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, January 25, 2016

(Hermana S.) Trial of my faith

It's been a good week. For some reason I felt like it was a long one! These weeks have been a little hard because we can't get anyone to church!!!! Seriously I am going a little crazy. Every week it's like 1 or 2 or 3 investigators at church and it's so frustrating because we have some great investigators with tons of potential, but they always flake out on us. Any suggestions from my fellow RMs? 

Hermana Castellanos is great; she is working hard through her final transfer in the mission. Also, we divided the area and, well, it's very small. SUPER small! In Huauchi and Actopan we had like 20 or more little towns and colonies. Here, we have 3. THREE! Sometimes I feel like I am trapped in a little box. When the appointments fall through sometimes I look at my companion and just tell her, "I don't know what to do." We knock doors or do some street contacting and some days are better than others but this is proving to be a trial of my faith and diligence!

Ay yay yay... Lots of changes but I'm happy as can be! I forgot to tell you guys a pretty amazing story from last week, so I'll tell it now. We have been teaching Corayma, the wife of a less active member. When I was in Tecnologico, I met them. The less active's sister, Elena, is super active in her ward in Tecnologico and always went with us to our teaching appointments. She recently received her mission call to Torreón, Mexico. :) She had told us about her brother and so when I saw them in church one Sunday in Tecnologico I introduced myself and welcomed them to Sacrament meeting. So when I found out that they lived in Villas I was super pumped. We went to visit them and I felt an immediate connection with Corayma. Since the first day we taught her I knew she would be baptized. 

So, time passed and we continued teaching her. Something ALWAYS came up and they couldn't go to church for one reason or another, but we didn't lose the hope. Corayma has a little baby girl with Downs Syndrome, so we decided that another sister in the ward, Carmen, would be the perfect friend and fellowshipper because she also has a little guy with Downs. One day, we went with Carmen and her two little boys to visit Corayma. We had invited Corayma to be baptized multiple times and she had accpeted a few times, but very hesitantly. She had listened to missionaries for 5 years, but had never wanted to be baptized because her husband's family had pressured her a lot when they first got married. "When are you gonna get baptized?" and "You're practically Mormon, just get baptized!" etc. Since then she's had a bit of a wall up when it came to the subject of baptism. 

We invited her to pray and ask Heavenly Father if she really needed to be baptized and if this was the correct path for her family. When we asked her if she had said that specific prayer, she told us that she had had a dream that night. In the dream, a lady that she didn't know showed up at her door and started talking about the church. "Why haven't you been baptized when you know that it's what you need to do? I know you want to be with your family forever. You need this to be the mother that God needs you to be to that little girl..." And then she told us, hermana Carmen was the lady from the dream. !!!!!!! She told us that in the 5 years that she had been listening to the missionaries, they had always visited her with men or young single adults from the church, but NEVER with a sister. We invited her to be baptized on the February 13th and she said, "We can't do it before then?!" 

Seriously one of the best experiences of my mission. The twist in the story is that now, with the division, she lives in the Elders' area. So we can't teach her anymore. But there are some moments in the mission when you just know that you were sent to find that one person. I know that Corayma is one of those people for me. I love this work! I love the Savior and His Gospel.

I love you!
Hna. Snyder

Inline image 1

(Elder S.) Awesome update!

Hey everyone! It's been a while since I've been able to send a nice email so I'll update you on what's been going on. So, I'm in a place called Koga right now, which is a big area and pretty countryside. There aren't tons of people on the streets so we really have to seek them out to talk to people. Also, the church is a 35ish minute bike ride and the train station is 20 minutes from our house. Everything else is pretty spread out, including our members and investigators.. So, needless to say, we do a lot of biking here! It's about the opposite of Yachiyo, my last area, where everything was pretty close and most of our lessons were at the church which was only a 30 second walk from our apartment. So I'm still getting used to it! I'm thinking I'm gonna have thighs of steel by the time I'm out of Koga. The weather in Koga is pretty mild. We've had one little snow storm with 4 or 5 inches, but it was mostly gone by the next day. The wind sure likes to blow, though, so that's not always fun, haha! 

