Monday, April 24, 2017

Kings of Queens

Happy Monday!!

This week has been pretty fantastic! I am absolutely loving my new area and new companion. I have been transferred to...........................Rego Park, Queens!!! Yup! I am now in the city and get to use the busses and trains to get everywhere we need to go! It is a lot of fun, and you get to meet SO many people all day every day! Serving in the city is completely different from serving out on Long Island. There are always people walking around outside, tons of noise from the cars and trains, and delicious food carts on every street corner. Such a party! It is SO diverse out here! White people are definitely part of the minority. So far, I have met people from 41 different countries that I remembered to write down. Super cool stuff!!!!

My new companion is Elder Imlay! He is from St. George, Utah. He just finished being trained by Elder Asplund here in Rego Park, so this is the start of his third transfer on his mission. Elder Imlay is such a great missionary! I have already learned tons from him!   The ward here is really awesome! I am still working on getting to know the members, but I was able to meet a bunch of them yesterday at church. Almost every person I talked to is not originally from New York, so it is unbelievably diverse. 

Quick story: On Wednesday, Elder Imlay and I were walking home from the subway station and were passing the church. We starting talking to this girl, Swekchha, who was walking the same direction as us on her way home as well. As we were talking, she asked who we were and seemed pretty excited when we told her we were missionaries. She said that it had been a really long time since she had gone to any kind of church and really wanted to get back into the swing of religion. So, we invited her to come to church with us on Sunday at 1:00. Swekchha said she would try to make it. We then exchanged Facebook information and sent her a friend request once we got home. She messaged us that night and said she was grateful that she was able to talk with us. We kept in contact with her throughout the rest of the week up until Sunday. Guess what!! She actually come to church and sat with us through sacrament meeting! It was super awesome! We introduced Swekchha to the Sisters in our district, Sister Panoussi and Sister Persinger, and now they will be teacher her! On Thursday, Elder Imlay and I were on our way out, and we passed by the church again. A man recognized us as missionaries, flagged us down, and started talking with us. His name is Kazi and he is from Bangladesh. We think that he said he would like to come to church sometime, so we invited him to come to ours at 1:00 on Sunday. It was loud outside and I couldn't understand his accent very well, so I didn't really know what to think about that conversation. On Sunday, we went to Sacrament meeting, Gospel Principles class, then Priesthood meeting. In Priesthood meeting, the man conducting ask for visitors to introduce themselves. In the far back corner, Kazi stands up and introduces himself! We talked to him after church, and he said he is really considering joining the Church! We are going to meet with him at the church on Wednesday, so I will have to let you know about that one next week.

Here is another super cool story: On Tuesday, we get a text from a guy named Adrian saying that he wants to meet with us at the church so he can learn more about the Book of Mormon. We meet with him on Wednesday and it turns out that he has a Mormon friend that he met in the military. His friend introduced him to the Book of Mormon and told him that if he wanted to learn more, just go onto and request to speak with missionaries. So that's exactly what Adrian did! Our lesson with him was super spirit-filled. Adrian said that he is really excited to begin reading the Book of Mormon and changing his life for the better. Later on in the week, we got a text from Adrian saying, "Just wanted to let you guys know that I am reading the Book of Mormon and I am really liking what I am reading!" In two days he had already read up to 1 Nephi 18! He wasn't able to make it to church this week, but I am super excited to meet with him again and see where the gospel takes him!

Funny Story for the Week: We went to the library to print off a few things for Brother Nuñez, our ward mission leader, and this really drunk guy walks in. He saw us as he came into the library and starts yelling, "You can't change me, you Mormons! I'm the devil's child! They're laughin' at me! Don't do that to me, I'm too far gone! Good try, Mormons!" At least he knew who we were, right? Maybe someday he will want to learn that he is actually Heavenly Father's child. There are a lot of very interesting people in the city...and drunk people...and sketchy people. It's such a party!!!! 

Well, here was a lot more that happened this week as well. However, this email is long enough already, so I will cut it off here hahaha. I hope you have all had a wonderful week! Love you all!

Elder Snell

P.S. My apartment is in Rego Park, Queens, but it probably isn't the most safe place to have mail sitting in our mailbox. So, if you so desire to send me a letter or a package, just send it to the Mission Office located less than 2 minutes away from my apartment :) here is the address:

85-69 60th Drive
Elmhurst, NY 11373

Plethora of Pictures!

1-4) My super awesome, fancy, new Polaroid camera a less-active gave me!
5) Our Darth Vader Toaster
6) Warning given by the manager of the La France apartment building in Kew Gardens, Queens.
7-9) Waiting for our train in Jackson Heights!

