Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Missionary Christmas

What did we get for Christmas? The best call EVER!

Elder Snow sounds really happy, busy, and working hard.  He loves his area, his ward, the members, and his work.  He is being challenged,  humbled, and  blessed.

It sounds like they had great Christmas Eve, with caroling and a dinner with members.  Then, home to play board games until late at night.  Today, he was able to call him, and we all got to hear his voice.  It was AMAZING!

Here' s a little poem that was recently shared with me, called "A Missionary Christmas"
(author unknown)
I skipped the sales after Thanksgiving. The thrill just wasn't there.
No pictures taken with Santa Claus, my decorating has no flair.
His presents are shoes, shirts, and ties, two suits and fun. I've bought him all white clothes because...
This year I'm giving Christ my son.

I've spent more time in the temple, my testimony stirred.
I've reread November's Ensign, Felt strength come from His words.
Our family prays more frequently. My tears are quick to run.
Abraham seems closer because,
This year I'm giving Christ my son.

I wonder how those Lamanite mothers, gave their sons to war?
Or how the pioneers chose Zion, their sacrifice was so much more.
My loss will be his presence, I'll miss his smile a ton for two years we will pray for him,
I'm giving Christ my son.

I stare at his face when he's not looking. I memorize his eyes, their shine.
He's always hungered for the part of him, that makes his soul divine.
The stories and lessons he always heard, His choice and mine are one. I'll put my faith in God's hand, This year,
I'm giving Him my son.

Past gifts have lost their glitter; I think I finally understand Christ's birth should be celebrated by giving Him a hand.
It's because I know Christ lives and reigns that all his packing's done. My gift has taken years to make, This year...
I'm giving Christ my son.

I know there's One who understands, the sacrifice I'm making.
Who knows the gift I willingly give, The toll it will be taking.
For He has done it all before Greater love - there could be none. For years ago God gave to me, His only begotten son.

The hands I washed, the hands I held, The hands I taught to pray; Now knock on doors to find the ones Who will listen to what he'll say. Because I know Christ needs him, Until all the gathering's done, My gift has taken years to make. This year...
I'm giving Christ my son. —



Well, last Monday was the greatest day of my mission.  WHY, might you ask?  Well, because I got a package. Not just any package, however... This package contained two baseball mitts, two baseballs, a ton of socks, and my patriarchal blessing!  Those were like ALL I EVER WANTED since I’ve been on my mission, and they all came in at once!  It was so sweet! 
I immediately played catch with Elder Swonson for like a half hour, which I regretted the next day because I couldn't move my right arm.  I should've known better.  I'm all fat and outta shape.  Who was I to think I could just be chuckin’ curveballs and cutters at Elder Swonson, without being a bit sore?

The other great part was getting my patriarchal blessing.  I've seriously been wanting that SO BAD since I’ve been on my mission.  I read it like 10 times, and I actually put a little "legend" at the bottom and marked up the entire thing in different colors correlating them to different categories.  For example, I would highlight promises in purple, blessings in blue, gifts in green, commands in yellow, my future in red.  I'd box things about my purpose, and so on and so forth.  So, the entire thing is marked up.  I read it a lot and learned so much.  It really was fantastic.  Now, I read it like every other day. It’s pretty sweet.

So apparently, according to my district leader, Elder Wright and I have had the best numbers in the zone for the last two weeks straight.  We're killing it with our members present during lessons, other lessons taught, etc.  I thought I'd just throw that in there. 

This week was kind of tough to get a lot done, because of Christmas.   Tuesday, we had to run ALL the way out to Yorktown, so Elder Swonson could interview someone for baptism. Yorktown is in the middle of NOWHERELAND.   Texas is crazy.  Some towns, are just like home, fairly populated with lots of stores, etc.  But, Yorktown? Yorktown has one streetlight and 400 people that live there.  The missionaries out there live in a trailer, and they actually cover 6 towns.  Their area is massive!  

So, after our district meeting, then the two hour drive to Yorktown, we spent some time there and drove ALL the way home.  That took up most of the day, and we actually had to cancel our dinner appointment for Tuesday night.  We saw so much land on that drive.   I just don’t get it.   It’s insane!   I am like just staring out over these plains thinking, "what on earth is all this for...?" haha us Californians!!  We just don't understand.  There are cows and goats and deer, and I just get all confused.  I’m definitely out of place out there! 

On Thursday, we had a Christmas conference for the ENTIRE mission.  We had to wake up really early and drive out to the location.  It was sweet though!  We took zone pictures, and then everyone just stood around talking to each other FOREVER.  I saw a few people I knew in the MTC.  We heard from President Slaughter, which was great.  He taught us the REAL Christmas story of Jesus' birth.

