Tuesday, November 26, 2013



Today is Elder Snow's 19th birthday, and he spent his birthday enjoying his last day at the MTC, saying goodbye to friends, teachers, and visiting the temple.  Here is a quick video of Mason, as he packs his room and says goodbye to the Centro de Capacitacion Misional Mexico.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Scored some TACOS!

 November 20th

Sup sup! I can’t believe it’s my last week in the MTC; by this time next week, I’ll be back in the states! This week’s stories coming up!  I tried to take notes this week, and mark stuff in my little notebook every time I wanted to remember to write about it, so here you go. 

First, TACOS!!! Elder and Sister Jones are two elderly missionaries that work here, and they LOVE, I mean, LOVE, the elders in our district.   One day we were chatting with them about how we were sad we had never been able to eat authentic tacos from Mexico.  We weren’t doing this to try to get them to get us tacos; that wasn’t the intention at all.  In fact, we didn’t even think it was allowed or possible, but they just told us "well…if you guys can keep a secret, we’d be happy to have you over in our dorm and get you tacos."  We were seriously dead silent about it for an entire WEEK.  Then comes pday – THE NIGHT of the big taco dinner.  We walk in, and they freaking LOADED US UP.  They got us tons of al pastor tacos, tons of pollo tacos, tons of pineapple juice and treats and stuff.  It was insane!  We pigged out, and they were the best tacos I’ve had in my entire life!  I can’t ever even eat one again in the states after those; they were DELICIOUS.   Then we hung out with them for a while and partied and had a great time! They’re actually inviting us over again to hang out with them because my birthday is on Tuesday.  They are the sweetest people ever.  It was awesome.

Thursday night we had a gospel lesson with Hermana Nishiguchi, and we were learning about how to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ (Lesson 3 in preach my gospel) Then, she tells us, "okay, you guys have 7 minutes to prep a lesson for me in Spanglish, except you are all going to work as a 9 person companionship, and you are all going to teach me at one time." Then, she left the room. We were freaking out a bit about what to do.  So, I stood up, and on the board I assigned a section of the lesson to each companionship.  I basically just assigned it real quick because our district leader was taking forever, and we didn’t have time for that.  I gave everyone a part of the lesson to teach.  Unfortunately, Elder Odle was actually sick that night throwing up, so he was back in the dorm.  In the MTC, if you’re sick, your bed "becomes your companion" apparently, so I was in a trio with Elder Burdge and Elder Hendricks.  As it worked out, I had to do my part of the lesson by myself.  I also had a pretty important part of the lesson: receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

So, I studied quickly and only had enough time to do it in English.  I didn’t have enough time to prep a lesson in Spanish, so I was just hoping our teacher would be cool about it (she wasn’t, as you’ll see). As it gets to my turn (I honestly had a smoking lesson planned), I started to speak in English, and she started interrupting me over and over saying "Elder Snow, how do we say X in Spanish? How do you say Holy Ghost in Spanish? Use your Spanish!" She kept interrupting me over and over and over again.  I was so flustered and frustrated; I basically forgot my lesson.  I was literally to the point of exploding.  I haven’t been that upset with someone in long, long time- haha.  I basically had steam coming out of my ears.  She then stopped me and told me I put no effort into it, and I almost lost it.  But, I was polite and said,” I’m sorry, but I’m at a disadvantage here.  I have one of the most important topics, I had no time to prep, and I don’t have a companion.”  She just nodded; I took a deep breath and just tried to calm down, then continued my lesson.  At the end of my lesson, I bore my testimony.  It’s really the first time I’ve born my testimony since I’ve been here.  I mean, I’ve testified of things in lessons, but its never been super awesome because it was in Spanish.  Well I had the opportunity to do this one in English.  Once I started going, it was just so awesome.  I’ve never felt the spirit so strong since I’ve been here in the MTC.  The room went DEAD silent.  When I finished I looked around, and everyone was crying.  It was a surreal experience.  Afterwards, Hermana Nishiguchi asked us what our favorite part of the lesson was, and without fail, everyone said their favorite part was when I bore my testimony, including Hermana Nishiguchi!   It was a crazy, super SUPER cool experience. 

