Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Speak of the Savior

Hello everyone!

I hope that all is well wherever you may be!

By no means do I mean to dwell on this, but on Saturday, I hit my 18 month mark. I have experienced the most incredible and most important 18 months of my life. I have learned things that I simply would never have known. I have grown to love God first and to apply the atoning blood of Christ. There is so much that God has allowed me to learn, love, feel, and experience, and I am so grateful for that. I have one week left to give everything in me, and I am so excited to do it!

We have had another beautiful week here in Palo Alto! The investigators are doing so well! One of them, Becky, got engaged to a member of our branch on Monday night right after our lesson with her. So fun! And the less active work continues to go so well! I love all of these people here so much and I really admire their humility. They are so willing to put aside anything and everything to change and return to Christ.

Yesterday we had a really neat experience on Lackland Air Force Base. We have some YSAs that live on base that attend the branch there, and we have been wanting to go to their service to try and meet some of these people. The elders in our district are assigned to that branch as well as their ward, so they have base passes that they use each week, but we don't. So we figured it out and had a sister whose husband is in the branch presidency come meet us at the gate so that we could get on with her pass. So we drove to the gate with the elders, Sister Fullam and I got into the sister's car, and we let the elders go through first. Right as we're going through, we saw the elders turn around and go out the other way. We called them, and their passes had expired! So although it was our first time, it was up to us to teach any of the trainees who wanted to hear about the gospel! It was such a miracle that it worked out this way! We got to help the senior couples with some paperwork, answer some questions, have sacrament with them, and then anyone who wanted to know more came to a classroom with us and some other trainee members and we got to teach the Restoration to about 20 men and let me tell you, it was powerful. Many of them had great questions, and sharing the First Vision brought the spirit so strongly. Many of them asked for copies of the Book of Mormon after the class. It was such a neat experience to be on base yesterday, to teach such humble people, and to see how God's hand was in this allowing for His work to go forth.

This week we had the worldwide missionary broadcast, and it was incredible. The Brethren truly are inspired of God and it increased my passion to TEACH REPENTANCE AND BAPTIZE CONVERTS, to always be focused on my purpose, to turn outward, to love others more, to be obedient, and to talk of Christ ALWAYS. There is so, so much that we learned, but one of my favorite things was from Elder Andersen. He said:

“I know you talk to everyone who will listen to you. Wherever you are—in a bus, on the street, in a teaching situation, or in a home with a member, if you are ever unsure of what to say, speak of the Savior. Testify of Him. Speak of His doctrine, of faith in Him and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. This is your purpose. This is your charge.”

I love this so much, because isn't this the purpose and charge of every single one of us? We have made that covenant, we have crossed the line, and what a blessing and privilege it is to testify and speak of the Savior!

He lives. He loves us. He allows us to change. He forgives us. He is our Savior. Through Him, nothing is impossible.

I love y'all so much! Have an incredible week!

Love always,

Sister Snyder

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                                                         The best book ever.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel..."

Hello sweet friends and family!

How is everyone doing? I hope that everyone had a great week! And mom, I hope you had a wonderful birthday!

Things here are going amazing! Palo Alto is incredible, we had exchanges on Friday-Saturday, we got to spend time down in Pleasanton, I met a pet pig named Tamale, and we saw miracles. I always say it, but I wish that each of you could be here with me or step into my mind and experience what we do as we study and prepare and go out and talk to and meet with people. I have truly learned how to love God first and how to love His children. This work has absolutely nothing to do with me, but everything to do with Him. And I couldn't be more grateful for that. He makes weak things strong. He changes hearts. He blesses the obedient. He loves unconditionally. He provides us a way to return. All of that is why I love and serve Him.

This week we were blessed to work with a few less actives that are working to be fully active again. These people inspire me a whole, whole lot. Living the gospel of Jesus Christ requires diligent and honest effort, and it doesn't always seem to be the easiest. We all slip up and make mistakes, but it's the desire to return that matters, and this is what we see over and over with these wonderful people. Our purpose as a whole Church, as disciples of Christ, is to invite others to come unto Him. To teach repentance and baptized converts. I have gained a string testimony of fulfilling my purpose with EVERYONE. Just because someone is already a member doesn't mean that our purpose doesn't apply. And that's what we've been doing, inviting people to continually come unto Christ. 