My companion Elder Ogata is an awesome missionary. It's pretty fun being companions with him. He is from Fukuoka, Japan and speaks some English. He's funny! Right now we don't have tons of investigators but one or two solid ones that are progressing. So, we are doing lots of finding and member work. The ward here is pretty solid, about 90 or so members at church every week. The awesome part is the youth! They have a really good group of youth members, so we're actually focusing a lot of our member work on them. 

There was a world wide missionary broadcast given by the general authorities last week, the first broadcast for all the missionaries worldwide in over 10 years. It was pretty cool because a lot of missionaries were expecting some throw down stuff or some big changes, but everything they talked about is found in Preach My Gospel. It was a big testimony builder for me of the power of sticking to the basics, kind of like one of Pres. Uchtdorf's talks from this past conference. Once we get the basics down, the rest will come.

We came to Tokyo tonight and we are having exchanges with the assistants tomorrow. I'm going with Elder Sugimoto who is a super awesome missionary. Should be fun! I love being a missionary. It's amazing to me how every piece of this church's puzzle fits right together. I know it's true and my testimony is strengthened every day. Love you guys! 

Elder Snyder

Monday, January 18, 2016

(Hermana S.) Behold, my soul delighteth...

Hello fam!

Another week has flown by. So crazy. Well, transfers in the mission have changed a bit because now no one in the world is allowed to have transfer meetings! That means... today I received a new companion, Hermana Castellanos from Oaxaca, Mexico! Woohoo! I am happy for Hermana Guzmán because she is going to train finally! She'll finish the mission being a mom. :) And, Hermana Castellano finishes in one cycle so I will be her last comp. Can I just say, I have had a TON of companions! It's a little out of the ordinary. 18 months and I will have had 11 companions by the end of it! Two cycles being in trio killed the count, haha.

This week has been a little hard because literally all of our appointments fell through. Seriously, all of them. But in those moments we were able to find some really great people. Our problem is that we are finding a ton but we don't feel that they are really that serious. They don't have the desire to change everything and do everything for the Lord. And that's what a real convert needs; the willingness to do whatever it takes for Him. But we found some GREAT new people yesterday and we will keep looking.

In other news, the opened the new area, Villas 2, today. And as a luck (or inspiration by the Lord) would have it, the two Pennsylvanians have been reunited once again! Haha, that's right, Elder Ferguson arrived today with his brand new son, his second. He's a great Elder and he'll be our district leader. For that I am excited. With two Pennsylvanians, Villas is gonna EXPLODE!!! Yeah! #ANIMO

I love to read the Book of Mormon. I think of this wonderful book and the great change that has taken place in me over the occasions in which I have read it. However, more than I ever felt like I could relate to Nephi when I read this week: 

 16 Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.

 17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O, wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.

 18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.

 19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.

It's interesting. As I become more the person God needs me to be, as I change, am refined, and become more consecrated unto the Lord, I feel more afflicted by my many weaknesses! The difference between the past me and the present me is that now I know the Lord will help me to change these things. Sometimes the process is long and difficult, but I know that His grace is sufficient. When all is said an done, I join with Nephi, who concludes his psalm as follows: 

35 Yea, know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if ask not amiss; therefore will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, will cry unto theemy God, the rock of my righteousnessBehold,my voice shalforever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.

Love you,
Hna Snyder

Inline image 1

Inline image 2

(Elder S.) Another quick note!

Hey another week already come and gone! They go so fast out here. We had another crazy day today and so I'm just sending a last minute email. I promise I'll send you a nice update email next week! But I'm doing great, loving Koga, Elder Ogata and being a zone leader is fun. Hope everyone is doing well and love you guys!

 Love, Elder Snyder

For exercise today we had a snowball fight!

Monday, January 11, 2016

(Hermana S.) First Leadership Council!

