Monday, July 17, 2017

More Than A Bumblebee

🎶Busy! Busy! Dreadfully busy!🎶

Hey, Everyone!

I hope you all had an amazing week! My week has been one of a lot of adjusting. As you know, I was transferred on Tuesday. I am now in Astoria, Queens with Elder Cubas. He is from New Orleans, Louisianna and has been on his mission for 19 months. 

So, it is super different being here in Astoria because we actually cover two units. We are assigned to the Astoria family Ward as well as the Queens YSA branch!!!!! I have only been here for a week, and I love the members here so much! The YSA has about 40-50 members who come to church semi-regularly. However, when sacrament meeting starts there are only about 25 or so. The rest like to come just a little late haha. There is such a special spirit here in these units and I love it! So on Wednesday, I was surprised with a text from the YSA branch presidency asking me to speak in church on my first Sunday here! Speaking in church again was really great! So far, I have only been able to speak once in each area I have served in. During the family ward church yesterday, I was asked to give a talk this coming Sunday as well! I love being able to speak in church! 
So, being over the two units is really interesting. YSA starts at 11 and the family ward starts at 1, so we only get to go to YSA's sacrament meeting before going to the family ward's sacrament meeting and the rest of church with them. I LOVE the people here (and everywhere)!!! 

This week has been super busy!! Our teaching pool is somewhat dead, so we haven't been able to teach a whole lot so far. Most of our time is spent trying to find new people to investigate the church and contacting the potential investigators we have in AreaBook. 

Actually, we have a bunch of lessons happening tonight. So, that is good :)

Well, that's all I really have time for today! Sorry for not really explaining that much. 

Anyway, here is my new address if you ever felt like sending mail to me or something like that hahaha :)

(message his Mom if you would like it)

Have a wonderful week! Love you all!
Elder Snell

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Still Learning How to Say Goodbye

July 10th, 2017

Hello, Friends!! :)
I hope you all enjoyed your 4th of July week! I sure did! We had a phenomenal ward party on Tuesday morning. Bishop Lindstrom asked the missionaries if we would put it all together. We decked the gym out in all sorts of decorations and put together a sweet game of Jeopardy! We also had mass amounts of food! Pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, fruit, you name it! It was awesome! The ward really loved it and said they need to do more ward parties like this. The party made a HUGE difference in the unity and love within the ward. We put up just barely enough tables and chairs so people were practically forced to sit with people they didn't know. By the end of the party, everyone had gotten to know each other and the ward is beginning to become a large friendship! It has been incredible to see the progress and change this ward has gone through while I have been here. I am really going to miss the Rego Park 1st Ward.
That's right, transfers are tomorrow and I am OUT! The rest of my district is staying, though, so I am the only one that has to say goodbye... It is all okay though, because I know the Lord is in charge and will put me right where He needs me. Although I was only here in Rego Park for 3 months (2 transfers), I feel like I have been here for years! I have really grown to love a lot of people here, and am going to miss them a ton! I am so grateful for the things I was able to learn here and the incredible people I was able to work with and learn from. This last transfer has been pretty difficult for me, but I can honestly say that I grew SO much because of it. I have made a lot of personal growth here and am so grateful for it :)
So, on Saturday, we were at the church waiting for one of our investigators for a lesson. President Reynolds was there for a meeting with all the new trainers, and asked if he could talk with me for a bit. He told me I am going to be transferred on Tuesday and he also asked if I would serve as a Zone Leader. I am so humbled that the Lord feels I am ready to take on such a task haha. I nowhere near qualified to serve in that position, but I have confidence that the Lord will help me figure it out!
Well, I am really short on time this week, so I am going to have to wrap this up with a quick story haha. Another member of our ward had to move this week, so they asked us at the last minute if we could come help them out. We were on our way to pop in on one of our investigators who we haven't seen in a while (we went back later on), but they really needed some help so we happily said, "Sure" :) Well, we were dressed in our Proselyting clothes, and on our way there the heavens opened and let loose everything they had. I wish I had built a ship or something prior to this one, because the roads in Corona became little rivers! It was insane! Our umbrellas weren't all that successful at shielding us from the rain coming at us from all directions (down, left, right, diagonal, up, etc.)! It was pretty fun jumping over mini lakes and full on streams :) the move went alright, too! We had to wrap everything in large garbage bags and walk it all 6 blocks to their new apartment. Our mission Nurse, Sister Peterson, (bless her soul) came to the rescue and took a load over in her Prius! What a blessing she is!
Well, that's pretty much it for this time around. I love you all! I don't know here I am getting transferred to until tomorrow, so I will send you my new address next week! Have/Make an amazing week!
Love ya!
Elder Snell