It’s funny how the world actually sees the nativity.  When you actually REALLY go through Matthew and Luke, it’s quite different than how it's explained nowadays, with all the wise men and shephards getting to Jesus RIGHT when he's born and praising him.  When, really, the wise men weren't even kings, and they didn't get to Jesus until he was a toddler!  There's a lot of stuff like that; it's just funny.  We also heard a lot of very great musical numbers during the first part of that conference as well; including one sister who sang the first noel in 3 was amazing.   She was a fantastic singer.  We also had a RIDICULOUSLY big BBQ in the gym, and I almost threw up from all the food I ate.  I swear, I’m like a dog sometimes; you never really KNOW exactly when you're going to get your next meal, so I just eat and eat and eat like it’s my last!   Oh, man, that’s got to stop.   We also had a talent show, and I got volunteered for another musical number!  I seriously don't know what the heck is going on here, and why I keep getting volunteered for musical numbers.  And, let’s just say my district here can’t compete with my district at the MTC.  It’s all male, and only two of us can actually hold a tune.  So, you know it isn't very good if I consider myself one of the "good ones" in the group!   The rest of the show was fantastic as well, some people are so talented!

Speaking of talent, I've been learning how to play the ukulele this week.  Elder Swonson has one, and some books on how to learn.  SO, at night I try to teach myself.  I can kinda play Silent Night on it.  I want my own uke to play though!  I think I could learn this one, no joke!

On Saturday, we had a Christmas party for our ward, and we invited a lot of non-members.   Elder Wright and I helped set up for the whole thing!  It took forever, but it turned out fantastic!  The party was a big hit; lots of good food, lots of people showed up, and lots of nonmembers came!   We had a great time.  They also had a talent show and a presentation on the birth of Christ at the end.   It was all just great; I really had a good time, and I think the non-members did, too.

Some COOL stuff that happened this week:  I gave three more blessings this week.  One blessing was for a man with Parkinsons that’s pretty bad.  On Saturday, another member called us to see if he could come pick us up to bless his 14 months old grandson, who was very sick.  This time I did the sealing...for the first time EVER.

Something else that was cool was that we had two lessons with “S” this week, one of our investigators, and they went very good! She's really reading the Book of Mormon now, and she's killing it and having lots of questions.  So we come over and help her in all the ways we can.  She's great; she's really putting in an effort now, and she loves the Book of Mormon.  I even came up with a great response this week when she asked if there were any instances in the bible, where it referred to the Book of Mormon.   So, we talked about Ezekiel 37, and I talked to her about the stick of Judah and stick of Ephraim.  I've only actually HEARD someone bring up that scripture once in the MTC, so I’m not sure how I remembered it!  

I also had an opportunity to bear her my testimony as well, which went great.   And, I didn't cry, so I felt like it was good. She was kinda making fun of me for it the second time we saw her, but that's okay.  She could also see how much I meant it, and how important it was to me.  I think that's helping her with her motivation to keep reading and meeting with us.

We finally got some good biking weather, but we also had to ride a lot those days! I think I rode 80 miles in 3 days?  I know that doesn't seem like a ton, but it gets a little old.  I live in the hill country, and I carry a big bag on my back and I’m wearing church clothes, so it gets a little tough going up those hills...BUT, I mob down the hills with my extra weight haha :D.

Well, I’ll leave you with a little spiritual thought.   When we met with the “R” family this week, Brother “R” shared a story he was reading.  It is called "The Parable of the Bicycle." In the story, there is a family, and the mother is doing EVERYTHING she can do be perfect.  She's trying to be a perfect person, which we all know is impossible.  One day she just gives up and tells her husband she can't do it anymore, and she breaks down crying saying she just CANNOT be perfect.  He just stares at her and tells her the following parable:

