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, February 29, 2016

(Hermana S.) My last transfer! Whaaat?

Hi fam!

Today I feel really weird because it's the first day of my last transfer. How is that even possible? Tomorrow Hermana Castellanos is headed home to Oaxaca. And it came to pass that Hermana Snyder ends with a ton of companions! 11! Wow! My new companion is Hermana Martínez, from Tampico (like 7 hours from here). Should be a great cycle with lots of success, starting on Saturday with Jeni's baptism. WHOO!!

Um, I don't know what to write today. Cambios are always really weird. New companion, new way to do things, all that jazz. I'm excited for this cycle. Don't think for even a second that I'm trunky. Heck no! Sorry guys, I love you, but I don't really want to see you. Haha. That's not true, I am excited to see you! But why can't I just say hi, hug you, and then come back to being a missionary? 

So it's true, Cecilio was baptized on Saturday and it was so cute. He bore his testimony and said that he had never let anyone into his house for safety reasons... until we knocked on his door. He said his life has filled up with peace and tranquility. 


I'm proud of you for having that new family over for dinner! In the ward, they started a new thing called "Adopt a recent convert or investigator." It's pretty self-explanatory, so you guys can do it too! Adopt that new family; make them feel like part of the branch; let them feel your love. They're like newborn babies! They need your help in this wonderful, challenging transistion.

Love you so much! 

(Elder S.) Lots of miles on my bike!

Hey, family!!

Well another week has come and gone. Another week of hitting the streets and talking to everyone. I'm putting a lot of miles on the bike! Our investigator Ibata is doing really well, progressing and building his faith. So I don't have a lot to say this week, but I'm grateful for the humbling experience to be here in Japan. I hope you're all doing great! Love you! 

Elder Snyder
Gourmet meal Elder Ogata made for us!

Zone p-day bowling!

Monday, February 22, 2016

(Hermana S.) It's Monday again?!?!

Hello wonderful people!

The weeks pass by so dang fast. Seriously, how is it already Monday again? Today Hermana Castellanos had her last interview! So. Weird. I feel like she just got here! But one more week and she'll be packing up and heading home to Oaxaca. Elder Zeledon also had his last interview today so we were talking in the mission office about how clearly we remember the old days in Huauchinango. He said that I had 3 months in the mission when he arrived to Huauchi and became my district leader. I feel like that was just yesterday! So crazy... the time sure flies in the mission.

It was a good week. We had divisions 2 times and both times I went with the other gringas. Haha. It's fun, but I've forgotten how English works! My mouth doesn't work that way anymore.

Before I forget, Hermana Egbert is in the hospital. When she broke her leg, she got a blood clot. It got bigger and then traveled up to her lungs, so her lungs fell up with blood and her health became very critical. She was in the intensive care unit for a few days and will be in the hospital for 8-10 more days, and it will be a few months before she fully recovers. Please pray for her! She is the best mission mom there is... We are all worried and praying for her.

Hazaridt and Carlos and progressing well. They're working on the whole quitting smoking thing and progressing along. Hazaridt hasn't smoked and Carlos is dropping off little by little. We just saw him in the street reading his BoM (I feel like a proud mom). They went to church yesterday and their kids are crazy, but in no time they'll understand how to be reverent in church. :)

Remember the 80-year-old old grandpa, Cecilio, that Hna. Guzman and I were teaching? Well after the division, he became investigator of the Elders. He's gonna get baptized this week! Whoa! I remember the night we found him. All of the appointments fell through and we said a prayer to be able to find someone who needed us. We were walking down the street, headed for another neighborhood, when I turned around and asked my comp if we could go knock a door that we had already passed. So we went and knocked and found Cecilio. And now he is going to be baptized! The miracles never end in the mission. 

Fernanda, Jeni and Miriam, Manuel, and the rest of the crew are doing great, too. We're happy and working on finding more people to teach. :)

I don't know what more to say this week. We had Zone Conference and it was great. I just love listening to the Egberts. They are amazing people. I feel very blessed to have them for all of my 18 months.

Love you all so much! Have a great week!
Hna Spider

(Elder S.) Giving 110% and relying on the Lord

Hey everyone! Well today was another Temple p-day which was great, of course. I always love going to the temple!

 So this week I hit my one year mark on the mission. That's pretty crazy.. I only have one more year left! That seems super short, especially thinking about how fast this past year has gone. But don't worry, I'm not trunky yet.. I still have a lot of work to do before my time is up here. 

So to be completely honest, this past week was about the same as the past several weeks. Lots of finding! Visiting members, talking to everyone on the streets. Sometimes it's pretty tiring, but of course God blesses us with miracles. So one miracle from last week... our investigator Ibata, who has a date for the 28th, kind of dropped off for about a week and a half and we didn't know what happened. We were getting super worried but then we finally got a hold of him and met up and found out that he had been going through a rough time. We were able to talk about things with him and he's back on the right track! We're probably going to have to move his date back a little bit but he's doing really well now! God never leaves us hanging if we're doing what we should be doing and giving it 110%. Sometimes we may feel like we're digging ourselves into a hole but He always provides the way out. 