1) District Picture! (on my Polariod)
2) Avery Peña    A.K.A. Sloppy Joe
3) Brother Sanchez
4) Peña Family
5) Sister Baynes
6) Charles Kwon (Investigator)
7) Tony Alvaira (Recent Convert)
8) Sister Harsono (plus a few)
9) My last Family Home Evening here in Rego Park! This was the biggest one yet! FHE has been one of the best things for this ward. Everyone who has come has absolutely loved it and have really grown closer to the other members of the ward!
10-14) Ward 4th of July Party!
15) Jonathan
16) Yocheved
17) Brother Nuñez (Ward Mission Leader)
18) Brother Sukraj


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Another Fun Thing About Summer

JULY 3RD 2017

Happy JULY!!!!! YEAH! 🎆🎉🗽🇺🇸
(If you don't have time to read my whole email, at least read the poem at end! I love it!)
This week has definitely been a bit of a different one. It has been really hot pretty much every day of the week, so that makes getting to walk everywhere a little more enjoyable! We were on the bus earlier this week and it was PACKED. I decided to take a count of the number of people I was in physical contact with at one given moment. 8. I don't think I have ever been in contact with eight total strangers like that before! One of them was a fairly large, super sweaty man in a tank top. The bus is where everyone goes to have a mix-n-mingle! Where everyone's sweat mixes and we awkwardly try to mingle (share the gospel) with people. It has been a lot of fun, though!

Another fun thing about summer is it is Moving Season! WHOOT! That means that a bunch of the members of the ward decide to move to a different apartment, most of which are still within the ward boundaries. Over the course of the summer, I have been a part of moving 4 families here in Rego Park. Now, moving in the city is nothing like moving anywhere outside of the city. Most of the people here live in apartment buildings. These apartment buildings have for some reason made a very interesting rule that you are only allowed to move in/out of the building during working hours on a week day. So, what that means is no one in the ward is available to come help out other than the missionaries. I am super glad to be able to help the members of the ward move apartments, but it definitely takes a long time!

Another fun thing about the summer is that everyone is outside all the time! It is fantastic!! There was one night that we decided to go knocking. Throughout the course of that night, we probably only knocked a couple doors. Almost everyone was outside sitting on their front porch. It was almost too easy to talk with them! It is super hot during the day, but when the sun starts to go down it is beautiful!

One last fun thing about summer: everyone goes on vacation. Or they decided to take up another shift of work. Somehow, everyone just becomes super busy hahaha. It is becoming a real struggle to get appointments with our investigators, let alone get them to church on Sunday. Missionary work has slowed down a lot since summer hit, but I believe it will pick back up again pretty soon! There are still people out there who need the gospel :)
Our second lesson with Paul Palm went great!!!!! We popped in on him right as he was coming outside to water his plants. He said it was such a "coincidence" that we came when we did becuase he never hears the doorbell or a knock at the door. We started talking about how his week went, and he was just so excited to tell us what he read out of the Restoration pamphlet and the Book of Mormon! Paul had read the introduction and the testimonies of the witnesses and Joseph Smith. He was super excited to point out the fact that Joseph Smith had the same questions that he has! Why are there so many churches and which one of them is correct? Paul soaked up everything we taught him that night with enthusiasm. I love that 71 year old Sicilian man! However, he told us that he is planning on retiring and moving down to Florida within the next month or two... But, he did say, "you never know. I may end up joining your church whether over here or down in Florida. You just never know." I love him! Paul is so fun to be with. He has a deep love of Jesus Christ and wants nothing more than to please Him. He has a super fun accent. He is pretty skinny and wears short-shorts and a tank top and has long white hair. He also plays guitar, so that's pretty sweet!

Anyway, there is a lot more I could talk about, but I have talked enough today. Well, actually, I haven't talked much at all, but I did write a lot. So, I will leave you with this wonderful poem I ran into while reading a General Conference talk!

Where Shall I Work?
“Father, where shall I work today?”
And my love flowed warm and free.
Then he pointed out a tiny spot
And said, “Tend that for me.”
I answered quickly, “Oh no, not that!
Why, no one would ever see,
No matter how well my work was done.
Not that little place for me.”
And the word he spoke, it was not stern;
“Art thou working for them or for me?
Nazareth was a little place,
And so was Galilee.”

This poem means more and more to me each time I read it :) I hope you all have a wonderful week and a super awesome 4th of July tomorrow!!!!!!!! Wahoo!!!