We had a lesson with a brother named Joseph who has a strong desire to return and build his testimony again. We met out in his backyard(yes, it was nice enough and yes, I got a sunburn in January, haha) and we had a member of the branch with us, and we taught him the Restoration. There is such power in allowing someone to hear again what they know and to allow it to begin burning in them again. As we concluded the lesson, I felt prompted to share with him the power of having a vision and setting goals, since this is something I have really come to understand on my mission. I then pulled out a sticky note, and asked him what his vision is for himself. His vision is to be fully active again in the church. We then asked how he plans to do it, and what he will do each day to make it happen. We wrote all of this down for him, gave him the sticky note, and invited him to prayerfully commit to Heavenly Father to do these things. It was powerful, and we were able to do this 2 other times with other YSAs in the branch who are pushing hard to come back. I feel such a deep love for these people. I see their potential, and Heavenly Father sees it even more. 

This week I have learned SO much. I have been working on My Plan, the program for returning missionaries to help them have a better plan to continue their discipleship and habits. It helps set goals about everything from work to education to scripture study to dating to remembering what we have learned during this time. As I've been doing this each morning and doing personal study, a few points have stuck out to me. Nothing new, just extremely important. 

First, the importance of scripture study. Preach My Gospel has a whole chapter on the Book of Mormon, and it says, "The Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, is your most powerful resource in conversion." I am converted, but I also plan to continue to be converted, so I know that I must never cease my study of and love for the Book of Mormon.

The second thing is the importance of the covenants we make and the temple. A part on My Plan says that "temples provide strength to help us become become more deeply converts disciples of Christ." I want nothing more. And I love this quote from Elder Ballard: "There is no spiritual power that comes in convenience, it comes in keeping our covenants." 

The last thing is the influence of the Holy Ghost. I have been studying the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion and how it is truly central to conversion. We must teach by the spirit, and others must receive by the Spirit. I was thinking about this last night, and about how at the beginning of my mission, I would often wonder if I was actually feeling the Spirit, or sometimes I would wonder why I didn't feel like the Spirit was working through me. Now, I feel that the Spirit is the guide and that the Spirit does speak through me. Why the difference in feeling and belief? I first needed to learn how to feel and recognize the Spirit. I studied it and began to recognize the influence of the Spirit more and more. And then when the promptings came, I needed to learn to jump on and follow. It can be scary, it can be hard, but there is power that comes when we do what God asks. He loves us and loves all of His children enough to allow His Spirit work through imperfect people like us. 

Knowing these things has blessed me in countless ways. I am forever and ever indebted to my Father in Heaven and my Savior. I am nothing, I am fallen, but through Them, I, you, and all of us have great, great value, and incredible potential. We just need the eyes to see it.

I'll end with a scripture found in Alma 29:9 that my Dad sent to me today that I love! I had been studying Alma 26 this week, which goes perfectly with this. I testify to you that through the gospel of Jesus Christ, my joy truly is full. 

"I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."

I love y'all!


Sister Snyder 

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1. Me and a member, Reyna, with her sweet pig named Tamale
2. Sister Fullam and me! Love her
3. With the sweetest family ever, the Zendejos! Love them so much!
4. Again with the pig. Hahaha.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Hello Y'all

Hello Y'all!!

