Monday, June 5, 2017

Week 102: Victor's Baptism and my last email as a missionary

Wow! I cannot believe this is the last letter that I am going to write as a missionary. Time has really gone by fast. I know that this is what everyone says, but it is true. I have really enjoyed the time that I have had to serve side by side with the Savior. 

Well first things first. Victor got baptized!!!!! Wohooo! It was definitely one of the coolest baptisms that I have ever been to because we got permission to go to the beach. I also had the privilege to perform the baptism. :) I loved being able to take my shoes off, and put my feet in the sand, and walk out to meet an old friend. But best off all, I was able to do it with one of my new friends and with one of my brothers. 

After the baptism Victor said that he felt new. He said that he felt like he was under the water for a long time, but that when he came back up, he felt clean. I know that when the ordinance of baptism is performed correctly and by someone who holds the proper priesthood of God, that God forgives all of our sins and mistakes and lets us start over again.
It was also amazing because I know that God knows us personally and will always answer our prayers. I also know that he will often wait until the moment that we are about to lose our faith to answer our prayers. 2 years ago when I saw the area of the Ciudad Obreg√≥n Mission and that part of the mission touched the ocean, I always had the hope that someday I would be able to baptize someone in the ocean. I never prayed so that this dream would come true, but I had the hope that if it was in God´s plan it would be possible. Now I can say that I know that Heavenly Father knows us personally just like he knows me and that my last week of the mission, he was able to make one of my dreams a reality. 

This week was also big holiday for the Catholic church in this region. It was just like semana santa, but I think that this week was crazier than semana santa. It was the Festival of the Holy Ghost. I honestly did not understand the tradition, but on Saturday morning thousands of people got together in Huatabampo and walked from Huatabampo to Etchojoa. It is a pretty long walk, but when they get to this monument in Etchojoa, they start to pray. The funny thing is that this monument happens to be right in front of the our church building haha. So we had a bunch of people praying in front of the church. We have thousands of people that are willing to walk many kilometers early in the morning, but very few that go to church on Sunday. You would think that doing the right thing would be easier. 

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true church on the Earth. I know that Jesus Christ reorganized it through his prophet Joseph Smith. I know that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, and I know that he rescued me. I know that the Book of Mormon is true because I have read it both in english and spanish, and because I have prayed to God to know if it is true and I have been given an answer by the Holy Ghost that I cannot deny. I can feel the power of the Holy Ghost as I read and analize the words written by ancient prophets and a feeling that tells me in my mind and heart that these things are true. I know that this is God's church because if it were made by man, it would fail. I know that there is no way that a 21 year old gringo would be able to convince people to change their lives and make the harder and more correct choice. I know that the Holy Ghost is the only one that can touch peoples hearts and that it is through Jesus Christ that people can change their lives. And that it is only through the Church of Jesus Christ that people can receive the saving ordinances of baptism that will grant the cleansing of sins for all those who have repented. I know that my Heavenly Father lives and loves me and knows me personally. I also know that this is true for every person on this Earth. That He loves each and every one of us, and he wants us to be happy and return to live with him. I know that through repentance we come closer to God and that we can receive relief for regret and peace for stress. I know that families can be eternal, and I am happy that I have been able to give up 2 years with my family so that others can be with theirs for an eternity. I love the Savior. He is one of my best friends. I look forward to the day when I will meet him because I know that He lives! 

This has been one of the greatest experiences that I have ever had in my life, and one that will change my life forever. 
I am sad to see it all end, but I know that this is just the start of a new beginning. 
I have found my friends :)

Con amor
Elder Snyder

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Week 101: Lots of Birthday Surprises!

How about that firework birthday candle?!! Good thing there is a fire extinguisher behind me. haha!