He talked about how one day his daughter came up to him and asked him if she could get a bike.  They were not very wealthy, so thinking he was clever and he could get her off his back he said "okay honey, if you save up ALL of your pennies, one day you'll have enough for a bike!" So, she got excited and said "okay!" For weeks, she saved up her pennies.  Then, one day, about three weeks later, she comes to her dad and says, "I’ve saved all my pennies, and you said if I did I could get a bike! Can we go to the store to look at them?" Of course, being the loving father that he is, he takes her all around town to the various bike stores, looking for "The One." Finally, they found the perfect bike.  His daughter, being very young and naive, gets giddy with excitement and runs to the bike and declares that it's the one.  She then turns over the price tag, her smile disappears, and she begins to cry.  Her dad asks her what is wrong and she says "oh daddy, I’ll never be able to buy this bike, as I don't have enough pennies!" He says "well, how much is the bike?" She replied, "$100.”  He said "and, how much money do you have?" She said, "62 cents." Being her father, and loving her very much, he said, "well I’ll tell you what, how about you give me all of your 62 cents, a big hug and a kiss, and I’ll pay the rest. How does that sound?" Of course, she agreed.So, why am I telling you this story?  As I'm sure many of you can guess, this is a perfect example of the atonement our Savior has provided for us.  Because as much as we want to be, we are an imperfect people. We can try and try, to no avail; we cannot be perfect as our Savior was.  However, because of the love our Heavenly Father has for us, he sent his son here to earth so that we COULD return to live with him. Jesus Christ came here, atoned for our sins, and died for us, so that he could, in essence, "pay off" the rest of the debt.  HE is the father in that parable.  Because when it comes down to it, we'll try our entire lives, but when we die, we'll only have 62 cents to give our Father in Heaven, when what we really need is 100 dollars.  But Jesus beckons us over, asks us to give him a big hug and a kiss and our 62 cents, and he'll pay the rest. And the best part is that Jesus has ALREADY DONE this for us.  He's already performed the atonement; it's already through.  All we are asked to do is take advantage of it, so why wouldn't we!?

I hope that everyone remembers the real reason of Christmas.  It’s great getting gifts.  It's awesome seeing the lights and trees and candy and cookies.  But, for a moment, let's all remember what we're celebrating. We’re celebrating the birth of the single greatest person who has ever walked on the earth: the birth of our Lord, our Savior, and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. 

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas! I love you all!


Elder Snow

Monday, December 16, 2013


How's everyone been doing?  Another week flying by, its crazy.  The days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days.  It's super insane to think I was sitting here a week ago writing a letter; it feels like it was just yesterday.

I suppose I'll start out with talking about splits.  Basically, the ward that I'm in was divided, not long ago.  It used to be one big ward called New Braunfels, and now there are 2 wards.  And, let's just say, there's a lot of work to do here!  What I'm trying to say is that it doesn't seem like the ward has really been doing splits with the Elders, until now.  I'm not saying that they are doing it now because I am here, but they just recently started signing up to go on splits with us.  For those of you that don't know what splits are, it's when you have two members of the ward go with you to teach lessons, one member with each missionary.  SO - you get TWICE as much work done.   On Tuesday, we had the opportunity to go on splits; Elder wright went with Brother C, the ward mission leader.  I went with Brother B and his son, "D," who I think I'm actually related to by the way.  They are related to the Snows up in Utah, and they're related to Lorenzo Snow as well.  It's also weird, because they have a 15 year old daughter named mason, but she spells it differently.  They're a super cool family, and they look pretty similar to me, so you never know haha. 

ANYWAYS, I took them out to go visit the "C" Family and "T," the young man who lives with them. Brother "B" and I worked super super well together.  We were talking about the importance of praying and reading as a family.  We were talking about church attendance and how it's basically a spiritual recharge for the week.  It went awesome, no joke.  We killed it.  Brother "B" was rocking it, and so was his son.  They were all very involved.  Then, towards the end of that lesson, "T"  walked in and listened to the lesson, so then we taught "T" about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and he committed to reading some of the Book of Mormon this week.  It really went great.  As we walked out, brother B and his son, D, were stoked.  They had a super good time, and on the drive home we literally had to park and stop to talk because "D" had so many questions.  He was so fired up about missionary work.  And, "D"  is 13 years old!  He's a freaking stud, no joke.  He is inviting the less active kids his age to church now,  he's giving out book of mormons, it's great.  Brother B thanked me for taking them out and told me how stoked "D" was and how much they want to come back out.  It was an awesome experience!

On wednesday, as elder Wright and I were teaching, we got a text from a less active woman in the ward asking if we could give her a blessing.  We obviously told her we would be happy to, and we brought brother "O" with us, who is the first counselor in the bishopric.   Basically, the woman was having problems in her relationship, and without divulging much, I will just say that it was a very interesting experience.   I just told her that we didn't have any advice that could make her feel better, but then I said that we would love to give her a blessing to see if we could receive any inspiration from the Lord, and see what he would have for her.  I anointed her, and brother O performed the blessing.  The blessing surprised me a little bit.   And, although I was feeling the same way, as he performed the blessing, it seemed bold.  However, after the blessing she thanked us and told us that is what she needed to hear.  The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Also, Wednesday, we took a youth from the ward to teach a recent convert about the aaronic priesthood.  This kid is named "A," and he's like 18.   Very cool, it went very good. I've made a POINT since I've gotten here to work with the youth, and I've almost taken every young man in the ward out so far.  I hope to continue that trend.  I am so grateful for people, like Doug, back home.  I'm trying to do the same with the kids in my ward.  I want them all to look up to me as an older brother, not some lame boring missionary.  I try to have fun with them, so they can see how much joy the gospel can bring into their life, and others' lives.

