Monday, March 31, 2014

Putting God First

Thanks to Sister Celeste Brown for the postcard and the letters from Elder Baird, Elder Dickson (in Taiwan!) and Miss Rachel Chow.

Thanks, you rock!

Well, this week was pretty great! and this upcoming week is gonna be rocking.

Saben porque????


and changes! Wowzers. Time sneaks up so fast!

Current predictions:

My darling Hermana Rodriguez will be headed out to Danli (we get sadder every night. It's like during the day we just go on our merry way and forget but when we get home and plan for the night- reality check).

And I will be here and either 1) train a Latina ooooor
 2) teach a gringa my area and we'll sweat out guts out together.

Either way, it's going to be so great! :D

We had a great week this week- six people went to church yesterday (two families, and one a friend an investigator invited!) and several tell me straight up "I don't want to get baptized." But we are so perpetually happy. It's just the most wonderful feeling knowing that you are doing exactly what you should be doing and exactly what God wants you to do.

When I was in high school I had what was for me a huge realization- God loves me, and nothing else matters! It didn't matter that people thought I was crazy or didn't like the way I dressed- God loved me. I knew the things I was doing were making him happy. Nothing else mattered.

I found myself re-realizing that as people are easily lax with the rules. Not the big ones, the little ones. I had to remember that it didn't matter what anyone else thought- I know that I am doing my job as a missionary. I haven't had baptisms since November but I am having successes in my area. We are re-activating and helping people change their lives. In subtle ways, yes. But I come home every night satisfied that I am doing all that the Lord requires of me- without any short cuts. I have a long way to go, and am grateful for the time that I have left. It's sad that it's so little (everyone who asks me when I go home is all, "oh really, so soon?") but I am doing my very best to enjoy every moment.

Love you all! Watch Conference and love it! It truly is all inspired- there is something different each of us learn that we need to hear- pray to have the spirit to know what it is.

You are the best!

P.S.- For p-day we went to the beach! No swimming, ovio, or even putting our feet in! But... we took advantage and had a little photo shoot :)
 Me and my companion

And good ol' Hermana flynn :) 


Monday, March 24, 2014

I ate dinner with a Jehova's Witness

Alright y'all, I'm gonna tell you about this week, but specifically, Friday :)

After studying we headed to the church before lunch. Our ward is starting something new where we have a Family Home Evening with all of the ward every week so we can invite our investigators. Jairo, the second counselor of the bishopric (who also lives underneath us)  is in charge of missionary work and was super stoked. Since this was the first time, he said we had to make it really good so every organization from then on will feel obligated to do the same or make it better! 

So we got to the church and cleaned it and set up all the chairs so it would look good. Jairo, who is about 30 was running around like a niño taking a bunch of pictures and just going crazy. It was awesome :) Then we ordered pizza and ate it in the bishop's office since it's the only room at the church with AC. 

Then we went to Lila. Oscar's aunt had recently died so they were kind of distracted but we brought over a Liahona so she could see that prophets really do speak to us! When we visited her yesterday she looked me in the eye and said that she knows that this is what God's wants, but she doesn't feel prepared.... haha sounds like Jose again. Which is good that she's taking it so seriously- a good sign she won't go inactive. So we invited her to pray again and ask if she needs to be baptized. We'll see :)

Kenia is still so great. She didn't go to church on Sunday (because there was no water to bath. No water- it's a huge problem. I'm just waiting for rainy season- they'll have no excuse!) 

We visited some other less actives and stopped by every member we could so we could have a good amount of assistance at the activity. We had a half hour before the activity started so we went to visit Karol, who works in an internet cafe. It's kind of hard to visit her because if there's a lot of people it's loud and we can't talk to her. Well we went and they told us to go back to the kitchen where she was cooking dinner. She was frying a banana and we didn't get to start with a hymn, but do you what you can.

We talked about our purpose as missionaries- lots of people think we get paid and are always surprised and confused why we would sacrifice so much, when in their eyes we receive so little. The guy she was cooking dinner for- Dennis who owns the house went and sat down to eat, then she said, "want a tortialla and cheese?"
 so we ended up staying for dinner too. We invited Dennis to go to the activity and he said,
 "I told you already, I'm a Jehova's witness"
but then we were talking more and found out he is a member! What started out as dinner with a Jehova's witness turned into dinner with a member. 

We were late to the activity and there were already about 25 people in the church- I was stoked! Carmen came- she comes to every activity but not to church on Sunday... we're going to go over and talk about that with her tomorrow. And Luis, a dad of 3 who is 30 came too. He has some word of wisdom problems but wants to change. His progress is slow, but it's huge that he came to the church!