Next, on Saturday, we had the opportunity to teach NOT ONLY Juan (Hermano Gutierrez), but  also  Juan’s wife (Hermana Gutierrez), which isn’t something people generally have the opportunity to do. Usually, we only teach one investigator. But, we had the opportunity to teach two, and we wanted to make it a very special lesson because Juan’s “story” is that his wife left him and wouldn’t talk to him anymore.  Yet, she accepted an invitation to be taught by the missionaries - with Juan.  Since we wanted to make it special, we decided that we were going to open our lesson with a song, Love at Home (Cuando Hay Amor in spanish), and then teach about the importance of the family and how the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families.  We practiced twice and did it, and it went so good!  I’m not a very good singer or anything, but elder Odle is, so he carries me pretty well.  Miriam (Juan’s wife) was bawling when we sang the song; the spirit was so strong. It was so cool! Then we just went along with our lesson and taught her, but man it was such a cool experience.  If I have other companions on my mission who sing, I might do that more often, just because of the spirit it invites to the beginning of the lesson. So cool.  Here's a video of us practicing:

On Sunday, lots of things happened! I’m not sure if I told you this, but every Sunday we have to have a talk prepared in Spanish, and six people are randomly selected to speak in sacrament meeting.  Nobody knows how to speak Spanish, obviously, so it’s usually pretty boring.  I actually wrote a pretty decent one this Sunday, and what do you know, I got called to speak!   So, I cruised on up there in front of everybody, (fyi the topic was el perserverar hasta el fin, or, endure to the end), and I brought my scriptures up there with my handwritten talk.  I unfold the paper, look down, and my ink had smeared everywhere.  I couldn’t read a THING. I was just like ah no..what do I do?   So, I started making a couple jokes to lighten the mood.  Then, I painfully started trying to read through the talk.  I was doing pretty good too, not making any mistakes, until I got to the scriptures that I wanted to share. I’m not quite sure what scripture it was exactly.  But, I misread it off my paper and ended up reading a scripture about Jews and Gentiles - not about enduring to the end.  So, I just looked up, paused, and said, "yeah, that was totally the wrong scripture, but let’s just pretend like that didn’t happen and flip to D&C 14:7" and everyone laughed. I got through it.

On Sunday night, I met this girl named Alli Young (Hermana Young) and her dad is a 1/5th owner of doTERRA! His name is Rob Young, and he is the Director of Marketing. How insane is that? This chick is like 19 and has been working for doTERRA since day 1, and she’s actually done all the graphic design for all the bottles and since she was in high school. How insane is that?!  I told her that my mom was the hippie queen in San Diego, and she laughed.  Then, Elder Cook started bragging about me, and how I cured everyone’s bumps and bruises.  It was pretty funny – I thought you’d like that, mom.   

Also, another funny thing that happened on Sunday: the MTC president saw me sitting waiting to watch our devotional Sunday night, and he waved me over to come talk to him.  I was thinking, "awww crap what did I do.”  He just puts his arm around me and says "Elder Snow, how are you doing?" I responded, "I’m doing great president, how about yourself?"  He was like, "oh just fine - when are you leaving? I hope next week sometime, yes?" To which I replied, "yeah leave next Wednesday, so you’re stuck with me for another week.”  He just smiled at me and said, "well good, son, it’s time you get yourself a haircut. It’s getting ridiculous. Get your haircut on P-day.”  I just laughed and told him okay.  I saw him at the temple today and he said "I better not see your hair that long today; I want you to get it right when you get back!" hahah it was funny. He’s just joking for the most part.  He does want me to cut my hair, but he isn’t upset or anything; he just thinks its funny. 

