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 

Sent from my iPad

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.

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