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Time Has Come

Happy Easter, Friends! :)

Wow. I can't believe the time has come to say goodbye to my home for the past 9 months. This place and the people here have truly changed me for the better, and I am so grateful for it. I have been so blessed to be able to serve in such an amazing ward. I am truly going to miss everyone here in Plainvew. I have really grown to love the people in this ward and consider them all my family. We had our transfer calls this morning, and I was informed that I am "OUT". I definitely saw it coming seeing that I have been here for so long, but I am still extremely sad to have to leave. However, despite all the sadness, I am super excited to see what the future holds for me! I know that the Lord qualifies those whom He has called, which is a good thing because I am definitely not qualified yet for my next assignment. President Reynolds has asked me if I will serve as a District Leader in my next area. Let me just say that the Lord has a LOT of qualifying to do for me! I am super excited to be able to serve the Lord, my new area, and the missionaries in my new district in a different way. I find out where I am going to be transferred to at transfer meetingtomorrow, so I will let you all know where I end up next week. I do, however, know that my next companion just barely got out of training, so I really excited to be able to start working with him! That is really all I know, though.

This week was really good! We have been focusing a lot more on visiting members and talking with them about people they have been able to share the gospel with. So many members in the ward are actively sharing what they know to be true with their friends and coworkers! It is awesome! As a result of us constantly talking to members about people they are sharing with, we have had a total of 12 meal appointments just this week. Crazy! We haven't had dinner at home all week. Helping members share the gospel is amazing! Each member we have talked with about this has listed quite a few people they have been talking with about the gospel. We have had a few members ask us for a few copies of the Book of Mormon, for pass-along cards, for pamphlets, etc. The members have really started having a desire to actively engage in their own missionary work! I have seen a noticeable difference in the faith and spirit of those who are actively sharing the gospel. It is really neat to be able to witness! 

Remember Sister Irma who feeds us every Friday? Remember how she gave a Book of Mormon to her friend, Lateefa? Well, Irma invited Lateefa over for dinner with us and we were able to teach her the Restoration! Two weeks later, she came over to Irma's again while we were there so Elder McConkie and I could write her a note in the front of her Book of Mormon. Turns out that in just two weeks, Lateefa had already read all the way up to 3 Nephi! Wow! We talked a bit more about it with her this week and she said she will come to church one day. Irma is stoked about it! 

Chris and Nadia Keller and getting baptized on Saturday!!! Yay! After visiting them every week for the past 9 months, they are finally taking the plunge! I have seen them progress SO much! I can't believe I am going to have to miss their baptism due to transfers, but I am so happy that they are going to be baptized and enter into a covenant with Heavenly Father. Wow, this gospel is true! 

Easter on the mission is an amazing experience! What better way to celebrate the life, Atonement, and Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, than making sure everyone you meet knows about it! We had two dinner appointments for Easter. We also went around to a few other members to say goodbye :( I love Easter! I am so grateful for Jesus Christ and what He did for each of us! I know He lives and loves us. Truly, He is Risen!

Have a great week, everyone! Love you!

Elder Snell

Picture Party!

1-2) Last district meeting in Plainview!
3) Pinelli Family
4) Joe Miglino
5) Sister Ní Lochlainn
6) Matthew and Jeffrey Christiansen
7) Brother Margiotta
8) Brother Mills
9-10) Plainview Bishopric (Brother Sorensen, Bishop Bjarnsen, Brother Wilde, Elder Snell, Brother Caldwell)
11) Stroking Brother Margiotta's red felt loafers
12) Our Easter cake
13) Dio Smith and her 94 year old mom
14) Elder Snell, Sister Miller, Sister Ferreira, Brother Legakis, Sister Legakis
15) Our fridge filled with nothing but leftovers from dinner appointments
16) Brother & Sister Mansuetto
17) Brother and Sister Pinelli

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Good is Good

APRIL 10, 2017

Hello, my wonderful friends!

I would like to start off my letter today by acknowledging the fact that it has only been about 5 days since my last preparation day, so I am going to attempt to make the excuse that I don't have too much to write about this week. In other words, I have decided that I am really bad at knowing what to write in my emails to you all. 

