Elder Hyrum Snell

Elder Hyrum Snell

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

9/25/14- Last letter from the MTC!

September 25, 2014

Manahoana fianakaviana sy namana ho an'ny fotoana farany ao amin'ny MTC! (Hello friends and family for the last time at the MTC!)
I hope you all are doing well! Things are going really well here at the MTC, and it's been a good experience for me, but I am no sad in the least that I will be leaving this Monday. Speaking of which, I received my flight plans and they go as follows: From SLC to Dallas (five hour layover), from Dallas to London (six hour layover), from London to Johannesburg South Africa (three hour layover), and then finally from Johannesburg to Antananarivo, Madagascar! I should be actually getting to Madagascar sometime this coming Wednesday. As far as baggage goes, they allow two 50 pound check-on bags, one 50 pound carry-on bag, and a "personal item" (a satchel or whatever). And FYI, Mom, I will NOT go over on any of my bags. It's too expensive. It's an extra $50 for every TWO pounds over the weight limit. Besides, I don't even have enough stuff to make it worth paying for that, as I can easily keep it under those weight limits. So I will be fine as far as that goes.
Anyway, this week has gone quite well. We've been teaching an "inactive member" (again, one of our teachers) named Jean Pierre. The reason he went inactive is because his seven-year-old daughter died a while ago, despite his pleas to God to save her. And so he lost faith. Because of that, we've been focusing on the fact that, through the gospel, he can see his daughter again and live with her in a state of eternal happiness and joy. That really hits him hard because of his situation, and I feel we are making large improvements with his conversion to the gospel. I try my best to bear my testimony as sincerely as possible to help him realize how true the fact is that he can not only see his daughter again, but he can live with her again and hug her and care for her once more. That's something that has helped me personally gain a testimony of this gospel, knowing that death is not the end, but really just a beginning. Death is actually the gateway that can take us onward into a world better than the one we currently live in, through our faithfulness and obedience to the commandments and covenants we have. What a wonderful promise that is. We can live with those we love for ETERNITY. Our relationships don't end with death, but continue on forever. I can't think of anything more comforting and happy than the knowledge that I will get to spend eternity with those I love.
Anywho, fun fact: we've had two members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles come to the MTC and speak to us over the past two weeks. Last week was Elder Richard G. Scott, who gave a great talk on prayer and receiving the things we need from it. And this week Elder M. Russell Ballard came and had an awesome discussion on making the most of the time we have and doing our best, not only out in the mission field but for the rest of our lives. Both were incredible talks and built my testimony of the fact that they are chosen apostles of Christ and God.
All in all, it has been a great experience here at the MTC. I've really enjoyed learning the language and developing myself as a missionary. I would like to thank everyone for their support, as it has been immense and wonderful. You are all such incredible family and friends. I love you all!!!

Signing off until Madagascar,
Elder Hyrum Snell
Elder Ady (a friend I made here from Roosevelt, Utah) and me outside the temple

A bunch of missionaries from my zone.

Elder Mack and me posing outside the temple.

Two Davis High Elders (Elders Rusnell and Libby)

Aussie Elder Arthur and me at the temple (he recently left for Indonesia, and should be there by now)
My missionary tag

9/18/14- MTC Schedule

September 18, 2014

Manahoana from the MTC! I hope life is treating everyone well! This week has been pretty good, like all the other weeks as well. Little bit of an update is that I've been a bit under the weather for the past few days, just with a headache and cold, nothing too big (don't worry mom). Now, to answer questions:
1. No, I have not bought the hand sanitizer yet, as they are about $8 apiece for like a two ounce bottle.
2. I am rotating through all my shoes, yes, and they are all comfortable in their own way. The Rockports are most comfortable to sit in, the Hush puppies are the most well-rounded comfortable shoes, and the Keens are the most comfortable to walk in. So, about even I'd say.
3. I can't think of anything really important that we didn't pack. I haven't come across anything that I'm missing, so I think we're good!
4. I know where to buy a phone card, but not really sure how they work. I will look into it.
5. I have used a few things from the first-aid kit, but I can't seem to find where the NyQuil and DayQuil are. Could you enlighten me to their location, mom?
6. I have played the piano, once, in our priesthood meeting. They like to rotate around with who plays.
7. I have gotten all the DearElder letters, don't worry, I swear I said something about them just in the last email. Ah well. But anyway, yes, I've gotten them all and I really appreciate the support I've gotten from everyone.
Anyway, now to my week (don't worry mom, my answers to your questions are not the entire email). But there really isn't much to say about the past week. We literally do the exact same thing every week here. And just to show you how difficult it is to come up with something new to say each email, here is my schedule:
6:30 Wake up and get ready
7:15 Breakfast
7:45 Classroom Time
11:35 Lunch
12:20 Classroom Time
3:20 Gym Time
4:50 Dinner
5:45 Classroom Time
9:30 Personal Time
10:30 Lights out and bedtime
And that's what we do every single day, with slight changes to the exact time and like a devotional here and there. Sooooo yeah. That's my life day in and day out here at the MTC. I sleep, I eat, I work, I study, and I repeat all of that over and over again. Fun stuff, right?;P Anyway, it's been a good experience so far, as I have enjoyed learning the language and it's very essential to learn all of these things before I head out. But I will be glad when I can finally head out into the real world and start being a real missionary.
Anyway, I should probably be wrapping up now, as I'm sure most of you have better things to do than read my emails. So I'll just say thanks to a few people and then sign off. I'd like to thank Aunt Tam for the DELICIOUS brownies she sent in. Those were awesome. Thank you so much. I'd like to thank the Maxwell Family for the letter they sent, that was so sweet of them to take the time and effort to do so. And I'd like to thank the Poveys for the letters they have sent. You guys are the best! And I'd also like to thank my family for the support they've given. I couldn't ask for a better family.
And now, as usual, I will sign off with my testimony. I know that what I am doing is God's work, and that I am doing what He wants me to do. I have seen miracles here with regards to the gift of tongues, and so I KNOW, through experience, that the gift of tongues is real and that learning this language is something that God wants me to do in order to spread His restored gospel throughout all the world. I am so grateful for this experience, and wouldn't give it up for anything.

