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, April 25, 2016

Happy 20th birthday, Elder Snyder!

Hey everyone! Thanks for the happy birthday wishes! It was a good one. We had a zone p-day today and some missionaries made me a birthday cake. It was pretty good! 

This past week flew by! We got to go to interviews and also exchanges with the assistants so it was pretty busy but went well. So here's an update on our investigator Ibata Hideaki. We set another date with him for 5/29. This is the last one to see whether or not he's going to keep commitments and push to make the date. So far it is looking like he's going to do it. His biggest problem right now is coming to church, and of course we want to make sure he's going to be a solid, active member when he's baptized, so we are really trying to get him on track. We also have Yuuki, who is Eiki's friend. We are still teaching him at tutoring every week but it has been hard to meet with him outside of tutoring. He says he really wants to learn so we are trying to set meetings up with him. We have had another appointment set up with him the past 2 weeks but they've both fallen through. 

As for member work, it's still moving along. We have a goal to be with members at least once a day, whether it's a LA, mogi, doseki or visiting them. We've been able to set up mogis with some youth and other members which is great. Elder Goldsberry and I had a really awesome experience on splits last week with a member. We decided to visit his family's house and he was the only one home. We talked to him for a little bit, shared a scripture with him and testified. He told us that he really wishes he could work more with the missionaries. Then on Sunday he and his wife were super excited to come up to us and thank us for visiting them and showing our love to them. I think that most members here in Japan want to dendo, but they're either too scared or don't know how to. We need to figure out how to help them change! 

I'm grateful to be here! Love you all and talk to you next week!

Elder Snyder

Monday, April 18, 2016

Strengthening the rising generation

Hey hey! Glad to hear Kels arrived home safe and sound. Looks like she and everyone is doing great. 

We had a great week. Today was temple p-day! I am amazed at the personal guidance and revelation that we can receive especially in the House of the Lord. And since we were in

Tokyo I decided to stop at the foreigner's store and buy an American 
chocolate bar and a bag of JalapeƱo Cheetos even though it cost me 10 
bucks.. I just considered it a personal birthday gift! Haha. It's 
already the second half of this transfer, which means I'm almost into 
the double digit transfer numbers! We get 16 transfers and I'm almost 
10 which is scary. I'm gonna be considered "old" soon..

This past week was a good one. We didn't have much of a change in our 
investigator situation but we are really gaining ground with the 
members here in Koga. We had a delicious dinner with a family on 
Saturday night that had a friend over and we were able to teach. That 
is the ideal!! We also received two other referrals and strengthened a 
lot of relationships. Our bishop is really on our side right now and 
helping us a ton.

So, one of the big focuses here in the Asia North area is to strengthen 
the rising generation. Not only non members but also the youth in the 
church. We have been putting a big focus on working with the youth and 
strengthening their testimonies. We have seen big blessings from youth 
wanting to invite their friends to activities, learn about the gospel 
or seeing a change in them. We are also starting a new English class 
that is planned to bring younger students. Things are going great!

I love being here.  My testimony has grown so much, and I know with a 100% surety that this is the true church of Jesus Christ. I know God knows us individually and loves us. I don't have any doubt anymore. Of course we might have questions or wonders about certain things. But through the spirit I know that we can receive a testimony strong
enough to overcome any doubts or fears. I love y'all, have a great week!

Elder Snyder

The "Land of the Rising Sun"

Japanese English...cracks me up!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

She's home!!!

Our sweet missionary, Hermana Snyder, finished her mission honorably and came home today and we couldn't be happier! She served diligently and faithfully, and came back to us with a deeper and stronger testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ than we could have imagined. We are so grateful to our Father in Heaven for our blessings and for the opportunities our children have had to serve. One down, one to go, for now! 

Monday, April 11, 2016

(Elder S.) General Conference was awesome!

Dear family,

This past week was a good one! We were able to meet with our investigators a little more last week which was great. We were also able to contact two of the member referrals that we had received. One of them has a lot of interest and one is super nice, not quite sure on the interest yet. The Lord is definitely with us and blessing us for our labors. We got to go to MLC last week which was awesome, of course. It was a great learning and revelatory experience. 

How about General Conference? That was so awesome! One big focus that I noticed was about prayer, and accessing the powers of heaven through prayer. Our prayers mean so much more when we do pray knowing that we are talking to our Father in Heaven who wants to give us the blessings, guidance and revelation that we need. We just have to show Him how bad we want it! General Conference is such a huge testimony builder to me that this is the Lord's church being led and guided by His chosen servants. 

I'm grateful to be serving here in Japan and for the awesome people that I get to meet everyday. I love these people so much! Love you all! Have a great week!

Love, Elder Snyder

Loving the Japanese cherry blossoms:

Monday, April 4, 2016

(Hermana S.) Beautiful last letter

Well, this is weird.