I guess I will just go for it and hopefully I can properly explain how my week was for ya. Here we go:

Joe Miglino
I love Brother Miglino SO much! He is a less-active member (convert) we have been working with for a couple weeks now. He takes us out for lunch each week at the best (and only) diner I have been to in New York! The burgers are simply amazing there. Brother Miglino has one of the kindest and purest hearts I have ever seen in a person. He always goes out of his way to serve others and to lift their spirits a little. Brother Miglino has been telling us about a friend he has who is atheist and wants absolutely nothing to do with religion. Well, we were over at Brother Miglino's house on Thursday and none other than his atheist friend, Dave, walks into the house! Brother Miglino went into his version of "missionary mode", and starts telling his friend that we were here to save his soul! It was so awesome! Dave was telling us that he used to believe in God, but that his life has really gone downhill to the point where he felt there is no way there could be a God. We (mostly Brother Miglino, who has had some doubts about God himself) testified to Dave that we knew we had a Father in Heaven who truly loved him and gives us challenges to help us learn and grow. We ended up watching a General Conference talk. The spirit was really strong! I am sure that Dave felt something. A lot more happened, but we were able to set up an appointment to go over to Dave's house on Saturday to talk more about the gospel and then we left. Brother Miglino called us after Dave left his house. He was baffled that we were able to set up a visit with Dave. I definitely know that there is no way we would have been able to without help from Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost. I love being able to see the influence of God in others' lives. It is truly remarkable!

New Investigators
Alright! So, not sure if you all remember what I said about the fast Elder McConkie and I did to find new investigators last week. Just in case, I will recap on it. Elder McConkie and I have been getting a little frustrated not being able to find new investigators lately. So, we decided that we should fast for help in finding new investigators. We started our fast on Monday and decided we were going to go hard on knocking and asking for a million and a half referrals from everyone! We saw miracles. Ever since we fasted on Monday, Elder McConkie and I have found a new investigator every day this week. It has been incredible to experience how Heavenly Father guides us to find those He has been preparing. I LOVE being apart of His work! 
That is something that I have been learning a lot about this week. Heavenly Father's work isn't just to get people baptized and made a member of His church. "For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." God's work is all about bringing to pass His children's eternal life. Eternal life is gained through personal progression in the gospel and becoming like our Savior, Jesus Christ. In General Conference, President Eyring said that God's work is us. Our personal progression is the sole purpose of our Heavenly Father's work. Pretty awesome! Anything God does (not matter how strange it may seem) is for our benefit.  Heavenly Father is amazing!

Mr. McKee
Well, I guess missionary work just wouldn't be missionary work without running into a few of those odd balls. We ran into Mr. McKee (he wouldn't give us his first name) while knocking doors one evening. He came out of his house and on to the front porch and just started telling us off. He said stuff like "Your generation is illiterate and dumb, but you're all too stupid to realize it". He has zero belief in God, but is a very intelligent man! We started asking him what he likes to do. He labeled himself as being a "polymath" and as having an IQ of 200. We had a "decent" conversation about astronomy before Mr. McKee decided he was cold and told us to come inside his house. We stepped inside, and he proceeded to show us all the books that we need to read in order to educate ourselves and which order we were to read them in. The whole time he was showing us his book collection, we were asking him questions about God and testifying to him that God really does love us and has a perfect plan for us. He was caught of guard each time we brought up the subject of religion. Mr. McKee called us fools for believing is such a nonsensical thing and that we should spend our time reading. We told him that we DO spend time reading...the Book of Mormon. Mr. McKee said that he would never read such a book, but I am certain that he felt the spirit (even slightly) as we testified to him of the Savior. I hope and pray that he will find and read the Book of Mormon and Restoration pamphlet we left on his shelf.

Missionary Fireside
So, yesterday (Sunday) we had a stake-wide missionary fireside! It was SUPER cool! Here is basically how it worked. The focal point of the fireside were a few recent converts who were asked to give little talks about their conversion to the gospel and how they developed their testimonies. It was really cool to be able to listen to some of the recent converts I know and feel the spirit as they testified of the reality of the Savior and our Father in Heaven. President and Sister Reynolds also spoke at the fireside. I love being able to listen to those two speaks to the members of the stake. They are such spiritual powerhouses! The reason it was called a "missionary fireside" is because there was a musical number performed by missionaries in the stake in between each of the speakers. I was asked to sing with Sister Staker and Sister Gourley as well as direct a Zone Musical number. The two sisters and I (with Elder McConkie on the piano) sang "I Feel My Savior's Love" and my zone (Elder McConkie on the piano again) sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer". The spirit was SO strong during all the musical numbers done by a bunch of different missionaries. It was truly incredible to be apart of the fireside. I could definitely feel the love our Father in Heaven and our Savior have for each and every one of us. They truly do know us on a personal and individual level beyond our comprehension! I am so grateful for the love They have for me and for everyone. I feel a sliver of that love each and every day. What a beautiful thing it is! 

Well, that's it for this week! I love you all and wish you the best!

Well, that's it for this week! I love you all and wish you the best!