Monday night was our last lesson with Hermana Nishiguchi.  She left for Provo today.  She decided that she wanted to interview everyone individually, before leaving.  She picked me first.  Now, I just want to let you know right now that I’m not quite sure what I did to become her favorite, but it was super evident that I was her favorite student. We start this interview, and we were just chatting, and she’s asking me questions.  She just straight up told me I was her favorite and there was something different about me.  I just chuckled like, oh whatever, but then she got serious.  She told me that I’m a natural leader or something and she’s really excited to see how my mission is going to go.  She specifically asked for my email address and gave me hers, so i could email her about my mission because she is excited to hear about my mission. I was like wow, I didn’t know I had that much of an impact on her. She was telling me how some of the things I’ve said to her have changed her and helped her and blah blah blah… sappy stuff.  She seemed genuinely excited to hear about my mission. I asked around afterwards, and she didn’t ask anyone else for his or her email, but me.  Kinda awkward.

Yesterday Elder Odle and I were supposed to teach Juan about enduring to the end.  I’m not gonna lie - we didn’t really prep for this one.  I was in a bit of a bad mood and was just hoping to get through it.  I was slightly worried and frustrated because I felt that my Spanish wasn’t too good the past few days, and worried I was forgetting some stuff.  Well, we get into this lesson, and I don’t know what happened, but Elder Odle and I went into Spanish overdrive and were just like "blahlbaslñdjlblahblahblalbhalh" talking all fast and good in Spanish.  I was like - what the heck - where is this coming from?  We were in there for 35 minutes; it was great! A really good lesson, honestly one of our best since we’ve been here. It was fantastic. 

The eventful thing that happened today was our temple trip: Hermana black (girl in my district) had a 15 second seizure while she was getting ready and had to skip the temple session. She has no prior experience with seizures, and its never happened to her before, but apparently lately she’s been talking to the other girls about how she’s been seeing some spots in her vision.  I’m kind of worried she has a tumor or something crazy like that. Please keep her in your prayers!

The driving here in Mexico city is CRAZY.  We thought it was nuts in Costa Rica!  Imagine putting like 32 million people into a city and driving even worse than that.  It’s so awesome!  Today I saw 4 people literally SITTING ON TOP OF A GARBAGE TRUCK and hitching a ride to their destination. It was so insane - hahahah. I laughed so hard!

Love you all; have fun; someone play my league account for me (travis/gagesnipe); someone keep me posted on walking dead PLEASE, and…. Yeah, love you.  See ya!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

4 weeks down, 2 to go.... at the MTC

What is this, week 4? I don’t even know. Whatever week it is, it went by quick!  Here’s the update, since last Wednesday.

I’ll start with the massive migraine i got Thursday night that kept me up all night.  I don’t know what the heck happened, but I woke up in the middle of the night and shaaabam, my head felt like it was being split. I was pretty nauseous too.  The next day was tough.  I have trouble staying awake all day, during all my study hours as it is, so it was hard. But, I went to the doctor the next day and he gave me something like prescription strength Aleve in America, but you can get them over the counter here.  I took one of them right then, but eventually just gave the rest away to people who had headaches throughout the week because my head was feeling mas or menos.   I gave one to elder Goodspeed, and another one to Hermana Nishyguchi (learned how to spell her name, heck yeah!).

I’ve had some pretty good lessons with my investigators, Juan and Judith. We taught Juan all about the word of wisdom.  Then he asked some questions about law of chastity.  So, guess what we taught him next time? Law of chastity! We kept it really basic:  We talked about the commandments and how they bless us, talked about what the law of chastity was, then gave him a folleta (pamphlet) and we were on our way! We taught Judith about the restoration.  I did most of the lesson because elder Odle was going to do the First Vision for her (by the way, I have the first vision memorized in Spanish but not English, weird right?) and man did he nail it. The spirit was so strong. I was showing her the picture of Heavenly Father and Jesus appearing to Joseph Smith, and the spirit was so strong.  Man, it was awesome. OH! Then we invited her to church and she said no.  But she said no last time, so I was persistent this time.  She was telling me she likes going to parties Saturday night (after we heard that, we decided we were going to teach her word of wisdom in our next lesson, which is tonight), and she said her head hurt on Sundays, but I had JUST gotten my pills that day from the doctor so I reached into my pocket and pulled them out and I said "my head hurts too! But guess what, I go to church on Sundays, so you can too!" I said it much more casual than that; it didn’t come off that rude. Long story short: she is coming to church! 