This week flew by. Does anyone else feel that way? Seriously, it's crazy. This week was packed full of fun and unexpected things. First of all, I went to my first Leadership Council! I learned lots and was able to understand better the power and authority of this calling. I now enjoy "exhorting" people "by way of commandment of the Lord." !!!! Yeah! I only have a little more time to do crazy things like that so I am taking advantage. :)

Second, we found a house for the new missionaries and on Friday we went to clean it and fill it up with missionary stuff and get it all ready with President. That man is just so great. Seriously, I know that the new mission President that will get here in July will probably be great but I know I was called to spend my 18 months with Pres. Egbert. His spirit and his love is contagious. For example, today he is going to go cut the grass of the new house. Could he easily pay someone to do that job? Of course. But he is a living example of self sufficiency and a "get the job done and get it done good!" attitude.

Today Hna. Egbert took my comp and I out to lunch, so that was fun. Love her so much. She has such a sweet spirit. She also told me today that her 3 grandkids are named Tucker, Taytum (they call him Tate), and Emry so I was like WHAT?! Haha all the names of the cutest nieces and nephews on the block. I told her that she needs one more name Addy and she loved it! Haha.

Here in this part of the vineyard, we have a special program to work with the ward council. Every organization presidency prayerfully chooses 5 members (less-actives or recent converts) of their organization to work with in collaboration with the missionaries. This week something wonderful happened. When I arrived here in Villas, the ward wasn't really utilizing this program. We started to encourage and train the council to choose their 5 names and start working with them. This week we went with the president of the Relief Society to visit one of the sisters and her family. This sister has a daughter in the mission but when she left, her family became inactive. We went and met them and they began to cry. They said that several members had gone to visit them in that time but a visit from the missionaries (to remind them of their beloved sister missionary) is what they needed. The day after they invited us to eat with them, and yesterday they went to church. Also, we began to teach the son's girlfriend who's not a member. I have a testimony of the 5-name program. When training and encouraging ward councils to work with this system, I have often said that obedience brings blessings but exact obedience brings miracles. I know we must obey exactly what has been asked of us and we will be greatly blessed to be able to bring the children of our Heavenly Father to His kingdom.

Our investigators are doing good... We're having some problems with them not going to church but we'll keep working hard! 

President sent us a letter last week inviting us to reread the Book of Mormon. Last week, every missionary in the Mission Mexico Pachuca began reading the BoM, 8 pages every day, to be able to finish in 3 months. I am PUMPED! I love the Book of Mormon. It has changed my life. I know that it is important to read every day from this sacred book. It has a special power in our lives and is a daily renovation of our testimony of the restored gospel. My invitation today is: if you haven't read the Book of Mormon, to read it. If you have read the Book of Mormon, set a goal to read it again. If you are reading the Book of Mormon, study and cherish it with all of your heart, pondering on ways to apply it in your life every time you read. I'm in 1 Nephi 17 and reading 8 pages every day. If you want to join me, go for it! 

Love you so much! Have a great week!
Hna. Snyder

Service with the district on Christmas day!

Leadership council (I'm so pale among all the Latin Sisters

(Elder S.) Quick note..

Heyy everyone!! I am alive and well! So we had temple P-day today and then it was super busy when we got home. We had to teach a kids' English class and then we also had tutoring with the youth! 

Well, Koga is fun! And we live in a house with 4 elders. The big thing is... Our house is a 40 minute bike ride from the church and 20 minutes from the train station... It's long. Haha. That should be good for a few transfers! I also got to go my first mission leadership council which was awesome! It's pretty cool being involved in the business! Oh, I also have to retract what I said about the Eyring prophecy.. It's a little different so I'll let you know when I find out exactly what it is. But, I don't have much time, so I love you!! Have a great week!!

 Elder Snyder
& 緒方長老

Monday, January 4, 2016

(Hermana S.) Happy New Year!

Hellllllo family! 

It's been a very good week. We set a goal to work more with the members and were able to accomplish it! So we were very happy with that. This week we fasted and are focused on finding families. Since the fast we've found two... individuals. But hey! We'll keep looking! I realized that I haven't been really good with keeping you updated on the investigators, so here's the scoop:

Hernán: He's 52 and lives alone. Divorced. He's had a crazyyyyy life. Seriously, crazy. It includes a few years in jail and getting kicked out of the family business, but he's in the repentence process. He loves us a lot and we love him. He's seriously one of the most expressive people I have ever met, always saying hi and smiling to everyone. He has gone to church 3 times but his big challenge is that he smokes. We fasted yesterday so that he can stop. #PRAYERS