Elder Snell

Picture Palooza!
1) Lunch at TABY'S with Brother Miglino!
2) Nice sunset!
3) Neat view!
4) Sister Irma's celery flavored soda!
6) I spy with my little -- it's a tree.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

There's A Snake in My ..... Loop?

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it!

This week was super awesome!! How could it not be with General Conference being a part of it? SUPER great Conference! Goodness, were those amazing talks or what? I love when we get to hear from our inspired leaders of the Church. 

I guess since I already brought up the topic, I will just start with my thoughts on General Conference. WOW!!! I got a TON out of General Conference. Paying attention actually pays off 😜 I had a lot of questions I was looking for answers to as I watched Conference this time around. I can honestly say that every single talk had a piece to the answers I was searching for. It is truly incredible to witness how Heavenly Father really does know each of His children individually, and loves us all so much as to help answer our questions through His called leaders of His Church. One question that I had for the Lord had to do with how I can get to know Him better. It seemed to me that pretty much every talk had something to do with how we can better come to know our Savior, Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven! Wow, the spirit was so strong as all who spoke testified of our Savior. Really neat experience. However, a lot of the "magic" of General Conference happens after the Conference is over. So, I would highly encourage everyone to continue to study the talks given and follow the impressions you all had with full faith that it is what is right for you. One thing I had the impression to do is to further study the New Testament solely to learn about Christ and how I can know Him, not just know of Him. So, I assigned each Christlike Attribute (outlined in Chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel) a different color. As I am reading through the New Testament, I am marking each example of one of Christ's defining characteristics. It truly is eye opening! I have only been doing it for a few days, but I have already grown so much because of it! General Conference was the GREATEST!!!! And yes, we have watched Elder Costa's talk with 4 investigators already. This was probably my favorite General Conference I have seen!

Between sessions of General Conference on Saturday, we had a funeral for an investigator's husband who recently passed away due to cancer. A few of the members of the ward came to support Raquel and her kids, but the congregation was mostly made up of non-members mourning the loss of their dear friend. It was really interesting to be a part of. Being at this funeral made me really grateful for the knowledge that I have of the Plan of Salvation. This plan gives me so much hope for the future and has gotten me through some hard times in life. I am beyond grateful to our Savior (and Heavenly Father for sending him) for the amazing sacrifice He made for each of us out of pure love. This knowledge really just puts a special twinkle in your eye :)

I went on an exchange with Elder Corbett (one of my Zone Leaders). He is an amazing missionary! I learned a whole bunch from him. We pretty much just knocked all night in the pouring rain, but it was so fun and really helpful! My conversational skills are improving! Yay! 

I am sure that most of you have already seen it, but the new Easter Initiative from is AMAZING!!! I love the #PRINCEofPEACE video! I feel the spirit SO strong every time I get to share it with people. It has such a special message about finding peace through Jesus Christ. If you haven't seen it yet, GO WATCH IT! Then share it with a friend. It is too good not to watch 😁

Alright, last thing...I think. Elder McConkie and I haven't really seen much success lately in finding New Investigators. So, we decided we should fast about it so we can be led to find someone who is being prepared by the Lord. We started our fast the night before and set out for the day. We taught a few lessons with the investigators we have been working with for a while, and then we spent a lot of time out on the streets, knocking. We went to a street where we had already knocked about half of it thinking we should probably finish out the rest of it. We got about 8 houses in with no success until we knocked on Lale's door. We talked with her for about an hour on her doorstep (we would've gone in, but her husband wasn't home). Lale is from Turkey and has been in America since 2000. She is SUPER cool and really interested in learning more about Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon.

That is really all I can remember to share with you all this week. I hope you have a wonderful rest of this week!

May the Lord be ever in your favor!
Elder Snell

Picture time! 

1, 2) Zone Leader Exchange: Elder Corbett, Elder McConkie, Elder Snell, Elder Weisler
3) Blaze Pizza with the Zone Leaders
4) Dinner for lunch with Brother Miglino (less-active we are working with)
5) Cute, little cemetery behind Brother Miglino's house. Some of the headstones date back into the 1700s!
6) Found this fancy thing in said cemetery.
7) You know the missionaries are at the church when...
8, 9) Sister Olsen's Brazilian Rainbow Boa
10) We were at the Bishop's house for dinner, and Sister Olsen asked if we could come help her move a dresser. She also showed us her snake and let us hold it. The snake really liked me, and wanted to give me a hug. In the process of said hug, the snake found its way through one of my belt loops, and got very stuck. After 5 minutes of gentle words of persuasive coaxing, the Boa finally decided to release its hold on my pants and return safely into its living unit. 'Twas the most excellent of parties with the Bishop's family and Sister Olsen!