Thursday we went on splits again, except we couldn't get TWO separate members to go with us, so we just had brother Ca (second counselor in bishopric) and his son, "B" (17 year old),  come with us. We visited a less active member and then we went over to "H's" house and did this card trick (it's a   magic trick with cards that I know) that we related to the gospel.   We related it to how God is our loving Heavenly Father, and how he always knows where we're at, through all of our challenges and struggles.  It was a very cool object lesson.  We actually have been using it a lot lately.  Brother Ca actually recorded it.  The lesson went well.

Saturday, we went to visit the "R" Family again; they are seriously SO AWESOME.  I love this family so much.  We visit them on Saturday nights now because that's the only time we can get all of them together.  They are a part member family for various reasons, but they all have a strong faith and belief in the gospel.  We chatted for a bit and gave a little lesson.  His wife was there this time, and she LOVED us.  She's actually a gamer, so we hit it off and talked about world of warcraft and stuff haha.  Brother R (husband) gave us a ride home, and was just profusely thanking us for coming over and seeing his family again.  He keeps telling us how much the kids love it when we come over and how much he wants us to come again.  There are for sure two baptisms coming in that family.  We are just waiting for a few things, but it should be happening very soon!

Yesterday was a very good day.  We actually got TWO awesome referrals yesterday.  We went to visit sister "P" yesterday, a single woman who was baptized a year and a half ago.  She had brought her mom to church that day, and her mom was AT the house when we visited.  We taught the card trick lesson, and the kids loved it.  Sister"P"  loved it, and so did her mom.  Her mom then proceeded to ask us tons of questions.  We answered them all, gave her a book of Mormon, and offered to come over and help her out.  She said she'd love to have us over every weekend when she's with her daughter because she's super interested.   She is going to be coming to church every week and she wants to take the discussions.  How awesome?!   She has a super strong desire to be baptized - she even told us.  We basically just have to get through the lessons and she's baptized.  

Also, another cool referral was when we went to dinner with the "B" family, and the mom's sister  told us she had a friend who she was bringing to church,  and was very interested.   She even had multiple dreams of her friend being baptized, and that's why she invited her to church in the first place.  So, we have a lesson with them next week, and she's very interested.  I feel very good about that, as well.

Now for some of my more frustrating parts of the week.   Friday was really, really hard. It was raining, cold, and I was on my bike.  I didn't know it was going to rain, though, so I was wearing a pretty nice tie that got pretty messed up. I will have to get it dry cleaned now.   It was cold, wet, and NOBODY would let us inside.  I also popped a tire that day.  Walmart didn't sell tubes my size, so I had to walk my bike home to fix it there.  As I was leaving,  I saw a homeless man sitting in the rain,  FREEZING his butt off.  I had a pretty strong urge to go and talk to him.  As I talked to him, I gave him a couple dollars, and a Book of Mormon,  and I told him that I knew that if he read it, it would bless his life.  We chatted a bit, then I walked my bike home.  It was a good experience, but I was still down because of everything else.  It was the hardest day of my mission, so far, and I really missed everyone.  Then that night, I got a package from Amber, and I almost cried from how happy that made me.  It really was fantastic.  We later went caroling that night, all four of us elders, and it was so bad that it was fun, haha. The elders in my apartment can't sing at all...oh well! 

Well, that's all for this week! I hope you guys had a fantastic week.  I love you all like crazy and wish you a Merry Christmas!

Elder Snow

A Poem....Author Unknown...

Today I am frightened
My heart is beating a silent fury.
Before me are my family and friends.
I love so much and must leave behind.
Pray that I might have courage.

Today I am studying
WIth all my intellect I am diligently preparing.
Preparing for the days ahead,
That I might be an effective tool in the hands of God.
Pray that my mind might be clear and alert.

Today I am homesick.
The memories of fun, school, family crowd my mind.
I almost long to return to the carefree days of my youth.
Pray that I might feel the spirit of love.

Today I am successful.
The doors of those seeking truth open to me.
They are receptive to the word.
They will be baptized!
Pray that I may be humble.

Today I am discouraged.
Lowly I trudge home through the rain.
Pondering the slammed door,
The cruel hasty words, the laughing jeers.
Pray that I might have faith.

Today I am happy.
The light shines in my eyes.
From within me I have found joy.
Today I have lived close to the spirit
Pray that I might always find this joy.

Today I am sad.
Reluctantly and with tears in my eyes
I must someday leave this place and the people
I have taken into my heart and loved.
Pray that I might always remember.