Violeta: I sent you a pic last week of Violeta and her little girls and her mom. She is 27 and is a lawyer. She's a single mom and she's awesome. So smart and willing to learn. She went to church once and also to the ward Christmas activity but she's having a few doubts right now that are making her worry a lot. #PRAYERS

Cecilio: He's the cute old guy! 80 years old and still kicking it. He lives alone so we teach him always with members. He's so cute; he always says, "Hermanitas, I need you to prepare me for my baptism!" So that's what we're doing. He also went to church one time but for some odd reason he didn't go yesterday. That has a little worried. #PRAYERS

Estela: She's 56 and she is a cute little lady. She has studied with lots of other religions but hasn't found the truth. Her big problem is that she doesn't see well enough to read, so she can't read the BoM. It's a challenge. But we're working and reading with her. She has 3 Sundays in church and had a baptismal date for the 16th but she got super sick this week and couldn't go... Ugh, lots of trials, but we'll get through it. She still has lots of doubts and is searching for answers. #PRAYERS

And there are many more... we are teaching a few families with a lots of potential but they haven't gone to church yet, so it's still up in the air. But... Sister Egbert called us this week and told us to look for a house to rent because it's very likely that they open an area here in Villas in 2 weeks. That means they're dividing the ward in 2 and we'll most likely have to give the new missionaries the majority of our investigators because they're on the other side....... This will be a grand trial for me, giving up these investigators. I love them so much and I know their needs and their potential. But, I must accept the will of God. #PRAYERS

In other news, we passed the new year, well, mas o menos. I got sick and threw up. Eww! I hadn't thrown up in such a long time! It was overdue. But I got it all out of my system and we're back to business. :)

That's about it for the week! I can't believe we're starting 2016. I remember when I arrived to the mission in 2014 and 2016 seems lightyears away. So crazy. I've been thinking about my goals for this year and they're a lot different from last year's goals. But I know we must look forward with faith! Remember the story of Lot in Genesis? The Lord helped him and his wife escape from the city that was being destroyed. He gave them one command: don't look back. When they were on the way out, I imagine that Lot's wife heard all the craziness and destruction going on behind them and out of sheer curiosity made the mistake of glancing behind. In that moment, she was turned into a beam of salt. Oops! Let's not look back but look forward with faith and hope towards the future. (This is really more for me than for ayone else..) #2016 #ANIMO!

Love you!!!!!!!!
Hna. Snyder

(Elder S.) Perfect love casteth out fear...

Hellllloooo! Well, it's been a good end to another transfer. Elder Hugo
and I finished the transfer out strong, especially with our
members. We had a lot of meals with members around the holidays and we
have started making family mission plans with them. Hopefully these
will get members way more interested in sharing the gospel with their
friends. So, actually the number of active members in the church in
Japan is decreasing right now. But, President Eyring prophesied a few
years ago that the church in Japan will flourish once the members
start doing missionary work. So, we are trying to make that happen. It
needs to change! Sometimes the church in Japan reminds me of
Pennsylvania.. Get to work with the missionaries and help change the
culture of the church and missionary work in PA, starting from

So I'm getting transferred out of Yachiyo.. And I'm going to a place
called Koga. Kind of sad to leave this place and the people here but
I'm excited to start somewhere new. I'm leaving Elder Hugo and
I'm getting my first Japanese companion, Elder Ogata! I actually came
to Japan with him the first time so I'm very excited to work with him.
And I'm becoming a zone leader with him, too, so I'm excited for that!
I'm also looking forward to learning lots of Japanese, haha!

Lately, my focus as a missionary has been to do more because I love
these people.  More charity! I read Mosiah 28:3 the other day... "Now
they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every
creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish;
yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless
torment did cause them to quake and tremble." This verse made me
analyze myself and ask myself what my driving force is. I want to have
this mindset, like the sons of Mosiah did. That isn't only for
missionaries but for everyone. Think about how much the gospel blesses
us, and how much others need it too. Don't be scared! Remember Moroni
8:16 "...for perfect love casteth out all fear." Love you all, have a
great week!

Love, Elder Snyder