Wednesday, August 26, 2015

hooray for new hope round 2!

Happy Monday! I hope y'all are having a great day so far, we sure are! 
In other news I hit 13 months yesterday and want to cry.  Every week I struggle to know how to adequately explain the week I've had and how incredible every day is as we choose to make it so. Ammon's words are really what explain it best: "I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.
On Tuesday we got transfer emails and Sister Storms and I are both staying here!! We're really excited, and at transfer meeting we were assigned to be sister training leaders, so we get to work with other sisters and go on exchanges and such. it's going to be so great, and I'm excited to learn from all of the sisters! this week we get to go to San Antonio for two meetings, tomorrow for MLC(missionary leadership council), and then on Friday for sisters conference! All of the sisters in the mission get together and we get to go to the temple and have meetings and such. This is going to be such a wonderful week! There is so much to learn and do and I'm so excited for it all!
This week was really good. We set some goals of what we know we can accomplish this transfer and how we will do it. We have a goal set to have 4 people become members of the church by the end of this transfer, and we are going to do everything we possibly can to make that happen and help these people see how important they are and how the gospel can bless them. It's going to be an awesome transfer. 
Last Monday evening before we headed out to proselyte, we had a neat experience. Sister Storms and I had been reading letters and emails from our parents and talking about how blessed we are. Then we were looking at pictures of a little girl one of the hermanas knows that had passed away and talking about the Plan of Salvation. We went into our room to pray before we left the apartment, and as we knelt down to pray, Sister Storms and I looked at each other and we both started crying. Now listen, I really don't cry that often, but I just couldn't hold it in. THERE IS JUST SO MUCH TO BE GRATEFUL FOR. 

Too often we overcomplicate our lives and make things harder than they are, and all we need is to take a step back and look at what we have. I know that life is not easy and at times it seems hopeless, but I promise you that there is so much more. And as we knelt to pray, we felt that. In that moment I could completely feel that we have a loving Father in Heaven who has given us a time to learn and a way to return to be with Him. We have a Savior. We have a divine purpose. We are cherished beings of our Father. We have every reason to stand tall and confident, and to be happy. The world will try to tear us down, but we have so much to be grateful for, and so much to live up to. I love the words of Ammon in Alma 26:35 and 37:
"Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began..."
 "Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen."
He loves us. We are His children. And we have such a great purpose. Never forget who you are and how loved you are and how much more there is to come. We are an extremely blessed people.
"Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad." (Doctrine and Covenants 128:22)
I love y'all.
Sister Snyder
1. My district last transfer. One of the very best districts around!
2. After transfer meeting in the rain with the cutie sisters we live with!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