Today I am full of love.
Love for the Lord who called me on this mission
Love for my family who supports me.
Love for the friends who installed the desire within.
Love for those who had faith in me.
Love for those who prayed for me.
But remember today, today.
I miss you. I love you. I need you.
Pray for me always.
I am your missionary.

Author Unknown Missionary

Getting Settled In...

This week probably won't have quite as many stories as usual, probably because I'm getting settled into things - But, I'll start it off with wasslefest!

I know what you're thinking: what on earth is Wasslefest.  Well, I live in the city of New Braunfels, which is largely German influenced.  Therefore, there are a lot of little German festivals; one festival/competition, called "wasslefest," was this week.  Basically, it's a giant competition to see who has the best wassle, which is kind of like apple cider, but with a little twist on it.  It's German apple cider. They close down most all of downtown,  and you walk around and try it all out.  Everything was decorated nice and all lit up; it was sweet!  Elders Wright, Wright,  Swonson and I all cruised down there and tried the wassle, walked around, and handed out Book of Mormons and talked to  people.  It was a good time.  I was all wassled out at the end of it, let me tell you.  AND, it was FREEZING.  It was super windy and cold.   AND, I didn't have gloves, sooooooo I bought a pair at one of the little shops there, and let me tell you, that was the best investment I've made in the mission so far, my goodness.  Speaking of the cold, it started getting cold while Elder Wright and I were on bikes (we are in a bike share, so we have the car half the week and bike half the week),  It got the coldest its been since Elder Wright has been on his mission in the days we were on the bikes.  It dropped into the  high 20's, but there was a ton of wind and the humidity which just made it so much more cold.  I looked so goofy on a bike, wearing a sweater and big snow jacket, gloves and a beanie.  My face was always numb when we'd ride, it was a blast.  Go figure, it starts to warm up a bit when Elder Wright and I are in the car.  Story of my life, right? It was probably 50 degrees yesterday - on the day we got the car.  The other elders lucked out!

We had a zone meeting and interviews with President Slaughter, as well as a Spanish training.  My interview with the president went great;  he seems to like me a lot and felt like I was doing good.  I was asked to share a scripture and a mini 2 minute devotional with him in Spanish, and I rocked it. I shared DC 84:88 (Amber made this  one of my favorite scriptures) and he said my Spanish was very good.  I figured he said that to everyone though so i didn't think much of it............until i got to my Spanish training with the assistants. That was interesting.  I discovered that there is quite a range of fluency among the missionaries.  I'm not trying to be mean, don't get me wrong...a lot of them who weren't too good at Spanish have ONLY had English areas, so its difficult to get good, which I totally understand. I'm just saying..that isn't gonna be me. I better be fluent, at least a little bit, when I get back.  I think I'm doing pretty well, so that's good!
Well, it is Mistletoe Ave guys have to order Bluebell ice cream. You can't beat it. You just can't.  It is the best ice cream I've ever had.  Do it!

I met an RLDS man when i was tracting (for like 20 minutes between appointments) with Elder Wright! It was crazy! He was so nice, so kind, and so accepting of letting us talk to him.  We actually got a return visit.  But, I never expected to meet an RLDS person in my life, much less the first week of my mission! We're just wondering how to teach him, though..because... he believes in everything our church believes in, minus the line of authority.  We have a few we will see how that goes!

As far as lessons have gone this week, we taught this old man named "J" this week (he's like 85), who is the kindest old man I've ever met.  He let us in, chatted with us, and let us talk to him a bit...its just tough though because jack TAUGHT religion for like 50 years and knows the bible better than anyone I've ever met, but he's lost his faith and basically just believes the bible not to be true anymore.  He, therefore, doesn't want to read the Book of Mormon.  He was apparently throwing out deep doctrine very subtly into the conversation that I didn't even pick up, but Elder Wright did.  I felt pretty stupid, not gonna lie.  He's very smart too, so he can get you off topic like it's nothing and he can basically tell you I don't want to hear what you have to say, without you even realizing it.

He just wanted to talk to us.  I kind of just interrupted him once, though, and asked him "hey "J", can I ask you a question? Why do you think we are here?"  He basically just told me because I was born and raised in the church, and I was doing what I was told to do.  I said 'well you're pretty much right, except for one little part...I may have been born in this church, but I definitely would not have served a mission just because someone TOLD me it was something I was supposed to do. I serve a mission because I know without a shadow of a doubt that this gospel is true and it blesses the lives of everyone who comes in contact with it. "J" - I  had a lot of things I had to leave back home: I had opportunities to play baseball and go to school, I had lots of friends, I had a family who loved and cared about me, and I had a pretty serious girlfriend.  But, I left all that because I want to share this message with everyone I can because I know it to be true." Then, I basically bore my testimony.  I felt the spirit strong, and felt like I was doing pretty good.  But, it was a little disheartening.  He just said "well that certainly is a very strong testimony, and I guess the only way I'll know if you're right is if I read that book you gave me."  He inferred that he might read, but i dunno. we'll see.  It wasn't the response I was hoping - Oh well... it's that noobie fire.