The language is actually coming along better than I thought it was.  I’ve been focusing a LOT on gospel study the past little while, not so much language.  My language skills are pretty far ahead of the people in my district, due to living in CA and taking Spanish in high school.  Speaking of gospel study, I’m in 3rd Nephi.  It took me all week to get through Mosiah/Alma/Helaman. Not quite as quick of a week as usual, but it’s okay. I still did good.  Last night I was playing ping-pong with elder Odle (we are super tight now; he’s like the only person in the district who never annoys me) and these two Latino elders walk in and he spoke really fast, but I totally understood him.  He said, "excuse me elders, we don’t know where the towels are, do you know" which I’m pretty sure comes out to "disculpeme elderes, nosotros no sabemos cuando los toellas, ustedes saben?" I probably just butchered that because I can’t spell, but I felt totally cool telling him where to get them J

We sang in the devotional on Sunday. It went really well.  I was wearing my light grey suit with my blue tie (Man, did I look good).  It was in front of a few hundred missionaries.  The MTC president and his wife made a point of finding us afterwards and telling us how great we performed, and how they wished they would have recorded it because they liked it so much. They said we were the best special musical number (singing) they have had in a while.  They were very impressed that our whole district could sing.  I’m convinced they just couldn’t hear me singing though, because they wouldn’t have said that if they did, haha. 

hermana black, hermana sampson, elder odle, yours truly, elder goodspeed, elder cook, elder hendricks, elder burdge, hermana smith, and hermana heule

That devotional was cool; the MTC director spoke to us.  He is this really young guy who has only been back from his mission for 10 years.  He has 3 kids and basically runs this MTC.  He is not the president, but he still runs this place.  He spoke a lot about jumping into the work and not looking back at our former lives, because it would inhibit our work. He talked about “Lots wife,” you know, the chick who looked back at Saddom and Gomorra, and then turned into a pillar of salt.  He said the reason she turned to salt is because she looked back longingly.  We need to not look back at our former lives longingly. It was a really good devotional. Then, last night’s devotional was a live broadcast from the Provo MTC.  We heard from Elder L. Tom Perry.  He just talked about the importance of companionships and talked about one of the best Book of Mormon companionships ever: Alma and Amulek (which I knew ALLLLLLLLLLLL about because I just read that section).

Ok, time to tell you about volleyball this week.  So, there are these elders who just got here like two weeks ago: Elder L and Elder P.  They are both pretty cool and nice guys, but they’re kind of still living in the good ole high school days and walk around the campus like jocks.  It’s pretty funny.  They recently have been playing volleyball with us, and we keep score (oops, not supposed to do that) and MAN, does Elder L get into it.  He is the reason missionaries aren’t supposed to keep score when they play haha.  It was so funny, though, because he is about 6’ 2 or so, and has a full ride to Harvard on a football scholarship.  He even has special privileges from his mission president to throw a football for an hour a day on his mission, to keep his arm good.  So he thinks he’s the bee’s knees.  He really is super athletic, though, don’t get me wrong.  It’s just funny seeing how seriously he takes it! Well, he was getting SUPER fired up during the game yesterday because the game was very close.  He got a beautiful set (I was on the other team), and he went up to hit it and he SMASHED it…..RIGHT into my hands.  I absolutely stuffed this kid harder than anyone has been stuffed in the history of the world.  When he got stuffed, he just turned around and went back to his spot in silence.  But, his face was BRIGHT red, and I could basically see smoke coming out of his ears. He was biting a hole in his thumb trying to contain his anger hahhahahahahah.  It was so great.  It is sad to say THAT was the proudest moment of my MTC career right there.  SO funny, man. 