it rained this week for 15 minutes

Hello everyone! Wow what a week of learning and miracles and answered prayers! Never ever doubt that our Heavenly Father loves us or hears us, because He definitely does. We saw that a lot this last week! .
So on Sunday night we had met the neighbor of an investigator(this apartment complex is full of so many wonderful people!) named Meagan, and on Monday we went back to teach her, and she LOVED it all. The next night we taught her and her son, and they committed to baptism in September. They are so accepting of the truth and have such pure and simple faith. I love it so much. We have been praying and working hard to be so diligent so that we can find these people that are prepared, and the Lord is so good to us and to His children that are prepared to hear the truth at this time.
 Another thing that still amazes me is that we just help people carry things or just say hello, and the next thing we know we're sitting in their apartment talking about Jesus Christ. That happened this week with the sweetest woman and I'm so grateful for the faith people have. Our other investigators are doing well and they are such amazing people!
One experience I must share is from Saturday evening. The American Sign Language sisters were having a baptism for their 11 year old deaf investigator. Meagan and her little girl came to see it, and they know some ASL so it was perfect. The baptism was incredible. It was all in ASL, and there were translators for the hearing. The prayers were in ASL, the bishop welcomed her in ASL, and people practiced so hard for it. The Spirit there was so strong. Everyone felt it. That sweet girl that got baptized was so excited and pure and I wish y'all could have been there. It was so quiet and peaceful and it was just the best feeling being there. Definitely something I will never forget. 
This week was one of refinement and answered prayers and such an opportunity for growth and increased faith in my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ. I love His gospel and how loving it is! I feel it so deep within me and I can't quite describe it fully, but it's of comfort and truth. I just feel such peace and happiness of knowing the Plan, of knowing how encompassing the Atonement is, and how much love there is. I know who I, and every other single person, am intended to become. And although I'm not there yet, I see that there are so many things to learn along the way that will ultimately take me there. I have that ultimate end goal of living a life of faithfulness to God that will allow me to stand worthy and repentant before Him, allowing me to live eternally with Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and my family. I can't imagine anything sweeter or more joyful. And along the way, there are the smaller goals that lead to the end goal. The restored teachings of our Savior and the saving ordinances administered by the priesthood are the only way back. The power of God is greater than the power of man, and it's His power and authority thats binds us together for eternity. And it's all here for us to feast upon, to learn from, and to work on. I'm so grateful that we have this time to learn for ourselves of the goodness of God. That we get to experience trials and good things that help us rely on the Savior. As we push forward and work hard to be better than we were yesterday, the Lord strengthens us and allows us to become who we are meant to be. And I absolutely love that I get to be an instrument in God's hands to help others realize the same.
In my studies this week, I was focusing on diligence and the priesthood. President Slaughter had shared a quote with me that says "Self-discipline and self-control are consistent and permanent characteristics of the followers of Jesus." It's from an Ensign article called "The Price of Discipleship" by President Faust in the April 1999 Ensign. I went and read the article, and it changed me. Please read it if you get the chance. I learned so much from it. The price we pay to be disciples of Christ is obedience. To fully follow Christ, we first need to seek the direction of the Master. And sometimes it seems like we have to give up a lot. We forsake the world, we cast out all evil, we are disciplined, we learn to repent and enjoy forgiveness. It seems like a heavy cross to carry, but it doesnt end up being so, because the strength we need comes from our Savior, and the reward is so great. 
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28–30).
Obedience is the price we pay. We learn to love God above all else, and we receive love, strength, peace, joy, and greater than anything else, eternal life with those we love most. So yes, we do give up some things that may be hard, but like President Faust says, "It's a price we cannot afford not to pay."
Love y'all.
Sister Snyder
P.S. Here's a picture of me and Aleigha. She's moving this week, but don't worry, the other missionaries will continue to meet with her!