This week I was blessed to witness many times the change of heart that happens within someone as they begin to align or realign their will with the Lord's. Lives change, people change, but the gospel doesn't, and that is why it is our safe anchor in all of this. We have seen how investigators begin to change and how they have proven to us that they are repenting. We can see it each time we meet that these children of a God are being converted. We have also been working consistently with many less actives, and getting down to their concerns and why they decided to be baptized in the first place. All of these people felt the Spirit and experienced some change at one point, and now they need to come back. We have been blessed to have very spirit led discussions with many of these returning less actives in which we have been able to help them resolve their concerns. We have been turning to Preach My Gospel for help with these concerns that come up, and how inspiring it is to see it all come together as we receive the help we need. We have a less active that has now come back and is attending activities, and he is strongly considering serving a mission. Last night we had a lesson with a man who feels that he has lost his testimony, but wants it back. We told him that he will gain it back as he does what is necessary, and invited him to read, pray, and come back to church. He accepted our invitation, and as he said the closing prayer, the Spirit was so strong. It is an absolute privilege, and a very humbling one at that, to witness the change that occurs in these people as they begin to repent and forsake. Last night we came out of that lesson with great gratitude for our calling and for these experiences that the Lord blesses us with.

I could not be any happier with how everything is going and with my mission experience. The Lord has blessed me in countless ways. I feel it every day that this is exactly where I am meant and needed to be. How grateful I am to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Have a wonderful week!

-Sister Snyder

happy new year! (from 1/4/16)

Hello sweet friends and family! Happy new year! I hope that everyone is enjoying 2016 so far! I just can't believe it's here already! This last year was the very best year of my not so long life. I have learned and experienced more than I thought possible, and I'm so excited to continue that for the rest of my life.

Everyone here goes bananas for New Years with fireworks. There was traffic everywhere on Thursday from people going to the different firework stands around. It was pretty exciting. I just thought I'd throw that in there. It's awesome down here.

This week was MIRACULOUS. I'll go ahead and tell you why! (This might be long...)

-our investigator KJ is still progressing so well! We had to change his baptism date to February 6th because of his work schedule, but he is still so set on it and we are so excited for him. The other day we were talking about obedience and following the prophet, and we asked what his thoughts were. He said, "I think it's really simple. It isn't rocket science. We just need to follow what they say." He has such a simple and logical but powerful faith! He accepts everything we share with him, and is more than willing to live it. 

-our other investigator Becky has a baptism date now as well! We had talked to her about praying for herself about what day to be baptized, and as we went over to a lesson on Saturday we were wanting to bring that up. We didn't have to, she did. She said that she had prayed about it, and now she has a date set for March 5th! It was awesome! We taught her the Restoration again with a member there and it was a very powerful lesson. There is nothing better than being able to testify of the Prophet Joseph and of the full gospel of Jesus Christ being restored. I love it. 

-on Wednesday we had MLC. We talked a lot about the doctrine of Christ and how our purpose really is to "teach repentance and baptize converts." We talked about how Preach My Gospel answers every questions or concern an investigator has, and we talked a lot about change in the mission and the church. It really strengthened my testimony of standing by the prophet and the brethren no matter what. I know that they are men called of God, and I have already made the decision that I will go and do what they tell us. How blessed we are to have a prophet of the Lord on the earth today.

-on Wednesday night we went to go visit a recent convert/less active member that we haven't been able to see for a while. He and his family have been having a hard time lately, and he answered and invited us in! We were so thrilled. Then comes the miracle. His family hadn't really been interested while he was being taught. But as soon as we came in, they ALL gathered around the dinner table to hear what we had to say. We shared with them A Savior is Born and the Spirit was so present and led us through the rest. We were able to testify of where our loved ones go when they pass on, and I wish you could have seen the comfort it brought them. That family is prepared right now and their experiences have allowed them to open more. We taught them again the other night, and the mom wants to be baptized! Never doubt that the Lord loves you or answers yours prayers. I see it every single day that He absolutely does. 

-this week we have also been doing lots of less active work, and it has been amazing! People are coming back and getting the fellowship they need, and their lights are growing. It's a privilege to be able to see the change in people.

I know this is really long, but I want to end with two more thoughts:

First, this week I have been studying in Lesson 1 of Preach My Gospel, the Restoration, especially the section "The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Joseph Smith". I want all of you to know, that I know without a single doubt, that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, the head of this dispensation. The fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to this earth again through him, and he was and is God's chosen vessel. The ordinances of salvation are available to us today because of this restoration, and I am forever grateful for that.