Love you all!
Elder Snell

1) Our investigator, Naveen, invited us over for his 4th of July BBQ. He also had some friends over who we got to share some of the gospel with. His friends were tons of fun and invited me over to their place out on Long Island for a visit sometime! hahaha
2) Pretty legit graffiti!
3-4) Just had to share the rain! Love it!
5) Our cabinet just after shopping! Cereal is the BEST!
6) There was a block party going on at Naveen's house and they opened the fire hydrant for the kids to play in.
7-8) Brother Nunez went to a Mets game and felt the need to FaceTime us. He loves to show off that he is a Mets fan! haha :)
9) Giant Ding-Dong!
10) The Rabbit may not have gotten his Trix cereal, but I couldn't deny him the opportunity to have the Gospel!
11-12) The Coolest graffiti I have run into so far! All the food mascotts have a huge battle! It is the greatest :)
13) This is a high school!!
14) More Graffiti!
15) Pretty sweet picture.
16) June 26th was the anniversary of when we got Chip!!! Just had to share :) Also, Happy Anniverary on the 25th Mom and Dad!! Love you! :)

What Can We Learn From Alma and Amulek?

June 26, 2017

Happy Summer, Everyone!
I know that most of you who read this email are like, "Why is he talking as if Summer just started, it has been going on since the beginning of June..." Well, let me resolve your concerns :) This week was graduation here in New York. Literally everyone graduated. Everyone. I am not entirely sure why, but the school system here helps everyone celebrate the graduation of every grade. On the last day of school, there were 2nd graders, 5th graders, Juniors in High School, etc. all over the place, and they all were wearing caps and gowns! I definitely agree that advancing to the next grade is important and an accomplishment, but every grade had their own graduation with caps,  gowns, diplomas, huge luncheons, and everything! hahaha It was a party, for sure!

Anyway, with all of that being said, it brings me to my next topic of discusison. The beginning of this week was a little frustrating for me... It seemed that no matter who we talked to or where we went, absolutely no body would talk with us. I was getting a little disheartened. However, on Wednesday I was studying in the Book of Mormon in Alma. It was talking about how Alma and Amulek were preaching to people on the hill Onidah. The people he was talking to were a very hardhearted people and didn't really care much about what Alma had to say. In fact, a lot of them started trying to prove him wrong and make him second-guess himself. He and Amulek were cast out of synagogues, houses, and rejected on the streets. However, they never diminished their faith that the Lord was preparing the hearts of His children in their area. As they were preaching on the hill Onidah, a large multitude of poor people came to them. Alma then teaches them about growing their faith and acting on it. Many were converted to the gospel as a result of Alma and Amulek's testifying of the Savior. After my morning studies, I felt a renewed faith that there really are people out thee who are ready for the message we share. We set out at 10:00am to bring someone a Bible they requested. On the train ride there, we didn't hesitate at all to start conversations with those around us. Within the 45 minutes of travel, we were able to be led to find 3 new investigators! Heavenly Father is SO mindful of His children! There were too many "circumstances" that morning for them to just be circumstances. One woman I was able to talk with actually talked to me first. She asked if we were students here and was very surprised (almost excited) to find that we were missionaries. She loves God and Jesus Christ and attends the Rock Church (a church by the mall that performs heavy metal rock music for their worship services) every Sunday. We talked a lot about family and about Heavenly Father's plan for all of us. I was able to give her a Book of Mormon. However, when I asked if she could read a verse out of it, she exliained that she is 90% blind and can't read. So, I helped her download the Book of Mormon app on her iPhone! I am  so grateful for the technology Heavenly Father has blessed us with to further His work! Ginger (the super awesome blind woman I met on the train) is going out of town for a couple weeks, but is really excited to be able to meet with us when she returns! Heavenly Father is so good!

Recently, I have started praying for the gift of remembrance. I have found that during lessons, sharing personal experiences and using the sciptures to teach really bring the spirit and make a huge difference in how the lesson plays out. So, I have been praying to be able to remember experiences I have had in the past as well as to be able to recall scriptures I study. During lessons (especially this past week) I have had forgotten experiences pop up in my mind from my childhood, high school, mission, etc. that have had unbelievable relevance to the needs of the person we were teaching. I love missionary work!!! We were teaching our investigator, Charles, on Thursday. He had a lot of questions about his purpose in life as well as how he can develop the desire to change to become what God wants him to become. Throughout our entire conversation, different scriptures kept coming to my mind that I had briefly studied in the past. As we read them with Charles, I felt the spirit just flow out of the Book of Mormon as the scriptures answered the questions Charles has had for a long time. By the end of our lesson with him, Charles expressed how much love he felt from Heavenly Father for guiding us to scriptures that spoke directly to him. It was so neat to have Charles read a scripture and pause in the middle of reading and say, "That's me. It's talking about me!" Wow, I love the Book of Mormon! Charles determined right then that he wasn't going to let anything get in his way of reading the Book of Mormon everyday! We saw him yesterday, and he was super excited to tell us about Nephi's  vision of the tree of life! I love the Book of Mormon and I know that it is the word of God.