I never want to leave this place - August 10th, 2015

hello hello!!
happy monday to all of you! I hope you have all been enjoying your summer!
We had a wonderful week, yet again. There's never not a good week as a missionary. The blessings and miracles are countless and endless and the Lord's promises are so real. All of our investigators are doing well and I love how personal the gospel and the teaching of it is for each person. With Fong, we're focusing more on teaching her English now, which is so fun! With Aleigha, who is 8, we teach her with lots of visuals and activities, and with the Galavis family, we teach by answering their questions that are SO good. The gospel is so personal, because the Atonement of Jesus Christ is personal. Yes, He suffered for all mankind, but I don't think it was all at one time. It was very individual, one by one, and that is how He invites us to come unto Him today. It's what He did with the Nephites in the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 11:13-17). And it's what He does with us now as we turn to Him through every heartache, feelings of inadequacy, sin, mistake, good thing, victory, learning experience, and miracle. He wants it all. He wants nothing held back, good or bad. President Slaughter brought up a few months ago that we shouldn't forget that it's not the Atonement that saves us, it is Christ! The two are not separate things, they are the same, and Christ loves all of us so much. 
On a different note, last year for my birthday, Syster Bateman sent me a gratitude journal that has a variety of prompts to write about, with the main focus being on expressing gratitude for what we have been given. This last week, I wrote in this journal a lot and focused on what I had been blessed with each day. Then I also wrote what I had learned each day. I want to share with y'all the little things that I was grateful for each day this last week, and what I learned. This may end up being a bit long, but I still want to share.
August 5th:
I'm grateful for: 1)Sister Storms and the great training on planning that she gave at district meeting today  2) to have learned 3 Nephi 5:13, our mission scripture in sign language from the ASL sisters  3) for the enthusiasm of new missionaries  4) for the satisfaction that comes from working hard and contacting people  5) that Fong can meet tomorrow night so that Brother Himmer can come and translate  6) for the Checketts coming to our lesson and testifying of the gospel  7) for the hamburger I ate for dinner
Today I learned that God keeps His promises to us, His children. He provided a way for our schedules to work out, for members to come to lessons, and He provided people for us to meet. As we did our part to work hard and diligently, He allowed us to meet those that need the gospel at this time. He always fulfills His part of the promise. I love Him.
August 6th:
I'm grateful for: 1) The service we did this morning. We helped put together cauliflower, onions, potatoes, and apples at the Round Rock food pantry. My hands are so sore from untying the sacks, but it was so awesome! I lifted all the onions and took charge of them, and the coordinator Marilyn called me "Onion Girl". Haha. I definitely had to shower after.  2)Sister Slaughter caring so much about each missionary  3)Alfonso leaving a note to say he couldnt meet. It was super thoughtful. 4) #RONROK on the whiteboard in the car. 5)Brother Himmer coming to Fong's lesson to help translate.
Today I learned that people who cannot understand the gospel or are not quite ready still deserve our best love and service. Often times, that's exactly how they will come to understand.
August 7th: 
Truly a crazy day, but full of so many miracles. I'm grateful for: 1) the fact that we finally found a U-Haul after searching and searching for one so we could get a hitch on our new car for our bike rack 2) That the lady at the hotel we stopped at was so nice and printed out directions for us 3)Sister Storms' prescriptions for allergies going from $156 to $76 because of a paper the doctor had given us  4) french toast for dinner  5)discovering the Gospel Library in Cantonese for Fong  5) Meeting with Barbara and Israel tonight. They have such great questions  6)getting an awesome letter from Dad today
Today  I learned that the Lord answers prayers and is so mindful of every single detail of our lives, whether it's the big things or the little things, He loves us and cares about what matters to us.
August 8th:
I'm grateful for: 1) The stake missionary breakfast at President Romero's and the dog that wasn't his that ran into the house as we went inside. Hahaha. 2)the fact that I'm actually understanding the war chapters from Alma in the Book of Mormon, and it's SO good  3)The Limbs and their love for the gospel and the great member missionaries they are.
Today I learned about perseverance. It was so hot, and we were exhausted and pretty hungry , but as we kept working and stayed on track, we were so blessed. The Limbs gave us a super solid referral and we had a great day. As we give what we have to pay the price, we are extremely blessed for it, either immediately or sometime in the future. When we're patient, the Lord gives us success.  
Okay, one last thing I learned from my studies. I've been reading in Alma 47-50 in the Book of Mormon this past week, about Captain Moroni and how as he and the other Nephites were obedient, the Lord protected them against the Lamanites, who were very wicked at the time. There was one scripture that I really loved. It is Alma 48:7. At this time, the wicked Lamanite king Amalickiah has been killing and lying to gain power, and Moroni has been following good and defending his freedoms. The verse says this: "Now it came to pass that while Amalickiah had thus been obtaining power by fraud and deceit, Moroni, on the other hand, had been preparing the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God."   The first thing I thought was that Moroni is a great leader. And as I thought more about the verse, I thought about what the world is trying to teach us, versus what we're trying to teach the world. Lots of influences in the world, all through Satan, would have us believe that it doesn't matter what we do or say, as long as we feel happy. The sad thing is, it's not true or lasting happiness. Heavenly Father has us know that being faithful to God and following Christ is what will bring us true and lasting happiness. There is simply no substitution.  The words of the Savior in John 16:33 sum it up so well: "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
I love y'all.
Sister Snyder

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Year Mark, Exchanges, and a Miracle!!!