Thank you to everyone for your birthday letters. I opened my inbox to see that it was full of bday letters :)
Well I have really enjoyed my birthday this year because to start my companion organized a surprise birthday/going away party with our branch. So on sunday after all the services, all the members brought out the tables and all the food that they had prepared and we started to eat and celebrate. :) It was really awesome. I was so thankful for all that the members did. 
Then in the morning my district planned a birthday breakfast. We made pancakes and they bought me a 3 leches cake (there is the mexican cake that you wanted mom! haha!) Then in the afternoon my companion took me out to eat sushi. It turned out to be a birthday way better than last year. Last year my birthday was on sunday and it was the day of transfers and they closed my area and none of the members remembered. So this year made up for the last year. 
Time is going by so fast. Last week I had my last zone conference and I got kind of trunky ;) I had to give my "dying" testimony and it was really weird because I remember my first zone conference and seeing the dying testimony of others and I thought that that moment would never come. Now that it has past it is weird to think that I will be getting home in 2 weeks. 

Victor is doing great. We finished teaching him yesterday and he is ready to get baptized. He just needs his interview on wednesday and he will be all set. It is also confirmed that he will be getting baptized at the beach. I am happy that one of my dreams is going to come true. To have a baptism at the beach.

I cant believe that I am going to be starting my second to last week, it is so crazy.  
Finishing my mission is bittersweet... I am really going to miss these experiences that have molded and made me into the person that i am today. But I am also so excited to see all of you guys again and jump back into life. 
I love you all so much. Thanks for all your great examples to me over the past 21 years. I could not have asked for a better family. Love you 

Elder Snyder

Our branch members
These sisters helped organize the party for me. 
My last Zone Conference

Birthday party with my district

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Week 100! Juan's Baptism!!

Juan's Baptism
Well this week was a very interesting and stressful week but in the end Juan got batptized!!!! But before a baptism there is always a bunch of opposition.
To start the town has been preparing to pave the street in front of the church, about a week ago we realized the the church did not have any water. And everyone knows that it is essencial to have water at the church in order to have a baptism. So we started out talking to the workers in front of the church about why we didnt have water, and they said that they were going to check and figure out why. But I know how some people are and sometimes they just tell you what you want to hear. So the next day we went to check and they had not done anything. So that day we went to public works to talk with the people in charge of the project. But when we got there the engineers were not there, so we left our number so that they could call us. Then they called us and said that they had almost fixed the problem, but that they need us to come to the church. We got there and they showed us what we were going to do and they said that in the afternoon we would have water. So we went back to check again and we got there and it all looked connected but there was still no water. So we called a friend to come and help us out. His name is Ricardo. He is not a member, but the rest of his family is and he always comes to our rescue. So he came at night, after his work, and looked at what was the problem. He looked and he found the problem, but was not able to fix it in that moment. Then the next day (Friday) we went to talk to the engineers why they had not connected it yet and they said that they had to check something before they could connect the water to the pipes. They said that they could not find the old connection to the pipes in the church so they made a new connection but they didnt want to connect it because they said that if the water flows back into the old pipes it was going to destroy the street that they were going to pave. So we had to find the only person that knew about the pipes in the church which was an old plumber that helped build the church. We could not find him all day. So the branch president told us that we should just call Ricardo and connect it ourselves. So we waited until he got off work and at 6 he met us at the church to help us (we had already gone to buy all the parts that he was going to need). Then when he went to connect the pipe one of the engineers saw us and started to scold us for not waiting to check to see where the old pipes lead to. We explained that we had been looking for the Plumber all day and that we had not found him. So we decided to call him one last time, and in that moment it seemed like a miracle had occured because for the first time all day he answered his phone. But it was a victory short lived because when we started to talk to him we realized that he was completely drunk. So then it seemed like we had lost our last hope of fixing the plumbing before the baptism (which was the next day). So then we had an appointment and we went to the appointment and met back at the church at 730 with Ricardo. When we got there, the engineer was not their so we decided to connect the pipes :) (it was the city´s fault they should have connected the water 3 weeks ago but they decided to wait and see if anyone would notice). Then after an entire week of battling the opposition at 930 at night, at the very last minute we had water. The next day we filled the font without problems and were all ready for the baptism. 