Elder Hyrum Snell
At the Provo Temple.

A bunch of Davis buddies and I, which includes (from left to right) Sister Hinton's companion, Sister Hinton, me, Elder Stuart (crouching down) then Elders Jarvis, Hogan, and Dixon.

Elder Rusnell and me (also from Davis).

Elder Mack and I with matching ties from Paraguay.

Elders Mack, Hogan, Jarvis, Dixon and me at the choir practice (which we then performed for Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles on Tuesday!)

My district and one of our friends from the Armenian district (Elder Kay, with the purple shirt on the top middle)

Me with a trio from the Indonesian group, which consists of Elders Paskett, Getter, and Chou (from left to right)

9/11/14-Half Way at the MTC

September 11, 2014

Hey everyone!

I got Ruth's letter. Ruth; you are adorable. :) I LOVED getting your letter, it was so sweet and made my day. Thank you so much. Bethany; thank you for my email, I really enjoyed it, and was so happy that everything is going so well for you! Hannah; congrats on the first date. ;) Have fun at Homecoming, I'm sure it will be a blast! And Mom and Dad; thank you for everything and for your support. I love you guys and hope for the best for all of you!

This week is my halfway week at the MTC and, as "great" as the MTC is, I'm VERY excited to head out to Madagascar. I may not be completely ready with the language, but I don't think I ever will be until I get there. And so I am stoked to get out there and start spreading the gospel. This week has definitely been the most spiritual week for me, personally. I have felt the Spirit very strongly this week, especially with the teaching of my teacher Brother Bingham. He is an incredible teacher and has helped me so much with the language and with my teaching skills. I feel that I am already a better teacher because of the things he has helped me do in our role plays. I have been able to teach upwards of half an hour long lessons completely in Malagasy now, but the biggest blessing I've gained now is a greater comprehension of the language. I have had a fairly easy time speaking the language and remembering the vocabulary, but haven't always having the easiest time understanding the language when it is being spoken. And so, for the past week, I've been praying multiple times every day to gain a greater comprehension from the gift of tongues. And now, after a week of praying and just this last lesson, I was able to understand everything our proxy investigator said. Now, I didn't understand every single word he said, but I was able to understand the gist of what he was saying every time he said something. And another miracle that happened in that lesson was the fact that I was able to respond to his questions and comments completely, which has always been something that everyone has struggled with. And so that was a huge blessing this week, that my companion and I were able to do that. I know that God is here for me, and is helping me every step of the way. I am one of His missionaries, spreading His gospel throughout the world. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I pray to make the most of it.

Elder Hyrum Snell

This is me with Sister Talise Hinton. Great to see another familiar face!

Me with Elder Zach Jarvis, who is on his way to Jamaica.

Me with Elder Easton Williams, another Davis High-ite. :)

This is a cool half underwater half out of the water picture I took at the temple while trying out how well the waterproofing on my camera worked. I thought it looked pretty cool, so yeah. :)

9/4/14- Just Send Donuts :)

September 4, 2014

Hey Mom (and everyone)!