We also taught an older woman named "S" this week.  She was super kind and very nice. She already believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet and believes everything she has read in the Book of Mormon, but she is basically waiting for an angel to visit her. So we shared some scriptures about how the spirit testifies truth to you.  It seemed to have a little bit of an impact on her...she said she would be better about her Book of Mormon reading and she would pray to know if it is true.

We visited a lot of less active and part member families this week just to chat with them and see how they were doing. It generally ended up with us doing some service for them, which I'm totally cool with.  I had two really cool experiences with these families.

On Saturday, we visited the "R" family, and the father let us in and was super stoked to see us and talk to us.  He recently moved there with his family from Utah and he was very excited to meet me. He told us all about his mission and was getting very into it.  It was very evident that he had a love for the gospel.  We shared a scripture, and he offered to give us a ride home (It was 29 degrees outside and windy).  Despite having a strong faith and love for the gospel, his family fell away. But, when they moved down to Texas, he decided to get back and to go to church.   He was super super excited and grateful for us coming over.   He has a son who is 11, who hasn't been baptized yet.  Our plan is to help them, so he can baptize his son.  He's an amazing guy.
The other experience was with a man named, "D."  He is a recent convert of a couple years, and he baptized his daughter a couple weeks ago. We met with him last night, and he told us about the problems he was having with his wife not wanting to go to church.  Then, he told us his conversion story. Man, it was amazing.  I honestly haven't felt the spirit so strong since I've been on my mission.  He was just an amazing man.  His faith is so crazy, and his willingness to do whatever he can to bring his family back is awesome.  He takes his daughter and newborn to church every Sunday he can (he works) by himself, just so they can grow up in the church because he loves it so much.  He was an inspiration to me, and I love the guy after meeting him once.  He was awesome.

I've met a few other families here, and they've all fed us GREAT.  I met the "B" family a couple nights ago, a member family.   They were super super super cool - probably one of my favorite families in the ward. They were awesome. Fed us and everything!  I also had dinner with the "C" family last night...they're awesome too. And, the "M" family are really young and just super cool. The M's are probably the most attractive married couple I've ever met in my life, too.  They're both like models, its crazy haha. Well, I think that's about it for this week.

I love you all, and i hope you're having a good time back home! stay outta trouble, write me every once in a while and keep reading the blog...
Love you!
Elder Snow
Letter was actually written on 12/9 - Sorry, mom was slow to post

Monday, December 2, 2013



FIRST: Please note that my personal day is NOW on MONDAY!  I will reply to all emails on Monday, so write me!  My email address is

SECOND - New Mailing address:  
Elder Snow
1231 Huisache Ave # 710
New Braunfels, TX 78130

Alright this weeks adventures!!

I'll start out with my travels from Mexico, back to the states.  Basically, I woke up at 5 am on Wednesday, and arrived at the airport WAAAY early.  This was OK because I was able to make phone calls in the airport.  THAT was fantastic! 

Once on the plane, I kinda just slept for a while, but then Elder Burdge woke me up half way through for food.  From that point on, the lady next to me wouldn't stop talking to me.  But, it was fantastic because she spoke only in Spanish, and we had a great conversation about the restoration.  She's a pretty hardcore catholic, yet she seemed very interested in the Mormons, so I gave her a Book of Mormon and a pass along card.  I answered all the questions I could for her.  I kinda messed up the first vision, though, it was a little embarrassing, but I stuck through it, and it went great. 
I landed in Texas, went through customs, and of course I got "randomly selected" for a bag search (I'm convinced it's because I was so handsome).  After that, I walked out the door and there was my mission president and his family waiting for us!  He gave me a big ABRAZO (Mexican greeting: you shake their hand, hug with your head going right, not left like Americans do it, then you shake their hand again).  Then, I shook his wife's hand and his daughters hand.  They took us back to the mission home, fed us, then we met the assistants of the mission.  They were super cool.

They, then, took us to the Alamo, where they shared the history of the Alamo.  Then they were just like "alright, we're gonna give everyone some Book of Mormons, and you guys are gonna go proselyte for an hour...go!"  I rocked it.  We handed out three Book of Mormons, and I actually placed one in Spanish as well.  This lady was like, "I don't speak English." So, I was like "pshhh esta bien yo hablo Espanol!" Then,  she was just like - ahhh crap he caught me, so I talked to her!  After that we went back to the mission president's house, and he talked to us for a bit, introduced us to the mission, and we ate a REAL authentic Texan BBQ. 