This is my the last time I will write you as "Hermana Snyder"...

What to say, what to say. 

When I arrived in Mexico a year and a half ago, I was pretty excited. I thought I was pretty big stuff, having learned "lots" of Spanish and having had a great MTC experience. I'd always been pretty good at what I had done in the past - high school, college, etc. I always liked to win and be the best. I had a testimony of the Church and I was ready to serve.

I got here, I met Pres. and Sister Egbert, and then I arrived in Huauchinango after a 4-hour bus ride; it was cold and rainy. It was a great first day and we saw miracles. But my second day in the mission field was pretty humbling. I remember we were eating at a member's house and everything just felt so strange. We had to go outside to use the bathroom and "flush" with a bucket, they didn't have running water, their "house" was one room with two beds, a fridge, and a stove. I didn't understand a word, they gave us something strange to eat, and I didn't even like tortillas. I started to cry and cry and I didn't know what I was doing in this foreign country so far from home. 

As the days went on, I kept crying. But after about a month I realized that I would live and decided to start working. My trainer loved me and helped me by making me feel understood, even though we kept working hard and didn't waste a second. We saw great success and I started to understand why I was here. 

The companions came and went, and I did too. I arrived in Actopan and then in Tecnologico and now here in Villas. The mission has been filled with ups and downs. Lots of tears and worry and repentance and change. It's also been filled with joy and happiness, peace that comes from the Holy Ghost. It's been the hardest, strangest, realest, best experience of my life.

I remember in my first interview I said, "President, you don't have to worry about me. I know that this is true." But now, I can say with all the security of my heart and all the force I can muster: None of you has to worry about me. I leave different than I came. I now know. I really know! I feel like the blinders have been taken off and I can see a whole new world, a whole different perspective. I have been changed by the the habilitating power of the Atonement. I have seen His hand, felt His strength. The Holy Spirit has been my guide. The Father in Heaven has been my help.

I love this work. I am so grateful. Of all the greatest things that have happened and all the miracles I have seen in these 18 months, the greatest and most meaningful has been the change in me. I am so grateful for the Mexico Pachuca Mission, especially for President Egbert and the mission president, person, and "dad" he's been for me. I can't express in words all that he's done and the example he's been and the impact he's had in my life, he and Sister Egbert. I love them.

Now I must leave this safe bubble that is the mission and go off into the real world. I'm sad and happy and nervous and excited. But I have no fear. As Elder Holland taught me yesterday, "The fact of the matter is that none of us wants tomorrow, or the day after that, to destroy the wonderful feelings we've had this weekend (or these 18 months). We want to hold fast to the spiritual impressions we've had and the inspiring teachings we have heard. But it's inevitable that after heavenly moments in our lives, we have necessity to return to earth so to speak, where sometimes less-than-ideal circumstances face us... Please don't be cast down in spirit and give up. Please, please remember tomorrow and all the days after that, that the Lord blesses those who want to improve, who accept the need for commandments, and try to keep them, who cherish Christlike virtues, and strive to the best of their ability to acquire them. If you stumble in that pursuit, so does everyone; the Savior is there to help you keep going. I we give our heart to God, if we love the Lord Jesus Christ, if we do the best we can to live the Gospel, then tomorrow and every other day is ultimately going to be magnificent. So keep loving, keep trying, keep trusting, keep believing, keep growing; heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever." 

So here's to tomorrow and all the tomorrows after that! With the Savior by our side, we will always be victorious. 

With so, so much love, 

Your daughter and friend and sister in Christ,

Hermana Snyder

(Elder S.) Loving Koga

Hey everyone!

 This past week was great. So we got a new Elder in the apartment that has a gluten allergy. He's not deathly allergic to it so he still likes to eat stuff with gluten, but it isn't good for his body. So, to help encourage him to eat gluten free I've decided to go gluten free with him. Haha... It's pretty darn tough. but at the same time it's great. That, mixed with hard exercise in the morning, I've already taken off some pounds in less than a week. Woooo! 

The weather is starting to get nice and warm, as well, which feels great. I'm glad to hear that General conference was great, as expected. We'll get to watch it next Saturday and Sunday here in Japan. I can't believe it's been 6 months since the last conference. I feel like I say this every week but time really does fly. 

So, the past few weeks we've really been focusing back in on member work. So, the first 12 weeks I was here we received zero referrals from members. In the past 2 weeks we've gotten 5. It's been awesome! I love the members here in Koga.  They are great. We've been trying to visit everyone and get to know them. It's made a huge difference! Along with that just talking to everyone and trying to teach our investigators and less actives as much as possible. We seemed to have a lot of lessons fall through last week so that's always tough but things are looking positive for this week. 

That's about all I have for this week! I love you all! Have a great week and remember to apply what you learned at conference. 

Love, Elder Snyder