The lesson was about 10 minutes long then we went outside to play which was crazy and hilarious and so much fun. There ended up being about 50 people and everyone was laughing and running around and it was a ton of fun :)

There is so much to be done- I just hope I can do it all! I love my calling, I love this work, and I love YOU! Have a great week!
Oh, and....
I recently bought a hammock and nearly died to put it up in my bedroom. I plan on sleeping in it during Spring Break- the hottest week here :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Straight from the down under!‏

-This month's Liahona and Ensign have the Tegucigalpa temple on the cover!
-I received my Christmas package! :)
-Letters! Elder Haggard, Elder Weight, Brooke, Mother Anderson, and the Riverside Ward

Thanks everyone! 

This week I'm just gonna write about one day- yesterday. And give you an idea of what it's like here :)

We woke up bright and early. After taking a shower, (by shower I mean filling up a bucket with water and pouring it on myself in the shower) I made a birthday card because Lila's daughter, Angelica, turned 7! After eating some yogurt and granola (my little piece of home) we left and went to get Lila for church. Her son Oscar who is 3 was playing so we played with him while she got ready, then left.

Yesterday was Stake Conference, and normally there is a bus that takes everyone to the stake center (about.... 15 or 20 minutes in car) but they haven't gotten money from Salt Lake yet, so... nothing. Which means half of the ward didn't go to church. But if there's a will, there's a way! So we asked our investigators, the family Ortiz who has been investigating the church for over a year if they would be willing to provide us a ride. They said of course! (I call them Mom and Dad, we're part of the family) So we took Lila there (only Lila... next week we'll get her husband... little steps) then loaded up in the truck and rode to the stake center. 

It was a little different. Two speakers spoke, then there was a broadcast that was recorded earlier that was for all of Central America. Elder Scott spoke (in spanish!) and so did some other people that I don't remember... sorry. Most of my time was entertaining the Ortiz's 3 little girls. 

After church we came home, I changed (pencil skirt in this hot sun? no thanks) then we went to eat lunch with Bishop. Hermana Flynn and Cortes didn't have lunch, so they came with us. It was fun, like always. 

We left to visit a reference that the Elders gave us when they contacted in our area for us. The people we met with last time weren't there, but another woman, Ana, was. She was stellar and asked a bunch of good questions. She seemed genuinely interested to know which church was true. There a bunch of people living in the house, and I told Hermana Rodriguez I'm going to teach them all!

Next was Kenia, who lives really close by our house and we always pass by her. The other day she yelled, "hermanas, when are the english classes!"
 and we told her then asked, "hermana, when are we going to come teach you about jesus?" and she said, "tomorrow!" 
she's really nice and her daughter, Marjori loves us! They also gave us mangoes (they fell down during the lesson- we're grateful not on us!)

Then we ran to Lila to see how she liked church and we talked about the organization of the church. It's one of my favorite things to explain (which we're doing a lot now getting people pumped for general conference) because people see that this church is legit. Many people know that there are tons (no lie, there's a bunch of churches here in Choluteca a lone) of Mormons here, but not many know that there are tons EVERYWHERE. People are always amazed that the things we are teaching are the same that they're teaching in the states, Asia, and Africa. 

Well, we stopped by a members house because he was supposed to leave with us, but he was at the church for choir. So we called bishop to tell the member where we were going to meet up. Bishop said he couldn't go, and I said,
 "oh.... alright...." 
to which he said, "well, hermana Snelson, I think I can find someone... give me a sec."
 I then heard him yelling "hey! the hermanas need someone to leave with them. No, now!" 
a pause, "Hey, hermana? I got 2. Is that okay?" 
So up come running the Elders Quorum President (who got home from his mission  months ago) and Young Men's president. It was perfect because the man we went to teach, Luis, is a father like the Young Men's president, and Elders Quorum President could explain what the organization was like. I was happy- it's SO much better to have members in lessons and even better when you have members willing to help!

After we ran to visit Carmen. Her dad didn't give her permission to be baptized, but she said, "I can get baptized when I'm 18 right?"
 so she still goes to seminary. In fact, when we went to her house she said,
 "hey, why didn't you go to the stake yesterday?"
 "oh, we had appointments"
 "oh it was so fun!"
 "wait... you went?"
 "yeah, I heard about it so I went with Maribel" 
We talked about the importance of enduring to the end and obeying the commandments- sometimes we don't see the blessings right away, but they're always there!

Up next- Tino. He's 70 and the funniest old man I've ever met. His wife and daughter are members, and he recently (randomly) decided to start going to church with him. Every time he says,
 "hermanas, I don't think I can get baptized yet"
 but he is still progressing and I know the more he goes to church (he's been going the past month) the more he will be able to see how great the gospel truly is.