OHHH, man, the food down here is good, not gonna lie. After dinner, we had some Bluebell ice cream. Amber, if you're reading this, you might wanna skip this part.  Bluebell ice cream is the best ice cream I've ever had in my entire life.  It isn't an ice cream parlor like Coldstone or just comes in tubs of ice cream.  I don't know how they do it, but it's the most amazing thing ever.  It's everywhere too; it's sold in all the stores.   Apparently, it's a local business, so you can't get it anywhere else in the world!  It's so good, though.  I wish you guys could try it! 

After we ate, the assistants took us back to their apartment, and all 9 of the new elders just had a big sleepover with air mattresses.  That was an adventure the next morning, trying to get ready!

Then came the transfer meeting: the assistants told us who our companions were going to be, and which area we were going to.  This is the first and only time in your mission that you KNOW these things before you actually go into the transfer meeting, with all the other missionaries.  I was just sitting there, PRAYING for a super good trainer and area.  You know - one who is  really experienced, IN a Spanish area, WITH a car.  Can you GUESS what I got?  I got a brand new trainer, in an English area, in a carshare area, where I'm biking MOST of the time! hahahahah!  Go figure, right? 

But, actually, I am enjoying my area!  I'm currently living in New Braunfels, Texas. It is actually very largely German influenced, but there are still a lot of people that speak Spanish around here. Elder Wright, my companion, is cool, too.  He is a great guy, and he's super patient (especially when I accidentally fall asleep during my studies for a few minutes).  I'm working hard - really hard.  I'm trying to be as motivated as I can, to turn my ward around and get dates for ALL of the 10 progressing investigators that we have.  More about that, later....

Thanksgiving was the day of transfers! SO, right after I met my companion, we went to four dinners, I think? I'm not even sure.  BUT, I didn't even care!  I ate everything... and seconds of everything. People down here KNOW HOW TO COOK!  I don't know if it's because I've been having crappy food in Mexico for so long, or if it's because they're amazing cooks, but EITHER way - its great!  

We mostly just visited families on Thanksgiving.  We aren't supposed to proselyte on holidays much, I guess.  We shared a little Thanksgiving message from Alma 34.  It was about being in thanksgiving to our God daily, not just on Thanksgiving. A family asked Elder Wright and I to sing for them, so I was like "oh sure!" They happened to be Spanish and English speaking, so I broke out my Spanish hymn book.  You see, I was so used to my last companion being in the STATE choir, I hadn't even thought about whether or not Elder Wright could sing. He also didn't have his glasses, so he couldn't actually see the lyrics in my book.  Therefore, he was just humming along while I sang.  It was pretty embarrassing.  I rocked it...I guess. No, not really.  It was actually pretty terrible. But, whatever.

The night of Thanksgiving, I met the elders that we share an apartment with. Their names are Elder Wright (yep, another one) and Elder Swonson.  Elder Swonson is actually our district leader, and he is so awesome.  He reminds me SO MUCH OF TRENTON, back home.  I love him.  The first night, we were just talking as a group,  and I made a joke.  He laughed and was just like "Elder Snow, I think I love you."  I was like, "Elder Swonson, I think I love you too."  Then he just gave me a goofy smile, and I was like, "Did we just become best friends?!" And, he was like "YEP!" hahahahah, it was great! I hope someone gets that reference.  I'm sure someone will.  But yeah, they're great. We're going to do a Christmas card pretty soon here, so you'll see what everyone looks like in the upcoming weeks.

okay, PAUSE.  BEFORE I continue with my story, I need to confirm that saying "Everything is bigger in Texas." It is the truest of all true statements in the world!  Why do I say that?  Well, in my area, there is a place called "Buc-ee's," which is a gas station.  It not JUST a regular gas station though!  It's the LARGEST GAS STATION IN THE WORLD.  It has 124 gas pumps!  And, you know the "little store" you go into to buy snacks, like a 7/11 sized store?  This one is like a full blown Costco.  They have a butcher, bakery, clothes and pie samples!   IT IS INSANE... OH, and the bathroom is just AS ridiculous AS the gas pumps! The WHOLE ROOM is just spotless and covered in stalls and urinals, and everything is like made out of marble.  It's just, WOW.  So unnecessary.  But, so fantastic! 