Hello sweet family and friends!!!
This week was incredible. Every week is, but this week was just top notch. Here's why:
On Tuesday-Wednesday, we went on exchanges with our sister training leaders. I went to Georgetown/Serenada with Sister Record, and I learned so much! We focused on using scriptures more in teaching, which was one of the goals i had set for the exchange. But the thing I ended up learning the most about was the power and authority of my calling. And not in a conceited way. But throught the restored priesthood of Jesus Christ, missionaries are given power from heaven and the authority from God to preach the everlasting gospel to His children. It has been prophecied of for thousands of years. It is my blessing and my privilege. I am literally gathering Israel. We are all working to gather Israel. Knowing this, how can I not teach with power and authority? Knowing who I am called of, why I'm here, and what the everlasting gospel is enstills in me a confidence and love that makes me want to share the gospel with every person in this world. A good question was posed by an elder in my last district, and I've thought about this question a lot this last week: Do I understand the eternal significance of right now? 
On Thursday I hit my year mark. Booo. I really cannot believe I have been a fulltime missionary for a year. It blows me away. It's really sad if you think about it. I only have six more months to share the gospel with the people in Texas full time, to have such a great calling. But it motivates me too. I want to work my aboslute hardest during these last 6 months. And i've also been able to see the growth within myself. I have changed, and i could not be more grateful that i have.
Okay I want to share everything that i study with y'all, but i'll pass on that this week and just share some of the best quotes i came across.
"The choice to come unto Christ is not a matter of physical location; it is a matter of individual commitment." -Elder Russel M. Nelson
"Nurture your testimony until it becomes an anchor to your life." -President Thomas S. Monson
"Hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes." -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
"Honesty is essential in requesting things from God...Often as I pray, the Spirit nudges me to admit that there is more I should do to receive the help I am asking from the Lord. Then I must commit and do my part. It is contrary to the economy of heaven for the Lord to do for us that which we can do for ourselves." -Elder J. Devn Cornish
I love the truths given to us by God through his servants on the earth today.
And now I will share one of the greatest things of my entire mission/life. So the Sanchez family was the family Sister Scott and I were teaching in Garden Ridge. I have emailed back and forth with the mom, and in her last email(last monday) she said that they were set to be baptized on Saturday at 6pm. I was thrilled, but kind of sad I wouldn't be there. I thought that being up in Austin would be too far to go. But Sister Storms said that as long as a member drives, we can go far distances for baptisms. So we called President Slaughter for permission and he said yes! Sister Scott is also in Austin, so on Saturday afternoon, we met at a church and Sister Scott and I headed down to San Antonio with some members while our companions worked together. The best part was that I had talked to the Garden Ridge elders, and we agreed to make it a surprise. The Sanchez family thought for sure that we wouldnt be there. So we got to the church, and waited and surprised them and it was such a happy reunion!! oh my goodness. 
The service was beautiful. There are few things that I can imagine are sweeter than seeing a family being baptized, and being so ready for it. My heart was and is so full of love and gratitude for them and their faith. They truly acted on a small desire, and it grew into so much more. I testify to you that the gospel does change lives and it changes hearts. It fills us with truth and light that cannot and will not be found elsewhere. And seeing them know that for themselves is incredible. After searching, they found it, and they love it. They have changed my heart as well. It has been such a blessing to teach them and witness them making sacred covenants with God. The restored gospel is on the earth, and IT CHANGES AND BLESSES PEOPLE.  The Lord keeps his promises, and His love for all people is real. 
Saturday was one of the happiest times of my life. I really cant describe it well enough. All I know is that the Atonement of Christ is real, and that His gospel has been restored, and with that, the priesthood authority that allows us to access the Atonement and be made clean. I'm forever grateful for these people, this gospel, and these experiences that allow me to feel of God's love, and in turn, love Him even more.
There is no denying that this is the Lord's work and church. The truth is there and felt through the Spirit. I love it, my Savior, and my Father more than anything.
I love y'all!! Have a great week!
Sister Snyder
1) Sister Scott and I with the Sanchez famiy :)
2) The garden ridge elders, us and the sanchez's :)