And last, I want to share the last verse of hymn 85, 'How Firm a Foundation'. We sang this at MLC last week, and President Slaughter had us stand up after and recite the last two lines together. This sums up very well my testimony of this gospel:

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose

I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;

That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,

I’ll never, no never, I’ll never, no never,

I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!

I love y'all dearly and hope you have a wonderful week! 

Love always, 

Sister Snyder 

PS here's a picture of my zone after service on Tuesday. 

Goodbye New Hope, Hello Palo Alto! (From 12/21/15)

Happy Monday! Merry Christmas! I can't believe it's Christmas this week! What a wonderful time to focus on Christ and to remember the greatest gift that any of us will ever, ever be given.

There is so much that has happened this week, and it has all been so wonderful! I'll jump right into it!

On Tuesday we dropped off Sister Angulo to head down to the border, then went and worked and had amazing lessons! The Lord truly is preparing people in many ways. Right before dinner on Tuesday we got transfer emails, and.....I saw that I was going. I was excited/sad but so ready to go wherever I was needed! I spent a few pretty late nights trying to pack and prepare everything for doubling out, but it worked out great. And it's always such a pleasure to work with the sweet sisters in Palm Valley. Hermana Gonzalez is a native, and while Hermana Boren was with another Sister at the church we went out to some appointments. Imagine it. Me not knowing where I'm going, we can hardly communicate, it was awesome, hahaha. Yes, we got lost, but we had a lesson and it all worked out. So many fun times!

It was so sad to say goodbye to New Hope. I love, love, love that place and the people there. It means so much to me, and I really feel like that's a place where I grew the most on my mission and really came to build my confidence and my testimony and understanding of who Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ truly are. I am eternally grateful for every day I spent there and for the people who helped to change my heart and help me become. I love being a missionary. At what other time would I get to be placed into all of these different places and get to meet these people and talk to them about the gospel? God knew where I needed to be, for me and for them.

Thursday morning was transfer meeting,  and I totally fit everything into my two suitcases and carry on! Woohoo. We went to the church building and when the meeting started, I could feel it in my bones that I was going back home to San Antonio to die. Haha. So they went through all of the Austin areas, I wasn't called, so I knew it was San Antonio! And then they announced where we were all going and I am now serving in the Palo Alto YSA branch in south San Antonio. My lovely companion is Sister Fullam from New Hampshire, and she is awesome! So focused, so FUNNY, and so, so humble! Everything is just so right! I am exactly where I need to be and I feel such a fire to give every ounce of everything every single day during this last transfer. I want to leave everything I can here. It's been such a great few days!

The branch is so great! There are so many wonderful and funny people here! YSA is definitely different than a family ward, but it's so incredible! They have all welcomed me right in and it's such a neat experience being here. We have a great branch president and members and it's just a good time. And the members are amazing at helping with the work. I'm so excited for what's ahead! Yesterday was our Christmas program and it was really good! There were 30 people there. So different, but so good! You get to know everyone and really work with

Our area covers quite a lot of ground. I'm forever confused on where we are, but it's been so fun. The other day we were in downtown San Antonio and it was so fun. It could be categorized under what some might call "sketchy", but we're careful about when and where we do things. Don't worry Mom! All is well. Also we get to cover some bases! Lackland AFB is one of them! Hoorah. Also, I thought I wouldn't be driving this transfer since it's my last, but alas, due to some circumstances, I am the driver. Haha. Also, the same car I had in New Hope was moved down here and I get to drive it still! Woo hoo.

We have been seeing MIRACLES with A Savior is Born. People's hearts are so soft at this time of year, and we have been able to share the video and cards and different messages with so many people each day! I invite each of you to share it again this week, to reach out to someone, and to love others. Reflect on what it means to YOU that a Savior has been born, and that a Savior lives today for YOU.

The words of the scriptures tell us that in Him all things(ALL things!) are fulfilled. I have learned for myself that that is nothing less than the most sure truth. As Elder Christofferson tells us in a conference talk, "The Savior makes all things right." The words we read from Preach My Gospel further testify of Him: "All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." I love Him, I adore Him, and I know, without a single doubt, that He lives.

I wish all y'all the happiest Christmas!!!

Love always,

Sister Snyder

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