And then we ran home and got the weekly dats ready, and we went to bed. :)

Now for some pictures:

At the church on Sunday 

Hermana Arranda and I in Teguc (one of my Mexican roomates in the CCM)
At a less actives home while she made us lunch
Jose made this FOREVER ago and I finally took pictures with it today. It's hilarious and I have no idea what to do with it, so it just sits on my desk :)
I love You!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Things that happened

Hi! I don't have much time to write and can't send pictures, but several things happened! :)
1. One of our less actives, Juan Carlos, is making great progress. 
(he's the one that we took pictures of his little girl playing with the slinky, and of him sitting in the hammock eating watermelon.) We went over and he told us,
 "Hermana's, I haven't paid tithing in over a year and a half, but I paid it last Sunday, and have already made 3 times more then I usually make." 
It was great seeing that he is growing and being strengthened. I truly have learned how important all the commandments are- ALL the commandments are. He looked at it as something little and simple, but truly was able to see the difference. He didn't go to church today :( but we have a deal that if he goes 3 times in a row I'll bake for him (in one of the few ovens I've seen here)
2. Carmen is one of our most positive investigators. We met her in the street then went to visit her the next day. It turns out that her mom, Santos was visited by Hermana Concoha previously, but we found no information in the Area Book so we just went with it. By the time we taught the 3rd lesson Carmen was asking when she could be baptized. She's 14years old so obviously we need permission, but she is so amazing! Last Sunday she brought 4 people to church with her. But alas, didn't go today. We went with a member on Saturday to ask for permission from her dad. Oooh, it was rough. It's so sad seeing someone who is so closed off. The thing is, the spirit was there. I KNOW that he knows that this is something good for his daughter. His argument was that she has already been baptized. But she's not even going to that church anymore! Keep her in your prayers, she needs some love. We hope that she can continue. I've met people who attended the church for YEARS waiting until they could be baptized.
3. Lila is amazing too! One night we were walking to a members house when we see this guy sitting outside. So we go up, introduce ourselves, and made an appointment for the next day. His name is Oscar, and we met his wife Lila. Well, turns out that he's a member, but inactive- kinda the same situation as the Family Salinas. Anyway... we taught them twice then the third time Oscar wasn't there. We taught Lila and just went with it. Well, then we brought members and she began opening up to us. She is so wonderful. After we taught the word of wisdom we went back the next time to ask how she was doing with it. She said,
 "Great hermanas!"
 "Well, when was the last time you drank coffee?"
 "When was the last time you came??? Friday. Well, Friday in the morning." 
 "WEll, yeah. If it's a commandment, I gotta do it!"
 We just need to get her to go to church. Her 3 year old is a handful and puts up a huge tantrum if we try to get him to go. We've tried candy and toys. The next option will be a little  member girl that we brought over once. But I'm getting her to church if it's the last thing I do!
I'm doing so great! I'm happy- even though I'm covered in ant bites, dirt, and sweat. Even though there's no running water and I shower with a bucket, and even though I have to wake up at 3 tomorrow morning so Hermana Rodriguez can go to the immigration office. I truly have found happiness in this gospel- not the happiness the world gives us, only the happiness and joy that we can find in this gospel.
I feel so blessed to have been raised knowing this truth, and more importantly that I can teach it to the world.
Love you so much!
-Hermana Snelson

Monday, March 3, 2014

This Week

Hey there my loves!

Many exciting things happened this week, unfortunately I only have time to tell you about one!

We had Zone Conference which was MARVELOUS. I love just being able to spiritually recharge for 5 hours and listen to inspiring talks. And the AP´s always have awesome videos, so that´s great too. :)

I can´t find the video but one of the AP´s showed a video that shows all the steps someone takes to serve a mission. Before the mission, I thought my mission prep started when I was at college and started studying Preach My Gospel but oh, I was sadly mistaken. Much like my parents, my missionary service started much earlier than I anticipated, but Heavenly Father knew that, and prepared me accordingly.

One thing that just touched me so deeply (mom, I´m turning into you) was a mother in the kitchen teaching her child to crack an egg. That small moment showed me how much the insignificant moments can add up. It was the little moments like cooking in the kitchen, family home evening, long car rides on the way home from dance and being forced to sit on the fireplace to open birthday presents every year that made the difference. It was working at Gandolfo's, making bread every Sunday to take to neighbors, and completing Personal Progress that truly helped me be here today, right now.

I completed 9 months the other day (it should have been on the 29th of February, but there is no 29th, so we're just pretending I don´t complete until March  :) ) and I was reflecting on all that has happened. A half of my mission has already happened. I sat there thinking of all that I have accomplished. I felt frustrated that I couldn't learn the lessons that I've learned earlier. But it just gives me even more motivation to work even harder during the course of my mission. And, I happily realized and exclaimed to Hermana Rodriguez during personal study "Hermana, it doesn't matter! I have 60 years left to put in practice all that I've learned AND eternity!"

I´m happy. I am SO happy. I wish I could even express the happiness that I have. The church is true ladies and gentlemen, and I'm going to let all of Choluteca, Honduras know it :)

Now for some pictures:

There is generally a shortage of chairs when we go to teach, so people just get whatever they can. Not pictured: several beds and buckets :)

This is how I look walking down the street with my umbrella :)

Hermana Blazzard, from Utah. The picture was too cute to not include :)
And my awesome tan, thanks to my keens

P.S.- Today for p-day we played water games with my zone. Let's just say I´m still soaked as I sit here typing this :)