I bought you guys all Christmas presents.  I got you all Mexican jerseys with your names and numbers embroidered on them.  They are pretty cool, authentic Mexican jerseys.  These are jerseys you would spend 90+ bucks on back home, and I got them for 35 bucks a pop!  The prices in Mexico are unbeatable, man.  Every weekend, since the store closes on Friday night, Elder Odle and I stock up on snacks.  We buy TONS of food, and we always walk out of there spending like 6 bucks tops.  It feeds us for the whole weekend! It’s great! I’ll send you the jerseys when I get to Texas, and I’ll also send you a box of bueno bars.  They are delicious Mexican chocolate bars you can only get down here. Just make sure to give Amber a couple of them!

That’s about it for this weeks adventure.  I love you all and I miss you like crazy. See you next time!

P.S.  When i just said see you next time, I totally wanted to finish it with "See you next time...on DRAAAGGON BALLL Z"  I miss that show.

Elder Mason Snow

VIDEO of  song PRACTICE:  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

WEEK 3: I'm a NERD, and I LOVE IT!


This week flew by, crazy fast!  Like, whoa!  I feel like I was just sitting at this computer yesterday writing.  If this is how fast my whole mission is going to be, I’m going to be back home before you know it!

I remember when I was back home, I used to tell everyone that returned missionaries were always super weird and nerdy, and that I was NEVER going to be THAT guy!  But, maaaaaaaaaaaann, I am such a freakin’ nerd now.  I hate it, and I LOVE it.   I totally keep a pen and mini cuaderno (notebook, see how good my Spanish is getting?) in my front pocket of my shirt.  I laugh my butt off at church jokes, now.  Seriously...these are jokes that I would hear back home, and I would stare blankly at the person who told it to me because they were so lame, and now I crack up about it because that’s just the kind of humor that you have here.  What has ALSO contributed to my nerdiness is that I SANG IN A SPECIAL MUSICAL NUMBER ON SUNDAY!

Yes, ME.  Mason Snow.  I sang.  In. A. Musical. Number.  What have I become??!

Actually, it went GREAT.  My district was singing, and I told them I REFUSED to sing.  However, they were splitting the whole song into parts (I told you my district is really good at singing): bass, tenor, alto, soprano, melody and harmony and all that jazz, (whatever it is), and they only had one person singing melody.  They needed me to sing because all I CAN do is sing melody.  So, I was like ahhhhh fine, I’ll do it.  And, it seriously went great.  We sang “God the Eternal Father” to the tune of “If you can Hie to Kolob.” We did some stuff where we would sing melody the first verse, then break into parts for verse two, then verse three was really quiet and the last word of verse three crescendo into the last verse, and we sang it really loud.  And, NO JOKE, everyone in that meeting cried.  I was blown away by how well it went.  All the elders came up to us afterwards, one of them being this big, bad football player guy named Elder Whirley (he cried the most), telling us how amazing we did.  Also, two people from the MTC presidency were there, and they asked us to sing in the devotional this Sunday.   So, I guess I’m performing with my district in front of a couple hundred missionaries Sunday.  I told you I’m a nerd now.

I wouldn’t say I studied a ton of Spanish, this week, because I’ve been super committed to reading as much of the Book of Mormon as I can.  Last week, I was only 30 pages in (1st Nephi), and now, a week later, I’m in Alma.  That might not sound THAT impressive, but considering how I’ve struggled in the past, I’m proud of myself.  I don’t get a lot of time to just study for myself, either.  Most of my time is spent studying scriptures for my investigators.  Once you get passed 2nd Nephi, where Nephi gets old and starts prophesying like frikken Isaiah, it actually gets really interesting!

