Monday, December 16, 2013

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

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