Juan's baptism was great. He had to have special pants made for him because we could not find pants big enough for him :p But everything went just great. His in-laws came down from guaymas and his father-in-Law was the one who baptized him. We were afraid that his father in law was not going to be able to lift him out of the water but we taught him a technique and he was able to baptize him without problems. It was so awesome to see someone ready to accept the gospel and he did it without any problems. He did it because he loves his wife so much and he wants to do anything he can to make her happy and that includes her goal of being sealed in the temple. So he has taken the first step. They are also going to be attending the district temple trip in the following weeks. We are so happy for them. 

Also, Victor has decided that for sure he wants to get baptized and that he wants to do it at the beach. We also decided to move up his baptismal date to june 3rd because the 10th is the day that the branch is going to the temple. Everything is going great in Etchojoa. It is sad for me that everything is coming to an end. 
te amo 
Elder Snyder

ps. I finally took some pictures of our house and yes, the owl in the picture is real!! 

Our house

Our Priesthood Commemoration Activity

Friday, May 19, 2017

Week 99: Skype, Water balloons and getting ready for Juan's Baptism

Zone Activity
It was so great to talk to you guys yesterday. I loved being able to see the family. I still cant believe that we are going to see each other in a month. 

Well I told you pretty much everthing that was going on so I am going to be a little brief. Juan is going to get baptized this saturday. We just have to teach him 2 more commandments and then he will be ready for his interview. Then we had Jesus (who was drunk all last week) and his wife Lupita go to church yesterday. We had a pretty interesting lesson with them on saturday. We talked to them about baptism and Jesus said that he would do it but Lupita was kind of hard hearted because she has been going to one church for the past year and she has been preparing to get baptized in that church but for some reason still does not feel ready. And when we invited her to go to church with us she said that she didnt want to go because she has been going to her church and she doesnt want to go to a different one, even after we explained the blessing that she will recieve after taking the sacrament. That was when I decided that it was time to be a little more direct with my words. She and Jesus have been having problems for the past few months and I told her that if she does not do something different her problems will never go away. That attending church and taking the sacrament is what is going help her recieve the help that she desperately needs. The next day I was honestly really surprised that they both came to church early but they both end up really liking church. It also helped having the mission presidente there to make things a little more spiritual. 
Then we had Victor come to church. He is planning on getting baptized my last day in the mission. 

Also today we had a zone activity where we filled up 200 water balloons and had a big water balloon fight. I also bought a bunch of elastic band to make a giant sling shot with the goal posts. The sling shot was super awesome. It would launch the water balloons so far. It had to launch some of them at least 100 meters. 

Also to prepare for Juan's baptism...The font has still not been emptied since the last missionaries baptized, and we could not get the pump to work, so we ended up taking out the rest of the water in buckets.

Also I had intercambios with the elders in my district because they were going to baptize 2 people. But it was super sad because both of them did not end up getting baptized. The first one, we got to his house to do the interview, but when we saw the guy, he was completely drunk. It was super sad the other missionary that had been teaching him also got really discouraged seeing him like that. Then I went to the other guys house and I was able to interview him. Everything was going super well. This guy was so excited to get baptized on saturday, also the rest of his family was going to get baptized in 2 weeks. I was getting to the end of the interview when I learned that this guy still needs to work on obeying the word of wisdom. I was so sad because I wanted so bad for this guy to get baptized but I knew that I could not give him the green light. I told him that it would be better if he could wait to be baptized because that way he could get baptized together with his family and it would give him 2 weeks to keep preparing. He was disappointed, but said that he was going to keep preparing. But the elders in my district told me that now this guy is just super sad and doesnt even want to recieve the missionaries anymore. They told me that it seems like he is hiding from them. I feel really sad because this guy was so excited to get baptized and now a drastic change has happened. It was also sad because he and his family didnt got to church even though they go every sunday. I really hope that he can get excited again about the gospel.
Anyways I love you all so much. See you in a month

Elder Snyder

Cleaning the Font

My Water balloon launcher