are healed personally by the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we must reach out and go to the rescue of someone else who needs to be carried and brought before the Savior for help.

We must be that person. I promise that if you begin to lead others unto the Savior, you, in turn, will come to know Him better. You in turn will spend more time with Him. Remember that the Lord of the vineyard always works with His servants. The more time you spend in His vineyard, the more time you spend with Him. You will feel His healing powers and His great love in your life. I promise... from experience!

Love you all so very much! :)
Hna. Snyder

(Elder S.) Wonderful people!

Helloooooooooo! Down goes another week in paradise. I don't think
there's another place in the world like Japan. Only two percent
Christian, but some of the most Christ-like people you'll ever meet.
Then you meet the members of the church and its x10. It's great!

It was a bit of a disappointing week because many of our investigators
with lots of potential are so busy they can't meet with us very often.
It stinks! But the big focus right now is on member work. Here's a
crazy stat:

0.1% of people found through missionaries' personal finding efforts go
on to get baptized. 60% of referrals given to the missionaries from
members are baptized. That's crazy!

So, we have been trying really hard to work with and build the
testimonies of the members here. I talk about Bishop Fukawa a lot, so
you probably all know he's awesome. But, we have been discussing with
him how to get the other members into it, too. He tells us that he
feels sometimes like he's the only one here that wants to be involved
with the missionary work. Mostly everyone else is old and doesn't want
to share the gospel. We need to change that! But probably my favorite
part of the week was that three of the less active young men that
we have been working with came to church on Sunday! It was awesome and
everyone was way happy to see them there. There is normally only one
young man and no young women that come every Sunday so we're gonna get
them all re-activated and on missions! We are starting up an English
tutoring service here and we think that will help us find a lot of
"sweet spot" aged kids who want to learn English or help with their
homework. Pretty excited for that! President and Sister Nagano are on
fire right now. It's pretty awesome to see the revelation and ideas
they are receiving to help the work here.

I know this church is true! I love the gospel and being able to serve
the Lord. Work with the missionaries and help this work move forward!
Talk to you next week.

Oh, and next week is Temple p-day so I'll be emailing on Wednesday.

Love, Elder Snyder

There's a ramen shop here with a spicy ramen challenge. If you eat
level 5 you get to put your name on the wall. Of course, I had to do it

and got to put my name on the wall of fame:

Monday, November 2, 2015

(Hermana S.) I will go, I will do the things the Lord commands

Hellllllllo familia!

It's been a great week here in Tecnológico! It's definitely an interesting experience training in trio but it's FUN! Haha. Hermana Díaz is really cute, a little timid sometimes, but we're helping her learn that the Mexico Pachuca missionaries don't fear ANY MAN! She's from the north of Mexico, Sonora. Tierra caliente! Man, oh man, am I glad to be here in Pachuca and not there! Haha. And Hermana Cerna always makes me laugh. I can't believe this is her last cycle.

What has even happened this week? I feel like the time just flies by... NO, I REFUSE TO THINK ABOUT THAT. First of all, R is going to be baptized on Sunday!!! WHOO! We're finally gonna get the ball rolling in Tecno again! Many, many months have passed by without a baptism. We are so excited! He is super ready and everyone in the ward is pumped for his baptism. Also, S and S, the little old grandparents we are teaching, went to church yesterday. :) We are super happy for them. S is so cute and humble and is getting excited for her baptism on the 28th (this is her 2nd Sunday at church). But S, welllll, he wasn't a fan of church yesterday. Haha. Who knows why, but he had mixed opinions. But whatevs, I know he'll come around soon!

Other than that, well, it's been a little tough this week. Basically we came to the conclusion that we are going to have to drop just about all of the other investigators. It's going to be hard because they are all so great - L, I (who already finished the Book of Mormon), I. Jr (whose sisters are members), etc. because they just aren't progressing. I never knew it would be so hard to drop these people but it just breaks my heart because I know they need this in their lives way more than they do. They just don't keep their committments. They understand the doctrine, they know what's expected of them, so when they show up to church some day in the future, we'll know that they really take this seriously.

So, this week is going to be a week of BUSQUEDA! Searching! I will go, I will do, the things the Lord commands. I'm pretty much willing to do whatever He asks of me to be able to find His elect children. I know they're here. I know they're waiting. Maybe they don't even know it yet. But we're going to find them... This week!

I love you all so much! Have the best week ever!
Hna. Snyder

Introducing... the new trio!!!

 Me playing up a small storm. #calledtoserve

 Trio selfie

 Burger King P-day with the beautiful scarf Kelly sent me :)

(Elder S.) Busy, busy, busy!


Another week in paradise has come and gone. The weeks go so fast on
the mission. It seems like I was just dying of heat in August and now
it's already chilly November!

So last week was pretty dang busy. On Monday we had a district p-day
which was lots of fun. My district is pretty funny. On Tuesday I went
on splits with an elder in my district. That went well. Then on
Wednesday we had District Meeting! Planning district meeting was one
thing that I was worried about when I first started out as district
leader. But I found out that Heavenly Father will direct us as we seek
His guidance! It's pretty cool how one part comes right after the
other. Then Thursday we had president interviews with the Naganos.
They are so cool! They're filled with so many awesome ideas and so
much guidance. I love em! On Saturday we had the ward Halloween party.
They take it pretty serious here, so it was pretty cool.

Our investigators are still progressing, some of them slowly but
surely. Lots of them are super busy and hard to meet, but I have faith
we'll be having some baptisms in the near future!

Sorry my emails have been short lately. I am doing great and loving it
here! I hope you all have begun to read conference talks again! Take
advantage of that modern day revelation and scripture! I love y'all
and pray for y'all!

Love, Elder Snyder

The District!

 One of my favorite meals, Japanese ramen and chashudon.

                 The man, the myth, the legend. Bishop Fukawa, my favorite Japanese
man ever. He's the coolest. He is keeping me updated on all the
American sports. He asked me the other day (jokingly, of course) if I
wanted to come over and watch some NBA games with him. It was tough to
say no.

 Saw this and thought of Dad.