As far as my investigators (actors) are going, my companion and I are doing well, and our investigators LOVE us.  Hermano Guiterrez (he plays Juan) straight up told Elder Odle and I that we are his favorite companionship.  I think its because we work so well together.  Our Spanish speaking skills are similar, we are both proficient at it, not amazing, but we’re not horrible, so we can actually take turns teaching - which really helps with inviting the spirit.  Most of the other companionships have somebody who is decent and somebody who is terrible at Spanish, so one person does 90 percent of the talking.  Elder Odle and I study the topic we want to teach, pray before we go in there, and do our best to rely on the spirit and have it guide how our lessons are going to go.  Juan is getting *baptized* (not really, as it’s acting) on November 30th.  And, we are FINALLY starting to break through the impenetrable fortress, our investigator - “Judit” (played by Hermana Nishygushi).

OH, mom you’ll love this.  I am basically like a witch doctor on campus now.  EVERYONE comes to me for all his or her problems, and I heal them up with your oils.  I’m getting pretty good at it, too.  Elder Cook had really bad stomach problems one week, and I hooked him up with some Digestzen and On Guard.  He was better like 3 hours later.  I fixed Elder Odle’s foot when he cut it during volleyball, and I actually healed Hermana Nishygushi one day.  She was SUPER sick and throwing up and she came to class and looked terrible.  So, I asked her if she was alright, and she said she had been throwing up all day.  I told her to wait a sec, and I ran back to the room and got some stuff and gave it to her.  She was literally better within 45 minutes.  Your dumb oils work.  You can save your “ I told you Sos” for when I get back.

Yesterday we were at gym, playing soccer on one of the basketball courts (Mexico is weird, the basketball courts have soccer goals as well).  Elder Hendricks was kinda standing in the middle of the court, not doing anything (He’s the least coordinated person I’ve ever met).  He turned around just as someone (one of the Mexican soccer players) kicked this soccer ball crazy hard, and it hit Elder Hendricks SQUARE in the boys.  I’ve never laughed so hard, and felt so bad for laughing, in my entire life.  He just dropped, and we carried him off the court into the grass.  He literally just laid there for a 1.5 hour.  He was in tears; I felt SO bad.  I’ve never seen somebody get hit so hard there in my entire life.  SO GUESS WHAT I DID MOM? I gave him some of that Immortelle stuff to help with the bruising.  hahahahahhaha.  Even though that story is probably not appropriate, it was hilarious, so you better keep this in the letter.

Today I went to the temple, which was all in Spanish, of course.  I probably understood about 60 percent of what was said, but it was still pretty cool.  However, some of the parts I just straight up laughed, though, when I didn’t mean to.  It’s just because I’m so used to it in English and Spanish sounds funny sometimes.  So, it would catch me off guard and I would giggle, which probably wasn’t wise because the MTC president happened to come to our session.  But it’s ok, he likes me a lot.  But, what I wanted to tell you is that I did a backflip, in my grey suit, on the front grass to the temple, and I got it on video.  I’ll try to send it to you; it was super cool.  It was a beautiful day today, and a super nice shot with the temple in the background.  And, then there’s me, Mr. Missionary, doing a backflip in my suit haha.  Link to the video

I did give away my first tie, two days ago.  I was a bit bummed because I really liked the tie (don’t worry Amber, it wasn’t the tie you gave me, and it wasn’t the purple one you gave me dad. Those are off limits), but it was still a cool one.  I’ve worn it only three times, and every single time I’ve worn it Elder Burdge has told me how much he loves it.  This last time, I just took it off and gave it to him.  He then got pretty upset, and he wanted to give me one back in return.  But, I refused to let him give me one.  I just told him to do the same thing for someone else down the road.  Go figure, later that night, he was talking to the Latino elders in his dorm, and one of them asked if he wanted to trade ties.  As Elder Burge went to trade, he saw that this Latino elder had three ties, so he gave the Latino elder 3 of his ties for one.  A 3:1 trade.  I was pretty happy about that.

I love you all; you guys should send me some emails and mail to keep me posted with how your life is going!  I love to hear what’s going on.

Love you all, peace

Elder Snow