I hope everything is going well at home. It seems to be the case! Things are still going well here at the MTC. If anyone wants to hear directly from me, please feel free to write me or send me an email, which I will respond to on my P-Day (Thursday). Yes, Mom, I did get your package. Thank you for your thoughtfulness (and just so you know, I actually love nuts but don't like fruit leather or trail mix too much... Just thought you'd like to know :). Most of the other guys in my district have been getting things like Krispy Kreme donuts and such, so it's been kind of funny showing off my trail mix and Annie's graham bunnies. XP

But anyway, enough about the challenging trials I'm facing. ;) This week has been good, and pretty much just like last week. I've really had a good time though, and the language has been coming along great. I can now write any type of sentence in Malagasy, and can almost bear my complete testimony from memory, but not scripted, just normal speaking. It's a really cool experience, and I know that the gift of tongues is real, and I have been blessed with it. It's kind of funny, because in class, lots of the Malagasy guys come to me to ask questions, rather than the teacher, because they know I understand most of the things that have been taught and can kind of explain it more effectively on their level. It's really quite funny. But just yesterday our teacher told us that he has now taught us everything we need to know to be fluent in Malagasy, and all we need to do is memorize more vocabulary. So that's nice to know that we've learned pretty much everything, because learning vocabulary is easy enough. Some of the words are pretty hard to remember though, because of their length. For instance, Sorompanavotana is Atonement. But I've taken time to learn that one because (surprisingly) it's kind of important. I KNOW from the incredible Spirit here that I am on God's errand. He truly has called me to teach the people of Madagascar, and I know that I have a wonderful message for them that can and will change their lives if they choose to accept it and open their door to Christ, who is always knocking.

Thanks for all the support everyone! Veloma, sy Mazotoa (goodbye and remain diligent)!
Elder Snell

This is my buddy Elder Chairman Liao (aka Big Money). He's one of our Zone Leaders.

This is of our teacher, Bro. Bingham, who is also our investigator "Rakoto Jean."

This is of me and my man Elder Nick Pettit at the temple

This is a selfie with my Australian buddy Elder Arthur (pronounced Ahh thuh).

This final picture is of some of my district members pointing to Madagascar on the map (going from left to right, Elders Stringfellow, Cooley, Glazier, Mack, me, Tiu, Price, and Godfrey.

8/28/14- First Email Home from MTC!

Dear Fianakaviako sy Nama (family and friends),
The MTC has been absolutely incredible so far! When I first got here, they rushed me through super fast and helped me get all my stuff. What was really cool though was that I was able to have the pleasure of having Elder Jake Hogan be my host to show me the ropes of the place, so that was a really fun experience.
Now, to answer the questions:
1. The language is coming incredibly. The gift of tongues is SO real. I have already been able to give five lessons in Malagasy to our "investigator" Rakoto Jean (who is actually one of our teachers, but it's probably fine), two of which I didn't even use notes for.
2. I'm getting along fairly well with my companion. It's a little hard because we are TOTAL opposites. In high school he was the kind of kid who sluffed at least one class a day and enjoyed being disobedient, and still kind of is. But he can still buckle down and work hard, so it's going better than I would expect a situation like this to go. Plus we get along well, so I'm grateful to Heavenly Father for that.
3. Yes, most of the Malagasy Missionaries are quite hard working and fairly obedient, but everyone has their struggles, some more than others. But generally, we get a lot done and learn the language quite quickly.
4. The thing I love most about the MTC is the Spirit. It is SUPER strong here, and that is such an incredible blessing. I love being able to spend time with 2,000+ other missionaries, all serving the Lord.
5. I have definitely seen miracles already, most of which involving the language. Like I said previously, I have been able to teach five lessons, all completely in Malagasy. NO ENGLISH AT ALL. And they've gone quite smoothly. It's a weird feeling teaching in a language you didn't know a single word in only a week before.
6. I LOVE Elder Evans and Elder Mack. Elder Mack has been made our District Leader, and is by far the hardest working of the bunch. And Elder Evans is so diligent and passionate about the gospel, it is just incredible the example that he is to me. They are both probably my two best friends in our district (which is all the Madagascar missionaries, 12 of us in all).
7. We are actually leaving on September 29, and arriving on the first of October. And like I said, there are twelve elders leaving with us at that time. No sisters are going, though I've heard there's already a fair amount out there.
8. The food here is good and bad. The good part is that it tastes quite well and there's a lot of it. The bad part is that it is all really unhealthy and makes me feel sick almost every time I eat it. :/ But it's okay, it's not really that big of a deal, I'm a big boy and can live with it. I'm trying to eat healthier (you're welcome, Mom) so I can feel more energetic and healthy.
9. I realized that we forgot to pack shower soap, like for shaving and washing. But it's okay, they had some at the MTC Bookstore, so I got some there. Don't worry mom. ;)
10. Yes, we do get to go to the temples on our Thursday P-days. I just went this morning. It's a really cool feeling being able to attend an endowment session with fifty plus other missionaries, elders and sisters.
11 (last question). Yes, I have used some money. Like I said, I bought some soap. I also have bought a few other odds and ends that help make life at the MTC a bit easier.
Anyway, I love you all, and life at the MTC is going great!!! I hope you are all doing well. I know this church is true, and that I am doing the Lords work.
Elder Hyrum Snell

I love all you guys, and hope everything is going fantastically!

My District at the Provo Temple