Alright continuing...
My first day out actually doing work was so-so.  We biked around, visited people and proselyted, but nothing was really that cool until the evening when we met "H", who is a progressing investigator in this area.  We taught him about tithing and fasting.  I used my object lesson that I stole from Elder Odle (sorry) with using cookies.  You place 10 cookies in front of them and say, "I want to give you all of these cookies.  They are all yours now, but just remember that they came from me."  Something along those lines.  Then you say, "okay, since I gave you all of those cookies, would it be alright if I had just ONE of them?"  Of course they say, sure!  Then you say "thank you - and since you gave me back one cookie, I'm now going to give you X more cookies."  We described how its the same with our Heavenly Father.  He gives us everything we have, and he only asks for 1/10th back.  When we obey this law, he blesses us tenfold.  It was pretty cool.  At the end of the lesson, I was feeling the spirit pretty good, so i just sacked up and invited him to be baptized on February 15th (he has to get married first; that's why its so late).  He accepted my invitation to be baptized.  It was great! Now we have 1 out of 10 investigators with dates.  I'm gonna get another 4 this month, mark my words.  

The next day we visited this guy named "F" who is a recent convert.  All Elder Wright told me was that we were going to teach about prayer and scripture study.  A member, named Brother C. picked us up and took us.  We chatted for a bit, then I looked at Elder Wright, and he was just smiling at me.  I'm like, "ohhh he's throwing me under the bus; he's making me do this by myself!  He's not even going to say anything!"  So, I just started it up and punched Fred in the face with the spirit with my lesson.  I read out of 1 Nephi chapter 1, verse 12, which is super simple but profound.  It plainly and simply explains how we feel the spirit, as we read the Book of Mormon.  Then we talked about prayer and read out of Alma, where it says how we should pray...which is always.  Then I talked about how Heavenly Father wants to bless us with things because he's our literal father in heaven.  I read out of 3 Nephi chapter 14 verses 9-11.  It was fantastic. 

After we left F's apartment, Brother "C" was like "Elder Snow, how long did you say you've been in the field?" I replied, "how long do you think?" To which he replied "oh, I don't know, a year or so?"  And, I said, "CLOSE!...2 days!"  He was just baffled hahahah.   I apparently did a really good job!

Other stuff that's happened....Elder Wright and I went tracting one day, and we got into this old guys house.  His daughter was SUPER angry that her dad let us in.  She was telling us how we'd never change her... blah blah blah.  Then we somehow turned it around, and she got really interested in what we had to say!   We got a return date for next week! We gave her a Book of Mormon ,and she said she would read it.  I feel pretty good about it.

We visited the "C" family on Saturday, as well...they are less active.  They also have a younger man living with them, named "T" who is 18 or 19, and pretty interested in the church.  We were UNABLE to really teach a lesson, BUT we got to talk about the church a little bit.  "T" was saying that he wouldn't read the Book of Mormon until he finished the Bible, and the "C" family wasn't too interested in hearing a lesson either.   BUT, "T" told me "hey if you get a chance, can you write me a good review on (his employer's website)?" I was like ""T", I'd love to write you a survey, but I'll only do it if you start reading the Book of Mormon.  I don't even care if it's just the first chapter.  If you read it, I'll even go into whateverBURGERjoint, myself, and tell them JUST how great you are."  He was like "okay, I'll do it!"  It was awesome. and the "C" family was like "OH, you're Spanish speaking? Then, speak some Spanish to us!" To which, I replied "ehh...i only know Spanish that has to do with the gospel (little white lie), so if I talk in Spanish - I have to teach you guys a lesson."  So they agreed! Now we're going back next week and teaching a lesson to them in Spanish ... ahah. I'm sneaky.

My first Sunday here was a fast Sunday.  My companion bore his testimony first, which obviously meant that I had to, as well.   I went up there and basically just told everyone how ridiculously excited I was to be in their ward, and I told them all that I was there to serve them and help them in any way I could, and that I was ready to work as hard as I possibly could for them.  After that, Brother U (he fed us the night before) went up, bore his testimony, and told the ward how great I was and said they were lucky to have me.  I was just sitting there blushing in the front row.  It was pretty embarrassing haha. 

Alright last story.... last night we visited an inactive couple who hasn't been going to church for years, but they love the missionaries and feed us every time we visit ,apparently.  We were chatting for a bit, they fed us, and then Elder Wright asked if we could share some scriptures with them.  They said "yes" and he looked at me (threw me under the bus again).  But, I was fine with it.  I rocked it, and talked about charity, and how we need to show the pure love of Christ to everyone.  BUT, here's the kicker... Elder Wright made me do it Spanish.  He tried to throw me TWO curveballs, there.  But, guess what Elder Wright? I play baseball!  I sat on that sucker, and I took it to right field.  I rocked it; my Spanish was flawless, (OK - that's a huge lie, but it was pretty good) and was great! 

Okay, last elder's quorum teacher looks like M. Macky.  I'm not going to say who that is, but whoever gets it, will know... ahhaha.

Alright, I love you ALL. PEACE!
Elder Snow