Over the past year and a half I've learned so much, especially in the past 8.5 months back here in Japan. I've learned life skills, my gospel knowledge has grown, but for me the biggest thing is how to rely on my savior Jesus Christ. There have been times even in these past 8 months where I've tried to rely on myself but it only brings out my weaknesses and brings me down. But when you learn how to truly rely on the Lord, His grace will make you stronger than you could ever be on your own. I'm so grateful for this eternity changing opportunity for me to serve a mission. 

Love you guys! Praying for you always!

Elder Snyder

Monday, February 15, 2016

(Hermana S.) Baptism!

It's been a great week ... we worked hard and we achieved many goals. First, Michelle was baptized and we are super happy! Her dad was sad that he couldn't baptize her, but it was a wakeup call for him because now he is working hard to live worthy of the priesthood that he holds. 

Today I saw some pictures on the mission blog of a family who was baptized in Actopan this past weekend. This work really is amazing. I was there in Actopan just a few months ago. We worked hard with a family that has a son in the mission but the dad was less active. I remember clearly the day we said we were going to fast for him to find a job where he would not have to work on Sundays. His eyes filled up with tears when he asked, "You would do that for me?" We said we were going to do it together. We reactivated the dad and we did activity from Preach My Gospel with them, where they made lists of all the people they know and then the Spirit helped them choose some people to share the Gospel with. This brother put down just two friends. Today on the blog I saw that the family of one of these friends was baptized. 

Me heart is filled with joy and my eyes with tears at the thought of this marvelous work. Every day seeds are sown and sheaves are harvested. My letter this week is simple but I just want you all to know that I love this work so much. I feel so privileged to be here. Sometimes as missionaries we feel that our work isn't sufficient even though we are giving all we have to give. Sometimes the thought has entered my mind, "Did I really give my all in ______?" (For example in Actopan, where we only had one baptism in my time there). 

D&C 31: 5 

5 Therefore, thrust in your sickle with all your soul, and your sins are forgiven you, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your back, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. 

I know it's true. The blessings come sooner or later, but they always come.

I love you all so much! 

Have a great week,
Hna. Snyder

(Elder S.) Families Can Be Together Forever

It's already a new transfer! We got transfer calls this morning and nothing is changing with Elder Ogata and I. This past transfer was kind of tough, lots of finding and not tons of success. Right now our focus is to get out there, grind it out and find people to teach! Last week was a little better though. We found a few new investigators and some good potentials! Koga's members are awesome though. They feed us just about weekly, and when they do its biggggg. Sometimes I think just those meals balance out all the bike riding and exercise I do throughout the week. Haha

I want to share an experience that has really strengthened my testimony of the Plan of Salvation. So last week someone very close to me received a letter from his family, telling him that his mother has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He has 6 younger siblings, ranging down to 4 years old. When he told me this I couldn't believe the peace in his voice as he talked. Together we sang "Families can be together forever" and he shared with me 2 Timothy 4:5-8, which are the verses his dad sent him in the letter.
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Since then I've been thinking about how this is a family who truly understands the Plan of Salvation that our Heavenly Father has created for us. How this life is only a tiny dot in the eternities that we will be able to spend in happiness with our families. 

I know this church is true. Love you! 

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Monday, February 8, 2016

(Hermana S.) Loving our Leadership councils

Hello family!

What a good looking bunch of zone leaders training leaders and sister, right? Haha. I stick out like a sore thumb among all the sisters. Me and Sister Egbert!  Let me just tell you, that leadership council changed how I'll be working for the last two months of my mission. The theme: Teach repentance and baptize converts. Now, every time we contact, we talk about baptism! I think we as a mission HAD lost a bit of focus. But we're zoned in again. We're here to baptize!

With that being said, it's been a great week! We had seven golden investigators yesterday to church and I really am very grateful. This Saturday is the baptism of Michelle and Corayma. I love both of them. It has been a rather long way, especially for Corayma, but now they can reap the blessings of their conversion. Their baptisms will be Saturday at 6:30 pm. You are invited. :)

We also had the opportunity to work a lot with the sisters this week. I am very inspired by them.  They are working hard; they want to be obedient and find the elect.

We are working with members and they are supporting us a lot. When I got to the area, I was surprised to find that there was no real connection between the neighborhood and us, but I am very pleased that the members are supporting us a lot.

I am very happy and we are seeing great progress in the area. The Lord is listening. Certainly the miracle always comes after the trial of our faith.