Continuing on my topic of being led by the Spirit: On Thursday night, we were at a complete loss of what we should do. Our lessons had cancelled and we didn't have the time to travel too far. So, Elder Afoa and I stopped on the sidewalk underneath some trees and prayed, asking Heavenly Father to please guide us where He needed us to be for the night. We both felt that we should knock doors for the rest of the night. So, we pulled up our AreaBook maps app and felt drawn to 81st street in Middle Village (just a couple blocks from our apartment). Once we got there, we prayed and felt that we were where we needed to be. So, we commenced some solid knocking! Well, actually, absolutely nothing happened for a good 30-45 minutes... Not a single person had answered the door yet. We were beginning to doubt if we were even where we needed to be. However, we relied on the answer we got from the Spirit to knock out the street. At the next house, we noticed there was a really old man sitting on the front porch of the house next door. We cautiously approached him (because most of the old people I have run into sitting on their porch have been extremely crabby...) and he very warmly invited us to sit down and talk with him for a bit! Our conversation was awesome!!!! His name is Paul, and he is as 71 year old Catholic. However, during our conversation, he expressed to us that he doesn't go to church anymore (except on Palm Sunday because "Palm" is his last name) because he believes that his church is not true. We testified to him of the restoration of Jesus Christ's gospel and shared with him the Book of Mormon. He was super excited that we gave him our Book of Mormon and thanked us kindly for the gift. We ended up talking with Paul about Jesus Christ, and church, and Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon, and prophets, for about an hour and a half. Sadly, he is moving to Florida at the end of July, but said we are more than welcome to stop by whenever we want. We ended our conversation with a prayer, felt the spirit very strongly, and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset! What a great end to a long and tiring day!

On Saturday night, we decided to go to Forrest Park to talk with people there. Lucky for us, we decided to go on a day where there was a Spanish quinceañera going on at night. There were hundreds of people all over the park!! Too many families to count! We had a hay-day talking with as many people as we could. We didn't find any new investigators there, but we planted plenty of great seeds. Some people we talked with have siblings and other relatives who are Mormon, so that was cool. Sadly, they weren't interested in learning more from us though. As we were going about talking with people at the park, we realized that we had scheduled with Naveen (one of our investigators) to FaceTime him. So, we found a quiet place in the park with a table, and were able to FaceTime him with our fancy new phones! It was really cool (and super productive) to be able to go immediately from finding to teaching a lesson without a minute of unproductive time in between. I am so grateful for the technology Heavenly Father has trusted us with to further His work!

I apologize for the insanely long email this week, but I just really wanted to share some of the cool things that happened this week. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ direct this work! They are so aware of all of our needs! I love being a part of helping others find their way to Christ, even if it is just giving them a card and bearing my testimony to them. I love being a missionary and I love this Gospel!
Have the most splendid of weeks and stay cool! Enjoy the rest of June!
Love you all!
Elder Snell


1-6) Elder Afoa had some "ie" from Somoa, so we decided to put them on, along with our Mets jersies Sister Silvera gave us, and take some pictures! hahahaha
7) My district always sends me pictures of snails and tells me that they found my long lost uncle or something like that! I think it is hilarious! hahaha
8) This is a huge Catholic church we found while on our way to drop off a Book of Mormon and Bible to someone.
9) It is super hot outside, so last week on Preparation Day, we bought a watermelon! I'm not entirely sure why I felt the need to take a picture of it, but here you go :)
10-11) I guess they didn't have insulation? I don't know! hahaha Looks pretty cool though, right?
12) Graffiti of the week!
13-14) For all you jazz band geeks out there! I was just walkin' along, doin' the Lord's business. When Flash! Bam! Alakazam! I whipped out my phone and had to take a picture! (just for the record, I used absolutely no filter at all for that picture)
15-16) This is the garage door for the Glendale Fire Department, so I just had to take a picture with it! hahaha