Today my companion and I are going to the plaza for the first time! In 16 months I've never seen the big clock tower, famous in Pachuca. So today's the day! I don't have much time because we're just about to leave, so that's all she wrote. Pray for Michelle, Corayma, Hazarídt, Carlos, Fernanda, Manuel, Jenny, Yesenia, the Mendez family, the Cruz family, and everyone else we're teaching!

Love you so much!
Sister. Snyder

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(Elder S.) Doing a lot of finding...

Heyyyy! I apologize again, I have no time to email! But, it was kind of a long week. Our investigator pool right now is low so we are doing a lott of finding. It's long days sometimes, but we need to find some new investigators! I'm doing great, I love you!!

(Hermana S.) Blessings come

Hellllllllllllllllllllo family!

It's been a good week, full of learning ​(that usually means that it's been tough, haha :). We've talked with a lot of people and lots have rejected us, but it's all good. We all have our agency. :)

We have a zone activity today so I don 't have allll that much time to write. I'll send you what I sent President today, but it's in Spanish again. You'll have to translate it or phone a friend.

It has been a very good week. I'm really enjoying being with Castellanos sister. It is a very good missionary and continues to work very hard even though this is your last cycle. The truth is that we are fine, chambeando good! 

This week was Michelle to the chapel. She is a girl of 12 who is getting baptized on February 13. His dad and his 2 brothers are members but she was not baptized with them. But it is already very lively, reading and going to the chapel, sometimes going alone because their brothers go early to prepare the sacrament. Really I love her very much and I know that is ready to be baptized. 

We are also super happy because yesterday we found Hazarídt and her husband Carlos again. She had gone to Mexico for a month to visit his mom and we were afraid that he would not return! But just arrived two days ago and yesterday accepted baptismal date again, now for the February 27 because it already has several Sundays. 

This morning I was reading in the Book of Mormon. I'm reading King Benjamin's speech (one of my favorite parts of the Book of Mormon) and re-read a promise that appears many times in the Book of Mormon. King says, "Behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments, and he has promised that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never varied from what he said; therefore, if you keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper. " 

I know that the blessings always come. I have knelt every day to give me the strength to meet the standards of excellence and I feel we're going to do in February vision. By reading the Book of Mormon, I have more confidence in the Lord's promises. I do not know how he does at times, but the Lord always met if we are obedient. Now I pray that God's will be done. I know that His will is that these His children are baptized. We will endeavor to be done! 

I love you very much. 
With much hope, 
Sister. Snyder

I'm a little sad Because this week, two sisters Went home. One chose to go and one was sent home. It makes me sad because, well, They literally do not know what they're missing. This mission is the best thing I have ever done. I have done lots of things, but this is by far the best. My eternity is changed. I feel so grateful. Before, I could have imagined my life without the mission. I would have lived a good life and gotten married in the temple and all that jazz. But now that I am here, after almost 16 months of being a missionary, I can not imagine my life without the mission.

I got my travel info today and ... that's really weird. April 12th. That's literally right around the corner! Let's not think about it. :)

Love yinz!
Sister. Snyder

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Monday, February 1, 2016

(Elder S.) Spiritual promptings



 Life is going well here. This past week I feel like we have had so many spiritual promptings. I will share one of them with you. So it's kind of hard to explain, but I'll do my best. So right now our main investigator's name is Ibata. He is progressing pretty well, but lately he's been having some problems with a friend of his. So this friend supposedly wants to become a "bad boy", but he doesn't have any friends to be a bad boy with so he's been trying to get Ibata to do it with him. Now, of course Ibata is trying to improve his life, not the opposite, so he has been telling him no! So this kid has started threatening Ibata, telling him that his father is in the the Yakuza (a dangerous Japanese gang) and he could mess with him if he wanted to. So, this has reallyyy been worrying Ibata, even one night to the point where he had to cancel a lesson with us because he was so nervous thinking about it. Then we had a lesson planned with him for yesterday evening. After church Elder Ogata and I were thinking about how we can best help him. I just out of nowhere said, let's get Eiki (who is an awesome youth in our ward) to be a member present with us. So we called him and got it set up. So, here's the amazing part. We got into the lesson and asked Ibata about how he's doing and how the problem was. He started showing us messages between the two and what was going on. Then out of nowhere, Eiki just said wait, who is this kid?? They then found out that the kid is actually someone in Eiki's grade in his school and that he has done this before with other people. Eiki told us that the kid's father is actually NOT in the Yakuza and that there is nothing to worry about. The look on Ibata's face was complete relief and happiness. For the rest of that lesson, I could feel the Spirit as strong as I ever had. So that story doesn't do it justice, but that was one of the biggest miracles I had ever witnessed. God directly gave us the inspiration that we needed to help our investigator.

That's all the time I have for today but I know that this work is real. I know that God lives and that the Spirit is real. Talk to you next week!

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